Our Select Sober Vacation Ideas of All Kinds

A Look at Successfully Planning Travel in Recovery

If you are like most of us in sobriety, you fought to put down the booze or substance of choice, and now you’d like to begin getting back out there, in terms of planning a vacation without the intoxication.

Rest assured, you are not alone. In recent years, sober vacation ideas have captured travelers’ imaginations worldwide, with the corresponding travels now carving out a sizable chunk of the wellness tourism niche. These unique getaways eschew the traditional cocktail-soaked holidaze for a more enriching and (actually memorable) experience, focusing on activities and environments that foster fun without the need to drink alcohol. 

As our society grows increasingly aware of the importance of mental health and wellness, as well as the need to offer options to those who do not drink alcohol for religious or cultural reasons (*that was never us, however) travel options that do not involve alcohol have exploded in popularity.

Even if you are newly sober, our set of vacation ideas and inspirations from SOBRLIFE.com will offer both specific choices and destinations, as well as ideas to make sure you remain drug and alcohol-free whilst away from home!

So whether you are sober curious or in long-term sobriety, keep reading to get our favorite recovery vacays, from those we have personally experienced, to sober cruises and romantic getaways that have been discovered by other sober folks and shared with our crew! 

Understanding Sober Vacations

Sober vacations at the beach

What is at the Center of Choosing a Sober Vacation?

At their core, it seems obvious that sober, sober vacations prioritize activities and destinations that do not revolve around alcohol consumption or other recreational substances. Instead, these journeys emphasize wellness, adventure, culture, and personal growth, all experienced better during a sober stay! 

From serene wellness retreats nestled in nature’s lap in Costa Rica to the Universal Orlando Resort, to adrenaline-pumping outdoor adventures in our national parks, sober vacations cater to a wide array of interests and personalities. 

The end goal is like recovery itself: simple yet profound, and offers a unique and enriching ‘escape’ that actually rejuvenates the body, stimulates the mind, and nurtures the soul instead of numbing it.

The Benefits of Choosing Sobriety on Vacation

Opting for a sober vacation comes with a ton of benefits — ones that extend well beyond the duration of the trip. Mentally, as sober travelers, we are bound to feel more present and engaged, able to fully absorb and appreciate our surroundings without the haze of alcohol, cannabis, or our former favorite indulgences. 

Physically, the absence of hangovers means more energy and vitality to explore the local culture, genuinely engage with others and participate in activities. Likewise, emotionally, the clarity and ability to practice mindfulness, both fostered by sobriety, can lead to deeper connections with other travelers and locals alike. 

Not to mention one of my favorite bonuses, the opportunity for much better selfies than bleary-eyed morning-after pictures or smiling group pics with tables covered in beer bottles as the backdrop!

Aligning with the Wellness Movement at Just the Right Time for Your Travel

In our somewhat biased opinion at SOBRLIFE.com, sober vacations are growing in popularity for good reason. And we’re not alone in our opinions either. According to the Global Wellness Institute, wellness tourism is now one of the fastest-growing segments in the travel industry, reflecting a global shift towards more mindful and health-conscious travel choices.

The best sober vacations embody this trend, offering diverse experiences designed to support wellness goals for those who avoid alcohol, from detox retreats and yoga getaways to nature-centric adventures and cultural explorations. 

To borrow an old phrase from the McCarthy era, our ‘fellow travelers’ (in sobriety!) increasingly seek vacations that offer more than just a break from routine, and sober vacations, whether to Disney World or a long-imagined tropical country, satisfy this itch quite nicely.

Sober Vacation Ideas in the Good Ol’ US of A

yosemite, sunset, forest

Outdoor Adventure In the Wilds of Our National Parks

America’s national parks offer an unparalleled setting for sober adventures, with Yosemite, Zion, and the Grand Canyon leading the pack. These natural wonders provide stunning vistas for literally countless activities, all ones that don’t require a drop of alcohol to enjoy! 

Hiking through Yosemite’s majestic valleys, tackling Zion’s challenging trails, or marveling at the Grand Canyon’s vast expanse can awaken a profound sense of awe, and connection to nature and our Higher Power, whatever it may be. 

