As dreamy as a Parisian getaway or a Roman holiday sounds, sometimes taking an international trip requires more time, energy, and—frankly—more money than our pocketbooks can stretch. However, you don't need to jet-set to the other side of the world to find relaxing vacations. Put down your passport and think of all the places inside America's borders that are quiet and secluded, and you'll discover a worthy destination in just about all 50 states.
You should still prepare for domestic travel the same way you prepare for international travel. Let your bank know you will be in a new location to avoid card cancellations and don't forget to consider travel insurance.
It's no wonder that the United States' natural wonders are considered some of the best relaxing vacations. From mountain ranges such as the Appalachians in the east to the Rockies in the west to beautiful beach cities on both coasts, discovering nature is a beautiful way to reset. If that's the kind of meditation you're after, then some of the nation's numerous state parks can provide it for you.
For those that prefer to enjoy the great outdoors while still being within arm's reach of modern-day comforts, you can get the best of both worlds at resorts located in smaller towns. Whatever your idea of relaxation, you can find it closer to home than you might think.
Known for its majestic red rock buttes, Sedona is a go-to for many vacationing outdoor lovers. The Arizona city offers something for everyone, from picturesque hiking and biking trails to boutique wineries and luxurious spas, to name just a few recreational activities.
Known as "The Garden Island," citizens of Hawaii cherish the tranquility and timelessness of Kauai, the state's most northernmost and oldest island that's home to breathtaking valleys, cliffs, and mountains. On top of offering snorkeling, hiking, kayaking, and many other outdoor activities, the destination is also known for the Kīlauea Volcano, which has only a minimal risk of eruption—but you should still check in with locals before you go.
Once named the best city for vegans, Sarasota is renowned for its white sand beaches as well as its arts and culture scenes. Those seeking a quiet refuge will be happy to know that this Florida city sits a comfortable distance from any of the state’s noisier towns—the closest, Tampa, is 60 miles away.
Gates of the Arctic National Park, Alaska
Contrary to popular beliefs, Alaska isn't all snow and ice. Consider the Gates of the Arctic National Park, a stunning natural (and protected) landscape without any man-made roads or trails. We recommend planning a trip only in the dead of summer, when the sun is out longest.
Known as one of the most artsy alcoves on the Golden State's coast, Carmel is beloved for its wineries, historical sites, and shopping. From its whimsical architecture to the picturesque Ocean Avenue that leads visitors to the town's infamous white sand beach, vacationers will easily find tranquility in this sleepy town.
Located at the southeastern tip of Cape Cod, Chatham is a more low-key alternative to its neighbor. Stay on the coast to see seals and gorgeous sunrises, or venture into the town to check out distilleries and historical landmarks.
Need a place to sit out the stresses of the holidays? Take a stroll through Kennebunkport, one of the country’s most dedicated Christmas towns. Lights, caroling, and gift shops await you during its short season: The festivities begin on November 29 and last until December 9.
Kiawah Island, South Carolina
From bobcats to otters, wildlife runs free on the well-preserved getaway of Kiawah Island in the Palmetto State. The island boasts golf courses and spas as well—whatever floats your boat, you won't go bored here.
Savannah is consistently named by travelers as one of America's best cities, and we have to agree. Steeped in history and architecture, this coastal getaway in Georgia is also a mecca for foodies, thanks to its culinary scene brimming with Southern comfort food.
Letchworth State Park, New York
Your lungs will thank you as you breathe the fresh air of Letchworth State Park. It boasts waterfalls and other magnificent terrains, earning it the nickname “Grand Canyon of the East.”
Hill Country, Texas
Imbibers everywhere will love Hill Country, a region in Texas that encompasses 25 different counties and is known for its Spanish and German influences as well as famed landmarks like the Enchanted Rock and the Devil's Backbone. Whether you're a beer connoisseur, architecture aficionado, or culinary adventurist, there's something for every type of traveler here.
Assateague Island, Virginia and Maryland
Spanning 37 coastal miles between Virginia and Maryland, Assateague Island is home to countless wild horses. Nature preservation keeps this east coast destination quiet and peaceful, making it the perfect locale for kayaking, camping, and horseback riding.
Mackinac Island, Michigan
Mackinac is a vibrant small town on Michigan’s upper peninsula. Technically the island isn’t attached to the peninsula, but it is tucked into Horseshoe Bay, in the northern part of Lake Huron. At night, the town lights up, welcoming visitors from all over.