The Most Serene Spot in Every Single State (and You Too, D.C.)
When your yoga class becomes more about sculpting your butt than calming your nerves, it might be time to take the zen show on the road. Give your body and mind the vacation they need at one of these 51 serene places across the country (one in every state and D.C.). See? You’re feeling more relaxed already.
Alabama: Orr Park
This charming and unique nature preserve in Montevallo, Alabama, is peppered with the tree-carved faces of artist Tim Tingle—he transformed the storm-damaged cedars in the 1990s.
Alaska: Lake Clark National Park and Preserve
Oh, just your average secluded, calm lake juxtaposed in front of two active volcanoes emitting steam plumes.
The Arizona desert landscape is sublime, but it’s the vortexes—swirling centers of energy believed to be conducive in healing, meditation and self-exploration—that will bring on the serenity.
Arkansas: Old Mill Park
You might recognize this hidden gem in North Little Rock from the opening scene of Gone with the Wind. Today, it features a historic re-creation of an 1880s water-powered grist mill, sculptures from Dionicio Rodriguez and landscaping that will make you want to journal.
California: Antelope Valley
Poppies as far as the eye can see? That’s about as tranquil as it gets…as long as you don’t have allergies.
Colorado: Crystal Lake
There’s no shortage of beauty in Colorado. But this pristine lake, basically a mirror to the Red Mountains, brings on a certain calm.
Connecticut: The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
The design—airy, with high-ceilings—and extensive grounds are enough to relax you almost as soon as you walk on the property. And since the art is constantly rotating, you have an excuse to catch your breath here as frequently as you want.
Delaware: Cape Henlopen State Park
Take an evening stroll on the sand as the sun sets and repeat after us: Serenity now.
Florida: Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens
The 16 tranquil acres of the Roji-en garden complex are just begging you to pop open that sketchbook and doodle your little heart out.
Georgia: Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge
It’s the kind of swamp that will make you want to be a swamp person.
Hawaii: Kauai Aadheenam (Kauai’s Hindu Monastery)
The spiritual sanctuary in Kauai, home to almost two dozen monks, was built in the traditional South Indian style. Visitors are welcome to the lush gardens from 9 a.m. to noon every day.
Idaho: Rolling Hills of the Palouse
It might look like you’re in the English countryside, but you’re actually in north central Idaho.
Indiana: Bean Blossom Covered Bridge
Specifically: in fall.
Iowa: West Okoboji Lake
The chain of glacier-carved Iowa Great Lakes bordering Minnesota covers nearly 15,000 acres. While the spring-fed West Okoboji Lake is heavily populated during summer, you can certainly carve out a quiet spot for yourself…and a good book.
Kansas: Cheyenne Bottoms Wetlands
The wildlife refuge in central Kansas is not only picturesque, but it’s also a key pit-stop for migratory birds, including sandhill and whooping cranes.
Kentucky: Dog Slaughter Falls
Though its name does not bring about much calm, a two-mile hike to this 15-foot waterfall certainly will.
Louisiana: The Jungle Garden on Avery Island
The 170-acre tranquil semitropical garden is filled with azaleas, camellias and colorful bamboo, along with alligators, deer, snowy egrets and a Buddha statue believed to be over 900 years old.
Maine: Portland Head Lighthouse
Not feeling your meditation app? The sound of the crashing waves will get you in the right headspace.
Maryland: Greenbrier State Park
Wave hi to hikers passing through on their Appalachian Trail journey. (And then be thankful you’re not heading anywhere.)
Massachusetts: Heritage Museum and Gardens
You’ll feel like you fell through the looking glass as you explore these grounds.
Minnesota: Split Rock Lighthouse
There’s 1,000 watts of light to guide you into serenity. (Or at least a great photo op.)
Mississippi: The Windsor Ruins
There’s something so contemplative about the ruins of a 19th-century Greek Revival mansion.
Missouri: Forest Park Jewel Box
Not your mama’s greenhouse.
Montana: Flathead Lake
Grab some cherries, apples or plums from a roadside stand along the east shore, and set up shop on your own little piece of paradise somewhere along the 185 miles of shoreline.
