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Active Vacation Ideas

Active Vacation Ideas: For Those Who Like to Stay Busy

Summer is almost here – and for many of us that means vacation time! But did you know that a recent Pew Study confirms that 46% of Americans don’t take all of their earned vacation time in any given year? No wonder we’re a stressed-out, anxious population! No matter what your budget or travel preference, now is the time to block out some time to recharge your batteries and maybe explore something new and different.

Everyone has their own idea of a perfect vacation. For many, it’s sitting on a beautiful beach, enjoying the “far niente.” That’s an Italian term that literally means to do nothing… in a word, to chill. But while umbrella drinks and a luau are certainly enjoyable, some people crave a more active vacation – one that won’t end in dehydration or a couple of extra pounds.

Yoga retreats – Nama-stay a while

If you practice yoga at a studio, you probably know about yoga retreats. Many are set in beautiful natural places both in the US and abroad. Some also offer meditation, Pilates, and excursions. These can be fun to do as a couple or with a friend but are also ideal for solo travelers.

Sports camp – Ready, set, play

If you play sports, adult sports camp could be your ideal active vacation. Hone your baseball skills at Dodger Stadium adult camp in LA (with apologies to Giants fans). Sign up for adult hockey camp in the Czech Republic and sightsee Prague when you’re not on the ice. Get better at beach volleyball, mountain biking, tennis, even pickle ball! You’ll find some listings here. If you’d rather be dancing, you don’t have to shuffle off to Buffalo to learn tap, or tango, or whatever gives you happy feet. Check out some of these dance camps in the high Sierras.

Fishing trips – A lifetime of fishing stories

Angling for the ultimate fishing vacation? The World's Best Fishing Trips will take care of you. Their trips are literally all over the map, from Alaska to Angola and Iceland to Indonesia. For a great bonding experience, bring a fishing buddy.

Farms and ranches – Live the country life

Want to learn to milk a cow or indulge your childhood cowboy fantasy and ride a horse across the open range? A farm or ranch stay is fun for the whole family. Check out Top 50 Ranches for an array of dude ranches, working ranches and luxury ranch resorts. Farm Stay US is site that organizes your options by state, so you can stay at a farm driving distance from home or fly to Big Sky country or picturesque Vermont.

Adult summer camp – Indulge your inner child

Do you have cherished memories of childhood summer camp days? You can relive them at adult summer camp. In addition to fun daytime activities that will keep you moving, adult summer camp organizes evening socials with live music, DJ’s, pool parties, talent shows, lip synch battles, and more. Adult summer camp is a great way to meet new people and probably more geared to singles. If it’s been too long since you had a s’more, start your search by checking out Camp No Counselors.

Bike tours – An unforgettable spin

If you like to bike, you’ll find guided cycling trips all over the world, from Canada to the South of France. However, these are for regular cyclists. If you are not cycling now, you’ll need to get training. Two months of regular biking should get you ready to take your skills on tour.

Walking tours – Step into a new world

Lace up those sneakers and take a walking tour. Organizations like Backroads, Macs Adventure, Classic Journeys or Road Scholar offer unforgettable treks through the US, Europe, or Asia, including the increasingly popular Camino de Santiago pilgrimages through a myriad of ancient routes. If you’re more of a wilderness hiker, check out World Expeditions for a wide variety of amazing adventures, off the beaten path.

Volunteer vacations – A great time doing good

Discover Corps offers cultural experiences and purposeful projects in a variety of exotic locations. Volunteer World curates vacations around animal rescue and research in exotic natural surroundings like the Galapagos, Iceland, or Costa Rica. Check out International Volunteer Headquarters for more options. These types of vacations are good for all types of travelers, from singles to entire families.

Arts & Crafts – Feed your creative spirit

Make ceramics in Paris or shoes in Prague. Learn dying and weaving in Oaxaca or Italian cooking in Tuscany. The Matador Network organizes stays with artists and craftspeople for a memorable, hands-on experience. More crafty vacation options can be found at Responsible Travel. There are also craft schools and folk schools here in the US that host programs teaching everything from quilting to metalsmithing. This type of vacation is a great way to get focused and discover a new passion.

Safety Tips for Savvy Traveling

Know your limitations. There’s a difference between a leisurely walking vacay and a wilderness trek. Factor your fitness level and general health into your vacation plans.

Make two copies of your driver’s license and passport. Take one set of copies with you, stored somewhere other than your passport, and leave another set at home with a friend or family member. To be extra safe, enroll your trip with the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. This free service helps the US Embassy and your friends and family locate you in case of emergency, either at home or in the country where you are traveling.

Have a plan B. If you are in a group, designate a meetup place in case you get separated. Write down the name and address of the place you are staying or learn to say it in the local language. Keep a portable backup phone charger with you and remember to activate international service if you are leaving the country. If you’re driving, have access to a map in case GPS isn’t working where you are.

Get your shots! Visit the CDC Destinations page to see whether certain immunizations or prophylactic medications are needed before you leave the country. Ask your healthcare provider to recommend a travel physician who can provide advice and immunizations. The CDC also has a page listing health advisories for disease outbreaks.


This article appeared in the May 2024 edition of the HealthPerks newsletter.

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