I see skies of blue, and clouds of white. The bright blessed day, and the dark summer night. And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.”Louis Armstrong
The second wave of COVID-19 is hitting many of us. . . . again. It’s so hard. I talk to many friends who say they’re going stir-crazy and feel like the four walls are closing in some days. We all know we need to stay home and stay away from others. But, at what cost to our psyche?
One of the best things we can do for ourselves is get outside and enjoy nature. For many of us, self-isolation and social distancing doesn’t necessarily mean we have to lock ourselves up tightly indoors. There are safe things we can do to stay healthy — physically and mentally. Self-care is an important part of being happy and centered. The more we pause to fill our own cups, the more space we make for relationships, creativity, and the JOY of living!
Summertime is generally the time of year that most of us take some sort of vacation—short or long, close or far—and rejuvenate. Long plane rides to foreign lands, or even across state lines, may likely be out of the question for most of us. But, what about a road trip? What better time to play in our own backyards, so to speak, and to investigate location destinations we often overlook.
For those of us in the Western United States, I’ve identified five locations that are within a day’s drive or so from Southern California and Northern California. All of these destinations are perfect locations to explore and recharge. They’re all filled with opportunities to be outdoors and be physically active. And they’re ideal spots to simply chill out and get your groove back.
The Oregon Coast
When most people think of the Pacific Ocean coastline, they imagine the various beach communities of Southern California or the sweeping coastline around Carmel and Monterey. However, folks, you’re missing out if you don’t go see the Oregon Coast. IMHO, the Oregon Coast is the most stunning coastline in our country. With majestic views of the ocean from high above, along with monoliths scattered about—like the infamous Haystack Rock—you are sure to find a little bit of serenity. There are plenty of cozy hotels and private vistas scattered across the coastline, so finding somewhere to stay that accommodates your budget and style should be easy and safe (with the extra precautions many hotel brands are incorporating into their cleaning practices).
Some favorite coastal towns along the Oregon Coast are Cannon Beach, Rockaway Beach, Newport Beach, and Florence Beach. If you’re a golfer, Bandon Dunes is “golf as it was meant to be” near Cannon Beach in the South. And if lighthouses are your thing, then there are 11 beauties dotting the state’s shoreline. “Travel Oregon” lists the top ten things to see and do.
Oregon Coast Fun Fact: All 363 miles of the state’s public beaches are designated as public lands, and all of the off-shore rocks and islands are designed as wildlife refuges.
All you need is some Vitamin Sea to feel like a new person. #oregonexplored
Sedona is “scenery that makes your heart leap.” A geological wonderland with its red rocks and peaks, it is also an amazing area to connect more deeply with yourself, nature, and others. The “Secret 7” of Sedona are: hiking, biking, picnics, vistas, stargazing, arts and culture, and spiritual connecting. In this unique red rock landscape, there is something for everyone. Learn more about what Sedona has to offer here.
Sedona Fun Fact: Sedona has the only McDonald’s in the world with green arches.
Hike more, worry less. #healthyoutcomes
Santa Barbara, California
You’re missing out if you’ve never been to Santa Barbara, California; it’s not called “the American Riviera” for nothing. With gorgeous beaches and majestic mountains, it’s another town that offers a chill zone or an activity-filled weekend. There’s wine. (Need I say more?) Okay…there’s also the best tacos you’ve ever tasted. There’s the stunning Spanish Colonial architecture and artistry. There’s the Instagram worthy locations. And, oh, there’s the perfect weather. This city is definitely bustling compared to the sleepy towns of the Oregon Coast. Take a closer peek at Santa Barbara cultural and scenic hot spots.
An ocean breeze will put your mind at ease. #gonecoastal
Joshua Tree National Park, California
Joshua Tree National Park is “where two deserts meet.” If you’re still in California and want to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life, Joshua Tree National Park is a unique destination. There are more than 100 miles of hiking, rock climbing, and ancient palm groves in this fascinating area of the California desert. If you enjoy camping, you’ll be thrilled to know that the park was recently designed as an International Dark Sky Park with its dazzling star display at night. Since Joshua Tree is part of the U.S. National Park system, there are various tours and programs led by U.S. park rangers of the National Park Service. Joshua Tree is the perfect place to unwind for those who like the quiet seclusion that comes with the desert. Explore for yourself at Joshua Tree.
Joshua Tree Fun Fact: The park lies at an ecological crossroads, where the high Mojave Desert meets the low Colorado Desert.
Peace, love and desert dust. #wanderlust
Park City, Utah
Last on our list, but definitely not the least, is Park City, Utah. Park City is a great year-round getaway. Immensely famous for its winters and world-class ski runs at Deer Valley, the summer is also an exceptional time to visit. Between Historic Main Street, Utah Olympic Park, and the multitude of opportunities for mountain biking, fly-fishing, hot air ballooning, horseback riding, river rafting and golf, you will not be bored.
Though if you truly want to recharge and get your chill on, Park City boasts several world-class resorts and wellness day spas with incredibly relaxing experiences. Get your pamper on and allow someone else to take care of you for a while. You deserve it! Just as each of these offerings have, Park City also provides stunning views of the mountains. There are many websites that detail the must-see attractions of Park City, Utah based on the season in which you’re visiting. Find out all this relaxing getaway has to offer.
Park City Fun Fact #1: Every night at 10PM, an electric siren rings. The alarm was originally used in 1905 as a way to warn young residents of curfew.
Park City Fun Fact #2: My dog, Oliver’s, favorite dog treats are found at Love Your Pet Bakery. If you want to treat your gourmet pooch to some amazing natural raw food or treats, they will ship. Oliver highly recommends the Free Range Bison Jerky.
Park City is calling, and I must go. #utahisrad
All that’s left to do is book your trip! Sometimes it can be hard to commit to taking time away from your work life to focus on yourself. But now more than ever, with remote working and lifestyle disruptions in general, do it for yourself. Appreciate the importance of self-care. Once you get there, you’ll realize how much you needed a change of scenery and the time to simply chill out, recharge, and reconnect with yourself.