They are either retired or closing in on it; the kids are grown, they have more time and money to spend on themselves and they’re spending it seeing the world. Baby boomers play as hard as they work. They are pursuing new interests and picking up old ones where they left off years ago. They are passionate about travel and boomers treat their vacations as well-deserved rewards for juggling careers and family.
Nancy Clark of ‘WatchBoom Travel’ says the 50plus crowd is choosing to take vacation over redecorating the home. They’re zeroing in on destinations where they can combine activities with relaxation. Boomers don’t necessarily want to get there and sit on a beach chair, says Clark. They want to enjoy golfing, studying foreign cuisines and exploring by day -- then spend evenings dining, dancing or relaxing at seaside cafés. Boomers want options, they want good weather, and their vacation choices confirm it.
Here are 10 top vacation destinations, as ranked by baby boomers:
Snorkel in the crystal aqua-blue waters of Riviera Maya, explore villages and ruins, and enjoy the ultimate in relaxation at one of many spas. Mexican vacations are first choice among WatchBoom survey takers. A variety of all-inclusive packages appeal to the cost-conscious, and for anyone that appreciates a good deal it’s nice to know the price up front.
The beautiful Costa Rica is a popular destination for post50 adults. A reasonable cost of living, temperate tropical climate, and relocation incentives offered by the Costa Rican government make the country attractive to both retirees and vacationers.
Spain ranks third in popularity as a vacation spot for the 50plus set. It’s easy to get around and foodies love the local cuisine. Tapas crawls, Spanish beer, busy metro food markets, and Cortado (espresso cut with a little warm milk) from corner coffee-stands are essential to the experience.
Big Sur: west coast road trip
Boomers love their sports cars and Harleys. Driving the Pacific coast highway through Big Sur in either one is an absolute must -- at least once a lifetime. Enjoy breathtaking views; photograph the elephant seals at Piedras Blancas, then a pleasant pit stop for food and lodging at Ragged Point Inn.
Napa Valley, CA
Retreat to Napa Valley once and you’ll return again and again. Wine-tasting with brunch in a vineyard garden, a leisurely ride through wine country on the restored vintage train, and dinner prepared by a Michelin star chef -- all part of the Napa Valley getaway.
Arizona is the golfer’s dream with 300+ world-class courses. Experience the Grand Canyon with a tour guide or from a comfortable seat on the train; and set aside at least a day for the breathtaking red-rock landscapes of Sedona.
A vacation to Hawaii’s big island ranks high with boomers. For an exhilarating break from basking in the sun, photograph the volcanoes from your helicopter seat, join a snorkel-cruise along the coast or ‘zip-line’ (if you’re brave!) over rugged jungles and waterfalls -- take in Hawaii’s lush beauty from a new angle.
Banff in the Canadian Rocky Mountains is popular with skiers in winter and a gondola ride to the top of Sulphur Mountain any time of year. The Banff town-site is experienced best on foot. Duck into candy shops for homemade chocolate and try a bison burger in one of many rustic top-notch restaurants. Boomers surveyed place Canadian destinations in fifth place on their list of favorite travel destinations.
It’s understandable that the Caribbean ties with Hawaii in popularity with 50plussers. Mountainside resorts that overlook blue ocean waters, endless white-sand beaches, the warmth of the people and perfectly spicy food draw boomers back to the beautiful Caribbean islands year after year.
Anyone 50+ can experience the best in relaxation plus adventure on an Alaska cruise. BC’s evergreen forests and northern icy-white glaciers touch the Pacific Ocean for some of the most brilliant land and seascapes -- anywhere.
That rounds out one of many boomers' top-10 travel lists. Their passions will keep drawing them to new destinations and they’ll continue to enjoy pre-retirement as well as retirement travel to the max!