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10 Best 40th Birthday Vacations

#thisis40: Treating yourself to an unforgettable trip. Here are 10 superb destination ideas to get your birthday plans started

Jenna Scatena
1 / 10

South Lake Tahoe, NV

You’ve grown up—and South Lake Tahoe has, too. Now, people come for more than the ski runs and casinos—swank clubs like Opal at Montbleu Resort and mellow craft breweries like Lake Tahoe AleWorX offer a fun but relaxed atmosphere to celebrate with a group of friends. Plus, a spectrum of hotels cater to celebrators of every budget: The Coachman Hotel for trendy but budget-friendly, and the sleek Sierra-inspired Edgewood Tahoe for those willing to splurge for a coveted lakeside suite.

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2 / 10

Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico

If by 40 you’ve had your share of birthdays spent wine tasting through the Napa Valley, switch it up for the more adventurous Valle de Guadalupe wine trail. The scenic stretch of cactus and vineyards guides you to enchanting biodynamic wineries like Hacienda La Lomita. Stay at the Adobe Guadalupe, one of the valley’s most charming inns that doubles as a vineyard.

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3 / 10

Joshua Tree, CA

A new decade calls for meditative reflection, and Joshua Tree has the beauty, expansiveness, and creative flare to help. Whether you’re camping in Joshua Tree National Park, sleeping in an updated homestead from Airbnb, or hiking past boulders to Inspiration Peak, you’ll be surrounded—and inspired—by Joshua Tree’s otherworldly landscape.

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4 / 10

Sayulita, Mexico

Treat yourself to a solo birthday escape, Sayulita-style. This Mexican coastal village is the perfect place for single travelers to hit the reset button and try something new—from surfing to snorkeling to a weeklong personal yoga immersion at Haramara Retreat, a boutique wellness center tucked in the jungle.

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5 / 10

British Columbia, Canada

For a celebratory road trip without the inconveniences of gas stops, traffic, and GPS fails, Via Rail Canada’s Vancouver-Edmonton train coasts through British Columbia’s most stunning untrodden passes. Cozy sleeper cabins have picture windows so you can sightsee from bed, but be sure to make it to the Skyline Dome Car for the best seat in the house.

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6 / 10

Santa Fe, NM

Bon vivants will want to head to the Southwest’s culinary capital for an epic food pilgrimage. Skip the birthday cake and instead eat your way through Santa Fe’s best restaurants, like Cafe Pasqual's for huevos, Tune-Up Cafe for a green chile quesadilla, and Low 'n Slow Lowrider Bar for a birthday Hot Wheels Margarita. Don’t miss the Santa Fe Farmers Market, which showcases dozens of varieties of colorful local chiles.

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7 / 10

Las Vegas, NV

A Las Vegas birthday party doesn’t have to feel like a throwback to your college days. There are plenty of options for age-appropriate celebrating at sophisticated cocktail lounges like the Mandarin Bar, Vesper, and the rooftop at Commonwealth. The Delano Las Vegas has decidedly refined rooms and suites for groups.

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8 / 10

Monterey, CA

Monterey is an ideal destination for a family-friendly birthday celebration, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium is a must. While in town, you’ll want to take up digs at the recently reinvented Sanctuary Beach Resort, a scenic enclave right on the beach dunes. Take our advice and order mimosas and room service for breakfast in bed or to your own private deck overlooking the Pacific.

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9 / 10

Santa Barbara, CA

The walkable wine tasting trail is the main draw of Santa Barbara’s hip Funk Zone neighborhood, making for a fun but romantic alternative to typical wine country traffic. More than a dozen tasting rooms—all decked in a different aesthetic, from schoolhouse (Municipal Winemakers) to nautical (Deep Sea Tasting Room)—are clustered right by the beach. And with the opening of the neighborhood’s Moorish-themed inn, Hotel Californian, you have a stylish base camp to celebrate.

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10 / 10

Jackson Hole, WY

Jackson Hole’s 80-mile-long snowy valley is surrounded by some of the best skiing in the country. But you don’t have to come for the powder—the town of Jackson is a prime place to party and bar hop with friends. Live it up with the cowboys at Jackson’s famed Million Dollar Cowboy (pictured), a honky tonk bar with saddles for bar seats, and the western-themed Silver Dollar Bar & Grill. Stay at the classic Wort Hotel, right in downtown Jackson.

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