In the daily hustle and bustle of life, you may often find yourself missing holidays or skipping plans. However, once you’re a senior citizen, you are likely to have more free time on your hands than before. So naturally, it’s time to live your best life and take that vacation you’ve always dreamed of. Going on trips as a senior over 60 can help you relax and rejuvenate as few other things can, and you can plan leisurely domestic or international vacations as per your heart’s content. Here are some ideas to get you started!
Best domestic vacation spots for seniors
Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to leave the country to have a wonderful vacation. So whether you are planning a weekend getaway or a longer trip, there are plenty of vacation spots around the nation filled with picturesque beauty, cultural heritage, and more, for you to make the most of your break.
When you think of Alaska, what’s the first thing that comes to mind, apart from the cold? Although the state is known for its chilly winters, it is also home to pristine nature and wildlife. Alaska has over 20,000 glaciers and 12 of the country’s 20 highest mountain peaks, attracting many visitors from around the world. What’s great about choosing “The Last Frontier” as a vacation spot is that you can choose from a myriad of ways to spend your time— go out on hikes if you’re feeling active or make it a leisurely visit strolling through museums. Flight spotting over a mountain range, bear-viewing tours, whale watching, and viewing the Northern lights (also known as Aurora Borealis) are popular attractions in the state. Some of the most popular routes to get to Alaska are cruises, the Alaska Marine Highway System, Alaska Railroad Corporation, and the Skagway White Pass Railroad. If you are 65 or older, you can travel at half the fares during the off-season on the Alaskan rails.
Santa Fe, NM
Santa Fe brings together the best of nature and culture to make a vacation truly memorable. The climate is warm, dry, and inviting for the elderly, but there are also loads of senior-friendly activities to choose from, such as experiencing the opera at the Crosby Theatre, going golfing at the Marty Sanchez Links de Santa Fe, hiking the senior-friendly Chamisa Trail, visiting the International Museum of Folk Art or the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. The Santa Fe Plaza and Canyon Road are other popular tourist attractions in the city.
The state of Florida is a popular choice for group tours for seniors due to its numerous attractions. It’s no different in the Floridian city of Sarasota, where a large percentage of the population is above the age of 50 or older. Not only is this city accessibility-friendly, but it also has many attractions, such as The Ringling Estate, Anna Maria Island, Sarasota Farmers Market, Myakka River State Park, and several beaches and restaurants, making it a delightful vacation destination. Seniors can approach travel companies to make itineraries for groups that will be best suited for their collective enjoyment.
Charleston is home to events that have changed the course of the country, such as the American Revolution and the Civil War. Seniors can book group or solo tours of historical spots and enjoy learning some great history and cultural facts. This place is also home to many haunted spots, which are not for the faint of heart and can be quite an adventure for seniors! Although the city is quite old, it is quite accessible for the elderly. Folly Beach, located just outside Charleston, is one of the most wheelchair-accessible beaches in the state, with accessible bathrooms and changing rooms, as well as a safe path that takes you to the water.
Grand Canyon National Park
The Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona is one of the best-known parks and a natural wonder that cannot be missed! In fact, it is one of the top choices if you’re looking for short trips or weekend getaways for seniors. You can travel there by car and take the park’s shuttle from one spot to another; here are wheelchair-accessible shuttle buses. Visitors to the park can also take advantage of the park’s numerous trails to indulge in day hiking or backpacking overnight.
Yosemite National Park
If you enjoy camping and hiking, Yosemite National Park may be one of the best senior vacation ideas. With various trails to choose from (easy-to-moderate), you can find a hiking route that works best for you. The park also has other attractions like El Capitan (a giant monolith famous among rock climbers), Half Dome (another popular rock formation), and Yosemite Falls.
Although South Dakota isn’t a popular vacation spot typically, it makes for an exciting jaunt for history fanatics. Popular attractions in the state include Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills, Black Elk Peak, and the Badlands National Park. The Black Hills are home to scenic vistas such as the Custer State Park, where you can explore your adventurous side as you hike, bike, fish, or camp in the lap of nature. Older couples looking to enjoy a romantic vacation can pick any of these natural, stunning spots in the city for date ideas.
