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24 Complete 40th Birthday Trip Ideas For Solo Travelers

Take it from someone who has been traveling around for the last 8 years: these 40th birthday trip ideas are vetted. Almost every birthday of mine since I became a nomad has been some kind of birthday getaway.

And a 40th birthday? Think: gorgeous beaches, fine dining, sea turtles, and wine tasting.

Let me help plan the perfect 40th birthday trip by sharing some of my favorite places both in the US and around the world.

Let’s get those birthday vacation ideas flowing!

40th Birthday trip ideas in the US

I must admit, I’m biased toward the West Coast. So that’s where a lot of these domestic birthday trip ideas are! With delicious food, stunning beaches, and lots of crazy landscapes, it’s easy to understand why.

But don’t worry, I included a few other gems from around the US that make for a perfect birthday getaway too.

1. Napa Valley, California

girls trip wine tasting
Photo by: Marquis Matson
  • Itinerary: Wine tastings, hot air ballooning, spa day.
  • Stay: Boutique inn in St. Helena.
  • Transportation: Rental car for vineyard hopping.
  • Prices: Mid-high range.

As you celebrate your 40th birthday, the exquisite Napa Valley, California offers indulgent experiences that are just as vivacious and nuanced as you are at this stage of life. This world-renowned wine-growing region is a haven of idyllic vineyards, rolling hills, and charming wineries where the art of viniculture takes center stage.

The secret to enjoying Napa is to savor it slowly, much like a glass of its famous Cabernet Sauvignon. Spend your days exploring various vineyards—some grand and opulent, others small and family-owned—each offering unique wine tasting experiences.

It’s really just a matter of picking a place and going! I’ve been to many over the years and enjoyed them all. My friend works at her family winery, Clif Family Winery, and so I’ve gotten to know their winery and ethos the best. It’s a certified B Corp and prioritizes sustainability in their business.

If you really want to make a memorable trip, then elevate your wine tour—quite literally—with a hot air balloon ride at sunrise, a truly magical way to take in the valley’s scenic beauty.

Balance out the wine tastings with some time at one of Napa’s luxurious spas. Downtown Napa has a few cute spas where you can book services if you’re renting your own place. Otherwise, you can book some pretty swanky hotels with spas here.

Napa Valley, with its blend of natural beauty and sophisticated indulgences, is the ✨ perfect ✨ destination for celebrating your 40th birthday.

2. Taos, New Mexico

natural beauty of the mesa in taos new mexico
Earthship in Taos, New Mexico; Photo by: Marquis Matson
  • Itinerary: Adobe architecture, art galleries, and mountain trails
  • Stay: Cozy earthship on the Mesa
  • Transportation: Car rental for freedom and flexibility
  • Prices: Slightly cheaper in general, though earthships are pricey

Taos, New Mexico, might not be the first place that springs to mind when planning a milestone birthday getaway, but that’s what makes it such an unexpected treasure. With its vibrant arts scene, intriguing adobe architecture, and a backdrop of stunning mountain trails, it’s an oasis of tranquility and creativity – perfect for welcoming the wisdom that comes with turning 40.

I recently had the absolute pleasure of spending three weeks there with a friend who showed me all around Taos Valley (and beyond!). I got to really see how great Northern New Mexico is, which is why I insist that it is on this list.

Start your day with a stroll through the Taos Historic District, where the sun-kissed adobe buildings whisper tales of a rich past. There are tons of galleries boasting local and Native American art, which speaks to the town’s self-assigned motto “Taos Is Art”.

One thing that makes Taos so special is how old it is. Taso Pueblo, an ancient Native American community just outside the town, is the only Native American community to stay put with its original land. You can enter and tour the area, which was like stepping back in time!

Now, for all you nature lovers out there, Taos DOES NOT disappoint. The surrounding mountains have heaps of hiking trails, and the Rio Grande is begging to be floated on.

For a more laid-back adventure, take a drive along the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway for some of the most breathtaking views in the state. We stopped in Red River at the brewery for fried cheese curds and locally crafted beer. 🤤

As your 40s are a time for new experiences and reflections, this blend of culture, art, and nature makes Taos a unique and enriching choice.

3. Leavenworth, Washington

leavenworth washington
Photo by: Marquis Matson
  • Itinerary: Exploring Bavarian-style buildings, hiking trails in the Cascade Mountains, enjoying German food and wine, visiting Leavenworth Reindeer Farm, relaxing in a spa.
  • Stay: Bavarian-style lodgings in the town center, close to shops, restaurants, and local attractions.
  • Transportation: Rental car recommended for exploring town and reaching nearby hiking trails.
  • Prices: Affordable dining and activities; lodging prices vary with options for every budget.

Leavenworth is like a slice of Bavaria right in the heart of Washington State. Nestled in the Cascade Mountains, this charming town is ideal for celebrating a milestone birthday. Think cozy mountain lodges, delicious German fare, and an array of outdoor activities – all within a setting that feels like a European vacation without leaving the States.

For your stay, choose one of the town’s traditional Bavarian-style lodgings right in the center, so you’re close to the action. Or you can stay at the Bavarian Lodge (book here)

For your itinerary, balance your time between exploring the charming town and getting out into nature. Leavenworth is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts, so be sure to include hiking or cycling on one of the area’s numerous scenic trails. Here are the top 10 hiking trails near Leavenworth to get you started! If you’re visiting Leavenworth in winter, swap out hiking for skiing or snowshoeing.

snowshoeing in leavenworth
Photo by: Marquis Matson

As for getting around, renting a car is the easiest way to navigate the area, and many trails are just a short drive from town. I took the bus from Seattle, which was fine, but I had to rely on my friends to drive me around to everything. So I definitely recommend renting a car for this.

