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10 Ways To Exercise On Vacation

You don’t have to stop your workouts just because you’re on a trip. Find 10 Ways To Exercise On Vacation here.

If you want more create ways to stay in shape, check out all of our fitness posts.

A woman on a treadmill in a hotel with the words "10 Ways To Exercise On Vacation" digitally written above her.

Back when Pete worked earlier house, we would take a walk every day. That was my exercise. It was his warm up. After we walked, he worked out. That’s amazing to me, but not something I could add into my schedule. It was hard enough for me to find time for our daily walk. And if you’re on vacation, it’s so hard to find time to work out. Between breakfast buffets, sightseeing, and nights out on the town, exercise just doesn’t take top priority. But if you’re like us, you don’t want to break your routine — especially when you’re enjoying that buffet breakfast. So we figured out 10 ways to exercise on vacation.

And figured I’d pass my tips on on to you.

So sorry, but now you have no excuse to skip that vacation workout.

10 Ways To Exercise On Vacation

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A few summers ago, Pete and I went to Beaufort, North Carolina. We had never been there before, so we wanted to see everything the cute river town had to offer. We parked our car and walked around the downtown area, stopping at historical spots and monuments.

Walking around and sightseeing was a great way to spend our morning. We got back to the car just before lunchtime and Pete’s Fitbit buzzed. We had walked 8,000 steps before noon.

Since we had never been to the town, we didn’t know what was around. So we opened Pokémon Go. Pokéstops are usually areas of interest, so we walked from Pokéstop to Pokéstop. The game told us what we were looking at, which was the perfect map for our scenic tour.

A man laying on a treadmill in a hotel fitness center.

Book a hotel with a fitness center

Pete and I went to Hilton Head Island and there was a great fitness center in the resort where we stayed. It was open 24 hours, which was great. But what was also great was you didn’t have an excuse to not use it.

Pete asked me to go with him and I said I didn’t have sneakers. I had packed four pairs of footwear for that trip, but no sneakers. Our resort actually had a rental program where you could borrow any workout gear — including sneakers. I didn’t do it, and instead decided to get my exercise by walking on the beach, but the fitness center was great for Pete.

Every time we stay at a hotel, a fitness center is the first thing Pete will look for. I used to let him workout without me while I took a shower, but I did feel lazy about it. So now, I always make sure to pack sneakers and head down to the gym with him. Even if I’m just walking slowly on the treadmill, I feel better.

If your hotel doesn’t have a fitness center, ask if the hotel has a relationship with a local gym. We stayed in a hotel once where the fitness center was under construction. As an apology, the hotel was offering day passes to a gym up the road.

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Rent bikes

When we were in Washington, DC, our hotel actually had bikes for guests to use freely. We only ever saw one, though, and that wouldn’t work since we would both need to borrow a bike. In Hilton Head, there were bike rentals everywhere. That island is super bike friendly. That’s a perfect way to get in some exercise and see the city.

Charleston, South Carolina is like Hilton Head in that it is so bike friendly. There’s a program there called Holy Spokes where you can rent bikes, ride them around, and then just return them to the bike rack when you’re done. That’s a great way to see a city, get exercise, and not have to walk.

Some towns, like San Antonio, use a bike share program called B Cycle. We used that when we were there and rode bikes all over the city. Find out more in our Guide To BCycle Bike Share For Tourists.

Sunset on the beach.

Head to the beach

Vacation is about relaxing, right? And what better place to relax than on a blanket on the beach? We live at the beach and I still find it so relaxing.

When you’re relaxing, though, be sure to sneak in a little exercise. Go swimming and get in a low impact workout. Or take a long walk looking for seashells. Seriously, each step on the beach should be worth two on a pedometer.

When we were in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in March, I brought our camera down from the hotel room to photograph birds that were on the beach. From our room, the birds looked a lot closer than they actually were and I got in a lot of steps taking pictures of them.

Go golfing

I don’t golf, but when we have visitors, they love to go golfing because we live down the block from quite a few golf courses. It’s a great way for them to enjoy our North Carolina sunshine — but it’s also a way for them to get in some exercise.

It can be quite strenuous to golf a round, so I hear. Like I said, I don’t golf.

All jokes aside, golfing is a great way to squeeze in some exercise and some quality time with three of your friends when you’re on vacation.

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Hit the outlets

It rained when we were in Hilton Head, which is such a bummer because I really wanted to go outlet shopping and find a Hilton Head Island shirt. The one I loved at the hotel was way out of my price range. Side note: I should have bought it because I regret that every day. So definitely buy that souvenir.

Anyway, we didn’t get to go outlet shopping because I didn’t feel like trying to juggle shopping bags, an umbrella, and my purse.

When I’m on vacation in Florida visiting my parents, we always end up going outlet shopping. It’s something to do besides theme parks, and it’s a great way to get some sunshine and steps.

Indoor pool.

Go Swimming

If your hotel has a pool, use it. Swimming is a great exercise. And it might be something you don’t get to do very often, especially if you don’t live in a community with a pool. Heck, even if you have a pool, it might close during the winter, so a hotel pool would be perfect.

If the hotel doesn’t have a pool, and you’re on a beach vacation, just take a little swim in the ocean.

Check for fitness channels

When we were in Murphy, North Carolina recently, Pete found a channel on the hotel’s television with free Openfit classes. At least, I think it was Openfit. I wasn’t really paying attention to be honest.

He loved watching them and working out with the trainers. We stayed for two nights and he did workout routines via the channel both days. They really kicked his butt too. So definitely look for something like that on the Guide on the hotel’s television.

If you can’t find a channel, you can just clear out a space in the hotel room and turn on a fitness app. Follow along doing lunges and jumping jacks and whatever else the instructor says to do.

Sometimes that’s a little complicated because you don’t generally pack weights for your vacation, so you have to skip any exercises that use those. But you can use the chair in your hotel room to do dips and you can use any empty space to do push ups or sit ups. You’ll have to get a little creative, but that’s sort of fun.

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Go hiking

I love hiking. Okay, let me rephrase that. I love walking in the woods. I don’t do any strenuous sort of hiking up mountainsides. Flat trails are good. Stepping across stones is fine. Rock climbing? Not so much.

Hiking on vacation can be great exercise, though. Plus, you’re mostly hiking on trails through woods, so it’s shady and you won’t overheat. Just be really careful to follow the path and trail markers because the last thing you want to do it get lost. And be conscious of how long the trail is versus how much daylight left in the day. You don’t want to hike in the woods at night.

A woman on a rock wall at OC Aerial, a ninja warrior gym in Durham, North Carolina.

Find an adventure park

When we were in Durham, North Carolina, we found OC Aerial, a ninja warrior course and adventure gym with a ropes course, zip line, rock walls, and more.

For a set price, we had access to the adventure park and all its elements for three hours. That was definitely enough time for us to do everything (including eating the complimentary frozen yogurt) and really push our bodies. We were so sore (in the best way) the next day.

What are your favorite suggestions on how to exercise on vacation? Be sure to leave them for us in the comments.


Wednesday 12th of July 2017

Great tips! I love when a hotel has taken some care with their fitness center. I've never seen one that has a rental program, that's pretty awesome.