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park is one of the country’s most visited tourist attractions. It is a great destination for seniors traveling by themselves, as couples, or with their families. The park is spread over 2.2 million acres and has many accessible yet breathtaking views to offer. If you are planning to travel to Yellowstone, be sure to watch hot geysers and springs like Old Faithful, go fishing, and take in the beautiful scenery of the place.
Broken Bow, OK
If exploring the lap of nature and living in rustic cabins are your idea of a vacation, Broken Bow is for you. Here, you can rent a cabin and enjoy activities like fishing and hiking. Broken Bow is particularly known for the Beavers Bend State Park, the Lower Mountain Fork River with 12 miles of trout fishing, wineries, breweries, and The Hochatown Saloon, which hosts amazing country-western and rock-music shows.
St. Augustine, FL
St. Augustine is one of America’s oldest continuously occupied settlements. Once occupied by Spanish explorers, this place has a rich slice of national history, with attractions like the Castillo de Marcos National Monument. The city is also home to many beaches, the Fountain of Youth Park, and much more that can be explored via the Old Town Trolley and Ghost Tours.
Niagara Falls is perhaps the most breathtaking sight in the country. Located on the US-Canada border, these waterfalls attract millions of tourists every year. There are several ways to get there – you can drive down, fly into the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, or take an Amtrak service. The Niagara Falls State Park has undergone extensive renovations and offers enhanced landscaping, senior-friendly and more accessible paths, and outdoor exhibits. There are many wheelchair-accessible routes that take you to plush picnic spots overlooking gorgeous sceneries. One of the most exciting attractions here is the wheelchair-accessible river cruise line, The Maid Of The Mist Boat Tour, which takes you from the docks at the base of the American Falls to the basin of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls.
Colonial Williamsburg, VA
The old capital of Virginia, Colonial Williamsburg, is an accessible and top-rated destination for senior travelers on a budget. Here, you can experience a slice of local and national history at the various reenactments and demonstrations that are popular throughout the city. Once home to names like George Washington, Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, and other revolutionaries, the city has many golf courses, museums, and shops to keep you entertained throughout your visit.
Hawaii is a gorgeous scenic location that is perfect for larger family vacations. What makes the deal sweeter is that there are many tour packages designed specifically for seniors, so you can make the most of your holiday. Senior-special tours move at a gentler pace and cover tourist attractions that have better accessibility. You can explore Pearl Harbor, the USS Arizona Memorial, and other important pieces of the nation’s history, or don your hats and head over to Waikiki Beach, which is one of the most accessible beaches in Hawaii.
The national capital is one of the most wheelchair-accessible cities in the country, according to Wheelchair Travel. The city has a thriving public transportation system called MetroRail, which eliminates the need for driving or spending big bucks on cab services. The city also has various services that deliver motorized scooters to your location, so you never have to worry about exhausting yourself walking for miles and miles. Washington, D.C., is home to a lot of historical and cultural monuments and museums, along with a plethora of art, so you can keep as busy as you would like or choose to sit for hours in a cafe and watch the busy city walk by!
Boston is another historic city that is packed with exciting activities for seniors to partake in. The city has great wheelchair accessibility, along with promising public transportation infrastructure, making it one of the easy trip options for seniors with mobility issues. All museums and historic buildings in the city are also equipped with ramps and accessible entrances. To move around and soak up all of the history and culture that Boston has to offer, you can use a rideshare or a taxi or join a local tour. If you would like to enjoy a baseball game, you can also head to the iconic Fenway Park and cheer your loudest for your beloved team.
For seniors who love the sun and sand, Miami is the perfect vacation destination for summer travels. Just like other cities in Florida, it has a lot to offer for retirees, including gorgeous beaches, stunning resorts, tons of museums, and shopping opportunities. If you are willing to travel a little bit further, you will also find one of the country’s best botanical gardens, the Fairchild West Botanic Garden, at a short distance. Here, you can check out tropical plants such as palms, cycads, flowering trees, shrubs, vines, and fruit trees, along with botanical specimens that have been collected since the late 1930s.
