There are top vacation spots on most people's bucket lists. After all, travel can be one of life's greatest joys, as it presents opportunities to see new sights, relax by the water, and/or immerse yourself in new cultures. So when it comes to senior vacations, are some places more enjoyable than others?
Discover what makes a senior-friendly destination and some of the best vacation ideas for seniors!
Why travel as a senior?
In fact, traveling in old age has surprising health benefits. According to some scientific studies, traveling after age 50 improves brain and heart health and reduces the risk of depression. Extended family vacations also improve mental and emotional health and strengthen relationships.
Not only that, but travel can increase the ability to see new perspectives, improve confidence and effectiveness, and provide an opportunity to access the deepest parts of the mind.
So if you are able, travel is definitely recommended for the older population!
What is a good senior travel spot?
Really, that's pretty variable. Different places will appeal and appeal to different people based on a variety of factors such as:
- Physical abilities
- excursion offers
- group size
While the factors to consider are not exhaustive, it covers some of the most important ones. When deciding where to travel, it can be helpful to first determine whether you are looking for a relaxing vacation or an adventurous trip.
Examples of the former would be renting an oceanfront condo in Naples, Florida or sipping pina coladas at an all-inclusive resort in Jamaica, while examples of the latter include exploring a national park or sightseeing primarily on foot in Europe.
Consider the following questions to further narrow down the perfect landing pages:
How much money do I want to spend on a trip?- International travel, cruises, and all-inclusive tropical resorts tend to be more expensive than camping or staying in a condo a few blocks from the beach.
What am I looking for in a trip?- Adventure? Relaxation? A mix of both? An adults-only all-inclusive resort? Enjoy your meal?
Will I be able to move around easily enough?– Does the place require a lot of walking? Is it wheelchair accessible? How is the transportation?
Are extracurricular activities offered?– bonfire? Bingo? Croquet or Bocci? amusement parks? Bike, kayak, canoe or boat rental? Cocktail hours, performance shows or sheltered chairs by the sea?
Which atmosphere sounds appealing?– A ski hut? life at the lake? Romantic Paris atmosphere? A sightseeing adventure in Yellowstone National Park?
With these considerations in mind, there are a few travel ideas that top the list for seniors year after year. Just look!
The best vacation spots in the USA
A senior travel destination can be right in this country. Check out these unique locations including state parks and other scenic spots!
US National Parks- Good for adventures, road trips, camping and sightseeing
National parks are great for seniors because they are accessible to travelers with different interests and abilities. Not to mention that they all offer something unique!
Whether you're scaling the heights of the Rocky Mountains, watching Old Faithful erupt in Yellowstone, or enjoying the crystal clear waters of Glacier National Park, there's something for everyone on the outdoor spectrum.
And if Americans are 62 or older, they can get a lifetime National Park Service Senior Pass for a one-time fee of $80.
Santa Fe– good for art and culture, ideal climate, a bit of outdoor adventure
The capital of New Mexico attracts artists and culture-loving tourists thanks to its Spanish Colonial atmosphere and beautiful location in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Thanks to its warm but dry climate and compact and walkable historic downtown area, it particularly attracts the 65-year-old and older population.
Dating back to the 16th century, the adobe sits in the middle of a leafy plaza filled with art galleries, Native American museums and unique Southwestern cuisine. The more adventurous can also go hiking or skiing in the surrounding mountains.
St. Augustin, Florida- good for hot weather, accessibility, activities for seniors
Really, the entire state of Florida is a wonderful travel opportunity for seniors. But known as the oldest continuously occupied European settlement, St. Augustine attracts many history buffs.
Four blocks to St. George Street, a walkable, magnolia-filled historic district, makes it easy to see a lot in a small space. There are also plenty of handy sightseeing trolleys, often at discounted prices.
Among the most popular sights are the brick fortress Castillo de San Marcos, the Victorian Lightner Museum and the Archaeological Park Fountain of Youth.
Sedona, Arizona– Sightseeing, beautiful sunsets, relaxation and/or adventure
Though rattlesnakes, cacti and scorpions abound, the magical city of Sedona is every tourist's dream come true. Less than two hours from Phoenix, it offers exquisite red rock cliffs, doable hikes for all levels of ability, bird watching, jeep tours of geological wonders, and wondrous cotton candy sunsets.
