Bonding, feeding your passions, taking in new scenery, this is the stuff of rejuvenation.
PHOTO: SAM ROBINSON
If you’re craving sand and surf, a tropical island vacation is closer than you think. Bermuda is just a two to three hour flight from the East Coast. Check into the newly renovated Hamilton Princess & beach Club (from $479 a night; thehamiltonprincess.com), change into your workout gear, and meet up at the recently opened Exhale, the property’s spa and fitness center, for a Core Fusion barre or yoga class. Afterward, hop on the hotel’s jitney to Princess Beach Club, which boasts a private cove on Bermuda’s beautiful South Beaches. Relax in the water hammocks or borrow snorkeling gear to get an up-close look at ocean life offshore.
Looking for an adrenaline rush? Go on a Jet Ski adventure with your group (rentals from $125; kswatersports.com). You’ll zoom past local monuments like Somerset Bridge (the world’s smallest drawbridge), and the historic forts of St. George. Be sure to slow down to explore Bermuda’s amazing Sea Gardens, where colorful reefs poke out from the ocean. Go from the sea to the subterranean with a group tour of Bermuda’s remarkable caverns (from $22; caves.bm), including the Crystal Cave, which features a massive, super clear underground lake. Aboveground, rent bikes (from $40; oleandercycles.bm) and hit the Bermuda Railway Trail, a scenic 18-mile path that winds past secluded beaches, lush woodlands, and several stunning lookout points.
PHOTO: SAM ROBINSON
This charming coastal city is having a culinary renaissance. Hit the cobblestoned streets in the Old Port District to try some of the most-talked-about restaurants in New England. First stop for food-loving friends: The airy shellfish joint Eventide Oyster, which features 16 types of oysters, as well as other seafood that changes daily based on what was biting that morning. For a more luxurious meal, try Sea Glass at the Inn by the Sea. The chef belongs to a sustainable-seafood program that encourages restaurants to put underused species on the menu to fight overfishing. You’ll have your pick of lesser-known options such as redfish, in addition to more traditional salmon. Another standout is Miyake, an ocean-to-table sushi bar that features creatively prepared fish, meat, and produce, caught or raised in or near Portland. When you’re ready for a break from seafood, sample the small plates at Central Provisions, a James Beard Award–nominated restaurant. Or head to local favorite Slab Sicilian Street Food for a thick-crusted slice of the city’s best pizza, plus a beer from among the 20 on tap. Keep your food focus going strong at the Chebeague Island Inn (from $180 a night; chebeagueislandinn.com), which is located on an island in Casco Bay and is a 25-minute water taxi ride off the coast. The hotel sources ingredients for its restaurant from the organic Secondwind Farm nearby. Play tennis on the inn’s courts, kayak in Casco Bay, hike to scenic Deer Point for a picnic lunch by the ocean, or just lounge around with your friends on the sprawling beachfront porch as the waves roll in for a moment of Zen. If this Maine trip inspired your taste buds put these unusual restaurant on your bucket list.
REI Adventures, Nationwide
If you want to go wild, gear up to go backpacking. REI recently started offering women-only trips in such awe-inspiring locations as the Grand Canyon, the Pacific Crest Trail, and the Great Smoky Mountains. With a female guide, you and your friends will hike three to 13 miles a day past alpine lakes, jagged peaks, roaring rivers, and mountain passes. Each night you can tell stories around the campfire; in the morning you’ll be awakened by magnificent sunrises (from $699 a person per trip, not including transportation; rei.com). If you prefer something a little more luxe, REI Adventures also has a Signature Camping Program that features tents outfitted with cots, lights, and other amenities; prepared meals; bathrooms; and chairs set up around the campfire. During the day, you’ll hike (and sometimes also kayak, zipline, or raft) through Yosemite, Zion, and the Rocky Mountains (from $1,149 a person per trip). If you’re not big into camping, but still want to adventure there’s plenty of other athletic vacations to choose from.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
PHOTO: SAM ROBINSON
With fresh mountain air, spectacular panoramic views, and a relaxing vibe, this Southwestern city feels like a sanctuary from daily life. Head to Ten Thousand Waves, a Japanese-style oasis tucked away in Santa Fe’s hills. Take a dip in the women-only outdoor baths to relax your muscles, then indulge in a Salt Glow treatment, which uses sea salt and warm massage oil to work out kinks. (Want more ladies-only vacas? Check out these retreats.) Regroup back in town at the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market, where you can sample local chiles, coffee, breads, and pastries. Then take advantage of Santa Fe’s weather—the city boasts 320 sunny days a year—with a guided Yogihike. Your group will trek up peaceful wooded trails, then lay your mats on the forest floor for a one-hour yoga session ($108 per person; yogihiker.com). Keep your relaxation going at La Posada de Santa Fe Hotel & Spa Resort, set on six secluded acres (from $182 a night per person; laposadadesantafe.com). Wake up with a private yoga or Pilates session, then visit the full-service spa for a locally inspired treatment like the Santa Fe Chocolate Chile Wrap. Finish your night with a tequila tasting at the cozy on-property Staab House bar.