Sedona is an easy-to-reach location from many cities across the country. It is known for its gorgeous scenery and comfortable climate, making it one of the best travel destinations for senior citizens in groups or on solo trips. Apart from outdoor activities like hiking and bird watching, you can head up to any of the many spas in Sedona for alternative treatments. You can also indulge yourself in the beautiful resorts and the art scene in the city.
Morro Bay, California
Morro Bay is a beach town on the coast of California that has much to offer. From fun shopping expeditions and lounging by the beach to indulgent culinary experiences and gorgeous vineyards, Morro Bay is the ideal place for a relaxing vacation for seniors. You can also spot marine life, such as whales and otters, go picnicking or bird watching, or try out adventurous activities, such as kayaking and hiking.
Key West, FL
Key West, in the state of Florida, offers some of the best water sports opportunities for seniors in groups or traveling as a couple who love a little bit of adventure. You can try your hand at fishing, parasailing, boating, snorkeling, and sailing, or look for glass bottom boats, private charters, or wave runners for a relaxing ride. You can also take a tour of the Dry Tortugas National Park and enjoy some of the lip-smacking foods available all around town. Based on your preferences, this trip can be as action-packed or relaxed as you would like. It is perfect for a vacation idea for seniors traveling with their families, as you can keep people of all ages engaged.
This is a special favorite among the foodies! Dallas has slowly developed a thriving food scene that attracts many people from around the world. This city is also popular for its unique neighborhoods, museums, performing arts venues, and buzzing nightlife, offering plenty to keep you as busy as you would like. When in Dallas, be sure to visit the Dallas Museum of Art and the Arboretum, stroll through the Arts District, visit the Trinity River at Trammell Crow Park, and ride on the M-Line Trolley Ride!
Branson, Missouri’s self-titled entertainment capital, offers many activities for senior weekend getaways, such as watching performances, visiting theme parks, and shopping. It is particularly popular for its musical and theatrical shows. If you are traveling with your family, the city also has a zoo, the world’s largest toy museum, and a dinosaur museum to keep your grandkids entertained. On your visit to Branson, be sure to visit Table Rock Lake, Dolly Parton’s Stampede, and the Ancient Ozarks Natural History Museum.
With a little prior planning, seniors can have a lot to do on their trip to the Windy City of Chicago. You can visit The Ledge at the Skydeck to get a unique view of the city from a 103-story building, have afternoon tea at the Drake Hotel, which is known for hosting eminent personalities over the years, take the Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise to learn more about the city’s vibrant past, experience Broadway at iconic theaters such as the Oriental Theatre, the Cadillac Palace Theatre, and the Auditorium Theatre, try the famous Chicago deep-dish pizza, or head to Adler Planetarium to explore the solar system and beyond! Whether you use a wheelchair, a scooter, or another mobility aid, this city can be safe and comfortably accessed, making it an attractive tourist destination for trips for seniors over 60.
10 best international vacation locations for seniors
If you’ve always dreamed of exploring places beyond American borders, but have never had the time, then you must check out these best international vacation spots for seniors. There are options for group tours for seniors, vacation spots for older couples, and more. From embarking on group safaris or traveling with other single seniors, use our travel guide to find the best international travel destinations.
Africa is one of the best vacation spots for senior citizens, be it for groups of traveling seniors or as a long-awaited date idea for older couples. Consider a vacation to South Africa to witness the beauty of the wilderness bordered by polished, sophisticated cities. Head out for a wildlife-viewing tour in an all-terrain vehicle that will take you through some of the most gorgeous animal hotspots and give you a glimpse of lions, elephants, zebras, and giraffes in their natural habitat. Since these tours are carried out in vehicles, they can accommodate seniors with limited mobility as well.
South Africa has a rich tourism infrastructure, making it a must-visit for all. From the Kruger National Park to the vineyard tours, beaches, and tram rides, there’s plenty to keep you occupied around the country. In addition to being a fun place to visit, South Africa also has a favorable exchange rate for American travelers, meaning that you get to explore a lot more. On average, the cost of a seven-day trip to South Africa for a solo traveler is around $1,814. You can also check out similar safaris and tours in Tanzania and Kenya.
