Spirit-Renewing Destinations

There are many paths to finding yourself. We asked several spiritual travel writers for their picks for destinations with the most spirit-renewing focus. Here's what they had to say.

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Dog runs in park
No. 20: Richmond, Virginia

No. 20: Richmond, Virginia

Virginia’s capital rounds out the list thanks, in part, to all its dog parks. If you’re visiting with your pooch, check out Ruff House Dog Park at Rockwood Park, an off-leash dog park that’s a favorite among locals. You’ll also routinely see Richmond residents get in their exercise alongside their furry friends on historic Monument Avenue. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

No. 19: Cleveland

No. 19: Cleveland

Cleveland makes the list for its ample recreation facilities and park-related spending. The city is home to the new $11 million Collinwood Recreation Center, which is free for all to use, even nonresidents of the city. Another big attraction is the West Side Market (pictured), the oldest operating indoor/outdoor market space in the city. 960 1280

stu_spivack, flickr  

No. 18: Virginia Beach, VA

No. 18: Virginia Beach, VA

Virginia Beach consistently ranks among America’s fittest cities. The oceanfront city boasts many light and non-lighted tennis courts across town, and the area is home to 265 parks, totaling more than 4,000 acres of land. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

No. 17: Baltimore

No. 17: Baltimore

Baltimore ranks well for its high number of park playgrounds, recreation centers and swimming pools. Another draw is Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, which sees 13 million visitors a year. Among its attractions is Baltimore Beach, a stretch of sand that’s home to 7 volleyball courts. 960 1280

Mr. T in DC, flickr  

No. 16: Pittsburgh

No. 16: Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh didn’t rank too well in terms of “healthy eating.” However, the city has many opportunities for visitors and residents to stay active outside. Renting a bike is easy at Golden Triangle Bike Rental, with their main location on the Eliza Furnace Trail. Hourly and daily rentals are available for the entire family. All rentals include a helmet, bike lock and self-guided trail map. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

No. 15: Raleigh, North Carolina

No. 15: Raleigh, North Carolina

Raleigh gets high marks for setting aside a high percentage of city land as parkland; 17% of municipal land is devoted to parks compared with the national average of 10.6%. Cycling, boating, camping and hiking are all easy day excursions, with Umstead State Park and the American Tobacco Trail nearby. Plus, get in outdoor art at the North Carolina Museum of Art, where you’ll find this monumental sculpture. 960 1280

Christopher Ciccone, photographer   

No. 14: San Diego

No. 14: San Diego

Along with its great weather, “America’s Finest City” is known for its physically fit residents, who go surfing in San Diego at places like South Carlsbad State Beach. For quiet time, locals and visitors alike can enjoy the meditation gardens on the grounds of San Diego’s Self-Realization Fellowship Temple, founded by an Indian spiritual leader in the 1930s. 960 1280

Lisa Singh  

No. 13: Cincinnati

No. 13: Cincinnati

Locals in Cincinnati find plenty of outdoor inspiration in this stretch of southwest Ohio, from hopping aboard a riverboat cruise to kicking back in the city’s new 45-acre Riverfront Park. On the food front, Findlay Market delivers as Ohio’s oldest continuously operated public market. 960 1280

Wholtone, Wikimedia Commons  

No. 12: Salt Lake City

No. 12: Salt Lake City

It's no surprise to us that Salt Lake City made this list. Utah’s capital city is a short drive from renowned ski resorts like Alta, as well as scenic recreation areas like Wasatch-Cache National Forest. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

No. 11: Austin, Texas

No. 11: Austin, Texas

<a title="Austin, TX" href="http://www.travelchannel.com/destinations/austin/articles/austin-city-guide" target="_blank">Austin, TX</a>, has <a title="superb food" href="http://www.travelchannel.com/destinations/austin/articles/austins-best-food-carts" target="_blank">superb food</a>. The Texas capital can also get very hot, which may explain why it has so many public swimming areas, at an affordable fee, too. The average price for a day pass to one of the city’s public pools is only $3 for adults and $1 for children. Barton Springs Pool is one place to cool down; find the recreational pool in Austin’s Zilker Park.   960 1280

Stephen Saks / Lonely Planet Images / Getty Images  

No. 10: San Jose, California

No. 10: San Jose, California

Often called the “Capital of Silicon Valley,” San Jose, as California’s third-largest city, also has some great outdoor attractions. Alum Rock Park, nestled in the eastern foothills of Silicon Valley, is a great place for picnics, hiking, biking and exploring. The park also boasts great scenic trails, and 1800s-era natural spring baths. 960 1280

Don DeBold, flickr  

No. 9: Hartford, Connecticut

No. 9: Hartford, Connecticut

The capital city has more than 50 public parks and squares that cover more than 27,000 acres. More than a million people annually picnic, jog, attend rallies and socialize at Hartford's restored Bushnell Park (pictured). As the oldest publicly funded park in the US, Hartford’s historic “Central Park” has added new landscaping, benches and a play area in recent years. 960 1280

