Get Lost

10 Cities in the USA That Are Already Making Us Feel Relaxed

by Charlotte Farrell

Life in 2018 is pretty convenient—really convenient. We’ve been blessed with Amazon Prime, ride-sharing apps, and even some apps that remind you to drink water or take a deep breath. Sites and services like Pinterest and TaskRabbit are here to make our lives easier, but no matter how many Headspace sessions or ClassPass bookings you have on your schedule, you can’t avoid the reality of modernized society’s stressors. We are the “hustle and grind” generation after all. We burn the midnight oil while managing full-time jobs and side-hustles to pay off student debt or save for a house—or, you know, to just pay rent.

But when you’ve pulled weeks of back-to-back, 12-18 hour days at the office and your eyes develop a permanent twitch, it’s easy to lose focus, and more importantly, your ability to check in with yourself. So before you chuck your computer out the window, consider using one of the 257 apps you have on your phone to cash in on your vacation time and head to somewhere in the USA that will bring on some major zen and much-needed R&R. Are you packing yet?

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Check into one of the 15 individually styled suites at O:live Boutique Hotel and your vacay has officially started. The hotel’s artistic, upscale atmosphere will set you on the right path to relaxation. Snap a pic from the rooftop bar before heading into the heart of the capital city of San Juan. The vibrant destination is teeming with opportunities to explore a bit of European influence in a US territory. Sneak away to get your toes in the sand at the postcard-worthy beaches and stumble across historic forts. But if dancing the night away until you forget about the fact that someday you have to get back to the office is more your thing, then so be it. The nightlife is poppin’ and so are your moves after a few shots.

Palm Springs, CA

Nostalgic types will love the mid-century modern, old-Hollywood vibes that Palm Springs brings to the table. The dry air will do wonders for frizzy hair, but the nearby hot springs and an ample supply of spas and luxe hotels and resorts will make you feel like the Rita Hayworth or Eartha Kitt starlet that you truly are. Between lounging by the pool or partaking in a bit of retail therapy downtown, expect your shoulders to slowly peel away from your ears with every hour. Korakia Pensione is where you should go if you want to escape into an adults-only, spa-centric, oasis-like retreat. And don’t underestimate the beauty of the desert landscape. The rocky mountains are breathtaking and the sunsets are unreal.

Fire Island, NY

If you’re car-free during the summer, Fire Island is a haven for beach bums who aren’t ready to leave the state of New York—and who can blame them? Once you get past the village centers and bars, you’ll encounter a beachy, quiet place that can only be attributed to the small population, the ability to walk everywhere sans shoes, and the nearby Atlantic Ocean waves lapping up against the shore. The bungalow cottages come in all different shapes and sizes, and as you wander down the lanes, don’t be surprised if you catch sight of local deer. The hotels are in short supply, so opt for Airbnb or rental accommodations. Coastal coziness meets East Coast allure, so wave hello to the locals, turn off your phone, and enjoy. 

Hanalei, HI

No matter which island you chose, the moment you step out of the airport, you may or may not want to consider living a life of chillin’ by the beach listening to Tommy Bahama as you savor a Piña Colada. If you want to spend some time in crystal clear waters but also get a taste of the lush forests and go waterfall hunting, Hanalei, on the island of Kauai, is your best bet. If you’re going to commit to traveling as far as Hawaii, go big and stay at The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas. Ocean views and tiki torches that light at dusk? I’m in. And the hiking options are top notch and so are the opportunities for going off the grid and ignoring the emails piling up in your inbox—the subject line of your auto-replies should be ”OOO: Drinking Mai Tais and DGAF.”

Savannah, GA

Skip the waterfront if you happen to travel to Savannah during peak seasons. If not, grab a coffee and sit on a bench while you watch massive cargo ships move at a glacial pace through the harbor. Once you’ve had your fill, move inland to explore the oh-so-Southern charm of its endless parks and squares. The Spanish moss drips romantically from the massive oak trees that keep the sun from penetrating too much to interrupt your leisurely stroll amidst the classic Georgian architecture.

