Busy making summer travel plans? Thanks to warm weather, long days, and PTO, summer is the perfect time to pack a bag and get away. But, not all vacations are created equal. I mean, let’s face it, a week with your in-laws or an extended road trip with your kids isn’t quite the epitome of R&R. In fact, it’s normal to feel like you need a vacation after a vacation! Enter: self-care vacations. Whether you’re jet-setting, hitting the road, or planning a staycation, it’s totally possible (and necessary) to plan a self-care vacation that leaves you feeling nurtured, rested, and rejuvenated. And lucky for you, we know just the spots.
What’s a Self-Care Vacation & Why Are They on The Rise?
Yes, self-care vacations do exist. And no, they’re not some far-fetched fantasy that requires extensive time, money, or resources. Unless you’re looking to splurge on a wellness getaway, which we totally support! The point is, there are no hard-set rules here — your self-care vacation can be as elaborate or as simple as you want it to be! This is simply a chance for you to slow down and take some time for yourself (while nourishing your mind, body, and spirit in the process).
With the current stress levels in America (more than 50% of Americans report experiencing stress during the day), it’s no wonder self-care vacations are on the rise. That said, it’s time to pencil time in for you and start making yourself a priority. Read on to learn how!
RELATED: 14-Day Self-Care Challenge
9 Self-Care Vacation Ideas That Are Perfect For Summer
#1 Get Lost in Nature With a National Park Hiking Trip
Do you feel best when moving your body in nature? Plan a trip to your favorite national park for a hiking vacation — it may be exactly what you need! While a beautiful landscape is always a bonus, there are so many mental and physical benefits to lacing up your boots and soaking in the sunshine, nature, and scenic view. According to the American Psychological Association, being in nature has been shown to offer cognitive health benefits and may even improve happiness.
Some of the best (and most beautiful) national parks for hiking include:
- Yellowstone National Park
- Yosemite National Park
- Redwoods National Park
- Zion National Park
- Glacier National Park
But of course, don’t feel limited by this list — you’ll get the same benefits at any hiking destination!
#2 Snorkel in the Hawaiian Tropics
Just you and the big blue — sounds pretty tranquil, right? Book a trip to the tropics and experience all Hawaii has to offer! In addition to the mood-boosting benefits of sunshine, booking a tropical snorkeling vacation is a great way to show yourself some major self-care. For starters, snorkeling is a great way to get the benefits of working out without feeling like you’re exercising. You’ll torch some calories, soak in the benefits of aerobic exercise, and support your cardiovascular health. Plus, gliding over white sands in a sea of crystal clear water is pretty amazing for your mental health and stress levels. Just imagine yourself free floating to the sound of crashing Hawaiian waves with an up-close-and-personal view of coral reefs, sea turtles, and the world’s most beautiful fish. Maui, Oahu, Kawaii… you can’t go wrong. We’re relaxed already!
Located on the tranquil island of Lānaʻi, Hawai‘i, this Sensei Wellbeing Retreat is worth a visit if you’re looking for a luxury experience with everything you could ever need for your mind, body, and soul.
#3 Bathe in the Benefits of a Hot Springs Vacation
If you love a good Epsom salt or bubble bath, a hot springs vacation is the perfect escape — even in the summer months. It’s like nature’s version of a warm hug. And despite the trendy Icelandic Blue Lagoon on Instagram, you don’t have to jet-set in order to soak up the benefits of the hot springs! In fact, there are Hot Springs all over the U.S. — there might be one closer than you think!
Here are some Hot Springs to consider for your self-care vacation:
- Dunton Hot Springs in Colorado
- Weir Creek Hot Springs in Idaho
- Mystic Hot Springs in Utah
- Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas
- Thundering Springs in Georgia
#4 Ground Down With a Yoga Retreat
Let’s face it — a yoga retreat is always a good idea. And since summer schedules tend to be more flexible, now is the perfect time to get your zen on and finally book that self-care vacation! You don’t have to be a yogi-pro, either. In fact, you can benefit from this mind-body retreat even if you’ve never done yoga. While it’s a great opportunity to deepen your practice, yoga retreats are often structured around whole-body healing. It’s a chance to turn your attention inward, self-reflect, and step outside your comfort zone. While every retreat is different, meditation, journaling, and detoxing with healthy food, and are often included as well. Like we said — mind, body, and soul healing!
Plus, most yoga retreats are located in beautiful, isolated areas (meaning you’ll get to trade the stimulation of the city for the soothing effects of nature). And if it’s really in a remote location, you may even experience the benefits of a forced digital detox! An added bonus? You’ll connect with like-minded people and potentially make some life-long friends!
And if travel isn’t in the cards for you this summer, not to worry! You can get all the benefits of a yoga retreat without leaving home.
