Although not all of us can afford to escape to the famed Canyon Ranch in Arizona for a weekend of wellness and relaxation, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a similar kind of getaway. A vacation that focuses on wellness, exercise, mindfulness and healthy eating choices can encourage long-term lifestyle changes that will benefit you and your family.
These affordable wellness breaks range from yoga retreats to meditation-focused weekends to mental-health holidays. Here are five destinations that put your wellness first. (Note: While complimentary yoga mats are available at most of these wellness centers, you can always bring your own. Purchase discounted yoga mats using your NEA Click & Save benefit.)
Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Stockbridge, Massachusetts
Photo courtesy of Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism
A respected yoga center in the Berkshire Mountains that has been around since 1983, Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health offers various retreats and workshops, focusing on yoga, meditation, mindfulness and spiritual practices like Rumi and Kabbalah, all year long. Check their calendar for their extensive offerings that run weekdays and weekends (from $235 for a two-night program). If you’re looking to save money, skip the structured retreats and simply take advantage of the daily yoga and Kripalu Yoga Dance offerings that are included in your room rate. But, if you’re really looking to treat yourself, services like Ayurvedic bodywork (from $90), massages (from $80), Reiki (from $80) and craniosacral therapy (from $80) can be added, as well as various lectures.
Accommodations (from $200) are simple but comfortable. You can save money by booking a shared or dormitory-style room, and three healthy buffet-style meals in the Kripalu Kitchen each day (with various dietary alternatives available) are included with your accommodations, as well as use of the fitness room, sauna, lake, meditation garden and walking trails.
Plan Your Trip: The Berkshires | Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism
Driving Distances: 1 hour from Albany, New York, and Springfield, Massachusetts | 1 hour 40 minutes from Hartford, Connecticut; Brattleboro, Vermont; and Worcester, Massachusetts | 2 hours from Providence, Rhode Island, and Boston, Massachusetts | 2 hours 40 minutes from Manchester, New Hampshire, and New York, New York
The Yoga Lodge on Whidbey Island in Greenbank, Washington
A charming lodge on 10 acres of land, The Yoga Lodge offers ongoing yoga classes, private yoga sessions, short workshops and weekend retreats in a pastoral setting. Shared and private rooms (from $65) are offered with options for private or shared bathrooms. Rates include use of the kitchen to cook your own food as well as access to the on-site sauna, gardens and hiking trails. Midweek guests can join small-group yoga classes (drop-in from $15 or purchase a class card from $52 for four classes) and weekend guests can schedule a private lesson (from $70).
Plan Your Trip: Whidbey and Camano Island Tourism | ExperienceWA.com
Driving Distances: 1 hour 30 minutes from Seattle and Bellingham, Washington | 2 hours from Tacoma, Washington | 4 hours from Yakima, Washington and Portland, Oregon
Shambhala Mountain Center in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado
Photo courtesy of Shambhala Mountain Center
Nestled high in the Colorado Rockies, the Shambhala Mountain Center was founded in 1971 by a Tibetan meditation master. The 600-acre mountain valley retreat hosts weekend and weeklong programs focusing on Shambhala, a type of meditation, as well as mindfulness, yoga, art and creativity, and relationships and work. Accommodations range from rustic cabins, shared quarters and seasonal platform tents to lodge rooms with modern amenities (from $109, including meals). There is a dining hall serving healthy meals, including a vegetarian and/or a vegan/gluten-free option. On-site there’s an impressive stupa monument and hiking trails.
Plan Your Trip: Poudre River & Red Feather Lakes Tourist Council | Colorado.com
Driving Distances: 1 hour from Fort Collins, Colorado | 1 hour 20 minutes from Cheyenne, Wyoming | 2 hours from Denver and Boulder, Colorado | 3 hours from Colorado Springs, Colorado
The Christine Center in Willard, Wisconsin
Set amid a 125-acre woodland sanctuary, the Franciscan-inspired Christine Center is known for its warm, welcoming spirit, healthful and delicious meals, contemplative practices and high-quality programming that ranges from yoga to mandala making to silent retreats (tuition from $40 a day). The peaceful grounds include a chapel, a meditation hall, a library full of spirituality volumes, an outdoor canticle meditation circle, walking trails and an art studio.
Lodging is unique, with 16 hermitages to choose from, all with electricity but only some with electric heat, kitchenettes and full bathrooms (from $44). The more rustic cabins don’t have running water; they include only a Porta Potti, and they use a wood stove for heat (from $31). Camping (from $15) is also an option, as are rooms inside the guesthouse that sleep two and have private baths, skylights, tile floors with radiant heating and pine ceilings (from $39). Buffet-style mostly vegetarian meals (from $11) are homemade and use fresh, locally grown and organic ingredients as much as possible. They can accommodate gluten-free, vegan and dairy-free diets.
Plan Your Trip: Clark County Economic Development Corporation & Tourism Bureau | Travel Wisconsin
Driving Distances: 1 hour from Eau Claire, Wisconsin | 2 hours 20 minutes from Minneapolis, Minnesota | 2 hours 40 minutes from Green Bay, Wisconsin, and Rochester, Minnesota | 3 hours from Madison, Wisconsin, and Duluth, Minnesota | 3 hours 40 minutes from Milwaukee, Wisconsin | 4 hours 50 minutes from Chicago, Illinois, and Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Magic Tree Sanctuary in Meadows of Dan, Virginia
A secluded, bucolic haven in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Magic Tree Sanctuary offers an escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. The focus at the 53-acre property is the outdoors and most guests camp on the land that features rhododendron-filled woods, creeks, spring-fed ponds, pastureland and walking trails that invite you to slow down and appreciate nature. Several times a year from April to November, they offer guided programs in meditation, art and yoga, along with nature, gardening and writers’ workshops. Photo courtesy of Magic Tree Sanctuary
Facilities are rustic but include a quartz rock garden, covered dining area, covered yoga platform, campfire circle and an off-grid bath/shower house. There is a two-bedroom, two-bathroom cabin available for rent (from $175 per night); otherwise, a tent and sleeping pad are provided (BYO sleeping bag). Weekend retreats (from $185 for the weekend) include various meditations and workshops, such as mandala coloring, creating sacred rituals and doing yoga. Vegetarian meals, herbal tea and healthy snacks are included. Single-day retreats (from $85) are also offered.
Plan Your Trip: Patrick County Chamber of Commerce | Virginia Is for Lovers
Driving Distances: 1 hour 30 minutes from Roanoke, Virginia; Greensboro and Winston-Salem, North Carolina | 2 hours from Charlotte, North Carolina | 3 hours from Raleigh, North Carolina; Charlottesville, Virginia; and Charleston, West Virginia | 3 hours 30 minutes from Knoxville, Tennessee