Forgo the usual hotel for a classy bed & breakfast, like the Catherine Ward House Inn that was built in the 1880s. Its steps from the beloved Forsyth Park, and is decorated in a modern Victorian style that would make Scarlett O’Hara blush with envy. Foodies will rejoice over the moon with comfort food spots that fill aching bellies with goodies like shrimp and grits, fried chicken, and collard greens. I’m not drooling, you’re drooling.

Sedona, AZ

Tranquility is the main way of life in Sedona. The adventure seekers and outdoor fanatics love the destination for its plentiful options to channel their inner Bear Grylls, but for the rest of us who just want to find some inner peace and be pampered into a spa-induced sleep, look no further. Watch the sun dip behind the massive red rock mountains and buttes as you tap into the spiritual nature of the city and its Native American roots.

As though it was built into the side of the mountains, the Mii Amo Spa Resort is just that: a destination that solely focuses on healing guests both physically and spiritually. Book a massage or experience a traditional Native American therapy to treat yo’ self, then head into town to take advantage of the local art scene. It might do you some good to be like Bob Ross and pick up a paintbrush to paint the scenic views you’ll experience

Portland, ME

Seaside on the East Side—of the USA, that is. Portland is nothing like its West Coast sister of the same name. While it may be the most populated city in the state of Maine, that doesn’t take away from the stillness of towering lighthouses and quaint, quiet beaches that are like something out of a Nicholas Sparks novel. No, you might not find your Ryan Gosling or Shane West, but you will find stillness and calm.

The Victorian-era homes and architecture will make you feel oh-so Jane Austen but come back to reality in a contemporary cuisine haven that has put the city on many a gourmand’s bucket list. You can rest your weary head in a B&B, a cozy cabin, or camp out if galloping is your game, but try The Francis in downtown, a historic and equally luxurious spot for rich mahogany interiors and sipping hot chocolate (or a hot toddy) by the fire—how very Mark Twain of you! Oh, and whoever said food isn’t therapeutic has never had a hot and fresh lobster roll.

Ketchikan, AK

The movie The Proposal gave us the “Get Low” forest dance with Sandra Bullock. It also introduced viewers to how strikingly beautiful Alaska can be. The wild landscape brings you back to center, and fresh air fills up your pollution-congested lungs with clean energy that no Red Bull or cup of coffee can mimic. The forests are dense and blanket the snow-capped mountains, all of which should be taken in as you dip into a hot tub overlooking the water. Find that scene at the Black Bear Inn bed & breakfast, where you might spot an orca or a picturesque sunset dip behind a massive cruise liner as it slowly creeps through the Tongas Narrows. Ketchikan, in particular, is isolated enough to get your mind out of the chaos, but the town itself is nearby so you can eat the catch of the day while still enjoying the calmness of your surroundings.

Telluride, CO

Telluride is the answer to your “snuggle up by the fire and sip hot cocoa while listening to Michael Bolton” cravings. Ski the slopes to get your heart rate going in the winter, or hike and river raft in the summer if your version of relaxation involves a dose of action. Either way, you should add some CBD to your vacay regimen—or THC if that’s your jam—while you’re in town so you can take advantage of Colorado’s cannabis scene. 

After a day of adventure, soak in a heated pool, sit by the fire pit, or take advantage of the on-property ice skating rink, all of which can be found at the Madeline Hotel and Residences. Or spend your whole day making a snowman or at the spa. It’s your vacation, dammit. Chill as you please!

Austin, TX

Texas is known for its die-hard utilization of the “bigger is better” motto. Big hair, big trucks, and big personalities. But Austin is special. Somehow, Austin has a big heart and is still a big city, but small enough to have found its way to the top of many travelers’ bucket lists. Going to Austin feels like you’re still on a vacation but at the same time makes you feel like you’re home, surrounded by family. Fill up on some of the best BBQ in the USA before line dancing to live music at upscale saloons and sipping on craft beers and cocktails. Watch outdoor movies, see a drag show, hit up a brewery, or eat even more at the trending food trucks. Once you’ve reached peak food coma, head back to the Heywood Hotel to rest easy in a modern farmhouse, boutique-style, but unpretentious setting so you can conquer the city all over again the next day.

Feature image via Casey Dunn — Heywood Hotel

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