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Destination Inspiration: Plan a Yoga Road Trip Up the West Coast

Start at YJ LIVE! in sunny San Diego, then work your way up the West Coast 
for an ideal combination of oceanfront and Sierra mountain yoga.

Start at YJ LIVE! in sunny San Diego, then work your way up the West Coast for an ideal combination of oceanfront and Sierra mountain yoga.

BACK TO Top 3 Summer Road Trips for Yogis

See alsoYoga 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Practice, Meditation, and the Sutras

Stop 1: San Diego, California

Warrior 2 on the Beach

(5 days)

Yoga Journal LIVE!

June 25–29;
$255 (day pass)–795 (full event)


Held at the historic Hotel del Coronado on tiny Coronado Island in San Diego Bay, this blissful seaside festival is packed with classes, daylong intensives, business programs, community events, live music, and more. Learn from world-renowned teachers Kathryn Budig, Seane Corn, Jason Crandell, Eoin Finn, and others. Get funky at Friday evening’s music-and-yoga fusion session with DJ Drez and Eric Paskel, and find your balance in the SUP yoga class with Amelia Travis. This year’s event honors US veterans and will culminate with an on-the-mat Warriors for Healing Celebration.

While you’re there

Practice: Pull over in Encinitas to meditate or to listen to a Bhagavad Gita reading at Paramahansa Yogananda’s Self-Realization Fellowship Temple. Make your way to Jois Yoga at the studio recently opened by the family of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, the founder of Ashtanga Yoga.

Eat: Hit the popular Hillcrest Farmers Market in downtown San Diego on Sundays for healthy local food and treats.

Relax: Treat yourself to lunch and an Ayurvedic spa treatment at the Chopra Center for Wellbeing at the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa, just north in Carlsbad.

Do: Attend the Dalai Lama’s public talks at the Global Compassion Summit, which also celebrates the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday on July 5-7.

See alsoKathryn Budig’s Dancing Warrior Moving Meditation

Stop 2: Santa Monica, 

(1–2 days; 2 hours from San Diego)

Bhakti Yoga Shala
Experience heart-opening yoga and call-and-response chants at the home studio of Govin Das and Radha, bhakti-based yogis and kirtan musicians, in beachfront Santa Monica. All classes and workshops are donation based.

While you’re there

Eat: Sit down for a seasonal special at Real Food Daily, the restaurant of pioneering vegan chef Ann Gentry, or eat among energy-balancing crystals at Golden Mean Café, another vegan hot spot. Parched? Pop into Urth Caffé, the first organic-only coffee company in the States.
Sleep: Stay right next to the pier at the classic hotel Shutters on the Beach.

See alsoRecipe: Vegan Creamy Cauliflower Soup With Garlic Kale Drizzle

Stop 3: Santa Barbara, 

(1–3 days; 1.5 hours from Santa Monica)

White Lotus Foundation
$650 (White Lotus Weekend Retreat)
Take refuge in the California woodlands and deepen your practice at this nonprofit retreat founded by Tracey Rich and Ganga White, one of yoga’s Western pioneers. Stay in a yurt or camp along the creek, practice yoga twice daily, and enjoy gourmet vegan meals and five styles of massage. For an organized event, join the White Lotus Weekend, led by teacher James Morrison, July 3–5.

While you’re there

Practice: Ten minutes from the Santa Barbara Bird Sanctuary, experience guided meditation and chanting at Self Enquiry Life Fellowship, home to Swami Vidyadhishananda, of the Yogananda tradition. Drop in at the Santa Barbara Yoga Center for a workshop or one of the many varied classes in the studio’s light-filled yoga room, with soaring 20-foot ceilings.

See alsoA Guided Meditation To Do Before Exercise

Stop 4: Avila Beach, California


(1–2 days; 2 hours from Santa Barbara)

Sukha Wellness Center
A coastal extension of San Luis Obispo, Avila Beach hosts this thriving community and education center. Take yoga or “soul art” classes, or sign up for movement workshops or body and mind health care trainings. The center also holds special events, from kirtan to films with tea, popcorn, and discussion.

While you’re there

Sleep: In San Luis Obispo, soak in the hot tubs, enjoy a therapeutic massage, and practice in the Healing Arts Dome at historic Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort & Spa.

