Whether scrolling through social media, answering emails at work or binge watching our favorite shows, we spend much of our days (and nights) staring at glowing screens. And while it may seem difficult to imagine our lives without all of that convenient technology, our constant use of digital devices can be harmful to our productivity, sleep habits, stress levels and overall mental health. In response, we’re seeing a growing trend of digital detoxes, where people take a break from all their devices to reconnect with people, nature and themselves.
Here are our favorite places to take a digital detox and restore balance to your life:
Located on more than 150 acres of wildlife sanctuary in the Willamette National Forest, the stunning and peaceful Breitenbush Hot Springs is the perfect place to unplug for a while. This worker-owned resort community offers a range of options for rest and relaxation, including hot spring pools and sauna, sanctuaries for yoga and meditation, miles of hiking trails, a stone labyrinth, massages and more. You can attend one of their holistic workshops, enjoy a personal retreat in a cozy cabin or even just visit on a day trip.
Pike National Forest, Colorado
Go off the grid and ride off into the sunset at this all-inclusive dude ranch, nestled within 26,000 acres of Pike National Forest. You’ll have the chance to experience a bit of the Old West with horseback riding, hiking, fly fishing, river rafting and even cattle rustling. For less adventurous options, there are also cowboy cookouts, square dances, a heated Olympic-size pool, hot tubs, massages, photography sessions and more. Thankfully, you won't be rough it like a cowboy; cabins are plush despite not having TVs, internet or phones. If you can’t make it to Colorado, there are plenty of similar ranches that are part of the Dude Ranchers’ Association
Designed to give participants a chance to purposefully unplug and decompress, the Digital Detox retreats offer yoga, art and writing workshops; guided hikes and meditation; healthy food and more. The longer retreats, known as Camp Grounded
, function as a summer camp for adults, offering a chance to reconnect with people, discover a new hobby, relax and have fun with a large group looking to do the same. The retreats take place all over the country, including Northern California, New York and North Carolina.
West Dover, Vermont
While known as a destination for speeding down the slopes, this Vermont ski resort also offers families the chance to slow down and give their digital devices a rest. The all-inclusive program’s activities -- mountain biking and hiking in the Green Mountains, swimming and canoeing, arts and crafts and more -- are designed to help families reconnect. They also include family-style meals that are way better than what you remember from summer camp.
Big Sur, California
Located on over 900 acres of rugged coastline, this idyllic sanctuary is home to Camaldolese monks who welcome guests looking for peace and quiet. You won’t find TVs, internet or cell service here -- and there’s hardly any talking either, as silent contemplation is encouraged throughout your visit. The rooms are spare, but affordable, and the stunning views and minimal distractions are definitely worth it. The stay also includes three vegetarian meals a day. Guests aren’t required to attend services, and all faiths and walks of life are welcome.
One of the more luxe digital detox options, the Ranch in Malibu offers guests an unplugged boot camp that includes days filled with hiking, fitness classes and yoga. But don’t worry, there’s also nap time, massages and plenty of plant-based meals. While digital devices aren’t forbidden, they’re definitely discouraged and limited only to guests’ private rooms.
Danny Jensen is a LA-based freelance writer and photographer covering food, lifestyle and travel.