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Rise to the Occasion

Milestone trip ideas for a lifetime of celebrations.

A milestone birthday is cause for next-level celebration. It calls for a destination blowout with loved ones (or not) for R&R, adventure, culture, pampering, culinary indulgences — whatever luxury means to you. Ready to pack those bags? Here’s where to go at any stage of life.

An abundance of hammocks at Parker Palm Springs.

30th Birthday: Palm Springs

 

If Palm Springs was once known as a sleepy destination for retirees, the festival scene changed all that. These days, Palm Springs has it all for newly minted 30-somethings and their entourages: chichi restaurants, shops, and endless potential to party indoors and out.

 

The greater Palm Springs region is home to more than 50,000 pools — that’s more pools per capita than anywhere else in the country (bring abundant SPF and definitely make sure to stay hydrated in the desert heat). It also has the world’s largest concentration of midcentury modern residential architecture (showcased every February during Modernism Week) so pick an Airbnb that oozes with the city’s signature design.

 

Or opt for a hotel: the midcentury icon Parker Palm Springs sprawls over 13 glamorous acres, or the Avalon Hotel & Bungalows is an Instagram-ready stunner with its Hollywood Regency style.

A view of Castle Hot Springs.

40th Birthday: Scottsdale and Environs

 

Celebrate your milestone 40th in a destination where people in your whole group — including your kids or parents — can find something they love to do (while you enjoy yourself fully too, of course). The lush desert landscape of the Scottsdale region offers tons of opportunity for indoor-outdoor adventure.

 

Get a jump on your big day by watching the sunrise from the gondola of a hot air balloon. Lose yourself on a hike in the Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Or indulge in a day of horseback riding.

 

Too outdoorsy for your tastes? Old Town offers tons of art galleries, boutiques, chef-driven restaurants craft breweries, and wine tasting rooms. This area is also awash in spa and wellness opportunities that combine modern luxuries with Native American healing traditions.

 

For a celebratory lodging option in the region, book the widely lauded 1,110-acre, 30-room Castle Hot Springs, about 50 miles from Phoenix airport. The remote resort surrounded by nature was Arizona’s first luxury and wellness resort — originally making its debut in 1896. (It was a favorite among titans of industry like the Vanderbilts, Roosevelts, and Astors.) Here you’ll find mineral-rich geothermal hot springs, Arizona’s first-ever Via Ferrata adventure course, and an on-property farm.

The pool beckons guests at the Andaz Maui.

50th Birthday: Maui

 

All of Hawaii’s breathtaking islands are worthy of a bucket-list destination celebration. But Maui offers the widest range of activities, so you can treat yourself to an extended getaway and have plenty of variety whether you’re rolling solo, as a couple, as a family, or with a group.

 

The beaches are among the main draws here, offering stunning colors, ultra-soft sand, and plenty of water-based adventure. Maui’s also got great hiking, waterfalls, active volcanoes — all-around spectacular natural beauty. Drive the world-famous Road to Hana to see it by car.

 

Maui is also home to some of the country’s most lavish resorts for big-city-style pampering, especially around bustling resort areas like Wailea. For luxury worthy of this major milestone, stay at the Four Seasons Maui (fun fact: It was the shooting location for HBO’s searing series The White Lotus), the Andaz, or the sprawling Grand Wailea. If you don’t quite want to be in the center of all that Wailea resort-district action, head to the northwest part of the island for a stay at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, a haven for golfers and tennis enthusiasts.

Relax in nature at the Auberge du Soleil.

75th Birthday: Napa Valley

 

At 75, you’ve aged like the finest wine. Appropriately, toast your special day with a trip to California’s Napa Valley, where you’ll enjoy some of the world’s finest wines. You’ll find seemingly endless opportunities for wine tastings, tours, classes, and culinary experiences.

 

Be as active as you like (with bike rides, golf, or hiking), or just enjoy the luxurious downtime amid nature and culture: You’ll find plenty of art and music to explore — and plenty of shopping to do if that’s your bag. Napa also takes its spas seriously, so it’s an ideal place to enjoy the pampering you deserve.

 

For that extra special milestone meal, dine at the famous The French Laundry in Yountville. For lodging, try the new Four Seasons Napa Valley in Calistoga (opened in Fall 2021), the Estate Yountville, or Auberge du Soleil in Rutherford.

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