There’s never a wrong time to pack your bags, get out of town, and see the sights! Originally adopted by spas across the country, National Relaxation Day is the perfect excuse to take a break and forget about stress for a full 24 hours (or maybe an entire weekend). Sounds relaxing, huh? Chill out on a boat in Stockholm or sip fine wine in Napa Valley. Wherever you choose to go, just remember that there’s beauty in taking a break – and these six gorgeous spots prove it!
Stockholm’s 14 stunning islands are linked by 57 bridges. By our calculations, there’s no shortage of beauty in Sweden’s capital city. The city is home to a number of sightseeing tours by boat or bus, including Red Sightseeing, which offers a nearly two-hour sailing excursion under 17 of Stockholm’s bridges. When you’re done breathing in the salty scents of the sea and hashtagging your epic Instagram photos, head over to the Royal National City Park, a lush oasis in the middle of a sprawling city. Stretching over six miles, the park is home to flocks of rare birds, lakes, canals, and towering oak trees. It’s the perfect place to unpack a romantic picnic for two!
When in Iceland, a stroll through Elliðaárdalur Valley is a rare treat for the senses. Run your fingers through a fishing river teeming with Arctic char, salmon, and brown trout. When you’re done, cycle across the Valley’s vibrant recreational trail. Need to soothe dry skin or aching muscles? Bathe in the mineral-laden waters of the Blue Lagoon, one of Iceland’s most popular attractions. Temperatures can climb to a balmy 102 °F and above, making this one hot – and totally needed – soak.
Caye Caulker, Belize
Belize is more than just glistening beaches – though those are certainly not to be missed! Take in all the sun you can handle on the Spit’s public beach. What exactly is the Split, you ask? No, it’s not a term from an apocalyptic teen novel. It’s a channel that divides Caye Caulker into two separate islands and a popular—not to mention gorgeous—resting ground for tourists and locals alike. To the north of Caye Caulker lies the Forest Reserve, a 100-acre home to colorful mangrove trees, an array of birdlife, and even crocodiles and boa constrictors (the faint of heart should steer clear of the lagoons). Follow a trail through the mangrove forest or hold a picnic in one of the designated areas to experience the natural beauty of Belize.
Napa Valley, California
You can’t talk about relaxation without mentioning Napa Valley. With its lavish vineyards and top-tier resorts, California’s wine country is a retreat into intoxicating luxury. Whether you fly over the valley in a hot air balloon or take a dip in the mineral water pools at Calistoga Spa Hot Springs, there’s no shortage of ways to experience this California oasis, wine in hand.
Alberta is known for its breathtakingly serene and scenic lakes and waterfalls. The epic Moraine Lake, once featured on the Canadian twenty-dollar bill, features glacier-fed turquoise waters. Also in Banff National Park lies Peyto Lake, which is just as postcard-ready. Just don’t forget your camera and walking shoes! Over in Jasper National Park, Athabasca Falls rages on with impressive force, completing the park’s picturesque mountain scene.
Bodh Gaya, India
Approximately 2,600 years ago, Prince Siddhartha attained enlightenment in this celebrated Indian city. Today, travelers flock to its gardens and temples for a taste of tranquility. Start your journey at the Mahabodhi Temple, an ornamental brick structure that marks the site of the Buddha’s enlightenment. A short drive from Bodh Gaya, the cave-like Dungeshwari Hills are as history-rich as they are secluded. According to legend, Buddha resided in these structures before achieving enlightenment in Bodh Gaya.
You deserve to take a break from it all – and National Relaxation Day is the perfect excuse to book the adventure of a lifetime. Have you visited any of the cities on our list? Are you familiar with any other tranquil hotspots we should know about? Tell us in the comments below!