If 2023 left you feeling stressed, cranky and in need of a peaceful getaway, you’re not alone. Park Holidays reports a recent increase in Google searches for grounding meditations, exercises and retreats, which may be the next big travel trend.

If you’re hoping to take a vacation to focus on your personal health this year, an oft-overlooked yet important factor to consider when choosing your destination is noise pollution. Studies show that noise exposure has several adverse health effects, including hearing loss and heart disease.

Given the data, anyone hoping to take a meditative, grounding getaway in 2024 should be looking for locations with low levels of noise pollution. Here are some tips on the quietest places to visit in the U.S.

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What are the noisiest cities in the U.S.?

A study from Retirement Living names Los Angeles, Houston and New York as the three loudest cities in the U.S. The study looked at a number of factors to determine these ratings, including overall noise pollution, car accidents and noise complaints. According to the study, the top 10 loudest U.S. cities are:

  1. Los Angeles, California.
  2. Houston, Texas.
  3. New York, New York.
  4. Phoenix, Arizona.
  5. Memphis, Tennessee.
  6. Newark, New Jersey.
  7. Chicago, Illinois.
  8. Anaheim, California.
  9. Santa Ana, California.
  10. Jersey City, New Jersey.

This data largely concurs with a separate study from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which created a visual mapping of noise pollution across the U.S. According to the association, the average background noise in most cities is between 50 and 60 decibels, while the quietest places in the country are below 20.

Which U.S. cities have the least noise pollution?

Retirement Living named Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Santa Clarita, California, and Lincoln, Nebraska, as the quietest cities in the United States. However, given that those locations are still cities, they’re not ideal locations for a noise-free meditation getaway. For that, it’s better to head off the beaten path.

Acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton has stated that there are only between 10 and 12 places left in the United States that are truly free of noise made by human activity. Per The Inertia, Hempton has only revealed three of those locations: Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park, Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Minnesota and Haleakala National Park in Hawaii.

Notably, two of those locations are within national parks. Preserved ecological areas like national and state parks tend to have less noise pollution because human activity is limited in those locations. This is also supported by the noise pollution map from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which names Yellowstone and Great Sand Dunes national parks as two of the quietest locations in the country.

Escape the noise by getting into nature

If you need time to ground yourself, meditate or simply escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, you might want to get out of the city and into nature. While it may be fun to visit a big metropolis or an amusement park, exposure to those noise levels should be kept to a minimum and are not conducive to meditative retreats.