Planning an Active Vacation (plus a delicious snack recipe for hiking)

No laundry, no dishes, no appointments, and no schedule. Vacation is the best. RELAXATION. I like lying on a lounge chair and reading a book as much as the next person. But to me, it’s even better when you feel like you have earned that rest and relaxation. Enter the active vacation.

Last week I turned FORTY. It is one of the “BIG” birthdays.

To celebrate my 40th trip around the Sun, I  went on a total YOLO vacation with my three sisters. We booked a four-night stay at the Canyon Ranch, a destination luxury wellness spa. (Totally as decadent as it sounds, but hey, you only turn 40 once…and that’s what credit cards are for, right?) Canyon Ranch is all-inclusive and that means accommodations, perfectly-portioned healthy meals and snacks, some spa treatments, most daily scheduled fitness activities, and some metaphysical services like Tarot Readings, Clairvoyants, and Astrocartographers. (Seriously, this place exists.) It is located in the Arizona desert in Tucson, and it is a pretty unique and special place. Other than feeling totally indulged and over-spa’d, here is what I took home from the experience:

  1. I love being super active outdoors in new places. Hiking in the Tucson desert was totally foreign, totally beautiful, and a fabulous way to break a sweat. I felt acutely ALIVE while huffing it through the Saguaro cactus that only grow in that part of the world.
  2. I love meeting and connecting with new, like-minded people.
  3. This amazing life of mine is not a dress rehearsal. I want to have MORE amazing life experiences, see MORE places, connect with friends and family MORE, and live each day to the absolute fullest. More LOVE.
  4. I am not waiting until another “BIG birthday” to do something exciting that sets my soul on fire.

Traveling is one of those thing that just opens you up. It takes you out of your everyday bubble and into the reality of an entire different location and population. Whether its the East Coast or the Middle East, adventure and new experiences await.

I guess there are people who don’t like to travel. I am not one of those people. Bring. It. On.

As we begin to endeavor walking the path of a new healthier lifestyle, it is essential to incorporate good choices into every day, vacation or no. And one of the best ways to get healthier is to just decide that you are now an active person. TA-DA! You are now a “worker-outer”, someone who likes to move, to sweat with friends or alone, and someone who takes ACTIVE vacations. Don’t let your mind tell you otherwise. Just decide.

Summer is coming, and as you are thinking about where to go and what to do, consider a few of the options below. Whether you are on a low-budge road trip to go camping or visit family, or you have a little more money tucked away for a custom active vacation experience, the options are endless.

Here are a few ideas for planning an active vacation:

  • Visit a National Park (or State Park) and hike in the great outdoors.
  • Visiting a city? Bring your sneakers and explore on foot. Paris? Climb the Eiffel Tower. New York? Walk the Brooklyn Bridge. San Francisco? Bike across the Golden Gate.
  • Find a planned trip  to hike or bike your brains out. (For example, Vermont Bike Tours or Back Roads)
  • Go big and google an adventure travel company. (I did that and found  Untamed Path, which is now on my bucket list.)
  • Save money and DIY:  create your own itinerary, find your own accommodations, and just get outside.

Because I am a holistic nutritionist and not a travel blogger, I felt it was important to include a recipe with this blog post. Try this delicious Canyon Ranch recipe for Pumpkin Crunch, a healthy portable snack that you can bring with you on the airplane, in the car, and on your next outdoor adventure. Bon appetit and bon voyage!

Pumpkin Crunch

Yield: 10 servings

Serving Size: 1/4 cup


  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 1/4 cups dried cranberries


  1. Preheat oven to 300. Lightly spray a baking sheet with coconut oil and spread pumpkin seeds evenly over the sheet. Roast for 20 minutes or until almost dry. (Or skip this step and buy roasted pepitas.)
  2. Place roasted pumpkin seeds in a medium bowl and mix in maple syrup until coated. Combine spices in a large bowl and add pumpkin seeds. Place back on baking sheet and return to oven. Roast for 15 minutes or until dry. Be sure not to burn. Set seeds aside until completely cool, for about thirty minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, combine cooled seeds with dried cranberries.


adapted from Canyon Ranch recipe


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