Prices are generally reasonable in Leavenworth, with accommodations and dining options to fit a variety of budgets. It’s the perfect blend of affordability, adventure, and cultural immersion, making it a fantastic destination to embrace and celebrate your 40s.

PRO TIP: Get around and see things off the beaten path on your trip. Book your affordable car rental here.

4. Key West, Florida

  • Itinerary: Sun-soaked beaches, snorkeling adventures, sunset celebrations at Mallory Square, exploring historic Old Town.
  • Stay: Boutique hotels in Old Town, close to Duval Street and the waterfront.
  • Transportation: Bicycles or scooters for town exploration, boat rentals for water activities.
  • Prices: Moderate to Expensive, depending on season and accommodations.

Ah, Key West! This Florida Keys jewel is all about laid-back island vibes, breathtaking sunsets, and waters as clear as your rejuvenated mindset in your fabulous 40s.

Centrally located boutique hotels in Old Town make the perfect base for your stay, placing you right in the middle of the action. You’re just a stone’s throw from Duval Street’s vibrant nightlife and quirky shops, as well as the tranquil waterfront.

For a memorable adventure, try snorkeling in the coral reefs, or rent a kayak and explore the mangroves. You can book something here.

As the day winds down, join the daily sunset celebration at Mallory Square, where entertainers, food carts, and artisans combine with stunning views to create a magical experience.

Getting around Key West is part of the fun. The island is small enough that you can get around easily on a bike or scooter, adding an extra layer of adventure to your birthday trip… especially after drinking on Duval Street!

Prices can lean towards the higher end, especially if you opt for upscale accommodations or fine dining here. But the splurge can be well worth it. After all, you’re celebrating a milestone birthday, and Key West promises a unique mix of relaxation, adventure, and seaside charm. This is island living at its finest – the perfect place to raise a toast to your fabulous 40s!

Find the perfect home rental for your upcoming trip here 🏠

5. New York, New York

  • Itinerary: Iconic landmarks, world-class museums, Broadway shows, dining in renowned restaurants.
  • Stay: Boutique hotels in Midtown for easy access to top attractions.
  • Transportation: Subway system for most travels, taxis for late-night returns 
  • Prices: Generally high, especially for accommodations and dining.

Welcome to New York, the city that never sleeps, and the perfect place to celebrate milestone birthdays, like your 40th. With an energy like no other, this city’s heart beats with endless possibilities for culture, adventure, and memorable experiences.

For your stay, consider a boutique hotel in Midtown. It’s the center of it all – Times Square, Central Park, and Broadway are all within walking distance. Plus, most of the city’s subway lines converge here, making it an ideal base for your exploration.

Your itinerary will likely be a thrilling whirlwind, as there’s just so much to see and do. Visit iconic landmarks like the Statue of Liberty and Empire State Building, explore world-class museums like The Met or MoMA, and treat yourself to a Broadway show – an absolute must when in the city. Foodies will be in their element, too, with a culinary scene that’s as diverse as the city itself. From street food to Michelin-starred restaurants, your taste buds are in for a treat.

When it comes to getting around, embrace the local way and hop on the subway. It’s the quickest and most cost-effective way to navigate the city. Of course, there’s always the option of hailing a yellow cab if you’re returning from a late-night Broadway show.

New York isn’t the cheapest of cities, with accommodation and dining typically on the pricier side. But, it’s your 40th birthday – why not embrace the energy, the vibrancy, and the little bit of chaos that is New York? It’s an iconic city where every corner turned is a new adventure, perfect for celebrating an equally iconic birthday.

Find the cheapest flight for your upcoming trip here ✈️

6. Jackson, Wyoming

jackson wyoming
Photo by: Marquis Matson
  • Itinerary: Wildlife viewing, hiking in Grand Teton National Park, soaking in Granite Hot Springs.
  • Stay: Cozy cabin rentals or boutique hotels in Jackson Town Square.
  • Transportation: Rental car for freedom of exploration.
  • Prices: Moderate to expensive, depending on accommodations and activities.

Nestled in the shadow of the magnificent Teton Mountain Range, Jackson, Wyoming is a nature lover’s paradise. It’s the perfect spot to celebrate your 40th birthday, especially if you’re looking for an adventurous yet serene escape.

Accommodations range from cozy cabin rentals to boutique hotels in Jackson Town Square. Whichever you choose, you’re sure to enjoy the rustic charm and Western hospitality that Jackson is known for.

Your itinerary should undoubtedly include hiking in the stunning Grand Teton National Park. The park’s diverse wildlife and awe-inspiring landscapes offer an opportunity for soulful connection with nature. Don’t miss a scenic float down the Snake River or a visit to the National Elk Refuge, where you can witness majestic herds in their natural habitat.

For a different kind of relaxation, soak in the Granite Hot Springs. This thermal pool, surrounded by forested mountains, provides the perfect environment to relax and reflect.

Getting around is most convenient with a rental car. It offers the flexibility to explore the vast landscapes at your own pace, plus it’s ideal for reaching trailheads and scenic spots that are off the beaten path.

