As the Baby Boomer generation reaches retirement age, many boomers find themselves with a surplus of free time and (sometimes) money in a time when travel has never been more accessible, allowing vacation options almost anywhere in the world. While the options are endless, there are a few domestic destinations that really stand out.
Santa Monica, California
Santa Monica is beautiful, environmentally conscious and socially responsible. Many of its’ famous ‘big blue buses’ run on natural gas, rent control makes housing affordable for low-income residents, and relatively safe with a crime rate that is significantly lower than the national average.
Santa Monica’s weather is beautiful year-round, even when much of the rest of Los Angeles County is baking in near-intolerable August heat. The clean and attractive beach alone is reason enough to visit, and it draws hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.
Santa Monica also offers countless world-class restaurants and casual establishments from unpretentious pubs such as The Daily Pint on Pico Boulevard to more upscale eateries like the Penthouse Restaurant on 2nd Street.
Boomers that want to hear some excellent jazz or blues must stop by the famous Harvelle’s Blues Club on 4th Street. Open since 1931, Harvelle’s has live music virtually every night.
San Francisco, California
The San Francisco Bay area was ground zero for some of the most important facets of the Baby Boomers’ cultural revolution, and today it is still a cultural touchstone for many of them. Golden Gate Park and the adjacent Haight-Ashbury district are still there to remind the world of how the Baby Boom generation changed the face of American culture and politics.
There is more to San Francisco than nostalgia. San Francisco’s ethnic diversity also ensures a variety of distinctive neighborhoods to explore and cuisines to sample. If you’re visiting Chinatown, try the aptly named “Chinatown Restaurant,” which has been serving traditional Northern Chinese and Szechuan food since 1919.
Golden Gate Park offers numerous nature strolls you can take at your own pace. The city’s architecture is a superb attraction, with different neighborhoods offering different histories. Live like a local for a week in a downtown San Francisco apartment.
Rick Evans of San Francisco Architecture Walking Tours gives enthusiastic tours of Downtown, Chinatown, Russian Hill and North Beach that are as enjoyable as they are highly informative.
Consider vacationing in a region where you might want to settle afterward. The desert climate of southern Arizona agrees with aging joints and bones, and if you’ve spent your working life in New York, New England, or the Midwest, Arizona’s weather may be to your liking. Even in January, the average daytime temperature is around 66° F, and the nighttime low is seldom below 40°.
This mild weather is conducive to some beautiful golfing. The greater Tucson area boasts dozens of top notch golf courses such as the Silverbell Golf Course, whose flat, golfer-friendly terrain lies along the picturesque banks of the Santa Cruz River.
Tucson’s residents are well known for their friendliness. Strangers will smile and say hello when they pass you on the street, which, for native New Yorkers or New Englanders, may be a surprise.
Downtown Tucson is bustling and vibrant without being overwhelming, and cocktails tend to go for around $4.00, making it a little easier on the wallet. Boomers who wish to listen to a little live music of their youth should check out the Tucson Folk Festival, held each year in May.
Take a Trip
Regardless of your destination, for people of any age there’s nothing quite like getting out of the daily routine and taking a trip to somewhere new. So where do you want to go next?
About the Author. Joseph Miller is a writer for HomeAway as well as a content analyst for their Travel Ideas site. He has lived in California, Oregon, Florida, Texas and Tokyo and thinks San Francisco’s oysters are the best in the world.