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While every trip around the sun is reason enough to celebrate, there are certain birthdays that feel more notable than others. Instead of planning a boozy happy hour, consider checking off a long-time bucket-list destination. Whether you’re turning 21, 30, 40 or 50 or more, here are the best places to go for all your big milestone birthdays including options for traveling with a group, your partner or all by your self.

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21st birthday

Drinking ages vary greatly across the globe, with most European countries allowing their youth to start boozing at age 18. If you’re an American, 21 is the magic number. That’s why celebrating your 21st birthday stateside is a better bet.

Solo: San Francisco

Since Las Vegas might be a dangerous endeavor if you’re an inexperienced drinker, consider celebrating in another West Coast hot spot. A more relaxed city than Vegas or even Los Angeles, San Francisco offers creative and delicious cocktails throughout its many neighborhoods. Avoid the Tenderloin at night, but venturing through the Marina, the Mission or SoMa, you’re bound to find friendly residents who will become instant friends. Spend a tad more to stay somewhere Instagram-worthy. Hotel Griffon offers gorgeous views of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. After a night of toasting your 21st, order room service to soak up the alcohol and hopefully, prevent your first legal-age hangover.

Couple: Miami

Full of white sand beaches, clear Florida waters and plenty of party options, this coastal city has a little bit of everything. Together, you can explore the club scene, while also trying your skill set at adventurous feats, like kayaking, paddle boarding and snorkeling. Split the cost of a suite at The Miami Beach EDITION, right on the main drag of Collins Avenue. Here, you might consider “officially” turn 21 at midnight and heading right downstairs to the appropriately-named EDITION Basement, to party until dawn. With several different entertainment themes, you and your bae can pick your own poison. Once you’ve downed enough to make you feel mighty buzzed, you only have to walk upstairs to crash.

Group: Lexington, KY

Stand out of the pack by suggesting your group of pals switch it up by heading to a lesser-known hot spot, like Lexington. Nicknamed the “next Charleston,” this Southern gem offers much to explore, especially if your idea of boozing includes craft beer. Here, your group of friends can celebrate your big day by taking the ‘Brewgrass Trail,’ and taste dozens of varieties. Stay at a nice establishment close to downtown, like the 21c Museum Hotel Lexington, where at least five of you can pile into one double room. If you wake up hungry A.F.? No worries, for a small fee, you can have a cooked-to-order breakfast delivered right to your room. Hey, it’s your birthday and you can eat pancakes if you want to.

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30th birthday

By now, you might look back and wonder how time can fly so fast. That’s why your 30th birthday should be full of adventure, and hey, a little more of a splurge than previous years.

Solo: Vienna

If you’ve seen much of Western Europe, but haven’t ventured East, head to historic Vienna. The city is known for its music-inspired culture, shaped by Mozart and Beethoven, while offering a plethora of food options. Wander city streets, try new culinary feats and fall in love with Viennese charm. Stay at the luxe Le Meridien Vienna, which proudly hosts Vienna’s most promising artists via many rotating installations and offering guests the ‘Unlock Art’ program, which includes complimentary access to 21er Haus (art in the park Schweizer Garten). Toast your 30th at Le Moët Gourmet & Champagne Bar, after spending the day cycling, thanks to their bike rental program.

Couple: Monaco

Whether you’re trying to get pregnant, plan your wedding or savoring the fact that you finally found someone, Monte Carlo in Monaco is ideal. This beautiful seaside town offers great food and incredible views, all with a sexy vibe. At Hotel Metropole, book the James Bond-inspired, ‘Golden Eye Experience” including a private tour of the infamous Monte-Carlo Casino, where many movies were filmed, a private helicopter ride and lunch. It also includes a driving tour of the French Riviera, followed by an in-room couples’ massage and an exclusive dinner on the outdoor terrace. Hit the casino if you’re sup for it or head back to your suite, where you’ll find rose petals and champagne waiting.

Group: Bali

Your 30s are much more about treating your body kindly. If you and your friends are into yoga, or just prefer a luxe beach over a happy hour special, consider making the trek to Bali. Since over the next decade, you’ll likely build families, purchase homes and watch your lives change dramatically, take your 30th as an opportunity to celebrate friendship by going to a place you probably won’t be returning to anytime soon. Book one of the 78 private pool villas at RIMBA Jimbaran BALI BY AYANA, which sits on 20 acres of lush gardens within a 220-acre estate. Here, you have your pick of 12 pools, 19 restaurants and bars, an extensive spa and plenty of yoga classes to get your 30-year-old zen on.

