Orange County: the Perfect Destination for a Weekend Wellness Retreat

It goes without saying that Orange County dwellers are beautiful from head to toe, inside and out.

Glowing skin and toned muscles grace the exterior, but it’s what you can’t see that gives OC’ers a well-defined leg up – incorporating healthy choices on a daily basis.  Whether it’s putting in some sweat equity at a state-of-the-art fitness center, spending the afternoon draped across a heated massage table or bellying up to the local juice bar for a shot of wheatgrass, it all comes down to, well, wellness – which is easy to achieve if you know where to start.

What the Health

Newport Beach launched its inaugural Wellness Week this past August featuring seven days of citywide experiences, from holistic hotel and spa packages to health-centric menus at local restaurants.  But you don’t need to wait for its return to get mentally and physically fit.

Many of Orange County’s resorts and spas offer wellness opportunities for both guests and non-guests. At Pelican Hill Resort start your morning with a meditation class designed to relax, focus and reset with a guided meditation to tackle the day. For the quintessential coastal getaway, Surf & Sand Resort in Laguna Beach offers its professional-led Fitness on the Beach classes.  With your toes in the sand and weights in your hand, enjoy early morning classes such as yoga, flexible strength, balance, cardio burn and more.  Paséa Hotel &Spa in Huntington Beach offers a roster of daily wellness classes, but it’s the weekly #WineWednesdays Yoga that has participants raising their arm (and stemware) as they sip (and downward dog dip) all while enjoying California wine.

Good For You Food

Eat, drink and feel marvelous while dining out in The OC. Orange County has an abundance of restaurants that offer fresh and local ingredients prepared by chefs who embrace the Slow Food Movement, source from local farmers and fishermen and use cooking techniques–such as poaching instead of frying–for optimum health benefits.

Housed in a vintage clapboard cottage overlooking Coast Highway, Urth Caffe features an array of healthy options. The Berry Bowl is a morning favorite and packed with seasonal berries topped with a dollop of yogurt or cottage cheese. Locally sourced with a farm-to-fork menu, Farmhouse at Roger’s Gardens features a fabulous menu of heart-healthy edibles.  The signature vegetable plate offers a medley of seasonal veggies packed with flavor and texture, from pickled onions and roast spaghetti squash with cilantro pesto to broccolini and cauliflower drizzled with roast shallot vinaigrette.  Butterleaf, a plant-based dining destination in Irvine, offers plenty of meatless options that even a carnivore would enjoy including a black bean-based burger, quinoa-stuffed burritos, and innovative avocado bombs.

Check out Orange County’s farmers’ markets, held on various days of the week in each city.  It’s the ideal place to discover a harvest of fresh fruit, vegetables, artisanal goods, and local honey.

Feeling Spa-tacular

Part of feeling good is also being treated well…really well.  And nothing feels better than muscles gently kneaded by a skilled therapist, warm towels cocooning neglected skin or the scent of lavender filling a dimly-lit treatment room as your mind slowly empties of thought.

After a workout that includes traipsing through Fashion Island and all its incredible shops and designer boutiques, do some soul searching at The Spa at Fashion Island Hotel.  Relieve tired feet with a reflexology treatment while stimulating nerve function, boosting circulation and eliminating toxins.  A 15-minute foot massage can also be added on to any service for a nominal fee. The 20,000 square-foot Spa Montage at The Montage Resort in Laguna Beach educates teens on the importance of wellness by offering the Z Generation their own spa menu, from facials and massages to lessons in make-up application.  Book the Mommy and Me Spa Day for you and your teen with side-by-side massages, facials or nail services. The award-winning resort also offers private fitness classes for kids.  Pacific Waters Spa at the Hyatt Huntington Beach Resort and Spa entices with an indulgent Coastal Detox Scrub and Wrap experience designed to actively invigorate the skin using coffee, olive stones, and fresh lemons.

Orange County also offers some great blood-pumping activities that need no advance planning.  Try pedaling a bike along the boardwalk in Newport Beach or Huntington Beach.  Strap on some hiking boots for a reflective jaunt along Shady Canyon Trail in Irvine or the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve in Huntington Beach.  Go kayaking or try standup paddling in Dana Point or Laguna Beach for a stress-free experience.  The choices are truly endless.

A sojourn to Orange County can be both mindless and mindful leaving you feeling relaxed, rejuvenated, reinvigorated and something you’ll definitely want to repeat.