It’s truly a shame that a nation blessed with such a unique variety of landscapes has a population that doesn’t always take the time to go out and appreciate them, while getting fit. We’ve all heard the reports of the obesity epidemic, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and the stress of modern life taking its toll on the human body. Going outside in the fresh air isn’t exactly going to solve all these problems, but it’s a start.
This post is for those who need some inspiration to drop their phones and get out into the open air, for adrenaline junkies looking for their next fix, for families who need somewhere to take their kids out to burn off some of that delightful childhood energy, and for anyone who’s just searching for their next adventure. As well as suggesting great activities to get fit, for each State we’ve provided you with some information about the climate, one unmissable scenic view, one fact and a signature drink from the region that you should definitely treat yourself to.
So get up of the couch and get that blood pumping!
Get fit in Arizona
Enjoying very mild winters and scorching summers, Arizona offers plenty of opportunities for the active explorer. As the state is home to some stunning National Parks, there are many beautiful trails to walk, including the 8 mile Bright Angel Trail for those who enjoy a challenge, and the less strenuous Cape Royal Trail (1 mile) which follows the north rim of the Grand Canyon. Another great way to experience the Red Rock Country is with a Jeep Safari tour. The bumpy trail roads and steep climbs will definitely get your blood pumping!
Arizona’s National Parks have some great hidden swimming pools for you to cool off in. A dip in Oak Creek, Red Rock State Park, is a fun way to spend an afternoon.
- Avoid heat and monsoon season in midsummer.
- Horseshoe Bend, in the Grand Canyon.
- Sunbru, a Kolsch style ale brewed by Four Peaks Brewing Company in Phoenix, Arizona
- The village of Supai, Arizona, is the only place in the United States where the mail is delivered by mule
Get fit in California
The home of Hollywood and the crashpad of America’s sexiest celebrities, California is definitely the State to get yourself toned and tanned. As it’s blessed with mountains, forests and miles of beautiful coastline, you can take your pick of activities. Near to Los Angeles International Airport is the area of Palos Verdes, which has cycle lanes and stunning views. Spend a day lazily exploring the neighbourhood and looking out for whales from the bluffs.
Nestled on the coast between San Francisco and Los Angeles is the small city of Carmel-by-the-Sea. The calms waves and awesome local wildlife make it a great place for beginners to learn sea kayaking. Imagine paddling down the coast, being guided by an instructor who can show you the best of the local flora and fauna: it’s pretty cool right?
- As California covers such a large area, the climate varies a lot, but spring and fall are generally good times to go to avoid temperature extremes
- Alamere Falls, a waterfall that runs directly into the sea
- California’s vineyards produce many notable and prizewinning wines
- California’s state motto is ‘Eureka’
Get fit in Alaska
‘The Last Frontier’ is a place designed to keep the most experienced of adventurers on their toes. Miles of unbroken wilderness offer you a ton of opportunities to raise your heart rate. With guaranteed snow every winter (and far into what most of us would consider spring), Alaska is the perfect state for skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling and whatever else you can imagine doing that involves travelling quickly across frozen water. For a twist on traditional skiing, there’s a nordic skiing rental office near Anchorage, the state’s biggest city. If you’re there in summer, there’s a whole range of other activities on offer, including guided climbing expeditions, camping, rafting and hiking. Just keep an eye out for the bears!
- Mild (see: chilly) summers and cold cold winters
- Mendenhall Glacier. Bonus points if you scale it
- Permafrost Vodka. This drink is Alaska in a bottle: made from local potatoes and distilled using glacier water, it comes in many flavours including smoked salmon
- There’s a species of frog in Alaska which freezes over the winter and its heart stops beating, only to thaw out in warmer weather
Get fit in Florida
Ok, so we aren’t stretching the imagination here with choosing Florida as an active state. The ocean is your playground in Florida, meaning that you can do all kinds of crazy water sports like surfing, jet skiing and flyboarding. With year round sunshine, you don’t have to even leave the city to get a tan and try out some cool sports. Miami is a paradise for fun activities, like renting out electric bikes to explore the city. Other stuff not to miss out on is snorkelling in the pristine seas around Tortugas National Park, and getting the adrenaline rush of running away from alligators in the Everglades (just kidding, please don’t try to see if you can outrun a gator). Anyway, you get the picture. Anything you love doing on the beach and in the sunshine, you can do in Florida, and you’ll probably find a new sport to get involved with too.
