Lounging poolside with a pitcher of margaritas was once considered the perfect midyear break.
But these days, not so much.
Instagram-ready sunrise asanas and plant-based food trucks have replaced sleeping in and heaving buffet spreads. After yoga and meditation offerings became standard at music festivals, event organizers began organizing dedicated yoga retreats. And those have since turned into "wellness festivals" featuring yoga, tribal dance, mindfulness sessions, live music, seminars and "souk"-style markets selling everything from kombucha to hemp-infused oils. Some last a day, others run almost a week. Many scream "road-trip." You might need to pack a tent, or maybe you'll be chilling out in air-cooled auditoriums. Whatever the format, the idea is to send people home restored, rejuvenated and inspired.
By date, here's a rundown of nearby wellness retreats, and what to expect when you get there. Did we miss your favorite wellness getaway? Let us know in the comments below and we may include it in an upcoming story:
June 1-3, Los Angeles
Talks, films and dedicated meditation sessions make up this three-day event, taking place between UCLA and the Writers Guild in Beverly Hills. Speakers include Buddhist teacher Lama Tsultrim Allione — one of the first American women to be ordained as a Buddhist nun — who will be sharing insights about female empowerment. There will also be numerous daylong intensives, including "Waking Up With Wisdom and Compassion." Priced per event attended, ranging from $15 to $75. Info: buddhafest.org
Restorative Arts and Yoga Festival
June 1-3, Lake Tahoe
Held at Granlibakken, a rustic lodge on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe, this festival is part of the lodge's Sierra Soul Series of Wellness Events. The weekend opens with a session of yoga, breath work and sound vibration with a live DJ. The next two days are spent doing various types of yoga, or taking a class in tai chi, going on a nature hike — and even a session where participants can create their own "mantra" chant. Meals — fittingly healthful options like chickpea and turmeric soup and grilled halibut — are included. Full weekend is $289 including all meals and activities. Alternatively, activities are priced individually. Not including lodging. Info: granlibakken.com
June 23, Los Angeles.
For its inaugural event last year, DisclosureFest attracted some 4,000 participants who danced to tribal music in the middle of Los Angeles State Historic Park outside DTLA, had their astrological charts read and had access to several yoga sessions. As with the 2017 event, the plan is for everyone to gather at 2 p.m. for a mass meditation which will be live-streamed. Los Angeles State Historic Park, 1245 N. Spring St. Free. Info: disclosurefest.org.
July 19-22, Squaw Valley
Now in its 10th year, this festival has everything — pool parties, stand-up paddle yoga, trail hikes interspersed with meditation to music and interactive talks about setting intentions and cultivating gratitude. And all in a scenic sprawl incorporating mountains and lakes that figure into many of the activities. Multiple prices, ranging from $15 for a single class to $1,050 for unlimited four-day access. Lodging not included. 1960 Squaw Valley Road, Olympic Valley. Info: wanderlust.com
Telluride Yoga Festival
July 19-22, Telluride, Colo.
Dip in and out of an array of yoga classes — "Handstand — Fun and Effective Home Practice," "The Anatomy of an Arm Balance," take a class in making your own kombucha or how to forage for ingredients to blend arnica oil; enjoy a 5K run along the San Miguel River. This four-day summer event with the scenic San Juan Mountains in the backdrop takes place around numerous Telluride locations. Registration and hospitality at the Palm lobby of the Telluride High School, 721 West Colorado Ave., Telluride. The four-day pass is $455. Less expensive passes and single classes also available. Lodging not included. Info: tellurideyogafestival.com
The Pursuit Series
Aug. 10-12, Bear Valley
Pack your sunscreen, because a lot of what happens in this Northern California weekend retreat takes place outdoors. Yoga and meditation are standards, of course; but participants will also go fly-fishing, stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking. Small groups and personalized instruction in mean that participants get to up their camping skills -- there are even sessions in how to pack the perfect backpack. Luxury camping options available. 207 Highway 4, Bear Valley. The three-day pass is $399. Lower cost tickets available. Info: pusuit.theoutbound.com
Oct. 26-28, Palm Springs
And if you can't make it to any of these summer events, make a plan for fall, when the inaugural Wellspring conference — organized by Wanderlust — takes place in Palm Springs. Sure, there's lots of yoga, meditation and hikes, but the idea is for the brain to get a workout as well: among those on hand sharing their expertise will be actress and vegan activist Alicia Silverstone, Dave Asprey of Bulletproof — known for "biohacking" his way to weight loss and mental alertness — and Mark Hyman, functional medicine physician and bestselling author ("Eat Fat Get Thin"). Other talks will be on social change, the environment and creating more peaceful relationships. Sound baths, musical performances and pool parties will round out the experience. $945 for an all-access pass includes $150 credit towards hotel accommodations. Info: wanderlust.com