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5 Underrated Self-Discovery Trip Ideas

Discover top under-the-radar retreats for enrichment, discovery and personal growth.

U.S. News & World Report

5 Underrated Self-Discovery Trip Ideas

People in an aerobics class at the beach.

Whether you want to seek self-fulfillment through adventure and cultural immersion or relaxation and wellness-focused classes, there are plenty of lesser-known places to find inner harmony and balance.(Getty Images)

Solo self-discovery trips are nothing new. In fact, solo trips have become so popular among baby boomers that millions of dollars are funneled into the travel industry each year as spirituality seekers embark on meditative retreats throughout the world. Oftentimes, such retreats orbit around individuals searching for an enlightened approach to their everyday existence, and the focus can be on relaxation, wellness, adventure, stress management or even romance. Resorts have responded to the rising demand with a myriad of classes and seminars designed to enhance travelers' sense of self-awareness and inner tranquility. While the approaches may differ, the ultimate goal is the same: provide participants with the necessary knowledge and tools that will eventually lead to self-fulfillment. So, if you're ready to embark on an inward journey, head to these U.S. retreats.

The Lodge at Woodloch
Hawley, Pennsylvania

The Lodge at Woodloch, a luxurious spa destination tucked away in the pristine Pocono Mountains, embraces a personal awakening philosophy. The Lodge provides guests with an opportunity to shift from their everyday routine and focus their energy on themselves. Certified on-site instructors specialize in areas such as Hatha yoga and inner smile meditation. The Lodge also offers a Holistic Constitutional Assessment to help guests reconnect with creative, stress-relieving outlets to continue to reap benefits long after their stay. Meanwhile, The Lodge's Journaling for Self-Discovery class teaches the basics of writing a journal through guided self-exploration based off of personal observations, thoughts and feelings. Explore new or hidden talents with watercolor painting, cooking classes and wine tastings designed to help you tap into your passions. And the on-site Lotus Labyrinth offers a serene location for meditation and relaxation flanked by a lush forest. What's more, you can bring out your inner artistic abilities with pen and ink drawing classes by creating an ink illustration using quill pens and ink, along with friendly techniques for tone and texture.

Country Walkers
Williston, Vermont

A Self-Guided Walking Adventure tour by reputable outfitter Country Walkers affords travelers the opportunity to seek out adventure and cultural immersion. On a tour, you can delight in scenic walks through some of the world's most iconic trails, while discovering the world on your own and at your own pace. Plus, you can immerse yourself in the legendary landscapes of Tuscany on foot and sample the region's celebrated wines while savoring fresh, flavorful Tuscan cuisine. Unique accommodations include converted monasteries in Pienza and Siena, two Tuscan jewels. And few places can rival the dramatic beauty of the Amalfi Coast and Capri, an enchanting region where walking trails give way to panoramic views of rugged mountains. An invigorating walk clears and refreshes the mind and enhancing one's mental state. And the trend is catching on. Self-Guided Walking Adventures have become very popular, with a 55 percent increase in bookings over the last two years alone.

Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa
Scottsdale, Arizona

This wellness-minded resort offers guests a luxury escape with sweeping views of the Sonoran desert. Named for the Japanese word for enlightenment, the Satori retreat programs feature four or five days of spa and fitness activities in an inspirational desert setting. The Soul Connect experience allows guests to connect with their higher selves and lift their spirits by aligning their physical, emotional and spiritual being. The journey begins by setting intentions with the help of divinity cards, where guests are expertly guided into a meditation that will set the tone to connect them with their inner being. And a Labyrinth Walking Meditation helps guests restore peace, mindfulness and a renewed sense of purpose while walking the pathways of the resort's Seven Path Classical Labyrinth. The mysterious winding path that takes guests to the center becomes a metaphor for the healing journey. Best of all, the Satori Adventure program beckons the spa-goer to take on new challenges: mountain biking on the region's trickiest trails and hiking and rock climbing up striking mountains in the Valley of the Sun.

The Mayflower Grace
Washington, Connecticut

The Mayflower Grace is a calming retreat in western Connecticut, conveniently located approximately 90 miles northeast of New York City. A favorite destination for meditation, The Mayflower's 20,000-square-foot spa offers Forest Bathing which promotes health and wellness by integrating the natural outdoor world with the present, thus engaging all of the senses. Guests can recharge the mind, body and soul in nature, and experience the healing effects of a bath in nature. New to The Mayflower Grace, guests can participate in Sound Healing which incorporates the rich, vibrant tone of a Tibetan Bowl, eliciting a relaxing as well as rejuvenating, deep state of well-being. And The Mayflower's Sound Healing program can lead the body into homeostasis, an optimum state for self-generative healing. This unique experience includes breath work, meditation, intention setting and the use of inspiring bowls.

Omni La Costa Resort and Spa
Carlsbad, California

Leave stress at the door with a visit to Omni La Costa Resort and Spa, the world headquarters of The Chopra Center, where professional healers help guests gain emotional, spiritual and physical balance. Founded by world renowned holistic physicians Deepak Chopra and David Simon, the Chopra Center for Wellbeing has served as a nurturing place where people have come to heal, empower themselves, find emotional freedom and experience spiritual awakening for more than 20 years. Nestled within Omni La Costa Resort and Spa, an intimate sanctuary filled with inspiring views and lush gardens, the Chopra Center provides the perfect setting for renewal and meditation. The Center also offers a wide variety of workshops, retreats, yoga and spa treatments, as well as daily meditation sessions that combine the healing arts of the East with the best in modern Western medicine.

About En Route

Practical advice on the art of traveling smarter with tips, tricks and intel from En Route's panel of experts.

Contributors have experience in areas ranging from family travel, adventure travel, experiential travel and budget travel to hotels, cruises and travel rewards and include Amy Whitley, Claire Volkman, Holly Johnson, Marsha Dubrow, Lyn Mettler, Sery Kim, Kyle McCarthy, Erica Lamberg, Jess Moss, Sheryl Nance-Nash, Sherry Laskin, Katie Jackson, Erin Gifford, Roger Sands, Steve Larese, Gwen Pratesi, Erin Block, Dave Parfitt, Kacey Mya, Kimberly Wilson, Susan Portnoy, Donna Tabbert Long and Kitty Bean Yancey.

Edited by Liz Weiss.

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