Thinking of what to do or where to travel for your 40th birthday? Or perhaps you’re planning to celebrate this major milestone in grand style with someone you love. Either way, you’ve come to the right place! Since a 40th birthday is one of those occasions worth celebrating in the most unique way, we’ve come up with some of the most exciting (and relaxing) 40th birthday vacation ideas to have an unforgettable celebration whether you’re planning one for yourself, a friend, family member, or the love of your life.
Nothing says 40 like no limits! And minimal planning plus limitless cocktails and food will feel like heaven at an all-inclusive resort. Even better if this resort is on an island like Turks & Caicos offering a multitude of themed restaurants to choose from and even swim-up bars. As the 40s really are the new 30s, live it up and enjoy every last bit of your hopefully luxurious all-inclusive birthday celebration, preferably with a delicious cocktail (or 2) in hand!
Expert tip: Caribbean resorts like Sandals and Beaches have plenty of amazing restaurants to choose from. Plus, you won’t have to think about the bill at the end of your trip because everything is paid for in advance.
There is a certain point in life where you just want to relax and take it easy, and 40 is definitely it. A soothing spa treatment with all the works can be the icing on top of a 40th birthday celebration. To start planning, all you’ll need to do is decide whether you want to book your spa day at a local hotel/spa or fly out for spa-style pampering on an exotic island in the Caribbean.
Nothing sounds quite as sweet for a 40th birthday celebration as a beach vacation in the Caribbean. Whether you’ve been to the Caribbean before or this will be your first time, you’ll have plenty of time to soak in some sun and enjoy the crisp, clear waters of this territory in consistently warm temperatures. Stay hydrated, take lots of photos, and settle in for as many amazing sunsets as you can make time for.
A birthday cruise can be the perfect getaway for a 40th birthday celebration. You’ll not only get a change of scenery, but you’ll also be able to visit multiple destinations in a short space of time. With everything in one place, you won’t have trouble finding time to do it all or do nothing at all as you unwind and celebrate on the open seas.
Expert tip: Resort or cruise? We can help you decide: Cruise vs. All-inclusive Vacation.
A bit of island-hopping never hurt anyone and it can be quite the thrill to do this as part of a birthday celebration. In the Caribbean, you can find plenty of destinations for a trip filled with island-hopping including Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, The Bahamas, and the Turks & Caicos Islands. Many of the islands in the Caribbean are located a short ferry or plane ride away from each other, so if there was ever the quintessential place to go island-hopping, it would definitely be this region.
Expert tip: As easy as it can be to island hop, proper planning can help you get your island explorations underway without a hitch. We give you some handy itineraries for island-hopping in The Bahamas right here!
Believe it or not, staying in a real-life castle can be a birthday possibility. You’ll be able to live just like the royals do (at least for a moment) as you settle into your temporary abode in an opulent and historic castle setting. There are various themes to choose from with castle hotels including gilded-age flair and modern-day elegance. Whichever you choose, these memories won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.
Want a 40th birthday mixed with a bit of romance? Why not go explore a beautiful city with the one you love? As you revel in the fast-paced city life, you’ll also have plenty of moments where things will slow down so you and that special someone can enjoy the moment with each other. Paris and Italy are among the most romantic cities in the world, but there are plenty of cities in the U.S. where you can enjoy the sights and delicious meals together as well.
Expert tip: If a long flight to Europe is out of the question, but you’d love to travel somewhere else for your city break, Nassau, Bahamas (just an hour's flight from Miami) is a nearby option where you can get your fill of historical sights, restaurants, and nightlife. Explore it with the help of our Nassau city guide.
At the regular pace of life, you may not have as much time to relax, much less enjoy the beach, as you might like. For your 40th birthday, why not plan to spend as much time relaxing seaside as possible? If you don’t live near a beach, this could warrant a road trip or even an international beach vacation. Sandals Resorts in the Caribbean can be perfect for a couples’ beach getaway.
Take a trip down memory lane. Is there somewhere you’ve been to in the past that struck a chord with you in a way you could never erase? Perhaps it is time to return to that place, especially if this is something you’ve always longed to do. This can be a place where you’ve celebrated your birthday in the past. Bring your family, spouse, partner, or even your friends along for the ride - whatever it’ll take to recreate those nostalgic good times.
Expert tip: As you celebrate your birthday by recreating perfect memories, consider returning to your first vacation destination, or to your honeymoon or proposal location with the one you love.
Getting away to a cabin in the woods can be the perfect way to press the reset button. As you celebrate your 40th birthday and reflect on the years past and those still ahead, you’ll have plenty of time to explore, soak in some peace, and indulge in this laid-back experience. A cabin vacation can be a great outdoorsy option that still lets you get right into nature, even if you’re not a fan of camping. It can also be quite a romantic retreat.
If you’ve never visited a vineyard, this can be the perfect activity for a 40th birthday celebration. One of the best places to do this is Napa Valley, California, where world-class wine can be found. There are lots of vineyards in this area, and all you’ll need to do is look them up, book a tour, and get ready for your wine-tasting experience.
