You’ve waved goodbye to the kids and now the reality of an empty nest is starting to set in. You might shed a few tears at the prospect of an empty house, but we’re guessing that over the years, your family vacations have included plenty of theme parks, petting zoos and all-inclusive resorts. Now is the perfect time to embark on the kind of travel you really want to do and start working your way through your bucket list of travel destinations. From exploring the rich cultural heritage of a foreign city to wining and dining in a seaside village, here are six incredible trips for empty nesters that will help make the best of your newfound freedom from the kids.
1. Bask in the Glamour of the French Riviera
The French Riviera, or Côte d’Azur, is the Mediterranean coast of southeastern France. It includes famously glamorous beach resorts such as Saint-Tropez and Cannes, and the independent microstate of Monaco. A health retreat in the 18th century, the area later attracted aristocrats, artists and the 1960s “jet set.” Today it’s an established holiday destination, with paths connecting many coastal villages and towns.
Tip: May to September is the best time to visit.
2. Discover Incredible History In Rome
Full of history, beauty, and culture Rome is never wanting for a dull moment. The heart of Italy, from ancient to modern times, has always been the city of Rome. At its peak, the city of Rome had an estimated population of 1-2 million residents and was the largest city of the ancient world. There is certainly enough in Rome to keep you in busy for a dozen lifetimes.
Tip: Skip the crowds and still catch good weather in the fall or spring.
3. Get Much Need R&R in St. Lucia
St. Lucia is the kind of island that travelers to the Caribbean dream about; a small, lush tropical paradise that is still relatively unknown. The Island is only 27 miles long and 14 miles wide, but packs a punch. The Atlantic Ocean hugs its eastern shore, while the beaches of the west coast owe their beauty to the calm Caribbean Sea. There are a broad array of exciting and exotic activities available on St. Lucia. The island’s steep coastlines and lovely reefs offer excellent snorkeling and scuba diving. Rainforest preserves of St. Lucia’s mountainous interior are one of the Caribbean’s finest locales for hiking and bird watching. Natural waterfalls, breath-taking views, friendly locals and authentic culture impress the most traveled individuals for a holiday with lasting memories. The island also possesses excellent facilities for golf, tennis, sailing, and a host of other leisure pursuits.
4. Find Unexpected Beauty & Culture in Croatia
Croatia is a wondrous place rich in natural beauty, history, and culture. I had heard a lot of good things about Croatia over the years, and I have to say my own visit to the country exceeded my expectations. The landscape is stunning; mountains lining beautiful coastlines with secluded beaches, crystal clear water, and rolling hills make it an interesting mixture of Iceland, Jamaica, and Southern France. History and beautiful architecture can be found around just about every corner. The people are amazing; extremely friendly, great sense of humor, and English is widely spoken. And of course, the local cuisine is incredible.
Related: Croatia’s Top 10 Sights
5. Explore a Whole New World in Alaska
While the big ships that crisscross the Caribbean cater to families traveling with young children, Alaska’s cruise lines offer a calmer vibe more suited to those whose children have already flown the coop. Experience Alaska’s majestic glaciers, orca whales and untouched wilderness with a seven-day cruise along the Inside Passage. These cruises often stop at three to four port towns along their routes, where wilderness excursions by kayak and helicopter await.
Tip: Be sure to book your excursions through port town vendors rather than on the ship, as prices on land will be much cheaper.
6. Get In Touch With Your Wild Side in Costa Rica
Named “the rich coast” by Spanish conquistadors who first made landfall here in 1502, Costa Rica is one of the planet’s most naturally splendid and biologically diverse regions. The secret is out on the Central American country’s never-ending activities, gorgeous beaches, plethora of wildlife, good food, and fun people. The country is amazingly accessible, and one can travel from coast to coast in just three hours by car or 45 minutes by plane. The Caribbean region of Costa Rica stands out for its variety of aquatic ecosystems and its beautiful white and black sand beaches, providing an ideal setting for activities such as sport fishing, snorkeling, and sun bathing.