Spirituality is a deeply personal journey for each person. To say that one travel destination is somehow “more spiritual” than another truly depends on the individual. For some people, simply being in unobstructed nature feels deeply spiritual. For others, spiritual places are those with a rich history of worship or religious significance. These are all valid, because who are we to decide what is sacred to anybody?
That said, there are some places in the United States that are particularly spiritual, based on the types of travelers they attract, what they have to offer to seekers, and their history. I think it’s important to keep in mind that many of these are considered spiritual today because of the beliefs and practices of Native Americans, who have a special sacred bond with them. This is one of numerous reasons why it’s essential to visit each of these locations with the utmost respect for nature, and the native people who are considered its guardians.
If you’re looking to incorporate spirituality into your next trip within the US, consider any one of these magical places:
1. Sedona, Arizona
As Sedona is part of one most powerful energy vortexes in the world, it’s no surprise that it’s one of the most spiritual spots in the country. Some believe that it encompasses a giant energy vortex — a large swirl of earthly energy — while others identify four key vortexes: at Airport Mesa, Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock, and Boynton Canyon.
Sedona also represents a more New Age form of spirituality that focuses on things like energy healing, yoga, and sound baths. Here you’ll find an abundance of wellness spas, healing centers, yoga studios, and other spiritual businesses. There are also plenty of neat Airbnbs in Sedona that are particularly peaceful and have a healing energy.
Being surrounded by red-rock canyons, whimsical forests, and even a few waterfalls, the sheer fact that Sedona is so naturally beautiful might be enough for you to consider it a spiritual destination. From venturing to the bright turquoise waters at Havasu Falls nearby, to checking out the Chapel of the Holy Cross, to doing a sound-bath session, there are lots of spiritual things to do in Sedona for anyone looking to connect to nature, whatever higher spirit they believe in, or just themselves.
2. Big Island, Hawai’i
You could easily say that any one of the Hawaiian Islands are particularly spiritual in their own way, but there’s something extra special about the Big Island. The goddess Pele, who is responsible for Hawai’i’s fire and volcanic activity, is especially present there, as this is where four of the state’s active volcanoes reside. You can hike them at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, which is also an epic stargazing spot on a clear night.
Another spiritually charged location on the Big Island is the site of the Pu’u Loa petroglyphs, which is also within the same national park. This important historical site is incredibly important to Hawaiian spirituality, so don’t miss it.
In addition to the Big Island’s spectacular landscape and overall beauty, there are many destinations there for spiritual travelers. From retreat centers to yoga studios and historical sites where you can learn more about the island and its people, there are plenty of opportunities to find the connection you’re looking for.
3. Joshua Tree, California
As a hugely popular getaway from Los Angeles and San Diego, Joshua Tree receives all kinds of nature-loving visitors who come to see the namesake Joshua trees and surrounding desert. Many people find the desert to be spiritual, evoking a sense of mystery and magical allure. I mean, the Joshua trees themselves are kind of mystical, don’t you think?
For many years, people have also believed that Joshua tree attracts alien life forms. They’ve even built specific structures, like the Integratron building, to communicate with them. Nowadays, the Integratron is where you can go for an intense sound-healing session. There are other places with a similar feel in Joshua Tree as well, like the Desert Reset retreat and many yoga studios.
Whether you’re curious about aliens, dream of waking up to a desert view, or are searching for healing, you’re bound to find something spiritual in this special spot.
Find out what else there is to do in Joshua Tree National Park here.
4. Mount Shasta, California
Mount Shasta in California has a reputation for being the Earth’s root chakra. That’s right, some believe that planet Earth has chakra energy centers just like the human body. Although mighty Shasta hasn’t erupted in 200-300 years, it’s still an active volcano and holds a great deal of energy. This concentration of energy, aka a vortex, is the reason why so many spiritual seekers visit the mountain.
Native Americans have long visited Mount Shasta to perform rituals and ceremonies dedicated to the Creator. These still happen today, but now you’ll see a more diverse group of people visiting for similar purposes. You’ll find reiki healers here, along with meditation teachers and other people hoping to help travelers on their healing journey.
5. Taos, New Mexico
Taos, a small city in the high desert of New Mexico, is one of the oldest and most enchanting cities in the American West. In fact, Taos has been casting a magical spell on its visitors since Spanish colonists first arrived in 1540. There you’ll find many small adobe chapels that capture the essence of the town’s spirituality and date back hundreds of years.
