No moment radiates more joy than standing at the edge of Californiaʻs Central Coast, mountainous cliffs stretching for miles upon miles, and the majesty of the open Pacific ocean ahead. This is your moment to put your health and wellness first, and uncover a newly relaxed and refreshed you in the New Year.

"Holistic health" recognizes that wellness goes beyond a single aspect of the human experience, and is an intricate balance of our physical, mental, emotional, social, intellectual, and spiritual selves. With a wealth of unmatched natural beauty, there are so many moments to be still and be inspired by the grandeur of Monterey County, making it an exemplary backdrop for your next holistic wellness retreat. Explore the health and wellness activities awaiting you below.

TAKE TO THE GREAT OUTDOORS

A deepened experience of self is amplified when youʻre out in nature. Get your body moving while you immerse yourself in the great Monterey County outdoors on some of the best nature walks and hikes imaginable. These hikes are perfect for all levels, from the casual stroller to the seasoned mountain climber.

High Peaks Trail at Pinnacles National Park

Enjoy a leisurely waterfront walk at Moss Landing State Beach near the mouth of the Elkhorn Slough. Take a moment to pause and reflect, and you will likely catch a glimpse of sea otters, sea lions, and birds, as this is a dense area for all three! 

Kick it up a notch on the High Peaks Loop Trail at Monterey Countyʻs one-and-only national park, Pinnacles National Park in Soledad. This hike is considered strenuous by most, but you will be rewarded at the top with spectacular views from the top! *Please note that some parts of this trail can be very steep and narrow. Plan ahead, and bring lots of water!

And because dogs are an *essential* part of happiness and health, a favorite dog-friendly hiking spot in Carmel Valley is Garland Ranch Regional Park, with some of the steepest trails in the area, glorious vistas and great wildlife.

SPAS AND RETREATS

Monterey County spas and retreats are the ultimate splurge for overall inner peace and wellness. Detox, rejuvenate and fulfill your soul at Monterey Countyʻs exceptional facilities.

Esalen Institute Wide

Perched on the dramatic cliffs of Big Sur, the Esalen Institute in itself is awe-inspiring. Founded as a holistic, educational retreat center, Esalen attracts a world-wide network of teachers and seekers who explore deeper spiritual possibilities, forge new understandings of self and society, and pioneer new paths for change. Esalen gives guests the tools and freedom to find a re-energized sense of purpose, offering an abundance of experiences from moonlit mineral baths in natural geothermal hot springs, couples workshops, writing programs, yoga and their unique form of massage that focuses on energy exchange and psychological well-being. 

The Spa at Bernardus Lodge in Carmel Valley offers a unique spa experience for rejuvenation, inspiration and indulgence based on the turn of each season. Their compilation of services on the solstices and equinoxes integrates these celestial reminders to take time for ourselves; reflecting on the past, renewing for the future and optimizing balance.

Refuge Spa Carmel
During the Winter Solstice, the start of the solar year, The Spa at Bernardus Lodge creates a wonderful environment for this important time of tranquility, ritual, reflection and renewal. Guests can choose from an array of relaxation services including restorative yoga, massages, bodywork, facials and salon services.

Find inner peace at a the suitingly named Refuge in Carmel. This tucked away wellness paradise is also America’s first co-ed outdoor relaxation spa, offering ultimate relaxation through a three step thermal-cycle featuring a sauna, steam room, cold plunges, warming pools and various lounging areas. Repeated use of the Refuge thermal cycle soothes aches and pains, speeds up metabolism, and enhances muscle recuperation - Just what you need for a rejuvenated you!

FUEL YOUR BODY & SOUL 

With an abundance of locally-sourced produce from the Salinas Valley, often referred to as the "Salad Bowl of the World,” and responsibly procured seafood from the Monterey Bay, the food and wine are as fresh and local as it gets in Monterey County. 

This means that pretty much anywhere you go, you are bound to find good food to feed your body and soul. Dine on sustainable seafood straight from Monterey's harbors. Tour a farm, then savor its organic produce at local restaurants. Buy wine straight from the winemaker, then picnic amidst the grapevines. Wellness truly starts with taking care of yourself, so feed yourself well at restaurants like Café Fina on Old Fishermanʻs Wharf, The Haute Enchilada in Moss Landing, and Salt Wood Kitchen & Oysterette in Marina. 

River Road Wine TrailPhoto courtesy of @DrinkMonterey

Good food for the soul also includes pastries from artisan bakery Sweet Elenaʻs in Sand City, where everything is made from scratch and a whole lot of love, home-cooked soul food that fills you up with warmth from Michelleʻs Soul Food Kitchen in Seaside, and a glass of organic and sustainably grown small-batch wine from family-owned Odonata Wines in Salinas.

HEALTH & WELLNESS FROM THE CENTRAL COAST

Monterey County is truly a getaway to find your best self, whether that be through your physical, mental, emotional, social, intellectual or spiritual self, or all of the above. Your next holistic wellness retreat couldnʻt find a better home than the all-inspiring Central Coast.