FX Excursions

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Traveler of the year

Getting Lean on Vacation

by Elyse Glickman

Dec 24, 2017

© Boulders Resort + Spa

Travel Tips

The holiday season, from Thanksgiving dinner through New Year’s brunch, is a time of indulgence. January, meanwhile, is the holiday season’s “morning after,” with adults vowing to adopt healthier foods, a fitness routine or both. As it turns out, a New Year’s fitness trip may be the perfect way to get outside and active throughout the year.


Southern Arizona, with its mild climate and rugged terrain, is an ideal domestic destination to accomplish this goal. The recently-opened Residence Inn/Courtyard Phoenix Downtown not only has a fully loaded fitness room (for teens and older), but also easy access to Phoenix’s wealth of outdoor fun, from internationally renowned biking and hiking trails along Camelback Mountain, South Mountain Park and the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, to horseback riding, mountain climbing and tennis and golf courses offering family lessons. And if you come later in the winter, you may just be able to catch your home baseball team in a spring training game.


Fitness Boulders Rock Hiking1

Photo: Boulders Resort + Spa

The Boulders Resort & Spa, an hour outside Phoenix, combines Sonoran Desert scenery with everything families of all abilities and interests will want for a week of adventure. In addition to renowned tennis and golf facilities, the resort offers rock climbing clinics, waterfall rappelling, organized desert hikes and bike tours with historically significant Native American points of interest, mountain biking and even pickleball at the tennis center.


Families big into skiing are probably aware of what Washington State’s Olympic National Park and Forest has to offer. Lake Quinault Lodge and Lake Crescent Lodge take wintery getaways to a new level with miles of trails, 500-year-old trees and cozy after-ski surroundings.


The Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa in San Diego provides a perfect immersion into favorite Southern California pastimes including horseback riding, hiking, surfing lessons, badminton, bocce ball, croquet, basketball, paddleball, ping pong and complimentary bicycle rentals. However, it is best known internationally for its Five Star Junior Tennis Program. It features specialized programming for Little Twinklers (ages 4–6) all the way up to Competitive Players over age 12, overseen by a team of USPTA & USPTR-certified professionals.

Lotus Honolulu

Photo: Island Fever Sisters Fitness

Families looking for a gentler adventure will find it at The Lotus Honolulu at Diamond Head on Waikiki’s Gold Coast. In the resort or at the beach, kids can choose from a selection of grab-and-go inflatable fish toys, beach balls and slippers for water play and complimentary beach bags with a pair of children’s sunglasses. Complimentary morning yoga classes and mat use are offered in nearby Kapiolani Park, where visitors can mix with local families and the ways they stay fit.


While Denver’s The ART Hotel is going to attract a culture-minded clientele, it is also a fitness-minded destination by design. The property offers an ART Run (or walk!) for families to explore downtown Denver’s best public art pieces. Guests will receive a map that curates an urban art run/walk though all of downtown Denver for an active cultural adventure. Families also have the option of taking the hotel’s custom-painted bikes out for a ride to explore Denver’s cultural scene on these artistic “pedal pieces.”

Photo: Great Wolf Lodge


In addition to adrenaline-inducing slides, the 13 branches of Great Wolf Lodge across the United States offer extra fitness perks such as kids’ creative yoga classes and “Jammie Jamboree” sessions (a kid-friendly dance fitness class complete with props and park mascots).


With a new IOS and Android app called Sidewalk, families who favor urban getaways can simultaneously get their fix of culture and calorie-burning walks. The app provides free urban walking itineraries created by fellow travelers with suggestions to share about places they know and love (tips are recommended for the itinerary creator). There are a variety of walks, from history, literature and architecture to nature and shopping excursions for Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, New York, Boston and Washington, D.C., with more cities and itineraries being added soon.


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