While Jackson isn’t the most budget-friendly destination, the investment yields rich rewards in the form of natural beauty, outdoor adventures, and that tranquil, away-from-it-all vibe.

7. Zion National Park, Utah

zion national park valley
Photo by: Marquis Matson
  • Itinerary: Hiking Angels Landing, exploring The Narrows, stargazing at night.
  • Stay: Campsites in the park or lodges in Springdale for close proximity to the park entrance.
  • Transportation: Shuttle system inside the park, rental car for traveling to/from the park.
  • Prices: Affordable to moderate, depending on accommodations and dining options.

Zion National Park, with its soaring red cliffs and breathtaking canyon views, is a dream come true for any nature lover.

If you’re up for the challenge on your 40th birthday, then Angels Landing is a must-do hike. It’s not for the faint-hearted, but the panoramic views from the top are worth every effort. For something less strenuous but equally memorable, The Narrows offers a unique hiking experience through a river set deep in a slot canyon.

Both require permits based on a lottery system, so I recommend applying for multiple days and being flexible with your dates. If you’re traveling with a friend, then both of you should apply for permits to increase your chances of getting one. You can apply for 2 people per application.

You can get your permits here:

Don’t forget to take some time for stargazing – the park’s remote location offers some of the darkest skies and the brightest stars.

Camping in the park gives you the ultimate experience of sleeping under the stars and waking up to the stunning canyon views. If camping is not your style, there are plenty of lodges and inns in Springdale, which is right at the park’s entrance. Book something in Springdale here.

Getting around within the park is easy thanks to the shuttle system. However, you’ll need a rental car to get to and from the park.

PRO TIP: Get around and see things off the beaten path on your trip. Book your affordable car rental here.

Pricing here can be affordable to moderate. Accommodation and food costs will depend on whether you’re camping and cooking your meals or staying in a lodge and dining out.

Zion National Park offers a perfect blend of adventure and tranquility. Celebrating your 40th birthday here would mean stepping into your new decade with a renewed sense of awe and appreciation for the great outdoors.

8. Saguaro National Park, Utah

saguaro national park
Photo by: Marquis Matson
  • Itinerary: Hiking in Saguaro National Park, visiting Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, exploring Old Tucson.
  • Stay: Resorts or vacation rentals in Tucson.
  • Transportation: Rental car for ease of exploration.
  • Prices: Affordable to moderate, depending on choice of accommodation and dining.

If the allure of wide-open spaces, epic sunsets, white sand beaches, and towering cacti speaks to your soul, then Tucson, Arizona, is the place to celebrate your 40th birthday.

Kick off your visit with a trip to Saguaro National Park. This iconic park, named for the giant saguaro cacti that dot its landscape, is a hiker’s dream with trails winding through a classic desert landscape. For a truly awe-inspiring experience, take an evening hike and watch as the setting sun paints the sky in hues of pink and orange, casting long shadows on the desert floor.

Check out the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum – a unique fusion of zoo, botanical garden, art gallery, natural history museum, and aquarium. If you’re a fan of Western films, a day trip out to Old Tucson, a movie studio, and theme park will be a delightful nostalgia trip.

Staying in Tucson gives you access to a variety of accommodations, from upscale resorts to homely vacation rentals. You can book something in Tucson here.

And while you’ll need a rental car to explore the vast desert landscapes, the sense of freedom and the epic vistas make it absolutely worth it.

Find the perfect home rental for your upcoming trip here 🏠

9. Mono Hot Springs, California

  • Itinerary: Soaking in natural hot springs, hiking, visiting Devils Postpile National Monument.
  • Stay: Mono Hot Springs Resort or camping in the nearby national forest.
  • Transportation: Rental car to reach the remote area.
  • Prices: Moderate to slightly expensive, given the remote location.

For your 40th, how about stepping off the beaten path and into the serene landscape of Mono Hot Springs, California? Nestled in the Sierra Nevada, this destination offers a sublime blend of adventure, relaxation, and stunning natural beauty.

Start with a dip in the natural hot springs, where you can soak away any lingering worries under a clear, starry sky. These geothermal marvels are known for their healing properties – the perfect antidote to the busyness of life.

When you’re not unwinding in the hot springs, there are miles of trails waiting to be explored. Check out these top hikes in Mono Hot Springs. A short drive away is the unique geologic wonder of Devils Postpile National Monument, definitely worth a visit.

Stay in a hotel in Mono Hot Springs for a rustic yet comfortable experience, you can book something here. Or for a more immersive nature experience, consider camping in the surrounding national forest. You can book a campsite at Mono Hot Springs here.

Getting to this remote haven requires a rental car and some driving along winding mountain roads, but the reward is a tranquil retreat far from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Though prices can lean towards the moderate to slightly expensive side due to the location, the unforgettable experience of relaxing in natural hot springs, surrounded by California’s stunning wilderness, makes it absolutely worth it.

Find the perfect home rental for your upcoming trip here 🏠

10. Lake Tahoe, California

kiki la gringa at peak of mt tallac in california lake tahoe
Photo by: Marquis Matson
  • Itinerary: Hiking Mount Tallac, boating on Lake Tahoe, exploring Emerald Bay State Park.
  • Stay: Lakefront resorts or vacation rentals in South Lake Tahoe.
  • Transportation: Rental car for flexibility; biking and walking for local exploration.
  • Prices: Moderate to high, especially during peak season.

As you reach your fabulous 40s, why not celebrate with the majesty of Lake Tahoe, California?