Most of us take a break from time to time, but when was the last truly luxurious vacation you took? Traveling to the Caribbean can be one of the best vacations for 60-year-olds or older, especially as a post-retirement gift to yourself. Witness the tropical beauty of the place and soak in the sun and glorious sights at leisure. Caribbean Islands is a collective term used to refer to various places such as Antigua, Saint Kitts, Cayman Islands, Barbados, St. Croix, Bahamas, and several other islands and nations. There are plenty of less-explored islands that are less populated and can be great for taking some time off for yourself. With pristine beaches and gorgeous ocean views, the Caribbean Islands are ideal for days filled with nothing but cool cocktails, relaxation, and pampering. Most major cruise lines also offer excursions through these islands, so you can make your visit to the Caribbean a part of a larger trip for seniors too, and have the best time!
There are several destinations to choose from in Mexico, including Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, Cancun, and San Miguel de Allende. San Miguel de Allende is particularly spectacular and has received international accolades for its colonial charm and sophistication. The city has farm-to-table eateries, art galleries, hot springs, and local stores selling handcrafted items. It is so beloved among the senior community that many retirees have moved to the city for good. The city center has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its 17th and 18th-century buildings, cobbled streets, and green and lush courtyards.
In Cancun and Riviera Maya, you can explore eco-theme parks, restaurants, golf courses, and water excursions, and even swim with the sharks if you dare! Puerto Vallarta is home to culture and sophistication in the form of art galleries and upscale dining. A visit to the nearby towns will also give you an opportunity to go whale watching!
For beaches and loads of cultural and outdoor activities, Mazatlan is the place to be. You can take catamaran cruises or go deep-sea fishing, participate in cooking and painting classes, or just relax by the beach. If you are a golfing enthusiast, the 27-hole PGA-rated championship golf course El Cid Golf & Country Club is also located nearby.
The lovely cities of Italy are popular places on many people’s vacation bucket lists. Whether it’s lounging and taking in the breathtaking sites, heading to the vineyards, visiting olive groves, or eating loads of pasta, there are a lot of ways to spend your time here. Among the most popular destinations in Italy for seniors to travel to are Rome, Venice, Florence, Turin, Naples, and Tuscany. Explore the history, the old rustic charm of the countryside, and the delectable cuisine of Italy while you are here. For seniors, Tuscany offers some of the most attractive yet relaxed itineraries, as you can spend your time on wine tours, meet local winemakers, visit centuries-old palazzos and cathedrals, enjoy the local food, and soak up some sun.
Canada offers an easy solution for when you want an international location but do not want to go too far from home. There are plenty of cities that seniors can consider visiting, such as Victoria or Squamish in British Columbia, Canmore in Alberta, Niagara-on-the-lake and Wasaga Beach in Ontario, and more. The Canadian Rockies also offer a stunning landscape for you to explore. If you enjoy the thrill of adventure, there are plenty of easy hiking trails you could follow. On the other hand, if you prefer comfortably exploring the area, you can also take a train tour aboard luxury trains such as the Rocky Mountaineer.
Central European Rivers
The Danube and Rhine rivers running through Central Europe are another picturesque vacation destination that will leave senior citizens with the best memories. There are plenty of river tours offered, which allow you to explore the areas without having to walk around much. Comfortably situated between Germany, Austria, and Hungary, you also get a chance to explore castles, vineyards, and dreamlike villages in these regions, getting acquainted with their rich cultures and traditions. If you would like to increase the activity quotient of your trip, you can also head to cities like Vienna and Budapest and explore them on foot or electric-assist cycles.
Over the years, Indonesia has turned out to be one of the best vacation spots for individuals of all ages, including senior citizens. The city of Bali is well-renowned on a global scale for its picture-perfect beaches, lush greenery, waterfalls, temples, and more. You can also indulge in special Balinese massages, which are performed with traditional herbs and spices as a form of alternative or traditional treatment. Bali is a pocket-friendly destination thanks to a favorable exchange rate and a low local cost of living. You can choose to visit as a part of a larger tour or hire a private driver for cheap to take you around the city. Head to Ubud as well to explore the markets and galleries, the Palace, and the Sacred Monkey Forest.
