While city-living can offer some of the best and most varied opportunities for food, shopping, cultural activities and nightlife, sometimes you need to get away from the hustle and bustle and just reset. Whether that means reconnecting with nature or just finding a quiet place to get away from the noise, these three destinations will give you the perfect shot of city-detox so you can come back to your life feeling relaxed and refreshed.
Done with the city, but need to sort out your winter vitamin D deficiency? Check out Kauai, Hawaii’s less-touristy garden island. The island has been used in everything from Gilligan’s Island to Jurassic Park and Pirates of the Caribbean; it has a kind of rugged beauty and pervasive lushness that gives it an almost otherworldly quality. Kauai offers every opportunity to reconnect with nature in the most stunning of locations, all while soaking up some well-deserved sun. Hike through Waimea Canyon, the Grand Canyon of Kauai, which showcases Kauai’s famous red dirt with a stunning view of the cliffs down to the ocean (complete with waterfall!). Take a boat tour alongside the towering cliffs of the Na Pali coast, or do your best Hawaiian monk seal impression on one of Kauai’s many stunningly pristine beaches. When you feel ready to face the public again, you can check out the local produce at one of the island’s many farmers’ and art markets.
2) Tofino, Canada
On Canada’s west coast on Vancouver Island lies this little surfer’s paradise. You might have to bring a raincoat (“storm watching” is a bonafide tourist activity here!), but if you’re looking to detox from city living, Tofino is definitely worth a few raindrops. Fly to Vancouver and take the ferry to Victoria or Nanaimo, or fly directly to Victoria; either way, you’ll have to rent a car to get yourself across Vancouver Island to Tofino, but the drive is spectacular. Be sure to check out Cathedral Grove on the way, home to some of the most ancient evergreens you’ll ever see—some of the park’s oldest trees are over 800 years old. In Tofino, you can rent a cabin on the beach or go for a little more luxury in one of the town’s few beachfront resorts; try your hand at surfing (wetsuit required!), rent a kayak, or take a walk through some of the area’s fabulous trails. Head into town to check out some west coast inspired art at the local galleries, or shop around for some fantastic eats: the town introduced a bylaw banning new franchise operations in 2010, so you’ll get some fabulously fresh and local food wherever you go.
3) Kinsale, Ireland
Less than half an hour’s drive south of Cork lies Kinsale, a picturesque Irish port town that’ll be sure to refresh and reset your mind before you have to head back into city life. This colourful little town boasts some lovely scenery and a rich history. As a major trading port until the 18th century, the town was the setting for many dramas, including the battle of Kinsale in 1601 which spurred the construction of two nearby forts; book a walking tour through the town to get the full picture of the town’s storied past. Be sure to also take the 30 minute scenic walk along the coast over to Charles Fort and peer out into the ocean from the 17th century fortifications and 18th and 19th century ruins. Desmond Castle holds Kinsale’s International Wine Museum, so you can learn about the town’s historical wine trade before settling into one of the town’s historic pubs for your own glass of wine—or, for a Guinness.