A suitcase filled with a sun hat, flip flops, passport, books, and scarf on top of a bed

Photo courtesy of @JulieK/Twenty20

The best self-care decision I’ve ever made? It wasn’t committing to taking a bath on Sunday evening or starting a breath work practice (both of which are very powerful options, BTW). Rather, it was to make sure that every winter I book a trip somewhere…warm.

As a born-and-raised New Yorker, you would have thought that by my 30s I’d have grown accustomed to the long and persistent season. But between the gnawing cold, the dark-by‑4 p.m. days, and the unpredictable snowstorms that morph into dirty sludge pools before you can even post a single dreamy winterscape photo to Instagram Stories, I reach a point where all I want to do is pull my comforter over my head and stay under there until Memorial Day.

So when I decided, in the midst of a January funk five years ago, to book a mid-winter flight to Puerto Rico, it felt like a breakthrough. All it took was a long weekend of sunshine (not to mention some surfing and sipping on way too many coconuts plucked straight from the trees) to give me that boost I needed to make it to May.

And it’s not all in my head — researchers have found that even short vacations can positively impact your mood (with the anticipation of a trip alone sometimes enough to make a difference). Indeed, the power of travel is why I started The Glassy, a site all about making people feel their best when they leave home, and it’s also why every year I make sure to squeeze in a trip somewhere between January and April. 

But you don’t have to go far — or blow through all of your PTO days — to make it happen.

Here are three spots in the contiguous US that will not only give you a dose of vitamin D, but also make it easy to keep up your healthy habits. 

Landscape image of a desert with palm trees and mountains in the background

Photo courtesy of Chelsea Bock/​Unsplash

Joshua Tree


It’s only 130 miles outside of Los Angeles, and yet Joshua Tree National Park is truly out of this world.

Get Healthy

Take however much time you plan on spending in the park — and then double it (yes, it’s that epic). The hikes range from low-key to strenuous. Feeling adventurous? Book a guide and go rock climbing. 

Don’t Miss

If you’re looking to take a break from cooking at your campout, head over to Kitchen in the Desert (Opens in a new window) for their beyond-fresh, veggie-friendly twist on Trinidadian dishes.

Women practicing yoga on a beach next to a lifeguard tower

Photo courtesy of @thelegendaryalex/Twenty20



If the beach doesn’t entice you, the turn-your-workout-into-a-party vibe at most boutique fitness studios means getting your sweat on is actually fun.

Get Healthy

Run (or bike!) along the boardwalk that runs next to the beach — or booty shake your way through a Vixen Workout (Opens in a new window) class.

Don’t Miss

The Sacred Space (Opens in a new window), a holistic-obsessed venue-slash-restaurant-slash-shop that is the next best thing to going on a week-long retreat. Basically it’s an upscale wellness melting pot.

Desert mountains in the background with trees below, as seen from the perspective of female onlooker, marked by the back of her head

Photo courtesy of Jakob Owens/​Unsplash



You don’t have to believe in energy vortexes to know that the landscape around this Arizona city is stunning.

Get Healthy

Experience an energy-balancing session with a local healer (might as well try everything once) — and then refuel after with a a superfood-packed smoothie from Local Juicery (Opens in a new window).

Don’t Miss

Red Rocks State Park (bonus points if you book a guided tour that culminates with a yoga session in the midst of the iconic rocks).

Rebecca Willa Davis is a freelance writer and founder of The Glassy (Opens in a new window), a site about intentional travel, made easier.