From Texas to Tucson, here are the best trips to take in your 50s, as per Travel+Leisure...
Amelia Island, Florida
Amelia Island is host to the annual Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival (more than 150,000 people visit each May), the Amelia Island Jazz Festival, the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival, the Amelia Island Film Festival, the automotive charitable event Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance and the Amelia Island Blues Festival. Amelia Island was the main filming location for the 2002 John Sayles-directed film Sunshine State. The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking was also filmed there in 1988. Amelia Island hosted a Women’s Tennis Association tournament for 28 years (1980 to 2008).
In May, the annual Tecate-to-Ensenada bicycle race takes place here, with thousands of cyclists from both sides of the border participating. July is the time for a two-week celebration in Los Encinos Park, featuring dance groups, crafts, food concessions, and exhibits. The pamplonada, or running of the bulls, was ordinarily held in August in the 1980s and early 1990s along one of the main streets, but it was cancelled because of a series of accidents and violence. Tecate has a stadium, Manuel Ceceña, which is home to the local baseball team, the Cerveceros.
The Maldives remained largely unknown to tourists until the early 1970s. The development of tourism fostered the overall growth of the country’s economy. As of 2008, 89 resorts in the Maldives offered over 17,000 beds and hosted over 600,000 tourists annually. The number of resorts increased from 2 to 92 between 1972 and 2007. As of 2007, over 8,380,000 tourists had visited Maldives. Visitors to the Maldives do not need to apply for a visa pre-arrival, regardless of their country of origin, provided they have a valid passport, proof of onward travel, and the money to be self-sufficient while in the country. The country currently has six heritage Maldivian coral mosques, all of which are listed as Unesco tentative sites.
British Columbia, Canada
Given its varied mountainous terrain and its coasts, lakes, rivers, and forests, British Columbia has long been enjoyed for pursuits like hiking and camping, rock climbing and mountaineering, hunting and fishing. Watersports, both motorised and non-motorised, are enjoyed in many places. Sea kayaking opportunities abound on the British Columbia coast with its fjords. Whitewater rafting and kayaking are popular on many inland rivers. Sailing and sailboarding are widely enjoyed. In winter, cross-country and telemark skiing are much enjoyed, and in recent decades high-quality downhill skiing has been developed in the Coast Mountain range and the Rockies, as well as in the southern areas of the Shuswap Highlands and the Columbia Mountains.
Tucson is well known for its Sonoran-style Mexican food. But since the turn of the century, ethnic restaurants and fine dining choices have proliferated. In 2015, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) designated Tucson a “world city of gastronomy” under the Creative Cities Network programme, becoming thus the first city of gastronomy in the United States. The Sonoran hot dog is very popular in Tucson. This is a hot dog wrapped in bacon and grilled, served on a bolillo-style hot dog bun, and topped with pinto beans, onions, tomatoes, and a variety of additional condiments.
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
The Hilton Head Island area is home to a vast array of wildlife, including alligators, deer, loggerhead sea turtles, manatees, hundreds of species of birds, and dolphins. The Coastal Discovery Museum, in conjunction with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, patrols the beaches from May through October as part of the Sea Turtle Protection Project. The purpose of the project is to inventory and monitor nesting locations, and if necessary, move them to more suitable locations.
Tourism is an important element of economic activity in the country, contributing 7.5% of the gross domestic product. Vietnam welcomed over 12.9 million visitors in 2017, an increase of 29.1% over the previous year, making Vietnam one of the fastest growing tourist destination in recent years.The most visited destinations in Vietnam is Ho Chi Minh City with 5.8 million international arrivals, followed by Hanoi with 4.6 million and Ha Long, including Ha Long Bay with 4.4 million arrivals. All three are ranked in the top 100 most visited cities in the world. Vietnam is home to eight Unesco World Heritage Sites.
Texas Hill Country, Texas
The area is also unique for its fusion of Spanish and German influences in food, beer, architecture, and music that form a distinctively “Texan” culture separate from the state’s southern and south-western influences. For example, the accordion was popularised in Tejano music in the 19th century due to cultural exposure to German settlers. The region has emerged as the centre of the Texas wine industry. Three American Viticultural Areas are located in the areas: Texas Hill Country AVA, Fredericksburg in the Texas Hill Country AVA, and Bell Mountain AVA.
San Diego, California
Tourism is a major industry owing to the city’s climate, beaches, and tourist attractions such as Balboa Park, Belmont amusement park, San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and SeaWorld San Diego. San Diego’s Spanish and Mexican heritage is reflected in many historic sites across the city, such as Mission San Diego de Alcala and Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. Also, the local craft brewing industry attracts an increasing number of visitors for “beer tours” and the annual San Diego Beer Week in November. Sport fishing is another popular tourist attraction.
Tin mining was a major source of income for the island from the 16th century until petering out in the 20th century. In modern times, Phuket’s economy has rested on two pillars: rubber tree plantations (making Thailand the biggest producer of rubber in the world) and tourism. Since the 1980s, the sandy beaches on the west coast of the island have been developed as tourist destinations, with Patong, Karon, and Kata being the most popular. Since the 2004 tsunami, all damaged buildings and attractions have been restored. In July 2005, Phuket was voted one of the world’s top five retirement destinations by Fortune Magazine.