This gem nestled in the Sierra Nevada Mountains offers an irresistible blend of stunning natural beauty, outdoor activities, amazing restaurants, and a tranquil, relaxed pace of life…. plus casinos on the Nevada side. I spent my 31st birthday there and it was a wild mix of nature, relaxation, and casinos.

For an unforgettable birthday experience, hike up Mount Tallac, my favorite hike in the area. This challenging hike rewards you with panoramic views of Lake Tahoe and its surrounding peaks. It’s a day-long affair, but reaching the summit gives a sense of accomplishment and perspective that aligns perfectly with a milestone birthday.

When you’re not challenging yourself on the hiking trails, Lake Tahoe itself offers endless fun. Rent a boat for a day on the lake or explore the crystal-clear waters and beautiful beaches of Emerald Bay State Park, one of the most photographed places in the world.

Accommodation options in South Lake Tahoe range from lakefront resorts to cozy vacation rentals. They can be a bit pricey, especially during the peak season, but the views of the lake are worth every penny. You can scope out accommodations here.

A rental car is handy for reaching different parts of the lake, but once you’re settled, much of the area is bike and pedestrian-friendly.

PRO TIP: Get around and see things off the beaten path on your trip. Book your affordable car rental here.

Embracing your 40th birthday in Lake Tahoe means saying yes to adventure, celebrating your accomplishments, and soaking in the natural beauty that this corner of California has to offer. It’s a birthday trip that promises memories to last a lifetime.

11. Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

  • Itinerary: Cruising on Coeur d’Alene Lake, visiting Coeur d’Alene’s Old Mission State Park, hiking in Tubbs Hill Nature Trails.
  • Stay: Lakeside resorts or vacation rentals in downtown Coeur d’Alene.
  • Transportation: Rental car for the area; walking or biking for downtown exploration.
  • Prices: Moderate to high, especially during summer season.

If you’re looking for a unique and memorable way to celebrate your 40th, consider the lakeside town of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. This charming destination is full of natural beauty, history, and outdoor activities to make your birthday trip special.

Begin your birthday celebration with a scenic cruise on Coeur d’Alene Lake, soaking up the area’s stunning views. If you’re up for an adventure, the Tubbs Hill Nature Trails offer great (and easy) hiking paths with panoramic lake views.

Don’t miss a visit to Coeur d’Alene’s Old Mission State Park, where you can get into the region’s history and admire the oldest standing building in Idaho.

As for accommodation, you have the option of lakeside resorts or vacation rentals in downtown Coeur d’Alene. Prices can lean toward the higher end, especially during summer, but the access to the lake and the convenience of downtown make it worthwhile. You can check out accommodations here.

Navigating the area is easiest with a rental car, but downtown Coeur d’Alene is quite walkable, and biking is a popular way to get around.

Turning 40 is a time to embrace new experiences and enjoy life’s beauty, and Coeur d’Alene offers just the right setting. Whether you’re a lover of history, a fan of outdoor activities, or just looking for a tranquil getaway, this Idaho gem is a wonderful place to mark the start of a new decade.

12. Sedona, Arizona

sedona arizona
Photo by: Marquis Matson
  • Itinerary: Hiking in Red Rock State Park, visiting Chapel of the Holy Cross, exploring vortex sites.
  • Stay: Boutique hotels or vacation rentals in Sedona.
  • Transportation: Rental car for general transportation; biking or walking for local exploration.
  • Prices: Moderate to high, especially during peak seasons.

As you hit the big 4-0, why not step into the surreal landscape of Sedona, Arizona? It’s a place of spiritual enchantment, artistic inspiration, and incredible outdoor activities.

To me, it’s the quintessential 40th birthday trip idea. It is a balance of relaxing getaway, outdoor adventures, and luxury.

Your Sedona adventure could kick off with a hike in the Red Rock State Park, where you’ll be awestruck by the famous red sandstone formations. Consider tackling one of the area’s vortex sites, where you can soak up the positive energy and take some quiet time to reflect on the life milestone you’re celebrating.

Don’t forget to visit the Chapel of the Holy Cross—an architectural marvel built into the buttes, offering stunning views of Sedona’s red rocks. It’s a place of peace, reflection, and killer photo ops!

When it comes to accommodation, Sedona offers a range of boutique hotels and vacation rentals that provide easy access to the area’s attractions. The prices can range from moderate to high, especially during the peak seasons. You can check out the options here.

Alternatively, you can check out a retreat in Sedona.

As for transportation, a rental car will be your best bet for getting around. However, Sedona itself is a compact and walkable town, with many biking paths to explore.

Celebrating your 40th birthday in Sedona isn’t just about the gorgeous landscape—it’s about embracing the mystical energy that the area is known for. It’s a chance to reconnect with nature, tap into your spiritual side, and perhaps even spark a new sense of creativity as you step into your next decade.

13. Asheville, North Carolina

  • Itinerary: Hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains, exploring the Biltmore Estate, sampling local breweries.
  • Stay: Boutique hotels or charming bed and breakfasts in the heart of the city. You can book something in Asheville here.
  • Transportation: Rental car for getting around the city and nearby attractions; biking or walking for local exploration.
  • Prices: Moderate, with a range of budget-friendly to more upscale options.

Asheville, North Carolina, is the perfect mix of mountain charm and artsy sophistication—making it an ideal spot for a 40th birthday celebration. With its wealth of outdoor activities, vibrant food scene, and quirky culture, it’s a place that effortlessly caters to the adventurous spirit of the 40-something traveler.

