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Activities for the Best Relaxing Vacations

Whether you’re looking for a chill family getaway or a relaxing couples vacation, we’ve got the spots to kick back! 

Woman relaxing on a beach hammock
Why not treat yourself to paradise?

For many of us, vacations are all about kicking back. While the classic chill-out activities are probably on your list–hitting the spa, anyone?–there are even more ways to relax you may not know, which can even help you explore!  

Next trip, consider these activities to immerse yourself, kick back, and leave any stress behind: 

Man on a hiking trail surrounded by lush green tropical plants in El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico.
A leisurely hike in El Yunque National Forest is nothing short of relaxing.

Take a “forest bath”: San Juan, Puerto Rico

Sure, a hot bath can be relaxing, but what about “bathing” in a forest? That’s right! Getting out into nature surrounded by trees can reduce your stress levels and calm your mind. 

And El Yunque National Park, the only tropical rainforest in the United States, is the perfect place to “take a dip”.  See towering tabonuco trees and giant ferns, not to mention tons of colorful wildlife like tree frogs and tropical birds!  

Wide shot of Merida Cathedral in Merida, Mexico.
The Merida Cathedral is one of the oldest cathedrals in the Americas!

Listen to local music: Merida, Mexico

Picture this: Strolling through cobblestone streets lined with colonial-era homes painted in vibrant pinks and blues. You come to a wide plaza, smell spiced pork, and sit down on a bench just as a band starts. 

Sounds like a relaxing day? Merida, Mexico–one of the top places to travel in 2022–can make it a reality, since most Sundays feature live music in town squares. Kick back and get a taste for the culture of the Yucatán. 

Mother and daughter sightseeing the open-air sculpture gallery in Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence, Italy.
Florence, Italy is home to the Loggia dei Lanzi, a beautiful open-air sculpture gallery.

Marvel at art and architecture: Europe

You can really calm your mind and “get lost” when looking at a great artwork or an architectural wonder, and Europe has plenty! 

You may first think of the colosseum in Rome, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, or Big Ben in London–and with good reason! But Florence, Italy is the birthplace of the Renaissance and boasts gorgeous Botticelli paintings, towering cathedrals, and the world famous David sculpture!

Amsterdam is another art and architecture hub, with sights like the Van Gogh art museum and rows of the famed Dutch buildings along scenic canals.

Sunset view of the blue dome churches of Santori, Greece.
Santorini at sunset will feel like you’re sailing through a real-life painting.

Sail at sunset: Santorini 

Relaxing in Greece? You’re probably picturing Santorini and gorgeous blue water. The famous blue-domed cliffside homes dazzle in the sunlight as you sail in, but evening views are just as gorgeous!

After exploring winding vineyards, hit peak relaxation by sailing into the sunset as Mediterranean waters reflect rippling golden hues. And as night rolls in, gliding under a canopy of stars will make you wonder if there’s a better possible way to end the day.

Group horseback riding on Half Moon Cay's beaches
Horseback riding is a fave-fave excursion in Half Moon Cay.

Go horseback riding: Half Moon Cay

For many travelers to the Bahamas, kicking back at the beach is their perfect idea of rest and relaxation. But why not take it to the next level? Horseback is yet another relaxing beach activity.

In Half Moon Cay, a paradise that feels like your own private island, you can ride a horse along lush, tropical trails. And after taking in all the natural beauty, you (and your horse) can cool off in the crystal-clear waters!

Woman meditating as she's surrounded by nature.
Yoga’s a great way to keep your plans super fun (and flexible)!

Stretch it out: Belize

While running a 10K isn’t anyone’s idea of relaxing, some exercise really can help! Enter yoga. 

Stretching out your muscles, relaxing your mind, taking deep breaths–a gentle yoga class is a way to reset and get into vacation mode. Plus, plenty of classes are offered outdoors in ideal tropical destinations. More than half of Belize is covered in jungle, so it’s hard to beat!

Couple taking a selfie in front of the Chichen Itza pyramid in Mexico.
The Chichen Itza pyramid in Mexico is just one of many snap-worthy destinations!

Start snapping shots: The Caribbean

You may be wondering, is the entire Caribbean ideal for taking pictures? The answer is, simply, you bet! With beautiful beaches galore, you’ll make friends and family jealous if you lean into your inner shutterbug, plus wandering with a camera is a relaxing way to explore the many attractions. 

Gnarled, wind-blown trees dot Aruba’s seaside; unique twisting branches make for more interesting pics than typical palm shots! And speaking of unique, shooting pics of Mayan ruins in the Yucatán Peninsula or near Tulum is another must!

If you’re in Jamaica, you’ll definitely want to give its colonial forts a shot! They’re the famous backdrops of iconic pirate movies, so be sure to take a few photos there to remember all your adventures in the Caribbean.