8 Top Vacations for Sports Lovers

Plan a heart-thumping adventure in these top destinations for active travelers.

U.S. News & World Report

8 Top Vacations for Sports Lovers

Multi-generation family playing volleyball on beach

Whether you're an avid cyclist, skier, golfer or surfer, there's a destination for you on this list.(Getty Images)

Instead of lounging along the sand or at a poolside cabana all day, active types can head to these destinations for a variety of sporting activities. From golf to hiking, skiing, swimming, tennis and boating, at these locales, there are a variety of pursuits to suit sports lovers of all kinds. So, if you're ready for a thrilling getaway filled with plenty of running, jumping, throwing, paddling and exploring, escape to these eight spots for the ultimate adrenaline rush.

Miami

Travelers seeking a sports-inspired trip itinerary should look no further than the iconic W South Beach, located in the heart of Miami Beach. The oceanfront hotel features Swish & Swing, a rooftop sports complex with a basketball court and a tennis court overlooking the ocean. Celebrity trainer Simone Cavaletti instructs a variety of workouts, and a fitness center offers access to state-of-the-art equipment, like Peloton cycling bikes. In addition, avid bikers can take advantage of discounted rates at a nearby Flywheel cycling studio.

Ridgedale, Missouri

Tucked in the heart of Missouri’s rugged and serene Ozark Mountains, Big Cedar Lodge is a premier wilderness resort encompassing more than 800 acres. The resort overlooks the sparkling 43,000-acre Table Rock Lake, and offers a collection of lodges, cottages and cabins. Visitors can partake in world-class golf across two courses: Top of the Rock, a jaw-dropping, clifftop course designed by Jack Nicklaus, and Buffalo Ridge Springs, where roaming buffalo are often spotted. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy dynamic land- and water-based adventures, ranging from fishing and water skiing to hiking and horseback riding at the nearby Dogwood Canyon Nature Park.

Mallorca, Spain

The Jumeirah Port Soller Hotel & Spa is hosting a cycling weekend from Oct. 20 to 24 with pro British cyclist David Millar. The event gives cycling enthusiasts an opportunity to spend three days riding in Mallorca. In advance of the trip, riders receive a customized training plan, and upon arrival they'll enjoy their own personalized jersey and kit. Riders will be treated like pros with pre-ride morning briefings and route guides, Maserati support cars and on-site mechanics to provide support and assistance throughout the trip.

Rosarito Beach, Baja California

Just a 30-minute drive from Tijuana, Mexico, Rosarito Beach in Baja California, is home to some of the best surf Mexico has to offer. Baja juts out into the Pacific and is exposed to storm-generated swells that can come from the North Pacific, creating some of the best surfing conditions on the West Coast. Guests of the Rosarito Beach Hotel can ride the the waves where the Mexican national championships were held (they also offer lessons) or fish along the wooden pier. What's more, guests can also ride ATVs or horses on the beach and golf at some of Mexico’s best courses.

Vail, Colorado

Summer in the mountains is reaching new heights with the launch of Epic Discovery in Vail. Epic Discovery is an all-encompassing mountain summer adventure that will include zip lining, canopy tours, alpine coasters, wildlife trail exploration and interactive activities. In partnership with The Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Forest Service, Epic Discovery provides a unique and immersive experience for adventure-seekers, allowing them to challenge themselves physically while getting a heightened understanding of their natural surroundings.

Lake Placid, New York

At the Whiteface Lodge in Lake Placid, fishers can enjoy a private catch-and-release pond where free casting lessons are available. The Lodge can also arrange fly and float fishing trips. And the Canoe Club, an exclusive beachfront facility, offers kayaks, pedal boats, paddle boards and more. Sports enthusiasts can also test their skills in biathlon shooting and bobsledding or chat with former Olympians at the Olympic Sports Complex, where dedicated concierges – some of them Olympians themselves – coach guests with year-round Olympic-themed retreats.

Belize

A diver’s paradise, Belize's azure waters provide spectacular scenery for scuba divers and snorkelers. One of the 70 dive sites worth visiting is the Elbow. With a 3,000-foot wall and some converging currents filled with nutrients, the Elbow presents one of the most exhilarating dives in the Caribbean. For snorkeling, head to Tres Cocos, which offers a shallow snorkel site near the reef and is filled with colorful fish and an abundance of elk horn corals. If you're a beginner, check out the Discover Scuba pool experience at Las Terrazas Resort & Residences or Ambergris Caye, which introduces newcomers to scuba diving in a supervised and relaxed environment.

Uganda and Rwanda, Africa

Ever wanted to stand face-to-face with a gorilla or chimpanzee? You can catch sight of endangered mountain gorillas, lions, leopards and chimpanzees during a safari through the jungle in Rwanda and Uganda with tour operator Volcanoes Safaris. The company provides walks past a spectacular waterfall in the forest that are as enchanting as they are immersive. Nestled in the foothills of the Virunga Mountains, Mount Gahinga Lodge in Uganda offers an impressive backdrop comprising three volcanoes. And as part of the Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust, Mount Gahinga Lodge teams up with the Batwa Tribe to offer interactive tours through the community of one of Africa’s oldest tribes.

About En Route

Practical advice on the art of traveling smarter with tips, tricks and intel from En Route's panel of experts.

Contributors have experience in areas ranging from family travel, adventure travel, experiential travel and budget travel to hotels, cruises and travel rewards and include Amy Whitley, Claire Volkman, Holly Johnson, Marsha Dubrow, Lyn Mettler, Sery Kim, Kyle McCarthy, Erica Lamberg, Jess Moss, Sheryl Nance-Nash, Sherry Laskin, Katie Jackson, Erin Gifford, Roger Sands, Steve Larese, Gwen Pratesi, Erin Block, Dave Parfitt, Kacey Mya, Kimberly Wilson, Susan Portnoy, Donna Tabbert Long and Kitty Bean Yancey.

Edited by Liz Weiss.

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