Nowadays, Taos is home to one of the most innovative “biotecture” communities in the United States. It has over 70 homes, called earthships, which exist completely off the grid. It’s inspiring to experience a community dedicated to sustainability and safeguarding Mother Nature’s resources. There’s something quite spiritually healing to know that so many people are working hard to live more sustainably.
If you’re looking for a beautiful place for a meditation retreat, Taos just might be the spot for you. Retreat centers like Blue Sky Retreat and High Frequency Loft offer meditation, yoga, sound healing, and ecstatic dance.
6. Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe attracts a whole host of spiritual healers, body workers, yoga teachers, artists, and even psychics — and has been doing so for quite some time! Some say that it is the original spiritual capital of the United States, and I can’t blame them. There is an overall mystical vibe there, which is evident throughout the art galleries of Canyon Road, where I suggest you start exploring the city.
Just 30 minutes from downtown Santa Fe is the historical Santuario de Chimayó, a sacred place of worship that dates back to even before the shrine was built in 1813. Even if you aren’t Catholic or Christian, this holy site is said to have healing powers for anyone that visits.
Santa Fe is also home to a world-famous Buddhist monastery, the Upaya Institute and Zen Center. This spiritual center offers daily Zen meditation sessions, as well as other special events, talks, and retreats.
With this combination of Buddhist philosophy, Catholic sacred sites, Native American spirituality, and New Age practices, you can see that Santa Fe has something for almost any kind of spiritual journey.
7. Crater Lake, Oregon
What is now Crater Lake, the deepest lake in the entire country, was once volcanic Mount Mazama. Due to a spectacular eruption, the mountain essentially blew its top off and became the giant crater that we see today. Eventually it filled with water, which is how we now have the beautiful and sacred Crater Lake.
For hundreds of years, if not thousands, the lake has been a holy site for Native Americans, particularly the Klamath tribe. Making dangerous and heroic spirit quests to the lake has been part of Klamath traditions for centuries and still continues to this day.
Visiting Crater Lake National Park can be a deeply spiritual experience, just for the sake of spending time in nature by the lake. You won’t find many retreat centers here, like you will in other places on this list. That said, this ideal for travelers who feel most spiritual when connecting with nature.
8. Moab, Utah
Just a 15-minute drive from the entrance to magical Arches National Park, Moab has one of the most otherworldly landscapes you’ll find in the United States. Look around and marvel at Mother Nature’s work of art. You’ll see pristine arches, plunging canyons, and other rock formations that are as puzzling as they are beautiful.
These formations in Moab at Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park (also nearby) are deeply sacred to Native American communities, who worship them as beings and protectors of the Earth. The peace brought by the desert inspires spiritualists to come and connect with Mother Nature through meditation, sound healing, and other ceremonies.
Red Moon Lodge is a bed-and-breakfast retreat with special spaces dedicated to yoga, meditation, and prayer. The whole place is solar-powered and dedicated to sustainability. This is another big plus for those of you who want to experience the spiritual magic of Moab in a more eco-conscious fashion.
9. Bahá’í House of Worship, Wilmette, Illinois
Just 20 minutes from Chicago is the beautifully ornate Bahá’í House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois. It is the only Bahá’í temple in the United States, and it attracts worshipers from all faiths. The Bahá’í faith itself includes teachings from all of the major religions: Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism. The basic teachings of Bahá’ísm include the oneness of humanity, racial and social justice, and other important pillars.
The temple itself is a meeting place for people of all faiths, not just Bahá’ís. I’ve been to the temple a few times. I think it’s a beautiful site which embraces all people regardless of identity. The inside is just as ornate as the outside and remains silent when there are no events going on. It’s a wonderful spot to spend a day reflecting, journaling, or engaging in whatever type of worship that suits you.
10. St. Augustine, Florida
As America’s oldest city, it’s no surprise that Saint Augustine has quite an interesting narrative. With over 500 years of human history to behold, it has a reputation of having several highly spiritual sites. One of them is Juan Ponce de León’s alleged “fountain of youth.” This is where the Spanish conquistador believed he found an indigenous secret to immortality. The Timucua tribes who lived in the area before the Spanish conquest convinced Ponce de León of the fountain’s magical properties, which is one of the reasons why America’s first-ever Catholic mission was built there.
Even though much of the legend behind the fountain of youth remains a mystery, the old-timey feel of Saint Augustine offers a magical experience. The Spanish architecture and ancient churches add to the mystical quality of the city, making this a very spiritual place for many visitors.
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I don’t know about you, but a trip to any of these places sounds like an amazing way to recharge my spiritual battery. I feel especially connected to nature in sites that have a special spiritual significance.
What makes somewhere especially spiritual to you?