Are you a senior planning your next trip?
Being retired implies having a lot of free time, however, physically, you may not be able to match all your travel desires. Walking isn’t as easy as it used to be, and it takes a lot more time now to get from point A to point B. Here is a list of our favorite vacation destinations that will suit your budget and lifestyle. These places exhilarate the spirit and broaden their horizons and are simply incredible.
By vacationing during the off-season and taking advantage of limited-time specials, you can enjoy discounts on food, lodging, transportation, attractions, and events. With so much incentive, why sit at home? Pack your scooter, walker or cane and head to one of these wonderful destinations.
1. Key West, Florida
The southernmost point of the Florida Keys, Key West is only 90 miles north of Cuba and a top destination for seniors. Florida Keys offer some of the best opportunities for sailing and other water sports than almost any other destination in America. Although Key West is a frequent cruise-ship stop, it’s much more rewarding to visit Key West itself rather than just dropping in for a day. Famous for its laid-back attitude and pretty pastel-colored houses, Key West is known more for its world-class coral reefs. The delectable Cuban-inspired food is one of the main tourists draws to Key West and it can be enjoyed at any one of the hundreds of restaurants that line the island’s main beachfront. The sunsets are absolutely glorious, and one of the best ways to experience them is to take a sunset sailing cruise. If you prefer to stay on land, the view of the setting sun from the dock at Mallory Square is unforgettable too.
2. California's Highway One Road Trip
You’re never too old for a road trip and, if you’ve never traveled Highway One along the California coast, it’s something that you should really do, as one of the most spectacular drives in the world. The stretch of highway between San Simeon and Carmel, sometimes referred to as the Big Sur Coast, is especially magical, and features a number of gorgeous inns and resorts where you can soak up ocean views from the comfort of your room.
It only takes a few hours to speed along the roughly 85 miles of the Big Sur but it is the surrounding regions, off the main road, that offers the most magical experience.
3. Sedona, Arizona
Sedona is easy to get to from many U.S. cities, and is less than a two-hour drive from Phoenix. Sedona is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful places on earth, located in the heart of a geological wonderland, with multi-hued red rock formations changing color as the light changes and weather fluctuate, the scenery is hard to beat. Sedona’s pine forests are absolutely stunning and there are a range of lodges available in the forest itself so you can enjoy a vacation surrounded by natural beauty and unique wildlife amongst the pines. The mild climate in Sedona makes it perfect for seniors and nearby Red Rock State Park trails, bird-watching and picnicking are easily accessible from the town. Even the Grand Canyon is just a two-hour drive away, perfect for a sight-seeing day trip. Other opportunities for adventure include jeep tours, hiking and bird watching. In town, you’ll discover world-class spas, stunning resorts, a vibrant art scene this many beautiful spas perfect for experimenting with alternative cures for whatever might ail you.
4. Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe, the oldest state capital in the U.S., has a very colorful history, and a historic main plaza that will make you feel as if you’ve stepped into an entirely different country. New Mexico is known as the land of enchantment and Santa Fe is one of the most cultural destinations in the state, if not the whole of the United States. With an abundance of unique attractions, a wide array of art galleries and extraordinary museums, all are within reasonable walking distance from the town square. The city is also famous for its transformative qualities, drawing many to experience its healing energy. Santa Fe’s rich Spanish history has led not only to a vibrant cultural scene but to a delicious cuisine that’s worth the trip alone. As a bonus, the climate is wonderful, the surrounding scenery awe-inspiring, and there are a variety of trails with endless vistas of mountains, canyons and gorges.
5. Williamsburg, Virginia
If you’re a history buff, you’ll love Williamsburg. Here, you can experience what it was like to be an original settler by staying at one of the 26 Colonial Houses. Along the way, costumed characters act out the details of life in the early years of America, providing a glimpse into this period in time. Take a walking tour to visit the saddle maker, the blacksmith, a wigmaker and the apothecary, and along the way, meet up with historical characters, like one of the Founding Fathers, or First Lady Martha Washington. You’ll find a variety of great shops, museums, and all sorts of other fun things to do – many of which offer senior discounts too.
6. Niagara Falls
The magnificence of Niagara Falls cannot be overstated and it is hard to describe if you haven’t visited before. This breathtaking wonder is located on the border of Canada and the United States. If you’re not going by car, the best way to get there is to fly into the Buffalo Niagara International Airport. There is also Amtrak service to the falls.
For the best views and experience, take a river cruise from the New York or Canadian side of the falls. There is also a trolley and bus tour or a helicopter tour for a spectacular aerial view of the falls.
7. Branson, Missouri
Branson has become one of the most popular vacation destinations for seniors, especially if you’re active and enjoy outdoor activities. Golf, museums, shopping, live shows and music are just some of the many activities you’ll enjoy. Missouri’s best public golf course is actually located right here at Branson Creek Golf Club. Attend a country music show or concert, cruise the lakes, explore the History of Fishing Museum, and just plain relax. Elvis fans should plan a spring visit for the annual Elvis festival (April 1-5). Senior discounts on lodging also are available at local resorts and hotels.
Alaska’s breathtaking scenery with over 100,000 glaciers, wildlife, and 17 of America’s 20 highest mountain peaks, make it one of the most popular travel destinations for seniors. The largest U.S. state but also the most sparsely populated, Alaska offers an experience that cannot be replicated by anywhere else in the world. Alaska’s dramatic terrain is best and most safely negotiated by cruise ship.
One of the best ways to see this majestic state is hopping on one of the cruise lines from Seattle, Washington. If you want to get out on an adventure, most lines offer excursions on land where you can hike as bald eagles soar above or on water, where you can paddle among the whales and the sea otters. Or simply enjoy a meal from the comfort of the ship while passing magnificent waterfalls and grand glaciers.
If cruising is not for you, the Alaska Railroad Corporation is a real treat for seniors with mobility issues or not. And if you’re 65 or older you can travel at half fares during off-season months. Watch the scenery from a train picture window while in the comfort of your forward-facing reclining seat.
9. Plymouth, Massachusetts
Plymouth and the surrounding county are beautiful destinations to visit in the spring before the crowds arrive. Pilgrim Hall Museum, the oldest museum in the country, displays artifacts that arrived with the Mayflower, as well as a piece of Plymouth Rock that visitors can touch. Many walking tours, offered April to November, take you through 17th century houses that belonged to some of the original 101 Mayflower passengers are now museums and charge no or modest entry fees. Outdoor adventures include whale watching, harbor and lobster cruises, and journeys through the 100-year-old Cape Cod Canal.
10. Adirondack Mountains, New York
Ditch the big-city excitement and head upstate to the serenely magnificent Adirondacks. Winter and summer sports, cultural events, shopping, and more can keep you busy for days on end. There are several winter carnivals, and miles of scenic country roads for adventurous drivers. Hop aboard a Trailways bus during off-peak hours and save 50% on the fare just for being a senior. Lodging discounts for seniors are available as well.
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