5 Outdoor Nature-Based Retreats in the U.S.

Being healthy isn’t just about what you eat, or how much you exer­cise, it’s about de-stress­ing and keep­ing your mind and spir­it healthy. Busy sched­ules, angry politi­cians and day-to-day prob­lems can cause mul­ti­ple issues for your body and brain, take some time to unwind and find some inner peace at one of these nature-dri­ven spir­i­tu­al retreats.

Shamb­ha­la Moun­tain Cen­ter
If the high alti­tude and fresh moun­tain air at this 40-year old retreat nes­tled in the Col­orado Rock­ies doesn’t slow your mind down, noth­ing will. Find your­self again as you hike along one of the eight miles of trails carved out in 600 acres of pris­tine for­est and rolling hills. Med­i­ta­tion instruc­tion, yoga class­es and heal­ing work­shops will calm your mind and invite inner peace into your heart. Learn to con­trol your breath­ing with the Taoist prac­tice of qigong, which will bring a new vital­i­ty into your life.  Fam­i­lies and cou­ples are wel­come at this Col­orado retreat, but going alone could be just what you need.

Bre­it­en­bush Hot Springs Retreat
Organ­ic gar­dens, wild­flow­ers and the scent of wild herbs drift­ing over 154 acres of wildlife sanc­tu­ary in the Willamette Nation­al For­est of the Ore­gon Cas­cades will calm even the most rest­less soul. Slow down and soak in a mead­ow pool lined with smooth riv­er rocks or in one of four hot tubs in a cedar cab­in, steam ris­ing from the nat­ur­al springs below, clear­ing your head. If you need to purge your soul, step into the sweat lodge for the month­ly Inipi Cer­e­mo­ny. This rus­tic, off-the-grid retreat offers more than 20 miles of trails through ancient forests. When you return from a day of hik­ing, toss your clothes and boots for a heal­ing mas­sage and shut down your inner voic­es.2

Sequoia Retreat Cen­ter
Explore the mean­ing of life amongst the Cal­i­for­nia Red­woods, some of the old­est and tallest trees in the world, hid­den in the woods of San­ta Cruz. This retreat is only 45 min­utes from Sil­i­con Val­ley, yet worlds away. After enjoy­ing an award-win­ning organ­ic din­ner, sleep deep under the tow­er­ing Sequoias in tiny wood­en cab­ins with moss-cov­ered roofs. Mean­der through the trails and reflect on your life sur­round­ed not by com­put­ers and traf­fic but by the sounds of silence. 3

Kri­pal Cen­ter for Yoga & Health
Prac­tice your Pranaya­ma breath­ing on the pri­vate beach of Lake Mah­keenac in the stun­ning, rur­al Berk­shires. Heal your mind or your soul at this Mass­a­chu­setts retreat, which is also a school of yoga and Ayurveda—a 5,000-year-old form of nat­ur­al heal­ing. Wake up and salute the sun with a yoga class or take a retreat work­shop and lis­ten to a lec­ture on how to bal­ance your life. Hike the rugged trails where the Mohi­cans once called home and lat­er treat your­self to a sauna and a mas­sage. Sleep well in sim­ple, yet ele­gant rooms filled with total silence.4

New Camal­doli Her­mitage
Redis­cov­er your spir­i­tu­al­i­ty at this retreat run by Camal­dolese monks, who are silent except when help­ing you in the book­store. You might think that you are in heav­en when you wake from your hum­ble room sit­u­at­ed high on a rocky cliff and look out at the Pacif­ic Ocean in Big Sur, Cal­i­for­nia. Med­i­ta­tion and self-reflec­tion start at sun­rise and you have the entire day to spend learn­ing about your­self and reflect­ing on who you want to be when you return home. The sound of the waves crash­ing against the rocks, the twist­ed trees formed by the harsh winds and the seren­i­ty of the silent monks can only be found at this unpre­ten­tious retreat.