Soak in Hot Springs. Learn a New Sport. Get Some Vitamin D … – OutsideBy Staff 2 months ago
It’s a lot easier when it’s this fun.
Marc Chavez, founder of Native Like Water, a San Diego–based intertribal program that offers teen and adult retreats through an Indigenous lens, believes that a healthy diet can help combat trauma and depression. Combining nutritious meals with a week of surfing is its own therapy, Chavez says. His weeklong Surf and Food as Medicine Retreats, on the Nahua Coast of Michoacán, Mexico, include daily surf sessions at crowd-free point breaks, palapa-shaded siestas, and locally sourced, plant-forward meals like spinach salad with pumpkin and nuts and veggie paella (from $1,500, all-inclusive). Or book a stay at NewTree Ranch, a farm estate in Northern California’s wine country (from $1,500, all-inclusive). Plant-based meals prepared from ingredients grown on the property, like miso-roasted winter squash with garden greens and quinoa, are flavorful and filling. Seed-to-table cooking demos are a hallmark of every stay. After harvesting produce in the gardens, guests play sous-chef in an outdoor kitchen equipped with a grill and a pizza oven. Work up an appetite hiking the ranch’s trails or kayaking the private lake. If you overdo it, unwind with a soak in a clawfoot tub perched on a deck overlooking grazing Scottish Highlands cows.
Disconnect from Your Devices
We could all use a break from technology.
Plenty of excellent options across the country invite guests to relax and take dedicated time away from digital distractions. The Lodge and Spa at Brush Creek Ranch, set on 30,000 acres of rolling hills and sagebrush prairie in Wyoming’s North Platte River Valley, is one of them. Although there’s Wi-Fi in its 44 cabins, we doubt you’ll use it much—you’ll be too busy with ranch activities such as horseback riding, cattle drives, and fly-fishing, complemented by a sunrise boot camp, yin yoga on a cliff-hugging platform overlooking the Sierra Madre, forest bathing in nearby Medicine Bow–Routt National Forests, and even sound bathing, chilling out to the rustic ambience surrounding a 100-plus-year-old barn. The ranch’s sister property, which is known simply as the Farm, is a five-minute drive up the road and hosts goat yoga, greenhouse tours, and cooking classes. From $1,900, all-inclusive
Try a New Sport
It will boost your brain’s cognitive reserve.
There’s something incredibly satisfying about becoming even moderately proficient in a new sport. If your pandemic-purchased mountain bike is collecting dust, motivate yourself with a skills clinic. Ninja Mountain Bike Performance offers a wide variety of them in more than 80 locations, including Kingdom Trails, Vermont; Sedona, Arizona; and Bentonville, Arkansas. Experienced riders can attend weekend camps to hone high-speed cornering, jumps, and technical descents, while riders still getting the knack can work on basics in half- or full-day sessions (from $269). New this year, the Fundamentals Full Day Combo clinic combines a half-day of foundational drills (wheel lifts, line choice, proper body position) with a half-day of sessioning the trails with a coach. Or try the hottest new watersport: wing foiling, with a handheld kite and a foil board (a surfboard equipped with a hydrofoil). Swell Surf Camp in Cabarete, Dominican Republic, recently introduced Learn to Wing Foil weeks (from $3,928 for two people). Individual instruction begins on the beach, where you’ll practice reading the wind and fine-tuning your kite control. By day two, you’ll be on the calm waters of Cabarete Bay, getting a feel for the foil board and riding upwind. Back on land, relax in hammocks and swap stories over communal meals of pollo guisado (chicken stew) and yuca fritters.
Get Really Quiet
Meditation is good for mental health and athletic performance.
Mindfulness apps not cutting it? Sign up for a meditation retreat. At Feathered Pipe Ranch, a celebrated yoga getaway in Helena, Montana, you’ll stay in a yurt or a tent in the Rocky Mountains for the Mindful Unplug Experience, a full week of sensory-focused nature immersion incorporating breath-centered yoga, forest bathing, drum circles, and other contemplative practices (from $1,595). Set aside a few extra days afterward to explore Glacier National Park (212 miles north) or Yellowstone (188 miles south). In New York’s Finger Lakes region, the Spa at the Inns of Aurora hosts a Metta Retreat, rooted in a Buddhist meditation practice that helps you discover your own happiness so you can wish it on others (from $1,600 for a three-day program, plus $285 per night for lodging). Learn about the ways movement can promote emotional wellness, enhanced by daily meditation, Ayurvedic massages, and hydrotherapy circuits—a series of dips in the hot soaking pools followed by cold plunges. Practice your mantras while hiking the resort’s trail system, kayaking Lake Cayuga, or stargazing at the lakefront fire pit.
Boost Your Vitamin D
In Mexico, sunshine is abundant year-round.
Todos Santos, a laid-back Baja California beach town 45 minutes north of Los Cabos International Airport, has a crop of new hotels cultivating rejuvenation. Topia, a 21-guest retreat with six rooms, hosts getaways that focus on self-care, intention, and alignment (from $1,999 for six days, all-inclusive). Itineraries are peppered with surfing, guided hikes, massages, tarot readings, and taco tours; group meals feature dishes like vegan kale Cobb salad and tuna ceviche. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of chill time, too. More of an indie spirit? El Perdido, a seven-room boutique hotel in the neighboring town of Pescadero (from $650), organizes à la carte experiences ranging from cacao ceremonies to hikes in the Sierra La Laguna Biosphere Reserve. The seven jacales are equipped with kitchenettes stocked with mezcal and everything you need to make guacamole, with outdoor amenities including cactus-shaded soaking tubs and decks with telescopes. The restaurant, Coyote, serves some of the freshest seafood around.
Look into Voluntourism
Make time to give something back.
