The Perfect Post-Holiday Walk

After several hours of prepping and over an hour of eating Thanksgiving dinner (and other holiday meals), my family likes to go on a nice, long walk. Whether we're in the city or countryside that particular year, we always find someplace to explore on foot, while burning off calories, catching up on stories, and breathing in the crisp air. Not only is it a tradition for us and many families, it's also a green—and completely free—activity.

If you're staying in a vacation rental for the holidays, look for one with easy access to great walks. There are plenty of notable FlipKey-listed properties that are adjacent to walking trails and paths that offer an active way to de-stress while exploring the natural and cultural offerings of the area.

You can get to know the rivers and lakes of the U.S. with stays at many of these vacation rentals:

  • This three-bedroom house in Tennessee is near a walking trail along the Little Pigeon River, which has several forks and tributaries and flows through Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and the Great Smoky Mountains. Afterwards, relax in the hot tub or by the fireplace.
  • A one-bedroom cabin in Nebraska features a wooded path to the Platte River, a significant waterway that eventually flows into the great Mississippi and out into the Gulf of Mexico. While staying here, you can also try some catch-and-release fishing on the pond and keep your eye out for wild turkeys roaming the property.
  • If a lakeside retreat is what you had in mind, check out this four-bedroom rental home in Maryland with a walking path next to Deep Creek Lake, a reservoir bordered by a state park where black bears can be sighted. More family fun can be had at the pool table or foosball table, both available for guest use in the house.
  • Or look into this three-bedroom cottage in North Carolina that offers direct access to a path along Lake Tomahawk, a popular fishing spot with views of the surrounding mountains. If the weather allows for more outdoor activities, the house is also within walking distance of tennis courts and a public playground.

If you're looking for a more exotic destination this holiday season, check out some of these listings:

  • This two-bedroom apartment in Iceland has a path in front that takes you to lava fields, ocean views, and bird watching. After wandering the bizarre, variable landscape, you can sit inside and enjoy direct views of the sea, the mountains, and the city of Reykjavik.
  • Or try out a five-bedroom Italian villa next to a trail that brings you to the oldest village in the area. Quaint cobbled streets and beaches on the Mediterranean Sea await. And the house offers a garden and terrace to enjoy the mild climate and ocean views.
  • When a tropical vacation is in order, consider this two-bedroom Kauai rental that offers a walking route to famous Poipu Beach in one direction, and to restaurants, resorts, and spas in the other direction.
  • This two-bedroom place in St. John in the Caribbean gives you access to Kiddel Bay via a walking path. It also includes a sun deck with a pool and hot tub, as well as a covered porch for dining and grilling, where you can host your tropical-themed holiday meal.

Whether your post-holiday-dinner plans involve exploring rustic villages or enjoying lakeside views, I hope you find serenity in getting back to the basics, like cooking, walking, and enjoying the company of family.

Joanna Eng is a New York-based writer and editor who covers travel, green living, food, careers, entrepreneurship, and more. Her travel experiences have ranged from hostel hopping in Mexico to staying with distant relatives in China to renting a beach apartment in New Jersey.