Free to Explore: Boomer Travel Destinations to Conquer in 2018

By Parm Parmar,

Repeat after me, “It’s my time now.” How does that feel? Your kids are grown and the years of short vacations and weekend getaways are over! You now have the time, money and energy to travel — the kind of travel you dreamed of while raising kids and working 60-hour weeks. You’ve been patiently making that bucket list and now it’s time to start checking things off.

It’s a big world out there, and life is short, so get off the beaten path and explore! Need some inspiration for where to jet off to? Look no further than this list of Boomer-approved travel destination for 2018…

 

CANADIAN DESTINATIONS FOR BOOMERS

Looking for your next adventure?  Let’s start in our own backyard. No language barriers and you can leave your passport at home. The following are a few of the domestic ‘hot-spots’ to add to your list.

 

Tofino, British Columbia

Tofino is a remote town on an isolated peninsula of Vancouver Island. In the summer you can experience the thrill of canoeing around barren islands, kayaking, surfing, and viewing the extensive wildlife habitat. Visit in the winter for prime-time whale watching. In March alone, 20,000 Grey Whales pass by this coast. If you’re brave enough to dig out the wetsuit to try your hand at surfing, afterward you can take a Zen-like relaxing soak at Hot Springs Cove.

Where to Stay

Cox Bay Resort (Rated 9.1) Highly-rated beach house suites with kitchens and rustic West Coast decor, plus a myriad of activities to choose from. Rates from $200.

 

The Inn at Tough City (Rated 8.4) A quaint and funky inn located on Tofino Harbour, it also features an on-site sushi restaurant. Rates from $139 and open for the 2018 season as of March 16th.

 

 

Calgary, Alberta

Calgary is all grown up, from the early days as an oil town — to thriving cultural, arts and culinary scenes. Let’s not forget the annual Calgary Stampede, which draws thousands of visitors from around the world. Here you will find attractions like Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and the Gasoline Alley Museum where you can see pre-1950s cars on display. You can’t beat Calgary’s incredible downtown shopping centre, CORE, which boasts 160 retailers. Book a craft brewery tasting tour, with Calgary Brewery Tours, an excursion to Lake Louise, or a Banff gondola ride through Calgary Tours.

Where to Stay

 

Fairmont Pallister (Rated 8.5) Five-star luxury in the heart of downtown Calgary and your pets are welcome. Rates from $153.

 

Le Germain Calgary (Rated 9.1) Luxurious modern hotel, steps from the Arts Commons Centre, Stephen Avenue and an hour’s drive from the Rockies. Rates from $189.

 

Haliburton, Ontario

When you want to relax, get in touch with nature in Haliburton, where crystal-clear lakes, abundant wildlife and rich forests with windswept pines await you. If it’s activity you crave then you’ll find it abundantly available here. In winter you can snowmobile, snowshoe, cross-country ski, or go dogsledding. A visit to the Haliburton Forest & Wildlife Reserve will take you to the Wolf Centre where you see wolves, up close, in all their glory. During the warmer months, you can swim, canoe and hike through miles of natural landscape.

Left photo from author

Where to Stay

Sir Sam’s Inn & Spa,  (Rated 8.5) Historical Haliburton luxury stays in a natural setting matched with seasonal activities and gourmet dining, all year round. Rates from $175.

 

Halifax, Nova Scotia

It’s time we gave Halifax its due! Halifax sits on one of the most picturesque harbours in the country and is famous for its waterfront and phenomenal seafood. It’s a maritime city with more pubs and clubs per capita than almost any other in Canada (and once had a three-time mayor and brewmaster). Visit Fisherman’s Cove, a 200-year-old restored fishing village or NovaScotian Crystal, the only crystal maker in Canada, to learn the art of mouth-blown, hand-cut crystal.

Left photo by Dennis Jarvis CC-BY

Where to Stay

Marriott Halifax Harbourfront (Rated 8.4) Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean this hotel is just steps from the ferry stop and Maritime Museum. Rates from $159.

 

Garden South Park Inn (Rated 8) Steeped in history this Victorian-era inn is just one kilometre from downtown Halifax. Rates from $99.

May we suggest a road trip extension too?

