Now that the kids are grown up and out of the house, you might be dealing with a bit of a change of pace that seems to catch many parents off-guard. For the last few years, your vacations likely consisted of kid-friendly venues like theme parks and popular destinations that have activities to keep the kids entertained.
If you’re planning a trip without the kids, there are plenty of locations out there that might have been off of your radar for the last few years, but now are worth giving a second look. You can take your time, and your vacations at your own leisure, without having to worry about school schedules or keeping the kids engaged.
Here are 6 destinations you should definitely try out now that your nest is empty.
Our eldest son went on a gap year in 2012 and we stalked him on Facebook and Instagram. After catching up with him in Santorini we had a life check moment and thought, ‘To hell with this, we can do it too.’
— Jane Dempster-Smith, blogger, To Travel Too
Montana is home to gorgeous scenery and the natural beauty of Glacier National Park. The park was founded in 1910 and spans nearly 1 million acres, with two mountain ranges and over 130 lakes between the US side of the park and Canada.
Here, you can hike among the glaciers and enjoy them before they’re gone. Of the 150 glaciers that were formed over 170 million years ago, only about 25 remain. If you go in the summer, you can enjoy beautiful wildflowers and hikes for all skill levels. In the winter, you can go ice fishing on Flathead Lake — which is the largest freshwater lake on this side of the Mississippi.
2. Take An Alaskan Cruise
While many cruises in the southern latitudes cater to families who need non-stop entertainment and lots of high energy amenities, you can also enjoy a scenic and peaceful sail up from the west coast of California to Alaska with some stops in Canada along the way.
If you’re looking for a shorter stint, you can enjoy a 7 day cruise, but longer options are available. While you’re riding up to Alaska, you can take in glaciers, orca whales, and the beautiful flora and fauna of the Pacific Northwest. Plus, along the way, you’ll get plenty of time to sleep in, read and eat at some fine dining restaurants on the ship between ports.
To learn more, read Best Alaska Cruises Happening In 2019.
3. Sit Back In St. Lucia
While other destinations in the Caribbean might be more popular for families with children, St. Lucia is an empty nesters’ paradise. This dreamy tropical destination can be a laid back and romantic retreat for couples who are taking their first, (or fifth!) vacation without their children coming along.
This picturesque island is soaked in color, clear waters, and great resorts that are fully stocked with amenities and geared for an adult crowd. It’s a great way to retreat, relax and rekindle a romance with your significant other without worrying about the kids — or anyone else’s for that matter!
4. Stroll Through History in Savannah, Georgia
While Savannah does boast family-friendly venues and activities, it’s also a perfect location for the new empty nester. Food tours, cocktail classes and history walks are great ways to take in the historic mansions and oak-lined squares dripping in Spanish moss that line the streets.
Staying at a quaint B&B will be a quiet change of pace from action-packed vacations, and the natural pace of Savannah will help you relax in the most southern way possible. Take in the local cuisine and slow down for a spell without the kids in this beautiful and historic southern city.
5. Nova Scotia, Canada
Nova Scotia is a picturesque province of Canada that can make for an unforgettable and scenic road trip. The old-fashioned fishing village Lunenburg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular hub for visitors in Nova Scotia.
While you’re in the maritimes, you can visit Peggy’s Cove to enjoy some lobster poutine, lighthouses and a slow paced, coastal vibe. During the day, you can also enjoy Nova Scotia’s many beautiful lighthouses that dot the coastline — and when the lights go down, the stars come out for spectacular night skies you won’t want to miss.
6. Napa Valley, California
This destination is just made for adults with a refined palate and time to really sit back and enjoy the region’s unique wines. Napa Valley boasts hundreds of wineries, temperate weather and beautiful scenery.
As an empty nester, you won’t need to worry about the drinking age or picky eaters in tow. Spend your days pursuing new flavors at eateries and wineries that would be the delight of any foodie who wants to literally drink it all in!
Whether this is your first vacation without your children or your hundredth, these destinations will be just the adventure you’re looking for. This season of life is worth celebrating and no matter what you’re looking for, some outdoorsy adventure or soaking up some vitamin D in a relaxed locale, you’ll get a chance to enjoy this change of pace!