9 Amazing Retreats Hosted by Professional Athletes

Vacation like a decorated Olympian or Grand Slam winner on a one-of-a-kind trip.

By Katie Jackson, ContributorOct. 19, 2017
By Katie Jackson, ContributorOct. 19, 2017, at 12:50 p.m.
U.S. News & World Report

9 Amazing Retreats Hosted by Professional Athletes

Woman paddleboarding in Hawaii

Whether you want to bike with a world-renowned cyclist in Colorado or paddleboard with a pro surfer in Hawaii, these getaways with world-class athletes are anything but ordinary.(Getty Images)

Because of their industry, professional athletes are often avid travelers. What happens once they retire? Many world-class athletes still want to make a living while visiting incredible locations, and have embraced the growing trend of hosting active getaways. These retreats usually aren't cheap, but when you consider that you'll be traveling with decorated Olympians, Super Bowl champions and Grand Slam winners, and you'll be traveling to Hawaii, the Maldives and other world-class destinations, the splurge can be a worthwhile investment for your overall health, wellness and fulfillment. Here are nine upcoming retreats hosted by professional athletes worth traveling for.

Ride Waves and Work Out with Laird Hamilton and Gabrielle Reece

What happens when two world class athletes – an Olympic gold medalist in beach volleyball and America's most famous big-wave surfer – invite you to work up a sweat with them in Hawaii? Expect lots of time in the pool, on a paddleboard and in recovery ice and heat sessions. The performance training-focused retreats – XPT Experiences – were designed by Laird Hamilton and his wife, Gabrielle Reece, for jetsetters looking to take their fitness game to the next level. And because both athletes love the beach, they're held in incredible destinations like Kauai's North Shore. The next three-day all-inclusive XPT Experience with availability is in February and starts at $5,500 per person.

Clip-In with Christian Vande Velde in Colorado

Christian Vande Velde is one of the most recognized names in American cycling. The former Olympian and Tour de France veteran is now retired from the pro circuit, but he hasn't retired from the road. In late summer, he heads to Colorado to host his sold-out Clip-In with Christian cycling camps at The Little Nell, a luxury and cyclist-friendly hotel in Aspen. He also brings some of his famous riding friends including former professional cyclists Craig Lewis and Ryder Hesjedal. The four-day camp starts around $6,000 per person and includes fully supported rides, state-of-the-art racing bikes, Michelin star-worthy meals and apparel and gear for each day.

Ride Greenville's Backcountry Roads with Big George

Serious cyclists with cycling-averse spouses who enjoy cooking should also consider the Experience Domestique packages at George Hincapie's Greenville property, Hotel Domestique. The former pro cyclist – who rode in 17 Tour de France races and five consecutive Olympic Games – often leads four-day cycling camps at the same time his restaurant's chef, Nick Graves, hosts culinary camps. XD Cycling Experiences include fine food, luxurious accommodations, fully supported rides, trainer-led classes, a bike mechanic and massage. They start at $2,000 for single occupancy, and $3,000 for double occupancy.

Take Part in Chix on Stix with Olympic Skier Stacey Cook

This ski weekend hosted by three-time Olympian Stacey Cook is for females only. Open to women of all ages, Chix on Stix is one of Mammoth Mountain's most popular packages, often selling out months in advance. Space is limited to 25 ladies and the weekend activities, which include yoga and skills and drills courses, culminate with skiing Mammoth's famous "Hole in the Wall." The two-day package starts at $299 per person.

Attend a Triathlon Camp with "The Man"

Dave Scott earned his nickname, "The Man," for his prowess in all things Ironman Triathlon-related. The six-time Ironman Triathlon Hawaii champion was the first person inducted into the Ironman Hall of Fame. But you don't have to be signed up to swim 2 miles, bike 112 miles and run 26 miles, to train with this inspiring athlete. Scott trains triathletes of all levels and abilities at his series of triathlon camps hosted by Four Seasons Resort Hualalai in Kona, Hawaii. The five-day clinic starts at $2,000 per guest and includes training with video analysis, gear, group meals, nutrition classes and even consultations.

Hunt with a Chicago Bear Veteran

Tim Wrightman is best known for winning the Super Bowl in 1985 with his team, the Chicago Bears. But these days, the former tight end can be found on his Weiser, Idaho property, Lazy Bear Ranch. The 190-acre ranch is groomed to be an ideal habitat for guests to partake in wild pheasant-hunting excursions. The pheasant season runs from September to March, so there are plenty of opportunities to spend the day hunting alongside the NFL veteran. A two-day hunt costs $975 per person, and includes a one-night stay in Wrightman's lodge or bunkhouse.

Golf on Hallowed Ground with Hall of Famers

This international retreat marries history with golf. Hosted by the New Orleans-based National WWII Museum, the eight-night package takes guests to world-class golf courses, including Omaha Beach in France and Scotland. Professional golfers Lanny Wadkins and John Mahaffey are always on hand to play with guests and offer instruction. Donald J. Miller, a leading WWII historian, is also present to provide historical context and lead cultural tours. Offered July 17-25, Heroes & Legends starts at $12,999 per person, and is based on double occupancy.

Enjoy a Family-Friendly Fitness Getaway with Randy Moss

Considered to be among the greatest wide receivers of all time, Randy Moss isn't the first person that comes to mind when you think of a family vacation. But for the past two years, the former San Francisco 49er has led family-friendly summer getaways at St. Lucia's premier wellness resort, BodyHoliday Saint Lucia. Moss's WellFit Families packages start at $530 per person and includes all meals, activities such as beach boot camps, healthy cooking classes, motivational talks and rainforest hikes, along with accommodations.

Take Beachfront Backhand Lessons with Jonas Björkman

The hardest part of playing tennis with Andy Murray's former coach, Jonas Björkman, is getting to the courts. Soneva Fushi, a luxury hideaway in the Maldives, hosts these winter lessons which are free for guests in the resort's 57 private villas. They start at $4,324 per night. However, they are easy to justify if your dream is to win at Wimbledon. Björkman, a Swedish native, is a nine-time Grand Slam winner currently coaching Croatian player Marin Cilic, who is currently ranked fifth in the world.


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Katie Jackson, Contributor

Katie Jackson has been a travel contributor for U.S. News since 2015. She began her career in ...  Read more

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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