Thinkstock   

No. 8: Seattle

No. 8: Seattle

Beach volleyball, anyone? In Seattle locals head to Alki Beach Park, a nearly 136-acre park with a half-mile of beachfront. Another favorite for the physically fit is Discovery Park, a 534-acre park on the shores of Puget Sound that includes more than 11 miles of walking and biking trails. The park, the largest in Seattle, is also a great place to view wildlife. 960 1280

Chas Redmond, Flickr  

No. 7: Sacramento, California

No. 7: Sacramento, California

In the Sacramento area, go kayaking on Lake Natoma, within the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area. Another big attraction is the city’s park system; in 2013, Sacramento tied with San Francisco and Boston for having the third-best park system among the 50 most populous US cities. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

No. 6: Boston

No. 6: Boston

Beantown is a walker’s city. Lace up for a walk along Boston Harbor. Plus, enjoy a 2.5-mile walk along the Freedom Trail, which leads to 16 historic sites in downtown <a title="Boston" href="http://www.travelchannel.com/destinations/boston/articles/travel-channels-guide-to-boston" target="_blank">Boston</a>. The city is also the birthplace of <a title="November Project" href="http://november-project.com" target="_blank">November Project</a>, a free fitness movement that started in 2011 (and has since spread to other major cities), with a membership of professional athletes and fitness rookies.   960 1280

Boston Harbor Association  

No. 5: Denver

No. 5: Denver

Outdoors lovers especially love the Mile High City. The big outdoor attraction is the Front Range Trail. Just 30 minutes outside the city, the 876-mile trail stretches from Wyoming into New Mexico, with trails ideal for hiking, running, rock climbing and mountain biking. And just 20 miles west of Denver, check out Genesee Park; you may spot American bison. 960 1280

Silveira Neto, Flickr  

No. 4: San Francisco

No. 4: San Francisco

The San Francisco Bay Area is known for its fresh, healthy food, with a focus on seasonal ingredients and sustainable agriculture. Dig into organic delights at local restaurants like The Plant, where organic salads and meats grace the menu. And whip up your own menu with items from the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, which sells more than 1,500 varieties of local produce. 960 1280

Liza, Flickr  

No. 3: Portland, Oregon

No. 3: Portland, Oregon

With more than 10,000 acres of public parks, including 300 miles of greenways and bike boulevards, Portland is a great city for anyone seeking outdoor urban adventure. Enjoy a bike ride along the Willamette River, or start exploring the great outdoors on foot with a trip into Forest Park, one of the largest protected wilderness areas inside any US city. 960 1280

Getty Images   

No. 2: Washington, DC

No. 2: Washington, DC

Washington, DC, promotes a healthy lifestyle through its Capital Bikeshare program, with 2,500 bicycles located throughout the city. Another big draw is Eastern Market, a city fixture for more than 135 years, selling local farm-fresh produce. And if you want to get in cardio, a jog around the National Mall is a great option; you’ll cover 5 miles. 960 1280

John Serrao, Flickr  

No. 1: Minneapolis-St. Paul

No. 1: Minneapolis-St. Paul

For the third year in a row, the Minneapolis-St. Paul area ranks as the No. 1 healthiest city. Minneapolis was one of the first cities nationwide to add bike trails; it also sets aside a high percentage of the city as parkland. Another healthy draw is the Minneapolis Farmers Market. Established in 1937, the market supports some 230 local vendors. 960 1280

Pat Laurel, Flickr  

Kusatsu Onsen Waterfall 
Kusatsu Onsen

Kusatsu Onsen

Each year, nearly 3 million visitors take in the waters at the Kusatsu Onsen, a 2-hour drive from Tokyo. 960 1280

Kazuhiro Fujii / Sebun Photo / Getty Images  

Kusatsu Onsen

Kusatsu Onsen

A trip to the Onsen is a part of Japanese culture, and locals head to the natural hot springs water at Kusatsu Onsen for relaxing and relief from muscle pain, hypertension and other ailments. 960 1280

Benoist Sebire / Getty Images  

Thermae Bath Spa

Thermae Bath Spa

The view from the open-air rooftop pool at Britain's Thermae Spa overlooks the city of Bath and the Abbey. 960 1280

Jon Spaull / Getty Images  

Thermae Bath Spa

Thermae Bath Spa

Thermae Bath Spa is the only spot in Britain where you can soak in the mineral waters, which that the Celts and Romans enjoyed more than 2,000 years ago. 960 1280

Jon Spaull / Getty Images  

Chena Hot Springs

Chena Hot Springs

Visitors have been taking the waters at Chena Hot Springs, deep in Alaska's interior, since 1905 when visiting prospectors discovered the water's healing nature. 960 1280