Wilderness Volunteers, a non-profit that works with the National Park Service and other agencies to organize volunteer projects, is the website to visit when looking for an outdoor trip that packs in both work and pleasure ($375 for one week). Options range from active (hiking up to three miles daily, planting trees, and removing invasive plants in Oregon’s Mount Hood Wilderness) to strenuous (backpacking nearly eight miles and tackling trail maintenance in Idaho’s Cecil D. Andrus–White Clouds Wilderness). There’s free time every day, plus an entire day set aside for exploring. Or hit up your local animal shelter. Many, such as Best Friends, a sanctuary in southern Utah with several affiliated programs around the U.S., allow visitors to take dogs out on the trail or host a pup for sleepovers. Looking for something on the East Coast? The newly opened Wrong Way River Lodge and Cabins in Asheville, North Carolina, boasts 16 modern A-frames near the French Broad River Greenway (from $136). Its more than two dozen activities include fly-fishing trips and forest bathing in the Blue Ridge Mountains, with three-hour voluntourism outings assisting area nonprofits Asheville GreenWorks and RiverLink.
Hit Your Stride
Log some serious trail miles.
Enroll in a three-night Run Wild Retreat, founded by former competitive trail runner Elinor Fish to cater to women runners, and you’ll spend up to four hours per day on the red-rock trails around Moab, Utah (from $2,695). The company also offers a Himalayan excursion with renowned Nepali ultrarunner Mira Rai—your guide on a ten-day adventure in valleys below 6,000 feet elevation (from $7,295). Runcation Travel is open to men and women, with guided and self-guided itineraries at home and abroad. Half- or full-day Lake Tahoe trips can be tailored to anyone, from first-time trail runners to technical pros (from $250), while the eight-day, self-guided, 110-mile Tour du Mont Blanc in Chamonix, France, is designed for trail runners 15 and up who can handle 13-mile days and 33,000 feet of elevation change (from $1,699).
Curb That Insomnia
Rest and recovery await in the mountains.
If one-third of American adults don’t get enough sleep, maybe it’s because we’ve forgotten how. YO1 Longevity and Health Resorts, a 131-room retreat nestled amid 1,300 acres of pine forests and lakes in upstate New York’s Catskill Mountains, is more than a tranquil setting to catch up on your z’s. Custom three-night insomnia-management programs aim to bring the body’s energy back into balance with a mix of Ayurvedic and naturopathic therapies, while also teaching tools (breathing exercises, for example) to use going forward. Acupuncture, aromatherapy, meditation, and calming yoga help reduce anxiety, while Ayurvedic techniques like Shirodhara—pouring warm oil on the forehead in a rhythmic movement to improve energy and reduce anxiety—are intended to rebalance energy pathways. Organic vegetarian meals, with dishes such as chickpea masala stew and eggplant lasagna, can help reboot your digestion, and a resident nutritionist will assess your diet and flag foods (like that dark chocolate you covet) that may be keeping you up at night. You’ll be schooled on good sleep-hygiene habits (adopt a consistent bedtime, avoid bingeing on House of the Dragon late into the night) and encouraged to hike or bike the property’s vast network of trails, since exercise enhances sleep quality. From $899, all inclusive
Hike It Off
We get it: adventurous souls need to move to relax. Here are three destinations with stunning long-distance hikes.
The Trans Bhutan Trail
After decades of restoration, this incredible 250-mile trail, spanning the length of the Himalayan kingdom, reopened last September for the first time since the 1960s. You will need a month or so to through-hike the entire thing, or tackle it in sections with overnights in homestays or the occasional splurge-worthy hotel, like Gangtey Lodge (from $500).
The outfitter Mountain Trek has earned a following for its weeklong, results-oriented trips based out of its lakefront lodge in Nelson, a hub for travelers exploring the Selkirks and Purcells. Sign on for three or four hours of daily hiking, anti-inflammatory meals, strength-training sessions, and walking-meditation classes. From $6,100
The Italian Dolomites
The outfitter Dolomite Mountains has mapped out some of the best treks in this spectacular region. The four-night Hut to Hut Cortina Getaway takes in evergreen forests and wildflower-carpeted meadows sandwiched between vertical peaks, with overnight stays at cozy rifugios that serve pasta dishes prepared from scratch. From $790 (self-guided) or $1,090 (guided)
Get Your Shot of Nature Rx
Ease into sustainable living.
Located on California’s Mendocino coast and abutted by pine, fir, and redwood groves, Mar Vista Farm and Cottages helps guests reconnect with the land through beachside yoga, gardening classes, hikes in Gualala Point Regional Park, and stargazing (from $245). There’s no on-site restaurant, but each of the 11 cottages has a kitchen, fresh eggs are free, and breakfast baskets filled with bread, jam, and coffee can be ordered for delivery before sunrise. Guests are encouraged to harvest the farm’s vegetables, herbs, and fruit for cooking. Southall, a 325-acre agrarian adventure haven 20 miles south of Nashville, Tennessee, feels more like your own private park than a working biodynamic farm (from $839). Five miles of trails lace the property’s old-growth forest, and seven-acre Lake Mishkin beckons kayaking and fishing enthusiasts. The farm has apple trees, greenhouses, and heirloom-varietal gardens. Geek out at canning and seed-saving clinics, or enjoy the dining experiences, which might be an al fresco open-fire feast one night and a multicourse wine-paired dinner the next. For the ultimate in forest bathing, try a night at the family-run Mohicans Treehouse Resort in Ohio’s Mohican Valley (from $229). There are nine treehouses—including a vintage Airstream perched 25 feet off the ground, and one called the View equipped with floor-to-ceiling windows. The 77-acre property features a network of hiking trails, and mountain biking at Mohican State Park is only a 15-minute drive west.