By Shelby Deering | Photo courtesy Dragonfly Hot Yoga
The leisurely vacation is great — the one where you’re lying in a hammock without a clock in sight, or you’re taking in new locales at an unhurried pace. But, how about mixing those laid-back experiences with ones that will make you feel your best — in mind, body and soul. After an afternoon nap, you may want to go for a run alongside a scenic lake. Or check out a nearby CrossFit studio. Or stay at a resort where meditation and nutritious eats are on the itinerary.
Whatever your speed, take a look at these favorite, feel-good-to-your-toes wellness destinations from around the state.
It’s fun to play tourist in your own town — luckily, Madison is chock-full of fitness-friendly spots. As the mecca of IRONMAN Wisconsin and the NOBULL CrossFit Games, Madison is also one of the most bike path-rich cities around with 75 miles of paths. It also doesn’t skimp on yoga studios. To turn up the heat, drop in to one of Dragonfly Hot Yoga’s three locations, where you can partake in classic yoga classes or ones that emphasize High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). To slow things down, rent a stand-up paddleboard, canoe or kayak through Brittingham Boats, Marshall Boats or Wingra Boats, located on Madison’s three main bodies of water. Practice mindfulness and purposeful moving with a local forest therapy guide, like Moira Farrell of Hike and Heal Wellness or Kate Bast of Shinrin-yoku Madison.
Book a staycation at the AC Hotel Madison, which boasts a prime downtown location and ninth-floor fitness room with a jaw-dropping Capitol view. The Edgewater Madison is another perfect choice, with its signature spa as well as an amenity-packed wellness center with a relaxation pool, fitness classes and steam room. A quick jaunt down State Street takes you to Forage Kitchen, which crafts its own line of kombucha, as well as grain bowls and salads.
Nestled near the Apostle Islands, Bayfield is an outdoor lover’s paradise, where the mind is calmed by natural surroundings and there are lots of chances to work up a sweat. To go for a run, bike ride or long walk, head out on Bayfield’s many trails, like the Chequamegon National Forest’s 300-mile system of mountain-bike trails, along with 38 hiking trails found in Bayfield County. For “paths” of the water variety, enjoy a guided sea kayak tour around Lake Superior and the Apostle Islands with local companies like Bayfield Kayak and Trek & Trail.
After soaking up all that nature, find your center with Jenny Tumas Yoga. The instructor provides group and one-on-one classes focusing on Vinyasa for all yoga levels at three area locations. Polish off your wellness trip with a stay at Wild Rice Retreat, an oasis located a stone’s throw from the lake, offering yoga and meditation retreats along with beautiful cottages for overnight stays and locally-sourced meals.
Head to western Wisconsin for new ways to work your body and soothe your mind. Eau Claire is home to The Center, a lovely stone cottage with classes to challenge the body — like Gentle Yoga and Zumba — and experiences that promote improved mental health, including Buddhist meditation, energy healing and tai chi.
To hit up outdoor destinations, like the Eau Claire River and the Chippewa River State Trail, book a stay at The Oxbow Hotel — boutique accommodations that provide guests with free bikes. Or, on the weekend, sign up at the front desk for a two-hour canoe or kayak paddle. For fresh ways to get moving, take a class at Dragonfly Dance & Wellness, where you’ll find your rhythm at Hip Hop Fit or line dance at Country Kick. Let any worries float away at an aerial yoga class at Sky Yoga and Fitness. Then sip a customized smoothie at Crave 80/20.
With the Fox River winding straight through the Fox Cities — which include Appleton, Oshkosh and a collection of small towns — it’s no wonder that this area is filled with waterside trails.
The Loop the Lake trail (shown) is a scenic, 3.2-mile path that starts in Neenah and connects to Fox Crossing and Menasha. It has views of Little Lake Butte Des Morts, four trestle bridges and a few parks along the way. The Fox Cities Paper Trail is a 50- mile loop that wraps in 11 communities, 20 parks and idyllic views of the river and Lake Winnebago. Don’t forget to bring your bike, or you can rent one from Recyclist Bicycle Co., located in Kaukauna.
To take things indoors, visit Blankfield BodyFit in Neenah for a circuit train- ing, Pilates or boot camp-style class. Appleton’s Rooted Yoga provides morning stretch, chair yoga and yoga classes for all abilities. Cool down after a workout with a Green Goddess smoothie or kombucha at Appleton’s Bona Fide Juicery. Then practice some self-care time at the CopperLeaf Hotel in downtown Appleton — in addition to the fitness room, the hotel offers in-room yoga mats.
It might surprise you to learn that Wisconsin’s motherland of cheese and beer, otherwise known as Milwaukee, boasts some of the best fitness locales in the state. If you’re looking for a challenging workout in between brewery tours, head to Cream City CrossFit Co-op, a member-owned studio housed in a historic brick building. Or Water Street’s locally-owned SPIRE Fitness, lets you achieve your best-possible work- out through a music-pumping indoor cycling, rowing or TRX class. With four locations, Empower Yoga employs infra- red heat to rev up metabolism and loosen muscles. Or, get a breath of fresh air with an omTown Yogis class, held outdoors at various Milwaukee parks.
To wind down, savor a custom-made salad at Milwaukee Public Market’s The Green Kitchen, brimming with vegan and gluten-free options. A bit west, Brookfield’s Café Manna is another vegetarian wonderland — don’t miss the vegan pho or the black bean and mushroom burger. End your day at the stylish Saint Kate Arts Hotel, readied with Peloton bikes and TRX equipment in the fitness room.
SELF-CARE IN KOHLER
Already famed for its Kohler Waters Spa at The American Club and luxe studio Yoga on the Lake, the small town of Kohler presents another wellness opportunity. Get the most of the Kohler experience by staying at the resort, where you’ll have access to its five-star spa and wildlife grounds. Might we recommend the Destress Journey wellness package? It includes a two-night stay, meals, spa services, a yoga class, in-room aromatherapy and the use of a bicycle during the stay. destinationkohler.com