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The Best Active Vacations

  • April 15, 2014
  • By Brittany
The Best Active Vacations

It’s absolutely no secret that I LOVE to travel.  The Hubs and I try to take at least one big trip a year and pepper in some smaller getaways throughout the year.  This has nothing everything to do with the fact that we are both beach lovers stuck in the coldest climate ever six months out of the year.  One of the biggest criteria we have for selecting our travel destinations (besides a beach and warm weather!) is the ability to be active and make the most out of our time off.  While I love a trip to the spa or lounging pool side, I can do this for approximately one hour before I’m checking in with the lounge chair next to me asking “what’s next?”.  So I thought it would be fun to put together a list of the Best Active Vacations. Some of these places I have traveled to already and some are still on my wanderlist.  Either way, they are all equally beautiful, fun and unique.  You won’t be able to sit down for more than an hour in any of these places because you’ll be eagerly awaiting your next awesome adventure!

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is quite possibly the mecca of adventure travel.  With almost never-ending options to test your limits, your fears and your physical ability, Costa Rica is not for the faint of heart.  But if wish for a more leisurely pace, don’t worry golf is always on the menu!
WHAT TO DO:  From the beach to the jungle, there is plenty to do on Costa Rica!

  • Surfing.
  • Zip lining.
  • Golf.
  • Snorkeling.
  • Rafting.
  • Biking.
  • Kayaking.
  • Canyoning.

WHERE TO STAY:  The Westin at Playa Conchal is the ultimate luxury spot.

WHERE TO EAT:  There are plenty of local restaurants where you can try out delicious Costa Rican flair.  Make sure to eat some plantains!


Sadly my trip to Yosemite got axed when the government shutdown happened (we went to Sonoma instead-terrible compromise, right?) so it remains on my wanderlist. With 1,200 square miles of pure nature, there are endless possibilities to enjoy the spectacular views.


(Yosemite National Park-Source)


  • Swimming in any of the park’s bodies of water.
  • Rafting. Raft through Yosemite’s rivers!
  • Biking. Serious cyclists need not apply.  Twelve miles of paved cycle-ways provide a leisurely ride for everyone.
  • Hiking.  There are endless hiking trails in Yosemite.  I recommend planning a few trails you want to conquer before showing up so you can be ready to go and skip feeling overwhelmed.
  • Horseback Riding.  A unique way to experience Yosemite’s incredible views.
  • Rock Climbing.  If you’ve never done it before or don’t have the right equipment, take a lesson.  It’s hard but a great workout!

WHERE TO STAY:  The Ahwahnee is arguably the best hotel in all of Yosemite.

WHERE TO EAT:  The Wawona Dining Room looks relaxing and inviting.


My favorite, favorite!  The Hubs and I got married here and I fell in love (with Hawaii, I was already smitten with him).  Every island is different but each offers pristine beauty and an outdoor lifestyle that anyone coming from piles of snow can appreciate! 



  • Surfing.  One of the best surf spots in the world!
  • Stand Up Paddle Board.  The waters surrounding the islands can be calm in some places making this a relaxing adventure but still a great core and upper body workout.
  • Kayaking.  The best way to explore in my opinion!
  • Snorkeling.  Snorkeling and scuba diving in Hawaii is some of the best you will ever see!  The fish are incredible!
  • Scuba diving.
  • Zip lining.  High up in the Hawaiian mountains, you can get a great view of the island while getting your adrenaline dose for the trip.
  • Biking a volcano.  In Maui, head to the top of the volcano and then daredevils can bike down!
  • Hiking.  There are plenty of hikes throughout the islands and they will offer some incredible views!
  • Swimming.  With warm water year round, sometimes the best way to stay active is the simplest.
  • Tennis.  Sunshine galore is conducive to a nice game of tennis.  Many hotels have courts with racquets and balls allowing you to get out for a friendly match.
  • Golf.  Hawaii boasts some of the best golf courses in the world.  Not to be missed!

WHERE TO STAY:  The Four Seasons on Lanai is the lap of luxury and perfect for those who love golf (there are two courses but the Challenge at Manele, designed by Jack Nicklaus offers unrivaled views) and snorkeling.  There is also SUPing with dolphins!  The Marriot at Wailea in Maui.  Reasonably priced yet still luxurious, this is a great resort in the center of all things Hawaiian.  Makena Beach and Golf Resort.  The tennis club at Makena is worth the trip alone but the kayaking, snorkeling, SUP and swimming are all impeccable as well!