Here’s how to make a DIY yoga retreat:
Step #1: If possible, clear your schedule and set aside a few days of “you” time. This means powering down your devices, putting away your to-do list, and giving yourself the time and space to ground down and recenter.
Step #2: Create a dedicated space to practice. Make sure it’s free of clutter and distractions! This could be in your living room, on your patio, or in your office — find what works best for you. Then, add anything that speaks to you! This could include meditation cushions, an aromatherapy diffuser, candles or incense, or yoga props like mats, bolsters, and blocks.
Step #3: Set an intention and write out your goals. How do you want to feel? What do you want to get out of this experience? What do you want to let go of?
Step #4: Make a plan. How many times a day will you practice? What will you eat? What additional therapies will you add in (like breathwork, meditation, or time in nature) will you include to help enhance your experience? Once you get clear on your plan, create an itinerary and schedule it in!
Step #5: Prep in advance. Fill your fridge with healthy foods, meal prep in advance, and attend to any pressing work or family matters.
Step #6: Get started! You can do this solo, with a friend, or even locally, if a nearby studio is hosting a weekend retreat.
#5 Revitalize Your Mind & Body at a Wellness Retreat
Similar to a yoga retreat, but a little more all-encompassing. The best part? Every retreat is different — from spa-centric resorts to fitness-focused retreats — there’s something for whatever you’re needing! This could include spa treatments like massages and facials, fitness-led retreats focused on sweating and sculpting, or mental health retreats with daily meditation and mind-body modalities.
- For a spa-like wellness retreat: Carillon Miami Wellness Spa in Miami, FL
- For a fitness-focused retreat: Red Mountain Resort in Ivins, Utah
- For a mindful wellness retreat: Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in the Berkshires
#6 Go Off The Grid and Take a Solo Trip
Maybe you backpack or hit the road for a solo summer road trip. Whatever the case, use this trip as an opportunity to disconnect from the outside world and reconnect inwards. Planning a solo trip can sound scary, but in reality, it can be one of the best forms of self-care — especially if you’re a people pleaser or constantly caring for others! Think about it — when was the last time you had extended time to yourself? By taking a solo self-care trip, you’ll get to put your needs and desires first, while carving out time for self-discovery and time alone. And in addition to getting to know yourself better, without having anyone else to turn to, you’ll be forced to rely on yourself and get out of your comfort zone. This means meeting new people, experiencing new things, and ultimately… growing! I think we could all use a solo self-care vacation.
#7 Quiet the Outside World With A Silent Meditation Retreat
There’s an old saying that goes: “You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day — unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour.” The idea is that we often run from or make excuses for the things we truly need. The thought of sitting in meditation for an hour sounds absurd to some, yet, watching a two-hour movie or scrolling through social media for hours on end sounds totally normal, right?
If you feel like you’re ‘too busy’ or ‘too stressed,’ maybe this is exactly the type of self-care vacation you need this summer! Yes, a silent meditation retreat (known as Vipassana) sounds extreme, but it’s also extremely beneficial! It’s been shown to improve mindfulness and wellbeing. If you’re in need of some major TLC, consider it! Who knows, it could be just what you need.
#8 Plan a Selfless Self-Care Vacation: Volunteer!
If the idea of a vacation doesn’t work for you right now, maybe you use your time off to make a difference and do good for others. Because, let’s face it, the past few years have been tough. We could all use a little support! And it’s a win-win — by giving back to others, we’re giving back to ourselves, too! Pretty powerful, right? Volunteering has been shown to help reduce stress, boost your mood, and benefit your mental health!
- Build houses with Habitat for Humanity
- Volunteer at your local church or animal shelter
- Support wildlife or nature with an eco-friendly organization
#9 Plan a Self-Care Staycation
A self-care vacation doesn’t need to be expensive — in fact, you can get all the benefits without technically “getting away”! Whether you’re trying to save some cash or just don’t have the time, no need to worry! There are endless ways to bring some ease into your life without committing to anything big. Say hello to a summer staycation!
Ready for some R&R? Here are some self-care staycation ideas to inspire your summer:
- Book a local Airbnb in a new part of town
- House swap with a friend and change up the scenery (bonus if they have a pool or sauna!?)
- Go camping (even if it’s in your backyard)! Roast some smores, have a bonfire, and sleep under the stars.
- Have a spa day. Book a facial, massage, acupuncture treatment, or all the above!
- Go on a day trip — you’d be surprised how many places are an hour or two away!
Schedule In Intentional Summer Self-Care
There are so many ways to prioritize your mental health this season with a self-care vacation. Whether you zen out at a wellness spa or yoga retreat, give back to others, hit the road for a solo summer road trip, try a silent meditation, or rejuvenate with a staycation, there are endless ways to benefit your mind and body. Find what resonates most with you and schedule it in your summer planner asap! You deserve it.