Popular tourist destinations like Cancun, Miami and Montego Bay are great options to party, meet people and soak up some sun. But sometimes seclusion far from the hustle and bustle of your typical vacation is just what the doctor ordered. Let’s face it, between family, work, school and other activities in our day-to-to day lives, we’re always on the go. And a retreat to an off-the-beaten path destination to relax has the ability to recharge us all…mind, body and spirit. So this time around, there are no tour guides, no nightclubs, no foam parties and definitely no electronic devices needed.
HERE ARE 5 “LOW-KEY” TRAVEL DESTINATIONS TO SATISFY YOUR WANDERLUST:
1.) HOLBOX, MEXICO
As Tulum, Mexico becomes more saturated with tourists, many people who want to take in Mexico’s serenity are migrating to the tiny island of Holbox (pronounced ‘HOL-BOSH’). Located northwest of Cancun, this car-free (actually CARE-free and CAR-free) island is the epitome of simplicity. Fly in to Cancun and have a travel company make the 2-3 hour drive to Chiquila where a ferry awaits to take you to paradise. Feel free to fish with the locals, do some exotic bird watching, take a gourmet cooking class at the fabulous CasaSandra Hotel, or hop a golf cart and explore the length of the 26-mile-long island. 3-Star hotels start at less than $100 per night. Visit Holboxisland.com.
2.) ANDROS ISLAND, BAHAMAS
While Andros is the largest of the Bahamian islands, it is sparcely populated and a haven for its natural wonders. With deserted beaches, underwater cave systems and a rich bush medicine history, this island of mystery and wonder is sure to give you a greater appreciation for the power and complexities of mother earth. The island also puts a heavy emphasis on its ability to prepare an abundance of seafood culinary delights. Stop by a roadside restaurant and enjoy a conch salad or grilled fish with peas and rice. Getting to the island is just a 15 minute charter flight from Nassau. Airbnb has options for two people starting less than $150 per night. Visit Bahamas.com.
3. ) OJAI, CALIFORNIA
Whether the plan is to camp, hike, or do yoga, Ojai (pronounced ‘OH-HI’) is the perfect spot to decompress. It’s no wonder so many A-list celebs gravitate to the small town just two hours north of Los Angeles. Nestled in the mountains, this rustic getaway is full of art galleries, unique shops, book stores and gorgeous hotels. Enjoy organic wines at the Casa Barranca tasting room, go horseback riding or simply balance your ‘Chi’ at Meditation Mount. Ojai has a variety of great restaurants that offer vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options. But if you’re a carnivore like myself, you can take in the sunset while enjoying a delicious Italian dish and a grass-fed steak at Nocciola. Airbnb has beautiful options for less than $150 per night. Visit Ojaivisitors.com.
4.) PLAYA VENAO, PANAMA
About a five-hour drive from the big city life that is Panama City, Panama lies a surfers paradise. Playa Venao offers a beautiful grey sand beach, farm-to-table meals and a laid-back, non-touristy feel. Surfers from all over, at every skill level come to ride the waves at this tranquil oasis. If surfing or boogie boarding isn’t your thing, take a tour of the tropics, walk through the jungle, enjoy one of the many beach side restaurants and bars or explore the nearby fishing town of Pedasi. With only ONE main road that allows vendors to sell groceries to the locals, many expats and retirees have gravitated to the charming village of Pedasi because of its solitude, virtually non-existent crime and family-like atmosphere. 3-star hotels in the area start at less than $100 per night. Go to Visitpanama.com.
5.) SOLITUDE, UTAH
If you’re looking to hit the slopes, but wanna skip the overwhelming lines and crowds, Solitude is a winter getaway that lives up to its name. Located about 30 miles southeast of Salt Lake City, Solitude Mountain Ski Resort boasts 1200 acres of fun and relaxation. While much smaller than its neighboring resorts, this blissful hideaway provides terrain for every ski ability, convenient lodging and unique Himalayan dishes to satisfy your foodie curiosities. The resort’s Nordic Center also offers 20 kilometers of trails for mixed styles of Nordic skiing. For summer visitors, there’s an 18-hole golf course and mountain biking available. Visit Solitudemountain.com for rates and availability.
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Do YOU have a great “low-key” vacation idea? Tell me about it in the comments.
**All photos attributed to TripAdvisor