Practice: Detox at Bikram Yoga’s popular upstairs studio. Drive Highway 1 north to catch Morro Bay’s 1950s beach-town vibe and yoga or meditation at The Green Lotus Center.

Eat: Pick up natural to-go snacks or eat the tempeh tacos at Shine Café. Don’t miss a relaxing Kava Frappé at Bliss Café. Shop the Smiling Dog Yoga boutique for new practice duds before enjoying a local farmers’ market–sourced salad on the shaded courtyard patio at Roxanne’s Café.

See also7 Poses for the 7 Chakras: A Healing Sequence

Stop 5: Big Sur, California

(3 days; 2 hours from Avila Beach)

Esalen Institute
$405–1,750 (weekend workshops)
With ocean-side hot-spring baths and a storied hippie past, Esalen remains a top-notch international yoga retreat and education center. Book a personal retreat anytime, or, from July 10–12, attend Navel Intelligence, a deep core workshop with Kia Miller and Schuyler Grant that combines Kundalini Yoga and Kula Flow vinyasa.

While you’re there

Practice: Drive inland to Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, which offers restorative yoga and meditation retreats and a vegetarian restaurant in the steep, chaparral-covered hills of Los Padres National Forest. Tassajara will host The Healing Power of Stillness: Restorative Yoga and Zen on July 2–5.

Eat: Enjoy Lolly’s roast chicken on the terrace overlooking Big Sur’s dramatic coastline at Nepenthe Restaurant,a classic bohemian spotwith a gift shop stocked with handcrafted textiles, Buddha sculptures, books celebrating Big Sur, and more.

See alsoIntro to Kundalini Yoga

Stop 6: Watsonville, California


(1–5 days; 1 hour from Big Sur)

Mount Madonna

$42–161 (1 night); $275–895 (Ashtanga Yoga Liberation Retreat)
Schedule a personal retreat including Ashtanga Yoga, hikes through the redwood forests, Ayurvedic therapies, and vegetarian meals at this center on more than 350 acres overlooking Monterey Bay. Or sign up for the Ashtanga Yoga Liberation Retreat, which runs July 1–5.

While you’re there

Do: Make a stop at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, creators of the Seafood Watch program, to encounter sharks and octopi in the underwater kelp forest and to witness daily feedings of sea animals.

See also4 Ayurvedic Self-Care Practices for Spring Renewal

Stop 7: Woodacre, California

spirit rock

(4–10 days; 2 hours from Watsonville)

Spirit Rock Meditation Center

$1,035–2,070 (Metta Retreat)
Book a yoga or meditation retreat in Marin County across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. Or drop in on a Friday morning for the weekly class, an hour of mindful, all-levels yoga followed by a guided meditation, dharma talk, and group discussion. The July Metta Retreat, which focuses on lovingkindness meditation and mindful movement, runs July 8–17.

While you’re there

Practice: On Sunday mornings, swing by Green Gulch Farm Zen Center, where organic farm fields meet the sea, for Zen-meditation instruction, dharma talk, and simple lunch.

Eat: Stop by Cowgirl Creamery & Toby’s Feed Barnin quaint Point Reyes Station to get gourmet picnic provisions to bring as you explore the surrounding National Seashore.

See alsoDeepak Chopra’s 2-Minute Meditation for Love + Forgiveness

Stop 8: North Lake Tahoe, 

wanderlust outside meditation

(4 days; 3 hours from Woodacre)

Wanderlust Squaw Valley

July 16–19;
$495 (4 days)
Based at Squaw Valley Ski Resort in the Sierra Nevada, this four-day mind-body-community celebration is both kid friendly and host to hipster-pleasing DJ sessions. Practice with Shiva Rea and Elena Meta, groove with Michael Franti and MC Yogi, and hike or bike in the mountain air.

While you’re there

Practice: Play in the Yuba River, then drive north to check out The Expanding Light, where you can schedule a personal yoga or meditation retreat near the ashram inspired by the late spiritual teacher (and Autobiography of a Yogi author) Paramahansa Yogananda.

Eat: On the way to or from the Bay Area, stop for healthy eats, a bohemian vibe, and local artwork at The Fix in Nevada City.