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40th birthday

If you’re now a parent, you’re busy shuttling kids to and from school all while trying to maintain your sanity and your marriage. If you’re flying solo, you likely keep yourself busy with a bustling career. To ring in the big 4-0, consider a mix of domestic and international locations, all of which offer a different experience to prepare for the decade to come.

Solo: Sante Fe, NM

Head to a destination that helps you reconnect with nature – and more importantly, yourself. With deep Native American roots, Instagram-worthy sunsets and easy access to shopping, you’ll find yourself busy – and inspired. Stay at the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado and have every day of your trip customized based on mood. Take an innovative self-exploration program co-facilitated by horses, pick a treatment off their spa menu, which can be experienced at the 10,000-square-foot facility or in their new  luxury teepee and deck. Stay on site for a birthday dinner at Terra Restaurant whose cuisines is inspired by both local and global flavors and whose chef forages locally.

Couple: Kenya

Before you start thinking about retirement, consider prioritizing an African safari. At Angama Mara, the site where the most romantic scenes from Out of Africa were filmed, guests have their pick of 15 tented-guest suites, placed right on the edge of Oloololo Escarpment. This spot is one of the most sought-after parcels on the entire continent, thanks to the ability to game view, right from the grounds. The resort’s location might make you feel like you’re floating, since it’s located 1,000-feet above the Great Rift Valley, where every morning, hot air balloons float past the 30-foot-wide floor-to-ceiling glass fronts each suite offers. Food and drinks and safari trips are included within the nightly rate.

Group: Jamaica

Have a killer group of pals, who all want to get away from their day-to-day life to celebrate your 40th? Consider heading to the jaw-dropping beach hot-spot of Jamaica, where a stay at The Cliff Hotel will make all of you never want to leave. While it’s just a hot second away from the hub of Negril, its location atop a cliff (hence the name) makes for gorgeous sunsets and sunrises. The Cliff offers customized spa treatments made with Jamaican botanicals, herbs and ingredients, as well as private yoga classes and meditation. For birthday dinner, enjoy onsite Zest Restaurant, which centers on island flavors. With just 22 suites, your pals can book their stay as couples, or share a few rooms.

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50th birthday and beyond

Half a century old? Or even more? Say it isn’t so! Hitting 50 is a monumental birthday that might feel overwhelming at first, but when you think of all of the experiences, adventures, love and laughter you’ve shared over the past five decades, you’ll probably find yourself speechless. Your 50th calls for a huge trip! And every milestone after that, even more so.

Solo: Budapest

Even if you’re in great shape (go you!), you might not want to ring in the next half-century of your life by galavanting about a busy European city. With a rich history, a calmer vibe and plenty of one-of-a-kind meals, Budapest is a happy medium. Since it’s central to other parts of Europe, you can continue your birthday trip by hopping on a train. Stay at the gorgeous Hotel Aria Budapest, which offers 49 guest rooms and suites honoring musical legends like Tchaikovsky, Ella Fitzgerald and the Rolling Stones. Its central location makes it easy to see hot spots, while an open invitation to Harmony Spa gives you an excuse to relax. Have a cocktail at SkyBar, complete with 360-degree city views.

Couple: Tuscany

If you and your one-and-only have already ventured through much of the world together, you might consider a more relaxed experience for your 50th. If you’ve never taken a moment to savor the views and, ahem, the wine, of Italy, a Tuscany vacation is a must. Book a suite at the Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort & Spa, featuring incredible wine country vistas. Each room overlook the stunning Serchio Valley and the Apuan Valley mountain range, and on a clear day, you might even spot the medieval town of Barga. Before you go, make sure you allow the onsite spa help you detox after tasting the many wines of the region. Romantic, indeed!

Group: Hawaii

While you love your children (of course) and your partner (always), the best friends who have gotten you through all of the ups and downs along the way are also important. If your gaggle is up for a 50th-birthday adventure, consider making the trek to gorgeous Hawaii. While you should make a point to venture throughout the islands, a must-see and must-stay on Oahu’s North Shore is the Turtle Bay Resort. This private beach area offers 42 upscale beach cottages, onsite dining and drinking, as well as an inspired fitness and wellness program. Proving that you’re never too old to learn new tricks, consider booking their Full Moon Paddle Sessions, or an Authentic Tahitian Dance Cardio class.

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Lindsay Tigar

Lindsay Tigar

Lindsay is a lifestyle and travel writer, and content strategist. She is a passport stamp collector with an affinity for great wine, coffee and conversation. You can find a full collection of her work at
Lindsay Tigar


Freelance Travel and Lifestyle Journalist for @travelleisure, @voguemagazine, @usatoday, @bravotv @brides, @weddingwire and many more.
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