In fact, some people consider Cathedral Rock to be the most beautiful place to see a sunset. Also, there are many hotels, resorts and yogi insights for those who prefer to relax more.
Sonoma-Tal– Wine tasting, group prices, indulgence
Although Napa is more popular, maybe Sonoma is more your style? Instead of taking the limo to reach the main road into Napa, one can slowly drive down a dirt road to reach cozy outdoor patios with affordable wine tastings.
And while the average cost in Napa Valley is $460 per day, the average cost in Sonoma per person is closer to $292 per day. Compared to Napa, Sonoma is known to be more expansive, casual, and less commercialized. It grows far more grapes than Napa, which means more wine too.
In terms of wine, it is particularly well known for Chardonnay, Pinto Noir, Zinfandel, red blends and sparkling wine.
Best international trip
From inclusive resorts to cruises for seniors and families, set sail and travel abroad to these beautiful top vacation destinations!
The Caribbean– good for tropical weather and amenities, relaxation, turquoise sea
This tropical destination offers an ideal setting for relaxation. With its clear waterfront, soft sand, spa appointments and fresh air, it serves as the cornerstone of bliss. The Caribbean is also accessible by cruise ship, which may be a better option for those who have trouble getting around on foot.
However, wheelchairs and other mobility aids are available through Scootaround or Special Needs at Sea. For travel inspiration, check out the exquisite islands of Cuba, Bahamas, Antigua and Barbados.
Alaska cruises– good for less physical activity adventures, bucket lists, uniqueness
One of the most ambiguous states due to its unique light and dark periods, Alaska features huge glaciers, grizzly bears, magnificent trout and salmon, and Denali National Park. However, one does not have to be a hardy explorer to appreciate its beauty.
Alaska cruises not only offer accessible accommodations, but also allow one to experience more of Alaska in a given voyage. These cruises reveal wonderful coastlines, port cities, excursion opportunities and fly fishing that is second to none.
Helicopter shore excursions offer a bird's eye view of the rugged mountains, lush forests and flowing waterways. There's also the option to board the Aurora Winter Train, which chugs through Anchorage and Fairbanks from fall through spring, which is the best time to see the famous Northern Lights.
Machu Picchu- good for bucket lists, group tours, historical significance
Many people want to hike the Inca Trail en route to the citadel in the Andes, but Machu Picchu offers so much more. Cusco offers train rides to the mysterious citadel with views of lush valleys and snow-capped peaks.
The wide range of guided group tours also offers the opportunity to get help not only with planning the trip, but also with accommodation needs and socialization! In fact, one of the best parts of their online community is meeting new people on their travels.
Thailand– good for a lower budget, dining, relaxation and/or adventure
While road trips and camping accommodation may be the best way to save some money, a visit to Thailand, which offers a favorable international exchange rate, will also help protect the bank. In Southeast Asia, the US dollar stretches far, often keeping bougie restaurants, upscale spas, and typical hotels surprisingly affordable.
And for those craving excitement and diversion, Thailand offers Buddhist temples, sandy beaches, floating markets and, of course, Bangkok.
South Africa– good for game drives, photography, group tours, unique activities
What activity is in the top ten on most bucket lists? That's right - African safari drives. Who wouldn't want to see lions, elephants, giraffes, zebras and more in their natural habitat?
Since wildlife viewing tours are enjoyed in 4x4 vehicles rather than on foot, this is a wonderful activity for seniors. Additionally, South Africa's Kruger National Park, vineyard tours, beach excursions and the tram ride to Table Mountain in Cape Town can all make for the trip of a lifetime.
The conclusion to the vacation for seniors
Whether you are taking a trip to the above list or venturing into Virginia Beach, Ocean City, what have you, senior travel is recommended if you are able and comfortable to do so.
If travel isn't an option, even consider a little road trip or a picnic at a local park. A change of scenery can also work wonders!
Downing A. Best Travel Destinations for Seniors in 2021. The Seniors List. Released April 8, 2021.www.theseniorlist.com/travel/best/.
Napa vs. SONOMA: Wine Country Travel. wine folly. Released May 21, 2018.winefolly.com/tips/napa-vs-sonoma-wine-country-style/.
Thompson Z. Best vacation ideas and travel destinations for seniors. The best holiday ideas and travel destinations for seniors.www.frommers.com/slideshows/848278-best-vacation-ideas-and-destinations-for-seniors.