Nebraska: Sunken Gardens
Two ponds, tons of tulips and a healing garden—this place is your new zen home.
Nevada: Bonsai Rock
A tree grows in Lake Tahoe. And it’s oh-so-peaceful.
New Hampshire: Squam Lake
The Lakes Region of New Hampshire offers plenty of docks and shoreline, but Squam Lake is especially peaceful and pristine. In fact, the surrounding area feels like it belongs in a different era—it actually looks much like it did in the 18th century.
New Jersey: Duke Farms
Explore over 1,000 acres that are entirely devoted to preservation and sustainability. Best of all, you can walk or bike through the landscape on your own. And after you’re done with all that self-reflection, you can grab a scrumptious grilled cheese at the certified green Farm Barn Café.
New Mexico: White Sands National Park
In daylight, the white sand dunes roll against a backdrop of mountains. Come night, they radiantly reflect moonlight.
New York: Lockwood Lavender Farm
The 120-acre farm tucked in the hillside overlooking Skaneateles Lake is a purple respite come June or July during the harvest. Visit in those months for your own little slice of Provence.
North Carolina: Craggy Gardens
Just outside Asheville, a hike in the Blue Ridge Mountains at Milepost 364 feels as if you’re stepping into a fairy tale with its gnarled and twisted trees. But it’s the abundant rhododendron and 360-degree views that make the ideal backdrop for that tree pose Insta.
North Dakota: Coteau du Missouri
It’s a prairie, but with way more personality (see: rolling hills and wetlands).
Ohio: Amish Country
There’s a surprising amount of things to do in Ohio’s Amish Country, but the tranquil scenery is just the thing you needed.
Oklahoma: Natural Falls
If the 77-foot waterfall is bringing on the nostalgia, that’s probably because scenes from the 1974 movie Where the Red Fern Grows were filmed here.
Oregon: Devil’s Punch Bowl
Crashing, foaming and swirling—it’s the type of distraction bound to give your whirling thoughts a rest.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece in Mill Run, Pennsylvania, was literally designed to make you feel more grounded and in harmony with earth. Ahh…
Rhode Island: Castle Hill Inn
A stay at the historic Newport mansion means beaches, spas and fine dining right at your fingertips. But honestly, just looking at it from afar can calm your soul (and keep your wallet happier).
South Carolina: Hunting Island
Pristine beaches, marsh and maritime forest (see: graveyard trees), a saltwater lagoon and ocean inlet—but honestly? We came for the sunrise.
South Dakota: Sylvan Lake
You deserve a dip in these waters after dealing with all the tourists at Mount Rushmore.
Tennessee: Cade’s Cove
In the valley of the great Smoky Mountains, you can roam the 11-mile one-way loop in the most relaxing way possible: via your own car.
Texas: Caddo Lake
The East Texas swamp is home to the world's largest bald cypress forest. (Make sure you bring a waterproof camera in your kayak.)
Utah: Golden Cathedral
It might not have any flying buttresses, but you’ll definitely feel something otherworldly here.
Vermont: Wilson Castle
Pretending to be rich has a way of soothing the soul, doesn’t it?
Virginia: Chincoteague Marshes
It’s like Bob Ross painted our idea of serenity.
Washington: Diablo Lake
This gem in North Cascades National Park might have a devilish name, but it looks like a big slice of heaven.
Washington, D.C.: Thomas Jefferson Memorial
Year-round, this memorial is a quiet place to sit with your thoughts; but come spring, the cherry blossoms take it to a whole new level.
West Virginia: Glade Creek Grist Mill
There’s just something about an old wooden mill that lulls our mind. (It’s basically a giant sound machine.)
Wisconsin: Dells Mill
Yeah…we’re kinda developing a thing for mills. While this one’s not in use now, word on the street is that the new owner will renovate it to become fully functional again.
Wyoming: T. A. Moulton Homestead
Breathe in, breathe out…pretend you’re frolicking through the fields in the Grand Tetons.