Fit Families: Welcoming Wellness for January

It’s January, so pound for pound you’re probably regretting putting that extra chocolate bar in your kid’s stocking. But not to fear — there’s plenty of ways to burn off some calories together on a family wellness trip.

Get your om away from home with a yoga or Pilates retreat for those ages 18+ with SolSeed, which offers small-group bonding experiences year-round in the Azores, San Jan Del Sur, Nicaragua, Bocas Del Toro, Panama and Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. The guide-instructors for daily classes and excursions are all young and dynamic, and lodgings are eco-chic. In Guatemala, for instance, you’ll practice lakeside and enjoy sunbathing, swimming, massage, kayaking, volcano hiking, horseback riding and stand up paddle boarding. SolSeed plans to add family retreat trips in 2018, perfect for kids to experience Mayan cultures and visit neighboring villages near Lake Atitlan. Not thinking internationally? Kripalu in Massachusetts has family retreat programs for parents plus kids ages 5–12 or 13–18. Meal choices are child-friendly, and there are both shorter and longer themed programs like arts, circus and mother-daughter weekends.

SolSeed Retreat group

© Melissa Ostrow, SolSeed Retreats

Winter’s the perfect time for relaxation and roughing it at Lake Tahoe, where Northstar California Resort offers showshoeing and cross-country skiing in addition to traditional downhill. Children and teens can benefit from beginner lessons or your family can book a small group or private guided experience (there’s also women-only experiences for girls’ weekends). All are offered for different ability levels. Seasonal classes for winter months are mountainside yoga, winter strength and après stretch.

Think river cruising is just for sitting back? Think again. Each tour with U by Uniworld includes free bicycle use and walking sticks for trekking along the banks of some of Europe’s most treasured rivers. On their Castles Along the Rhine tour, kids and families can monkey around on ziplines at a climbing forest in Germany, and on Enchanting Danube & Munich, hike to Vogelbergsteig and Dürnstein Castle ruins. Departures are scheduled during summer and winter breaks.

You’ve probably purchased plenty of sports gear for your brood at REI, but the brand’s Family Adventures give you a chance to use it, whether it’s hiking America’s national parks, sea kayaking in the Galapagos, hiking Machu Picchu, paddleboarding and snorkeling in California, or admiring the Big Five on safari in Africa. Getaways are shorter and planned around school breaks and seasonality in destinations as exotic as Thailand.

At BodyHoliday in St. Lucia, the WellFit Families program includes special one-week adventures for the whole family, with a slew of themed active features like sailing, windsurfing, yoga, biking, hiking and team sports like volleyball. Special guest athletes — including Olympian sprinters Jamie Baulch and Marlon Devonish, Olympian swimmer Michael Jamieson and former NFL player Randy Moss — all make appearances for family training sessions. You’ll get the best of wellness and a tropical vacation. Don’t miss the new yoga and spinning treehouse, hung high in the clouds, with floor-to-ceiling treetop panoramas.

SolSeed Furna logo

© Melissa Ostrow, SolSeed Retreats

For wheel fun, Ciclismo Classico offers up some of its bike-tour adventures with families in mind. With routes for all different ages and ability levels on the same tour, Mom, Dad, teens and tweens can all enjoy an itinerary in the Dolomites, for instance, or in Provence, Sicily or the Mediterranean. Although each tour offers cooking lessons and culinary lessons — and convenient summertime itineraries for kids on school break — you won’t have to worry about breaking your diet when you pedal 10-plus miles a day to burn off all of those calories. Other activities include kayaking and horseback riding with stays in cozy villas and B&Bs.

Interested in off-the-beaten-path? Backroads’ combination hiking and biking tours give your legs the ultimate workout. With adventures tailored to older teens and 20s (Croatia, Czech Republic, Iceland), 9- to 17-year-olds (Yellowstone, Hawai’i, Costa Rica), and 8-and-unders (Canadian Rockies, Holland & Belgium, Loire Valley), each itinerary is customized for ability level and interests. Plus the guides split up the time so parents can enjoy a few hours when the kids are entertained so they get a true sense of vacation relaxation.