Digital Detox: Escape to the Best Off-grid Destinations in the United States

Ultima Thule Lodge
These days, it’s easy to forget just how vast (and mostly empty) the United States is.

But, it is indeed the third largest country in the world. That means, though it may seem claustrophobic, like there’s nowhere left to escape off-grid, there are still plenty of destinations to do just that. Here are the best places in the country to un-tether — to detox — from the digital world.

Ultima Thule Lodge (Alaska)

Almost all of Alaska could be considered a ripe destination for a digital detox. It’s vast, rugged, remote, and little populated. But, if you’re looking to get away from the digital world without giving up the “luxury” trappings of home, Ultima Thule Alaska Lodge may be just the place. The nearest road is 100 miles away, and the property is only accessible by bush plane. But, each of the private cabins is well-appointed with leather chairs, cherry writing desks, and hunting-inspired accents. Guests are provided all the necessary kit for a week in the great outdoors — including hiking gear, fishing poles, and professional guides to ensure you don’t get too lost in the adjacent 13-million-acre Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.

North Rim of the Grand Canyon (Arizona)

Toroweap Point, Grand Canyon

If even the hunting lodge lifestyle is too First World for you, escape to the Grand Canyon. We’re not talking about the landmark’s South Rim that’s consistently overrun by families of road-tripping tourists jockeying for selfies. Escape instead to Tuweep Campground at the Canyon’s North Rim. The view from the adjacent Toroweap Overlook is among the best in any U.S. National Park: a steep, dramatic bluff perched 3,000 vertical feet above the Colorado River with nary a sign of civilization in sight. Best of all: there are never crowds, and during the off-season, you may have the view all to yourself. The experience doesn’t come easy, however. The NPS is quick to note that, out here, you’re on your own: “services are non-existent: there is no water, gas, food, lodging, or phone service.” If you’re looking for a real digital detox, that should be music to your ears.

New Camaldoli Hermitage (California)

New Camaldoli Hermitage Overlook, Big Sur

Even in a state as rich with stunning outdoor scenery as California, the Central Coast stands out. Sandwiched between the hustle of Los Angeles and San Francisco, the region remains one of the state’s most pristine outdoor destinations. In the heart of Big Sur lies New Camaldoli Hermitage — a working Benedictine monastery where 150,000 visitors have retreated over the last 50 years. If the idea of a retreat sounds too new age, just think of it as the ideal place to escape Facebook for a week or two. Rooms at the monastery are comfortable but spartan as the primary focus is to encourage guests to relax in the beautiful on-site gardens, meditate (literally or through simple housekeeping chores), and get lost in the gentle, ever-present lapping of the Pacific Ocean waves. 

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