Ah, California. The state that brings to mind sun-soaked shores, surfing, and glorious vistas. This swoon-worthy state is especially known for its delightful beaches, but did you know that California is also home to various types of yoga retreats?
That’s right: from Ayurveda yoga to Hatha yoga and everything in between, California has a thriving wellness culture that perfectly matches its soothing scenery.
Owing to the sheer number of programs on offer, making the right choice can be somewhat challenging. But don’t worry: I’ve got your back! Here are 10 of the best yoga retreats in California to help narrow down your choices.
Why Should You Consider a Yoga Retreat in California
If you’re looking for some respite from the daily grind or simply want to make some time for yourself, you may wish to consider signing up for a yoga retreat.
The Californian scenery compiles crags, forests, beaches, and endless acres of forested areas. There are plenty of rejuvenating spots around so if it’s mental peace that you’re after, you’ll definitely have more than your fair share of awe-inspiring retreats to choose from.
Regardless of your experience level, a yoga retreat will help you reconnect with yourself while improving both your mental and physical health.
The majority of programs offer meals and on-site accommodation, so you won’t need to worry about finding a place to stay either- although there are plenty of great Airbnbs in California if you’d like to stay offsite.
What Can You Expect from a Yoga Retreat in California?
A common misconception is that yoga retreats are merely about fitness and flexibility. However, I can assure you that you’ll be in for quite a bit of pampering as well!
Depending on where your retreat is located, you can expect plenty of fresh mountain or sea breeze, all tied together by breathing and meditation sessions. Most Californian retreats also boast additional activities like surfing, trekking, climbing, horseback riding, and the like.
Most retreats are located in rural areas, away from the noise and bustle of the cities. However, you’ll also find a few programs located in more urbanized places like L.A.’s Jefferson Park- although these aren’t super common.
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How to Choose the Right Yoga Retreat in California for you?
Okay, this is the super important bit: choosing a California yoga retreat is not a decision that you should take lightly. Most programs aren’t flexible, so once you’re in, you really need to commit. As such, it’s crucial to properly examine a few factors before making your choice.
Once you’ve established your budget, I would recommend that you ask yourself a few questions. For example, what are you looking to gain from the retreat? Are you looking to brush up on existing yoga skills or do you want to learn new practices from scratch?
I would also suggest that you take the following factors into consideration when choosing your retreat.
California is one of the most beautiful places in the United States, so there are always going to be plenty of great spots to explore. Even though it’s home to some of the most vibrant cities in the continental U.S., California’s rural beauty is second to none with lush forests and vineyards.
For a more immersive experience, some retreats even hold their classes in the wilderness, complete with camping or glamping opportunities. These retreats are usually located in more mountainous destinations like the popular Joshua Tree National Park.
If it’s beachside living that you’re after, you may wish to consider retreats located in Santa Barbara or Santa Margarita.
Beginners may not know it, but there actually are hundreds of different types of yoga out there. I did notice that Hatha yoga features on virtually all retreats in California- which is a good thing too since it’s one of the best practices for beginners.
With slow, gentle movements, Hatha yoga focuses a lot of breathwork so it’s also said to be one of the most relaxing types of yoga.
In keeping up with California’s chill vibes, Restorative Yoga is another practice that’s quite popular in the state. This yoga type is all about passive stretching to help you slow down and unwind.
In addition, you’ll find that some retreats feature ancient customs like the Ceremonial Cacao rituals where you consume a cacao-based beverage to promote a sense of well-being and relaxation.
Here’s what we all want to know when browsing for the best yoga retreats in California!
Well, yoga retreats are known for being a bit pricey but that’s simply because most of them include accommodation and 3 meals per day. To cut back on costs, you can look for places that only offer breakfast or self-catering facilities.
Of course, it goes without saying that the retreat’s accommodation also has a direct impact on the cost. As such, budget travelers may wish to consider retreats that offer communal rooms or inexpensive accommodations like glamping tents.
Now if you can loosen up those purse strings a little, you can always opt for a hotel retreat. The main advantage is that you’ll often get access to resort facilities like the pool and the spa.
Meditation and yoga often go hand-in-hand so expect daily meditation or breathwork sessions as well!
