10 Mindful Vacations That May Change Your Life

Mindfulness is all the rage these days, so it makes sense that travelers would seek out experiences where they can be more present, incorporating nature, meditation, white sand beaches and pristine trails. Here are 10 vacation ideas that encourage mindfulness and may have a positive impact on your life.

Photo By: Nicole Chan

Photo By: Greenhorn Ranch

Photo By: Visit Carmel-by-the-Sea

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Photo By: RunWildRetreats.com

Photo By: Woodloch Resort

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Photo By: Sansara Surf & Yoga Resort

Photo By: Soulscape

Book a Cabin in the Woods

There’s nothing like getting back to nature when it comes to enhancing mindfulness and presence. Book a stay in a cabin tucked deep into the forest, away from the ever-present distractions of life, like cell phones and carpool lines. Take time to listen to the sounds around you, like babbling brooks and rustling leaves, as you appreciate the serenity of the woods. Getaway makes it easy to escape the grind thanks to custom-built tiny cabins with comfy beds, board games, s’mores kits, small kitchens, and huge picture windows, all a short drive from several metro areas.

Step Out on a Dude Ranch

Dude ranches have exploded in popularity over the last few years. Even better, there are ranches for all types of travelers, including families, luxury-seekers, and those eager to unplug by taking in the landscape on horseback by day, then dining under a sky full of stars in the evening. At Greenhorn Ranch in Northern California, it’s easy to disconnect because cell phones don’t work at this ranch, enabling guests to be more in the moment whether on a horse, at the stocked pond with a rod and reel, or on a self-guided nature walk.

Get Lost in Natural Beauty

Carmel-by-the-Sea, a delightful coastal getaway on California’s Monterey Peninsula, is considered by many to be among the most scenic seaside villages. It’s easy to lazily stroll this charming one-square-mile town, making stops to be in the moment thanks to the relaxing views and natural beauty. Recently, the village introduced a new Mindful-by-the-Sea program in conjunction with Mindful magazine to encourage the practice of mindfulness. The program offers educational guides to guests who stay in one of the local hotels and inns. Carmel-by-the-Sea is also hosting mindfulness retreats in December 2018 and March 2019 with certified mindfulness teacher Rich Fernandez.

Stay in a Zen-Inspired Hotel

We all want to achieve a Zen state of mind and today’s hoteliers are helping guests achieve inner peace by incorporating uplifting accent colors, and natural light into communal spaces and guest rooms. Gaige House + Ryokan in Glen Ellen, CA boasts ryokan-inspired Zen suites that include platform beds, Japanese soaking tubs, a private rock garden atrium, and an Asian modernist design. Guests enjoy refreshing green tea at check-in, after-dinner sake, and an outdoor meditation deck, sun deck, and moon deck.

Tap Into Trail Running

Running can be a great way to clear your head, but it’s not easy to remain present when running day after day along the same route with the same music playlist. Being on auto-pilot is not the same as being mindful, so consider a trail running retreat, like those offered by Run Wild Retreats + Wellness, which has designed getaways for runners set in idyllic locations. The popular Moab Mindful Running Retreat helps runners (even beginner runners) tune in to what drives them both in running and in life in order to re-focus energy into soul-soothing activities.

Stimulate Your Senses with Forest Bathing

We spend more time indoors than ever before making nature therapy, like forest bathing, a boon for our overall well-being. Several wellness-focused resorts have introduced forest bathing programs, including The Lodge at Woodloch in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. A certified forest bathing team encourages guests to connect with nature and let the trees be their therapists, providing opportunities for deep reflection and contemplation in nature. Guest can further the experience with a walk around a meditation labyrinth and a detoxifying deep forest body treatment, which incorporates local plants and herbs, like birchwood sticks and dandelion.

Stay Right on the Beach

There’s a lot to love about an ocean view room in a luxury hotel, but to really reap the seaside health benefits, you’ve got to stay right on the beach. THERE Classic Campers, which rents out vintage VW camper vans in Maui, was founded on the concept of mindfulness. Located in remote areas with limited cell phone service, guests need do little more than be in the moment and take in the views. Another option is beach camping, like at Assateague Island National Seashore in Maryland. The wild ponies wander by just outside your tent on the gorgeous wind-swept beaches.

Book a Farm Stay

Pack up the car and head out into the country for a stay on a farm. Set in Lancaster County’s Pennsylvania Dutch Country, Verdant View Farm is a fourth-generation working farm with cows, goats, chickens, and a playful farm dog named Scooby. The day starts with a 7:30 am wake-up call to bottle feed baby calves and milk goats before settling in for a family-style breakfast. At Leaping Lamb Farm in Alsea, OR, guests can be as hands-on as they want to be, collecting eggs, feeding animals, or simply enjoying the moment from the wrap-around porch of the farm cottage.

Strike a Pose

Tap into yoga to re-connect with your mind, body and soul. Beyond weekly one-hour classes, look to a multi-day yoga retreat that offers daily yoga, meditation and rejuvenating spa treatments. In Costa Rica, Anamaya runs weekly yoga retreats, as well as month-long training sessions for yoga instructors. Or, look to a resort like Sansara Surf & Yoga Resort, which offers open-air yoga retreats, but also incorporate an active learn-to-surf program, enabling participants to better themselves on both the inside and outside. Bicycles, kayaks and SUP boards are also available free of charge to resort guests.

Immerse Yourself in a Cultural Experience

Spiritual enrichment and transformation can come through cultural immersion and experiences, particularly in lesser-known locales where different languages are spoken and the day-to-day livelihood contrasts from your own. Tour operator, Soulscape, specializes in these types of experiences, offering week-long curated expeditions in India focused on creativity, culture, and well-being. Participants learn creative arts, like batik printing, engage in holistic practices, like yoga and meditation, and engage authentically with the local people. All experiences are device-free, so no cell phones, tablets or laptops are allowed so travelers can maximize their presence in the daily moments.

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