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4 Temples Among Top 20 ‘Peaceful’ U.S. Tourist Spots, According to National Survey

The Idaho Falls Idaho, Oakland California, St. George Utah and Mesa Arizona temples are highlighted in a survey that looks at ‘peaceful’ mentions in trip reviews

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By Scott Taylor, Church News

Four temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are among the United States’ 20 most peaceful tourist locations, according to a recent national survey.

As cited in the survey, the four are the Idaho Falls Idaho Temple, the Oakland California Temple, the St. George Utah Temple and the Mesa Arizona Temple. All four have visitors’ centers on the temple grounds, with two of the four — the Idaho Falls and Mesa temple visitors’ centers — specifically mentioned in the lists along with the respective temples.

For active Latter-day Saints, the Church’s temples worldwide are considered peaceful, sacred locations where temple ordinances for living Church members and their deceased ancestors are performed and covenants are made. The temple grounds and visitors’ centers — all open to the public — help convey that peace from the restored gospel of Jesus Christ to visitors.

The Idaho Falls Idaho, Oakland California, St. George Utah and Mesa Arizona temples are included among the 20 most peaceful locations in the United States, as identified in a recent national survey done by Casago. Graphic courtesy of Casago, courtesy of Church News.All rights reserved.

The national survey — commissioned by Casago, a vacation rental property management company serving homeowners and guests in Mexico and the United States — selected the 20 most peaceful tourist locations in the U.S. as well as the top peaceful location in each of the 50 states and 20 major cities. It also identified the top 10 peaceful locations in New York City.

The Idaho Falls temple and visitors’ center finished Number 3 in the U.S. rankings, with the Oakland temple, St. George temple and the Mesa temple and visitors’ center in the second 10 locations making the top 20 list.

For the survey, Casago combed through TripAdvisor’s “Things to Do” section of tourist locations and attractions of all 50 states and 20 U.S. cities, looking for instances of “peaceful” mentions in the reviews. Casago then ranked the attractions — by state and city, as well as separate listings for the top 20 across the country and top 10 in New York City — based on the “peaceful” mentions per 1,000 English reviews.

The survey excluded spas and four-wheel driving and horseback riding tours. The analysis of the data was as of September 2023.

Locations highlighted by the survey included churches and chapels from multiple faiths, shrines, gardens, cemeteries, parks, beaches and wildlife refuges.

The five most peaceful U.S. tourist locations, according to the Casago survey, are:

  1. National Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche at Mission Nombre de Dios in St. Augustine, Florida, with 410 “peaceful” mentions.
  2. Sholom Park in Ocala, Florida, with 408 mentions.
  3. Idaho Falls Idaho Temple and Visitors’ Center, with 398 mentions.
  4. National Shrine of St. Therese in Juneau, Alaska, with 381 mentions.
  5. Byodo-In Temple in Kaneohe, Hawaii, with 376 mentions.
The Mesa Arizona and Oakland California temples are included among the most peaceful locations in the United States’ major cities, as identified in a national survey done by Casago. Graphic by Casago, courtesy of Church News.All rights reserved.

The other Latter-day Saint temples in the national top 20 are the Oakland California Temple at Number 11 with 230 mentions, the St. George Utah Temple at Number 13 with 208 mentions, and the Mesa Arizona Temple and Visitors’ Center at Number 16 with 195 mentions.

The St. George temple and grounds have been closed since late 2019 because of extensive renovations to the pioneer-era temple, so reviews since then could be attributed to the nearby visitors’ center. And the sprawling grounds of the Oakland temple are popular in the community, especially for family photographs, bridal and quinceañera shots, engagement and wedding images and other gatherings.

Two of the temples earned mention in the survey’s featured locations in the top 20 U.S. cities — Mesa and Oakland for the Phoenix, Arizona, and San Francisco, California, metro areas, respectively. In fact, the two were the sites receiving the most “peaceful mentions” among the major-city locations.

In the listings by state, three of the four temples and visitors centers — Idaho Falls, St. George and Mesa — were tops in their states. The Oakland temple was Number 2 in the California rankings, behind the Self Realization Fellowship Hermitage and Meditation Gardens in Encinitas, California, which was Number 7 nationally with 354 “peaceful” mentions.

Copyright 2023 Deseret News Publishing Company.

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