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Relax and Recharge in California's Expansive Outdoor Spaces

The below wellness escapes, ranging from outdoor yoga classes and horseback rides to forest bathing and wildlife viewing, offer up a myriad of ways for visitors to start the new year off right in California’s expansive outdoor spaces. We encourage you to check local guidance before visiting, and to practice safe social distancing.


Stand-Up Paddleboard Yoga and Yoga by the Sea in Oxnard
Sea Dog Yoga’s intention is to help deepen one's appreciation and connection with the natural marine environment, and to foster a deeper sense of self through yoga asana. Sea Dog Yoga also offers paddleboard instruction and guided stand up paddleboard tours of Channel Islands Harbor. Yoga by the Sea offers year-round donation-based classes on the lawns of Oxnard's Mandalay Shores and at Oxnard Beach Park. These events are meetup driven, so reservations are required.

Bunny Yoga in Conejo Valley
Harmony Family Outdoor Yoga Garden in Conejo Valley introduced a new Bunny Yoga experience. Achieve greater wellness as you focus on developing inner strength, balance and calm breathing, while creating closer bonds with each other and nature. These sessions are perfect for kids of all ages and yogis of all levels.

Outdoor Yoga Classes in San Diego
San Diego offers many inexpensive, outdoor yoga classes. Head to the lawn overlooking the ocean at the end of Law Street in Pacific Beach on weekend mornings 10-11:30 a.m. for a donation-based all-level class. Find your inner Zen on Coronado Beach with Hotel del Coronado’s Sunrise Yoga, held 10-11 a.m. Friday through Sunday. Guest cost is $25 per person. Enjoy the calming rhythm and views of the Pacific with Sunset Cliffs Yoga, held on Sunset Cliffs, 3:30-4:30 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays. A $10 donation is requested. Join The OM Experience, a Vinyasa-style yoga class in Balboa Park, 11 a.m.-noon on Sundays.


Snowshoe to Sacred Sites on Mt. Shasta

Mt. Shasta Retreats invites guests to immerse themselves in nature and experience deep meditation while snowshoeing to sacred sites on the mountain. Mt. Shasta Tour Guides also offers snowshoeing for beginners, groups and families. The experience includes a 2.5-hour snowshoe tour where guests learn about the winter environment, appropriate clothes and gear, flora and fauna, and basic avalanche awareness. The price is $75.00 per person with a two-person minimum.

Energy Balance and Releasing Hikes in Del Norte County
Get an energetic uplift with a guided three-mile “energy balancing and releasing” hike through Del Norte County’s majestic Redwood forests led by Reiki Master Connie McDonald. Using the latest forest bathing techniques combined with intentional balancing and meditative exercises, these “energy hikes” can ignite both emotional and physical healing and help with overall stress reduction. Soul Feet Retreat offers a variety of outdoor custom tours, massage and wellness services for individuals or small groups.

Find Your Outdoor Wellness Haven in Placer County
Placer County, situated along I-80 in Northern California’s Gold Country foothills, is home to world-class river canyons and expansive state parks. Placer encompasses a widely diverse geography, perfect for hiking and finding wellness. Auburn State Recreation Area is home to a network of scenic trails, and is popular for its views of the American River and iconic Foresthill Bridge. Continue on to Rocklin, a city characterized by the rolling hill terrain and panoramic views of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

Bike, Scoot or Walk in Benicia
Benicia’s waterfront breezes and natural beauty make it the perfect place for a mental health day. Located on both the San Francisco Bay Trail and the Bay Area Ridge Trail, Benicia is an ideal place to bike, scooter or walk while exploring safe trails, the waterfront and expansive outdoor spaces. Try out one of the 10 best bike trails in Benicia, or take a hike at the Benicia State Recreation Area.

A Safe, Serene Escape is Possible at Mt. Diablo State Park
Mt. Diablo, 3,849 feet above sea level, offers an abundance of space for visitors to social distance, relax and take in inspiring, panoramic views. Mt. Diablo State Park features lush and colorful plants, wildflowers and greenery along with many trails, canyons and waterfalls. Mt. Diablo has trails of all levels, which remain open with limited parking during California’s shelter-in-place.

Horseback Riding Experiences in Sonoma County
Bodega Bay's Chanslor Stables is a full-service ranch offering experiences for all levels. Guests can enjoy a beachside horseback ride, or choose to experience a combination of land and sea by pairing their ride with a kayak and paddle through Salmon Creek. The Ranch at Lake Sonoma offers trail rides through Sonoma County's largest 17,000-acre park, where trail rides can put guests in the middle of redwood groves, on rocky trails overlooking amazing and exclusive hidden views, or shaded trails above the Dry Creek Valley. Donkey rides are available for those 3+ under 70 lbs.

Family Friendly Hikes in San Luis Obispo
Minutes from San Luis Obispo’s downtown core, families can access multiple trailheads of varying difficulties — all featuring accessible parking and information kiosks. Options include Reservoir Canyon, Johnson Ranch, South Hills Open Space and the easy 0.9-mile Terrace Hill, the perfect spot to watch the sunset. For a more interactive hike, Cal Poly’s Design Village features a 2.5-mile walk followed by a field of unusual structures where kids can roam free and explore. For families with strollers, the urban paved San Luis Obispo Rail Path connects downtown to the family friendly Sinsheimer Park.

