California’s deserts are home to some of the most serene scenes in the southwest, and visitors will also discover an array of wellness experiences that revitalize both body and soul. The Joshua Tree Retreat Center offers classes, retreats and on-site lodging, while the Integratron, located in nearby Landers, is renowned for its sound baths. Those seeking an indulgent escape will take delight in the spa menu at the Inn at Death Valley, while the rustic mineral hot springs in Tecopa help soothe aching muscles and joints. Whether it’s a last-minute road trip or a special occasion, these are some of the top wellness adventures in California’s desert regions.


Joshua Tree Retreat Center (Joshua Tree)

The Chalice Well at the Joshua Tree Retreat Center

The Joshua Tree Retreat Center is recognized for its rich history and calming environment, where the beauty of the desert invites relaxation and rejuvenation. After spending two decades traveling through China, Tibet and India, Edwin John Dingle developed the concept of Mentalphysics, which is built around practices including yoga, breath work and meditation. After founding the Institute of Mentalphysics in Los Angeles in 1928, Dingle established the Joshua Tree Retreat Center in 1941. Covering over 400 acres, the property is the oldest and largest retreat center in the Western United States, and in 2023 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Over the years, the retreat center has expanded its offerings, becoming a hub for wellness and personal growth. Visitors can sign up for a variety of classes and activities, including yoga, tai chi, meditation and holistic healing workshops, and the center also hosts multi-day retreats. The on-site Food For Thought Cafe serves nutritious, locally sourced meals, and the twice-weekly farmers market features local produce and artisanal crafts, connecting guests with the town’s vibrant culture. In addition to ample outdoor spaces to soak in the tranquility of the landscape, there are 18 energy vortices located across the campus. Often associated with spiritual sites and natural wonders, energy vortices are believed to be places where the earth’s energy is especially strong, and they are associated with healing and self-exploration. For those looking to stay for more than just one day, there are several on-site lodging options, ranging from rooms in one of the property’s numerous historic Lloyd Wright houses to the minimalist, modern Bungalows.


Joshua Tree Connectivity (Joshua Tree)

A guided meditation with Joshua Tree Connectivity

From group retreats to sound baths, Joshua Tree Connectivity offers a unique blend of experiences designed to deepen mindfulness and connect with nature. One of their weekly events is a guided meditation and sound bath, which also includes a nature walk and cacao ceremony. The event is available to up to 12 participants at a time, thus ensuring an intimate and impactful experience — and serving as an excellent introduction to setting intentions and practicing meditation.

Another popular event is the new moon sound bath, where participants gather to admire the sparkling night skies while listening to the resonant tones of a Pluto planetary gong. Joshua Tree National Park is an International Dark Sky Park, widely recognized for having some of the best stargazing in the western United States, thanks to a minimal amount of light pollution. In addition to these regularly scheduled offerings, Joshua Tree Connectivity specializes in curating customized retreats and events to suit individuals and groups alike.


The Integratron (Landers)

Sunset at the Integratron in Landers, California

Built in 1954 by aeronautical engineer and ufologist George Van Tassel, The Integratron was inspired by a combination of science, spirituality and extraterrestrial connections. Located on a strong geomagnetic vortex, the 38-foot structure, which is constructed entirely of wood, was designed to be an electrostatic generator for time travel, anti-gravity research and rejuvenation. While the early years of the Integratron may raise some questions, the property has been privately owned by three sisters for the last three decades. The family, who is not related to Van Tassel, has made it their mission to preserve the structure and share it with the public, offering sound baths and events.

With its phenomenal acoustics, the Integratron is renowned for its sound baths, which are believed to have balancing effects on the mind and body. After a brief introduction covering the property’s history, guests rest on comfortable, padded mats and experience a 35-40 minute sequence of 22 quartz crystal singing bowls played live. Each quartz singing bowl is tuned to the chakras or energy centers of the body, and this concept of sonic healing is based on Ayurveda, an ancient Indian system of medicine and spirituality. The Integratron is open Monday through Wednesday; for more information and sound bath tickets, please visit their website.


Death Valley Hot Springs (Tecopa)

Woman soaking in private pool at Delights Hot Springs in Tecopa, California

Thirty minutes south of Death Valley Junction is the charming town of Tecopa, which is known for its mineral hot springs. Soaking in mineral water can help soothe aching muscles, improve circulation and hydrate the skin, among other health benefits. Death Valley Hot Springs has the top-rated accommodations in the area, offering B&B style lodging in several modern houses on site, plus a fully-equipped Airstream trailer. Guests have access to the main pool and four private pools at Delight’s Hot Springs Resort (pictured above), which is located next to the lodging. The pools are regulated to temperatures between 102 and 104 degrees, and they are classified as a primary hot spring, rather than a filtration hot spring. Delight’s also has lodging, including rustic cottages, trailers and an RV park with electrical, sewer and water hookups. Day passes are available as well.


The Inn at Death Valley (Furnace Creek)

Spa at the Inn at Death Valley in Death Valley National Park

The Inn at Death Valley is a hidden gem tucked in the rugged landscape of Death Valley National Park, and the AAA-rated four-diamond property is famed for its luxurious spa. Offerings include a wide range of skin treatments and massages (prenatal, couples, hot stone, sound bath massages and more), plus reflexology, aromatherapy and even BEMER therapy. The spa also features treatments with native desert plants and mineral water, making this a unique way to pamper yourself after exploring the hottest, driest place on earth. 

The inn, which has 66 hotel rooms and 22 casitas, also has a heated, spring-fed pool, along with several on-site restaurants. Guests looking to book a more casual, family-friendly option may want to consider the neighboring Ranch at Death Valley, which has 195 guest rooms and 80 one-bedroom cottages with access to the pool, and sports courts — and of course, the spa. Image courtesy of Xanterra Travel Collection.


La Casa Del Zorro Resort & Spa (Borrego Springs)

Private pool at La Casa Del Zorro in Borrego Springs, California

La Casa Del Zorro Resort & Spa sits just outside of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, known for its spectacular landscapes, wildflowers and stargazing. The full-service spa has a handful of massage options, ranging from hot stone to aromatherapy, plus revitalizing facials, scrubs and body wraps. In addition to sport courts, a nearby golf course, multiple pools and a fitness center, the resort also has a yoga studio with regular classes. Local instructor Paul Penners welcomes yogis of all levels, and he also offers guided meditation and Kirtan chanting.

La Casa Del Zorro's commitment to wellness extends beyond the spa, with healthy, gourmet dining options that complement the overall experience of luxury in the desert. The Fox Bistro serves lunch and dinner daily and breakfast on the weekends, while the Casa Cafe & Market has a daily selection of breakfast items and lighter fare. The resort has 19 casitas, most of which have private pools or spas, along with a number of spacious garden and deluxe rooms. Image courtesy of La Casa Del Zorro Resort & Spa.