1. New Life Hiking Spa, Inn of the Six Mountains, Vt.
Set in Killington, amid central Vermont's rolling Green Mountains, the New Life Hiking Spa is consistently rated one of America's best affordable spas. It relies on the "mountains, clean air and lush greenery" to calm and relax you. Start your days here with a hike through a nearby forest, past local farms and maybe up to the state's highest peaks. You and other guests will choose from three levels of trail length and difficulty and then head out in small groups. Spa chefs source their ingredients from local farms and offer evening cooking classes. Nightly rates (starting at $210 a night per person in a double) include a massage or facial for every three nights booked. Note that the spa is closed October to mid-May.
2. The Oaks in Ojai, Calif.
The fertile Ojai Valley lies 12 miles inland from the beaches of Ventura, just 90 minutes north of Los Angeles, and is famed for its sweet Pixie tangerines and mystical pink sunsets. The Oaks at Ojai spa and resort is in a historical hotel along the main road through town, a vibrant arts and agricultural community that hosts wine and music festivals in summer. Nightly rates start at about $200 (per person in a double with a two-night minimum) and include spa cuisine and access to fitness classes, pools, saunas and hot tubs. Hour-long massages in the affordable spa start at $80. Off-site activities include hikes through Los Padres National Forest; visits to local citrus, olive and lavender farms; Sunday mornings at the farmers market; and browsing in artists' studios and shops.
3. Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa, N.M.
The warm waters of the Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs, an hour northwest of Santa Fe, contain four naturally occurring minerals — iron, soda, lithium and arsenic — each thought to ease digestive, skin or immune-system disorders. A mud pool, for a full-body skin detox, is also open from May to October. Access to the springs is through the Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa, where day use of the hot-spring pools, steam room, sauna and mud bath is only $18 Monday to Thursday, $28 Friday to Sunday. To save even more money, take a dip after sunset, when prices drop to $14 and $24. Hotel rates include daily access to the springs and start at around $140 per standard double room. Activities include hiking, mountain biking and yoga (in a yurt, no less).