There are many benefits to meditating in the great outdoors. By grounding yourself outside, you can use nature’s sights, smells and sounds as tools to enhance your meditative experience.
Pensacola and its surrounding areas are bursting with tranquil ecotourism destinations that are perfect for meditating. So, we’ve compiled a list of Four of the Best Places to Unwind in Florida’s Gulf Coast Region!
Make sure to stake out your meditation spot early in the morning, before the bustle of the day begins and your potential for becoming distracted increases.
Up first on our list is Coldwater Gardens. Just an hour’s drive northeast of downtown Pensacola, this ecotourism destination boasts fruit, vegetable and flower gardens, as well as a honey bee hive habitat, shiitake mushroom logs, and even an aquaponic fish farm.
Nestled along Coldwater Creek, the 300-acre property sports five-to-six miles of nature trails ideal for hiking and biking. To meditate, make a stop along the trail, under the covered terrace or at one of the property’s three beaches.
Planning a multi-day meditation retreat? Pitch a tent at the campsite on Coldwater Gardens’ largest sandbar, or stay cozy in an eco-friendly cottage, tiny-house cabana or “glamping” tent.
Tucked inside the University of West Florida’s campus, you’ll find the sanctuary that is the Edward Ball Nature Trail. This spot is popular amongst birdwatchers, as it is brimming with wildlife.
The majority of the trail’s one-mile loop is paved by a wooden walkway, which crosses over Thompson’s Creek and winds through blankets of ferns and cypress trees.
Along the boardwalk, there are many built-in benches that overlook the swampy stream.
Take some time to meditate here, focusing your attention on the sounds of the wildlife.
Next on our list is Blackwater River State Park, another tranquil destination located in Milton, Florida. The park spans over a 600-acre area which includes Blackwater River, known for its waters’ distinct color and purity.
Kayak, canoe or float down the river, which runs for over 50 miles.
Sometime along your journey, you are bound the find a vacant spot on one of the many stretches of small, white-sand beaches. Stop there, then notice how the sound of the flowing water creates a sense of stillness in your mind.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a quiet, vacant spot to meditate on busy Pensacola Beach. But continue driving east, past the popular tourist destination, and you’ll hit the haven that is Opal Beach.
Part of the federally-protected Gulf Islands National Seashore, Opal Beach comprises eight miles of well-preserved seashore with unobstructed views.
Dig your toes in the soft, powder-white sand and focus your vision on the pristine, emerald-blue water. Rather than placing your attention on the cadence of your breath, use the sound of the ebbing waves crashing against the shoreline as your tempo.
Mindfully connecting with nature can help you disconnect from the overstimulation of modern life. Disconnecting from your conscious thoughts can help you connect with your higher self.
Whether you’re a Pensacola local, or you’re just visiting for the week, planning a short trip to these meditation-friendly escapes will leave you feeling rejuvenated.