Begin your Asheville adventure by exploring the lush trails of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Hiking here offers panoramic views that will take your breath away—just the right kind of rejuvenating experience you’d want for this milestone.

Dive into the history and grandeur of Asheville by visiting the Biltmore Estate, the iconic Vanderbilt mansion. Its stunning architecture, lush gardens, and renowned winery make it a must-visit. You can book a fun tour in Asheville here.

And let’s talk about the food and drink scene. Asheville is known as ‘Beer City USA’ for its wealth of craft breweries. You can spend an entire afternoon sampling local brews and nibbling on farm-to-table treats.

As for accommodations, Asheville boasts a range of charming bed and breakfasts and boutique hotels, many located in the heart of the city for easy access to its vibrant downtown. You can book something in Asheville here.

A rental car is recommended for reaching the various attractions around Asheville, but within the city, you’ll find many places are walkable or easily accessible by bike.

Celebrating your 40th in Asheville means immersing yourself in the city’s natural beauty, vibrant culture, and delicious food and drink. It’s about embracing the soul of the South while treating yourself to a bit of well-earned indulgence.

14. New Orleans, Louisiana

  • Itinerary: Exploring the French Quarter, listening to live jazz, enjoying a Mississippi River cruise.
  • Stay: Historic boutique hotels in the French Quarter. You can book something in New Orleans here.
  • Transportation: Streetcars, taxis, or walking within the city; rental car for longer excursions.
  • Prices: Moderate to expensive, depending on activities and dining choices.

New Orleans, or the Big Easy, is a city that knows how to celebrate in style. The city has a rich history and is a melting pot of cultures, tastes, and sounds. It’s perfect for a 40th birthday getaway that’s brimming with character.

Your itinerary here should undoubtedly include a stroll through the French Quarter, the city’s historic heart, with its vibrant buildings, intriguing boutiques, and famous eateries. Enjoy beignets at Café du Monde, and don’t miss a Hurricane cocktail at Pat O’Brien’s.

The local cuisine in New Orleans is SO GOOD. It’s an exciting city for foodies and if I hadn’t deleted all of my photos during the years that I was dating one of my exes, I could show you more pictures of the most delicious food that New Orleans has to offer. Anyway, if you’re looking for a birthday feast this year, then this is your big birthday destination.

A trip to New Orleans wouldn’t be complete without indulging in its rich live music scene, which is really the most interesting part for me. Jazz clubs abound, and for a truly unique experience, consider a jazz dinner cruise on the Mississippi.

Stay in one of the many historic boutique hotels in the French Quarter for a touch of old-world charm. You can book something in New Orleans here. Transportation is easy—New Orleans is a walkable city, and streetcars are readily available. They also have tons of horse drawn carriages but I’m not so sure how I feel about that, morally.

Check out all of the fun tours that you can do in New Orleans here.

Embrace the lively spirit of New Orleans, indulge in Creole cuisine, and let the music guide your 40th birthday celebration in this enchanting city.

15. Honolulu, Hawaii

  • Itinerary: Sunbathing at Waikiki Beach, hiking Diamond Head, visiting Bishop Museum and Iolani Palace.
  • Stay: Upscale resorts or boutique hotels near Waikiki Beach. You can scope out accommodations in Honolulu here.
  • Transportation: TheBus system for city travel, rental car for island exploration.
  • Prices: Expensive, but possible to find deals.

Welcome to Honolulu, the vibrant capital of Hawaii. This tropical paradise invites you to celebrate your 40th birthday in a place of incredible beauty, enriched by its rich Polynesian culture and history.

Begin your stay with a leisurely day at the iconic Waikiki Beach. This world-renowned spot is perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and getting a taste of the relaxed island life. When you’re ready for some adventure, the hike up Diamond Head offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city and coastline.

Honolulu also provides a chance to appreciate the depth of Hawaii’s history. Visit the Bishop Museum, where you can learn about the indigenous Hawaiian culture and the natural history of the Pacific. Iolani Palace, the only royal palace in the U.S., is another must-see. As the former residence of Hawaii’s last monarchs, it offers a unique insight into the island’s past pre-annexation.

Your accommodation options are plenty, from upscale resorts to charming boutique hotels near Waikiki Beach. You can scope out accommodations in Honolulu here.

TheBus system covers city travel effectively, but a rental car is advisable if you wish to explore beyond Honolulu.

Honoring your 40th in Honolulu offers a blend of relaxation, outdoor adventure, and cultural immersion. Here, you can truly appreciate the aloha spirit, celebrate your milestone, and leave with a deepened respect for Hawaii’s indigenous heritage.

International 40th birthday trip ideas

Now for a few birthday vacation ideas around the world. Your 40th birthday is a big one (it should be!) because lessons have settled on your heart and, let’s face it, you’re earning more money now. So what makes a great birthday destination, then? Good food, good weather, and fun things to do. Here are the top birthday getaway destinations that have all three of those things and MORE.

16. Vilcabamba, Ecuador

vilcabamba ecuador
Photo by: Marquis Matson

Celebrating your 40th in Vilcabamba, Ecuador gives you the perfect blend of physical challenges and spiritual experiences. Nestled in the southern region of Ecuador, Vilcabamba is renowned for its stunning landscapes, serene atmosphere, and unusually high number of centenarians. Who knows, the magic of Vilcabamba might rub off on you too!

