For those looking to beat the blues and instead focus on getting active and staying mentally healthy as it gets colder, you're in luck. There are a number of healthy packages and events helping you to take a winter wellness retreat in the United States. From mountain sport festivals to yoga retreats to trips for cycling enthusiasts, here is a guide to the top healthy retreats in the US this snow season. No matter where you go though, be sure to invest in travel insurance in case of illness or mishap.
The Alpenglow Mountain Festival, North Lake Tahoe, February 21-28, 2015
For those just getting into the mountain sports scene, the Alpenglow Mountain Festival hosts an array of classes and adventures to get you started. Sponsored by Nature's Bakery - an all-natural, Kosher and cholesterol-free fig bar company who will be providing healthy snacks throughout - the two-week festival features a range of events relating to being active in the outdoors, film, sports safety and natural history. While there will be loads of expert-led experiences to choose from, some highlights include cross country ski tours, a Nordic ski presentation, avalanche safety clinics, a backcountry film festival, a couple's sunset snowshoe, a women's only ski wax clinic complete with wine and cheese, and more. As most of these are free, it's recommended to register and secure your spot in advance.
Yosemite Wellness & Spa Retreat, Yosemite, California, January16-18, 2015
Immersed in the serenity of the Yosemite-Sierra region, travelers will have the chance to kick-start their New Year the right way. Hosted by the Four Diamond resort, Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite, guests will enjoy curative treatments at the lodge's LEED-certified Ascent Spa paired with yoga, workouts and a rejuvenating hike in one of the country's most renowned national parks, Yosemite. A number of educational seminars teach on wellness topics like improving brain function and living a more holistic lifestyle. Healthy but delicious food is also part of the experience, from tea pairing dinners to cooking classes with antioxidant-rich wine to healthy alternatives (think anise pistachio scones). The chef can provide recipe cards for any dishes guests would like to re-create at home.
The two-night package runs at $699 for single occupancy and $889 for double occupancy.
The Cycling House Winter Training Camps, Tucson, Arizona, December 9, 2014 to March 31, 2015 + Solvang, California, March 8 13 and March 15 20, 2015
For those who'd rather get active than hibernate, The Cycling House is offering winter road and mountain biking training camps in Tucson, Arizona, as well as two weeks of additional camps in Solvang, California. During your trip, you'll cycle between 45 and 80 miles with a knowledgeable guide, reaching elevations of 2,400-7,000 feet. Terrain ranges from easy and flat to challenging and mountainous, and van support is always nearby. Yoga classes and chef-prepared meals (the homemade protein pancakes and bison meatball quinoa bowls are not to be missed!) enhance the experience. Tip: If you have specific fitness or training goals let your guide know, as they can help tailor the experience for you.
Cycling camps are 6 days/5 nights, with prices ranging from $1795 to $2195 per person. This includes accommodation, chef-prepared meals, rides with an experienced guide and support, bike build services, mechanical help when necessary and airport pick up.
Hilton Head Health Retreat, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, Ongoing
Hilton Head Health offers an immersive health and wellness experience, not to mention temperatures rarely go below freezing. The highlight of a stay is getting active in the area's palm tree-sprinkled natural surroundings: kayaking Palmetto Dunes lagoons, doing paddleboard yoga in Shelter Cove, waking up with sunrise coastal walks. Daily fitness classes range from hip hop dance to weight training, so make sure to bring plenty of workout clothes. Moreover, cooking classes teach you how to eat healthy and natural, and retreat meals are prepared for you based on the Mediterranean diet (their homemade hummus comes in flavors like chocolate, peanut butter and edamame...yum!). Wellness seminars on food swapping and whole food eating help you really hit that reset button, while workshops on stress management and positive thinking transform the way you live your life. The best time to visit is after the end of January, as you can experience their brand new Indigo Spa & Pilates Center, featuring almost 5-dozen treatment rooms. Tip: The daily sunrise walk on the beach is early, but worth it.
Rates start at $465 per person per night from January 11-May 31, 2015, including all meals, accommodations, fitness classes and credit that can be used towards the spa or personal training sessions.
New England Snowshoe and Spa Weekends, Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, January 9-11 and March 20-22, 2015
Nestled in New Hampshire's White Mountains, travelers embarking on the Appalachian Mountain Club's Snowshoe and Spa Weekends will trek in the snow around Crawford Notch, taking in views of the frozen waterfalls, icy lakes, and the breathtaking Presidential Mountain Range and Mt. Washington. Interestingly, guests often find snowshoeing easier than traditional hiking, as obstacles like rocks and roots are buried, allowing for a more even terrain. Yoga and body treatments at the Omni Mt. Washington Resort Spa are also part of the itinerary, as is a selection of hearty yet healthy meals incorporating mostly local, seasonal ingredients. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife like snowshoe hare, red fox, bobcat, moose and red squirrel. Take respite at the eco-friendly Highland Center Lodge, a popular pick for outdoor enthusiasts as the property hosts outdoor excursions and nature hikes.
Prices start at $369 per person for adult non-members, including lodging, meals, guided activities with free use of the lodge's L.L. Bean gear room, and free access to the Omni Mt. Washington
"Sole to Soul" Spiritual Retreat, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, February 26 - March 1, 2015
Led by mother-daughter duo, Carol and Ariel Mann, Spring Creek Ranch's "Sole to Soul" combines spiritual awakening with fitness through yoga. In fact, Ariel has received the award three times for "Jackson Hole's Best Yoga Instructor" by JH Weekly, while Carol is a life coach and a Harvard University trained educator. Included in the long weekend retreat are six spiritual workshops and seven yoga sessions -- not to mention 30% discounts on massage, Reiki and cranial sacral treatments, daily breakfast and private multi-course meals. Additional experiences include winter wildlife safaris, star gazing outings and dogsledding, perfect for losing yourself in the beauty of nature. Bonus: The beautiful vistas overlooking Teton Mountain Range are truly a breath of fresh air.
The cost of the retreat is $1,410 per person based on double occupancy, $1,655 per person based on single occupancy. The package includes three nights Deluxe Room lodging, daily breakfast, private 3-course dinner and orientation on the first night, two 3-course dinners at The Granary, 6 spiritual workshops with Carol and 7 yoga sessions with Ariel.
The Art of Cabin Fever, Nantucket, Massachusetts, Thanksgiving 2014 to early April 2015
This winter, The Nantucket Hotel & Resort is launching a new wellness program called "The Art of Cabin Fever." Many people suffer from the winter blues, and this program helps keep these emotions at bay and swap them for positivity. They do this through winter wellness-focused body treatments customized to your specific needs, daily yoga and fitness classes, meditation, hot tub relaxation (paired with herbal teas for extra detoxification), heated pools, book readings, saunas and nutritionist meetings. There's also a healthy fondue menu that can be savored near their outdoor fire pits, made with lower fat cheeses infused with beans, herbs and spices to amp up flavor and fresh vegetables for dipping.
Prices vary, as this is an a la carte package where guests choose which experiences they prefer. Room rates start at $195 per night.
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Jessica Festa is a full-time travel writer who is always up for an adventure. She enjoys getting lost in new cities and having experiences you don’t read about in guidebooks. Some of her favorite travel experiences have been teaching English in Thailand, trekking her way through South America, backpacking Europe solo, road tripping through Australia and doing orphanage work in Ghana. You can follow her adventures on her travel websites, Epicure & Culture and Jessie On A Journey. You can also connect with Jessica directly on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus, or follow her epicurean adventures on Facebook and Twitter.
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