According to the Statistic Brain Research Institute, about 3 out of 4 Americans experience psychological and/or physical symptoms caused by stress. There is no need to be Elizabeth Gilbert, and pull an Eat, Pray, Love where you leave it all behind to take a trip to far-away lands like Italy, India, and Bali to recharge and rejuvenate your spirit. You do not even need to have a passport to travel to a place that can lessen your stress and heal your aching soul. Right here in the U.S., there are seven amazing places out West that stand out as places of spiritual regeneration and rejuvenation, providing the necessary exposure to nature that is found to reduce feelings of fear, anger, and stress, thus creating a healthier you.
Infographic by J.L. DeAngelis
Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, CO (Maroon Pin) ~ Aptly named when the main attraction is 300’ sandstone rock formations and sweeping, dramatic views, the sights of this section of mountains in Eastern Colorado are beyond breathtaking. There are many ways to enjoy the natural delights of Garden of the Gods, including hiking and biking, mountain climbing, free nature walks, plus many more interactive ways to learn about the area and how the rocks got there through movies and nature talks, plus a “world-class Visitor & Nature Center and museum.” Do not forget to bring your camera along; Garden of the Gods has one of the most photographed views in Colorado. There is no fee for the attractions at this site.
Jacumba Hot Springs Spa & Resort, Jacumba Hot Springs, CA (Orange Pin) ~ Located 2 hours east of San Diego and hidden near the Mexican border, Jacumba Hot Springs, California is a quaint and quiet place to rejuvenate the spirit. Nestled in the dessert far away from the noise and traffic of any city is Jacumba Hot Springs Spa & Resort, a tiny, but growing, resort nestled in a valley of the Jacumba Mountains that has 2 swimming pools and a Jacuzzi, all fed by a local, 98 degree mineral water hot spring. Soaking in Natural Hot Springs will improve circulation, treat skin infections, detoxify, boost the immune system, and most importantly, reduce stress. The best motivation to visit this desert mountain gem? It is just $99/night on weekdays, or if you just want to use the amenities for the day, $25. Fridays, Saturdays and Holidays runs $129/night.
Ketchikan, AK (Blue Pin) ~ Set at the southernmost entrance to Alaska’s famed Inside Passage, this incredibly beautiful place set on the edge of the wilderness is known for it’s local wildlife and scenery, prolific salmon fishing (known as the “Salmon Capital of the World”), and a rich Native American culture. A flightseeing tour to the Misty Fjords is a must, as well as a trip down to Herring Cove, where in the summer months you are sure to see not only bear, but plenty of eagle, feasting on the abundance of salmon for which the area is renowned. Even if you have never been fishing, try a salmon fishing excursion, where you can have your freshly caught salmon processed and shipped home for your eating pleasure. The pure, untouched wilderness is sure to bring peace and serenity back to your soul. Tours should be booked in advance, especially during the summer months. Misty Fjords Flightseeing – Alaska Seaplane Tours. Salmon Fishing – Experience One Charter Fishing.
The Heritage House Resort, Mendocino, CA (Pink Pin) ~ Considered one of the most luxurious resorts on the Northern California Coast, this resort exudes the feeling of the past and the present merging to create an ambiance of relaxation and indulgence. Set on an oceanfront cliff with unending views of the Pacific Ocean, The Heritage House Resort provided the backdrop for the Oscar nominated movie Same Time, Next Year with Alan Alda and Ellen Burstyn, which plays 24/7 on your room’s television on a dedicated channel. Packing some painting supplies along with your camera is highly recommended.
Sedona, AZ (Peach Pin) ~ Renowned for centuries by Native Americans as a place of healing and spiritual renewal, Sedona is no secret to the many that flock there to experience the vortex energy centers it is renowned for. With over 1.8 million acres of national forest land, there is plenty of space to bike, trek, hike, and take the time to connect to the deeper you. Monolithic red rock structures that seemingly pop out of the ground creates some of the most incredible natural artwork in the country for your sightseeing pleasure. And while you are in the process of nourishing your soul, do not forget to visit an art gallery (try Village Gallery, with over 40 local artists), which will help to complete the healing process after you’re done nourishing your spirit at one of the abundant healing centers, such as Sedona Healing Arts, located throughout the town.
Stout Grove, Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park, Stout Grove, CA (Yellow Pin) ~ The redwood groves at Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park are considered the most scenic in existence. At the heart of it all lies Stout Grove, with some of the most unspoiled redwood forest left to be seen. From the very scenic drive along Howland Hill Road, which, taken from the south, leads you steeply up into the park, with views of trees and the vegetation laden ravine below as you head to the grove. Once there, it is if you have stepped back to a more ancient time, traveling a trail through ancient, 300+ foot tall redwoods towering above, and lush, waist-high ferns carpeting the forest floor; it is best seen in the afternoon, with the light streaming through the trees, which creates a “cathedral-like appearance”, enhancing the whole spiritual experience. In a place where the silence is so deep, the sense of isolation is complete. This is when you take a moment to listen to your deepest self, connected with your natural surroundings, breathing in peace, breathing out and releasing stress. Stay the night at Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park Campgrounds or make it a two-for-one vacation and make the 5-hour trip to The Heritage House Resort in Mendocino to finish rejuvenating your spirit in style, and with a view of the Pacific Ocean.
Taos, NM (Green Pin) ~ There is 1,000 years of history to explore in Toas. You can see some of that history through a self-guided walking tour through the historic district visiting Taos Plaza, museums and the San Francisco de Asis Church, a 300 year old church that is the only original church left in Taos. If you prefer to head out of town, just 3 miles Northeast of Taos Plaza is the oldest continually inhabited multi-storied adobe dwelling, the Taos Pueblo; or, for a more exhilarating experience, drive the eight miles northwest of Taos to the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, which spans the Rio Grande at an eye-popping altitude of 650 feet. Stay at the El Monte Sagrado for some lavish pampering at a resort that supports a healthy, holistic experience.
Any of these spiritually restorative destinations can bring back a balance to your spirit, creating an inner sense of peace and well being, which you then take home with you to live to fight another human day.