The New Year always brings a renewed gusto to clean up our acts—physically and mentally. But in California, it’s always time to eat better, get fit, and clear away the mental clutter. The state has an abundance of wellness retreats that offer mind/body programs that range from losing weight to finding more joy, often in stunning, luxurious settings.
We unearthed an eclectic mix of programs designed to answer your wellness wishes—and trust us, there’s plenty more where that came from. Whether you want to advance your yoga practice or chart a new lifestyle path, one of these seven retreats (listed from south to north) is for you. Bonus: You’ll get healthier and happier while enjoying some distinctly California scenery and sunshine.
Go for: A totally immersive week of Oprah-approved wellness
Zen-inducing Japanese gardens and architecture provide the backdrop for Golden Door’s five- to seven-day programs, which offer a balanced blend of activity (hikes, yoga, fitness classes), relaxation (full spa), and mindfulness (meditation, tai chi, hypnosis). In addition to dedicated weeks for women, men, and co-ed guests year-round, Golden Door hosts special programs such as “Women’s Inner Wisdom: A Six Step Journey from Mindfulness to Gratitude.”
We Care Spa - Desert Hot Springs
Go for: Serious detox under the guidance of established pros
Juice fasting and a colonic regimen (flushing of the digestive system) are at the center of this minimalist desert retreat’s deep detox protocol, although they also offer a variety of activities and classes focused on healing body and mind. Choose from three-day, six-day, or eight-day treatments, all available year-round. Established in 1986, We Care is a popular spot for celeb guests looking to hit the health reset button.
Go for: A weight-loss kick-start
Limited to 18 people, this year-round program in an upscale, coastal-rural Los Angeles setting provides a lot of individual attention from fitness trainers, teachers, and nutritionists to ensure maximal, sustainable weight-loss from stays that run four, seven, or 10 days. Each day starts with a four-hour hike and includes multiple fitness classes, but is balanced with an afternoon nap and massage. Guests fuel up with gourmet but low-calorie, organic, plant-based meals, and are taught healthy cooking habits that can be easily incorporated back home.
The Pearl Laguna - Laguna Beach
Go for: A yoga- and hiking-powered reboot
The founders of this intimate (14-room) Orange County wellness retreat built their program around the belief in the transformative (and complementary) power of yoga and getting back to nature through hiking. Each day includes a long hike into coastal Laguna Canyon, two yoga classes (power yoga in the a.m., flow in the p.m.), therapeutic massage, and vegetarian meals designed to cleanse and nourish stressed bodies.
Go for: Mental clarity in an inspiring setting
Stretching across 27 acres of striking Central California coastline, Esalen Institute annually offers some 600 workshops and programs “devoted to cultivating deep change in self and society.” Head here to clear your mental clutter so that you can dive into a new big project or just find greater peace of mind. Esalen’s “A Time to Reflect” program (weekend or weeklong options) gives access to the property’s natural hot springs and a variety of mind and movement classes, and workshops help guests conquer addictions or build stronger relationships.
Go for: A diet clean-up, vegan style
This gorgeous coastal Northern California eco-resort hosts three four-night vegan retreats in the summer that educate guests on living a plant-based life. In addition to cooking classes and mushroom foraging, guests can raise their how-to-live-well IQ with nutrition/healthy living classes and talks with Sid Garza-Hillman, who heads up the property’s Mendocino Center for Living Well.
The Spring Resort and Day Spa – Desert Hot Springs
Go for: A restorative soak in world-renowned mineral waters
Boasting some of the hottest natural mineral springs waters in the region, this boutique resort offers luxurious accommodations and a full-service day spa, all with sweeping views of Palm Springs and the snow-capped mountains of San Jacinto and San Gorgonio. Take a soak in one of three therapeutic mineral pools on property or relax with a book in a poolside hammock. The Spring offers a variety of juice cleanses, including a six-day Spring Renewal Cleanse Program, one of the most comprehensive detoxifying juice cleanse programs in Southern California.