Baby boomers aren’t letting anything slow them down or keep them at home in their golden years. They’ve raised the kids, worked hard, and now are hitting the road in record numbers. It seems they’re making up for lost time by visiting places they only read about in the Encyclopedia Britannica or National Geographic but never thought they would actually see.
Currently, 74-million baby-boomers, unofficially anyone between 52 and 70-years-old, hang their hats in America. They were born during the post-World War II days. Many of them were around to witness small black and white console televisions, where one of only three channels played exciting new shows like The Rifleman, Lassie, and Bonanza. They were alive during the Kennedy assassination and they observed Martin Luther King marching through Selma.
They grew up in an age when the lack of interstate highways and huge jumbo airliners limited the ease of traveling to far off destinations or even between states. Times have changed.
So where are they going? Here are a few of the top travel destinations where baby boomers are spending their time.
As opposed to days of yore, Hawaii is merely a hop, skip, and jump with flights arriving and taking off at all hours of the day and night. When deplaning in Honolulu leis are hung around tourists necks as taxis and hotel buses whisk visitors to their accommodations. Pigs are roasted over open fires as dancers in grass skirts shimmy to Polynesian music while fruity tropical cocktails are served to their admiring guests.
More popular than any other state, 18% of baby boomers say Hawaii ranks as number one for domestic travel. If they have not yet visited the islands, it’s on their bucket list to do so.
Almost an impossible destination to get to 50 years ago, With 13% of boomers claiming they have either been or plan to go, Australia ranks as their number one non-domestic travel destination. English being the native language is a big plus for attracting visitors who don’t want to get side-tracked by a language barrier.
Australia offers expansive nature, wine tours, big city adventures, aboriginal experiences, beautiful beaches, and an endless array of activities to keep visiting baby-boomers more than entertained and busy.
Baby boomers enjoy relaxing and taking life easy. They’ve earned the right. Imagine a scrumptious dinner in an open-air street cafe over a nice bottle of red wine while pedestrians serenely stroll the sidewalks of a vibrant ancient city. According to 12% of boomers, Italy is the place to accomplish this.
In addition, Italy offers famous attractions such as the leaning tower of Pisa, wine tours through countless vineyards, gondola rides through Venice and an old-world charm that makes it a warm, friendly and inviting country to visit.
A prime domestic destination for baby boomers is Alaska. Twelve percent of them have already paid the state a visit, or they are they planning to. Alaska at one time was too difficult to maneuver around, but all this has changed over time. Highways now connect towns which were at one time not accessible by car and more flights run between the U.S. mainland and Alaska than ever before.
Wilderness lodges with all modern amenities now await travelers wishing to view the great outdoors in comfort, and cruise ships run a regular route through Alaska’s icy waters stopping off at scheduled ports along the way.
Fishing, exploring, and sightseeing on Alaska’s long summer days top the chart for activities.
U.K. and Ireland
Just like Australia, the lack of a language barrier makes visiting the U.K., Ireland, or both, a popular destination for 10% of baby boomers. Visitors are familiar with most of the food and if they aren’t it’s easy enough to ask before they order. Besides driving on the opposite side of the road, the roads and highways are easy to maneuver without getting lost.
From making funny faces at the Buckingham Palace guards to downing a few Guinness at a Dublin pub to driving past open fields of wandering sheep, it’s easy to see why this destination is so popular.
The Eiffel Tower, the quaintness, and the romantic appeal of Paris speaks to the hearts of ten percent of baby boomers. In addition, they say French cuisine is a huge draw and many of them base their entire travels on enjoying gastronomical delights they can’t get at home.
Traveling the French countryside, staying in small private hotels, and enjoying the country like a local make for an unbelievable vacation which has many boomers returning again and again.
The ease of getting there combined with the topographical differences throughout California, make it a trip where visitors can have it all. L.A. and San Francisco offer incomparable city life with loads of attractions, while the Mount Shasta area offers an abundance of nature and wildlife. A drive along the coast will reveal sea lions and beauty beyond description.
Eight percent of baby boomers enjoy traveling California’s highways and byways whether it be to camp, rent a cottage in a forest, visit Fisherman’s Wharf or Napa Valley, or to get caught up in the Hollywood scene hoping to catch a glimpse of one of their favorite actors.
The dry desert air of Arizona makes it an ideal location for boomers to spend some time. Some come to the state for the mild winters, preferring to escape the snow and frigid temperatures back home. Others just want to marvel at the Grand Canyon and visit a few ghost towns. Whatever their reason, eight percent of baby boomers claim Arizona is the place to visit.
Yuma, Arizona, has been rated as one of the sunniest places on earth, a fact that has many boomers scurrying to the town’s borders.
Nevada should come as no surprise to anyone. Las Vegas is a magnet for baby boomers wishing to roll the dice, see a show, eat mountains of food at cheap buffets, and lose themselves in the glitz and glamour that draws in seven percent of them.
Not all of them are gamblers though. Nevada also has many recreational areas to include Lake Meade and Rock Canyon. Lake Tahoe is a huge draw where gambling and a love of nature can both be satisfied, and the deserts surrounding Falin are excellent for exploring by jeep and hopefully uncovering artifacts left behind by early western settlers.
Now you know where the top nine spots are. All that’s left is to either gas up the car or call a travel agent for airline tickets and you’ll be well on your way to finding out why America’s baby boomers say these are the absolute best places to visit.