The Best Bucket List Trips For Empty Nesters

If this back-to-school season marks the first days of your status as an empty nester then now is the time to plan a celebratory vacation. Travel is the perfect opportunity to inaugurate a new chapter in your life. Help restore a coral reef, explore ice caves in Antarctica or take up kiteboarding, pickleball, surfing or hot yoga—you name it, there is a destination out there that has it. The empty nest is sad, but it’s also an opportunity, a chance to travel for your interests and make each trip about learning something new. Newly married get the “honeymoon,” new parents get the “babymoon” and now, empty nesters get the “new moon.”

Explore Antarctica with White Desert: This top-shelf luxury tour operator offers extraordinary (but still luxurious) adventures to Antarctica complimented by fabulous meals and plush accommodations. You’ll sleep in your own tastefully appointed heated polar pod and spend as many of your 24 hours of sunlight as you wish—visit the South Pole, ice climb, hike over ice waves, explore ice tunnels, or just gawk at the spectacle of 28,000 emperor penguins.

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Restore a coral reef at Grace Bay Club in Turks & Caicos: The island’s first luxury all-suite resort has a cool partnership with Turks & Caicos Coral Reef Fund, where guests can learn about near-extinct corals and volunteer their vacation time to support Turks’ coral reefs. The Full Day Eco-Adventure includes working to restore the live populations to the reefs and a tour of the nursery facility where TCRF is genetically banking the most adversely affected species for future restoration. Of course you get to end each day with a legendary Turks & Caicos sunset, which is pretty nice.

Master croquet at Beaverbrook Estate in Surrey, England: A Victorian mansion revived into a chic county manor is the setting for your first Croquet Masterclass. Martin Dock, Beaverbrook’s croquet coach and a member of the High Wycombe Croquet Club, will teach a masterclass on the best tips, tricks, and techniques for a rousing game of croquet. After that, book one of the resorts Aston Martin DBX’s for an afternoon of squiring the countryside and even a chance to pop into Windsor Castle for a tour of the grand house and its grounds.

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Make mozzarella at Baglioni Masserie Muzza in Puglia: Hikers, kayakers and cheese lovers should make this effortlessly luxurious hotel their base camp to explore one of Italy’s less-touristy regions. Let them arrange stunning day hikes to the Alimini Lakes nature reserve and the Baia dei Turchi, or arrange a kayak adventure along the pristine Otranto coast. They also offer guided experiences to witness the timeless craft of mozzarella and burrata production in nearby Alberobello. Cap off the day with ocean views and a meal of authentic Pugliese cuisine at one of the resort’s three restaurants.

Get your golf game swinging at Sensei Porcupine Creek in Rancho Mirage, California: Set to open in November of 2022, this 230-acre private estate in the Santa Rosa Mountains in Rancho Mirage, California is a prime choice for golf and tennis lovers who want to up their game. Along with world-class golf and tennis, they offer spa, nutrition, movement, and other wellness and sports programs. The retreat features a state-of-the-art diagnostic center, yoga and fitness pavilions, a relaxing swimming pool and the culinary delight of Sensei by Nobu.

Start surfing at Rivera Nayarit in Punta Mita Mexico: This ultra-luxurious, 1,500-acre resort is home to Sergio Gonzales, a local surfer, and head of Punta Mita Ocean Sport. Gonzales leads the surf instruction and surf program—which is tailored to all skill levels. Book a stay at one of Punta Mita’s five star hotels—I suggest the Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita or the St. Regis Punta Mita Resort—and retire poolside after a demanding day of surfing.

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Sharpen your wine and spirits knowledge at Auberge Resort Esperanza in Los Cabos Mexico: Fine tune your wine and culinary skills with any one of this resort’s offerings. Sommelier Christian Moya will take you on a wine tasting journey to explore Mexico’s top wineries. Learn the best way to prepare Baja seafood with a private or semi-private cooking class, or take a master classes specializing in Mexican spirits. Relax in the spa, or contemplate your next meal poolside in the luxurious embrace of Auberge’s hospitality.

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