Sometimes, vacation planning can leave us more stressed than a vacation should—especially if you’re going on an itinerary-driven vacation, where travelers try to cram as much as possible into their days away. An appealing and mindful contrast is to instead travel a meditation retreat. Not only are there plenty of mental health benefits to learning and/or practicing meditation, but many meditation retreats offer an affordable way to spend time in some of the country’s most gorgeous settings. Take a look at four meditation retreats that won’t break the bank.
1. Southern Dharma Retreat Center
Fly into Asheville, NC and drive about an hour northwest into the Blue Ridge Mountains. There you’ll find the perfect setting for a meditation retreat. The Southern Dharma Retreat Center offers 25 meditation retreats each year, with participants staying in stunning log cabins nestled among tall, lanky trees. According to its website, each retreat is conducted in “Noble Silence with scheduled periods of meditation practice, dharma talks, teacher interviews, working meditation, and personal time.” The cost is just $85 per night, which includes lodging and three meals per day. The low price is thanks in part to the fact that retreat teachers all participate without pay. But if the price is still too steep, the Southern Dharma Retreat Center also offers work-exchange scholarships and fellowships for full-time educators, health professionals and artists.
2. Spirit Rock
Travel to San Francisco, CA and drive straight up across the Golden Gate Bridge to West Marin. While the Bay Area may not always be associated with affordability, Spirit Rock is another meditation retreat that works hard to offer access to as many people as possible, regardless of financial status. Its 411-acre property in California hosts a variety of meditation retreats based on Buddha, Vipassana, and metta throughout the year. As the website puts it: “stay for two hours or two months.” Each program is priced on a sliding scale, too; a two-day fall women’s retreat, for example, starts at just $150. On top of that, Spirit Rock offers scholarships for most non-residential programs and a volunteer program. Additionally, according to the site, they “do not turn anyone away from daylongs for lack of funds.”
3. Awakening Spirit
Head to Sedona, AZ and lose yourself in silence at Awakening Spirit, an organization that brands itself as affordable. A three-night silent yoga and hiking getaway (based on a similar philosophy to straightforward meditation retreats) costs just $100 altogether, lodging included. Meanwhile, a two-week budget work exchange silent yoga retreat is available for those who, as Awakening Spirit’s website puts it, have “big hearts and small budgets.” The retreat’s name come from the fact that silent yoga has been described as a “soul dance of awakening.” In addition to silent retreats, though, Awakening Spirit also offers personal retreats and a healing center
4. Siddhayatan Meditation Retreat
Siddhayatan Tirth is described as an ashram, spiritual retreat center, monastery and future meditation park and pilgrimage site located in Windom, TX. It’s home to multiple retreats each year, including several intensive meditation retreats. The teachings of Siddhayatan are based on the following principles: a vegetarian diet, yoga, meditation, detoxification through intensive breathing, and emotional/mental management. Considering this is one of the most established retreats, spending $350 for three days and two nights of meditation teachings and practice is a solid deal. That price includes lodging, meals, three retreat classes, and four mantra classes, too. Simply fly into Dallas, TX then drive about an hour-and-a-half to Windom.