40th Birthday Trip Ideas That Will Bring The Decade In With A Bang

40th birthday trip ideas

When I faced turning 40, I’ll confess I was a bit nervous. We are kinda conditioned to think the 20 somethings have it all, and it’s all big panties and boredom from 39 onwards. Luckily I soon realised this milestone birthday would be the gateway to a whole host of fun experiences and the perfect excuse to focus on myself, not my young kids for once.

In this article, I’ll offer some unique ideas for fabulous ways to celebrate the start of any new decade, but especially your fourth. Whether you are craving a little relaxation or a big adventure, this is your go-to resource to make this an especially happy birthday.

How to Make a 40th Birthday Getaway Special

I actually love that slightly hackneyed phrase “live your best life” and your 40th birthday is certainly the time to do just that. At 40, many people are tied up with family or work commitments but you should still set time aside to celebrate you…

…even if it’s just with a day trip to the beach for an al fresco lunch round an open fire with your extended family and friends making a fuss of you.

Back in the olden days, 40 was considered old and people regularly died young from health issues related to poverty and lack of modern health care. It’s our duty to pay tribute to those generations by living life well and in abundance. 💁

7 Show-stopping 40th Birthday Destinations and Ideas

1. Hike, bike, and indulge in Croatia

biking in croatia

One of my guilty pleasures is watching “Below Deck”, a fly on the wall program about “yachties” who work on private luxury yachts and their mega wealthy clients who enjoy exceptional service. Recently I watched the series set in and around Croatia in Europe and was blown away by the breathtaking views, history and culture of the region.

You might not be able to access a super yacht for your 40th birthday but you can still party on a sandy beach, hike and bike through spectacular scenery and explore historic towns and cities where you can spot the architectural and cultural influences from the ancient Romans, Venetian Gothic, Romanesque and Medieval eras.

Take That TikTok

Get that on-body camera charged to record amazing views, natural wonders and your adventures sea kayaking, snorkelling and speed boating. Then watch your Tik-Tok following blow up with people who all wish they were you. Follow the Croatian part of the Parenzana trail on E-bikes, learn about truffles and get the best views ever hiking in Paklenica National Park.

Dump the built-in images on your smart display and replace them with stunning pics you take yourself on your Croatian island-hopping holiday. Spend time on the beach and dream about which private island you would like as a 40th birthday present. Visit Gothic cathedrals galore and immerse yourself in all the “must-do” cultural experiences before you head for a night of fine dining in Zagreb old town.

2. Enjoy Beautiful Beaches and Glamping in Belize

swimming in belize

For the best 40th birthday bash EVER, join other intrepid explorers on a remote UNESCO designated marine preserve, Glover’s Reef, off the coast of Belize in the Caribbean. Populate Pinterest with pics of the most beautiful beaches you can imagine and your tent-walled cabana complete with real beds, wooden floors and porches for the perfect glamping experience.

I’m a Celebrity

Discover Mayan ruins and ancient caves. Be the celeb in the jungle who doesn’t scream “get me out of here” because you are having too much fun with outdoor activities like zip lining over the jungle canopy. This is an amazing chance to experience jungle living without having to eat kangaroo testicles, and the opportunity to tick “SUP on crystal clear turquoise waters” off your bucket list.

3. Explore Moab’s National Parks

hiking in moab

Make memories in the magnificent Moab region in Southern Utah where you can squeeze a lot of fun into a long birthday weekend. This is the perfect birthday getaway for a small group of outdoorsy gals who can chat, laugh and take super selfies against a perfect backdrop of iconic rock formations. If vast and desolate is your vibe, then you are going to love this area which makes other parks look as busy as the mall on Black Friday.

Amazing Al Fresco

Admire an amazing view as you tuck into a well earned lunch on the White Rim of the Colorado River. The next morning, catch an unforgettable sunrise at Deadhouse Point State Park, after which your al fresco coffee and breakfast will taste like the most delicious food you have ever eaten.

Of course the birthday girl needs to relax too, so as well as lots of hiking, expect fresh cooked food in a shared lodge plus meals out in excellent restaurants and some time for shopping for the perfect 40th birthday mementos in quaint, artsy Moab.

4. Walk on Glaciers in Banff, Canada

trekking in banff

For a birthday getaway for the chick who yearns for big skies and vast views, a chance to hike while taking in all the charm of the remote backcountry of Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies is the perfect trip.

Spend glorious days in the fresh air hiking hut-to-hut while admiring towering mountains, waterfalls and glacier-fed lakes as you celebrate the start of a new decade of your life. Face endless choices on what jaw-dropping view you share next on Instagram as mile after magnificent mile reveals more of some of Mother Nature’s best work.

