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8 steps to a healthy relaxation vacation

Rent a bike for a ride along the beach to add a healthy — and fun — activity to our vacation.

A beach vacation doesn't have to mean sunburn, heartburn or hangover. Your sunny days in the sand can translate into a healthy, happy vacation that will leave you rested and recharged.

Here are eight ways to do it:

1. Sleep smart. Do some research and find a place to stay close to what interests you have, whether it's the beach for swimming and surfing, the bay for boating and fishing or both for all of the above. In the Coastal Bend region, beach or bay access doesn't always mean expensive. Check out the listings at 101corpuschristi.com for hotels, condos, bed-and-breakfast inns, camping and RV parks to find the perfect place for you. You might even want to first pick a beach, then look for nearby accommodations. Start your beach shopping right here on the 101 Best Beaches page.

2. Plan some action. Make a plan for active play. Walk the beach, do yoga stretches in the sand, go body surfing in the waves. Pick a hotel in a central location so you can walk to shop and eat. Or, try out any of the variety of health and fitness clubs in the area (we have a list, of course!). Major goal for this vacation? At least one active adventure a day!

3. Pedal power. You can drive on most of the beaches in and around Corpus Christi, but that doesn't mean you have to. Rent a bicycle or a buggy for a classic sightseeing excursion along the shore or the seawall. Rent a buggy at Fun Time Rentals, 600 N. Shoreline at the intersection of People Street and Shoreline Boulevard. Bicycle rentals, as well as rentals for just about any water gear, can be found all along the beaches on Padre and Mustang islands.

4. Eat fish. The best part of any vacation is eating locally, and, in Corpus Christi, that means fresh fish. To keep it healthy, stay away from the fried versions — pick broiled, steamed or baked. Check out our listings of favorite seafood restaurants.

5. Drink water. Fun in the sun can be dehydrating. Always be sure you have plenty of water with you no matter where you are or what you're doing. Adding fresh lemon or drinking coconut water will help keep you hydrated in the worst of the heat. Avoid salty sodas, caffeinated drinks and too much alcohol.

6. Try a new sport. Pick a new activity to challenge yourself. You can rent a kayak, a canoe, a surfboard, a boogie board or a paddle board. You can take windsurfing scuba-diving lessons or go parasailing or deep-sea fishing. Rent fishing gear on one of the jetties and see what it's like to pull in a snapper from the pier or the surf. Fly a kite in the real Windy City! Get involved in a pick-up game of beach volleyball, Frisbee, soccer or flag football. The possibilities are almost endless.

7. Protect your skin. Don't forget the sunscreen. Nothing ruins a vacation faster than a bad burn, which usually happens on your first day. Check out the answers to the six most frequently asked questions about sunscreen and our four tips for sun safety.

8. Sleep soundly. After a day of sea air and activity, a healthy meal of fresh fish and ample water, you should be ready to dive under those covers and get a good night's sleep. You'll wake up rested, relaxed and ready to take on another day of adventure!

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