Finding a recommendation for a warm weather escape in the dead of a Minnesota winter is quick and easy. Ask a neighbor, post the question on facebook, scan a newspaper. Think Cancun or South Beach. And hordes of people. And chances are a co-worker can talk your ear off about great ski mountains with blissfully barren back bowls or a great place to stay in Tuscany.

But when it comes to seeking solitude and finding the quiet within, do you really want to trust the guy at the water cooler or the virtual thumb’s up from “I’ma- world-traveler” on Trip Advisor? Maybe. But then again, maybe not. Vacation time is precious. Like sand sifting through your fingers, it slips by quickly. If it’s soul-seeking and time away to clear your head and perhaps heal your heart, do your research and choose wisely. Think about the type of experience you are really looking for. Silent retreat? A week away with a theme such as Compassion? Or time away to get your diet back on track and be thoughtful about what you put into your body?

Retreats abound these days. Take your time to really think about the type of experience you want. And let the journey unfold from there. Following are some suggestions to help you explore the possibilities. Brew yourself some chamomile, and read on.


Room of One’s Own

Lutsen, MN 218-387-9239 A personal retreat center on the North Shore of Lake Superior. This cozy cottage is ideal for a one or two-person retreat. Located just feet from the shore of Lake Superior; a beautiful place to hear the sound of your own voice. Self catering cottage. Includes self-guided or coaching retreats.

Men only, silent, religious

Demontreville Jesuit Retreat House Lake Elmo, MN 651-777-1311 “Each year more than 3,000 men from all walks of life participate in retreats at the Deomontreville Jesuit Retreat House. Retreats at Demontreville have one theme: to know, love, and serve God in this world. Strict silence is maintained throughout the weekend, except for an optional recreation period after dinner on Friday and Saturday.”

For women

Assissi Heights Spirituality Center, Rochester, MN 507-282-7441 Italian Romanesque home of the Franciscan Sisters. Rooms for women on 100 secluded acres.


Anderson Center, Red Wing, MN 651-388-2009 Rooms available from November- April in historic house on 330 acres in the bluff-land region of the upper Mississippi.

The Grand Marais Art Colony, Grand Marais, MN 218-387-2737 Began in 1947 as a summer refuge for artists seeking study in the wilderness. Workshops in printmaking, book arts, sculpture, drawing, and watercolor, acrylic, oil, and sumi-e painting. www.

Yoga and Meditation

Institute of the Himalayan Tradition, St. Paul 651-645-1291 “A place for study and sharing, education and community. We teach the wisdom of meditation and yoga. Throughout the year we offer workshops and classes in hatha yoga, meditation, stress-relief, relaxation, wellness, self-discovery. Private consultations, initiations, residential programs and group/ private retreats are also offered.”

12 steps

Hazelden Renewal Center, Center City 800-257-7810 or 651-213-4200 Retreat lodge for those living the Twelve-Step recovery program.

The Retreat, Wayzata 866-928-3434 Offers organized weekend retreats focused on a variety of topics such as family, relationships and spirituality with a 12-step focus. See website for upcoming retreat topics.

Families coping with an ill child, or death

Faith’s Lodge, Webster, WI, 612-825-2073 A unique retreat center for families who have a seriously ill child or have suffered the loss of a child. Located on 80 acres, about two hours from the Twin Cities. www.

Food Recovery

COR Retreat, Wayzata, 612-669-6110 Private rooms, fitness center, meditation room, lounge with fireplace and library near Wayzata Big Woods and nature trails. Five day, four night programs through the year.

Nature Retreats

Northern Enlightened Retreats, Pike Lake, MN, 651-587-1277 Nature Retreats for Women. Located 11 miles outside of Grand Marais on Pike Lake. Next retreat: June 11-14. Hiking, kayaking, canoeing, meditation and art.  www. northernenlightenedadventures. com

Boundary Waters Wilderness Area, northern Minn. Various entry points. The BWCA is a 1,090,000- acre wilderness area within the Superior National Forest in northeastern Minnesota under the administration of the U.S. Forest Service. bwca. 218-626-4300

Nicotine Recovery

Smoking Cessation Wellness Retreats, 845-392-4813 or 337-766-0021 Take out the Misery of Quitting at our Wellness Retreat with counseling, amenities and activities already in place — designed to “Take your mind off your mind” for a smooth transition towards Freedom from Smoking!