Owing to California’s diverse landscape and many scenic hikes, it’s not uncommon to find a yoga retreat offering extras like hiking or trekking expeditions. You’ll even find several yoga and climbing packages, especially in mountainous regions.
Most retreats also come with free time- perfect for fitting in some sightseeing. Several places also have a spa menu if you’re in the mood for some extra pampering, but bear in mind that these often come at an additional cost.
I did notice that Californian retreats don’t tend to be overly long. In fact, the norm seems to be 3-4 days. Longer retreats can span over a week or two, but it’s quite rare to find a month-long program in California.
Having said that, it’s important to know that longer retreats don’t always mean better. In my opinion, 3 to 4 days are more than enough to properly familiarize yourself with the basics and learn about new yoga styles, especially if you’re a beginner.
It’s also important to know that most retreats have a fixed schedule and duration, so be sure to set aside enough time to see the program through.
The Top 10 Yoga Retreats in California
Now that you know what to look out for, here’s a list of the 10 top retreats that you may wish to consider during your stay in California!
Best Overall Yoga Retreat in California – 4 Day Digital Detox
- Price: From $997
- Location: San Diego
Are you looking for something special? Then be sure to check out this 4-day Digital Detox! One of the best yoga retreats in California, this program offers 3 nights’ accommodation (shared or private) and a plant-based brunch, dinner, and snacks daily.
Beginners and intermediate yogis will be able to indulge in daily sessions of Nidra Yoga. Breathwork, Cold Therapy, and Meditation are other perks that you can expect from this program.
You can even take advantage of on-site facilities like a spa offering various treatments such as Reiki, acupuncture, and massages.
Best All-Inclusive Yoga Retreat in California – 4 Day Spring Renewal Yoga Holiday
- Price: From $1,45
- Location: Central Coast
Commanding an excellent location between San Francisco and Los Angeles, this retreat is ideal for participants of all skill levels.
Offering gentle Hatha, Ashtanga, Yin, and Iyengar yoga, this program also offers guided meditation. When the session’s offer, you can always enjoy a quiet moment of solitude in the on-site garden before taking a dip in the hot tub. There’s also a heated saltwater pool on the premises.
Plenty of delightful trails lie close to the retreat so remember to bring your hiking boots! Several accommodation options are provided, from dorms to shared or private bedrooms.
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Yoga Retreat in California in the Mountains – 3 Day Women’s Yoga & Climbing Retreat in Lone Pine
- Price: From $425
- Location: Lone Pine
Feeling adventurous? Well, be sure to check out this exciting retreat combining yoga and climbing!
Enjoy the crisp mountain air as you indulge in General Yoga sessions for users of all levels. You’ll also have access to cooking facilities for rustling up a quick meal- perfect for fueling up before hitting those crags!
If you’ve never climbed before, rest assured that the groups will be divided based on experience levels. After your climb, return to the campsite and relax while admiring the Sierra sunset, then retire to your tent for the night.
Luxury Yoga Retreat in California – 5 Day Luxury Yoga & Hiking Retreat
- Price: From $2,750
- Location: San Diego
Okay, this one is admittedly more expensive than most but then again, it’s among the absolute best yoga retreats in California- and it won’t take you long to understand why either!
5 days of Hatha, Iyengar, Kundalini, and Restorative Yoga await on the beach, so there’ll be plenty of opportunities for enjoying that glorious Californian sun. Small groups ensure that everyone receives plenty of individualized attention, regardless of their skill level.
In addition to yoga classes, you’ll be guided through meditation and breathing sessions. The retreat also provides private ocean-view rooms, so you’ll be lulled to sleep by the soft slushing of the waves.
Unique Yoga Retreat in California – 4 Day Myofascial Release and Yoga Retreat
- Price: From $1,425 to $3,510
- Location: Santa Margarita
For something that’s truly unique, you can always consider this 4-day retreat which combines both yoga and Myofascial release. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of Myofascial release, well it basically refers to a massage technique that targets the membranes around your muscles.