Camping under the stars offers a dramatic change from the hustle and bustle of daily life, while guided tours can offer lessons on the parks’ geology, wildlife, and history – just think – you can show off to friends and family for years to come. 

To get started, the National Park Service website is an invaluable resource for planning your visit, including tips on the best times to go and how to book campgrounds and tours. 

One pro tip from our travels is this: consider traveling during the off-peak season to avoid crowds, and book well in advance! Not only do you make sure to secure your spot, it will often result in better deals.

Cultural Explorations in the Urban Jungle

In some sense, even most country of us feel the draw of the big city, at least once in a while. In New York City, immerse yourself in the world-renowned art collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the Museum of Modern Art. Or take in a Broadway (or Off-Broadway) spectacle you can only see in NYC, whatever your pleasure, it is bound to have fellow celebrants in the Big Apple!

For a more Midwestern flavor, Chicago’s architectural river cruise offers insightful commentary on the city’s iconic skyline. 

San Francisco’s Alcatraz Island provides a fascinating glimpse into history if you are in the mood for a more West Coast diversion. 

We have a pair of tips to share for longer stays in big US cities, and these focus on food and transportation. Culinary classes focusing on local cuisine offer a unique way to engage with the city’s culture, sans alcohol. CityPASS and similar services offer bundled tickets for the sober traveler to get to major attractions, helping you save money and streamline your itinerary.

Wellness Retreats: From the Southwest to the Carolinas

For those seeking a tranquil retreat focused on self-care, our great country does not disappoint. You may already have heard that Sedona, Arizona, is famed for its vortex sites and spiritual wellness retreats, offering programs in yoga, meditation, and nature therapy. 

A lesser-known but equally compelling choice, Asheville, North Carolina, is another haven for wellness enthusiasts, with its picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains setting serving as the perfect backdrop for rejuvenation. 

Formal retreats to these regions often include workshops on nutrition, stress management, and holistic health, providing tools and insights to support your sober lifestyle long after the vacation ends. 

Websites like Retreat Finder and BookRetreats.com can help you discover the perfect wellness retreat to match your interests and goals.

Sober Vacation Ideas with a More International Flavor

kyoto, japan, statue

A Few Selected Cultures and Countries to Check Out

In our opinion, traveling sober allows for fittingly deep, immersive experiences in the world’s most iconic destinations. With that in mind, we’ll give a dizzyingly fast survey of some favorite international destinations. In Greece, you can explore the ancient ruins of Athens and Delphi, where history feels palpable and almost alive. 

For the more golf-inclined, Ireland’s castles offer a window into a storied past, while Japan’s serene temples invite quiet reflection. A Muslim country in Asia such as Malaysia or Indonesia can also offer an easier way to find activities without alcohol and sober people enjoying them, from locals to tourists alike.

Again, guided tours can enhance your appreciation of these sites, offering historical insights and local lore that might otherwise be missed. Companies like Intrepid Travel and G Adventures specialize in culturally immersive tours that prioritize authentic experiences over tourist traps.

Adventure Travel: The Perfect Fit for (Some) Sober Travelers

For the thrill-seekers, sober vacations can mean an adrenaline-pumping adventure in some of the world’s most breathtaking landscapes. New Zealand’s diverse terrain offers everything from bungee jumping in Queenstown to trekking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Costa Rica’s lush rainforests are perfect for zip-lining and white-water rafting, while Switzerland’s Alps provide world-class skiing and snowboarding opportunities. This trio of rare climes can be among the best sober vacation destinations, and offer the exhilarating rush of adventure without the need for alcohol, focusing instead on the natural highs of exploration and physical activity.

R and R: Beats a Party Scene Any Day!

beach, hammock, blue sky

On the international level, wellness retreats bring a wide range of almost otherwordly settings for detoxification, relaxation, and personal growth. Bali, with its tranquil rice paddies and spiritually suffused atmosphere, is a global hub for yoga and meditation, as well as silent retreats. 