WHERE TO EAT:  The Four Season at Manele Bay on Lanai has some wonderful restaurants.  I recommend private dining if you are willing to shell out the cash!  Cafรฉ O’Lei on Maui is simply divine.  The food will melt in your mouth it is so delicious.

Puerto Rico

Unexpectedly one of the most active vacations I’ve ever had, Puerto Rico boasts warm waters of the Caribbean but offers the conveniences of mainland USA.  Only a short trip from the East Coast, I recommend an extended weekend stay! sup1 WHAT TO DO:

  • Snorkeling.  There is a coral reef off the island of Vieques that has some rather amazing snorkeling.  If you’re keen, take the 40 minute kayak out to a deserted island and then snorkel until your heart is content.  Just beware of how low the tide can get so you can avoid hitting any precious coral.
  • Stand Up Paddle Board.  Although the water can sometimes be a little rough and the current strong against the wind, it’s all just a great excuse to work your core on a SUP.  There are many small deserted beaches you can paddle to. You may even get lucky and see a sea turtle!
  • Kayaking.  Kayaking is one of the best ways to get around the island and visit all the little beaches!  Plus if you get hot, just jump in! 
  • Mountain Biking.  You can mountain bike around the island and from beach to beach.  Just beware that the roads are windy and narrow with cars passing.
  • Tennis. 

WHERE TO STAY:  Venture off the main island to the smaller Puerto Rican island of Vieques.  The small island charm makes you really feel like you are a world away.  Plus, the beaches on Vieques are some of the best in the world.  Stay at the W Hotel for excellent service and amazing views.

WHERE TO EAT:  While there are plenty of places in town to curb your appetite, some of the best (if not overpriced) dining is at the W Hotel.


Most people associate Italy with oodles of noodles, decadent food and historical monuments.  Italy for me, however, means biking the Cinque Terre.  This is number 1 on my wanderlist.  I have been talking about it for probably two years.  I will get there someday!  Can you imagine, biking along the cliffs overlooking the Italian Riveriaโ€”cue drool.

cinque terre

(View of the Cinque Terre- Source)

WHAT TO DO:  I am dying to take the DuVine Cycling Cinque Terre six day bike tour!  With between 75 and 97 miles of biking in six days plus kayaking and swimming in the sun-drenched Cinque Terre, this is the ultimate active vacation!

WHERE TO STAY:  This is all set up for you by DuVine!

WHERE TO EAT:  Again, all set up by DuVine but it includes an Italian cooking lesson!

Cape Cod

My stomping ground.  My parents live on the Cape so the Hubs and I take every opportunity to spend quality time here in the summer.  It is quite possibly one of the best summer vacation destinations in the United States.  I’m not biased or anything.  It is so picturesque from the lighthouses to the traditional houses to the amazing beaches. Cape Cod Rail Trail 3 (Cape Cod Rail Trail)


  • Bike the Cape Cod Rail Trail.  A paved bike trail following a former railroad track, this 22 mile stretch of bike path is heaven for cyclists.  Plus the views are incredible!
  • Kayak.  Kayaking is huge on Cape Cod.  There are plenty of inlets, harbors and bays that are perfect for exploring.
  • Stand Up Paddle Board.  Relatively new to the Cape, these babies are popping up everywhere.
  • Surfing.  While not as well known as other surf vacation spots, there are some decent waves on the upper cape that can lend themselves to some serious surfing.
  • Tennis.  Tennis and golf are huge pastimes on Cape Cod with many private clubs and also some public available.
  • Golf.

WHERE TO STAY:  There are plenty of B&Bs and hotels along the Cape but I recommend a rental if you can score one to get the most authentic experience.

WHERE TO EAT:  While nothing beats a homemade clambake, the Lobster Pot in Wareham will get you close.  For fine dining, try Twenty-Eight Atlantic at the Wequassett Inn in Chatham.


In my opinion, Croatia is the unexplored gem of Europe.  Often outshone by its super-neighbors, Italy and Greece, Croatia boasts unspoiled beauty as well as action and adventure.  I am obsessed with the REI Croatia Multisport tour and would give my left arm to do this!  All activities, meals and accommodation are planned for you so all you have to do is show up ready to roll.


