What's the Most Chill Place You've Ever Found On Your Travels?

It’s Chill Week here at Atlas Obscura! We’re looking at all things, well, chill. And we want you to join in by telling us about the most incredibly relaxing and serene places that you’ve ever discovered on your travels. Tell us about those secret pockets of perfect serenity that you’ve found while traveling the world. Maybe it was a little shrine tucked into the alcove of a bustling church; perhaps you found a moment of unforgettable piece of mind on a secluded beach; did you find serenity in the sweeping vistas of a little-known lookout point? No matter where you were or what you were doing, we want to hear about the most chill place you’ve ever discovered.

(Image: Artem Beliaikin/Public Domain)

I still remember sitting on the balcony of a waterfront Marriott hotel in San Diego when I was 18, and maybe being as much at peace as I’ve ever been. I was on one of my first trips with friends, a few months before I would strike out into the adult world of rent and responsibility, and I was just able to watch the garbage barges on the water. It was fascinating and instructive all at once. No anxiety, no feeling of vacationer’s guilt, just a cup of coffee, some meandering trash scows, and a nice sunny morning. It was… chill.

In the comments below, tell us about the most chill place you’ve ever found on your travels, where it was, how you found yourself there, and what made it so CHILL. Your response may be included in an upcoming round-up article on Atlas Obscura. It’s a busy world, but serenity can be found in the most surprising places if we can just get ourselves to chill.

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Unquestionably, the Franz Mayer Museum courtyard. I completely understand why the Dalai Lama declared it a “zone of peace”. Mexico City IS chaotic, it is huge, loud, filthy, smelly and overwhelming (so, like any other megalopolis). So it is truly impressive that this little garden, in the particularly chaotic historic center no less, manages to be so completely an oasis of chill.

I don’t know what makes it so good at drowning out the honking of cars and droning of aircraft but you genuinely hear little more than birds chirping, water from the fountain and the conversations of people in the café who seem to hush their voices to maintain the serenity. Definitely a place to relax.

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Not sure “chill” does it justice, and it’s hardly “obscure” but, I visited Ryōan-ji in Kyoto, and spent several hours looking at the “Zen garden.” I won’t try to describe it but to say that no words or photo can capture it, and as simple and archtypally peaceful as it is, it was the most profoundly powerful human-created thing I’ve been privileged to see. A truly extraordinary place.

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One place that comes to mind is a place I’ve written about here on Atlas Obscura.

The Manduri state park in Sao Paulo , Brazil, oddly enough considering that it has a large population of mischevious monkeys which are very active creatures. But it was just a very lovely place , beautiful surroundings and just wonderful to sit around and watch the antics of the capuchins. Hope to go camping there one day soon.

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I have what I call “my rock” in Switzerland. While hiking up the Matterhorn trail from Zermatt in May or September you come to a gate that you have to go through. Just before the gate there is a giant, warm rock. I like to relax on the rock and close my eyes. I listen to the tinkling of the nearby sheep bells. That is the place I think about when I need to be calm. Here is a photo taken from the trail leading up to my rock.

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There are A BUNCH in the ridges around W. Pa. Wolf Rocks in Forbes State Forest comes to mind when it’s not overrun by visitors.

These two are from trails nearby. I’ve spent a ton of time out there and it can get pretty awesome in the winter.


The latter is Darr trail. This is just outside of Lynn Run SP. The former may be Darr too but these shots are 20 years old (remember film cameras kids?) so give me some slack on the exact location.

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I’ve never relaxed as hard as I did in Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu—after scuba diving, a heaping plate of curry in the marketplace, some mind-bending kava, serene nights. You can’t help but walk half as fast as usual there.

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I’ve found the eerie peace of an area devoid of people has come to have greater appeal as the city around me grows bigger and bigger. The most extreme was the actual chilly roads up to the Himalayas where miles passed by without seeing any signs of human activity. Stopping for a water break or to take some photos I would almost feel like some dystopian last man on Earth for a few minutes, no sounds but the wind whipping by. I cherish being able to close my eyes and revisit those times, can almost smell the arid mountains.
Also got a similar feel traveling throughout the high deserts west of the Rockies, many side roads make it easy to get off the beaten path and after rounding a couple of hills you have that surreal loneliness.
For fresh doses I retreat to my cabin in a quiet hollow in the rural hills where cows outnumber people by a good ratio.

