A Heads Up for Overworked Millennials: National Plan for Vacation Day is January 31
While we do a lot of things well here in America, one skill we haven’t yet mastered is taking vacation.
More than half of U.S. workers forfeit some of their paid time off every year, leading to 658 million unused vacation days a year. Millennials are among the worst culprits for leaving vacation time on the table.
Few destinations can match California in terms of experiences designed to get millennials out of their offices and off their smartphones. In celebration of National Plan for Vacation Day January 31—the last day of a month devoted to new beginnings and retooled attitudes—we’ve compiled a sampling of luxe spa getaways, digital detox vacations, and great outdoors excursions in the Golden State.
If you haven’t taken a vacation anytime recently, BOSSES, you better do it right!
ULTIMATE SPA EXPERIENCES
Health and wellness are paramount in California, so it’s no surprise that the state has more than its share of high-end spas and wellness centers. Think four-star resorts in swanky beach towns, luxe day spas with celebrity followings, and rustic-chic spiritual centers with natural hot springs.
- At the ultra-refined Parker Palm Springs, relax in private villas with intimate hot tubs and enjoy a sugar scrub or seaweed wrap. At the Azure Spa at the Riviera Palm Springs, dip into a Watsu pool heated to your body temperature. Or turn the world off with a soak in natural hot spring mineral spas in Desert Hot Springs.
- After being greeted with a glass of bubbly, relax into a Champagne soak, scrub, and massage at the Spa at the Ritz-Carlton in downtown L.A. Then rejuvenate in the eucalyptus steam room of this pristine white-and-metallic dream spa. Or spend all day at the enormous oceanfront Spa at Terranea located at the posh new Terranea Resort on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. With the sounds of the ocean waves crashing outside the treatment room, you can indulge in holistic treatments including a seaweed wrap and saltwater bath, topped off with an aromatherapy massage.
- Step through the torii gates at the Golden Door Spa in Escondido and enter a Japanese-inspired getaway replete with classic shoji screens, a koi pond, and sand gardens. Days start with an early-morning guided hike through avocado groves, waterfalls, and stone walkways lined with ancient granite boulders. Classes in yoga, water therapy, nutrition, and more all focus on wellness and healing.
DIGITAL (AND PHYSICAL) DETOX
California’s Silicon Valley may take credit for the technology that millennials love, but the Golden State also provides some indulgent opportunities to shake off technology overload:
- Located at the base of the San Jacinto Mountains in downtown Palm Springs, Korakia blends the charm of Southern European luxury with North African accents. Crafted after a Mediterranean-style pensione, Korakia forgoes technology such as TVs, phones, and clocks in favor of vintage books, board games, al fresco film screenings, and afternoon Moroccan tea service.
- Stretching across 27 acres of striking Central California coastline in Big Sur, Esalen Institute offers some 600 workshops and programs annually “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.
- We Care Spa in Desert Hot Springs provides serious detox under professional guidance. 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 it also offers a variety of activities and classes focused on healing body and mind.
THE GREAT OUTDOORS
California is home to more national parks than any other state in the country and features a wealth of other protected lands.
- Discover the mysteries of volcanoes, sulfur vents, splattering mud pots, and boiling springs in Lassen Volcanic National Park. Explore the park’s signature volcano, Lassen Peak, hike the miles of lush forests, and camp or “glamp” around the most photographed lake in Lassen, Manzanita Lake.
- Often called the “Galapagos of North America,” Channel Islands National Park has the distinction of receiving the fewest visitors of all the parks in the continental U.S. due to its offshore location. Comprised of five of California’s eight Channel Islands, this pristine archipelago sets the stage for unparalleled aquatic adventures like visiting one of the world’s largest sea caves and kayaking to isolated coves. Access to the islands is only through private boats and park concessionaire Island Packers, giving the area true exclusivity known primarily by locals.
- The Majestic Mountain Loop is a three-day road trip that takes in three iconic High Sierra parks: Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon. Witness the home of the world’s largest trees in Sequoia National Park, then wander through Kings Canyon and attempt a selfie with General Grant Tree, the largest sequoia in the grove and the second largest tree in the world! Finally, make your way to legendary Yosemite National Park, best known for its waterfalls and iconic granite domes.
- Rather see Yosemite from above? Several companies offer private flight-seeing tours, including Yosemite Air Tours and Airborrn Aviation Services.
- To experience San Diego’s ultimate natural high, take off from the cliffside location of the Torrey Pines Gliderport. Situated at the southern tip of the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, the Gliderport has been thrilling enthusiasts and newbies since 1930. Join the ranks of the likes of Charles Lindbergh, who piloted sailplanes there, and take wing on a tandem paragliding or hang-gliding flight with an expert pilot, soaring above the villas, cliffs, and coastal views of beautiful La Jolla.