Thailand’s renowned wellness resorts, in places like Koh Samui and Phuket, offer detox programs, spa treatments, and mindfulness workshops, often incorporating traditional Thai healing practices

At such tranquil tourist islands, you will find the hotel bars stock indigenous herbal teas, non-alcoholic drinks, and wild mocktails with fruit flavors from local farmers. Going with a wellness-themed sober vacation can make the lack of alcohol less noticeable too, as really no one is there for anything other than a healthy and sober time (and, we’ll admit it, the pristine beaches too!)

These retreats are not just about escaping; they’re about connecting—with yourself, with nature, and with like-minded individuals who have also moved beyond drugs and alcohol. Platforms like YogaTrade and Wellness & Retreats, among many others, offer a wide selection of international retreats focused on sober living and wellness.

Be sure to do your research, and avoid the less reputable travel companies. We recommend checking a wide swathe of review sources, and even reaching out to actual travelers who have used the company in the past, social media being a great way to do this.

Planning Your Sober Vacation Like a Pro

globe trotter, traveller, globe

Successfully embarking on a sober vacation, just like any other travel, requires thoughtful planning so things go smoothly, not to mention helping ensure your sobriety emerges intact! 

Here are some tips from the travels of our SOBRLIFE.com staff, to help you plan a vacation that’s both enjoyable and supportive of a clean and sober lifestyle:

Selecting the Proper Destinations and Activities for Your Tastes

  • Do the Research: We suggest looking for destinations known for their natural beauty, cultural richness, or wellness retreats rather than their nightlife or club scene (just saying). Spending time at scenic parks, historical sites, or, for the thrill-seeking, adrenaline-pumping outdoor activities is a good bet.
  • Activity-Based Planning: Focus on the stuff that both excites you and supports sobriety, such as an excursion with friends of Bill on a sober cruise, wide-ranging tours of countries without a drinking culture, or secluded wellness retreats. Make it a mission to do something you always wanted, and never would of unless you got sober.

Find Accommodations That Fully Support a Sober Stay

  • Sober-Friendly Lodgings: Search for accommodations that explicitly promote a sober environment, such as a wellness resort, boutique hotels with a focus on holistic offerings, or Airbnb rentals that offer a tranquil setting away from bustling city life.
  • Check Reviews: Use a range of travel review sites to find feedback from previous guests about the atmosphere of potential accommodations, and avoid mentions of late nights and loud parties.

Connecting With Local Sober Communities

  • Social Media and Forums: Platforms like Reddit offer forums for sober alcoholics and Facebook also has numerous groups dedicated to sober living, where you can find recommendations and connect with local sober communities before you even get on your way!
  • Sober Events and Meetups: Look for local events or meetups that cater to sober individuals, no matter where you ultimately decide to go. This can be a great way to meet like-minded people and discover sober-friendly activities you might otherwise never have known about.

Our Personal Perspectives from Far and Wide

The crew at SOBRLIFE hails from all across North America and the world. With yours truly hailing from the often snowy climes of Maine, I can personally recommend a trip to my home state to avail yourself of a range of sober opportunities. 

From snowboarding at Sunday River and hitting meetings in Bethel to getting your shopping on during the day at the Old Port, and hitting a meeting at the Portland Community Recovery Center, there are a ton of things to do any time of year… so much so that even the license plates say ‘Vacationland.’

Keep an eye out here in the coming weeks as the rest of our team shares about their travels in recovery, and we heartily encourage you to send in your own experiences, whether abroad or right here in the US, with vacation sober! 

Take SOBRLIFE Clothing With You and Travel in Style

Elevate your sober vacationing experience with our shop at SOBRLIFE.com, where fashion meets the sober lifestyle. Dive into our fresh and clean clothing fashions, including the SOBRLIFE, SoberVerse, and Hope Fiend collections, designed to celebrate and support sobriety, and to shatter the stigma around addiction and recovery. 

Whether you’re trekking through the wilderness, exploring ancient cities, or unwinding at a secluded retreat, SOBRLIFE’s apparel accentuates the vibrant, fulfilling life that sobriety offers. Shop us today and start curating your sober travel wardrobe today! 

Embrace the journey with SOBRLIFE—clothing lines and a community dedicated to supporting sobriety!