Top 6 Healthy Vacations To Take In 2019! (+Travel Guide)


Written by: Shelby Torrese - Jul. 23, 2019

Healthy Vacations  

Everyone dreads the transition from a vacation back to reality. And far too often it feels like you need ANOTHER vacation just to recover from the last.  This time, a healthy one where you perhaps prioritize workouts, healthy meals, and a regular sleep schedule. 😂 Luckily, these days, there are plenty of options for healthy vacations that combine health and wellness without sacrificing all the fun!  

Today I’m going to share some of our SkinnyFit healthy vacay faves as well as what to eat, where to stay, and what to check out while you’re there! Some of these feel-good gems are recognized for their awesome locations that offer plenty of activities and fresh air. Some made the list because of A+ weather that’s the ultimate uplifter. And some offer plenty of healthy shops and food options. 

So sit back and relax, and we’ll give you the skinny on the most healthful vacations to consider this year! 

Healthy vacations destinations

Why More People Are Opting For Healthy Vacations

Healthy living and mindful travel are becoming more and more popular, replacing all-inclusive, open-bar getaways with AM yoga sessions, hydrating mocktails, and flexible eating options. The growing emphasis on wellness has led to an increase in healthy vacation destinations, and for good reason.

One study published in Translational Psychiatry showed that vacations without a mindfulness aspect to them provided little to no long-term benefit or satisfaction, whereas a wellness retreat or vacation that incorporated mindfulness elements provided long-lasting benefits that were felt for as long as 10 months post vacation. The same study suggested that the group of mindful travelers showed positive changes in both inflammation and energy metabolism. It’s no sham, healthy travel has its perks!

Healthiest travel destinations

Top Healthy Vacation Destinations In The U.S.

So now that we know the benefits of a healthy vacation are for real, let’s dive into some favorite destinations for a fun and health-centric getaway. 

The Foodie’s Healthy Getaway – Austin, TX

Known for extraordinary and delicious food, Austin offers more than the expected Texas-famous BBQ and fried foods. Surprisingly, there is no shortage of dining options with gluten-, dairy-, and sugar-free items in this Lone Star city. Austin is surrounded by parks, lakes, trails, and over 100 yoga studios, offering plenty of ways to work off yummy meals and get moving year-round.

Austin Texas city skyline
  • Where to eat 
    • Picnik: With an awesome ambiance, menu, and token tagline (Real Food for Every Body), Picnik is a local favorite. The entire menu is free of gluten, corn, peanuts, and soy. Score! If you don’t grab a stack of their house-baked french toast while you’re there, you better believe you’re doing it wrong.
    • Honest Mary’s: This homey spot is a sustainable lover’s dream. Offering hand-line caught fish, hormone-free beef, non-GMO tofu and all the seasonal vegetables you can imagine, Honest Mary’s is a go-to for quick, local fare. 
  • What to do
    • Hike it up: The Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve is a quick trip just west of Austin with 227 acres of native Texas habitat. It offers countless trails to run or hike your way through. 
    • Get your om on: Austin has hundreds of public yoga studios within city lines, so there are tons of options for when and where to get your Warrior (or Savasana!) on.
    • Kick it poolside: If you’re down to venture a bit outside of Austin, Hamilton Pool Preserve is a must-see. A natural pool and waterfall created from natural erosion thousands of years ago, this destination gets booked months in advance, so be sure to check availability long before your trip!

The Off The Grid Getaway – Joshua Tree, CA

This desert getaway is perfect for a healthy dose of unplugging. Joshua Tree is a dreamy landscape where you will certainly want to snap some pics but the rolling hills and heavenly sounds of nature will keep your head up more than down. This healthy travel spot is great for anyone looking to get off the grid and into nature.

  • Where to eat
    • The Natural Sisters Cafe: Joshua Tree is a great vacation spot for at-home cooking (especially if you stay in an Airbnb or The Joshua Tree House). However, if you do get the urge to be served, The Natural Sisters Cafe is a great, you guessed it, sister-owned vegetarian cafe. With tons of salads, breakfast options, custom smoothies, juices and more, this is a great pre- or post-hike spot.
    • Joshua Tree Health Foods: Open 7 days a week, this is the perfect store to stock up on healthy ingredients and snacks for your stay. They also offer B12 shots on the weekends!
  • What to do
    • Put it in park: Joshua Tree National Park is the perfect place to put your mind to ease and simply be present. Known for its fantastical Joshua trees, the park offers so much to explore, like the Jumbo Rocks Campground, the Barker Dam, the Hidden Valley Nature Trail, and more.
    • Dig into history: For history buffs, Cabot’s Pueblo Museum is an iconic treasure. As an ode to famous adventurer, Cabot Yerxa, the museum honors his life through art, community, and cultural wellness.
    • Get springy: Joshua Tree is full of natural springs. Take the day to soak therapeutic hot springs at The Spring, Tuscan Springs Spa, or Hope Springs.
  • Where to stay
    • The Joshua Tree House: Luxury and hominess all in one. Choose from three gorgeously decorated abode, and if you’re really into ‘doin’ it for the gram,’ you can rent Scout or Goldie (two adorable old-school vehicles) for a photo shoot.

