5 Awesome Places to Get Fit (That You’ve Probably Never Heard Of)

Pegasus Malibu

Right about now, resolutions are in full swing. Lose weight! Get fit! Eradicate toxins! It’s not surprising that gym memberships fill up during this time of year. Nor is it surprising that after a month or so the resolve disappears. Things happen. Life gets in the way. That’s where fitness retreats come in—places to chill out, unwind, de-stress, detox, build muscle, have adventures, and work your butt off, all the while eating healthy, homemade organic fare and massaging all of your (physical and psychic) pains away. They range from the lush and rustic (cabins with no electricity) to plush and elegant (wood and bamboo cottages; private mansions).—Abby Ellin

Jessica Sample

The Golden Door

WHERE: Escondido, CA

The “Door” was founded in 1958 by Debora Szekely, the grandmere of healthy living. Celebs like Elizabeth Taylor, Nicole Kidman, and Barbra Streisand have passed through the doors to get away from Hollywood or whittle pounds for their next role. In 1998, Szekely sold it to Wyndham International and it lost some of its luster. In 2013, Joanne Conway, wife of Carlyle Group co-founder, Bill Conway and a frequent guest, bought it and hired former fashion executive Kathy Van Ness to shepherd it back to its heyday. The Door has recently been renovated and the program overhauled. The grounds have expanded from 377 to 600 acres, which includes 20 miles of hiking trails that span mountain to meadow. There is also a revamped spa menu. But the core of its program is the same: fitness classes, hikes, clean, delicious food, daily massages, and beauty treatments.

Price: $8,850 for a 7-night stay. 

 PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Guide to San Diego

NCK Photography

GroundSea Fitness

Where: Great Barrington, MA.

Tracy Gaslow, Holly Levy and Denise Kleinman grew tired of flying across the country to the Ashram every time they wanted to hike, do yoga and kick back in nature. And they knew they weren’t the only ones who felt this way. So why not open their own shop on the East Coast? They settled on the beautiful Berkshire mountains in a magnificent glass home in the middle of the woods. They hired expert chefs and fitness experts to teach classes and lead hikes, but you can work out as much or as little as you want. (There’s also a pool, and no one will think less of you for kicking back by it). Best of all: It’s only 3 hours from Manhattan.

Price: $5,200 for 4 days or $6,000 for 5 days.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Guide to the Berkshires

Pegasus Malibu

Pegasus Malibu

Where: Malibu, CA

Visitors to Pegasus, in the Malibu hills, might expect Tony Stark—aka Ironman—to swoop in at any moment. And why not? This super luxurious getaway is held in a manse that looks similar to Stark’s, with crazy angles and gadgets and amazing views of the Pacific. But it’s not all fun and games. Owner Rory McWhinnie says, “We’re not here to starve you. You need fuel to work out.” The food is all organic and vegan. Breakfast—a smoothie—is at 6:30, followed by 6-8 miles hiking in the nearby mountains. Then lunch, usually a delicately crafted salad or, say, cauliflower pizza, followed by 2-3 hours of strength training, yoga, and massages. Dinner (a delicious soup or salad) is around 4:30. It’s a full day, but he’s right: You are surprisingly un-hungry. By the end of the week, you’ll feel amazing.

Price: $7200 per person per week or $12,800 for two weeks. Couples are $12,800 per week or $22,800 for two.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Guide to Los Angeles

Body and Soul Adventures

Body and Soul Adventure

WHERE: Santa Cruz, CA

The operative word here is “adventure.” Owner Mike Mitchell founded BSA in Brazil in 2001, which included hiking, kayaking, and massage on a Brazilian island with no cars. After shuttering it last year, he relocated to California with his family and opened an outpost in the Santa Cruz mountains. In addition to the requisite hiking (in the redwoods!) and vegetarian food, guests canoe on the Pacific and make use of the city of San Francisco (those hills are good for something).

Price: The best part is that guests pay anywhere from $100 to $6000 for a 4 to 6-day stay. The price is a donation to Mitchell’s philanthropy project, Project Play Soccer, a non-profit that takes soccer equipment to children in Africa. “I know it sounds crazy but most guests who come either have empathy or will learn about it during their BSA experience,” says Mitchell.  

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Guide to Santa Cruz

Sean King

Body Temple Boot Camp

WHERE: Pahoa, Hawaii

Champion body builder Kieba Blacklidge runs retreats out of her funky home on the Big Island, where she has a full gym built into a little treehouse. Think Swiss Family Robinson meets Jillian Michaels. Blacklidge makes all the meals (it’s mostly a raw paleo diet), trains “campers” herself, and creates custom workout and diet plans to take home. Prices range from $2,100-$3,100 a week, depending on accommodations. Options include a rustic cabin on property, a nearby bed and breakfast, or even a tent. Three meals, two snacks, swimming, hiking, private yoga classes, and a massage are included in the price. She also offers a “fitcation” which does not include food, and training, massages, and yoga can be added on. Guests would have their own kitchen and a shared bathroom. 

Price: $2,100-$3,100 a week, depending on accommodations. If you go the “fitcation” route, it’s $300/week for 1 person, or $360 for two.  

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Guide to the Big Island