Let’s face it, most of us only have a weekend to celebrate our birthdays each year. So for those who love to travel, how do you find places to go for your birthday that are apt for a quick celebration?
Whether you only have a couple of days or perhaps more time to spare, whether you hope to spend your birthday alone or with loved ones, this list is sure to give you some inspo this year:
We’re all about spending time outdoors here at BMTM. If you’re a fellow nature lover, chances are your ideal birthday would be somewhere in the woods, on a lake, at a waterfall, or anywhere else in nature that tickles your fancy. If you can relate, these are the best places to go for your birthday:
1. Lake Tahoe, California & Nevada
One of the greatest things about Lake Tahoe is that it’s a spectacular place to go for your birthday, no matter the season. If you visit in the summer, you can spend time on the water, hiking through the woods, or climbing Mount Tallac. You can also camp and have a birthday barbecue if that’s your jam. If you visit in the winter, you can snowshoe along the trails, or try your hand at skiing or snowboarding.
Lake Tahoe makes a great birthday trip because it’s a fantastic destination for a group of friends, your family, your partner, or even just yourself. I mean, hey, those views are just as stunning if you’re on your own.
Another big plus is that there are many beautiful places to stay, either right on the lake or nearby.
2. Joshua Tree National Park, California
Another place to go for your birthday that is magical during every season is Joshua Tree National Park. Whether you’re down for a summertime getaway to see starry skies or a mild winter weekend to celebrate, Joshua Tree has something in store for you. It’s an excellent place to hike, but you can also go rock climbing or simply catch a sunset view. Find out what else you can do in Joshua Tree here.
Although the spectacular desert scenes here are enough to make anyone’s birthday special, the real reason why it makes this list is the accommodations. From swanky boutique hotels just outside the national park to cool Airbnbs just a short drive away, Joshua Tree has some great options for solo travelers, couples, and groups alike. For example, take this retro Airbnb called The Birdhouse, which sleeps up to six guests but is equally ideal for couples or families.
3. Glacier National Park, Montana
This is more of a late-spring to early-fall kind of place to go for your birthday trip, as many parts of Glacier National Park in Montana close during the winter. However, you can technically visit any time of year, as long as you’re prepared for the weather. It is truly a gem and offers some seriously wild landscapes.
This birthday destination is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts who love getting off the beaten path. Montana is famous for its wide-open spaces and rugged terrain, so Glacier is an obvious choice if that kind of thing excites you.
4. Big Bend National Park, Texas
Who said Texas is all about cattle ranches and endless farmland? A fabulous choice for nature lovers who want to beat the crowds and find their slice of heaven, Big Bend National Park is calling you. The scenery here is breathtaking. You’ll find overlooks with views that seem to go on forever, many that feature river-carved valleys next to towering mountains.
Big Bend is a spectacular place for stargazing, and you can camp inside the park if you’d like. The wide-open skies become dazzling at night, leaving you with a new core memory of your special day. This is easily one of the most unique places to go for your birthday.
Whether you go it alone or bring along a friend or two, Big Bend National Park has plenty to keep you busy for a weekend or longer.
For those of us who didn’t grow up near a beach, taking a coastal birthday trip feels like an extra special affair. After all, your day only happens once a year, so why not treat yo’self? For the babes who just want to chill on the beach for their birthday, these destinations are just for you:
5. Kauai, Hawai’i
Depending on when your birthday lands, you might want to book your trip to Kauai sooner than later, as it can get pricey if you go during high season. However, chances are you’ll forget all about how much your flight cost as soon as your toes hit the sand on Kauai’s beaches. Here you’ll find golden yellow-to-white sand and dreamy waves that look straight out of a postcard.
In case you don’t want to spend your entire birthday trip soaking up the sun on the beach, there’s plenty else to do on Kauai. From daring hikes to helicopter rides and secret tide pools, the island full of adventure.
6. San Juan, Puerto Rico
A birthday trip to Puerto Rico feels like visiting a distant country, but it’s really only a stone’s throw from the continental US. This makes it the perfect weekend birthday getaway for those of you who want to feel far from home but don’t have a whole week to spend on vacation.
San Juan’s colonial architecture and colorful buildings are enchanting enough to be the star of the show, but let’s face it: you came for the beaches. The ones near San Juan are some of the best in the US and offer quite a variety of scenes.
Head to Atlantic Beach for a party vibe, or Isla Verde for a bougie afternoon in the sun. If you want to escape the crowds, stick to Hobie Beach, which is more laid-back (unless you visit during Noche de San Juan on and around June 23rd). You can also go snorkeling with turtles near San Juan, which is an unforgettable experience perfect for a birthday celebration.
Enchanting Small Cities
For many of us who come from bustling cities, the perfect birthday trip probably involves going somewhere more quiet, chill, and relaxing. Small cities that have a special air of enchantment make a fabulous destination to celebrate your trip around the sun:
7. Mendocino, California
Mendocino’s dreamy coastline offers views over rocky cliffs that plunge into the Pacific beautifully. It’s a longtime favorite destination among poets, novelists, actors, and other creative people because of its moody and enchanting atmosphere. Mendocino is the perfect birthday destination for a girls’ trip, but you can even enjoy it solo or with your partner.
