10 Top Wellness Destinations in the U.S. for the Most Relaxing Vacation Ever
Escape to Paradise
For this year's vacation, roll with the times (and tides) to escape daily routines, social media, and buzzing phones, and book the ultimate health and wellness retreat. After all, there isn't anything a salty sea breeze, relaxing spa day, fresh seafood, and OK, a little saltwater taffy can’t fix. Pack your beach bags; here are TripAdvisor's two top coastal Zen escapes (plus eight land-locked ones) to rejuvenate your wellbeing.
Amelia Island, Florida
Relaxing times and healthy refreshes start in the Sunshine State. Amelia Island, part of the Atlantic-facing Sea Islands chain of barrier islands, is located just off the northeast coast of Florida, a quick jaunt south of the Georgia state line. The 13 miles of pristine sandy beaches are treasures to Florida natives, as well as a perfect vacation destination for non-locals seeking relief in sunshine and sand.
Those who find solace in long walks on the beach will be presently surprised that Amelia Island (and nearby Cumberland Island) provide miles of walkable sands that are bountiful in seashells as well as sand dollars. The best time for spotting shells, shark teeth, sand dollars, and baby’s ear moon snails is after storms and during low tide.
When planning a wellness vacation, nothing brings you back to your center quite like nature and outdoor activities. Amelia Island has lots of both to offer year-round.
The barrier island is home to four species of nesting turtles. Spring and summer is prime nesting and hatching season. You can attend nest excavations, conducted by trained volunteers and staff.
Additionally, Zen seekers can retreat to the beach for leisurely water activities, such as kayaking. Kayak Amelia is a blissful-nature seeking guided tour. Kayakers will spot plenty on their sea outing including egrets, heron, and other wildlife.
If water sports aren’t your go-to, perhaps horseback riding will pique your curiosity. Kelly Seashores Ranch allows participants to explore the island’s beaches on horseback while catching sights of wildlife, waves, and a horse-eye view of the striking island shoreline.
In addition to the natural abundance of beauty on the island, the Historic District offers quintessential Southern charm with tales of story-book pirates, horse-drawn carriage rides, and spooky yet fun Amelia Island Ghost Tours.
A gem among Florida’s best little beaches, Amelia Island offers plenty of fresh seafood and healthy eats. TripAdvisor calls for visits to the island’s local Farmer’s Markets for seasonally delicious food options. Burlingame won TripAdvisor’s coveted pick for best island eats. Dig into a fresh Caprese Salad and enjoy Diver Scallops paired with asparagus, confit potatoes, prosciutto, grapefruit, bell peppers, cured egg yolk, and sherry cream sauce.
Plan Your Trip to Amelia Island, According to TripAdvisor
Get ready to say “Aloha!” to seaside bliss on the beautiful crescent moon-shaped beaches of Wailea, Hawaii.
Wailea, South Maui consists of blissful beaches, exquisite golf courses, and of course, picturesque ocean views all spanning 1,500 acres. The surfing and swimming possibilities are truly an ocean lover’s paradise.
Wailea is home to many beaches, including Ulua Beach Park, Wailea Beach, and Polo Beach. However, the famed beach of the island is Keawakapu. There, you can partake in snorkeling and standup paddleboarding experiences.
If you find peace with the natural world by being below water, head to the northernmost area of Kaanapali Beach for the best snorkeling. Everything from dolphins, tropical fish, humpback whales, sea turtles can be within sight—and reach!
Retreat for a bit of rest and relaxation at the coveted five-star island resort, Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea. The 380–room availability is just as impressive as the resort’s 15 oceanfront pools, scenic balcony views, and spas, including an oceanside massage experience in a hale hau (an open-air thatched treated hut).
The cuisine scene in Wailea reigns supreme—as it should with the beautiful ocean just steps from your table. TripAdvisor recommends Choice Health Bar for a healthy dining destination. Here, you can enjoy daily specials based on what’s in season, such as The Benny Mac, a red bean vegetarian burger topped with tomatoes, red onions, avocado with a jalapeno-red pepper cheese sauce.
Plan Your Trip to Wailea, According to TripAdvisor
Where to stay: Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea from $739 per night on TripAdvisor
What to do: Private 2-Hour Beginner Paddle Boarding 101 from Maui from $139 per person on TripAdvisor
Where to eat: Choice Health Bar
8 More Wellness Retreats To Visit
Rounding out TripAdvisor’s Top 10 zen escapes are eight breathtakingly beautiful (but land-locked) wellness retreats. Here, those spots and where to sleep, what to do, and where to eat when you’re there:
Spa Hotel: Solage, an Auberge Resort – from $670 per night on TripAdvisor
Wellness Experience: Full-Day Wine Country Bike and Wine Tasting Tour From Calistoga – from $159 per person on TripAdvisor
Healthy Restaurant: Solbar - Solage Calistoga
Palm Springs, California
Spa Hotel: Andreas Hotel & Spa – from $145 per night on TripAdvisor
Wellness Experience: Indian Canyons by Jeep plus Hiking Tour from Palm Springs – from $139 per person on TripAdvisor
Healthy Restaurant: Palm Greens Cafe