Detox vacations, the fancy kind with greens-infused menus, structured fitness programming and extravagant spa treatments, can set you back thousands of dollars. Happily, you don’t need to visit a luxury resort to purify the body and recharge the spirit. You can arrange a DIY wellness getaway by booking a reasonably priced hotel in a mild-weather location with outdoor recreation, healthy eateries and quality day spas for a similar feel-good outcome. Here is a set of destinations that can have you feeling Canyon-Ranch-style refreshed at a fraction of the cost.
It may not be tropical, but “winter” in L.A. still delivers a sun-dappled backdrop for a get-fit holiday. The Kimpton Everly Hotel (starting rate, $299) is tucked into the Hollywood Hills with easy access to two popular areas for hikes — Runyon Canyon and Griffith Park (where a couple of treks take you close to the Hollywood Sign). Also challenging are the Santa Monica Steps, a beachfront hot spot where hard-bodied locals sprint up and down two sets of stairs, one wooden, one concrete. For hot yoga, join chiseled Angelenos at sleek, cedar paneled Sweatheory in Hollywood, where, after class, guests imbibe CBD-infused tea (there are also probiotic shots and IV drips) and then hop into the space’s infrared sauna. L.A.’s results-driven spa services are renown. Two to try: the Moroccan Earth Body Cocktail, a lemony sugar scrub and rose clay wrap, at Ole Henricksen in West Hollywood; and the Green Coffee Body Sculpting treatment, a circulation-boosting skin brushing with chili and coffee-laced oil, followed by massage, at the Organic Pharmacy in Beverly Hills.
Plant-based, locavore-leaning eating is SoCal’s lifeblood. Urth Caffe (multiple locations) is the go-to salad spot, while Cafe Gratitude (multiple locations), with its amusing menu of cliched Cali jargon (an “evolved” bibimbap bowl, the “vivid” acai superfood bowl), hits all of clean eating’s high notes. If ever a restaurant could be categorized as sexy vegan, it’s Crossroads Kitchen, the hipster-filled West Hollywood spot by Chef Tal Ronnen (who famously prepared meals for Oprah’s 21-Day Cleanse), where small plates such as “crab cakes” of hearts of palm and horseradish aioli underscore how innovative meatless meals can be.
Balmy Honolulu is a detox paradise. Stay at Surfjack (rates start at $187), a vintage-feeling boutique hotel (perk: complimentary bikes). It’s just a 10-minute walk from Waikiki Beach, where you can rent SUPs and sign up for surf classes.
Scenic hiking abounds. Diamond Head Crater is biking distance from the hotel and offers a steep trek of just under a mile from the inside of the crater to the rim. A bit farther away is the Koko Crater Railway Trail, which requires climbing more than 1,000 steps made of timeworn wooden railway ties. The reward in both cases: panoramic views. Avoid the crowds and the heat and go early. Less strenuous is the Makiki Valley Loop Trail under a canopy of trees with exotic birds and lush foliage. For a traditional Hawaiian healing treatment, skip the strip mall spas and head to Kailua, a pristine oceanfront stretch in eastern Oahu, where lomi lomi massage is expertly administered (owner Eri Virden has been massaging the Obamas for over a decade) from Lomi Lomi Hana Lima, a tiny wooden bungalow oozing with local charm.
For vegan fare with flair, head to the Mccully–Moiliili neighborhood of Honolulu for Peace Cafe’s global take on roots and grains, which is ideal for lunch. Vegan Hills in Kaimuki serves up sophisticated plant-based pates, “sushi” with carrot-like salmon and tempura “cauli-wings” in an all-white room. Straight-from-the Pacific poke is omnipresent. Try Fresh Catch in Kaimuki or Maguro Brothers in Chinatown for budget friendly bowls.
Sure, Napa is a mecca for wine aficionados. But, its rolling hills and farm-to-table bounty make it a prime setting to recharge, even in offseason, when the weather is cooler but the winery tasting lines are shorter. The grand five-star hotels get the buzz, but more affordable lodging can be found downtown within walking distance from top tasting rooms. Consider the Archer Hotel Napa (starting rate $259), a boutique hotel with a stylish rooftop lounge and spa.
