Exercise more, learn a new skill, travel more. If these sound like your New Year’s resolutions, then we’ve got the perfect ways you can actually accomplish them – while taking a vacation, to boot.
Still looking for New Year’s resolution ideas? You can chase that sense of accomplishment and check goals off your list while you’re on vacation. Here, we highlight three of the most popular New Year’s resolutions, and highlight ways to accomplish them in Opal destinations. And hey, “traveling more” is a popular resolution in itself, so in a way, you’re already ahead of the game.
Resolution #1: Learn a New Skill
Take a Cooking Lesson [Key West, FL]
Learning to cook is a classic New Year’s resolution. But instead of toiling away in your own kitchen, get expert guidance under the Keys’ top chefs with Isle Cook in Key West. Yes, first and foremost, this Whitehead Street venue is an upscale kitchen and tableware store, but a built-in demonstration kitchen is the site for a diverse, rolling slate of classes. Their most popular: the weekly Chef’s Tasting Menu series, which brings in a different local chef to lead a multi-course cooking demo based on a unique theme or ingredient, like shellfish, vegetarian dishes, chocolate, Tuscan-inspired cuisine, and more.
Where to Stay Sunset Key Cottages
Learn to Ski…Finally [Lake Placid, NY]
Whiteface is known as the Olympic mountain, and fittingly, it’s a place that develops Olympic talent, such as local Andrew Weibrecht, a two-time Olympic medalist, who learned and honed his skills on this 4,000-footer overlooking Lake Placid. While you may not be headed for a podium, the mountain’s beginner one- and three-day programs – rated one of the top in the East – will have you confidently carving up the slopes in no time.
Where to Stay Lake Placid Lodge
Practice Becoming More Mindful [Sarasota, FL]
Meditation is a common shared habit of the ultra-successful – why not integrate it into your 2018? Set in the heart of Sarasota, Kadampa Meditation Center offers visitors daily drop-in meditation classes in their Buddhist temple, regardless of experience level or religion. Classes include Beginners Meditation, which gives a practical intro on the benefits of meditation, mindfulness, good posture, types of meditation, and more; Simply Meditate, which aims to improve mindfulness and reduce stress; and even a Kids Meditation, designed to help children develop a peaceful, positive state of mind.
Resolution #2: Exercise More
Snowshoe in the Adirondacks [Lake George, NY]
If you’re going to exercise, you may as well see some spectacular scenery while you’re at it. Bundle up, grab your gear, and head to the Cat and Thomas Mountains Loop to snowshoe for the day. For a shorter two- to three-hour trek (perfect for families), stop at the cabin at the top of Thomas Mountain before turning around. If you’re up for the full four- to six-hour hike, snowshoe all the way to the top of the 1,956-foot Cat Mountain, and enjoy the gorgeous vistas of southern Lake George, from the Tongue Mountain Range to the north to Buck Mountain to the south.
Where to Stay The Sagamore Resort
Play in the Ultimate Backyard [Rockport, ME]
Nobody said those workouts you promised you’d do had to be confined to a gym – so if you find yourself at the Samoset Resort, a visit to The Ultimate Backyard should count as your workout for the day, and then some. With a basketball court, a nine-hole disc golf course, multiple tennis courts, pickleball, shuffleboard, horseshoes, badminton, and even a playground for the little ones, there’s plenty to do to get your heart pumping.
Where to Stay Samoset Resort
Paddle in Privacy [Clearwater Beach, FL]
Standup paddleboard isn’t just a cool way to take in on-the-water scenery, it’s also a means of getting an amazing core workout. Paddle Out Adventures, located in Clearwater Municipal Marina, offers all the equipment, but instead of simply sending you on your way, they fire up their pontoon boat to first escort you to secluded beaches, islands, and lagoons. Here, far away from boat traffic, wind, open water, and crowded sands, you’ll take in the sights at your own paddling pace.
Resolution #3: Live Life to the Fullest
Take a Day Trip to Dry Tortugas National Park [Key West, FL]
Seventy miles west of Key West, there’s an expanse of tropical water that contains seven tiny islands, scarcely more than a series of dots on a map. These are the waters and islands of Dry Tortugas National Park, one of America’s most remote national parks. And as we all know, where people don’t go, animals come in droves. A day trip to the Dry Tortugas’s remote and pristine wilderness that teems with marine life offers all of the adventures of Caribbean island–hopping – snorkeling, diving, even a formidable fort to explore – minus the passport. Hop on the ferry that departs from Key West, take your own boat, or take the ultimate transport with the best view (seaplane) – no matter how you get there, you’ll return sun-kissed, a bit salt-encrusted, and with plenty of memories.
Go Dancing…at a Movie Theater? [West Palm Beach, FL]
Going out dancing may not be something you do too often when you’re home, so why not let loose on vacation? For one of the coolest – and little known – dance atmospheres, head to the AMC movie theater in CityPlace in downtown West Palm Beach. Located above the theater, you’ll find Premier Bar, an art deco gem of a lounge serving creative movie-themed cocktails and top-40 hits on the dance floor. Come on a Monday or Wednesday for the free salsa classes.
Where to Stay Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa
Give Kiteboarding a Try [Delray Beach, Stuart & Jupiter Beach, FL]
Maybe kiteboarding is one of those things that you’ve seen others do, and you admire it from afar in a “wow-that’s-so-amazing-but-I-could-never-do-that” kind of way. Don’t let that stop you. New Wave Kiteboarding has locations in Delray Beach, Stuart, and Jupiter Beach, so no matter where you vacation, there’s an opportunity to learn from the masters (they’ve been featured on The Travel Channel and National Geographic as one of Florida’s top kiteboarding schools). Because they teach only in shallow bay waters that are protected from the open ocean, the learning curve is drastically reduced, allowing you to get up and take flight in no time. When all is said and done, you’ll have the memory, bragging rights, and (hopefully) Instagram photos to last a lifetime.