9 Best Bucket List Trips for Single Empty Nesters

Transitioning into the empty nester phase of life can feel like stepping into a new chapter, filled with mixed emotions and the echo of a once bustling household. No more driving to soccer practice. No more juggling schedules.

It can feel nerve-wracking AF, strange and eerily quiet… but it’s also kind of… exciting?

It’s like you’re suddenly setting out on a big solo hike after years of wranglin’ together the squad.

But becoming an empty nester isn’t the end of the trail; it’s just the trailhead to a whole new expedition of personal growth and untapped escapades – the kind Bear Grylls would high-five you for!

This pivotal life moment offers the perfect opportunity to explore dreams previously set aside, making it an ideal time to craft your bucket list tailored for single empty nesters. One that will make your outdoor-loving heart do a little happy dance!

Below we share trips to add to your bucket list for single empty nesters that will transform the way you see the world and yourself in it.

Exploring Bucket List Dreams for Empty Nesters

This stage of life offers a fabulous chance to:

  • Pursue personal passions, diving into the top things that spark joy (and we’re not talking about a closet purge, Marie Kondo)
  • Dive into rich cultures around the world with undivided attention
  • Experience travel adventures that were previously set aside due to family obligations


Embarking on bucket list trips as an empty nester is a chance to fulfill long-held travel dreams and explore destinations that may have been out of reach earlier in life — and it can be nothing short of transformative.

It’s a journey that’s as much about discovering new destinations as it is about uncovering parts of yourself you never knew existed.

It’s about seizing the moment, ensuring that the golden years aren’t just a continuation but a renewal of life’s adventures.

On these empty-nester adventures, you’ll learn the importance of building confidence and keeping an open mind.

Being open to new experiences and cultures will enrich your travels in ways you couldn’t have imagined, deepening your understanding of the world and your place within it.

So, let’s see where your adventure begins, shall we?

Top Things to Consider When Planning Empty Nest Travel

When the nest empties, it’s your cue to spread your wings and belt “I Believe I Can Fly”. The world is your oyster, baby!

But planning travel for empty nesters involves more than picking a destination; it’s about creating journeys that resonate with your newfound freedom.

Here are crucial considerations to ensure your trips are as fulfilling as they are memorable:

  • Safety: Always a top priority, especially for women. Research your destination for any travel advisories and consider destinations known for their safety and welcoming attitude towards solo travelers.
  • Budget: Traveling as an empty nester offers the advantage of flexibility. Now is the time to take that once-in-a-lifetime bucket list trip when you’re booking for 1 instead of a family of 4 😉
  • Personal Interests: Tailor your travel to YOUR passions! And your passions only!! It can be about reinventing yourself through cultural immersion, multi-day trekking through mountains, or exploring national parks; let your curiosity guide your choices.
  • Social Opportunities: Consider trips that offer the chance to meet new people (cough, cough… like a women’s group travel tour catered to women over 50). Group tours designed specifically for women can add a rich social dimension to your travel and help you create a community within this new empty nester phase.
  • Health and Mobility: Be realistic about your physical capabilities and be sure to train for any adventurous trips. Look for destinations with activities that match your fitness level to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience.
  • Length of Stay: Longer stays can offer deeper cultural immersion and a more relaxed pace. Consider destinations that appeal for extended visits, allowing you to truly absorb the essence of the place.
  • Accommodation Type: From boutique hotels to cozy bed-and-breakfasts, your choice of accommodation can significantly enhance your travel experience. Look for places that cater to empty nesters, offering a bit of luxury and the comforts of home.

Remember, travel for empty nesters is about exploring the world on your terms. Be it the tranquility of nature, the challenge of mountains, or the allure of national parks, each trip is a step towards reinventing yourself in this new life stage.

Focus on what matters most to you, and you’ll find that the top things to consider naturally align with your dream vacations for empty nesters!

Premier Destinations For Single Empty Nesters

Exploring as a single empty nester opens up a world of favorites, from tranquil retreats to vibrant cultural hubs. Here are the top picks for unforgettable empty nest travel:

Exploring National Parks


For every single empty nester with a heart that beats faster at the sight of lush landscapes and towering peaks, there’s a national park out there waiting to be explored.