The bright lights of Las Vegas could be calling your name for this birthday celebration. The ultimate destination for indulgence and fun, you’ll need to plan this vacation out well in advance. If planning leads right to your 40th birthday celebration, then so be it. Spend a few days in Las Vegas with your partner or friends, and live it up. Whether you love casinos, or you just want to watch some live shows and admire the sights, you won’t soon forget your Las Vegas adventure.
A 40th birthday is definitely a milestone, and for that reason, you might want to change or adjust a few things, including your wardrobe. So, why not set up a shopping spree with friends or family, splurging with birthday-gifted cash or money you’ve saved up just for this? You’ll have lots of options of places to shop including the famous department stores of New York, high-end fashion houses of Milan, and lots of other big and small city options. Take breaks in between to grab smoothies or some coffee so the whole thing doesn’t feel too much like a chore.
Have your sights set on a golfing getaway? Get the planning in motion by rounding up the crew and deciding on a destination. Whether you’re a beginner just looking to try something new, or you’re an avid golf player looking to test out new courses, this can be a relaxing and fun way to spend a birthday break. For a beach vacation mixed in with lots of opportunities to golf, try Sandals Ochi or Beaches Ocho Rios in Jamaica, a Sandals resort in Saint Lucia, or Sandals Emerald Bay in Exuma, Bahamas. Green fees can be included for guests at these properties!
Expert tip: Outside of Sandals and Beaches Resorts, there are lots of great golf courses in the Caribbean you can try for an exotic golf adventure!
Your 40th birthday can be all about sipping on expertly made cocktails, and this can happen right in the cocktail capital of the U.S. Depending on whom you ask, you might get different answers on where exactly the cocktail capital of the U.S. is - which means you’ll pretty much have to decide for yourself! One of the contenders in this category, though, is New Orleans, which is said to have the most bars per capita. There are also several cocktails that originated in New Orleans as well, including the Absinthe Frappe, the Vieux Carré, and the Hurricane. San Francisco, New York, and Chicago are also great places to go to enjoy awesome cocktails.
Let the rhythm lead the way to an amazing 40th birthday vacay, whether you’re looking to get into the music scene at a happening Nashville locale, or you prefer jamming to Reggae music on a beautiful beach in Jamaica. Your ultimate decision will depend on what experience you’re looking for, and how far you’re willing to travel. Small and large-scale live music events and concerts can be found in most destinations, or you can simply head to a bar with some friends on a night when there’s a live singer or band.
Does a hiking adventure sound up your alley? This can be a possibility for your birthday with a bit of planning and preparation. You’ll first need to get the right equipment including hiking boots and other gear, and then select a destination. Scan the trails in your destination and select the one that seems within your fitness level. As trails vary in terms of difficulty level, location (through the mountains, forest, etc.), and the time it can take to complete them, you’ll need to choose the one you and your hiking buddies will be able to complete comfortably.
Expert tip: You might be surprised how many Caribbean islands are popular with hikers. Check out the best places to hike in Jamaica and the most popular place to hike in Saint Lucia (the gorgeous Piton mountains) right here! Don’t forget your camera as much of the fun with hiking is in the incredible scenery.
There are tons of national parks you’ll be able to visit in and out of the U.S. for your birthday break. These parks offer something for everyone whether you want to experience hot springs, lush forests, alpine rivers, canyons, and even powerful geysers like those at Yellowstone National Park. The Everglades in South Florida are also an option with mangroves and a tropical rainforest ecosystem, as are some of the parks in Colorado, which are known for having the tallest sand dunes in North America (the Great Sand Dunes).
Kayaking can be both fun and challenging. You’ll be out on the open water, testing your physical strength, exploring the outdoors, and enjoying the sights. For a birthday celebration, you can plan to go kayaking down rivers and explore coves. You can even head to the islands where you can kayak along the coast, and travel to nearby cays and small islands like those in The Bahamas and Turks & Caicos.
Get the whole family in on your 40th birthday celebrations with a ski trip to somewhere breathtaking. Aspen can be your go-to whether you’re an experienced skier or just starting off. Ski down the gorgeous, white mountainside with no care in the world and enjoy some of the other ski resort activities you and your family are sure to love.
Expert tip: Skiing not quite your thing? Let the good times roll with these vacation ideas for families with kids.
Going on a canyon adventure to celebrate a birthday can be a real treat. Head out with family or some friends and explore some of the best canyons in the world right in the United States. Some of the most amazing canyons can be found in Utah, Arizona, and Wyoming, including the famed and ginormous Grand Canyon. Also consider visiting Arizona’s Antelope Canyon and Utah’s Nine Mile Canyon, both of which can be the perfect backdrop for your 40th birthday photos!
Been there and done pretty much all the usual birthday activities on solid ground? Why not get into an undersea exploration this year with an unforgettable snorkeling trip? It’s a whole different world down there, and the best snorkeling sights will depend on where you choose to go. Try the Caribbean which has many incredible dive sites including these amazing places to snorkel in Turks & Caicos. You can spot anything from vibrant coral to stingrays and possibly even humpback whales if you’re lucky!