Machu Picchu is a popular travel destination, and adventure-loving tourists generally opt for any of the numerous trail routes. However, if you would like to take in the beauty of the Andes without the stress, you can opt for a train from Cusco to explore the snow-capped peaks in the region. There are plenty of senior-friendly travel groups in this region as well that exclusively work with people over the age of 50 or 60. If you are a solo traveler, consider joining one of these groups to take an excursion of a lifetime and make some wonderful new friends along the way. However, before booking your tickets and joining any adventure group for seniors, make sure that you check with your doctor about traveling to high-altitude places, since Cusco is located 11,000 feet above sea level.
Thailand is one of the most beautiful vacation destinations for the elderly. It has a close connection to nature, along with a cheaper cost of living, which can significantly bring down the cost of your vacation. As a bonus, the exchange rate for American dollars is favorable too, which works out well if you are looking for a cheap yet exciting international vacation. Once in Thailand, you can take tours of the prominent cities, beaches, Buddhist monasteries, and other tourist attractions or explore the place on your own. You can also book group tours for senior citizens by getting in touch with local travel agents. Depending on your interests, there are several options available if you are looking for guided tours, such as cultural tours, food and culinary tours, sailing tours, safaris, and more.
Tips for making the most of a vacation for seniors with limited mobility
While seniors with mobility issues may face more challenges when planning a vacation, there are still several options to explore, as detailed above. If you need help organizing the vacation, you can approach a senior-friendly tour operator or speak with the team at your assisted living facility. They can help you find locations that are easy to get to and fun to explore. When traveling, keep some of these tips in mind, so you can enjoy your vacation to the fullest:
- Consider booking a cruise trip. Cruise ships are popular because they offer an all-inclusive package and make travel easier for senior citizens. Cruises, in particular, remove the hassle of finding transportation to restaurants and other locations, helping you preserve your energy and time. Most modern cruise liners have been built in a manner that takes senior accessibility into account, so you can find wheelchair ramps, grab bars, wheelchair-accessible showers, and other features that make travel simpler and more enjoyable for you. If these details are not explicitly mentioned in the cruise’s features, be sure to call the cruise company to double-check before making your bookings. You can also check for short cruise trips for seniors or group travel packages for senior citizens on the cruise website.
- Before your trip, call the hotel at least one week in advance to inform them about your accessibility needs, if any. This will make your check-in process much easier.
- If you need to get on a flight, tell your airline about any mobility restrictions, so they can set up appropriate ground transport and in-flight facilities for you and make your journey smoother.
- Make sure you carry all your doctor’s prescriptions for your travel dates, plus a few extra days, just in case you choose to extend your vacation.
- Keep up with your regular range of mobility exercises, as they can help you from fighting stiffness and fatigue on vacation.
- If traveling has your body feeling stressed, try a relaxing hot tub or hot bath if the facility is available. It is advisable to check for such conveniences while booking a vacation to any destination.
- Save the details of your primary care physician and specialists on your phone. Additionally, also carry your insurance card, prescriptions, and Medicare card. These can be life-saving in the event of an emergency.
- Do not try to rush your vacation. When booking, look for flexible dates and timings so you have the time to relax when you need to.
- Choose accessible cities to travel to. Apart from the above-listed ones, you can also check out other ADA-compliant cities such as Las Vegas, San Diego, San Antonio, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Daytona Beach, and Philadelphia as vacation destinations for senior citizens in the United States.
- Carry snacks for your travels. Although you may be excited to explore numerous restaurants on your vacation, you should still carry some snacks to tide you over any probable wait time. Many restaurants in tourist destinations are exceptionally busy and may have long queues. You may also find yourself in a situation where you need to travel more to get food. In instances like these, it is better to carry a snack such as a trail mix, a box of cookies, or a fruit.