 

UNITED STATES DESTINATIONS FOR BOOMERS

Our lives are intertwined with the United States, with friends and family residing across the border, common language and similar culture, it’s no wonder it is the first place boomers look to travel. With inexhaustible choices for winter escapes, road trips and short vacations Florida, South Carolina, Arizona, Texas, and California are always top of mind.

 

Florida

You can find beaches, sand and sunshine in Miami, Lauderdale, Boca, Sarasota, Tampa, and St. Petersburg. All these cities offer every water sport imaginable and beautiful beaches, but they also have crowds. This year mix it up a bit, pick a new place, somewhere you’ve never been before. 2018 is your year to see more…

Boomer Travel Destination Florida Pensacola Beach beach chairs

Pensacola Beach, in the Florida panhandle, is a narrow strip of sugar-white sand, sitting between two different waterfronts; the emerald-green coastline of the Gulf of Mexico and the sound. It has both lively and secluded beaches, one of the longest barrier islands in the world (Santa Rosa Island), excellent fishing, biking, snorkelling, and kayaking. Take a walk on the Pensacola Beach ‘Eco Trail’ to learn about the local flora and fauna.

Where to Stay

Holiday Inn Resort Pensacola (Rated 8.8) This resort sits on Pensacola Beach offering guests fantastic views of the Santa Rosa Sound or the Gulf of Mexico. Rates from $158.

 

TownePlace Suites Pensacola (Rated 9.2) An apartment-hotel just five kilometres from the Airport and a 10-minute drive to downtown Pensacola. Rates from $111.

Like its namesake, Siesta Key is synonymous for relaxation and famous for its white sand beaches, outdoor dining, coffee shops and shopping. This remarkable Key boasts one of the best beaches in the world and glorious sunsets Florida is known for. If you want to swing a club – there are 100 golf courses within driving distance. Hop in the car and drive to nearby Sarasota where you’ll find museums, cultural events, and beautiful botanical gardens.

Where to Stay

Tropical Beach Resort (Rated 8) Stylish accommodations with lush tropical gardens and full amenities, with easy access to the beach. Rates from $226.

 

Siesta Key Beach Side Villas (Rated 8.2) High end, casual cottage-style accommodations with excellent amenities for beach vacations. Plus it’s pet-friendly. Rates from $157.

 

South Carolina

South Carolina is growing in popularity with boomers. It boasts a low cost of living, mild climate, southern hospitality, miles of beaches and a plethora of activities for active adults. This state is known for its Old South plantations, Fort Sumter, the Grand Strand, and a staggering number of golf courses.

Greenville, in the northeast corner of the state, is set in the foothills of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s a historical gem, welcoming visitors to their quaint Main Street, bustling art scene, delicious food and bike-friendly attitude. Outdoor lovers rejoice! The Paris Mountain State Park has miles of hiking/biking trails and canoe & kayak rentals. If your preference leans more to science, the Roper Mountain Science Center has a variety of attractions including a planetarium, observatory, arboretum and a living history farm.

Where to Stay

The Westin Poinsett Greenville (Rated 8.1) Indulge yourself in the magnificent 19th-century architecture and the hotel’s central location. Rates from $224.

 

Aloft Greenville Downtown (Rated 8.6) Colourful modern rooms in downtown Greenville, a few minutes’ walk to Main Street, the Peace Center for Performing Arts, and Falls Park on the Reedy.  Rates from $287.

 

Just south of Myrtle Beach is Pawleys Island, with a low country laid back-vibe and some of the best fishing in the south. Just a few miles away, you can enjoy shopping, dining, golf, and nightlife of Myrtle Beach. Spend some time at Huntington State Park where you’ll see Atalaya, the home of the artist Anna Hyatt Huntington. Across the street is Brookgreen Gardens where you’ll find many of her sculptures among the lovely manicured gardens. Stop nearby at the quaint fishing village of Murrell’s Inlet lined with waterfront seafood restaurants.

Where to stay

Litchfield Beach & Golf Resort (Rated 8.2) offers suites and villas with access to all resort amenities from golfing, spas and heated pools. Quick access to Huntington State Park and Brookgreen Gardens. Rates from $93.

 

True Blue Resort by The Litchfield Company (Rated 7.8) This tranquil Grand Strand property offers two- and three-bedroom villas with full kitchens and pools. The Atlantic Ocean and Golf courses are nearby. Rates from $131.

