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get away to three of america's best resorts

by Rita Riley

Europeans seem to have the vacation thing down to a science. Most European employers are required to give their employees 20 days of paid leave every year and many offer up to five weeks. Many European businesses close their doors for a month at a time during the holiday season, which usually spans July-August.

The average American, on the other hand, gets about 12 days of paid leave each year, and many don't even take the leave they're offered, citing business concerns. According to the American Heart Foundation, planning a vacation is actually a smart choice for your physical health, including your heart. So if you needed an extra reason to start planning your next vacation now, there it is.

These three resorts — from the slopes of Vail, Colorado to the unexpected beauty of Wisconsin, to refined, relaxing luxury on the East Coast — might be just the inspiration you need to get a start on your 2014 vacation planning.

Vail Mountain Lodge, Colorado

Photo by buckaroobay via Wikimedia Commons

If you're looking for a cozy winter destination that'll let you hit the slopes to enjoy some fresh powder, or just a place to curl up with a cup of mulled wine and relax, Vail might be the perfect choice. Everything seems bigger here — the mountains, the slopes, the aspen trees, and the expansive views.

Photo of Vail Mountain Lodge and Spa by Triumph Mountain Properties via Flickr

You'll love the at-home ski lodge feel, as well as the amenities. In addition to lift passes, many Vail hotels and resorts also offer unique packages catered to you. Vail Mountain Lodge offers an incredibly relaxing spa package that'll melt away a year's worth of stress. It also offers a "Transformation Package" that helps you break through athletic barriers to reduce your marathon or 5k time or lose a few extra pounds.

Wilderness Waterpark Resort, Wisconsin

Though many resorts claim to, this getaway truly offers something for the entire family. The Wisconsin Dells area is known as the waterpark capital of the world, with indoor waterparks open year-round. But Dells.com reports that the Dells also offers quiet getaways, beautiful views, and incredibly relaxing spas that make it easy to get away from the world for awhile.

Photo of the ball park at Wilderness Resort by Michael J. Linden via Flickr

Nestled near Lake Delton, the Wilderness Waterpark Resort offers both quiet seclusion and fun for all ages, with America's largest waterpark — all in one of Wisconsin's most beautiful and popular tourist destinations.

Sea Island, Georgia

Sea Island is an exclusive, one-of-a-kind resort for good reason. If you're looking for a sophisticated, luxurious getaway with all the Southern hospitality you'd expect from a five-star Georgia resort, Sea Island won't disappoint. Rated one of the top 10 American resorts by Luxist.com, Sea Island recently underwent a $350 million renovation.

Photo by Sasha Vasko moved to lpernity via Flickr

The extensive facilities offer lodge-style accommodation, ocean villages, cottages, and condos. If you're looking to get out and about or enjoy some of your favorite sports, you'll love Sea Island's golf courts, tennis courts, opportunities to explore the Georgia coast's diverse wildlife, spas, horseback riding, and just about everything else.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the businesses in question before making your plans.

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