Patrick Endres / Design Pics / Getty Images  

Chena Hot Springs

Chena Hot Springs

Winter is the busiest time of year at Chena's Hot Springs Resort in Fairbanks, Alaska when the 105-degree water offers a reprieve from the cold. Soakers may even catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights over head. 960 1280
Széchenyi Thermal Bath

Széchenyi Thermal Bath

Soaking in the baths is a way of life in Budapest, sometimes called Spa City, thanks to the healing waters found at spots like the Szechenyi, largest outdoor thermal bath in all of Europe. 960 1280

John Dakers / Getty Images  

Reykjadalur Hot Springs

Reykjadalur Hot Springs

A hike through the Reykjadalur valley to the thermal steam vents and boiling hot pools is the perfect place for outdoor bathing. 960 1280

Matthew Micah Wright / Getty Images  

Gellert Baths

Gellert Baths

Explore the beautiful Art Nouveau style thermal baths at Hotel Gellert in Budapest. 960 1280

De Agostini / C. Sappa / Getty Images  

Dr. Wilkinson's Hot Springs Resort

Dr. Wilkinson's Hot Springs Resort

Dr. Wilkinson's Spa is a Napa Valley institution, helping locals and visitors relax in bubbling mud baths in Calistoga, CA, since 1952. 960 1280

Dr. Wilkinson's Hot Springs Resort  

Dr. Wilkinson's Hot Springs Resort

Dr. Wilkinson's Hot Springs Resort

At Dr. Wilkinson's Spa, guests can relax in a warm mud baths with plenty of healing properties thanks to pure volcanic ash and Canadian peat or enjoy one of the many bath house treatments available. 960 1280

Dr. Wilkinson's Hot Springs Resort  

Polynesian Spa

Polynesian Spa

Spa treatments at the Polynesian Spa overlooking New Zealand's Lake Rotorua include a mud wrap using the thermal mud that's believed to have healing properties. 960 1280

Polynesian Spa  

Polynesian Spa

Polynesian Spa

There's no shortage of healing water at the Polynesian Spa, with 2 natural hot mineral springs and 26 soaking pools filled with soothing alkaline water. 960 1280

Christian Kober / Getty Images  

Africa's highest peak is Mount Kilimanjaro where hikers may encounter elephants moving across the African savanna. 960 1280

  

The trek through Nepal's Annapurna Circuit promises 21 days of crossing jungles, rivers and mountains. 960 1280

Explore Glacier National Park with a hike through the Logan Pass. 960 1280

  

Australia's Larapinta Trail, a 130-mile trek through the Northern Territory, is almost entirely through the desert. 960 1280

Photo by andydolman through Flickr Creative Commons  

Head to the hills in Cape Town, South Africa, for a scenic hike through the trails at Table Mountain. 960 1280

  

If you're looking for history and incredible vistas, head to Peru's Inca Trail for a 27-mile hike to Machu Picchu. 960 1280

  

The Val di Fassa in Italy is in the heart of the European Alps with gassy paths and endless mountain views. 960 1280

  

The John Muir Trail is a 211-mile stretch in the Sierra Nevada Mountains stretching from Yosemite Valley to Mount Whitney. 960 1280

Photos

Kusatsu Onsen

Kusatsu Onsen

Each year, nearly 3 million visitors take in the waters at the Kusatsu Onsen, a 2-hour drive from Tokyo. 960 1280

Kazuhiro Fujii / Sebun Photo / Getty Images  

Kusatsu Onsen

Kusatsu Onsen

A trip to the Onsen is a part of Japanese culture, and locals head to the natural hot springs water at Kusatsu Onsen for relaxing and relief from muscle pain, hypertension and other ailments. 960 1280

Benoist Sebire / Getty Images  

Thermae Bath Spa

Thermae Bath Spa

The view from the open-air rooftop pool at Britain's Thermae Spa overlooks the city of Bath and the Abbey. 960 1280

Jon Spaull / Getty Images  

Thermae Bath Spa

Thermae Bath Spa

Thermae Bath Spa is the only spot in Britain where you can soak in the mineral waters, which that the Celts and Romans enjoyed more than 2,000 years ago. 960 1280

Jon Spaull / Getty Images  

Chena Hot Springs

Chena Hot Springs

Visitors have been taking the waters at Chena Hot Springs, deep in Alaska's interior, since 1905 when visiting prospectors discovered the water's healing nature. 960 1280

Patrick Endres / Design Pics / Getty Images  

Chena Hot Springs

Chena Hot Springs

Winter is the busiest time of year at Chena's Hot Springs Resort in Fairbanks, Alaska when the 105-degree water offers a reprieve from the cold. Soakers may even catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights over head. 960 1280
Széchenyi Thermal Bath