Alpine Style

Some of this birthday trip will be spent in a downtown centrally located Banff hotel with all modern amenities. BUT whereas other hotel guests might get glimpses of the wilderness from the foyer, you will be fully immersed when you step out to head onto trails leading to Alpine style huts where you will spend the night before trekking across an ancient glacier. Prove that 40 is the new 30 and return to daily life with socials crammed full of captures.

5. Combine history, culture, and adventure in Jordan

adventures in jordan

Maybe you are more hot stuff than ice queen, in which case head straight to Jordan where you can slap on a battered Fedora and release your inner Indiana. (Whip optional 😉). Although some of the locations in this region have been featured in many movies, the desert retains its wild vibe and with the right guides you will be able to dodge most of the tourists to enjoy a more authentic experience for your special birthday.

I don’t know what appeals to me more about this trip—floating in the Dead Sea,  which is like the ultimate in spa treatment, or riding a camel across the desert pretending I’m looking for ancient magical treasures.

Bedouin Life

Experience a true taste of authentic Bedouin life with a memorable glamping experience (yes, there will be an actual bed to ensure your comfort). Throw in a jeep safari and a chance to prepare one of your meals with experts from a female owned and run local culinary school and this HAS to tick many boxes on the old bucket list. You’ve grown up watching Indiana Jones (can you believe the first one came out in 1981?!), now go on your own crusade for your milestone birthday.

6. Palm Springs to Las Vegas Road Trip

swimming in las vegas

Nothing shouts fun birthday trip like a gals road trip—just ask Thelma and Louise. Actually, maybe don’t…. But if you want to glow up the standard pilgrimage to Sin City, a road trip starting or ending in Palm Springs is perfect for a 40th birthday celebration without eating too much into the family vacation allocation.

Make sure you build in time for a dip in the eponymous hot springs. Meanwhile, the city’s Aerial Tramway offers great views through Chino Canyon en route to a museum and some beautiful hiking trails. If you like art galleries, check out Palm Springs Art Museum where you can enjoy live music. (There’s also an onsite restaurant.)

En Route

On your journey, make sure you stop and visit some of the many fascinating and sometimes completely bonkers sights along the way. From the world’s tallest thermometer and the themed Alien Jerky store, both in Baker, there are lots of fun things to do and see to make your birthday memorable.

Travel by motorbike, RV, car or bus. You’ll get a great price going by bus (make sure it has air conditioning though) and you could put what you save towards staying on one of Vegas’ many luxury resorts but you will have more freedom self-driving.

7. Messing About On The Water, Florida Keys

There are some amazing rentals in the Keys where you and all your gal pals can gather for some sun, sea and Sundowners. You might even snag access to a private beach. The benefit to this kind of birthday trip is that you can build in activities to suit all ages and abilities.

Try SUP, surfing, snorkelling or shipwreck diving—if it can be done on or in the water, it can be done around the Keys. Of course the Everglades are right on the doorstep too so take some time away from sunbathing for a thrill-filled airboat ride. Just make sure any vendors are fully qualified, licensed and insured before booking activities.

Stay Dry

Prefer to stay dry? The region has a number of yoga retreats for some guided chill time or you could plan in some day trips to one of the local attractions, like The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum or the National Marine Sanctuary. Have you ever been on a walking food tour? They are a great way to discover the best local specialities you might have missed without an expert guide. (We recommend trying the infamous Key Lime pie of Key West 😋)

Why the big 4-0 is a milestone birthday

The big 4-0 is a big birthday for many reasons. Like any birthday with an 0 in it, it marks the transition from one decade to another and gives us a reason to examine the past and move forward into the future, wiser and hopefully stronger. Our sisters in the past could not dream of the opportunities we have, especially at the age of 40 and beyond. Turning 40 is a great time to finally learn who we are and what we are capable of and these trip ideas are aimed at helping you have fun, make friends and memories and realise your potential.

celebrate your birthday with other women

Other milestone birthdays

Obviously these suggestions are not exclusive for those turning 40.  Whether you are waving goodbye to your 20’s or striding into your 50’s there’s an experience out there for you. Check out some trip ideas for memorable 50th birthdays for some more birthday inspiration.

Meet the Writer

Afra Willmore

Afra is an award winning journalist who has enjoyed many adventures including swimming with sharks, crewing hot air balloons and canyoning.  She started creating online content ten years ago, diversifying after years writing for print publications. She loves travel, great food, and her family. Not necessarily in that order.

Favorite outdoor adventure: Snorkeling in the warm waters off the coast of Cyprus

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