The hustle and bustle of big city life can be fun, with days filled with shopping, evenings of nightclubbing, concerts, and theater.
But sometimes we just want to get away from it all, get a little quiet time, and reconnect with our inner spirituality — especially as urban areas become increasingly dangerous.
Here are Newsmax’s recommendations of the 10 best places in America to get away from it all, listed in alphabetical order. Without surprise, six are situated on islands.
Crater Lake, Oregon: Created from the eruption of Mount Mazama 7,700 years ago, Crater Lake’s average depth is more than 1,000 feet, and is nearly 2,000 feet at its maximum, making it the deepest lake in the United States.
Non-Native Americans first discovered it in June 1853, but it has been a sacred place for Native Americans since even before Mount Mazama’s eruption, as evidenced by sandals and other indigenous artifacts found under the ash, dust, and pumice.
The lake has been a holy spot particularly for the Klamath tribe, whose members have made annual pilgrimages and "spirit quests" to the lake for centuries, which still continue to this day.
The lake and surrounding park areas offer visitors hiking, biking, and fishing during the summer months, and snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter. But the area’s beauty and grandeur make it especially suited to go native and get in touch with your spiritual side.
Hot Springs, Arkansas: As the name implies, Hot Springs is known for its network of natural mineral hot waters, which many people have believed possess healing and rejuvenation powers since the time when Native Americans ruled the Ouachita Mountain area.
Following his 1921 polio diagnosis, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was a believer in thermal hydrotherapy. Although FDR normally visited Warm Springs, Georgia for this purpose, he made a 1936 Hot Springs visit to commemorate the 100th anniversary of President Andrew Jackson’s signature on the bill making Arkansas the 25th state.
In between relaxing immersions in the local bath houses, visitors can enjoy a round of golf, fun at the local water park, or a hike through the scenic Hot Springs National Park before retiring to any one of many quaint bed-and-breakfast accommodations dotting the area.
As evening approaches, visitors can enjoy dining at an array of local restaurants and test their luck at the local casino.
Isle of Palms and Kiawah Island, South Carolina: These are both small towns lying off the coast of South Carolina and within Charleston County.
Isle of Palms is a sleepy little beachside community of 4,000 residents, and the ideal spot to rent a beach house to serve as headquarters for days of bodysurfing and sun bathing, or a set of tennis with friends or a pickup game of beach volleyball.
Kiawah Island is even more intimate, with a population of about 1,500, where the days revolve around golf.
But no matter which town on which you hang your hat, when the dinner bell rings, you’ll want to satisfy your hunger and taste buds with the low country's comfort foods for which it’s famous. And if it’s a more cosmopolitan flair you seek for your evenings, Charleston awaits.
Mackinac Island, Michigan: Located in the Straits of Mackinac that separate Michigan’s upper and lower peninsulas, as well as Lake Michigan to the west and Lake Huron to the east, this may be the ultimate place to get away from the tensions of modern society.
Comprised of fewer than five square miles, the only way to get there is by boat, and once you arrive you’ll find yourself in the 19th century — no cars, no motorcycles, not even a riding lawnmower.
The only way to get around is by walking, horse-drawn carriage, or bicycle, and a bike ride around the island’s perimeter is a nice way to get a little fresh air and exercise, and explore the beauty that the area offers. After the ride, treat yourself to the best fudge you’ve ever had in your life from any one of the island’s many fudge shops.
Mackinac Island is also a prime destination for amateur sailors: two major Great Lakes sailing events culminate there — The Chicago to Mac Race and the Port Huron to Mac Race.
But one word of caution: don’t dare pronounce it "MACK-i-nack." Convert the "c" at the end of its name into a "w," making it "MACK-i-naw."
Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts: This is a casual playground for the rich and famous, including actors Bill Murray and Reese Witherspoon, and former President Barack Obama.
As you might expect, many parts of the triangle-shaped island, such as Chilmark, are insanely expensive.
However, some towns, including Vineyard Haven and Menemsha offer a more casual experience at a more reasonable cost.
While in Vineyard Haven, be sure to stop at the Black Dog Tavern, down a pint or two of your favorite brew, and pick up an official Black Dog sweatshirt as proof that you’d been there.
The Vineyard became the center of attention last year when Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis flew a planeload of illegal immigrants there. The residents welcomed them with open arms, fed them, then shipped them off to the mainland.
Nantucket, Massachusetts: Another island off the Massachusetts coast, Nantucket’s claim to fame is that it’s had more bawdy limericks written about it than any other locale, each beginning, "There once was a man from Nantucket."
Nantucket is quite a bit further off the mainland than Martha’s Vineyard, and miles more laid-back. Whether you're biking down the island's quaint cobblestone streets, stretched out on Surfside Beach lost in a good book, or hiking Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge's trails, cares of big-city life and the corporate world will soon melt away.
When the sun sets night life is just as laid back. Head on out to Cisco Brewers, where you and friends can take advantage of a brewery, a distillery, and a winery all rolled into one in an open-air setting.
Sanibel Island, Florida: This hidden jewel remained one of southwest Florida’s best kept secrets until Randy Wayne White wrote his bestselling novel “Sanibel Flats” in 1990.
Unlike Mackinac, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, Sanibel’s beaches can be enjoyed all year round, and the gentle breezes coming off the Gulf of Mexico make even Florida’s sweltering summers pleasant.
Its sugar-white sand beaches provide the perfect bed upon which to lay your beach towel and grab some rays, interrupted only by occasional refreshing dips in the turquoise waters.
At other times ride a bike or take a hike through the J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge to take in the tropical flora and fauna. Then book a sunset cruise to truly take in the beauty of this Florida beach paradise.
Savannah, Georgia: What’s this? A city? In Newsmax’s list of laid-back places?
Relax. It’s Savannah, and that’s in Georgia!
The single trait that distinguishes both the city of Savannah and its people is charm, and charm can soothe even the most savage of beasts.
Whether you immerse yourself in the town's rich history or stroll the Spanish moss-filled squares, you'll quickly feel all of your stresses drift away.
Unwind at the end of the day with a delicious farm-to-table meal at one of Savannah's restaurants, and finish off the evening with a Chatham Artillery Punch, a drink for which the city is famous.
Check out the spots made famous in the book and film, “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.” Then take a drive out to Tybee Island.
St. Augustine, Florida: As America’s oldest city, St. Augustine’s timeline goes back nearly 500 years, making it an ideal place to learn and explore our country’s early history. Take a leisurely stroll down Aviles Street, the oldest street in America’s oldest city, and take in the many museums and old structures.
Any city this old is bound to have a spiritual side, and the city doesn’t disappoint here either, Take, for example, Juan Ponce de León’s "fountain of youth," so named after local indigenous tribes convinced the Spanish explorer of the fountain’s enchanting properties.
Before you leave, you’ll want to drink from the fountain of youth also.
What the heck, it can’t hurt, can it?
Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to Newsmax. He is also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter. Read Michael Dorstewitz's Reports — More Here.
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