 

Nevada

Nevada has long drawn the likes of gamblers, cowboys, visionaries, and dreamers. The state has so much more to offer beyond Las Vegas. Explore majestic mountain ranges, historic mining towns and the ruins of Fort Churchill. Visit Red Rock Canyon Area for hiking, biking and climbing, indulge in water activities at Lake Tahoe and Pyramid Lake or slip back in time immersed in one of the many ghost towns.

Boomer Travel Destination Nevada Red Rock Canyon highway dusk

Virginia City is the best known of the early Nevada mining towns; it’s where it all began. While there, visit the Washoe Club Saloon dating back to the 1800s. You can take a tour of the ‘haunted’ upper floors or opt for being locked in overnight with all the creaks, groans and anomalies. In addition to the museums, you must take the original ore processing train to and from Carson City or Reno. Virginia City is a place to enjoy history and fill your lungs with the clean desert air, which produces impressive starry nights.

Left photo by Patrick Nouhailler CC-BY

Where to Stay

Gold Dust West (Rated 8.2) This hotel has a range of suites, outdoor excursions and a 24-hour restaurant and casino. Rates from $123.

 

Sugarloaf Mountain Motel (Rated 8.4) A favourite with international travellers and friendly owners best describes this motel. In the 1800s the motel served as a boarding house for miners. Rates from $75.

 

INTERNATIONAL DESTINATIONS FOR BOOMERS

Canadians like to travel abroad, it’s in our DNA and today, the whole world has been laid open for us.

Portugal

Travellers have been raving about Portugal for many years. A country that definitely should be on your Boomer Travel Destinations list.

Boomer Travel Destination Portugal Lisbon Cascais beach port

Cascais is a delightful coastal Portuguese town, a short drive, or train ride from Lisbon; it was the summer retreat of King Luis I (1838-1889). Today it’s a fusion of 19th-century architecture and traditional Portuguese charm. One popular excursion, a short walk from town, is the Boca do Inferno (Hell’s Mouth). Walk along the seawall, the Cascais-Estoril promenade, to the village of Sao Joao do Estoril.

Boomer Travel Destination Portugal Cascais Beach dining outdoor Albatroz Hotel

Don’t miss the Mercado de Vila in Cascais (the market); there you will find an outdoor plaza surrounded by a collection of culinary temptations – a line-up of bars, restaurants and gourmet-takeout stalls. There’s also a bustling nightlife suited to the sophisticated traveller.

Where to Stay

Casa Vela B&B (Rated 8.7) A beautiful property with contemporary decoration and a swimming pool.  Paula Rego Historical House, Manuel Possolo Hippodrome, and Museum of the Sea are a short walk away. Rates from $112.

 

The Albatroz Hotel (Rated 9) This elegant, five-star hotel is perched on a scenic cliff with views of Cascais Bay. Rates from $219.

 

Belize

Boomers in the know realized many years ago that Belize was a gem of a destination — with a pleasant climate, beaches, food and the friendliest people. In fact, many boomers have bought second homes there, creating a vibrant North American expat community. It’s time to discover what you’re missing!

Boomer Travel Destination Belize Cayo District Mayan ruin

The Cayo District of Belize (formerly British Honduras) is home to one of the world’s most fascinating civilizations – the ancient Maya. In the Cayo District, you can visit their fantastic stone temples dating back to 250-1000 A.D. Book a day trip to Xunantunich Maya Pyramid or the Caracol Maya Ruins. While there, go canoeing or cave and cavern exploring unlocking the mysteries of the Mayan underworld. Your hotel concierge can help book river rafting, eco tours, zipline and aerial adventure parks or for the less adventurous, chocolate making or lazing in a hammock. No one’s going to judge you!

Where to Stay

Gumbo Limbo Jungle Resort, San Ignacio, Cayo District, Belize. (Rated 8.8) Secluded Jungle Resort in the mountains and within the vicinity of Green Hills Butterfly Ranch and Bol’s Cave Museum. Rates from $110.

 

Sleeping Giant Rainforest Lodge, Belmopan, Cayo District, Belize. (Rated 9.3) A jungle lodge in a thousand acres of untouched wilderness. Rates from $204.

 

That’s it, folks! Do you have your own ideas for 2018 planned? Let your fellow Boomers know about them below in the comments.