See alsoFind Your Bliss: Yoga Retreat in St. George, Utah

Stop 9: Arcata, California

(1–2 days; 7 hours from North Lake Tahoe)

Om Shala Yoga
Back on the Pacific coast near Redwood National and State Parks, check out Arcata Bay’s Om Shala Yoga, where you’ll find varied yoga styles, from Power Vinyasa to Relax Deeply restorative to Laughter Yoga, plus a sauna and massage. Friday nights feature kirtan, ecstatic dance, or Hot Stone Yoga.

While you’re there

Sleep: Rest easy on organic sheets and wake to an organic breakfast at Arcata’s eco-hostel The Redwood Lily ($40–120/night).

Do: Catch the Humboldt Folklife Festival, July 12–19.

Practice: Eureka’s popular Bikram Yoga Humboldt delivers challenging, detoxifying sessions.

Do: If you’re in the area between July 12 and 19, catch Arcata’s Humboldt Folklife Festival, a week of musical events from Songwriters Night to Outlaw Country and a barn dance. Rent two wheels at Revolution Bicycle Repair and explore the peaceful nearby dunes along Humboldt Bay.

See alsoSeason of the Yoga Music Festival

Stop 10: Eugene, Oregon

Freedom Yoga Retreat

(1–2 days; 6 hours from Arcata)

Freedom Yoga and Meditation
In Eugene, Freedom Yoga and Meditation offers experienced teachers and a warm, welcoming community. Be sure to take a class with Michele Bulgatz, a joyful yogini extensively trained in Anusara and therapeutic yoga alignment.

While you’re there

Sleep: Centrally located Inn at the 5this a boutique hotel next to the Marché French restaurant.

Eat: The Tap & Growler offers a huge selection of local craft beer and wine, cold-brewed espresso, and even kombucha on tap. Eats include fresh salads, soups, wraps, fresh pretzels, and flatbread pizzas.

Practice: Other local studios worth visiting: MudraYoga, a warm, urban, vinyasa flow–focused studio in the historic Market District. Forty minutes north, on the way to Portland, Love Yoga Albany offers simple “real people” yoga (very little Sanskrit, eight-minute savasanas) and nurtures local karma projects like yoga in schools and at retirement centers.

Eat: Grab a local scoop of Smoked Salt Caramel, made with hickory-smoked sea salt, or Hail to the Bee, made with Pacific Northwest clover honey, at Red Wagon Creamery.

Do: Pamper yourself with natural spa services like a body wrap or facial at Gervais Salon & Day Spa, an Aveda day spa in downtown’s historic Fifth Street Public Market.

See also6 Sustainable Seafood Recipes

Stop 11: Detroit, Oregon

Hot Springs

(1–7 days; 2 hours from Eugene)

Breitenbush Hot Springs Retreat
$60–127 (1 night); $880–1,040, plus lodging (Summer Yoga Immersion Retreat)
A locally beloved, worker-owned resort in the Willamette National Forest, Breitenbush has been grooving since the 1930s, when its geothermally heated log cabins were built. Soak in the hot springs, refuel with organic food grown onsite, and enjoy a yoga or meditation workshop. The Summer Yoga Immersion Retreat runs July 26–August 2.

See also12 Yoga-Friendly Resorts for Your Next Vacation

Stop 12: Portland, Oregon

Yoga Pearl

(1–2 days; 2 hours from Detroit)

This full-service urban oasis offers Power vinyasa yoga, a retail boutique, and wellness treatments including facials and acupuncture. Refuel for more yoga or bodywork at Prasad, a vegetarian café and fresh-juice and smoothie bar that shares space with YogaPearl.

While you’re there

Sleep: The Northwest Portland Hostel ($25–70/night) is centrally located in Portland’s historic district.

Do: Pedal Bike Tours offers tours of Portland’s historic downtown or nearby wine country and the Columbia River Gorge.

Practice: Check the schedule for Portland’s active branch of the national organizationYoga Rocks the Park. Held in local parks, these festive yoga gatherings feature popular local teachers and live music. There’s even yoga for kiddos.

See alsoJoy Ride: Yoga + Biking