Be Well in the Santa Maria Valley
Santa Maria has 24 hiking trails, 13 beaches and miles of trails all within a 30-minute drive. Los Flores Ranch Park is home to more than 15 miles of hiking trails, many featuring panoramic views of the countryside. Monarch Dunes Butterfly Grove is ideal for viewing monarch butterflies, since they spend the colder months among the eucalyptus trees. Oso Flaco Lake’s 1.7-mile trail, which is mostly on a boardwalk, is a perfect spot to enjoy native plant life, birds and other animals. The trail leads to the scenic Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes.

Recharge in the Outdoors in Murrieta
Murrieta, located between Temecula and Lake Elsinore, is Southern California’s best-kept secret. Murrieta averages 275 days of sunshine, and offers hiking and mountain biking trails for all levels combined with stunning views. Escape to the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve, a picturesque 9,000-acre preserve featuring a vast network of trails and 50 different species of plants and animals. Then, head to Tenaja Falls, a 150-foot-tall, five-tiered waterfall cutting through the surrounding rock.


Relax and Recharge in North Lake Tahoe

The North Lake Tahoe region offers boundless opportunities to recharge in the outdoors, including guided full moon snowshoe tours, cross country skiing and snow biking. Tap into the knowledge from North Tahoe’s plethora of wellness experts and book one-on-one sessions with energy healers, yoga and meditation gurus, or learn the science behind Ayurvedic medicine. A variety of Know Before You Go resources are available on the GoTahoeNorth website to help plan ahead and book experiences.

Visit Yuba Sutter
It is scientifically proven that being in nature helps with your overall well-being, and nature sounds are linked with relaxation. In Yuba Sutter, you'll find many of the state's most pristine rivers and streams, which are home to a vast array of California wildlife. Located along the Pacific Flyway, Yuba Sutter has several wildlife sanctuaries and refuges, offering year-round nature hikes, bike trails, fishing opportunities, bird and wildlife viewing, and spots to relax. Most of the nature preserves in Yuba Sutter are free to the public, making it easy to plan a budget-friendly wellness excursion.

All-Season Wellness in Tuolumne County
Tuolumne County has endless opportunities for promoting health. Outfitters at Kennedy Meadows Resort & Pack Station saddle riders up for mountain treks and alpine meadow excursions from May through September. Hiking with others enhances social connectedness, the number one predictor of happiness. YExplore Yosemite Adventures offers hard and soft adventure, backpacking, nature walks and photography tours, all personalized and specific to each month. Tuolumne County is blessed with crystal-clear lakes and rushing rivers, and O.A.R.S. is just one of many rafting operators in the area.

Wellness and Relaxation Retreat in Downtown Napa
It’s easy to indulge in food and wine in Napa, but the city is also a wonderful destination for health, wellness and relaxation. At Oxbow Public Market, you’ll find fresh salads and cleansing juices at Hudson’s Greens & Goods. After reenergizing with lunch, take some time to connect with Napa’s outdoor beauty. Stroll through downtown; kayak, paddleboard or even take a gondola along the Napa River; or rent a bike at Napa River Velo and take a leisurely bike ride on the Napa Valley Vine Trail.

Natural Beauty and Temperate Climate in Carmel-by-the-Sea
Carmel-by-the-Sea is an ideal spot to recharge year-round, surrounded by natural beauty. The Scenic Bluff Path just above the white sands of the dog-friendly Carmel Beach offers trail-goers space for a casual walk or run, surrounded by Monterey cypress and landscaped gardens. For surfers, the view from the crystal-clear water is stunning, with Point Lobos to the south and Pebble Beach to the north.

Relax, Recharge and Unwind in Cambria
In Cambria, tucked away on California’s Central Coast, visitors can meditate to the sound of waves at the secluded Leffingwell Landing or practice yoga on Moonstone Beach. For a rush of adrenaline, cycle down Highway 1 while enjoying gorgeous ocean views. To connect with nature, whale watch off the coast, observe the birds at Fiscalini Ranch or search for zebras at Hearst Castle.

Los Angeles Offers up Many Paths to Wellness
Los Angeles has wellness options for everyone. Connect with nature through a variety of experiences at the new, all-outdoor, science-backed Haven Nature Studio – perched above Elysian Park in Downtown L.A. Walk with wolves in the Angeles National Forest with Wolf Connection, a wolfdog rescue center and sanctuary. Go forest bathing with a certified guide at the Los Angeles Arboretum, who assists participants in finding their own authentic way of interacting with the land.

Relax and Recharge in Dana Point
Dana Point is a year-round destination with a deep connection to the ocean. Discover pristine beaches, renowned whale watching, world-class boating, six miles of bike-able shoreline, and endless opportunities to catch a wave or explore the city’s surf heritage. Whether catching some sun, walking among wildflowers on the bluffs or taking a thrilling bike ride, recharging in Dana Point is easy and fun.

Note: As communities re-open after COVID-19-related closures, some parks, businesses and attractions may still be closed or have new protocols in place. Please verify local guidelines and regulations for all destinations and hours and availability of individual businesses before publishing. Check out Visit California’s Responsible Travel Hub for guidance on how visitors can travel within California safely.