If you’re like us, craving the tranquility of nature and the thrill of the outdoors, then adding these destinations to your bucket list is a must:

1. Zion and Bryce Canyon National Park

Known for their stunning rock formations and hiking trails, Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks offer breathtaking views of canyons. 

The freedom of exploring without family obligations means you can tackle challenging trails or simply enjoy the serenity at your own pace.

A group of Explorer Chick women in Bryce Canyon National Park

2. Yellowstone National Park

As one of the best things to experience, Yellowstone’s geothermal features and wildlife are unparalleled. It’s a destination where nature’s raw power is on full display, from erupting geysers to roaming wildlife. A visit here promises a profound connection with the natural world.

The park’s vast network of trails caters to empty nesters seeking adventure and relaxation in the great outdoors.

A group of Explorer Chick women in Yellowstone National Park

3. Wrangell-St. Elias National Park

This park combines impressive size with striking beauty. It’s a treasure for those interested in hiking, photography, and exploring historic sites.

Alaska’s immense wilderness offers a profound sense of solitude and freedom, and it’s the perfect destination for an empty nester.

Exploring these parks provides a unique opportunity to connect with nature, engage in physical activity, and enjoy the peace that comes with its remoteness.

Explorer Chick women in Wrangell St Elias National Park, Alaska

International Adventures

For the single empty nester with a thirst for discovery, international travel opens up a world of fabulous experiences, offering a deep dive into new cultures, cuisines, and activities!

These following destinations are gateways to impressive adventures and journeys of self-discovery:


4. Uganda

Renowned for its gorilla trekking, Uganda offers empty nesters an impressive activity that’s both thrilling and meaningful. 

This destination allows you to come face-to-face with majestic gorillas in their natural habitat, a truly fabulous experience that tops many favorites lists.

Uganda safari

5. Jordan and Petra

Jordan presents a rich cultural history and natural beauty that will knock your socks off. Exploring the ancient city of Petra, a UNESCO World Heritage site, through a guided tour reveals the ingenuity of past civilizations (and is guaranteed to blow your mind). 

Beyond Petra, the Wadi Rum desert offers hiking and overnight stays under the stars, showcasing the country’s impressive landscapes.

Explorer Chick women in Jordan


6. Galapagos Islands 

For those interested in wildlife and unique ecosystems, the Galapagos Islands are an unmatched empty nester destination. 

Here you can engage in snorkeling, hiking, and wildlife photography, making it a trip of a lifetime.

Giant Tortoise in Galápagos Islands in Ecuador


Hiking and Nature Retreats

For the empty nester looking to reconnect with nature and embrace physical activity, hiking and nature retreats stand out as revitalizing empty nest travel destinations. 

These trips offer serene environments to reflect, rejuvenate, and challenge oneself physically, making them ideal for those seeking personal growth and a deeper connection with nature:


7. Smoky Mountains

The Smokies are a haven for empty nesters with its accessible trails and breathtaking vistas. 

The Smoky Mountains provide a diverse range of activities, from gentle walks along streams to challenging hikes up to the peaks, embodying the best things about hiking trips.

Explorer Chicks in the Smoky Mountains


8. Yosemite Hikes

If you wanna climb a mountain with your jaw wide open because of the views, look no further than Yosemite National Park. It’s got some of the most iconic hikes in the US!

For those seeking a more strenuous adventure, conquering Half Dome is a rewarding challenge. 

This iconic hike offers empty nesters stunning views of Yosemite Valley and the Sierra Nevada, making it a memorable destination on any empty nester’s bucket list.

Explorer Chick women at Half Dome in Yosemite National Park


9. Patagonia W Trek

The W Trek in Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park is a once-in-a-lifetime journey for empty nesters passionate about rugged landscapes and remote wilderness.

