Five Great Spa Vacations That Don't Require a Passport

spa vacations

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For many, spa vacations are a luxury that seems out of reach. But recently, a slew of resorts have emerged that combine spa treatments like massage, wraps and facials with wellness components including acupuncture, nutritional counseling, fitness classes and even healthy cooking classes. Now, a week or weekend-long getaway can focus on whole body health rather than simply relaxation. You can even choose what type of spa vacation is right for you - do you want a resort that focuses on 6 am hikes or one that allows a glass of wine? Do you prefer a pre-set or a customized program? A getaway with friends or a total immersion in "me" time? These five U.S.-based spa vacations range from coast to coast, don't require a passport and don't have to break the bank. Choose the one that best suits your needs:

Lake Austin Spa Resort

This quintessentially "Texas" resort is nestled just outside of Austin in "Hill Country" ...meaning you're close enough to civilization to enjoy its perks, but far enough away to enjoy a true resort-style experience. Voted a top spa vacation by Conde Nast Traveler and many more, Lake Austin Spa Resort is designed to evoke a casual visit to a friend's lake house ... and with just 40 rooms, it's intimate enough that everyone will know you by name before your stay ends. Indulge in healthy spa cuisine (with many ingredients sourced from local Texas organic farms), take nature walks, enjoy a yoga class, or pamper yourself with treatments that blend the beauty and the ingredients Texas Hill Country with results-oriented products and modalities. We love that this resort feels like "home" - the Blue Room, or relaxation area, is filled with antiques and oversized rockers, and many rooms feature private porches.

Who should visit: Girlfriends or spa goers seeking a luxury spa vacation that won't break the bank.

Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa Miami Beach

In the heart of South Beach, wellness-seekers can find a spa vacation that melds fun in the sun with a whole-health holistic program. The famed spa's latest hotel outpost, Canyon Ranch Miami offers all the amenities of a destination spa with all of the perks of a city - shopping, dining, and nightlife is just a short cab or walk away. Book a hotel stay with a la carte fitness, spa and health coaching or opt to design a personalized program that focuses specifically on an area of need, be it relaxation, fitness or nutritional counseling. Unlike the properties in Tuscon or Lennox, no minimum stay is required, and alcohol is served. Choose from 40+ daily fitness classes, an entire book of spa treatments and special activities for children and teens.

Who should visit: Relaxation seekers who don't want a total immersion experience; girlfriends on a weekend getaway.

Mii Amo

No exploration of spa vacations would be complete without a mention of Mii Amo at Enchantment Resort, voted Travel + Leisure's number-one destination spa resort. Located in Sedona, Arizona, this full-immersion experience resort offers fully-customized three, four and seven-day packages that include lodging, three meals daily, two spa treatments and access to all of the resort's fitness activities. Daily activities include the usual yoga and meditation classes, plus guided hikes, cooking demos, makeup application classes, wine tastings and more.

Who should visit: Travelers seeking the full destination spa resort experience without the hard edge of a "no booze, up at 6 AM" lifestyle.

The Oaks at Ojai

Like many "old school" spa accommodations, California's famed Oaks at Ojai is focused on wellness and detox in addition to spa services. Accommodations include access to 15 optional fitness classes, three healthy spa cuisine meals, evening programs and complete use of resort facilities including the pool, saunas and hot tub. Packages also include "personal services", the resort's code for spa services, the number of which will vary based on the package chosen and length of stay. Blackberry addicts beware: the resort has a "no cell phone" policy, except in the privacy of your own room. The resort requires a two-night minimum stay.

Who should visit: True "wellness" seekers - the resort's signature is its 1,000 calorie diet (no booze!) - and anyone on a budget... the resort is known as being one of the more affordable spa vacation getaways.


Want the whole health experience of a medical spa, the peacefulness of a private retreat and the pampering services of a world-class spa? Add to it a well-regarded name, and you've got Miraval Resort. Located in Tuscon's Santa Catalina mountains, Miraval guests enjoy three meals daily, access to numerous fitness, yoga and activities each day (the resort's version of wellness classes) and a daily $130 credit, to be applied towards private sessions, special dinners, golf, alcoholic beverages or spa treatments. Activities available place a heavy emphasis on fitness (you'll get all the yoga and pilates you can handle) as well as added classes like photography, hiking, adventure activities and horseback riding.

Who should visit: Those seeking an integrated wellness vacation with a spa component, or anyone seeking to truly "get away from it all." Great for those traveling alone.
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