With daily Restorative and Alignment yoga sessions, this program also provides plenty of free time so you can always hit one of those picturesque Sagrada nature trails before relaxing in the saltwater pool or hot tub. A manicured courtyard provides the ideal setting for enjoying an Al Fresco dinner.
At the end of the day, enjoy a restorative sleep in private or communal rooms.
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Yoga Retreat in California for Backpackers – 3 Day Food and Ayurveda Weekend Retreat
- Price: From $395
- Location: Los Angeles
I know I said that most retreats in California are found in rural areas but here’s an L.A. yoga program that’ll no doubt please travelers looking to soak up some of the big-city vibes!
Located smack dab in the historic Jefferson Park/West Adams neighborhood, this retreat explores a wide range of yoga styles, including Raja, Bhakti, Karma, Sivananda, Kripalu, and Hatha.
During those three days, you’ll enjoy daily yoga classes, nutritious meals, meditation, and even a lecture centered around Ayurveda. With private bedrooms, the retreat also features an Indian cooking class so you can replicate these scrumptious goodies back home!
Best Yoga Retreat in California for Friends – 3 Day Women’s Weekend Climbing, Camping, and Yoga Retreat in Joshua Tree National Park
- Price: From $475
- Location: Joshua Tree National Park
Grab your best gal pals; it’s time for one of the most exciting California yoga retreats!
Combining yoga with the thrill of climbing and camping, this retreat boasts daily yoga sessions with a particular emphasis on Hatha yoga. Best of all, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to explore the insanely popular Joshua National Park!
Beginners will even be given a lesson in climbing, including how to build and clean anchors, lead climbing, rappelling, and more.
This retreat is about camping but if you’d rather not rough it up, you can always opt for a glamping experience instead.
Affordable Yoga Retreat in California – 3 Day Getaway to Yoga Retreat
- Price: From $495
- Location: Santa Bárbara
Not only does this retreat offer a variety of yoga styles for various skill levels, but you’ll also be treated to added perks like massages and acupuncture.
Regardless of your experience levels, I have no doubt that you’ll enjoy practicing in the expansive studio apartments, complete with skylights, 20-foot ceilings, and plenty of that legendary Californian sunshine!
While the studio comes with a kitchen, you’ll also find a restaurant nearby if you don’t feel like cooking. For some extra pampering, you can always book a facial or other body treatment at the on-site spa.
Best Yoga Retreat in California for Couples – 4 Day The Fire That Pierces The Heart Couples Retreat
- Price: From $2,250
- Location: California Hot Springs
If you feel like the romance has gone out of your relationship, fret not! Specifically aimed at couples, this retreat offers General, Tantra, and Kundalini yoga to help you reconnect.
Couples will also be guided through a Rose Petal Cacao Ceremony which focuses on a blend of soothing ingredients to help you relax. This retreat will also help you reconnect with your own self as you learn more about your body, from cellular rejuvenation to physical structure.
Organic Ayurvedic meals (vegan) are prepared on-site. At the end of the day, you’ll retire to a beautifully-furnished bedroom with air-conditioning and a private bathroom.
Oh, and did I mention you’ll receive a Welcome Basket stuffed full of goodies?
Most Beautiful Yoga Retreat in California – 5 Day Yoga, Hiking, Fitness, and Wellness Retreat
- Price: From $ 1,950
- Location: Santa Margarita
Leave your daily routine behind as you step into 45 acres of lush mountain terrain that promises 5 days of glorious rejuvenation!
You can expect daily Restorative, Yin, Nidra, and Vinyasa yoga for all levels as well as daily fitness classes. Yoga mats and other props are provided. Participants can also take advantage of nearby activities like swimming or hiking.
As the evening settles in, relax by the bonfire while sipping on a glass of local wine or enjoy an early night in the resort’s communal room.
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Final Thoughts on Yoga Retreats in California
So here you have it- the absolute best yoga retreats in California! I hope this guide helped you choose a program that’ll meet your budget and expectations.
If you’re still on the fence though, I can personally vouch for the 3 Day Women’s Weekend Climbing, Camping, and Yoga Retreat in Joshua Tree National Park. Not only is this retreat reasonably priced but you’ll also get to mosey around the legendary Joshua Tree National Park while enjoying both yoga and climbing classes!
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