The Sun-Kissed Getaway – North Shore of Oahu, HI

Are you even surprised Hawaii made the list? Oahu is totally zen and picturesque, and all about physical and mental wellness-—making it a no-brainer when it comes to healthy vacation destinations.

North Shore Oahu, Hawaii
  • Where to eat
    • The Sunrise Shack: This local health- and happiness-drive cafe has 10 different bullet-style coffees, various juices and kombucha flavors, smoothies bowls, wraps, and sandwiches. Stop here for a beachside snack or lunch break between hitting the waves. This spot will surely be a highlight of your stay on the North Shore.
    • Pupukea Grill: If you spot a decked out, ocean-blue food truck, you’ve arrived at Pupukea Grill. Stocked with sushi bowls, handrolls, flatbread wraps, salads, and, of course, smoothies, this beloved cafe on wheels is a great spot for guilt-free eating.  
  • What to do 
    • Beach, Please: The North Shore of Oahu is one big playground. From turtle-filled beaches to waterfalls, to gorgeous hikes, to surfing lessons, there’s adventure around every corner. 
  • Where to stay
    • Turtle Bay Resort: For those seeking some family-friendly TLC, Turtle Bay Spa & Resort is the place to stay. The hotel offers spa packages, live music, beach-side activities, and even an on-site bar with open mic nights that the locals love. (Fun fact: Forgetting Sarah Marshall was filmed there!)

Healthy Travel Outside Of The U.S. (Healthiest Cities To Visit)

If you have the opportunity for some international travel, check out these top healthiest cities to visit around the world!

The Awakening Getaway – Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Bali offers a rare tranquility, beauty, and, welcomeness that we absolutely love. Plus, most of the locals speak English and are happy to befriend with tourists from around the world. It’s no wonder this healthy vacation destination is at the top of the list!

Ubud, Bali, Indonesia. Healthy travel destination
  • Where to eat
    • Mudra Cafe: Dishing out bowls that are as delicious as they are aesthetically pleasing, Mudra Cafe is an off-the-beaten-path oasis that foodies and health-buffs alike cannot miss. Don’t pass up the poke bowl and the Avo Gado Gado!
    • Zest Ubud: For a culture that does carnivorous meals so right, Balinese sure have mastered their vegan fare. This higher-end vegan eatery offers everything from cassava fritters and wok salads to sweet potato terrine and “forest pizza.”
  • What to do
    • Pamper time: When ‘We Pamper You Head to Toe’ is the first thing you see when you walk into a spa, you know you’re in for a treat. Ubud Traditional Spa offers unique massage therapies such as Rice Farmer Massage and the Ubud Royal Massage. 
    • Local pilgrimage: Heavily focused on meditation practices, a visit to Anand Ashram will leave you feeling lighter, clearer and more grounded as you continue your travels.
    • Healing waters: Just 30 minutes outside of Ubud lies the Tirta Empul Temple. Home to the old tale of good versus evil, this is a spring that locals visit to cleanse and pray to the gods. And the healing properties aren’t only for natives. When showered with the clear, spouting waters, visitors have reported feeling a sense of weight being lifted off their shoulders. 
  • Where to stay
    • The Yoga Barn: Heaven is a place on earth, and it’s called The Yoga Barn. Offering daily yoga sessions, serving up raw, vegan dishes, and hosting a variety of unique workshops and events, The Yoga Barn is a little slice of retreat paradise.  

The Minimalist Getaway – Kyoto, Japan

When it comes to healthy vacations, you better believe Japan is on the list. A culture of grace, manners, and cleanliness, the Japanese culture is one of divinities. Every little detail of their livelihood is rooted in purpose and efficiency.

