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Beach vacations for boomers: more than just a day in the sun

Beach vacations for boomers: more than just a day in the sun

(ARA)- It's likely you know someone who's celebrating a 60th birthday this year. The first of an estimated 77 million baby boomers, Americans born from 1946 to 1964, mark the beginning of their sixth decade in 2006.
Research indicates many of these "young-at-heart" revelers will travel someplace special to celebrate. Boomer households generate the highest travel volume in the country, more than any other age group, according to the Travel Industry of America.
Fall has always been an ideal time for boomers and other empty nesters to get away to the beach for a long weekend--the kids are back in school, the rates are lower and the weather is perfect, especially along Florida's northern panhandle, where 14 coastal communities make up the eclectic Beaches of South Walton.
Boomers on vacation aren't looking for just any beach destination--they are adventurous and want to visit a beautiful place that offers plenty of activities, both day and night.
"We know baby boomers are an active group that wants to do more than spend the day sleeping in the sun," says Kriss Titus, executive director of the Walton County Tourist Development Council. "While they love the beach, they are more inclined to take long walks along the water, go sea kayaking and sport fishing, and head out for bike rides and beach hikes. They also want to visit galleries, go to festivals and partake in food events and wine tastings that help them rekindle romance while on vacation."
This year's Beaches of South Walton Autumn Tides celebration, a series of fall festivals highlighting the arts, culture, cuisine and heritage of Northwest Florida, offers boomers and other visitors an abundance of activities to keep them busy.
The celebration kicks off Labor Day weekend and continues through December, and this year there are a number of new events, including:
* Sunday Brunch and Jazz Cruise, a monthly benefit supporting musicians displaced by Hurricane Katrina, heads out on Sunquest Cruises' Solaris the first Sunday of each month.
* Baytowne Pops featuring the Northwest Florida Symphony and local celebrity vocalists Phyllis Hasty and David Serring performing at Sandestin's Baytowne Wharf.
* An expanded schedule for the Philharmonic Orchestra of Northwest Florida, which has added two concerts to its 2006-2007 season.
Favorite events from years past return as well, including the Baytowne Wharf Art Expo (Sept. 2-3), the Southern Breeze Coastal Wine Tour (Oct. 20-22), the Showcase Auction of Art & Dining (Sept. 7), and The Autumn Playwright Festival (Oct. 18-28).
An annual Back to Nature Festival (Oct. 20-22) showcases the area's exquisite landscape and rich history with two days of activities, including hiking, biking, kayaking, area tours, nature walks and boat tours, and Telluride's MountainFilm on Tour (Nov. 3-4) features selections from America's premier festival of adventure, cultural, and environmental film and video.

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