Perfect California Wellness Retreat Ideas

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Perfect California Wellness Retreat Ideas

By Hana-Lee Sedgwick March 28, 2024

California has always been at the forefront of the wellness movement, from pioneering fitness innovations to championing locally-sourced cuisine. It’s no surprise, then, that the first wellness center in the U.S. opened up here in the 1970s, setting the stage for a thriving culture of holistic health and mindful living that continues to flourish today.

When it comes to wellness retreats and health-focused experiences, California’s offerings are as diverse as its landscapes. So, if you’re seeking a rejuvenating escape (aren’t we all?), then look no further. Below, we’re sharing just a few of the state’s most invigorating experiences to help you recharge your mind and body, because we think you deserve a moment of self-care.

Hot Springs Retreat in Calistoga

The wellness haven of Calistoga, located in the northern part of Napa Valley, is famous for its hot springs and mineral pools. While a soak is undeniably relaxing, the real magic lies in the water’s healing benefits. Rich in calcium and sodium bicarbonate, these mineral springs are believed to boost circulation, alleviate stress, and provide deep muscle relaxation… and who can resist all that?

At Dr. Wilkinson’s Backyard Resort & Mineral Springs, you can bask in the area’s mineral waters and volcanic mud while enjoying the resort’s playfully modern surroundings. During their signature spa treatment, The Works, you’ll sink into a 107-degree mud bath, followed by a dip in the mineral-rich hydrotherapy pool, then top it off with a soothing Swedish massage. It’s a must. From the spa services to the food offerings and colorful guest rooms, their motto, “Where Wellness Meets Happiness,” couldn’t be more fitting.

Calistoga Spa Hot Springs is another one-stop-shop for Calistoga hot springs bliss. Spend your days luxuriating in one of the four outdoor geothermal pools and unwinding with a therapeutic massage before retreating to the comfort of your room each night. While Calistoga Spa Hot Springs doesn’t have a restaurant like the aforementioned Dr. Wilkinson’s does, a stay here means you’ll be just steps away from downtown Calistoga’s many locavore-minded restaurants.

East Meets West

Venture beyond traditional spa treatments at the adults-only Alila Napa Valley, located in St. Helena. Their holistic experiences and wellness programs combine traditions from the East and West, such as aromatherapy, healing stones, acupressure, and astrology, working to balance your energy and spirit. After a treatment, there’s no better way to keep that feeling of tranquility going than by savoring a meal of locally-sourced foods from the on-site restaurant, Acacia House, or sipping a glass of Napa wine from your private balcony overlooking the vines, just sayin’.

Photos courtesy of The Gaige House

At The Gaige House, nestled in Sonoma Valley’s charming town of Glen Ellen, Asian influence can be found in everything from the guest rooms to the amenities. Listen to birds and other wildlife from the Meditation Alcove or zen garden, savor a complimentary bottle of sake, and enjoy the other ryokan-inspired amenities included with a stay. It all adds up to a zen-inducing experience you won’t forget.

Canyon Ranch
Forest bathing & yoga at Canyon Ranch, Photo courtesy of Canyon Ranch

Discover the art of Shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, at Canyon Ranch in Woodside. Surrounded by redwoods, this Northern California wellness retreat offers customizable experiences and special wellness programs designed to deepen your health- or wellness-focused journey. For a unique stay, book the Treehouse room, a glass-clad sanctuary with a private deck amidst nature.

Yoga in Wine Country

At The Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa, you can improve your mind and body alignment through daily yoga classes, from morning yoga flow to vineyard yoga hikes, or with one of the specialty yoga classes that change with the seasons. Even more, as a guest of the resort, you’ll get access to a free 30-day Alo Moves trial, along with complimentary yoga mats to use during your stay, making it easy to tailor your fitness experiences to your personal preferences and schedule. After a yoga session, be sure to book yourself a relaxing spa treatment in the resort’s underground spa cave.

The Meritage Resort and Spa
Photo courtesy of The Meritage Resort and Spa

Experience the tranquility of Sonoma Wine Country with Body Flows, a retreat that marries yoga, hiking, and journaling with the pleasures of nourishing food and biodynamic wines. In between rejuvenating sessions, you’ll sip wines from renowned Sonoma wineries, such as Benziger Family Winery. After the retreat, plan to extend your stay a day or two to explore the region’s surrounding wineries and vineyards.

Sagrada Wellness
Photo courtesy of Sagrada Wellness

Sagrada Wellness in San Luis Obispo is an all-inclusive haven for those seeking inner peace. Their boutique yoga retreats, such as Yoga & Hiking and Yoga & Writing, offer a perfect escape from the daily grind. However, their Yoga & Wine retreat is a crowd favorite, blending yoga sessions with stargazing and tastings of local Central Coast wines. Sounds perfect.

Balance & Restore Your Mind & Spirit

El Encanto, a Belmond Hotel in Santa Barbara hosts a range of wellness-inspired experiences, from restorative yoga to cacao ceremonies, during their annual Wellness Week, but the sensory journey doesn’t end there. From personal readings with a life coach to sound bath meditations in the tranquil setting of the property’s lush gardens, El Encanto offers plenty of ways to let life’s stressors wash over you. Whatever you choose, close out the day with a nightcap sitting beside your in-room fireplace—there’s no better way to ease into a night of peaceful slumber.

Photos courtesy of El Encanto

At Bernardus Lodge in Carmel, you can embrace activities like hiking, yoga, swimming, and tennis—all great for improving your fitness journey. But for a holistic restoration of both body and mind, don’t miss the resort’s unique wellness experiences. Join a Full Moon ritual or partake in a guided intention-setting experience to connect with your true intentions and release anything dimming your inner glow.

Post Ranch Inn
Sound Bath at Post Ranch Inn, Photo courtesy of Post Ranch Inn

A visit to Big Sur is a serenity-filled treat for the senses, making it an excellent place to embark on a personal journey of renewal and wellness. Esalen is a well-known retreat center for soulful transformation and healing, but if ultra-luxury is more your speed, head to the Post Ranch Inn. Perched on a ridge overlooking the ocean, this high-end resort offers unique wellness experiences like shaman sessions, herbal spirit journeys, and astrology sessions, all designed to clear energy blockages and rejuvenate your emotional and spiritual wellbeing. Plus, getting to savor those epic views each day? There’s really no better way to clear your head and be fully present.

Post Ranch Inn
Meditation pool at Post Ranch Inn, Photo courtesy of Post Ranch Inn


Each person’s journey to wellness can look a little different, which is why California is such a great destination for wellness seekers. Whether you’re eager to unwind in mineral-rich hot springs in Calistoga, explore holistic practices that balance mind and body in Big Sur, or reconnect with nature at a bonafide wellness resort, these California wellness retreat ideas offer the perfect blend of relaxation and rejuvenation.