The Mayacamas and Vaca Mountain ranges are ringed with hiking trails, such as those in Bothe-Napa Valley State Park, where you walk beneath towering redwood and firs; in Robert Louis Stevenson State Park, where you can hike five miles to the summit of 4,343-foot Mount Saint Helena; and in Skyline Wilderness Park, with 25 miles of trails through mossy oak forests. For biking as well as walking, there is a 47-mile, car-free system called the Napa Valley Vine Trail. Mud baths and hot springs are another draw. Thanks to prehistoric volcanic activity, geothermally heated water percolates throughout the lost-in-time town of Calistoga. Sign on for “The Works” at old-school Dr. Wilkinson’s Hot Springs Resort and enjoy a mud bath, facial and massage. With the purchase of a mud bath at Calistoga Spa Hot Springs, guests can relax all day at the property’s outdoor geothermal pools.
Napa’s celebration of local growers and seasonality is on display at Oxbow Public Market, a 22-vendor downtown marketplace with full-service restaurants and casual dining options (artisan pizza, sushi, gluten-free enchiladas) for picnics or eating on site. For a splurge, have lunch at one of Napa’s most elegant properties, Meadowood in St. Helena, where views of the grounds are as delightful as the housemade tonics and farm-to -table dishes.
With its ubiquitous shrimp and grits, Charleston is probably not top of mind when considering a wellness-focused getaway. But this coastal city has an alter ego that’s both sporty and health conscious. The pedestrian-friendly, palm-tree-fringed historic district is the place to stay, specifically in one of the restored 19th-century residences turned hotels. The 16-room Zero George (starting rate, $269) is close to all the downtown highlights. Its three revamped Federal style buildings — boasting verandas and a shared lush interior courtyard — delivers a modern iteration of Lowcountry charm. From here, you can visit shops and cafes while admiring the antebellum homes.
There may not be mountains, but biking to and from beaches, over bridges and through Spanish-moss-lacquered parks will get your blood pumping. Hampton Park is a 60-acre, gazebo-speckled oasis with a fitness trail popular with cyclists. To bike to the sea, cycle over the cable-stayed Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge to Sullivans Island, a windswept barrier island with an expansive beach. Other ways to experience South Carolina’s charms while working out: kayaking through the salt marches with Charleston Outdoor Adventures and on-the-water SUP Yoga classes and eco paddleboard tours with Be Ocean Fit on the Isle of Palms. To decompress, sign on for a lymphatic massage at Earthling Day Spa downtown.
For food, minus the ham hocks, stop into Butcher & Bee in the stylish “NoMo” district of Charleston for Mediterranean style salads and toasts, Basic Kitchen downtown for veggie studded rice bowls and Beech, also downtown, for heaping acai and poke bowls.
If floating in the Caribbean Sea is part of your detox dream, easy-to-get-to Jamaica fits the bill. The elegant 400-acre Half Moon Resort in Montego Bay is pricey (rates start at $459), but the convenience of having fitness classes (yoga, meditation, spin), extensive watersports and an equestrian center (a highlight is riding into the sea on horseback), plus an on-the-water spa at your disposal (tennis, nonmotorized watersports and breakfast are complimentary) might be a worthwhile splurge.
To hike, you’ll have to drive 1.5 hours southeast to Cockpit Country, acres of other worldly wilderness replete with waterfalls, mossy hillock and limestone caves. A local guide is essential. A full-day excursion with Cockpit Country Adventure Tours involves outdoor hiking through the dense foliage and spelunking in stalagmite-filled Rock Spring Cave.
Healthy eating veers exotic — and affordable — in Montego Bay. Sit in a rustic, beachfront hut at Sky Beach Bar and Grill for just-caught seafood to accompany the water from your just-plucked coconut. Scotchies is an institution for classic, no-frills Jamaican jerk cooking. Eat its zestily prepared chicken, pork or fish with roasted breadfruit under a thatched umbrella alongside locals. What is lacks in charm (it’s in a strip mall), Wright Life Live Eatery makes up for with a robust vegan menu.
More from Travel: