I could never resist the call of the trail – Buffalo Bill
Many boomers seek well-trodden paths, like Florida, Vegas, and Cancun. But, there are a growing number of open-minded middle-aged travelers choosing adventurous paths, closer to home.
Boomer Travel Patrol
This online resource offers free-spirited travel tips to boomers during the holiday season, and year-round.
Founder, Liz Dahl, a former travel agent, realized that an increasing number of her clients were people in her age group – baby boomers. She started to send them to distinctive destinations beyond the highly-sought 18 to 49 year-old-demographic for advertisers.
“I suggest travel spots beyond cruises and bus trips,” she said. “Boomers are looking for new experiences.” All writers for Boomer Travel Patrol are born from 1946 to 1964. “My generation.”
For a nonconformist RV winter camp experience, Boomer Travel Patrol suggests Brown County State Park, near Nashville, Indiana, easy driving distance from Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Louisville.
There's a highly-touted park nature center offering interpretive services. The park features 16,000 acres of hilly terrain and dusky moraine, ice fishing, and nearly a dozen easy to moderate hiking trails.
Palo Duro Canyon State Park
Near Amarillo, in the Texas Panhandle, the Palo Duro Canyon can be reached by car within four to five hours from Dallas, Oklahoma City, and Albuquerque.
Eric W. Miller, Director of Communications, Amarillo Convention & Visitor Council, said the canyon is a special place for art lovers. “It was a favorite spot for Georgia O’Keeffe from 1916 to 1918 when she lived in the area,” said Miller.
O’Keeffe would walk eight miles from her home and descend into the canyon. “The big sky, the vivid colors of the canyon and the light helped impart her special style and touch.”
The canyon still remains a favorite spot for artists. During the spring and fall, artists test their skills during sunrise or sunset visits.
There are over 30 miles of roaming trails through the park, including spectacular views of the Red River. Several of the trails are mountain biker friendly, and the canyon has become a top mountain biking destination in Texas.
December weather averages 50.1 F and 21 sunny days. For those who want to get their kicks, Route 66 runs through Amarillo. For more information – visitamarillotx.com
Sounds improbable and unbearably hot, but Los Angeles and Las Vegas are connected by a four-hour stretch of the I-15 Interstate that runs along the perimeter of the Mohave Desert.
Desert amphibians, reptiles, mammals and birds can be spotted with the help of park interpreters. The endangered desert tortoise makes its home in the Mohave. The Joshua tree and other drought-resistant plants are on display for tourists who decide to prolong their visit. For more information: www.nps.gov/moja/index.htm
Northern Edge Algonquin
For Boomers who miss the traditional season, Todd Lucier has created a dog sledding experience in Ontario’s near north where boomers can learn to lead dog teams across the frozen terrain.
Participants can expect to see the Northern Lights and make early 2014 resolutions on a night sky filled with shooting stars. Sledding season is offered from January to March.
Lucier said participants consider dog sledding as a bucket list experience. "Afterwards they’re smiling from ear to ear," he enthused. "It takes a while for them to get to know the dogs, but by the end everyone is snapping close-up photos of each other."
Rustic cabins are available with high-quality solar panels for warmth. Northern Edge Algonquin offers a year-round holistic retreat for the spiritually-minded boomer crowd.