Hitting the open road and exploring the great American outdoors is a classic summer activity. There are many routes to take – from cross-country adventures to coastal drives with top sea views – but have you ever thought about combining a few days behind the wheel with an invigorating wellness experience?
With so many wellness experiences available, some of the most relaxing ones around tend to be away from city centers. This makes perfect sense as you want to be as far away from everyday distractions as possible, but you still need to get there in the first place. We’ve picked out some incredible ways to recharge and unwind in style, and all you have to do is take the right exit on your next big drive. If all that time on the road has you craving even more quality relaxation, we’ve even found some calming places to stay to extend your getaway.
The Grand Canyon State is an obvious destination for any road trip. The highway scenery is as iconic as the vast canyon itself, but Arizona is also fast emerging as a wellness hotspot, too. Hot springs and camping experiences will give you a chance to get back in touch with nature, and there are plenty of other things to do when you park up in the desert here.
Get in touch with nature by hiking Loy Butte in Sedona
If your idea of wellness focuses less on yoga and more on the calming presence of animals, a weekend at a ranch could be just what you need. Spend a three-day getaway on horseback, exploring the mountains that were once home to Apache chiefs Geronimo and Cochise. Experienced staff and friendly horses mean that even novice riders will be trotting through the mountains with ease.
Get an authentic Tucson experience at this working ranch at the base of the Santa Catalina mountain range. Award-winning culinary experiences are available if you’d like to try your hand at whipping up some new dishes on holiday, or you can simply relax in the same place that once welcomed Hollywood greats Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn.
The Sunshine State is a popular holiday getaway, but not one you would usually associate with wellness. With theme parks, top-quality restaurants and a thriving nightlife scene in cities such as Orlando and Miami, it’s easy to think that a trip here is going to be full of unhealthy (but enjoyable) excesses. However, Florida has a lot more to offer, from freshwater springs you can safely take a swim in to incredible hiking routes to work off that extra-large breakfast burrito.
This wellness retreat harnesses yoga, massage and Ayurvedic nutrition for a holistic approach to your wellbeing. Staying in a private room in a resort in Alachua, you’ll be treated to a daily two-hour Ayurvedic massage and vegetarian meals that adhere to Ayurvedic food guidelines – which involve eating certain foods based on your personal dosha and body type – alongside practicing yoga, meditation and pranayama. This is a 3-day trip that will have you glowing from the inside out.
Downtown Saint Petersburg is one of those up-and-coming Florida destinations that feel like they are part of a new movement for the state. Art galleries and museums are within easy walking distance of this property if you want to enjoy a cultural stay here, but you can also drive to all the old favorites, too. For anyone keen on staying at the hotel and not venturing too far, there are plenty of spa therapies available for free, which is something of a welcome surprise for many guests.
Nestled in the northern region of the country, the Great American West is a region famed for its natural beauty. The five frontier states of South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho each offer something a little different to visitors, but all of them focus on the great outdoors. Idaho is a great place to start a road adventure if you want to explore the region, and there are also a few outstanding ways to relax in the state, too.
Described as one of the most romantic spas in the world, this beautiful resort is in the heart of the region known as the Great American West. The wider city, also known as Coeur d’Alene, is a popular destination for outdoor-sports enthusiasts, as the surrounding lakes are excellent for every type of water activity imaginable. The 18-story resort plays also host to the only moveable floating golf green in the world.
Billed as Idaho’s cosmopolitan capital, Boise has a bustling downtown area with breathtaking views of lush greenery close by. Fitness and leisure facilities at the Grove make the most of the surroundings, with guests having access to hotel bikes to fully explore the best of the city. The fifth-floor pool and hot tub also let you unwind with an incredible view of Boise that is hard to find anywhere else.
