The Top 7 Destinations for a Digital Detox in 2016

Liz Weiss

Escape from your digital devices in these isolated retreats.

Whether the constant flurry of work emails, social media notifications or online streaming has you feeling drained, sometimes, you just need to unplug and get away from it all. But detaching from electronic devices is easier said than done. "Anyone can do it. It's just having the willpower," says Jeanenne Tornatore, senior editor at Orbitz.com. That's why, it's important to go somewhere that offers a winning combination of natural attractions, adventure and wellness-oriented activities to truly absorb your local surroundings and boost your physical and mental energy. With that in mind, leave your smartphone, tablets, laptops and other gizmos at home and plan a technology-free getaway in one of these tranquil locales.

Tulum, Mexico

Tulum, the bohemian retreat on the southern edge of the Riviera Maya, has long lured stressed-out city slickers with its relaxed vibes, beachside yoga classes and rustic eco-friendly boutiques. Offering a laid-back character and authentic experiences, it has retained a small-town community charm, Tornatore says. For tech-junkies looking to disconnect entirely, the Grand Velas Riviera Maya offers a Digital Detox program (complete with an on-site detox concierge) and digital-free activities such as snorkeling lessons and spa treatments. And other hotels in the area, like the Maya Tulum Resort, offer three- to seven-day Mind, Body and Spirit packages that include organic meals, yoga classes and stays in thatch-roofed cabanas. Best of all, for those looking to commune with nature, Tulum offers serene beaches, Mayan ruins, colorful coral reefs and striking natural sinkholes known as cenotes.

Tucson, Arizona

The Miraval Resort & Spa, tucked away in the Santa Catalina Mountains in northern Tucson, is completely off the grid, says Alison Lewis, founder and editor-in-chief of Healthy Travel Magazine. "You wake up with a morning meditation," she explains, before enjoying activities like spinning, tennis and photography classes. You can pick from a variety of customized, all-inclusive packages focusing on wellness, fitness and meditation that cover the cost of daily activities, meals, casita-style accommodations and even some spa services (promotional rates start at $150 per person per day). And beyond on-site activities to keep you away from your smartphone, guests are not allowed to use their cellphone inside restaurants, she adds. But with indulgent spa services such as the Sonoran Mud Wrap and Herbal Body Balancing treatment designed to reduce tension, you'll probably willingly forgo Instagram scrolling for endless pampering.

The British Virgin Islands

If you're hesitant to part ways with your technology, Peter Island Resort & Spa in the British Virgin Islands -- with its care-free vibes and picturesque ocean views -- offers the perfect remedy to recover quickly. While guest rooms do include Wi-Fi access, overall technology use at this tucked-away 1,800-acre island is limited, Lewis says. Inside your accommodations, you'll find a plush reading chair and a furnished balcony or patio, depending on the room type. Beyond the accommodations, there are five beaches to explore, decadent spa treatments and excellent hiking opportunities, giving you ample inspiration to go tech-free. When you're not scuba diving, kayaking or paddleboarding, you can get re-centered with morning yoga classes and indulgent spa treatments, like a sea stone massage designed to soothe sore muscles or a vitamin C antioxidant body scrub.

Lake Como, Italy

For a relaxing European vacation that doesn't orbit around snapping and sharing photos of iconic sights but rather embracing the natural scenery, head to Lake Como, Lewis says. The Grand Hotel Tremezzo is only an hourlong drive from Milan and is filled with plenty of opportunities for rejuvenation, she adds. From the three-floor fitness facility to the three on-site pools to the decadent spa treatments, like the Grand Detox massage that incorporates a marine algae wrap and scalp massage to eliminate toxins, there are endless ways to keep your mind in the present moment rather than distracted by technology. For a little more activity, enjoy recreational pursuits like water skiing, sailing, biking, tennis or golf, or find your inner yen with an intense practice like Yoga Nidra (deep relaxation) or Ashtanga Vinyasa.

Big Sur, California

You don't have to grab your passport to find striking scenery, serenity and a low-tech atmosphere. At the Post Ranch Inn, an intimate hideaway overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Big Sur, you can spend some quality bonding time with your better half as you enjoy guided hikes and nature walks, stargazing, morning yoga sessions and extravagant spa treatments like a Renewal Ritual designed to restore immune system health or a Reiki massage, a Japanese energy-balancing technique that replenishes the body's natural energy flow. And inside each of the individually designed mountain-facing and cliff-side rooms, you won't find any alarm clocks or televisions. Instead, you'll find cozy fireplaces, deep-soaking tubs, along with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean or surrounding Santa Lucia peaks -- the perfect formula for a tech-free retreat.

St. Lucia

It might be hard to resist sharing photos of Jade Mountain's jaw-dropping vistas overlooking the mighty Piton Mountains and the Caribbean Sea, but with the property's lack of TVs and radios to maintain its tranquil ambiance, you might just be inspired to put your technology on hold. Each room does offer Wi-Fi access, but guests are asked not to use their cellphones in any public areas. Beyond the striking views, you'll also have an array of on-site activities to keep you occupied, from escorted walks and hikes to Yoga classes to scuba diving and water sports like kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding.

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe is "one of those places where you can feel like you've stepped back in time," Tornatore says. And with its wealth of wellness-oriented retreats, upscale spas and spiritual-based settings, it's an ideal destination to unwind and escape it all, she adds. She points to the Hotel St. Francis as an ideal sanctuary to relax and recharge. For a little more indulgence, consider springing for a stay at the Inn of the Five Graces, an intimate boutique with fireplaces, deep-soaking tubs and unique spa therapies influenced by East Asian and Tibetan practices. Though the property does offer complimentary Wi-Fi access and in-room flat-screen TVs, you'll likely forget about work activity and social media feeds as you admire the property's intricate textures, striking colors and storied adobe structures, and brush up on Santa Fe's rich cultural heritage or check out the nearby Sangre de Cristo Mountains.


Liz Weiss is the Travel editor for Consumer Advice at U.S. News & World Report. You can follow her on Twitter, connect with her on LinkedIn, circle her on Google+ or email her at eweiss@usnews.com.