The W Trek showcases glaciers, mountains, and turquoise lakes, providing an immersive experience in one of the world’s most fabulous destinations. It’s an adventure that tests your limits while rewarding you with breathtaking vistas.


hut to hut trekking in patagonia

More Empty Nester Bucket List Destinations

Belize Jungle & Island Glamping Adventure Tour
Belize Jungle & Island Glamping Adventure Tour


Bucket List, Caving, Glamping, Multisport, Paddling, Rappelling, Tropical, Water Sports, Wildlife, Zip Lining
Locally Unique, Glamping
Croatia Hiking National Parks and Multisport Adventure Tour
Croatia Hiking National Parks and Multisport Adventure Tour


Bucket List, Climbing, Cycling, Hiking, International, Multisport, Paddling, Water Sports
Las Vegas Climbing and Paddling Weekend Adventure
Las Vegas Climbing and Paddling Weekend Adventure


Camping, Climbing, Multisport, Paddling, Water Sports
Hotel, Camping
Maine and Acadia National Park Hiking Adventure $430 Off
Maine and Acadia National Park Hiking Adventure


Glamping, Hiking, National Park, Paddling, US-Based, Water Sports, Wildlife
Locally Unique, Glamping
Red River Gorge Backpacking Workshop
Red River Gorge Backpacking Workshop


Backpacking, US-Based, Weekend, Workshop
Shenandoah Hiking, Winery, and Sunsets Weekend $200 Off
Shenandoah Hiking, Winery, and Sunsets Weekend


Hiking, Multisport, National Park, US-Based, Weekend
Locally Unique
Utah Ultimate National Parks Hiking Road Trip $380 Off
Utah Ultimate National Parks Hiking Road Trip


Hiking, National Park, US-Based
Shared House, Glamping
Scotland Unspoiled Hiking Tour
Scotland Unspoiled Hiking Tour


Bucket List, Hiking, International
Hotel, Locally Unique

Connecting Through Group Travel

For single empty nesters, the allure of group travel lies not just in exploring new destinations but in the opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals.

This form of travel fosters deep friendships, shares experiences, and provides a sense of belonging.

Here’s why group travel holds a special appeal:

  • Traveling with groups tailored for solo travelers or empty nesters offers a unique blend of independence and companionship, presenting an unparalleled opportunity for reinventing yourself amidst new surroundings. And women-only adventure travel groups create a safe space with liked-minded ladies.
  • These tours meticulously take the hassle out of planning, ensuring you see the highlights without missing the hidden gems. 
  • More importantly, they instill a sense of security and belonging, making it significantly easier to venture into the unknown and embrace the transformative experiences that await.

Four Explorer Chick women on an African safari in Uganda

Crafting Your Empty Nest Adventure Plan

Going on your empty nest adventure is an exhilarating step towards fulfilling those bucket list dreams. 

It requires thoughtful planning… and a dash of daring spirit!

Here’s how to confidently craft your adventurous trips, blending practicality with the thrill of anticipation:


Define Your Dream Destinations:


  • Start by listing places you’ve always wanted to visit.
  • Think about what draws you to these spots—whether it’s the allure of ancient ruins, the tranquility of secluded beaches and lakes, or the challenge of rugged trails.


Set a Realistic Budget:


  • Factor in all costs from flights to accommodations and daily expenses.
  • Research off-peak seasons for potential savings.
  • Consider setting up a travel fund to gradually save toward your trip.


Choose the Right Travel Insurance:


  • Look for policies that cover medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and lost baggage.
  • Compare quotes and read reviews to find the best fit for your needs.


Plan for Solo Travel:


  • Research your destination for safety and solo traveler-friendly accommodations.
  • Pick a destination best known for solo trips for women
  • Join online forums or social media groups to connect with fellow travelers and gather insights (we’ve got a Facebook Group just for this!)


Packing Smart:


  • Create a checklist tailored to your destination’s climate and activities.
  • Opt for versatile clothing and prioritize essentials to keep your luggage light.


Embrace Technology:


  • Download travel apps for navigation, language translation, and local recommendations.
  • Keep digital copies of important documents for easy access during your travels.


Stay Open and Flexible:


  • While having a plan is crucial, stay open to spontaneous opportunities that may arise.
  • Embrace the unexpected detours as they often lead to the most memorable experiences.


Connect with Locals and Other Travelers:


  • Engage in local experiences and tours to deeply understand the culture.
  • Consider group tours or meetups to share experiences and make new friends.


Starting the planning process with these steps ensures you’re not just prepared but also excited for what lies ahead. 