Easily one of the most picturesque places in America, Maine is ideal for a leisurely cruise if you want to see a part of the country often overlooked in the summer. The quaint coastal towns have a unique charm that sees city folk come and visit to get away from the stresses of everyday life, and wellness is more than just a buzzword here. Living well is a way of life in Maine, and, if you do end up here, you’ll feel invigorated to face any challenges that lie ahead.
This four-day trip balances mental nourishment with physical wellbeing through a series of mindfulness sessions that aim to make sure your health starts with your brain. Set in an idyllic lodge on the edge of the Kennebec River, the accommodation aims to evoke nostalgia about summer camps, but with a distinctly adult air. Lots of time is dedicated to being outdoors, so you can benefit from the healing powers of nature, plus you’ll have ample opportunity to lie by the pool for a few hours if you want to (in between yoga classes and workshops).
This small property fits perfectly into the picturesque backdrop of Kennebunkport, in Maine, while offering all the facilities you would expect of an upmarket place to stay. You are within sight of the beach and will have a room that feels homely when compared to some of the big chains in the area. If you’re after a place to fully fall off the grid, then this is the perfect option.
Speaking of city-dwellers, New Yorkers are often seen as living in the fast lane, but there’s so much more to the wider state than Manhattan. Day trips from the city showcase a stunning region that few outsiders know much about. An East Coast road trip reveals many of the hidden gems on the Atlantic Seaboard, and we’ve found some unexpected treats to help you recharge here, too.
Each day kicks off with breakfast, followed by a late morning yoga session, before you get the chance to explore the surrounding hiking trails that lead through acres of lush forest. After dinner in the evening, there’s a wellness-focused session to help you wind down – such as sound-bath chakra meditations, which involve using a singing bowl to create a mellow humming sound that instills a sense of inner peace.
This distinctive Adirondack-style lodge features upscale accommodation with spectacular views of the Catskill Mountains. The hotel has been open since the 1940s and was recently renovated as part of a wider rejuvenation of Tannersville. The result is a calming hangout that feels like it was purpose-built as an escape from the trappings of city life.
No list of great American road trips would be complete without a mention of California and the West Coast. There are iconic destinations like Big Sur to drive across and so many cities to stop off at that you will need a separate itinerary for each leg of your trip here. California also embraced the healthy lifestyle long before other parts of the country, so you’ll find it easy to exercise pretty much anywhere you stay.
Founded by a husband-and-wife team, Sagrada Wellness offers yoga-centric retreats on its 45-acre (18ha) mountain property on California’s Central Coast. Although yoga is the focus, the retreats also integrate other aspects, such as writing, hiking, wine or live music. The property is 100% solar-powered, and the accommodations were designed by architect and co-founder Scott Curie.
This hotel sits centrally on Lincoln Avenue in Calistoga and has been operating for over a century. The art deco interiors are as distinctive as the colorful exteriors hinting at the playful nature of the Napa Valley that surrounds this small town. There are many activities to enjoy in the Napa Valley region that you might already be familiar with, but Calistoga is also a worthy stop on any road trip through California, too.
Texas feels like a country within a country, and the Lone Star State prides itself on its independent spirit. Cool cities like Austin sit beside traditional powerhouses such as Houston and Dallas, with outdoor relaxation being a common thread that connects them all. Road trips here, like everything else in the state, are bigger by design, so you’ll want an unforgettable experience to match the days behind the wheel.
Once a privately owned reservoir located on more than 1,000 acres (404.68ha) of land, the lake and adjacent park are amazing places to spend the day. You can rent equipment to take a relaxing paddle on the lake from White Rock Paddle Co, and it certainly feels like a different way to see the area.
Business and leisure travelers love Hotel Zaza, thanks to its striking blend of Mediterranean elegance and American cool. The hotel has glamorous flourishes everywhere you look, with some rooms able to function as offices away from home if needed. The professional amenities don’t stop guests from enjoying a fantastic pool, comfortable shared spaces and the top-notch cuisine at Dragonfly, the onsite restaurant, which is one of the best in Uptown Dallas.