(Plitvice Lakes National Park-Source)


  • Hiking.  Hike anywhere from 15-20 miles in total during this 8 day Croatia adventure.  You hike the Plitvice Lakes National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as, Paklencia National Park and Krka National Park, which has some amazing waterfalls!
  • Biking.  Bike 20-26 miles around the Croatian countryside taking in unspoiled landscapes and traditional villages.
  • Kayaking.  Spend about 3 hours kayaking along the stunning Croatian coastline.
  • Rafting.  Three to four hours of Class I/II whitewater rafting.  The Hubs and I did this two years ago and Class I/II is pretty tame.  It means a lot of time chillin in the raft and enjoying the amazing views!

WHERE TO STAY:  All hotels are taken care of on this trip!

WHERE TO EAT:  Meals are all set too!


This one is the outlier.  My only winter destination.  Don’t get me wrong, I love to ski.  I’m just ok doing it for three days, once a year!  Vermont is filled with amazing ski destinations and you are pretty much guaranteed snow!  



  • Skiing.  The main attraction.  I recommend finding a mountain that has a lot of trails, multiple lifts (high speed preferably) and a range of levels because even if you are an advanced skier, you may want to warm up and cool down on some easier trails.
  • Snowshoeing.  This is something I haven’t tried yet but it is on my list.  It is a major calorie burner and workout and kind of looks like fun!
  • Tubing.  The workout here is the walk uphill!  The downhill is a lot of fun though too! J
  • Ice Skating.  Channel your inner Olympic athlete and gracefully swirl around a frozen pond or indoor rink.

WHERE TO STAY:  I recommend Killington as my Vermont Mountain of choice.  There are a ton of accommodation options.  If you are looking for luxury then the Killington Grand Hotel is the way to go.  Budget friendly accommodation is the Mountain Inn, located near the Grand Hotel with views of the mountain and easy access to the base! WHERE TO EAT:  On the Rocs Lounge has a create cozy intimate atmosphere with good food and wine.


Australia defines outdoor living.  With some of the best beaches, most amazing sites and varied landscape in the world, there is an activity to suit everyone’s interest down under! oper house bridge view from gardens (View from the Sydney Royal Botanical Gardens)


  • Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef.
  • Kayak Sydney Harbour.
  • Hike the Blue Mountains.
  • Surf Sydney Beaches.
  • Run through Sydney’s famous Royal Botanical Gardens.
  • Stand Up Paddle in the Whitsundays.

WHERE TO STAY:  Pony up some dollars and stay on Hayman Island. WHERE TO EAT:  Ripples in Sydney is one of the best restaurants with amazing views!  Echoes in the Blue Mountains has superb food with again, amazing views!

colloroy 4

(Surfing Sydney Beaches)

Of course the best part about being super active when on vacation is you can indulge without guilt in the amazing local cuisine at your destination.  Personally, I’m not big into deprivation when I’m on vacation.   I want to try everything!  And after burning a gazillion calories all day long, I do just that! ๐Ÿ™‚

Readers, do you like to sit and chill or get up and go when on vacation?  What’s on the top of your wanderlist?  Any vacation plans for the summer?  

By Brittany, April 15, 2014
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  • Holly
    April 15, 2014

    Simply amazing vacation recommendations. Who would not want to be a “live scan” into any of your photos! Great places to unplug and get active.

  • Holly
    April 15, 2014

    Simply amazing vacation recommendations. Who would not want to be a “live scan” into any of your photos! Great places to unplug and get active.

  • Holly
    April 15, 2014

    Simply amazing vacation recommendations. Who would not want to be a “live scan” into any of your photos! Great places to unplug and get active.

  • Holly
    April 15, 2014

    Simply amazing vacation recommendations. Who would not want to be a “live scan” into any of your photos! Great places to unplug and get active.

  • Shawna
    April 15, 2014

    love this post, and you chose such awesome places! i’m also a wanderluster/passionate traveler, and several of these spots are certainly on my list of places to go (Croatia, Australia, Costa Rica, Italy)… i need to get moving! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Davida @ The Healthy Maven
    April 15, 2014

    This post makes me want to head to the airport immediately!!!

    I stayed at the Marriott in Wailea. So beautiful! Still can’t believe you honeymooned in Lanai. Like dream come true!!!

    Hotel booked for Costa Rica next January so I’ll be picking your brain for specifics closer to the date ๐Ÿ™‚

    • FitBritt
      April 20, 2014

      The Marriott was fabulous! It is where we picked for our guests to stay for our wedding and I think everyone liked it. Lanai was amazing!

      I hope you have the best time in Costa Rica. There is so much to do there!

