Guess who’s spending serious money on travel these days? Baby boomers. According to Canadian Tourism Research Institute (CTRI), the baby-boom generation is poised to become the main travel market in the next decade, by spending roughly $35 billion annually. Where are these explorers headed?
We asked 1,000 real Canadians the top destinations they’d recommend. After filtering by the baby boomer age group, we found a few patterns. These seasoned explorers want coastal views, good wine, and a dash of nostalgia. Without further ado, here are the top senior travel destinations in Canada as chosen by baby boomers.
This charming railroad town is a city of grandeur that’s only gotten better with time, which is perhaps why it was mentioned by name in our survey. With a charming downtown, abundant museums, and free-flowing wine, this destination is a top choice among baby boomers.
- Elgin County Railway Museum – The London and Port Stanley Railway was completed in 1856, which is how the city got its nickname: Railway City. Stop into the museum to see artifacts, train parts, and photographs.
- Downtown St. Thomas is one popular place to be. The famed Horton Farmers Market has been a tradition since 1878, and is still the best place to find local honey, herbs, and soaps.
This elegant coastal town along the Pacific Ocean was a top pick. White Rock is the kind of place where the seafood is unmatched and the views unparalleled.
- The White Rock Pier was first built in 1914 and has been a landmark ever since. Take a stroll and see fishermen and women reeling in today’s catch.
- Feeling hungry? Favourites here include the Washington Avenue Grill that features Pacific Northwest flavours like tomato basil mussels, and Barrique Kitchen & Wine Bar, which offers French fare like orange glazed duck confit.
Some places feel like they came out of a dream—or a fond memory. Cavendish Beach, which was the inspiration behind the “Anne of Green Gables” stories, has the perfect tempo of nostalgia and elegance, making it an excellent senior vacation spot.
- Green Gables Golf Course – With saltwater breezes pressing against your skin and rolling lawns as far as the eye can see, this 18-hole golf course is a prime challenge and fabulously beautiful.
- Anne of Green Gables Museum – See where it all started with a trip to this museum. Visit the farm and gardens that inspired the famous tales.
4. Edmonton, AB
Edmonton is one of those destinations with a little bit of everything. Museums, art galleries, parks, and historical centres are ready for exploration. This place is going for all-around favorability.
- A good drink takes patience, wisdom, and top-grade grains. Taste what the city offers with a Spirit of Edmonton Distillery Tour and toast with high-quality bourbon and scotch.
- Whether you’re looking for restaurants, shopping options, or galleries, 4th Street Promenade is the place to go.
Vancouver Island popped up numerous times in our survey. Peace, tranquility, and stunning beauty are just some of the reasons this area is so beloved. To narrow things down, we’re recommending the wine capital of the area: Cowichan Valley.
- Nicknamed Napa of the North, this cozy town knows its way around a grapevine. Start your tour of the valley at Rocky Creek Winery, before venturing into nearby Blue Grouse Estate Winery and Venturi-Schulze Vineyards.
- Looking for some cheeses to go with all that island wine? Cowichan Valley is home to the largest year-round farmers market on the island, Duncan Farmers Market.
Located in the Bay of Fundy, Grand Manan Island (mentioned by name in our poll) is known for incredible sunsets, quirky puffins, and days that bob by slow and easy.
- An interesting trend among the boomer generation? Cycling trips. As it so happens, there are 18 walking and cycling trails located around the island. AdventureHigh can connect you with rentals, if you need to borrow some wheels.
- With all the beauty in the area, it’s easy to see why local artists are so inspired here. See their creations at the lovely Grand Manan Art Gallery.
7. Calgary, AB
Baby boomers have always been movers and shakers. Blending wisdom with bold curiosity, this is a generation that knows how to live. Calgary, too, is the perfect mix of history and cutting-edge, making it a top senior travel destination.
- Did you know that the Heritage Park Historical Village is the country’s largest living history museum? Learn about the region with unique exhibits and demonstrations.
- If you haven’t experienced a meal from 155 m above downtown, it’s time to change that. Make reservations at Sky 360 Restaurant and Lounge, atop the Calgary Tower.
When we saw Bonavista, Newfoundland and Labrador in our survey, we had a feeling it was mentioned for its sense of getting back to nature.
- This area is known for icebergs out in the inky blue ocean. Keep your eyes to the horizon when you’re going for a walk to Cape Bonavista Lighthouse or around Dungeon Provincial Park.
- Local seafood and vegetables are out of this world at Boreal Diner. Look for options like crispy local cod with polenta and foraged mushrooms.
9. Thompson, MB
Northern Manitoba showed up in our survey numerous times, due to good fishing and wide-open spaces. When narrowing it down, we can’t help but single out Thompson for its easy access to lakes and trails.
- Millennium Trail is where you’ll find ultimate relaxation. This popular stretch in town winds you through boreal forests and past attractions like King Miner Statue.
- Thompson has several lakes in every direction. If you don’t mind a quick drive, you can find yourself at Paint Lake, which has the largest marina in the province.
10. Hamilton, ON
It’s hard to find places where shiny loafers and muddy tennis shoes can coexist, but Hamilton, Ontario, isn’t like most cities. It’s got breathtaking nature, a charming downtown, and rustic historic roots.
- James Street North is the heartbeat of downtown Hamilton, and has boutiques to fit any traveller. Popular spots include White Elephant for clothes and Pretty Grit for artisanal home goods.
- Don’t miss live performances at FirstOntario Concert Hall. This grand centre plays home to ballets, symphonies, and concerts.
11. Comox Valley, BC
British Columbia and Vancouver Island were mentioned in our survey more times than we could count, so we’d be remiss to not highlight at least one more special west coast destination: Comox Valley.
- This wine and ale area has a growing distillery scene. Make a stop at Wayward Distillation House, which produces, in their words, “unruly gin” and “unruly vodka.”
- There are endless numbers of golf courses located in and around Comox Valley. For top swings, book a tee time at favourites like Glacier Greens, Comox Golf Club, and Crown Isle Resort & Golf Community.
12. Cochrane, AB
Cochrane, Alberta, may be one of the fastest growing towns in the province, but it hasn’t lost a single bit of its hospitality. This destination offers a blend of charming downtown boutiques, dozens of antique shops, and easy access to the mountains.
- Spend some time in Downtown Cochrane. You’ll find sweets like MacKay’s Ice Cream (which sells both traditional flavours and unusual ones like avocado and root beer), and meats at places like Texas Gate, which offers AAA Alberta steaks.
- The best adventures in life are new ones. The Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary provides unique interactive experiences, where you can learn more about wild wolves and domesticated wolfdogs.
13. Quebec City, QC
There are few places in the country grander than Quebec City. This lovely destination is what lavish holidays are all about.
- Get lost in the magic of classical music when you attend a performance by the Quebec Symphony Orchestra.
- Fine dining in Quebec City is a must. For meals so beautiful they belong in a museum, make a reservation at upscale spots like Laurie Raphael or Restaurant Initiale.
It’s never too late for new adventures. And judging by the numbers, senior travel is only getting better. Happy travels!
St. Thomas, ON
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White Rock, BC
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Cavendish Beach, PEI
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Attribution: Hansen Distillery/Flickr
Cowichan Valley, BC
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Gran Manan Island, NB
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Attribution: Image courtesy of Tourism Hamilton
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Comox Valley, BC
Attribution: Discover Comox Valley
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Quebec City, QC
Attribution: Laurie Raphaёl/Yelp
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