Széchenyi Thermal Bath

Soaking in the baths is a way of life in Budapest, sometimes called Spa City, thanks to the healing waters found at spots like the Szechenyi, largest outdoor thermal bath in all of Europe. 960 1280

John Dakers / Getty Images  

Reykjadalur Hot Springs

Reykjadalur Hot Springs

A hike through the Reykjadalur valley to the thermal steam vents and boiling hot pools is the perfect place for outdoor bathing. 960 1280

Matthew Micah Wright / Getty Images  

Gellert Baths

Gellert Baths

Explore the beautiful Art Nouveau style thermal baths at Hotel Gellert in Budapest. 960 1280

De Agostini / C. Sappa / Getty Images  

Dr. Wilkinson's Hot Springs Resort

Dr. Wilkinson's Hot Springs Resort

Dr. Wilkinson's Spa is a Napa Valley institution, helping locals and visitors relax in bubbling mud baths in Calistoga, CA, since 1952. 960 1280

Dr. Wilkinson's Hot Springs Resort  

Dr. Wilkinson's Hot Springs Resort

Dr. Wilkinson's Hot Springs Resort

At Dr. Wilkinson's Spa, guests can relax in a warm mud baths with plenty of healing properties thanks to pure volcanic ash and Canadian peat or enjoy one of the many bath house treatments available. 960 1280

Dr. Wilkinson's Hot Springs Resort  

Polynesian Spa

Polynesian Spa

Spa treatments at the Polynesian Spa overlooking New Zealand's Lake Rotorua include a mud wrap using the thermal mud that's believed to have healing properties. 960 1280

Polynesian Spa  

Polynesian Spa

Polynesian Spa

There's no shortage of healing water at the Polynesian Spa, with 2 natural hot mineral springs and 26 soaking pools filled with soothing alkaline water. 960 1280

Christian Kober / Getty Images  

Africa's highest peak is Mount Kilimanjaro where hikers may encounter elephants moving across the African savanna. 960 1280

  

The trek through Nepal's Annapurna Circuit promises 21 days of crossing jungles, rivers and mountains. 960 1280

Explore Glacier National Park with a hike through the Logan Pass. 960 1280

  

Australia's Larapinta Trail, a 130-mile trek through the Northern Territory, is almost entirely through the desert. 960 1280

Photo by andydolman through Flickr Creative Commons  

Head to the hills in Cape Town, South Africa, for a scenic hike through the trails at Table Mountain. 960 1280

  

If you're looking for history and incredible vistas, head to Peru's Inca Trail for a 27-mile hike to Machu Picchu. 960 1280

  

The Val di Fassa in Italy is in the heart of the European Alps with gassy paths and endless mountain views. 960 1280

  

The John Muir Trail is a 211-mile stretch in the Sierra Nevada Mountains stretching from Yosemite Valley to Mount Whitney. 960 1280

The Clayoquot Wilderness Resort is a luxe eco-safari resort in the wilds of British Columbia, Canada, accessible by boat or plane from Tofino. 960 1280

Clayoquot Wilderness Resort  

Guests can soak in a wood-fired cedar hot tub overlooking the mountainous wild at Clayoquot Healing Grounds compound, which promises Zen in the wilderness with soaking tubs and spa treatments. 960 1280

Clayoquot Wilderness Resort  

People come from around the world to soak in Iceland's Blue Lagoon with mineral-rich, geothermal water known for its healing properties. 960 1280

Reuters  

Bathers may soak in the warm Blue Lagoon waters even during the cold winter months when the geothermal water and cool air meet to create a haze of vapor steam that rises from the water. 960 1280

Reuters  

Guests at the snazzy Burj Al Arab may soak in an ornate tub with impressive city vies of Dubai and the Arabian Gulf. 960 1280

Burj Al Arab, Jumeirah Group  

Cunard cruise line brings swanky hot tubs to sea with state-of-the-art aqua-therapy pools aboard the Queen Mary 2. 960 1280

Cunard Line  

Multiple hot tubs are available for a relaxing soak at the Canyon Ranch spa facilities aboard the Queen Mary 2. 960 1280

Cunard Line  

The VUE Bar atop the Hyatt on the Bund in Shanghai has a cool hot tub amidst a busy nightlife scene. Bathers enjoy cocktails and a killer city view from the bar's bubbling hot tub. 960 1280

Hyatt Hotels  

The soaking tub at the Hotel Rio Sagardo in Peru has expansive windows that look out over Cusco's Sacred Valley, the heart of the former Incan Empire. 960 1280

Hotel Rio Sagrado/Pedro Rivas  

Onsen are public baths fed from hot springs found throughout Japan where locals and tourists take a wellness break in remote spots and even along the waterfront in Tokyo. 960 1280

Reuters  

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