Why not have an active birthday this year? If a cycling adventure sounds like something you’d enjoy, then all you need to do is start planning. There are lots of places you can go for a cycling session, including through mountain ranges, the countryside, and even to one of the many bike-friendly cities in the U.S. It won’t take much planning to organize your cycling trip either - just get your bike (rent one if needed), helmet, and other safety gear ready, choose a destination, decide who you’ll go with, and you’ll be well on your way.
Nothing is off limits for this birthday celebration, which means surfing can definitely be a go. Find the best surf spots in the U.S., including the California coast (preferably during the summer), or take off to some of the Caribbean’s best surfing spots like Barbados, and let the wave riding begin. If you aren’t a pro surfer, in some destinations you can get surf lessons and even rent a board, if you don’t already own one.
What better way to be a big kid all over again than to enjoy a waterpark adventure with your family? Have as much fun as your kids splashing around, trying out the water slides, and then relaxing in the lazy river at a Caribbean water park resort. Try the Surf Simulator at Beaches Turks & Caicos, and later chill out with the family at one of up to 21 themed restaurants at that property. You and the kids will be able to spend as much time as you like in the waterpark throughout your vacation, which can be a thrill for all.
Expert tip: Planning a vacation with older kids? These vacation ideas for families with teenagers are sure to be met with smiles.
Theme parks are fun for everyone and this can be a cool way to let loose for your 40th birthday celebration. All you’ll need to do to make this happen is select the sort of theme park you’d like to visit, pick the dates, and get excited about all the thrilling rides you can go on, the fun characters you can meet up with for cool birthday photo ops, and all the laughs you’ll be able to have as well with those nearest and dearest to you.
When was the last time you went camping? If spending the night under the stars appeals to you, then a 40th birthday camping trip can be ideal. Recapture the adventures of more youthful camping days and create new and exciting memories, whether you decide to camp out in the woods, at a national park, or on a remote camping ground. Glamping can also be an option for a modern and luxurious touch.
Beaches and water sports go hand in hand, which is why a water sports vacation can be a great idea for a 40th birthday. If you’ve always wanted some beach time that’s all about trying new water sports, now is your chance. Head to a beach near you or overseas and try anything from tubing and water skiing to jet skiing and sailing. At Beaches Resorts in the Caribbean, you’ll be able to enjoy unlimited water sports for the whole family.
Do you have a destination you’ve always dreamed about going to but have never quite gotten around to? A 40th birthday might be just the right time to bring those imaginings to life. Whether your vacation fantasies have had to do with visiting the Sydney Opera House, the Eiffel Tower, or any other attractions or ruins in a historical city, take the steps and start planning a trip there in time for your 40th birthday. Before you know it, your dream destination will be your reality.
Take a birthday break this year and do something completely spontaneous, like going on a wildlife safari. As part of this experience, you’ll see exotic animals in their natural environment including lions, tigers, elephants, and giraffes. You can find plenty of safari options in the U.S., or amp things up and plan a trip to Africa. This is a kid-friendly activity which means you can bring the whole family. There are quite a few safari experiences that include hotels as well.
Are you a museum buff? If so, the chance to explore numerous museums in one day may excite you. With all the history, information, and artifacts you’re likely to come across on this day, this can be a truly captivating way to spend your birthday, especially with the right company. Go to a city or other destination where there are multiple museums in one place, and plan to stay there for a couple of days, or a week. Go to a museum a day, taking your time to let everything you see resonate. If you’re looking to explore museums or galleries outside of the U.S., consider going to Athens, Rome, or London in the U.K.
Expert tip: If what you’re seeking is intricate art, Paris or Milan can be your birthday go-to.
Train vacations are always exciting as there’s lots of interesting scenery to scope along the way. Not only will you be able to visit more than one destination during your train vacation, but you’ll also be able to relax as well in between the stops as you approach your final destination. You can opt for a cross-country journey in the U.S., or try the Orient Express or Trans Siberian Express, which truly will make for a birthday to remember.
New York has celebrations written all over it, and whether or not you’ve been to the Big Apple before, this U.S. city is perfect for some birthday action. The energy of this city says anything is possible, and anything will be possible during your visit whether you want to shop until you drop, try some amazing 5-star restaurants or bars, enjoy live shows, or just soak in the buzzing city life.
Want to stay close to home this year for your birthday? Take some time to plan a staycation. If you’ve never done one of these before, a 40th birthday can be a great time to do so as you’ll be able to experience some of the things your city has to offer that you might not even have been aware of including tours, restaurants, and other cultural and historical attractions. For your birthday week, do something touristy and new every day — your city just might surprise you.
Now that you’ve got so many options to choose from, you’re all set for a fun-filled 40th birthday celebration, whether you’re planning your own, or looking to surprise a friend or family member. Even if you won’t be venturing any further than your own city, we truly do hope this birthday celebration will be the best yet!