Vacations are for exploring new places, having a good time, and relaxing. While sobriety may change your travel experience, sober vacations can still be all those things. Sobriety doesn’t mean the end of fun things like vacation. In fact, it will most likely improve your vacation experience! You don’t have to worry about nursing a hangover and instead you can spend your time exploring, relaxing, and just having fun.
Where to Go for a Sober Vacation
To be honest, you can travel anywhere you want to. However, depending on your comfort levels, some places may be more recovery-friendly than others. Some vacation destinations have less of a focus on alcohol, drugs, or party scenes. We recommend you skip locations like Napa, Las Vegas, or Ibiza where alcohol and partying are highly emphasized until you are completely comfortable in your recovery and can be there sober. Until then, we recommend these places.
Destinations in the United States
- San Antonio, Texas: There are a ton of great places to explore in San Antonio. There is the historic Alamo, the Natural Bridge Caverns, the San Antonio River Walk, and more. They even have museums, the zoo, SeaWorld San Antonio, and Six Flags Fiesta Texas.
- Nashville, Tennessee: The Music City of the United States is a great spot to check out the Country Music Hall of Fame, The Grand Ole Opry, see live music and more. They also have city tours, art, and science museums.
- Denver, Colorado: You may first think of the abundance of breweries and the legal marijuana when you think of Denver. However, Denver also has plenty of sober attractions. Colorado offers skiing, snowboarding, hiking, white water rafting, and other outdoor activities. They also have the zoo, aquarium, art and science museums, and the Red Rocks Amphitheater.
- Sri Lanka: The culture in this island de-emphasizes the use of drugs and alcohol. That means that as a tourist, you’ll have reduced exposure. Sri Lanka has a beautiful and diverse landscape. They have beaches to relax on, rainforests to explore, and mountains to hike. They have historical sites as well, like Sigiriya – a rock-top fortress that has served as a royal palace and a Buddhist monastery.
- Japan: While alcohol is available in Japan, it is much less emphasized. In Japan, you can travel the vibrant cities, explore bamboo forests, and enjoy their delicious food and festivals.
- Morocco: Like Japan, alcohol is available but not emphasized. It is fairly easy to avoid it all together. Morocco has beautiful architecture and sites. Morocco is home to the Atlas Mountains, the red arches or Legzira, the blue village of Chefchaouen, and more.
In addition to these destinations, there are also sober resorts in Mexico, sober cruises, and more. There are even websites dedicated to sober vacations, like Sober Vacations International and Travel Sober.
What Activities Are There for the Sober Traveler?
A big part of any vacation are your plans. What do you plan to do while you’re there? Of course, the activities you plan depend on where you end up. However, here are some ideas that can be done almost anywhere.
- A tour of the city you’re in. This can be walking, biking, a bus tour, whatever you decide.
- Visit historic sites.
- Visit art, history, or science museums.
- Try a beach activity. This can be surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, etc.
- Try a snow sport. If you go somewhere cold, try skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, etc.
- Go hiking.
- Attend local events or festivals that are around.
- Go to local restaurants and try their food.
While it’s a good idea to plan a few activities to make sure you aren’t bored, be careful that you don’t plan too much! The last thing you want to do on your vacation is feel stressed or rushed to do everything.
Tips for Staying Sober on Vacation
Even though we’ve given you a few destinations that are less focused on alcohol, drugs, and partying, that doesn’t mean they don’t exist there. You may find that you are more tempted in this environment. Here, we will give you some tips on how to stay in recovery while away from home.
- Travel with a supportive or sober companion who will not make alcohol or substance use a priority on this trip.
- Plan a few things ahead of time so you aren’t bored but leave room for spontaneous fun! Don’t fill up your schedule to the point where you feel stressed.
- Choose accommodations that don’t include mini bars in the room.
- Prepare for potential triggers.
- If you find yourself struggling, don’t be afraid to reach out to your support system or attend an online support group.
The best time to plan a vacation is after you’ve been able to maintain a stable period in recovery. We recommend this so you are able to truly relax and have fun on your trip.