8 Enticing Destinations for Empty-Nesters Slideshow

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Overlooking Cairo
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Cairo and the Nile River
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There are few destinations so packed with rich history and culture than the Middle East. Book Overseas Adventure Travel’s Cairo and the Eternal Nile River trip for a two-week guided journey through some of the most stunning sights and exotic dishes. The itinerary includes a tour of a modern farming village, a private boat trip down the Nile River, tours of spice markets, meals at locally-loved restaurants, and a stop for Egyptian tea. The in-depth look at Egypt doesn’t stop there. Other highlights include: the Egyptian Museum, the pyramids, and the Nubian Museum.

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Flickr/razbarabanilo

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Appalachian Trail
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Appalachian Trail
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Partake on an outdoor adventure with other likeminded hikers along the Appalachian Trail. The Appalachian Mountain Club works with hikers of every level, particularly with their Lodge to Hut Adventure. A four-day itinerary, the schedule begins with a homemade family-style breakfast at 6:30 a.m., a day’s worth of hiking, and family-style dinner at the subsequent hut that night. (Think freshly baked bread, fresh fruits, macaroni and cheese, and fajitas.) More than coddling amateur hikers, this trip coddles people with slight camping aversions — no sleeping bags in sight!

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Flickr/jimmywayne

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Sparkling, blue water in Turks and Caicos
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Turks & Caicos
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Forget the stigma you have against drinks with umbrellas, waking up later than 7 a.m., and lazing on a beach for hours on end. Book a stay on Parrot Cay in Turks and Caicos and let those concerns about whether or not you’ll really be able to relax fall away. You will. Learn all you can about Caribbean cuisine by dining on as much of it as you can — the Parrot Cay resort boasts two mouth-watering restaurants and there’s fresh Japanese, Thai, and Indian-infused Caribbean cuisine everywhere from Providenciales to Grand Turk — don’t forget to sample the conch.

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Flickr/cambelina

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Whale watching in Alaska
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Alaskan Cruise
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Get up close and personal with all kinds of wildlife on National Geographic and Lindblad Expedition’s eight-day Exploring Alaska’s Coastal Wilderness tour. Departing from Juneau, where you’ll explore before dinner aboard the ship with fellow explorers, the tour leaves little to the imagination passing through fjords, glacial walls, and icebergs as well as by whales (killer and humpback) and eagles. The Dungeness crab feast on board is reason enough to book this trip, but then so are dishes like fresh Alaskan salmon risotto and homemade chocolate mousse cake.

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Flickr/coracii

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Madeira, Portugal
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Portugal
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If battling crowds of people at some European landmark is not your favorite thing to do, book a self-guided walking tour with Country Walkers and experience the natural beauty (and bounty) of Madeira, Portugal, instead. It’s a moderate to challenging walk (they have plenty of others if this one seems too easy or strenuous for you), spanning roughly 8 miles per day. Cobbled roads with panoramic views (and the fact that you’ll be walking a lot) will work up an appetite for treats from Madeira’s markets, a sampling of traditional espetada (skewered, juicy, marinated meat), and a taste of local wines.

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Flickr/dreafrei

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Chile's wine region
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Chile
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Do your homework and plan your own tour or book with a company like Jacada (who hosts tours through Chile’s wine region within larger itineraries), but making your way to Chile’s wine region is a must. Celebrated as a New World wine region, Chile is producing coveted bottles in a most picturesque locale. Walk through vineyards, talk with (and dine with) winemakers, and sample the creations along the Aconcagua, Colchagua, and Maipo valleys. Booking through an established company often means getting to stay in wine lodges.

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Flickr/Dear Garou

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Preservation Hall in New Orleans
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New Orleans
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The birthplace of jazz and a haven of culinary delights, New Orleans is more than just a spring break destination. Stop by a farmer’s market during the day, enjoy a leisurely brunch of fresh seafood or eggs Benedict with crawfish, and take in some of the city’s best music. The first stop on your music history and culinary trip should be Preservation Hall (music and cocktails), but Congo Square, Arnaud’s restaurant for iconic Creole cuisine, and Riverview Drive are must-dos as well. Tours like the French Quarter Phantom tour are perfect additions.

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Flickr/Marilyn M

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Queen Victoria Market
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Australia
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A modern gastronome’s dream destination, Australia is fit for basically any traveler. Go in January for to watch Grand Slam tennis at the Australian Open in Melbourne and eat your way through the city. Mock your kid’s guerilla-style backpacking trip by seeing the high-end side of Sydney — take in an opera at the iconic opera house, discover out of the way food surprises around town, stop in unique Australian boutiques, and relax on the beach. Or take a tour through aboriginal lands and visit with the nation’s original inhabitants.

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Flickr/peregrinari