Olympic vacations: Get in the spirit of the Games

Can’t make it to London this summer? Get into the spirit of the Olympic Games at these hotels, where you can compete in your sports of choice — swimming, luge, archery, horseback riding, even a paintball biathlon.


Lake Placid, N.Y.: Luge, paintball biathlon, ski jump
Set among the peaks of the 6-million-acre Adirondack Park, the alpine village of Lake Placid was home to the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics. Today, you can visit and partake in the Gold Medal Adventure program, where you’ll climb aboard a wheeled luge, learning the basics of the sport as you steer down a paved course, then try hockey and paintball biathlon and ride an elevator to the top of the 120-meter ski jump tower (but, not to worry, you won’t jump). You can also watch future U.S. Olympic ski jumpers soar off the 90-meter ski jump as they compete in Soaring Saturdays. Stay at the Interlaken Inn, where rates start at $175 a night.

Related: Where to ride the craziest waterslides 

Miami: Archery, ping-pong, swimming, track and field
While the summer games play out in London, kids ages 4-12 staying at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel will be able to enjoy their favorite Olympic sports, poolside, at the sprawling beachfront hotel located on South Beach’s famed Collins Avenue. The hotel’s recreation team will create fun kids’ versions of archery, ping-pong, swimming and track and field. Winners will receive one of the new medal-themed sundaes featured in SoBe Scoops, during the months of July and August. Adults can lounge in a chaise, float on a raft or just sit back and watch the 2012 Games poolside on the big screen outside with their “Dive In” viewings. Rates from $229 a night; all Olympics happenings are complimentary for guests.

Dominican Republic: Tennis, sailing, horseback riding
Head to Casa de Campo for easy access to tons of Olympic sports in an island setting, including riding lessons at the Polo Equestrian Club, trap/skeet shooting at more than 200 stations in the 245-acre Shooting Center, tennis lessons at one of 13 courts, kayaking along the Chavon River, or sailing in the Caribbean Sea from the 370-slip Marina Yacht Club. Just eight minutes from La Romana International Airport, the resort is easily accessible from Miami and New York, with airfare starting at around $300 per person. Rates from $219 a night, all-inclusive per person. Kids under 12 stay, eat and play free. 

Vancouver: Biking biathlon
The Olympics are still alive and well in Vancouver where you can pose for a photo at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Cauldron and hike the Olympic ski runs of Cypress Mountain or nearby Grouse Mountain. After that, take a walk along Vancouver’s extensive seawall and see the Inukshuk statue, symbol of the 2010 Winter Games, and check out the grounds of the athlete’s village. Since it’s summer, try some warm weather twists on Olympic sports in Whistler including a biathlon that substitutes biking for skiing. Special rates from $209 a night at the Opus Vancouver.

Virginia: Archery, badminton, volleyball, tennis
The 255-year-old Homestead is the uncontested grande dame of the Allegheny Mountains, 180 miles south of Richmond, Va. Head to Hot Springs to try out the newly built archery range at this antebellum resort. Eight stationary targets are set at varying distances for adults and children, and a selection of bows accommodate right and left-handed archers. If archery isn’t your thing, try your hand at other Olympic sports, including badminton, volleyball, tennis and riflery at the sporting clay courses or enjoy guided horseback rides on mountain bridle paths. Rates from $250 a night.

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