Are you ready for a vacation from the extended family holiday? Get out of town and into your happy place with one of these truly transformative trips.
Surrounded by rolling grassy hills, Green Gulch Farm (a branch of the San Francisco Zen Center) teaches the ancient-meets-modern Japanese Soto Zen style of meditation. Classes include Zen of Motion Improv and Transforming Anxiety and Depression. Stay in the simple but elegant skylit guesthouse and cozy up by the communal wood-burning stove with a cup of tea.
Founded in 1977, Omega sits in the woodsy Hudson Valley and offers hundreds of retreats spanning three, five, or seven days. Yoga forms the foundation, but other classes include nature-based fitness and explorations in mind-body healing. You can camp on the grounds, stay in a dormitory, or book a shared or private eco-friendly cabin. All meals are communal.
Situated between the tropical forest and Pacific coast, this resort has rooms with breathtaking views and delicious local food. And where else can you play on an Audubon Society Cooperative Sanctuary golf course? (Capuchin and howler monkeys might also monitor your game from the trees above.) Cloud forests, the Arenal Volcano and hot springs, and beautiful beaches are a day-trip away.
In the northernmost part of Alaska, hundreds of miles from town, majestic moose migrate past the front door of the solar-powered Iniakuk Lake Lodge. Watch them from the porch of this luxe log cabin, or take a floatplane trip into the nearby bush to see bears, musk ox, and more within Arctic National Park. Meals are hearty and often feature wild salmon just caught from close-by rivers.
The ridiculously posh tree houses (balcony whirlpool tubs and soft, four-poster beds) are not only fun, but low-impact. Take guided hikes, learn to paint using local clay colors, or book waterfall spa treatments. It's all nestled in a 110-million-year-old rain forest just a 40-minute drive from the coast near the Great Barrier Reef.
This isolated resort on the Yucatan Peninsula will revive you via oceanside siestas, healthy eating (think fresh smoothies and seafood), and lots of yoga -- either on the beach or in one of two thatched-roof pavilions. You can also attend a meditative Temazcal ceremony, which involves chanting and sweating away negativity and stress in a steamy clay dome.
Perched on the edge of Everglades National Park, this charming family-run B&B provides a comfy haven after a long day of spotting rare birds (like the pink "lipped" roseate spoonbill), 40 kinds of mammals, and scores of reptiles including, yes, crocs. Your hosts plunge you right into nature with guided kayaking and canoe trips. You can even take overnight tours for crepuscular discoveries. It's better than Disney World for animal-loving kids.
Sleeping in a well-appointed ger (Mongolian yurt) is cool, but the best part about a stay at Three Camel Lodge is enacting your Indiana Jones fantasies and hunting for prehistoric petroglyphs and dinosaur fossils on camelback. The mostly sun- and wind-powered outpost also conducts scientific wildlife research.
Learn Afro-Cuban and Puerto Rican salsa steps as well as dance-specific yoga to keep you limber, and then take your new moves to the live-music venues in the evenings. Massages are also available and, in the case of a multiday dance party, might be necessary!
The combination of local raw foods, (optional) colonics, and massage detox the body, while daily poolside yoga and meditation sessions and walks through rice paddies help clear the mind. Reiki, craniosacral therapy, and other healing modalities are also available.
This retreat on the Algarve coast is run by experienced fasters who make cleansing concoctions from organic fruit trees on-site. A liquid diet combined with daily yoga, peaceful walks, and rest will help you feel clearer after just a few days.