Summer has arrived, bringing with it endless vacation opportunities. But while traveling may sound exciting, getting out of town isn't always good for you. With the desire to splurge lurking around every corner, vacationers often abandon their healthy eating habits and exercise routines, undermining the effort they put into preparing for bathing-suit season.
But just because you're leaving the gym behind doesn't mean you can't keep up the hard work. Gayl Canfield, director of nutrition at the Pritikin Longevity Center in Miami, claims that it's just as easy to stay on the wagon as it is to fall off. "Look at it as a challenge," she says. "Ask yourself: 'What are the things that you can do in this location? What's going to get you out and active?'"
Canfield insists that finding enjoyable alternatives to the gym is easy. "If you're going someplace tropical, you can rent kayaks," she says. "And if you're going someplace like San Francisco, you can simply bring a sturdy pair of tennis shoes and walk everywhere." U.S. News has come up with 10 vacation spots that are both fun and good for your health.
Ditch the elliptical and head to…
This Hawaiian island is known for its spectacular scenery, which provides the ideal backdrop for tropical hikes. Take the 11-mile Kalalau Trail, which affords beautiful views of the breathtaking Na Pali Coast. The path's challenging terrain is much more satisfying than 30 minutes on the elliptical machine. And as a reward, you'll find two of Kauai's gorgeous beaches waiting at both ends of the trail.
This leading Arizona vacation destination is home to more than 100 hiking paths catering to all skill levels. To get your blood pumping, take on one of Sedona's most popular (albeit challenging) hikes, Cathedral Rock Trail, which leads to some spectacular viewpoints. Once you're warmed up, make a pit-stop at the Hike House, where trail specialists can help you pick your next path based on length, altitude, and timeframe.
Ditch the stationary bike and head to…
Park City, Utah
Now that the snow has melted, Park City is ready to trade in its skis for wheels. Utah's adventure hot spot boasts more than 400 miles of biking trails. But that's not the only reason Park City earned the only gold rating given out by the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) this past May. The town's cohesive network of bike paths and meticulous signage makes it easy to stay on track.
Portland already boasts the highest percentage of bike commuters in the country, and the city is always happy to welcome more cyclists. You'll have 315 miles of routes to choose from, but if you're looking to combine a city tour with a hearty workout, tackle the Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade. This 1.5-mile path takes cyclists through Tom McCall Waterfront Park and affords fantastic views of Portland.
Ditch the rowing machine and head to…
Yellowstone National Park, Wyo.
As a vacation spot, Yellowstone needs no introduction. To make the most out of your visit while continuing to strengthen your upper body, consider a kayak or rafting trip down the Yellowstone River. You'll paddle past some of the park's most photogenic features, through wildlife hot spots, and out into Yellowstone Lake, the area's largest body of water and one of the park's most notable sites.
The Adirondacks, N.Y.
These rolling mountains in upstate New York shelter miles of primo boating terrain. Start your visit at the St. Regis Canoe area, the only motorboat-free area of the park, meaning you can work your upper body muscles in peace. Then you'll be all warmed up to tackle the Old Forge canoe route. Don't have your own gear? Nearly every Adirondack village is equipped with boat-rental agencies.
Ditch the free weights and head to…
Outer Banks, N.C.
If you don't normally consider fishing to be a good form of exercise, you haven't brought in the big catches found at the Outer Banks. Along this stretch of North Carolina coastline, you'll be working your biceps to reel in weighty tuna, sailfish, and marlin. Boat and equipment rentals can be found throughout the OBX, while guided fishing excursions are easy to organize.
Key West, Fla.
Famed American novelist Ernest Hemingway was just one of the many anglers who have flocked to this Florida Key to test their biceps against the heavyweights found in these waters. Snapper and grouper populate Key West's vibrant coral reefs and underwater shipwrecks, and the many deep-sea fishing expeditions operating out of this island's ports make it easy to snag the catch of the day.
Ditch the Stairmaster and head to…
Acadia National Park, Maine
Maine's coastline is lined with trails that will challenge the average sneaker. The craggy cliffs of Acadia National Park will have you working harder than you normally would on any machine or man-made rock wall. But all that exertion won't go unrewarded: Gorgeous views of the park's 47,000 acres of tree-lined rivers, rolling hills, and sandy Atlantic shoreline will take away whatever breath you have left.
Jackson Hole, Wyo.
Visitors to Jackson Hole have nowhere to go but up … the slopes of the Grand Tetons, that is. Jackson Hole sits at the base of many mountain trails, and because it has yet to find a prominent place on the tourist map, the only crowds you'll have to worry about are comprised of bison and elk. When you've finished your daily hike, soothe those sore muscles with a soak in the Granite Hot Springs.
[See: Best Beaches in the USA]
Corrected on 6/12/2012: An earlier version of this article stated that Park City has more than 150 miles of bike trails when the number of miles is actually more than 400.