Remember, this adventure is about exploring the world on your terms, discovering new facets of yourself, and enjoying the freedom that comes with being an empty nester. Let the planning begin!

A group of Explorer Chick women hike on a glacier

Safety Tips for Single Empty Nesters

As an empty nester stepping into the solo travel scene, it’s thrilling to chart your own course. 

However, weaving safety into the fabric of your adventures ensures your journey is as secure as it is enriching.

Here’s how to keep the good times rolling safely:

  1. Deep Dive into Destination Details: Before you set off, soak up all the info you can about your destination’s customs, laws, and the lay of the land. Knowing which neighborhoods are cozy and which are best avoided can make all the difference.
  2. Health on the Horizon: Chat with your doctor about any travel shots or meds you might need. A travel first-aid kit and emergency contacts should be as essential as your passport.
  3. Keep the Home Base Updated: Let your tribe know your whereabouts. Sharing your itinerary and regular updates keeps worries at bay and ensures someone’s always in your corner, no matter the distance.
  4. Venture Wisely: There’s safety in numbers when exploring the grandeur of national parks or trekking up mountains. Guided tours offer not only companionship but also a wealth of insights into the destination’s heartbeat.
  5. Guard Your Gear: Be it a hotel safe or a discreet money belt, keeping your valuables secure is paramount, especially in bustling spots where distractions abound.
  6. Tech to the Rescue: A charged phone and a backup charger are your best allies, keeping you connected and guiding you through twists and turns.
  7. Find Your Flock: Solo doesn’t have to mean solitary. Joining groups for activities can sprinkle your trip with social spice and safety, especially when wandering through less-traveled paths!

Solo journeys as an empty nester are about rediscovering yourself, diving into the best things life has to offer, and savoring the liberty that comes with exploring solo. 

By sprinkling your plans with these safety tips, you’re not just traveling; you’re crafting unforgettable, worry-free experiences across mountains, lakes, and beyond!

A group of Explorer Chick women with their arms raised on a hike

Maximizing the Solo Travel Experience

Solo travel opens a door to a world where every decision is yours to make and every experience is a step towards self-discovery. 

For the intrepid empty nester, here are ways to soak up every moment of your solo journey:

  1. Dive into Local Cultures: Immerse yourself in the local way of life. Whether it’s learning a few phrases in the local language or participating in traditional activities, embracing the culture can enrich your travel experience.
  2. Try New Activities: Push your boundaries by trying activities you wouldn’t normally consider. Whether it’s hiking in the mountains, snorkeling in crystal-clear lakes, or taking a cooking class, new experiences are the essence of travel!
  3. Document Your Journey: Keep a travel journal or start a blog to document the places you visit and the experiences you have. Not only is it a wonderful way to share your journey with others, but it’s also a personal keepsake for reinventing yourself.
  4. Connect with Other Travelers: Look for group tours or guided excursions that cater to solo travelers. It’s a great way to meet people with similar interests and share unique travel experiences.
  5. Enjoy Your Own Company: Learn to appreciate the joys of being on your own. Solo travel is a rare opportunity to reflect, relax, and indulge in your favorites without compromise.
  6. Stay Open and Flexible: Some of the best things about traveling solo are the unexpected opportunities that arise. Be open to changing your plans based on recommendations from locals or fellow travelers.

Following these tips can transform solo travel for empty nesters into unforgettable adventures. After all, it’s all about exploring new destinations, discovering nature, and rediscovering oneself!

A woman smiles while sitting on a rock during a hike on an Explorer Chick trip

Embark on Your Solo Journey with Confidence

It’s clear the empty nester stage of life is riiiiipe with opportunities for adventure, self-discovery, AND connection. 

From the serene beauty of hiking adventures to the vibrant pulse of international adventures, the world is brimming with bucket list destinations for empty nesters. 

Now is the perfect moment to seize these opportunities, explore beyond the horizon, and embrace the myriad of experiences waiting at your doorstep.

Take this as your sign to kickstart your fabulous travel dreams.

Start planning your next adventure. Whether it’s a tranquil getaway or an exhilarating exploration, your ideal destination for empty nesters is out there, waiting to be discovered!

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