7 Best Winter Vacations for Solo Boomers
Whether you're single or like to travel alone, these offer the right mix of things to do, relaxation and fun
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“One of the exciting things about being a solo boomer traveler is the freedom it brings,” says Leyla Giray Alyanak, author of Women on the Road. “Solo travel means being able to see the world at your own pace, the way you want,” she says.
That freedom can also make it somewhat daunting when it comes to choosing a vacation destination. Depending on your interests and passions, here are seven great destinations to consider this winter:
(This article appeared previously on Grandparents.com)
1. For the Active Traveler
Nelson, British Columbia and Tecate, Mexico
Want to jump-start your weight loss? This all-inclusive fitness and health spa offers “fitness and reboot” vacations at two distinct locations: a mountain-based hiking, fitness and weight loss program in British Columbia,and a desert locale at Rancho La Puerta in Baja Calif., where you can hike or wander through 3,000 acres of gardens, meadows and mountains.
At both properties, you’ll find that many guests arrive solo. You can comfortably join small (limited to 16 people) groups for yoga, massage and detox treatments; enjoy lectures on stress management, sleep health, willpower and more and savor fresh, healthy, calorie-controlled cuisine that caters to all dietary restrictions and food preferences.
2. For Stress-Free Relaxation
Palm Beach, Fla.
For rest and relaxation, you can’t beat the casual elegance of this legendary property (listed in the National Register of Historic Places). Set on 140 sprawling acres with expansive views of the Atlantic Ocean, the resort offers every amenity imaginable: a luxury spa, wellness programs, four oceanfront pools, five whirlpool spas and a white sandy beach with private bungalows. Temperatures in Palm Beach average between 75 to 85 degrees year-round.
Solo guests love the security of knowing they don’t have to venture off grounds for dining, shopping or recreation. Also on property: bicycle rentals, golf, tennis, yoga, watersports, a jogging trail and 11 boutique shops. Solo travelers can opt to stay at the exclusive Flagler Club, a more intimate “hotel within a hotel” experience with personal concierges who can address any request or need. The Club’s lounge is an ideal haven for solos: Reminiscent of a residential-style living room, it offers a continental breakfast, refreshments, afternoon tea service, pre-dinner hors d’oeuvres and cocktails, and desserts with cordials.
3. For the Culture Lover
Santa Fe, N.M.
Rich in Hispanic and Native American culture, Santa Fe is a small, walkable town with an abundance of ambiance. It boasts the third largest art market in the U.S. with over 300 galleries and many unique museums (including one dedicated to the life of Georgia O’Keeffe). Because of its convenient downtown location, the Inn on the Alameda makes a great base for solo travelers; the property offers free wireless, free parking and a complimentary buffet breakfast each morning, as well as a hosted wine and cheese hour each afternoon.
You won’t need to depend on taxis because the Inn offers complimentary shuttle service to downtown museums and attractions, and arranges guided walking tours for guests (single or otherwise). Visit the International Folk Art Museum on nearby Museum Hill or one of the 19 pueblos north of the city. Food lovers will relish a trip to the Farmers Market, food tours, cooking classes and the city’s southwestern twist on contemporary cuisine.
4. For Wellness
Zoëtry Paraiso de la Bonita
Riviera Maya, Mexico
Set on 14 secluded acres in Rivera Maya, Mexico, this oceanfront all-suite resort is the perfect setting to improve your physical, emotional and spiritual well being. If you are seeking company, it’s easy to meet people at the relaxing indoor pool or head to the saltwater pool at the healing Thalassotherapy spa (the first of its kind in North America).
If you savor alone time, you can laze on the nearly private beach or participate in a Mayan-inspired Temazcal steam room ceremony. Meals (as well as alcoholic beverages) are included in the daily rate; opt for gluten-free, vegetarian or low-calories dishes at the resort’s three gourmet restaurants. If you don’t relish dining alone, you can have meals delivered to your suite at no extra charge.
5. For Lovers of Fine Things
Paris is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, from its iconic architecture to its extraordinary fashion and cuisine. The anonymity of large cities like this one seems to embrace the solo traveler. Book a room at the 5-star Mandarin Oriental Paris, an oasis on Rue Saint-Honoré, one of the oldest streets in the city that houses Hermes, Gucci, Longchamps, Chanel, Tom Ford and Jimmy Choo boutiques.
Don’t miss the delightful 45-minute lunch or afternoon tea at the hotel’s café, Camélia, overlooking a light-filled garden where you can read or people-watch. Avoid the lines at The Louvre and visit smaller galleries in the area such as Galerie Daniel Templon or Galerie Yvon Lambert. Visit the Ladurée bakery on rue Royale where macaroons and pastries are displayed like works of art or make a pilgrimage to the flagship store of legendary perfumer Serge Lutens at the Palais Royale.
6. For the Skier
Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa
Bever Creek, Colo.
This friendly, stress-free, Hyatt property is located at the base of Beaver Creek Mountain, just west of Vail. The ski-in/ski-out luxury resort accommodates skiers of all ability levels. Solo travelers arriving for business or leisure appreciate the convenience of the slopes being just steps away from the resort. Aprés ski, a valet helps you remove your boots and skis (and offers to warm and dry them overnight).
Enjoy hot chocolate in the casual lobby or sit beside one of the outdoor fireplaces for free s’mores each evening. All the dining venues have lots of bar space (as opposed to sit-down restaurant space), making it easy for solo travelers to strike up conversations with other guests. For non-skiers, there’s also dogsledding, snow tubing, snowmobiling, snow shoeing, hot stone massages in the spa and opportunities to sit in the sun watching skiers descend the slopes. For breathtaking views, book a room with a balcony.
7. For Food and Wine Lovers
Napa Valley, Calif.
The weather in Napa is still temperate in winter but there are great seasonal discounts to be had at many hotels and restaurants. During the so-called “Cabernet season,” which runs from November to April, there’s less traffic, the pace of life is slower and winemakers have more time to schmooze with guests. Of course, a glass of wine is a great social helper and with multiple car services in the Valley, solo travelers needn’t worry about driving. They can even call Uber!
Sign up for a course at the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena or dine at one of the Michelin-starred restaurants with incredible farm-to-table cooking. If you aren’t comfortable with a table for one, choose a restaurant with a long communal table, like the chef’s table at Michael Chiarello’s Bottega. If you want to find a group of kindred spirits, book a winery tour with Napa Valley Bike Rentals; sign up for a hike with the Napa Valley Land Trust; or if you’re a runner, consider the Napa Valley Marathon held in March (named one of the top ten marathons worth traveling for by Forbes.) A great place for solos to stay is the hip and unpretentious North Block Hotel, a boutique property centrally located in the very walkable town of Yountville.
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