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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Athletic Volunteerism
Athletic Volunteerism

Athletic Volunteerism

Get fit, give back, and see a new city at the same time. According to Cheapflights.com, this year will see an increase in athletic volunteerism, a trend fueled by growing participation in mega sports events like the New York City Marathon. Biking more your thing? Check out events like the Ride to End AIDS, a 7-day bike ride from San Francisco to LA. 960 1280

© Mike Segar / Reuters, JPEGTOII2/MED  

Detox and Unplugged Vacations

Detox and Unplugged Vacations

On a quest for quiet? Need to unplug from your gadgets? Resorts and hotels are answering our growing addiction to technology with detox vacation packages that promise not to have Wi-Fi or TV on isolated grounds, but rather wellness services like yoga and meditation -- all designed to quiet your mind. 960 1280

Tolga Kol√ɬßak  

Vacation With Your Pet

Vacation With Your Pet

According to a recent PetRelocation.com survey, nearly 1/3 of all pet owners planned to travel outside the US with their pets this past year. Pet travel is likely to grow, as more hotels and airlines, such as Pet Airways, continue to make it easier to bring your pooch along on your next break. And since traveling with your pet guarantees a more active vacation, you won’t have to worry about hitting the hotel gym. 960 1280

Nicole S. Young  

Weight-Loss Camps

Weight-Loss Camps

Want to take off work and pounds at the same time? The Biggest Loser resort at Fitness Ridge, in Ivins, UT, offers healthy meals, a day full of exercise, the power of group motivation, and plenty of spectacular scenery with daily canyon hikes. 960 1280

Comstock  

Healthier Options for In-Flight Meals

Healthier Options for In-Flight Meals

Fruit on a plane? For some airlines, yes. Air Canada and Virgin America offer the healthiest in-flight food, a recent nutritional survey found. Pictured here is Virgin America’s “protein box,” sure to help give you an energy boost on your next redeye. 960 1280

  

Healthier Cruise Ships

Healthier Cruise Ships

When you think of taking a cruise, you may think of buffet food and unlimited drinks, aka a vacation of overindulgence. But in 2012, cruise lines are offering more ways to experiment with fitness trends or at least keep up with your daily workout regimen. Fred Olsen Cruise Lines offers yoga, Pilates, personal trainers, daily organized walks around the deck, and even pools with waves for resistance swimming. 960 1280

Rob Marmion  

Holistic Holidays

Holistic Holidays

Top US spas, such as Miraval near Tucson, AZ, offer more than physical benefits. In addition to helping you find your freshest layer of skin, Miraval’s spa services help calm your inner core enjoy with programs designed around mindfulness and self-discovery. 960 1280

KingWu  

Fitness Friendly Hotels

Fitness Friendly Hotels

Hotels are feeling the pressure to offer healthier food options and better exercise facilities for travelers who don’t want to fall off the health wagon while on vacation. Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts not only offers state-of-the-art cardio and weight-training equipment, but also studio classes and personal trainers. 960 1280

Chris Clinton  

Medical Tourism

Medical Tourism

From Lasik to knee replacement, the high cost of health care is continuing to push a growing numbers of Americans to go abroad for health care. Perhaps it’s easier to recover from surgery, too, in tropical paradises like Costa Rica and Thailand. 960 1280

Hemera Technologies  

Spa Breaks Not Just for Women

Spa Breaks Not Just for Women

Spas aren’t just for the girls anymore. Couples are choosing romantic spa getaways. Don’t worry, guys. Spas are making services more appealing to men, too, with less “girly” options, such as sports massages and gentlemen’s facials. 960 1280

Catherine Yeulet  

Photos

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

Andy Short/Thermae Bath Spa  

Bath's Thermae 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

Matt Cardy/Thermae Bath Spa  

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

Denise Ferree/Chena Hot Springs  

Winter is the busiest time of year at Chena's Hot Springs 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

Denise Ferree/Chena Hot Springs  

Steam rises from the Glacier Hot Pools, a tranquil getaway tucked into a lush rainforest on New Zealand's west coast. 960 1280

Glacier Hot Pools  

Local legends describe how the Glacier Hot Pools are fed from local glaciers that were formed by the frozen tears of Hinehukatere mourning the loss of her lover, Wawe. 960 1280

Glacier Hot Pools  

Soaking in the baths is a way of life in Budapest, sometimes called Spa Ccity, thanks to the healing waters found at spots like the Gellert Thermal Baths. 960 1280

Photo by Joe Mabel through Flickr Creative Commons  

At Dr. Wilkinson's Spa in California, guests relax in a warm mud bath with plenty of healing properties thanks to pure volcanic ash and Canadian peat 960 1280

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, CaliforniaCA, since 1952. 960 1280

Dr. Wilkinson's Hot Springs Resort  

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

Kusatsu Onsen Tourism Association  

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

Kusatsu Onsen Tourism Association  

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  

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

Polynesian Spa  

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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