Some places have a certain energy: You feel it the moment you arrive—or, in some cases, the moment you even begin to think about visiting. And while some of those places—like Machu Picchu, Easter Island, or the temples of Tibet—are known worldwide as destinations where spiritual seekers, vortex hunters, and healers gather, there are places even closer to home that hold a similar cosmic draw. Below, a look some of the United States’ most mystical places to visit.
Joshua Tree, California
Creative types began flocking to the remote region near Joshua Tree National Park in the ’60s, and many of that decade’s bohemian spiritual leanings remain. Located where the Mojave and Colorado Deserts meet, the surreal landscape is punctuated with gnarled Yucca trees, formidable rock formations, and pastel-shaded sunsets—and sure to lull anyone into a meditative state. And if the scenery doesn’t do it, the sound bath at the famed Integratron will.
Where to Stay: The High Desert House or The Joshua Tree House
This dormant volcano in northern California is believed to be one of the strongest energy vortexes in North America, and tales of its unexplained mysteries abound—one legend even claims that a hidden city filled with advanced beings from a lost continent hides beneath its peaks. Visitors report feeling “drawn” to the mountain, with overwhelming feelings of lightness and peace coming over them in its presence.
Where to Stay: McCloud Hotel
Cedar Breaks, Utah
For strong cosmic vibes, head to the state of Utah, which is now home to eight of the best places to stargaze in the United States. This year, Cedar Breaks National Monument—a stunning park with 10,000-foot-high vistas—was granted International Dark Sky Park status, a designation reserved only for places with the darkest night skies.
Where to Stay: Point Supreme Campground
St. Augustine, Florida
When it comes to historic, haunting American cities, New Orleans and Savannah, Georgia, have well-cemented reputations. But the title of America’s oldest city actually belongs to St. Augustine, which was founded in 1565. Of course, a place with over 500 years of human history is bound to hold its share of mysteries: Residents claim that the city’s iconic lighthouse, Historic District, and the alleged site of Ponce de León’s Fountain of Youth are all hotbeds of spiritual energy.
Where to Stay: The Collector Inn
The Big Island, Hawaii
Dramatic views, crashing waves, active volcanoes: The forces of nature are on dynamic display on the Big Island. Many of the Hawaiian Islands’ most sacred monuments and temples—Honaunau National Park, Kealakekua Bay, Mookini Heaiau State Monument—are located on the Big Island, which is also said to be the home of Pele, the volcano goddess.
Where to Stay: The Fern Forest Tree House
The tranquil desert town surrounded by otherworldly red mountains is a famed center of the New Age movement, with a multitude of energy vortexes, crystal shops, and healing centers.
Where to Stay: El Portal or Amara Resort
Crater Lake, Oregon
Nearly everyone who has peered into the bright blue abyss that is the U.S.’s deepest lake (1,943 feet!) admits they’ve been moved by its stunning natural beauty; some even insist that the electromagnetic energy flowing from the lake is on par with that of sacred places like Tibet or Peru. But the Klamath tribes who populated the area had a more ominous perspective on the water-filled crater: They warned that looking too long into its depths would invite “death and lasting sorrow,” and only the tribe’s shaman was allowed to visit the lake. Nowadays, reports of UFO and Big Foot sightings are not uncommon.
Where to Stay: Crater Lake Lodge
Spiritual seekers have long been drawn to this secluded town nestled in a valley below the Topa Topa mountains. Some swear it sits on an electromagnetic vortex; others claim the area’s hot springs have healing properties.
Where to Stay: Ojai Rancho Inn