Take a hike through Headlands State Park, see the pygmy forest at Jug Handle State Natural Reserve, or simply spend the afternoon sipping wine on your terrace overlooking the Pacific Ocean. However you decide to spend your time there, Mendocino has plenty of things to do to make your birthday special.
One of the best places to stay in Mendocino is Brewery Gulch Inn, which has a cozy environment that you’ll appreciate any time of year.
8. Santa Fe, New Mexico
For a delightful, colorful birthday celebration, head to Santa Fe. This southwestern gem is bursting with culture and is an art lover’s paradise. For such a small city, it sure packs a punch with its abundance of neat museums, impressive gastronomical scene, and head-tilting architecture. Whether you spend your day exploring the eye-popping MeowWolf Museum or strolling down Canyon Road to check out the art galleries and cafés, you’ll find tons of interesting things to do in Santa Fe.
There are also ample opportunities to explore nature just outside of town with your birthday companion(s). You can go rafting on the Rio Grand Gorge, check out an ancient meteor strike at Santa Fe Shatter Cones, or simply get out for a hike at the Santa Fe Canyon Preserve.
Big, Bustling Cities
This is for those of you who have a “go big or go home” mindset when planning your birthday trip. Whether you’re celebrating a big milestone or any other birthday, these big cities will fill you with their infectious energy to ring in another year of your fabulous life:
9. New York City, New York
If you really want to go all-out for your birthday, what better way to do it than spending a weekend in New York? Whether you get excited about the bright lights of Broadway or want to spend your birthday with your closest friends hopping from borough to borough, NYC has endless possibilities.
It’s no secret that the city that never sleeps can be pricey to visit. For that reason, you might want to take advantage of the many free things to do in NYC. After all, if you spend less on activities, you can splurge more on your birthday dinner at that restaurant you’ve been dying to try.
10. Chicago, Illinois
Although many consider Chicago to be the “second city,” there’s nothing second place about the epic variety of things to do here. It’s more affordable than New York, and there are also tons of free things to do in Chicago.
Too many visitors spend too much time in the Loop (aka, downtown) and miss out on all the culturally rich neighborhoods throughout the city. So hop on the L train and explore neighborhoods like Lincoln Park, Uptown, Pilsen, or Wicker Park on your own or with your travel buddies.
Throughout, you’ll find museums, parks, and of course, lakeside hangout spots. I recommend doing at least one food tour, like this underground donut tour or this Chinatown walking food tour. What better way to treat yourself on your birthday?
11. Miami, Florida
Particularly if your birthday is in the winter and you live somewhere cold, Miami makes for an awesome trip. Not only will you enjoy the sunny weather, but you’ll find plenty of things to do in Miami to fill your birthday weekend with unforgettable experiences.
The city is an adult playground perfect for a birthday trip with friends. Visit the magical Museum of Illusions to take photos with funky 3-D backgrounds, or eat your way through Little Havana on this food tour. Whatever you decide, Miami is the place to be completely extra on your birthday.
Quick International Getaways
You’ve been dying to go somewhere far away for your birthday but might not be sure how to fit it into your tight schedule. Or perhaps you want to go international without venturing to far from home. These places make it possible for you to have an epic birthday trip in another country:
12. Tulum, Mexico
If you want to feel worlds away from home on your birthday without having to venture too far, consider heading to Tulum. Most major cities in the US have direct flights to Cancún, and then it’s just a couple of hours’ drive or bus ride to Tulum (find out more about the route here).
It’s a fantastic place to visit on your own, with your partner, or with a group of friends. The beaches are stunning, the cenotes (swimming holes) are refreshing, and there are tons of unique places to stay in Tulum.
My favorite thing about the town and the rest of the Riviera Maya is that there are dozens of cenotes that are a short distance from Tulum, each with its own character, and visiting one on your birthday is pretty epic. Besides the cenotes and beaches, however, there are plenty of other spectacular things to do in Tulum that make the international trip worth it.
13. Baja California Sur, Mexico
If you’re itching to visit the other side of Mexico, consider road-tripping through Baja California Sur. The skinny peninsula is perfect for that because there’s so much to see in such a short distance. With bright blue lagoons, pristine beaches, flowing waterfalls, and rocky mountains taking over the landscape, Baja is breathtaking.
If you want to take advantage of everything this road trip has to offer, spend a week or two here. It’s also a great choice if you’re looking for some solitude on your special day.
Aruba is a small island in the Caribbean that you can easily fly into from most major cities in the US. Here you’ll find the softest white-sand beaches you’ve probably ever seen in your life, along with some stellar snorkeling and diving opportunities. It’s one of the ultimate tropical places to go for your birthday, alone or with friends.