They’re the generation of Americans that were born during the period immediately following World War II—products of the post-war baby boom that took place sometime between 1946 and 1964. It’s safe to say that Boomers grew up in a time of dramatic social change, one that left the entire generation with a strong cultural cleavage, not to mention an intense urge to travel. Now that they have finally reached their retirement years, they finally have the time to settle down and to explore the world-- in recent years, AARP even discovered that individuals between the ages of fifty-two and seventy have expressed a yearning to vacation away from their homes, to incorporate learning experiences into their lives, and to engage in hands-on explorations they could never pursue when children and careers dominated their days.
From painting to wine-making, or road trips with the college buds to river cruises with your sweetie pie, here are some age and spirit-appropriate destinations for Boomers looking to find terrific local cuisine, interesting sights, and an opportunity to just relax. May we present seven epic vacation stops for Baby Boomers around the world.
Best Vacation Destinations for Baby Boomers
1. Route 66 Road Trip
If you want to keep things on American soil and stay in the good old U, S, of A — but still have an avid appreciation for history and things past—why not plan a road trip along historic Route 66? The more than classic highway is still drivable in numerous parts and will take you on an adventurous ride across several states from Chicago to Los Angeles.
It’s an awesome great way to see the country, especially some of the most famous archetypal roadside scenes offering kitschy Americana. So go ahead-- do as the song says and “get your kicks on Route 66” with an RV and some of your best buds. It’s a nostalgic vacay of fond memories that Boomers of all sorts will take well beyond their Golden Years.
2. Paris, France
Got a sense of adventure and an appreciation for great food, spirits, sights, as well as a nice hint of romance? If that’s the case, it may be time to head across the Pond to see a part of the world you've never been to before, such as the City of Lights. Adventure to this major European city and global center for art, fashion, culture, and gastronomy to take in the beauty of picturesque nineteenth-century cityscapes that are intersected by wide boulevards and the River Seine.
What’s more is that beyond obvious landmarks such as as the Eiffel Tower, the Gothic Notre-Dame Cathedral, or the arty Louvre Museum, you’ll find bustling boutiques, petite cafes, and an enthralling side of laid back life that any Boomer is sure to love. There’s nothing better than to stroll through the City of Love with more mature eyes by taking a romantic walk down the Champs-Elysées or a stroll across Pont Neuf. J’adore.
3. Costa Maya, Mexico
For those seeking something way more low-key and less crowded just south of the Border, head on over to the Southern Caribbean Coast, where cultural tourism means ancient Mayan ruins and modern Mayan fishing villages, rather than pulsing nightlife clubs or wild beachside parties in popular areas such as Riviera Maya further to the north.
Look up at an umbrella of native jungle fauna and flora, or lean against a pyramid in the ancient Mayan village of Chacchoben. Why not do some vine swinging, zip lining, or scavenger hunting for ancient artifacts? Whatever you’re looking for, whether it is to finally play out that childhood Indiana Jones fantasy by unearthing your inner adventurer, or just by taking a wallet-friendly trip into some exotic surroundings, head on out to this little-known tourist destination that’s recently been hit by a huge development boom thanks to the influx of cruise ships that continue to dock at its ports.
4. Sydney, Australia
Voyage down under to the Great Barrier Reef and a bunch of lush rainforests at this urban Australian capital. Offering style, sophistication, iconic cityscapes, as well as miles of glistening beaches, the city is no more representative of Australia than L.A. is of the U.S. -- it certainly will generate a new sort of excitement in any Baby Boomer.
Take in the harbourfront Opera House, with its distinctive sail-like design, as well as the massive Darling Harbour and Circular Quay with the towering, arched Harbour Bridge and esteemed Royal Botanic Gardens nearby. There’s even Sydney Tower’s glass viewing platform, the Skywalk, which offers unmatched 360-degree views of the city, harbor, and nearby suburbs. With sun, sand, surf, lively food scenes, and tons of energy, this New South Wales city is an all-out marketplace of soul where anything goes. So just let loose and enjoy.
5. Alaska: Inside Passage
It’s at the top of many travelers' bucket lists and offers a taste of mystic Alaska that’s sure to mesmerize any Boomer. With mountains and moose, rain forests and raptors, not to mention a more than rich bounty of good old Alaskan culture, the pristine, untouched natural beauty of the Inside Passage makes cruising (or ferrying!) around with family and friends an even more enjoyable experience.
What’s more is that you can dig deep into the region’s rich history by checking out cities such as Sitka, which is an eclectic mix of native and Russian heritages, or Skagway, which conjures up Gold Rush memories. There’s also Ketchikan, which boasts one of the largest collection of authentic totem poles, as well as the state capital of Juneau, which houses the infamous Mendenhall Glacier.
6. Nova Scotia, Canada
Take the ferry over from Maine and drive around for a week in this age old Canadian province. With numerous lakes and long coastlines, it's home to some of the best kayaking adventures, as well as loads of cute little puffin penguins and seals! Do some extreme whale-watching at the Bay of Fundy and explore Peggys Cove before gobbling up some delicious scallops. Or, why not venture out to the capital, Halifax, which is dominated by the star-shaped Citadel and best known for its lively waterfront and Victorian-era Public Gardens?
Doers and Dreamers alike can unite in this wondrous land of lighthouses, lapping waves, and lobster traps. It’s just as hip as it is historic, offering Boomers with everything from world-class dining and a rocking music scene, to lupine-studded fields and charming gingerbread-like houses. What are you waiting for?!
Known for its vast wilderness, this East African country is the spot to enjoy an upscale safari for those in search of the ultimate “Big Five” experience. Unleash your inner wild on the plains of Serengeti National Park, a safari mecca populated by elephants, lions, leopards, buffalos, and rhinos, or at Kilimanjaro National Park, home to Africa’s highest and most famous mountain. Plus, offshore tropical islands like Zanzibar and Mafia Marine Park will allow you to stare in awe at whale sharks swimming through reefs for the very first time. Boomers of all types really will have so much to enjoy at this quintessential African dream!
From sun-spoiled but deserted beaches lapped by turquoise blue waters, perfect for swimming, snorkeling, sailing, fishing, or just chilling, to some of the world’s finest bird watching sites, not to mention some of the most exotic and unique peoples and cultures you’re likely to find anywhere else in the world, Tanzania is filled with lights, colors, and avid life in each and every scene. With nature surrounding you, Boomers can find exuberance and charm anywhere and everywhere.
This article was written by Pamela Chan.