ARC Retreat Center, Cambridge, 763-689-3540 Serving individuals and groups seeking time apart, rest, and spiritual renewal. Log lodge with single rooms, hermitage and cottage on ninety wooded acres near Cambridge.

Benedictine Center of St. Paul’s Monastery, Maplewood, 651-777-7251 Contemporary monastic environment of Benedictine Sisters. benedictine-center/retreatsonmyown.

Carondelet Center, St. Paul, 651-696-2750 Historic center adjacent to the College of St. Catherine. The sisters of St. Joseph have rooms for up to 20 guests. Labyrinth and walking paths.

Christ the King Retreat Center, Buffalo, 763-682-1394 Oblates of Mary Immaculate offer accommodations in a retreat house that overlooks Lake Buffalo. www.

Dunrovin, Marine-on-St. Croix, 612-433-2486 The Christian Brothers have two suites and 38 single rooms available for private retreats in their center on the St. Croix River.

Episcopal House of Prayer, Collegeville, 320-363-3293 Nine single and four double bedrooms available in the house, with an opportunity for meditation in the architecturally-stunning oratory adjacent to it. Meditation path and walking trails. www.

Franciscan Life Center, Little Falls, 320-632-0668 A private, two-unit log cabin/ hermitage nestled in a pine grove clearing on the Franciscan Sisters’ campus in Little Falls. http://www.fslf. org/pages/FranciscanLifeCenter/

Koinonia Retreat Center, South Haven, 1-888-801-7746 A large retreat center owned by Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church with an apartment available for individual retreatants. Located on 114 wooded acres by Lake Sylvia near Annandale. Trails, labyrinth, and other activities available. www.

Loyola Spirituality Center, St. Paul 651-641-0008 “dedicated to helping people notice, name and respond to the experience of God in their lives. We welcome all regardless of faith tradition, age, race, sexual and gender orientation or economic means.” See website for retreat topics and locations. www. loyolaspiritualitycenter. org

McCabe Renewal Center, Duluth, 218-724-5266 Benedictine Sisters offer rooms for individual and group retreats in historic Duluth mansion. Labyrinth and massage available. www.

Mount Olivet Retreat Center, Farmington, 952-469-2175 Contemporary retreat center on 150 wooded acres owned by Mount Olivet Lutheran Church. Indoor pool, sauna, whirlpool, prayer labyrinth.

Pacem in Terris, St. Francis, 763-444-6408 Year-round hermitages on 240 wooded acres operated in the Franciscan tradition. www.

Sacred Ground Center for Spirituality, St. Paul, 651-696-2798 Directed Retreats. Schedule a private appointment with a Sacred Ground Spiritual Director. Walk and explore the spacious grounds and labyrinth while meditating on your path. www.sacredgroundspirit. org

Shalom Retreat Center Dubuque, Iowa, 563-582-3592 On an 81-acre prairie, offers room to walk, pray, and reflect with numerous paths, meditation garden and wildlife. Private or directed retreats, bedrooms and hermitage, all faiths and spiritualities. www.

St. Benedict’s Monastery, St. Joseph, 320-363-7115 Sisters of the Order of St. Benedict offer rooms at their Spirituality Center and a woodland hermitage. Garden & walking paths. http://sbm.

St. John’s Abbey Guesthouse, Collegeville, 320-363-2573 Benedictine monks offer 30 rooms in their guesthouse that also has a meditation chapel, library, meeting rooms, and dining room. On the campus at St. John’s University.

Villa Maria Retreat and Conference Center 651-345-4582, With all the charm of a European castle, the Villa Maria Retreat Center provides a beautiful natural setting for personal renewal along the Mississippi Bluffs within walking distance of Lake Pepin. Just 65 miles south of the Twin Cities, the villa is the perfect get-away for a single retreat or groups up to 100 or more.

Online resources

Find the Divine, an online directory of spiritual retreats, religious retreats and conference centers. Includes articles and blog. www.

Loyola Press. Experiment with a three-minute online retreat. “Three- Minute Retreats invite you to take a short prayer break right at your computer.

Minnesota specific retreat links:

Last Updated on February 6, 2020