While some people want nothing more than to sit back and sip sweet cocktails by the pool on their vacations, many of us fitness-focused people get a bit stir crazy.  Life is always best when in balance and incorporating a little exercise into your relaxation is a great way to chill out and feel great and get in shape at the same time.

Shape Magazine recently came out with a list of the top 35 healthiest beach towns and lists places ranging from San Diego (which “ranks as the third healthiest metro area on the American Fitness Index and tops the list for personal health with the fittest citizens in America”) all the way to our neighbor, Hilton Head (lauded for its “60 miles of multi-use trails and 15,000 bicycles to rent”).

But considering the fact that Charleston is also a beach town, a lot of these amazing activities are found pretty close to home.  For those of us lucky enough to take advantage of our own beaches and bike paths in Charleston, we decided to look beyond the outdoor fitness activities you can find in the Lowcountry and list some pie-in-the-sky wellness activities that will assure you that you are, in fact, on vacation.

  1. Give your endurance a workout with cardio heavy America by Bicycle. With riders ranging in ages from 18-80, ABB “takes you along our well developed and documented routes through some of America’s most beautiful landscapes.”  Destinations are grouped by regions like North West (think 9 days from Astoria, OR to Boise, ID), The Midwest (rides like Saint Joseph MO to Indianapolis IN), The Badlands, New England, The Rocky Mountains and several more.  You will definitely get your workout on with treks last from 5 to 21 days, you will clock from 233-1726 miles. All trips include overnight accommodations and dinner. 
  2. Work out those glutes with a trip with Backroads. According to their website, “every day of your trip is designed to give you several options of varying levels of [exercise] difficulty to choose from, and you can decide anew each day what you are up for.”  These sporty itineraries include walking and hiking through Alaska, the Arizona desert, Yosemite, Montana, Oregon and Utah.  They also offer multi-sport tours (hiking, biking and kayaking) throughout the country. Most itineraries include camping.
  3. Don’t be afraid to get wet with Rafting America. While there are many options for novice rafters, Rafting America also offers courses where that will involve your full core and challenge your fitness.  Ranging from Class I to Class V rapids, there is something for every fitness level here. Locations range from Alaska and Canada to North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.  Trips can be 1/2 day or last multiple days.