- Warm, stormy summers and mild winters
- St Augustine, Florida, the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in mainland United States
- Freshly squeezed Florida orange juice, with a mixer of your choice (if desired)
- Florida is the flattest state in the US. Don’t come here for the climbing
Get fit in Nevada
Characterised by deserts and the famous Sierra Nevada mountain range, Nevada has plenty of space for you to get your fitness on. The oldest and largest park in the State, Valley of Fire, has loads of beginner’s hiking trails that are easy for all levels and all come with amazing views. Inyo National Park also permits camping, meaning that you can factor in a longer hike and more time out in the wilderness.
For a different kind of thrill, head to Las Vegas for action and adventure. Anything goes in Sin City, which is why we’re classing racing a sports car on a track as exercise. It’s definitely going to get your heart rate up!
If you’re feeling brave, you could also walk up to the 108th floor of the Las Vegas Stratosphere and jump off the top, attached a harness that slows you down just before you reach the ground. It’s way more exciting than the treadmill.
- Hot hot summers, mild to cool winters, virtually no rain
- Lake Tahoe
- Breakfast Martini, to start your day off Las Vegas style
- The ‘Welcome to Las Vegas’ sign was created by a local graphic designer, who never trademarked it
Get fit in Hawaii
Surfing is imprinted into Hawaiian culture, and you’re missing out if you don’t try it for yourself. Hookipa, in between the islands Paia and Maui, has the perfect conditions to produce consistent waves which can set you in a great rhythm. It gets windy around midday and early afternoon, but that leaves you the morning or early afternoon to get your surf game on.
Heading inland, other activities in Hawaii include mountain biking, as Hawaii has some excellent slopes to challenge yourself on. For an added thrill, the mountain in question is actually a volcano. It’s a pretty steep track with hairpin bends and a few bumps in the road, For the perfect day, we’d recommend watching the sun rise up over the volcano, biking down as fast as your legs can carry you, then throwing yourself in the sea to cool off. There are definitely worse ways to spend a day.
- Tropical, so fairly consistent from summer to winter. The wet season is from October to April. Hot hot summers, mild to cool winters, virtually no rain
- Nu’uanu Pali lookout on to O’ahu
- It’s got to be a Mai Tai, the signature drink of the islands. A classic Mai Tai blends orange Curacao, lime juice, syrup, orgeat, light rum and dark rum
- Due to the continuously erupting volcanoes, Hawaii is the only state in the nation to actually be growing in size
Get fit in New York State
Ok, this one is a bit of a cheat because it will all be about New York. Yes, there are beautiful mountains and forests in upstate New York that you can do all kinds of wilderness activities in, but here we are going to discuss being fit and active in NYC. You can stride the sidewalks whilst taking in the sights, jog in Central Park or take the stairs up to your 26th storey apartment, or you can do some of the crazy exercise classes available in the Big Apple. Beyond your classic CrossFit or Soul Cycle, there’s a wealth of ways to work up a sweat. Try Dance Cardio to burn off calories to music, along with strength training to build up muscle tone. It’s dance party with no hangover!
New York is also home to a virtual surfing class (yes, it’s true), on boards that move so you can practice your balance and work on your core strength. If virtual surfing is too safe for you, try the real thing in the New York Rockies.
- Warm summers, cold winters, humidity
- Zoar Valley swimming hole
- The Big Apple brews its own cider! Well, the 1911 brewing company in Upstate New York does. They make a delicious hard cider and control the process from tree to bottle
- It can cost up to $289,00 per year to have a hot dog stand permit in Central Park
Get fit in Colorado
Colorado may not have coastline, but the Rocky Mountains, long rivers and national parks will be plenty enough to entertain you. Taylor River is famous for white water rafting along the many rapids. Strap yourself and your team into the raft, grab a paddle and try not to fall in!
To cover more ground, you could also try horseriding instead of a simple hiking or biking experience. Going with a guide will give you more knowledge of the area, and they can pick a trail that’s right for your level of experience too.
In winter, Colorado has regular snow coverage, making it perfect for frozen adventures. Skiing, snowshoeing and sleigh rides are quintessentially Coloradan activities to try out. Snowmobiling in the Arapahoe National Forest is the perfect way to take in the scenery. There are loads of trails reaching up to 11,000 feet in elevation, and guides to show you around. Ok, it might not be as active as skiing, but it will get your heart pounding!
- Varies hugely according to where you are in the State. Generally mild summers and cold winters, with very clear sunny skies.
- Hanging Lake
- Colorado Bulldog. A mixture of vodka, Kahlua, milk, ice and a splash of coke
- Colorado is the only state that’s turned down the chance to host the Olympics
Have we missed out your State or activity of choice?
Let us know in the comments section below!