Do you ever feel like you need to detox from life? Vacations are great for that, but they’re not always the most relaxing experiences. When you’ve all but given up on humanity and are feeling a strong sense of wanderlust, there are places you can go to reset.
At least one of these places should be on your bucket list, and not for thrill-seeking or Instagram content. You may actually find peace within yourself during a trip to any one of these destinations.
If possible, travel alone. The best spiritual experiences happen when we have time to sit in silence and just experience the world around us. There’s plenty of time for vacations with friends, but these are locations that are better-experienced solo.
- Los Haitises National Park, Dominican Republic
This national park is truly a natural wonder with ancient caves, emerald canals, mangrove forests and beautifully deserted beaches. You’ll think you’ve been transported back in time to a prehistoric era.
This is a great place to appreciate diverse flora and fauna and marvel at the wildlife. This seemingly untouched paradise has over two hundred species of birds and an abundant view of passing whales.
This destination is becoming more popular thanks to a new freeway that provides easier access, but you can still get the sense that you’re one with nature… if you visit before too many people learn about this gem.
The best time to visit is March through May, but the weather is warm year-round, so there isn’t really a bad time.
- Aeolian Islands, Italy
When most people visit Europe, they’re tempted to flit around from country to country like they’re in a race to fill their passport. While there’s no doubt that this is fun, it’s not the kind of trip that touches your soul.
On the other hand, when the Aeolian Islands is your only destination, you’ll feel one with the Earth again. This archipelago offers swimming and hiking with loads of relaxing among its turquoise waters and impressive volcanoes.
Not only are you surrounded by nature on the Aeolian Islands, but its nature that’s steeped in six millennia of history.
This is another destination that’s gaining in popularity, so if you’re going for a spiritual escape, it’s best to book your tickets now.
If you want to get in the water, June through September are the best months to visit the Aeolian Islands. If you do decide to visit in September, try to make it early in the month when the weather is still warm.
- Rishikesh, India
If you’re intent on having a spiritual retreat, which we all need at times, Rishikesh, India is your destination. Located at the foothills of the Himalayan mountains and the banks of the Ganges River, it’s no wonder Rishikesh has attracted so many spiritual leaders. Here you’ll find no shortage of ashrams and yoga schools designed to help tourists like you revitalize your mind, body and soul.
October through March is the best time to visit Rishikesh because it’s not sweltering hot or particularly rainy. You’ll want to avoid monsoon season, which takes place in July through September.
- Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Angkor Wat is the largest religious temple in the world, and surrounded by a moat, it’s quite a sight to behold. It’s difficult not to find yourself in awe of this magnificent place that was first built as a Hindu temple and later converted to a Buddhist temple. It’s difficult to explain the feeling you’ll get when you gaze upon the structure, but it’s one of intense peace and connectivity.
Plan your visit between November and March to enjoy the best weather.
- Mount Shasta, California
You don’t necessarily have to leave the states to have a spiritual experience. Actually, you can have one at any serene beach or park. But Mount Shasta provides a special view of the world’s wonders. Many believe that it’s a point of spiritual power and can rejuvenate, revitalize heal and inspire visitors. Standing at 10,000 feet tall, Mount Shasta seems to emanate grace and power.
Another positive thing about Mount Shasta is that it’s a great destination to visit year-round. But if you want to avoid the heat, plan your visit around the hot summer months where highs can reach 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Kii Peninsula, Japan
Mystical forests, waterfall-studded mountains and steaming hot springs make this destination a spiritual experience. If you’re feeling stressed, this may be exactly the destination you need. Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines and holy mountains will surround you at this veritable Shangri-la that also happens to be a recognized UNESCO sacred site.
Any time is a good time to visit the Kii Peninsula as temperatures are mild year-round.
Visit any of the locations on this list to enjoy wellness boosts and have a healthier year. What’s your favorite spiritual destination?
Related: The Center for Wellbeing