Begin your adventure with a hike in Podocarpus National Park. Its rich biodiversity and gorgeous mountain views make it a must-visit for any nature enthusiast. The Rumi Wilco Nature Reserve, with its walking trails along the Vilcabamba River, is another haven for hikers.

But Vilcabamba isn’t just about physical activities. This “Valley of Longevity” is also known for its spiritual offerings. Consider participating in a Shamanic healing ceremony. It’s a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in indigenous Andean traditions, offering a transformative experience that complements the milestone of your 40th.

Eco-lodges and boutique hotels in town provide comfortable, sustainable options for accommodation. You can search for something super affordable here. Getting around Vilcabamba is easy, with taxis for in-town travel and rental cars or local buses for regional exploration.

If you’re looking to celebrate your 40th with an active yet introspective journey, then Vilcabamba, with its harmonious blend of nature and spiritual practices, might just be your ideal destination.

17. Ayampe, Ecuador

ayampe birthday trip
Photo by: Marquis Matson
  • Itinerary: Surfing lessons, yoga classes, whale watching tour, hike in the Ayampe Reserve.
  • Stay: Oceanfront cabanas or guesthouses. You can search for accommodations in Ayampe here.
  • Transportation: Local taxis, bus for regional travel.
  • Prices: Very affordable.

As a hidden gem on the Pacific Coast of Ecuador, Ayampe offers an idyllic setting for a 40th birthday celebration. This small, tranquil village seamlessly blends beach life, outdoor activities, and wellness practices.

I lived here (well, in Guayaquil which was a bus ride away from Ayampe, my chosen weekend getaway spot) for a couple of years for many reasons and I just can’t recommend it enough.

Start your day with a sunrise yoga session or go for a refreshing morning surf – Ayampe’s gentle waves are perfect for beginners and seasoned surfers alike. If you’ve never tried surfing before, this could be your chance to embrace the ’40 and fabulous’ mantra and take on a new challenge.

When you’re not catching waves or unwinding on the beach, explore the Ayampe Reserve. A moderately challenging hike, the trail rewards you with stunning ocean views and bird-watching opportunities.

Accommodation in Ayampe ranges from rustic oceanfront cabanas to quaint guesthouses, all offering a relaxed atmosphere that mirrors the town itself. You can search for accommodations in Ayampe here. Transportation within the village is easily managed on foot, while local taxis and buses are available for trips to nearby towns.

Ayampe’s laid-back vibe, combined with its natural beauty and wellness-focused activities, make it a compelling option for those looking for a serene, rejuvenating 40th birthday trip. It’s a place where you can celebrate life, embrace new experiences, and set the tone for the decade ahead.

18. Sintra, Portugal

  • Itinerary: Visit Pena Palace, hike the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, explore Quinta da Regaleira.
  • Stay: Boutique hotels in the town center. You can find the perfect accommodation here.
  • Transportation: Walking for local sites, trains and buses for further distances.
  • Prices: Moderate, with opportunities for budget and luxury experiences.

The fairy-tale town of Sintra, just a short train ride away from Lisbon, offers an enchanting backdrop for an unforgettable 40th birthday experience. Here, opulent palaces, lush forests, and a charming town center combine to create a uniquely immersive cultural and natural experience.

Begin your journey in the town center, with its pastel-colored buildings and quaint cobblestone streets. Visit the whimsical Pena Palace, perched high on a hill, and feel like a queen surveying her kingdom. The palace’s bright colors and eclectic architectural style are sure to make a lasting impression. Find the perfect guided tour in Sintra here!

For a dash of adventure, don your hiking boots and explore the trails of the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park. This extensive park covers everything from mountainous terrain to sandy beaches. Take in panoramic views and breathe in the fresh Atlantic air. Find the perfect hiking trail in Sintra-Cascais National Park here.

After your hike, reward yourself with a visit to Quinta da Regaleira. This luxurious 19th-century estate is home to an intricate web of tunnels and concealed symbolism, offering a touch of mystery to your birthday adventure. Book a half day private tour here!

Sintra’s mix of cultural richness and natural beauty makes it a top destination for any solo female traveler. Whether you’re ambling through the town, exploring lavish palaces, or conquering forest trails, this Portuguese gem will surely provide a memorable 40th birthday trip.

19. Interlaken, Switzerland

  • Itinerary: Take the Jungfraujoch railway, hike in the Swiss Alps, paraglide over the lakes.
  • Stay: Comfortable Swiss chalets in the town center. Find a cute and cozy accommodation here.
  • Transportation: Walking for local spots, trains for intercity travel.
  • Prices: High, Switzerland is known for its expensive prices.

Nestled between two stunning lakes and surrounded by the majestic Swiss Alps, Interlaken is an outdoor lover’s paradise. It’s an excellent choice for a 40th birthday trip that combines relaxation and adventure in a breathtaking setting.

Interlaken is a gateway to the Jungfrau region, where you can hop on the Jungfraujoch railway for a scenic ride to the “Top of Europe”. As you ascend, you’ll be rewarded with surreal views of snow-capped peaks, glaciers, and alpine meadows. At the summit, treat yourself to a Swiss chocolate fondue and revel in the panorama of the great Aletsch Glacier.

For those craving a heart-pumping activity, try paragliding over Interlaken. As you soar like a bird, you’ll take in views of the lakes and the surrounding Alps, an experience that truly feels like a celebration of life and freedom. Not to mention, it will make for one heck of a 40th birthday memory.

