TOP WILDLIFE SIGHTINGS
Triple Creek Ranch Darby, MO
This pastoral working ranch offers energetic activities in Big Sky country, including fly-fishing, horseback riding, guided nature hikes, ATV tours, and cross-country skiing in season. Guests smash balls at the on-site tennis courts, swim laps in heated outdoor swimming pools, cast lines in the fishing pond, and sweat bullets at the fitness center. All-inclusive rates include fly-casting lessons but everyone signs up for daily horseback rides along Bitterroot National Forest where you may join a boisterous cattle drive or a birding tour to see eagles and hawks, elk, moose, big horn sheep, antelope, or even to track a shy wolf or mountain lion.
Details: All-inclusive overnight rates start at $750 per couple and include all meals and a private cabin. There is no spa on site, but in-room Sports Massages will set you back $155 per hour. triplecreekranch.com
BEST URBAN OASIS
Rosewood Sand Hill Menlo Park, CA
Fifteen miles from the San Francisco Airport, amid 16 pristine acres, the Sense Spa at Rosewood Sand Hill has 13 treatment rooms and a slew of personalized services inspired by the abundant natural resources of the rustic northern coastline. After a morning of hiking, golf, horseback riding, hot-tubbing and biking around Stanford University, hit the 17,000-square-foot Sense Spa for a signature Forest Sanctuary ($195 for 90 minutes), which exfoliates with native grains and eucalyptus and finishes with an aromatherapy massage using hot forest stones. The gardens and courtyards in the Bay Area are worth the trek, not to mention nearby wine country.
Details: Overnight rates start at $225, and spa treatments start at $145 for the 50-minute Fountain of Youth Facial. rosewoodsandhill.com
BEST HIKING AND BIKING SPA
Red Mountain Spa and Resort Ivins, UT
Framed by fierce mountains and the towering canyons of southern Utah’s Zion National Park and Snow Canyon State Park, Red Mountain offers a cornucopia of activities for fitness enthusiasts, in addition to all the pampering and relaxation you’d expect from the full-service Sagestone Spa. Weight-loss boot camps at the Wellness Center include unlimited fitness classes (step, yoga, tai chi, for starters) acupuncture, and metabolic testing, plus nutritional seminars and a 7-night Detox Special. In and around the resort are trails for walking, hiking, biking, and climbing, as well as the Ledges Golf Club. In case you can’t stroll without Fido, the pet-friendly hotel charges $50 for a pet per stay.
Details: Overnight rates start at $179, and spa treatments start at $60 for a 25-minute Reflexology foot massage. redmountainspa.com
ULTIMATE BACK-TO-NATURE EXPERIENCE
The Inn at Mt. Washington Bretton Woods, NH
For more than a century, guests have retreated to Mt. Washington to romp among 800,000 acres of White Mountain National Forest. True thrill-seekers will skip directly to the Bretton Woods Canopy Tour, which brings you up 1,000 feet across a series of treetop zip lines where you harness into a sturdy cable and fly through the trees, across platforms and bridges milled from locally harvested wood. Once on the tour, you can zip off for hikes as a guide describes local fauna then zip back into gear to soar over astonishing views of the Presidential Range and Crawford Notch. Surrounded by natural wonders, the 25,000-square-foot spa (13 treatment rooms) infuses homemade Mountain Mist spa products with local botanicals of nettle and rosemary. After playing 18- or 9-holes of golf, try your hand at fly-fishing, rock climbing, and serious hiking, then find a relaxation deck with heated pools to get your kinks out.
Details: Overnight rates start at $199, spa treatments start at $105 for a Signature Massage. mtwashingtonresort.com
BEST LAKESIDE RETREAT
The Inn at Perry Cabin St. Michaels, MD
This Orient-Express resort sits on the eastern shore of Maryland and offers a full range of services that focus on rejuvenation and wellness, including a number of signature treatments, such as the Five Flowers Solace body wrap ($165 for 80 minutes) plus massage, which infuses five local flowers into white clay. The 6,000-square-foot Linden Spa boasts seven treatment rooms named after the large trees lining the brick driveway. Built in 1816, The Inn offers a popular set of sailing classes on the Chesapeake Bay, where activities include crabbing and fishing excursions. The chefs will prepare and serve your bounty the traditional Eastern Shore way—with an outdoor crab fest! After a picturesque bicycle tour of St. Michaels, try the indoor and outdoor relaxation rooms, swim laps in the infinity pool, or take a stellar yoga class.
Details: Overnight rates start at $390, spa treatments start at $115 for a 50-minute Reiki session. perrycabin.com
FOR THE SOPHISTICATED ADVENTURER
The Omphoy Ocean Resort Palm Beach, FL
If you appreciate your adventures sleek, sexy, and jet set, hop to the beachfront Exhale Spa at the Omphoy, which offers signature classes such as Core Fusion Sport, personal training, and the Quiet Meditation Room. After a day of breast-stroking in the infinity pool, deep-sea fishing for marlin, and visiting the local polo club or Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, take a nap so you can be fresh for night grooves. These naughty visits may include a trek to the casino, an on-site theater, and the terminally chic Whiskey Bar, where mattresses and pillows are strewn about to attract the most beautiful bodies. Certain adventures come in surprising PM packages—are you ready?
Details: Overnight rates start at $244, and spa treatments start at $100 for 30 minutes of Healing Cupping or needle-free Vibrational Therapy from the world of Chinese Medicine. www.omphoy.com
BEST CULTURE VULTURE VACAY
Encantado an Auberge Resort Santa Fe, NM
Home to a renowned community of healers and therapists, the 10,000 square-foot Spa at Encantado (15 treatment rooms) is grounded in the region’s multicultural character and considered a spiritual hub. Spa features an innovative selection of wellness services—such as Ayurvedic rituals and soaking tubs—while paying tribute to Santa Fe’s contemporary appreciation of well-being. When you’re not meditating on a red-rock vortex, tackle the state-of-the-art fitness center or take a class at the movement studio. After a vigorous day of river rafting, horseback riding, hot-air ballooning, ice-skating, and Pilates, there’s plenty of civilization worth hiking to: From the Santa Fe Opera and the Annual Chamber Music Festival, to gallery-ridden Canyon Road and a dozen turn-of-the-century chapels. Hallelujah!
Details: Overnight rates start at $250, and spa treatments start at $150 for a stress-relieving 60-minute Shirodhara head and neck massage with hydrating hair treatment. encantadoresort.com
If you desire high-adventure in a totally different time zone, try:
Luxe Eco-Safaris in Tanzania, Africa
Deluxe safaris allow intrepid travelers to experience authentic Africa and help fund a 2-year scholarship for young girls through the Kisa Project, a mentoring program. You may track gorillas, take the Serengeti Hot-Air Balloon Safari, or hike Kilimanjaro with local guides. You’ll see once-in-a-lifetime wildlife on foot, in 4x4s, from canoes, or even one of those heart-stopping bush planes! (Don’t say we didn’t warn you!) adventuresinafrica.com
Wilderness and Wildlife Tours in Costa Rica
Zip line through the treetops on a jungle canopy tour, raft the Pacuare River’s adrenaline-inducing rapids, and watch smoldering red boulders spill from the rumbling Arenal Volcano, if you like your activities at the edge. After coming face-to-face with howler and white-faced monkeys in Corcovado National Park, try the killer mojitos while you soak in the Ecotermales hot springs. You deserve it. austinlehman.com