Sometimes, you just need to get away from it all in a place where you can disconnect and rejuvenate with a real digital detox. Although the world continues to become increasingly connected, it's still possible to find a few places where you can leave the distractions and temptations of a buzzing cell phone behind and soak up the simplicity of the moment. When you want to go off the grid in a gorgeous setting, consider these can't-miss destinations:
Azores Islands, Portugal
Often referred to as the "non-tropical" Hawaii, this Portuguese archipelago of nine islands sits right in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, just a 4.5-hour flight from Boston. The islands are a nature lover's paradise, with hundreds of hiking trails, hidden waterfalls, and volcanic crater lakes. The area is one of the best spots in the world for dolphin and whale watching, with 35 different species of whales living around the islands.
For a taste of history, tour Europe's oldest tea plantations on São Miguel Island. If you prefer delicacies with a little more kick, visit the stone wall-enclosed vineyards on Pico Island, and sample the tangy cheeses and amazing fish and seafood on São Jorge Island.
Northern Idaho, United States
Forget potatoes. Idaho's dense forests and stunning lakes are all the motivation you need to go off grid in this state. In the northern part of Idaho, known as the panhandle, it's easy to go from gently lapping lake shore level to panoramic mountaintop views rather quickly. Depending on the time of year, you can hike, mountain bike, ski, or snowmobile through the thousands of acres of preserved wilderness.
The state's national forests offer plenty of camping opportunities, including cabin rentals in the midst of peaceful pine forests, where you can discover refreshing mountain streams and commune with nature with roaming elk, moose, and even bears as neighbors.
Cabo Polonio, Uruguay
In the isolated, protected wildlife refuge of Cabo Polonio along the eastern coast of Uruguay, tents are not allowed, and there's no ATM, internet, or electricity, although a few cabins have generators. Rent a small house near the shore if you want the waves to lull you to sleep at night and wake you up each morning.
Grunting sea lions are frequently found sunning and splashing at the rocky end of the beach by the lighthouse. If you can catch a fisherman as he pulls up to shore, buy some fresh fish for your dinner, and then climb the sand dunes for a perfect view of the sunset. The purpose of this getaway is purely sun, sea, and relaxation.
Racha Region, Georgia
In the last few years, the country of Georgia has slowly found its way into the tourist spotlight as more airlines establish flights to the eclectic capital city of Tbilisi. The fascinating region of Racha lies in the northwestern corner of the country. The breathtaking, snow-capped Caucasus Mountains gave rise to the nickname "Switzerland of Georgia."
Beyond the incredible hiking opportunities along the newly renovated Transcaucasian Trail, you can search for and taste 28 different types of mineral water near the Rachian summer resort village of Shovi, or tour several small wineries that produce the rare, semi-sweet red wine Khvanchkara, which is made only from the locally grown Alexsandreuli grape.
When you finally find time to escape your busy, hyper-connected life, consider these unique travel destinations for your getaway plans. Take a few friends and family members with you and truly reconnect without distractions. Share the best details and photos of your off-the-grid adventure with us on Instagram — once you get back online, of course.
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