Fitness trends are born in California. Specifically, they judder into athleisure-clad life on the streets of LA.
Pilates and pull ups. Yoga and boxing. Cycling and weightlifting. The pairing of disparate fitness pursuits grows ever more outlandish in the bid to be the next #fitspo sensation. Once there were ‘it’ bags. Now there are ‘it’ classes.
Which is all very well. But it can be hard to keep up with – and we’re not just talking about your intimidatingly lithe instructor.
Luckily, for those who like their hols to feature a healthy mix of fitness and pleasure, just 40 minutes’ drive south of LA sits Newport Beach.
Orange County’s laid-back paradise keeps the cream of LA’s classes, but drops the hipster-heavy experimentation. Add in some of the most stunning landscapes in California, perfect for trekking, cycling and running, plus one of the world’s most famous surf spots, and you’ve got all the ingredients for a perfect wellness break.
Hit the surf with a paddle yoga class
As you’d expect in fitness-obsessed California, you’re not short of choice when it comes to exercise options, but for something quintessentially OC head to Bliss Paddle Yoga (blisspaddleyoga.com). You can do a paddle lesson and a tour, paddle pilates or even – our favourite – ‘Sunset Paddle Yoga’.
Stand up paddle boarding provides a taxing workout for your arms and core, while yoga is the perfect stretching counterpoint. Bonus: someone will probably fall off their board at some point. Which will be humorous – even if it’s you.
There’s innumerable trails running along Newport Beach’s stunning coast, but keen walkers should head inland for one of the hidden gems of the area: Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve (ocparks.com).
One of the most famous locations in all of North America for birdwatching, this 135-acre reserve offers the chance to amble through salt marshes, wooded wetlands, open and fresh water expanses and sandy beaches in just a few hours.
The problem with cycling is hills. Going down is great. Going up: not so much. Grab a two-wheeler from Pedego Electric Bikes (pedegoelectricbikes.com), however, and you can soar up even the steepest incline with just a twist of your wrist.
An electric bike is the easiest way to explore
Hiring a pedego for a day is without doubt the best way to see the surrounding area. Start off by zooming down the coast to Crystal Cove, stop for lunch, then head back and wind your way through the streets of Balboa Island.
One for highly experienced bodyboarders only, The Wedge is infamous for waves that can reach up to 30ft in height. The surrounding beach is very rarely crowded and is a great spot to lounge away the day, or go for a run in the surf while watching the locals wrestle with the swells.
Waves can reach 30ft high
After all your exertions you’re going to be hungry. Head to vegetarian hotspot Cafe Gratitude (cafegratitude.com) for a range of delicious (and huge) salads, pressed juices, wellness shots, sandwiches, wraps, starters and entrees.
Re-energise at renowned vegetarian restaurant Cafe Gratitude
Standout dishes include the chef’s seasonal pizza, buffalo cauliflower, samosa chaat and kelp noodles.
Direct flights from London to LAX with Virgin Atlantic start from £410 return.