  • Paige@FitNotFad
    April 15, 2014

    Oh my goodness so awesome! All of these places look amazing ๐Ÿ™‚ Hawaii and Croatia are definitely on m bucket list!!!

  • Melanie @ Happy Being Healthy
    April 15, 2014

    That is so neat you’ve been able to travel to all of these amazing places!! I would love to visit every one of them. I have to say that so far, Hawaii AND New York City are my favorite places in the world. You are so lucky to live in NYC. We lived in New England (RI and NH) for 6 years, so I’m a big fan of the Cape and Vermont. They are both magical places. I would LOVE to visit some of those other amazing places you mentioned, especially Italy and Australia!

    • FitBritt
      April 20, 2014

      I really like NYC but sometimes it can be really crazy and it is nice to get out and relax somewhere else. I absolutely love Hawaii and the Cape. I went to Rome when I was in high school and haven’t been since then. I am dying to the bike tour of the Cinque Terre. Maybe next year!

  • Lauren @ Focused To Be Fit
    April 15, 2014

    You’ve been some amazing places – how awesome! I’m totally a ‘give me a chair and a drink’ kind of vacationer!

  • Bryan Lemire
    April 15, 2014

    Great article! Hawaii was certainly my trip of a lifetime. Maui was simply amazing and The Marriott at Wailea is outstanding. I really hope to be able to go there again someday. If you love the Caribbean, I recommend Aruba as your next destination. I’ve been there three times and love it!

  • Nellie @ Brooklyn Active Mama
    April 15, 2014

    I have added so many great new places to my bucket list now!! I have been to PR once and it was my honeymoon so we were alll about the relaxation but we might have to rethink our next visit! I reallyw ant to go to costa rica now ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Kimberly (Manifest Yourself)
    April 15, 2014

    I love a combination of both. A few days to relax and a few to be busy. My vacations this summer are all in conjunction with blog conferences…lol. I need to find one where I can relax too.

  • Kim
    April 15, 2014

    From your list I’ve only been to Hawaii.
    I workout every morning when we travel but then I’m pretty content to lay in my chair on the beach with my book – it is one of the few times that I don’t feel guilty for not going all the time.

  • Nicole
    April 15, 2014

    Oh how I love this post! My hubby and I are the same way — we love active vacations. There’s only so much laying around that we can do before we get an itch to move! Actually, our last few vacations I’ve been so sore from all of the exercise (hiking/biking all over Europe last fall, then skiing & hiking at Tahoe in Feb), I declared that we need a bit of a more relaxing one next time haha I was actually just thinking about Costa Rica the other day. That may be next on my travel list! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Polly @ Tasty Food Project
    April 15, 2014

    I am SO jealous of all of your travelling!! Looks like you had a really amazing time exploring. My husband and I also got married in Hawaii and are planning to go back to Maui in June. I would love to add some of the places you visited around the world onto my bucket list!

  • Allie
    April 15, 2014

    We are quite possibly soul mates…at least vacation-wise. Seriously, this reads as my vacation dream list (Hawaii, Costa Rica and Italy round out my top spots!) as well as some of the favorites I’ve already been to like Cape Cod (LOVE!) and Vermont.
    I’m definitely going to check out the hotels you recommended for Costa Rica and Puerto Rico as I plan for my (gulp) 40th birthday festivities next year!
    Love this soooo much and now really looking forward to Spain ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Lisa @ Lulu's Big Adventure
    April 16, 2014

    What a great list!! All those places look fantastic, and I love spending my vacations finding new and exciting ways to be active. Now, if only I had more money… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Megan @ The Skinny-Life
    April 16, 2014

    What a fun post! I love this especially since I love travel and fitness. I love all of these options but the Italy biking sounds most attractive to me right now.

  • Christine @ Gotta Eat Green
    April 17, 2014

    Thanks for this! Such a good round-up. I am DYING to go to Croatia.. it is on my bucket list to get to in the next few years. We are heading to Italy this summer but sadly not stopping in Cinque Terre, looks amazing though!

  • catherine gacad
    April 19, 2014

    this could possibly be one of my favorite posts ever!!!

  • Michelle @ A Dish of Daily Life
    April 19, 2014

    What an incredible list! I am pinning this…so many places on here that I would like to visit. I love Hawaii too, as well as the Cape. My in laws used to have a place on Martha’s Vineyard years and years ago and it was wonderful. We go to Vermont all the time to ski. But I am a beach girl too, and I’d be happy if most of my vacations were near the ocean! LOVE this post!

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