Fushimi Inari-Taisha Shrine in Kyoto, Japan. Best healthy travel destinations
  • Where to eat
    • Awomb: Friends back home will be ashamed of their home-made after you ‘gram this legendary meal. The waiters bring deconstructed sushi to the table for you to handcraft yourself. Don’t be surprised if your DIY ingredients include things like lotus root, salmon, and pickles.
    • Kagizen: The high tea of Japanese cuisine, Kagizen offers all of the pre- and post-tea bites you could ever desire. You don’t know matcha until you’ve had it in Japan, either. Spoiler: it’s not served as a latte. 
  • What to do
    • Time to shrine: The famous Fushimi Inari-Taisha Shrine is a must-see in Kyoto. You could easily get lost for the whole day in the torii gates and various shrines of the Shinto god, Inari.
    • Peace ponds: Surrounded by koi ponds, the Eikando Zenrinji Temple is a much more serene attraction than other local temples. Without the large crowds and boisterous tours, you can take in all the majestic energy of this Japanese temple, all while peacefully enjoying the landscape of Kyoto.
    • Hike to heal: Mt. Kurama is home to traditional Japanese baths and hot springs. After the trek up, treat yourself to a relaxing spa experience where you can soak in the healing properties of the water while listening to the birds, monkeys, and other wildlife.   

The Cyclist Fanatic’s Getaway – Amsterdam, Netherlands

One of the most bike-friendly places in the world, it’s no wonder Amsterdam made the healthy vacation checklist. 

Amsterdam, Netherlands. Healthiest cities to travel to
  • Where to eat
    • SLA: Boasting produce that is predominantly grown on Dutch soil and always certified organic, SLA is the fuel for a day of cycling in Amsterdam.
    • Omelegg: The omeleterrie you never knew you needed! Prepared fresh and made-to-order, these omelettes are egg-cellent. Craving a healthy omelette before your visit? Try these delicious and healthy breakfast frittata muffins! They’re perfect for traveling because you can put them in a Ziplock bag and take them on-the-go!
  • What to do
    • Canal hop: Trendy Jordaan is a pathway of streets and canals known for its hipster vibes and cute cafes. Whether by foot or by canal, a stop to and through Jordaan is a sure way to get your steps in while enjoying picturesque views Windmill watching: Find one of Amsterdam’s eight famous windmills, Molen van Sloten, which is the only one open to the public. It is still active and is used to pump excess water from the area today.

Tips For Healthy Travel

Where you choose to travel isn’t the only factor that contributes to a healthy vacation. As you’re probably aware, some of the biggest buzzkills that hinder your health and fitness goals while you’re on vacation are not having a plan, overindulging on unhealthy foods and drinks, and falling prey to sedentary activities. To be fair… we are ALL for the occasional nap by the pool—it just isn’t the most ideal activity if you’re looking to stay active while on vacation. With that said, here are our top recommendations and resources to help you stay on track on your vacation:

  • Create or find a summer bucket list. Having a list of activities to check off while you’re on your trip is a great way to ensure you have a memorable and feel-good vacation! By including activities that keep you active and on-the-move not only spice up your itinerary, but get your closer to reaching your movement goals on your FitBit or Apple watch! We’ve created the ultimate summer bucket list of all the best summer activities to help you get started! 
  • Don’t let your diet suffer. As hard as it can feel to eat healthy when you’re on vacay, it is possible if you’re in-the-know on all the latest diet hacks for traveling! Take a gander at these 7 helpful diet tips for traveling before your next trip and you won’t be disappointed!
  • Have a simple workout you can do anywhere saved in your phone. Arming yourself with a variety of travel workouts before your vacation is a great way to stay on track and exercise on vacation! 
  • Try to avoid getting sick. Traveling can take a toll on our immune system and the last thing anyone wants while on vacation is to get sick! Make sure to keep some immunity-boosting supplements on-hand, like SkinnyFit Detox tea. What’s even better is that it’s TSA-approved so you needn’t worry about it getting confiscated at airport security!
healthy travel tips

The Bottom Line On Healthy Vacations

Travel is meant to be an enjoyable experience. It’s a time for decompressing, taking things slowly, and never feeling under- or overdressed. Healthy travel experiences should be no different. The next time someone invites you on a vacay, or you plan one for yourself, be sure to include at least one daily activity or meal that leaves you feeling great. Whether it’s a meditation practice, an exercise class, or a well-balanced meal, make your next vacation one that will leave you satisfied long after you return to the comfort of your own bed.

how to have a healthy vacation



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