Updated April 2023
Between endless scrolling, crowded city life, and stressful headlines, you don’t need to look very hard for a reason to take a break from the noise. When our virtual worlds have grown so immense, it’s a good idea to step off the beaten path and remember the calming effects of nature. Savor a digital detox with some well-earned peace and quiet, whether by the mountains, the beach, the lake, or the desert.
Ready to brave the wild? Here are our top nine recommended spots for an off-the-grid vacation. Though these locations promise remote nature, the vacation homes are still within cell service, should you need anything, and many have WiFi if you need to fit in some last-minute work (though we can keep a secret from the kids).
An enchanting alpine village tucked into the Cascade Mountains, Leavenworth is a great starter off-grid vacation for someone wanting an in-between of mountain wildlife, with a handful of mellow city attractions (and delicious German cuisine) available nearby. The town has an abundance of year-round outdoor activities, from sledding in the fresh-powder snow to floating the Wenatchee River. Steven’s Pass is a popular spot for skiing, and there’s no better après-ski than a soak in Scenic Hot Springs (permit required).
Mountain views and craft brews make Black Butte Ranch one of the best places to vacation for an off-the-grid mountain adventure. Located within Central Oregon’s stretch of the Cascade Mountain Range and just a 42-minute drive from Bend, Black Butte Ranch boasts 1,800 gorgeous acres of natural high-desert landscape. Among the wide range of outdoor activities, you’ll find white water rafting, snowshoeing, and two championship golf courses. Need to stretch your legs? Take to Deschutes National Forest’s 1.6 million acres, with trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding, as well as several fishing lakes.
Yosemite National Park is only a half-hour drive from Mammoth Lakes, a small town in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Yosemite is well known for its towering sequoia trees and roaring waterfalls, but Mammoth Lakes has a unique charm of its own. It’s home to geological wonders like Devils Postpile National Monument and the 101-foot-high Rainbow Falls. Snow or shine, cozy up with a private cabin rental or a ski-in/ski-out chalet while you reconnect with nature.
Less than an hour's drive from Yellowstone National Park, Big Sky is a gateway to unbeatable outdoor adventure for your off-grid vacation. Fittingly, a huge draw to the mountain landscape is the area’s wide-open blue skies. This vibrant community is full of wildlife, white water rapids, and canyon ravines, perfect for hunting, fishing, or hiking the day away. Skiers, rejoice—Big Sky averages over 400 inches of snow annually along its pristine peaks. Dip your toes into Lava Lake, and immerse yourself in the towering emerald trees surrounding Ousel Falls.
When in doubt, head up north. Along the rustic lodges and lakeside private cabins, you’re sure to find the solitude you’re looking for. The Northwoods make an ideal escape for families, couples, and solo travelers—with plenty of outdoor activities to keep kids busy and soothing views to savor alone. Take your pick of 3,200 lakes and over ½ a million acres of public land to explore, Lake of the Falls County Park and the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest included. Start your mornings with a cup of coffee on the porch, spend an afternoon on the water, and read or rest your eyes to the sounds of lapping waves.
If you’re looking for relaxation off the beaten path, you’ve found it. Known for its rural beauty and open prairie skies, you might be surprised what else South Dakota has in store. Snag an off-grid cabin rental and familiarize yourself with the Black Hills National Forest’s breathtaking beauty or day trip out to Badlands National Park’s otherworldly landscape fossil sites. Hike through Spearfish Canyon and bring a bottle of sarsaparilla for a sweet treat along the way. Between watching the buffalo herds graze at Custer State Park and trying your hand at gem mining, be sure to stop in for at least one tourist must-see, Deadwood's preserved Old West.
Moosehead Lake, stocked with landlocked salmon and brook trout, is also the state’s largest lake—meaning there’s no shortage of fun on the water. Book an off-grid vacation rental with a boat dock and spend the day cruising the lake’s 40 miles (almost 75,000 acres) of water, fishing, tubing, or kayaking to your heart’s content. The small town of Greenville has “summer paradise” written all over it, with clear skies for stargazing, ice cream stands, and restaurants by the water. Find an off-grid lake house rental to unplug in this peaceful neck of the woods, just a 3-hour drive north of Portland and 2.5 hours from Bangor.
Grab a breath of fresh Blue Ridge Mountain air from an off-grid cabin. Start your morning off with a cup of coffee and a mountain view from the porch and feel your stress slip away. From this quiet ski town, you can enjoy the best of two mountain ranges: the Blue Ridge and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park along the state’s border with Tennessee. Beech Mountain is one of North Carolina’s best-kept secrets, with an assortment of all-weather outdoor activities to offer. Take the kids to the Land of Oz, seek incredible views along the Emerald Outback trails, or hit the slopes for a rush of adrenaline. During your stay, check out the Appalachian Mountain Club and hike a section of the Appalachian Trail for an unforgettable vacation story.
Hang out with an off-grid beach vacation at the southernmost point of the continental United States—and don’t forget to grab a photo by the namesake buoy. While the historic downtown area offers restaurants, museums, and a Nature and Butterfly Conservatory, there are secluded beaches for those that would rather get lost in that boundless blue ocean view. For beaches away from the crowds, stick with Higgs Beach or Fort Zachary Taylor Beach. Leave your phone behind as you charter a dolphin cruise or head out for a day of snorkeling. There’s an entire world to discover under the waves, with bustling coral reefs and colorful fish.
Find an off-grid vacation rental with accommodations for your preferred level of seclusion, whether a remote mountain cabin out of range from cell service or a quiet neighborhood getaway. Choose from homes with amenities like mountain views, direct beach access, pet-friendly homes, or WiFi for moments you want to stay connected.