To unwind, take leisurely strolls along the town’s charming streets, stop by local shops and restaurants, and savor Swiss delicacies like raclette and rösti. Find a cute and cozy accommodation here.

Interlaken presents a perfect mix of adventure and tranquility that lends itself beautifully to a memorable 40th birthday trip. Whether you’re admiring the beauty of the Swiss Alps or taking in the charm of the town, Interlaken offers an array of experiences that encapsulate the magic of Switzerland.

20. Marrakech, Morocco

  • Itinerary: Explore the Medina, visit Majorelle Garden, ride a camel in the desert.
  • Stay: Traditional Moroccan riads in the Medina. Explore accommodations in Marrakech here.
  • Transportation: Walking for local spots, taxis for longer distances.
  • Prices: Mid-range, good value for money.

Your 40th birthday is a perfect time to experience the magical blend of culture, adventure, and relaxation that Marrakech offers. Known as the ‘Red City’ due to its distinctively colored buildings, Marrakech is a city where tradition meets modernity, making it an exciting destination for your milestone celebration.

Start your journey in the Medina, the historic heart of Marrakech. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site, filled with winding alleys, bustling souks, and beautiful palaces. Here, you can shop for traditional crafts, visit stunning architectural sites like the Bahia Palace, and dine in local eateries serving authentic Moroccan cuisine.

For a serene escape, make your way to the Majorelle Garden. This enchanting garden, once owned by fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, is a soothing oasis of exotic plants and cobalt blue buildings. It’s a perfect place to unwind and reflect on your journey so far.

To add some adventure to your trip, consider a camel ride in the Agafay Desert. Feel the desert wind in your hair and watch the sun set over the sandy dunes for a truly mesmerizing experience.

Marrakech offers a unique blend of experiences that promise a 40th birthday celebration full of enchantment, adventure, and tranquility. The city’s rich culture, vibrant colors, and serene gardens make it a captivating destination that will leave you with memories to cherish for a lifetime.

Find the cheapest flight for your upcoming trip here ✈️

21. Noosa, Queensland, Australia

main beach noosa queensland
Photo by: Marquis Matson
  • Itinerary: Relax on Noosa Main Beach, explore Noosa National Park, visit the Eumundi Markets.
  • Stay: Beachfront resorts or vacation rentals in Noosa Heads. Find the perfect birthday getaway accommodations in Noosa Heads here.
  • Transportation: Car rental for exploring the wider region, walking for local spots.
  • Prices: Mid to high range, depending on the season.

Noosa, with its stunning coastline and laid-back vibe, is a great place to commemorate your 40th birthday. (Australia in general is a great 40th birthday destination because it is GORGEOUS and CLEAN and just so damn organized and that’s what we deserve in this decade!!)

Situated in sunny Queensland, Australia, this beach town offers an inviting blend of natural beauty, outdoor adventure, and relaxed sophistication. Find the perfect birthday getaway accommodations in Noosa Heads here.

My favorite brunch place is Café Le Monde; Photo by: Marquis Matson

Start your day with a leisurely breakfast at one of the trendy cafés in Hastings Street, followed by a morning of sunbathing on Noosa Main Beach. This beach is patrolled by lifesavers and its gentle waves make it a safe and relaxing spot for swimming.

noosa national park queensland
Noosa National Park; Photo by: Marquis Matson

Just around the corner from the main beach is Noosa National Park, a natural wonderland home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. With its beautiful scenery, scenic walking trails and pristine beaches, the park is a haven for nature lovers. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a koala in the eucalyptus trees! I’ve never seen one in Noosa, they are kinda rare to spot. I’ve only ever seen them in Victoria, which is down south.

For a dose of local culture, head to the nearby Eumundi Markets, open every Wednesday and Saturday. Here you’ll find a vast array of local artisans selling unique crafts, clothing, and organic produce. It’s a perfect spot to pick up a unique souvenir from your trip. I’ve spent many a Saturdays here and eating brunch at the nearby restaurants. Australia has a strong market-and-latte vibe and the Eumundi Markets are the best place to experience that!

Celebrate your 40th in Noosa and immerse yourself in the quintessential Australian beach culture. Whether you’re soaking up the sun on the beach, discovering local wildlife, or exploring vibrant markets, you’re guaranteed a memorable birthday experience in Noosa.

Find the cheapest flight for your upcoming trip here ✈️

22. Cairns, Queensland, Australia

cairns queensland
Cairns from above; Photo by: Marquis Matson
  • Itinerary: Explore the Great Barrier Reef, visit the Daintree Rainforest, relax at the Cairns Esplanade.
  • Stay: Hotels or vacation rentals in the Cairns city center. Find accommodations here. For cooler weather at the top of the hill and nestled in a rainforest, check out the boutique accommodations in Kuranda.
  • Transportation: Public buses, taxis, or a rental car for wider exploration.
  • Prices: Moderate to high, depending on the activities.

Cairns, situated in Far North Queensland, Australia, serves as a gateway to some of the country’s most extraordinary natural wonders. This makes it an excellent 40th birthday destination for those seeking both relaxation and outdoor adventure.

Begin your birthday celebration on the high seas with a tour of the Great Barrier Reef. Known for its colorful coral and diverse marine life, the reef offers incredible opportunities for snorkeling and diving. Whether you’re a seasoned diver or a novice snorkeler, this underwater spectacle will leave you breathless.

