The Most Peaceful Tourist Spots in Every State
When vacation time finally comes around, many of us would be happy to just down tools and spend a week in bed. But wasting precious leave days never feels good, and going somewhere new will actually make your break feel longer. Besides, you may have friends and family who expect to get out on the road with you the second you activate your gone-fishing email. Better not fall into bed too soon.
Unfortunately, the pressure to be proactive and productive persists after you leave the office and hit the road. It’s difficult to shake the feeling that, to get good value from your time off, you should cram in as much activity and stimulation as you can — from theme parks to museums, busy beaches to whirlwind tours. Some 21% of working Americans say they feel tense or stressed on holiday, and it doesn’t help that vacationing itself can start to feel like a job.
If your body tells you that you need peace and quiet, you should listen. And to take the stress out of finding it, Casago has researched the U.S. places that Americans have tagged the most peaceful.
What We Did
Casago analyzed the “Things to Do” sections of publicly available TripAdvisor pages for all 50 U.S. states and 20 major U.S. cities. We ranked the attractions in each state and city according to the number of times “peaceful” is mentioned per 1,000 English-language reviews.
- The National Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche at Mission Nombre de Dios in St. Augustine, Florida, is America’s most peaceful tourist spot, with 41% of reviews using the word “peaceful.”
- The Self Realization Fellowship Hermitage & Meditation Gardens in Encinitas is California’s most peaceful tourist attraction (35.4%).
- Forest Lawn in Buffalo is New York State’s most peaceful spot (14.7%).
- Roosevelt Island is New York City’s most peaceful tourist spot (12.5%).
Land of Temples and Gardens: America’s Most Peaceful Places
When visitors think of the U.S., calmness and quiet is the last thing on their mind. Even our great outdoors recalls cinematic imagery of the Wild West and alien invasions. But, between America’s landscaped gardens, places of worship and quieting works of public sculpture, there’s more than enough to calm the mind and deliver a sense of peace on vacation in any state.
The most peaceful site of all is the National Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche, a Catholic shrine at the Nombre de Dios Mission in Florida. More than two-fifths of reviewers mention the word “peaceful.” The chapel is, by all accounts, serene, but it is the gardens around the century-old building that command the most sighs of contentment.
Gardens, churches and temples are the most peaceful tourist spots in most states. Illinois’ Anderson Japanese Gardens is the top-rated garden in its own right. “This is a beautiful and large peaceful garden with lots of water features and lovely walking paths,” writes one reviewer. “So well maintained with enough places to sit and relax in the lush, green surroundings.”
Florida is home to the two most peaceful tourist spots in the U.S. and four of the top 20. Sholom Park in Ocala takes the number two spot. Sholom is the Hebrew word for peace, and the park was designed to be “a place where the pursuit of inner peace and learning may be enhanced and enjoyed.”
“When you visit Sholom Park,” the owners state, “you are encouraged to find your own symbolism in nature. Be mindful of what you see and feel with your heart. Perhaps you will find inspiration, something bold or brilliant, or something simple and sacred that soothes your soul.”
Californian Canals Offer State’s Most Peaceful Wander
When on a city break — or unable to escape the city where you live and work — a peaceful tourist spot is an absolute oasis. We’ve identified the best ones in 20 U.S. cities. The Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas stands out as the most unusual for being a place of neither nature nor worship. Established in 2003, the Nasher is home to over 300 masterpieces by the likes of Calder, de Kooning, Hepworth, Picasso and Rodin, throughout a serene 55,000-square-foot building designed by Renzo Piano. There is also a one-and-a-half-acre sculpture garden landscaped by Peter Walker.
California’s two headline cities, LA and San Francisco, have contrasting ‘most peaceful’ spots. Frisco welcomes you to the Mormon Oakland California Temple, while Los Angeles boasts the dreamy Venice Canals Walkway — a peaceful place to get lost without getting lost. “The canals, lined, with homes in the $2M plus range, are a fun way to burn an hour strolling peacefully and checking out the fun and sometimes frivolous architecture/yards/decorations,” writes one reviewer. “It’s an easy place to walk and linger.”
The City That Never Sleeps Provides Places to Dream
New York is the city that never sleeps, America’s most populous city, and “one of the most thrilling places on Earth” — so, not the first place that “peaceful” brings to mind. But it’s all relative.
Marooned in the East River between Manhattan and Queens, with the Queensboro Bridge reaching overhead, Roosevelt Island is the city’s most peaceful spot and “a happy surprise,” according to one reviewer. The island is “a great way to escape the crowds,” says another: “This island is a car, bike, skateboard, free zone. It has a car park; then you cross a small bridge to the wooded island and wander through the trees to a clearing where Roosevelt greets you with a wave… It’s peaceful and a wonderful place to reflect and just be.”
Strawberry Fields, a five-acre landscape within Central Park with the Imagine mosaic at its heart, was designed as a memorial to John Lennon of The Beatles. And it is situated where Lennon himself and his artist wife Yoko Ono would stroll peacefully in the years before his death. “The atmosphere on this site is magical,” writes a Beatles fan. “I loved the serenity and peace felt.”
A Walk on the Less Wild Side
Peacefulness is, in part, a state of mind — but it’s easier to find that state when you have the time and quiet to search for it.
Managing expectations is key to having a holiday to remember for the right reasons. Think about what you and your party truly want to do — not what you’re expected to do — and plan for that. Should you find yourself with nothing to do at any moment, you’ll probably enjoy the breathing space. Be aware that some plans may collapse and stress can occur: maintain a mindset of celebrating what you do, not ruing what you fail to do.
And walk, walk, walk. Walk somewhere peaceful to enjoy the peace; walk in nature to defuse the stress. Just a ten-minute walk among some greenery can reduce your heart rate, blood pressure, cortisol levels and mental feeling of stress.
For over 1,500 ideas on where in the U.S. you might find your moment of serenity, please explore our full data in the interactive table below.
METHODOLOGY & SOURCES
To uncover the most peaceful tourist spots across the U.S. based on publicly available Tripadvisor reviews, we first built a seed list of all 50 U.S. states and top 20 most famous U.S. cities.
Then we recorded the number of peaceful mentions for attractions in each state and the 20 cities in the “things to do” section of TripAdvisor.
Once we had the list of attractions that contain mentions of “peaceful” in reviews, we went to each attraction’s specific page and collected a series of metrics:
– Attraction category
– Number of English reviews
We excluded some categories such as spas, 4WD, horse riding tours and more.
Finally, we ranked the attractions for every state, city and the top 10 U.S. overall based on the number of “peaceful” mentions per 1000 English reviews.
The analysis of the data is correct as of September 2023.