Unique Wellness Retreats That Go Beyond R&R

by Elizabeth Yuko
Nov 29, 2017 at 8:00 a.m. ET

Going on vacation is great — until you end up overscheduling your time and go home more exhausted than when you left. That’s where wellness retreats come in. These one-stop-shop destinations give you the chance to relax and actually recharge, making sure you go back to work refreshed.

There are plenty of options out there when it comes to spa and wellness trips, but if you’re the type of person who likes their relaxation with a side of (low-key) adventure, here are some suggestions for you. Each of these destinations offers the usual wellness treatments — massages, meditation, swimming — but also have added dimensions that make them stand out.

From history to horses to hauntings, these hotels and retreats let you get away and unwind, but also make you feel like you’ve learned or accomplished something in the process. And with the holidays already here, they would all make great (and very welcome) gifts.

(Pictured: The Gideon Putnam Hotel in Saratoga Springs, New York)

1 /5: Gideon Putnam

1/5 :Gideon Putnam

The Gideon Putnam is a historic hotel located on the grounds of the Saratoga Springs State Park in upstate New York. It opened in 1935 and is within a short walk of some of the original mineral bathhouses, which put the spa town on the map as far back as the 1700s. Not only can you "take the waters" like people have done for centuries, but you can also participate in one of their regularly scheduled spa renewal wellness retreats, which offers three days of workshops and activities designed to rejuvenate mind, body and spirit. 

2 /5: Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa

2/5 :Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa

The Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa has no shortage of activities. In addition to a full spa, they offer immersive experiences and retreats on everything from transcendental meditation to healing through dance. They also have art and photography classes, beekeeping workshops and the chance to do equine therapy so you can live out your cowgirl/boy dreams riding a horse through the desert.

3 /5: Kripalu

3/5 :Kripalu

The Kripalu Center for Wellness and Health in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, is a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to empowering people and communities to realize their full potential through the transformative wisdom and practice of yoga. They offer a full range of educational programs for those looking to become certified yoga teachers, but they also offer shorter wellness retreats with basic yet comfortable accommodations perfect for a weekend getaway.

4 /5: Sunrise Springs

4/5 :Sunrise Springs

Sunrise Springs Spa Resort in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is located on 70 lush acres fed by natural springs and offers a balance of relaxation and adventure during your stay. In addition to an expressive arts program — featuring painting, drawing, collage and creative journaling — they also offer an activity called puppy play, which is exactly what you think it is (and reason enough to pack up and head west). 

5 /5: Crescent Hotel

5/5 :Crescent Hotel

When you think of classic spa towns, a spot in Arkansas may not immediately come to mind, but the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs has been housing people reaping the benefits of the local hot springs since 1886. Not only will you have access to all the water therapy you could want, you may also have an otherworldly encounter: The hotel is said to be haunted, and the property offers ghost tours for guests and other visitors alike.