The only other place I’ve dove with a reef like that is in the Florida Keys … but this one is MASSIVE.

daintree beaches
Daintree beaches; Photo by: Marquis Matson

Back on land, take a trip to the Daintree Rainforest, the oldest tropical rainforest in the world. Here, you can hike through lush vegetation, marvel at the stunning waterfalls, and perhaps even spot a cassowary – a rare, flightless bird that calls this region home.

cassowary in queensland australia
Photo by: Marquis Matson

In the city itself, spend a leisurely afternoon at the Cairns Esplanade, a beautiful waterfront promenade dotted with lagoons, picnic areas, and barbecue facilities. As the sun begins to set, treat yourself to a delicious meal at one of the waterfront restaurants, serving everything from local seafood to international cuisines.

Just a heads up: this is one of the hottest places I’ve ever been to. It was uncomfortably hot for me around Christmas, which is Australia’s “summer”. If you don’t like the heat then this may not be the right destination for you. For cooler weather at the top of the hill and nestled in a rainforest, check out the boutique accommodations in Kuranda.

Turning 40 in Cairns means stepping into the next decade of your life surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty, warm hospitality, and endless outdoor activities. It’s the perfect place to embrace your adventurous spirit and kick off a brand new chapter in style.

23. The Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia

  • Itinerary: Road trip along the coastline, visit the Twelve Apostles, surfing in Bells Beach, explore the rainforests in Otway National Park.
  • Stay: B&Bs or vacation rentals in the towns along the route, such as Torquay, Lorne, and Apollo Bay.
  • Transportation: A rental car is necessary for the road trip.
  • Prices: Moderate, with potential savings on self-catering accommodations. (AKA van life! Australia is the perfect place for van life and car camping.)

The Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia, is an iconic coastal route that offers one of the world’s most scenic drives. This is a fantastic 40th birthday idea for those who love the freedom of the open road and the promise of breathtaking vistas at every turn.

Start your adventure in Torquay, the official beginning of the Great Ocean Road and Australia’s surfing capital. You might even want to grab a surfboard and catch a wave at the famous Bells Beach (with a wetsuit!). Or if you’re more like me, grab a latte from a nearby café and watch the pros do their thing in the water.

As you drive along the dramatic coastline, make sure to stop at the Twelve Apostles, a collection of limestone stacks off the shore of Port Campbell National Park. The sight of these majestic natural pillars against the backdrop of the crashing waves is a sight to behold and makes for a memorable birthday photo.

You’ll also pass through the lush rainforests of Otway National Park. Take a break from driving to hike through the ancient landscapes, and don’t forget to look up — you might actually spot a koala lounging in the eucalyptus trees!

This is a beautiful drive that reminds me of the Central Coast of California, but fewer people, lower prices, and a lot colder. We drove through the Great Ocean Road in our van and camped in the surrounding forests and parks. If you can rent a van, then I recommend trying that here!

Turning 40 on the Great Ocean Road is all about embracing the journey. It’s a celebration of your adventurous spirit and a reminder that life’s greatest joys often lie in the journey, not just the destination.

PRO TIP: Get around and see things off the beaten path on your trip. Book your affordable car rental here.

24. Koh Phangan, Thailand

bottle beach koh phangan thailand
Photo by: Marquis Matson
  • Itinerary: Full Moon Party, snorkeling in Mae Haad Beach, yoga classes, visit Than Sadet National Park.
  • Stay: Beachfront resorts or guesthouses, with many options near Haad Rin. Check out the accommodation options here.
  • Transportation: Rental scooters, taxis, or on foot if staying near the main areas.
  • Prices: Affordable to moderate, depending on chosen accommodations.

Koh Phangan in Thailand is often associated with its infamous Full Moon Parties, but don’t be fooled – there’s much more to this island paradise than neon paint and late-night revelry. This gem in the Gulf of Thailand makes a fantastic choice for an unforgettable 40th birthday trip for women looking for a balance of relaxation, outdoor adventure, and cultural exploration.

For the water-lovers, the island’s clear, warm waters offer an array of snorkeling opportunities, especially in the coral gardens of Mae Haad Beach. Swim with colorful tropical fish and maybe even spot a turtle if you’re lucky!

For those in need of rejuvenation, Koh Phangan is also a burgeoning yoga hub. Numerous studios around the island offer classes in various styles, often with sea views to enhance the zen vibes. Engage in a restorative session or two and embrace the calmness that yoga brings – a fitting metaphor for entering your fourth decade.

You’ll also find tons of Thai massage places where you can get a horrifying interesting massage, Thai style. Don’t worry, they offer relaxing massages too but, hey, when in Rome!

natural beauty in jungle on koh phangan thailand
Photo by: Marquis Matson

Take some time to explore the natural beauty of the island as well. Than Sadet National Park boasts stunning waterfalls and lush trails, perfect for a hike to remember.

While Koh Phangan knows how to throw a party, it’s also a place of serene beauty and cultural richness. Turning 40 here means a perfect blend of celebration and reflection, where you can dance the night away under the full moon, then find tranquility in a yoga class or a quiet beach the next morning. Now, isn’t that a well-rounded way to step into a new decade?

Final thoughts

Whaddya think of this list of 40th birthday trip ideas?? Plenty of fun things to do and beautiful scenery to explore. All I can say is that these are all the fun things I’ve done around the world and so I can whole-heartedly recommend them to you for the best birthday trip ever. Or, hell, any kind of trip if you ask me.

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