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Did you make that cabin ? and have you seen much wildlife in the area?

A question , what does kava feel like ?

Pretty much anywhere hiking in Zion National Park. It’s my favorite, especially hiking the Virgin River watching the swallows. I could stay there forever. It’s so peaceful.

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It’s hard to describe such a desolate place with the feeling of peace. However, the Atacama desert of Chile brought tides of serenity, along with a dry bloody nose. Both were welcomed as I had the opportunity to greet the most gracious creatures while finding myself in the middle of daily sand storms and nightly walks under the limitless sky. This desert forced questions upon myself I was too afraid to ask while surrounded by civilization.


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I would have to say that one of the most relaxing spots that my family has ever stayed at was Meeteetse, Wyoming. It was in the last part of July/first part of August and we stayed at a spot near a rapidly moving river. The sound of the water was very calming and cooling.

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On the beach at the Jersey Shore after Labor Day and before Memorial Day…

I wouldn’t be mad if AtlasObscura built a sister site just for zen, peaceful meditative spots around the globe… probably be a cash cow!

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In my travels, I have found that Ireland has many places where to sit and relax and watch nature or unwind by the cold beaches. Almost everywhere in the west.

In Puerto Rico, I remember that while I worked with the disaster relief, I found myself literally in the middle of the island, surrounded by mountains, in the middle of nowhere. There was this farm, where we had to do some of our work, and behind that farm, there was one of the many mountains, with a river that had a waterfall, and besides that river, there was a cliff that had the shape of an eagle. I have since named it eagle mountain and it was one of my favorite locations to visit, because the owner of that farm would let me sit and hear the river flow, watch the waterfall and the mountain.

Although, my favorite spot is the beaches.

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A small church yard Cemetery in rural South Carolina. The fenced family plots, shaded by the live Oak trees draped with wisps of hanging moss. Almost like the past welcoming me, saying “come on in, set awhile.” “Enjoy the cool and let us tell you our story”. Like a step back in time. Wouldn’t of minded spending eternity there. So welcoming and relaxing for the weary traveler.

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As a teenager long ago, I was an exchange student in Peru. There was a side trip to Machu Picchu that was the highlight of my stay. While wandering through the ruins, I found a small, roofless room that drew me in. For at least an hour, I sat inside looking at the clouds at eye level and the Urubamba River in the valley far below. Nobody interrupted my reverie. It was the most peaceful I’ve ever felt in my life and I will never forget that feeling of being alone in the world in the midst of ancient and mysterious history.
I’ve read that Machu Picchu is now full of tourists. What a shame that nobody will have a chance to enjoy the beauty and peace I experienced that day so long ago!

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There is a road from Jerome, AZ to Perkinsville, AZ (a true 2 cow town) that continues to Williams, AZ that is a true trip through nowhere. It travels along the bed of an old narrow gauge rail bed from a mining route in the 1800’s. The road is bad enough to scare off the timid but can be traveled in a front wheel drive Altima if you pay attention. There are beautiful vistas of the Mongollan Rim and plenty of interesting places to stop and take in the natural surrounding. Generally, you will see no other cars so you will have it all to yourself.

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Someone else mentioned swallows. One of the most chill places I have ever visited is actually not just one place. When I was still learning to swim, I did so in an open-door swimming pool near my home. It was pretty rural and the pool drew insects, so there always were a lot of swallows there.

I loved to just turn on my back in the water, and look up at the sky, either bright blue or with those typical small summer clouds drifting by, swallows zipping across my field of vision hunting for their meal. Just the serenity of being submerged, having it mute most of the sounds from around me is incredibly relaxing for me.

I still enjoy doing it whenever I’m in the water, be it in a hotel swimming pool or along some tropical island’s shoreline.

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