The 10 Best Places to Go For Moms Who Want to Vacation All by Themselves

I was kayaking around Anacapa Island off the coast of Ventura, CA. The setting was stunning, but I was more focused on what — or rather, who — wasn't there: my 2-year-old daughter, Lucy, who was over 3,000 miles away in New Jersey with her babysitter. I felt guilty when I initially decided to go on the trip, but there was no way I could say no. I had always wanted to visit, and while the islands are family friendly, I knew Lucy wouldn't be up for things like hiking or kayaking. Besides, I didn't want to take the trip for her. I wanted to take the trip for myself.

I'm a single mom, and I don't have family nearby. That meant I needed to hire a babysitter for three days. I went back and forth about going a ridiculous number of times, but as I sat on the water, the waves lapping at my kayak, I was so thankful. Sure, I missed Lucy, but I hadn't realized how much I had missed myself. I hadn't kayaked since well before she was born, even though I used to lead kayak expeditions when I was in college. I had missed allowing my thoughts to unfold without interruption. I had missed letting myself set the schedule.

When I came back, I felt happy to see Lucy and happy in my own skin. I felt more energized, more relaxed, and absolutely certain that a solo mom trip isn't bad — it's wonderful. To be totally honestly, I think that alone time made me a better parent. It made me more aware of my own needs, more appreciative of the bond Lucy and I have, and thankful that the "old" me is still there. And I can't wait to plan another trip, so if you're also in need of a little getaway, keep reading for 10 of the best places you can travel to — all by yourself.

Pura Vida Adventures, Santa Teresa, Costa Rica
Unsplash/Filipp Nekhaev

Pura Vida Adventures, Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

One way to assuage your guilt about leaving your little ones is to do something they wouldn't — or couldn't — enjoy. This empowering surf camp for women in the cool surf town of Santa Teresa, Costa Rica, is a great spot to remind yourself that you're more than just a mama. Surf lessons are interspersed with daily yoga classes and plenty of beach chill time; while some session weeks are coed, most are female only, and as a result, it's easy to become BFFs and share with your fellow surfer chicas. Meeting new friends (and not just because you have kids roughly the same age) can help you connect back to yourself all while learning a new skill you'll be psyched to show off to your kids the next time you're on a family vacation.


Kripalu Institute, Stockbridge, MA

Nestled in the mountains, this world-renowned yoga and health center has year-round programming and workshops (including yoga teacher training), celebrity presenters like Stephen Cope, Robert Thurman, and Krishna Das, and plenty of space for you to be by yourself and allow your body and mind to relax. Going to a weekend workshop can help you come home with skills (like mindfulness) that can help you be a better parent, and plenty of people come solo, so it's not odd. You can be as social or independent as you want; if you really just want peace and quiet from everything, there are even silent retreats that can truly allow you to be one with your thoughts.

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Unsplash/Ronald Cuyan

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Breathtaking architecture, delicious food, and plenty of expats make this destination a must visit in Mexico. It's great for solo travel with a small town vibe, plenty of local businesses, and nearby hot springs, which are perfect for a long soak. While the town feels worlds away, it's only 150 miles from Mexico City, so it's easily accessible. But be warned: the many American expats who have moved here may tempt you to settle down here, too.

Sedona, AZ
Unsplash/Jakob Owens

Sedona, AZ

Mystical, beautiful, and full of yoga studios, new-age shops, and spas, Sedona is a haven of self-care. You can pack your schedule with pampering, relaxing, or exploring your chakras — all much easier to do when it's just you. Some say that Sedona is unique for its healing energy, that there is power in the town. Whether or not you believe it, one thing is clear: the town is what you make it, and it can be a perfect, rejuvenating journey for a mom traveling solo.


Athens, GA

This low-key college town has produced scores of legendary musicians: REM, Matthew Sweet, Widespread Panic, and the Drive-By Truckers all got their start here. Today, music is everywhere, and you can easily wander downtown, scoping out new acts that might be the next big thing. The town is close to plenty of hiking trails, and the university hosts plenty of world-renowned speakers and events that are often open to the public. In addition, the handful of used bookstores and coffee shops give you the opportunity to forget about the "real world" for a while.


Steamboat Springs, CO

Here's a way to simultaneously get away and learn some serious parent skills. The Bridgestone Winter Driving School in Steamboat Springs, CO, operates a Winter defensive driving course from November to March, allowing you to take out a car on ice and learn skills that can help you in the snow back home. Steamboat Springs also has plenty on offer for solo travelers, even if you aren't a skier. One any mom can appreciate: Strawberry Park Natural Hot Springs, where you can soak as the snow falls around you.

San Sebastián, Spain
Flickr user Chris

San Sebastián, Spain

San Sebastian is a foodie haven, with many companies offering food tours and cooking classes, like Mimo Food, which offers multiday courses that operate as an immersion in learning to cook in the Basque style. But the best part about solo traveling in the Basque region is the pinxto tradition. Instead of sitting down for a meal, many make a lunch or dinner out of multiple pinxtos, which are appetizer-like snacks sold at bars and restaurants. Snack your days away, then spend downtime sitting on the beach.

Vancouver Island, British Columbia
Flickr user Ken Lane

Vancouver Island, British Columbia

With lush, ancient forests, beautiful ocean views, and plenty of resorts that tout quiet as one of their best qualities, Vancouver Island is a great place to immerse yourself in nature, eat fabulous food, and relax. There are plenty of guided tours into the forest so you won't be "alone alone" — ideal if you love the outdoors, but aren't up for trekking solo.

London, England

London, England

Culture-loving moms should book a trip to London, where the theater, museums, and bookstores are second to none. One huge benefit of traveling solo to a city for the purpose of soaking up the arts: it's a lot easier to get a ticket for one (maybe even to the always sold-out Harry Potter and the Cursed Child). Museums in London are all free, so it's easy to pop in and out and completely plan your itinerary moment by moment.

Key West, FL

Key West, FL

Hammock for one, please! This string of islands has long been known as a haven for people who just want to be alone for a bit (just ask Earnest Hemingway, who made his home in Key West). In addition, YA legend Judy Blume owns a bookstore on Key West and is often found behind the register. Grab a good book and a rum runner, and watch the sun set — your worries will float away.