What are the best meditation retreats in the U.S.? If you search online for beautiful, peaceful and spiritually productive wellness retreats, the breadth of options and opinions may be confusing. Many of the lists you find are created by travel agencies, so we have taken a fresh look at the top meditation retreats around the country. These offer peace, beauty, personal growth, relaxation and opportunities for individuals, couples and groups. Our top wellness retreat choices are based on:
- Beauty and serenity of the environment
- Instructor, coach and owner credentials and experience
- Variety of ongoing meditation retreat options
- Ease of contact and booking
- Recommendations and overall client happiness
Meditation retreats offer something that self-guided mediation, your local yoga class and even the best online and mobile meditation apps cannot—a complete experience free of daily distractions. You will not only meet new people and gain instruction on your path toward greater well-being, but you will also see new sights, breathe new air, take new hikes, eat new foods and, in some cases, even be pampered. Take a look through our list to get started on your weekend (or longer) self-care retreat of healthy rejuvenation.
1. Seven Springs Yoga and Holistic Retreats
If you’ve never experienced the beauty and serenity of the Smoky Mountains, Seven Springs offers you the opportunity. This meditation getaway provides a quiet retreat opportunity sure to reenergize you, build resilience and even help you connect at a more spiritual level. Seven Springs offers personal retreat packages for one or more people starting at a two nights’ stay. Wellness services include private yoga classes, nature hikes and medicinal herb walks, a forest bath with tea and more. Vegetarian meals are also provided to further the objective of nourishing your entire being, both body and spirit. Beautifully designed and decorated yurts provide your lodging, and camping opportunities are available.
2. Silent Stay Meditation Center
Santa Barbara, California
Does the world sometimes seem too cluttered and noisy? Learn the benefits of silence at this picturesque, 45-acre retreat. Guests enjoy private rooms, three silent meals a day and a program with Bruce Davis, Ph.D. and Ruth Davis, heartfulness trainer. Here, heartfulness meditation embraces silence to help clear your mind, bask in your own existence and appreciate the natural beauty that surrounds you. Retreat packages may last a couple of days at modest prices. Retreats of 21 days and longer are also available through the institute’s sabbatical program.
3. Gainesville Retreat Center
When you think of Florida, you might imagine bustling beaches or theme park rides. Gainesville Retreat Center offers something different with 140 acres of forest and miles of hiking trails. You will also find opportunities for guided meditation, yoga, mindfulness, holistic healing, kirtan, zen and more. The center offers personal retreats starting at five days and four nights. The nonprofit center also manages the property as a wildlife refuge, so you will find all the beauty and tranquility you need to feel mindful and refreshed.
4. Retreat in the Pines
Offered for women and by women, this is the meditation retreat for you to find healing and support in a nurturing environment without distraction or judgment. Chef-prepared meals are on the menu here, but so are guided meditations and gentle yoga. These self-care retreats make you feel comfortable while also guiding you toward better self-care and well-being. Choose from an ongoing menu of retreat options that include “gratitude,” “empowered leadership,” “balance and restore,” “strength and healing,” and a five-day beach retreat, plus many more. Nature walks, essential oils, yoga and off-site activities are all part of the healing process depending upon your goals and the retreat you choose. And if you know someone who could benefit from such a retreat, gift cards are available, too.
5. The Art of Living Retreat Center
Boone, North Carolina
The Art of Living offers meditation retreats designed for almost any well-being goal. They provide meditation and silent meditation retreats as well as Shankara Ayurveda Wellness and programs designed specifically toward improving your happiness. And if you simply need some R&R, there’s a retreat package for that, too. While accommodations include comforts such as beds, Wi-Fi, television and everything else you’d expect from a hotel stay, you’ll leave these modern conveniences behind during your meditations in the splendor of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains.
Big Sur, California
No coastal meditation retreat in the United States tops Esalen for beauty, ongoing programs and overall popularity. Fertile land spanning 120 acres between mountains and ocean set the scene far from the lights and bustle of the city. Week-long workshops and self-guided explorations each offer the opportunity to cleanse and restore your being. Staff members and visiting teachers trained in yoga, intuition, breathwork and other disciplines guide you through the programs, leaving much of your day open to enjoy the beauty and serenity that is Esalen. Accommodations range from sleeping bags to full suites to fit most budgets. Whatever option you choose, you are sure to cleanse your mind and body while restoring your spirit.
7. Crestone Retreats
If you’ve wanted to experience zen on your own terms, you’ll not find a more comfortable and beautiful meditation experience than at Crestone Retreats. Located at 8,400 feet above sea level, you will look over the San Luis Valley while also enjoying their lush vegetable and flower gardens. Accommodations include 3 amazing vegetarian meals a day, plus homegrown foods prepared in the oryoki tradition. Hiking excursions and hot springs are also on the menu. Individual and group bookings are available for this wilderness and silent meditation retreat, with lodging facilities ranging from camping to a private room in the guest house.
Travelers worldwide know Sedona, Arizona for its beauty, arts, meditation and overall restorative powers. If seeking a meditation retreat in the southwest, you must investigate SpiritQuest. A place for spiritual and emotional healing, SpiritQuest Sedona Retreats offers packages that include bodywork and spirit-cleansing meditation. Wellness, yoga, shamanic, couples treatments and other options are available to work through trauma or better understand your next life transition. You can even take a shamanic canyon journey. SpiritQuest also offers accommodations at its breathtaking Oak Creek Canyon sanctuary, but you may choose to stay with nearby partners in Sedona.
Known for Ayurveda—Indian practices of deep nourishment and well-being—Setu lies in the gorgeous New England foothills near the center of Vermont. You can find yoga classes, medicinal training, spa treatments and more. But you’ll really love the meditation retreats. These offerings are ongoing and include instructors who will guide you through sound healing, health and nourishment and even custom experiences to revive and rejuvenate. Mountain views, garden walks, Indian cuisine and even a hot tub and sauna help make your weekend meditation retreat complete with this family-owned wellness center.
Photos courtesy Shutterstock