No matter what your budget, there’s a vacation destination for you. The following senior travel destinations have been culled from various websites as well as the experiences of actual people. The possibilities may be endless, but this list might help you narrow down the field a bit.
US National Parks
There’s more than one reason for preserving natural beauty, and one of those is so people can continue to view it, savor it, and, ideally, go back home with a keener, and broader, appreciation of the value of the world around them. The US currently has 59 protected areas. Having taken Amtrak up to Montana’s East Glacier National Park, as well as having driven to the Grand Canyon, this writer can honestly state that, not only was the cost of these comfortable trips surprisingly low, but the memories (all of them good, as it happens) that resulted remain indelible.
From California’s Death Valley to Alaska’s Denali, from Florida’s Everglades to Utah’s Canyonlands, nature’s offerings are infinite, awe-inspiring, and deeply inspirational. Wikipedia’s alphabetical (by park name) “List of National Parks of the United States” includes an image of each park accompanied by a brief description highlighting that park’s most notable features.
For more details on what any of these parks can offer in the way of accommodations, tours, classes, and other recreational activities, check out the National Park Service website.
Disney World, Florida
It’s forgivable if the first thing that comes to mind on reading “Disney World” are the sights and sounds of lots of excited children and long lines for … everything. Well, come fall, with the kiddos back in school, Disney World remains. The weather is still very pleasant and the ambiance has shifted dramatically. True, Disney World does not offer senior discounts on tickets or accommodations, but you may find discounts at other sites like AAA or AARP.
Yes, Disney World is, in a word, HUGE, but manageable. To learn more, we found good information on TripSavvy where you’ll discover invaluable tips towards enhancing the experience while eliminating the stress. One of the most valuable? Disney World has a mass transit system to get you, quickly and comfortably, from place to place. And, if you’re going alone, you can choose to sign on to a tour group. TripSavvy also talks about what seniors with health issues can expect in the way of support from the staff, including access to wheel chairs and refrigeration for insulin, among other options.
Corpus Christi, Texas, Wintertime Retreat
When most people think of cities in Texas, Austin, Houston or Dallas generally comes to mind. That said, the mid-sized coastal city of Corpus Christi, founded in 1519, would make a splendid winter destination, although the city was recently affected by Hurricane Harvey, so check with the visitors' center on local recovery before you book anything. Besides the fact that the daytime temperature lingers in the 70-degree range, there’s a rich architectural history and a truly stunning array of other attractions, including:
- The History and Nature Museum
- The massive Texas State Aquarium, the official state aquarium
- The USS Lexington, a relic from Pearl Harbor, is moored next to the aquarium.
- The Corpus Christi Botanical Gardens and Nature Center
- Great seafood and Tex-Mex, among other food choices
- Cultural events for any taste
The best source of information is through the Corpus Christi visitors’ center.
Sailing the Rhone River
For many vacationers, a leisurely cruise is the only way to relax. As for affordability, senior discounts abound. With all the cruises to choose from, we would suggest you look at the Rhone package from Avalon Waterways as an example of what’s out there. Avalon’s Rhone tour begins near the source of the Rhone River, a mile-plus tall glacier in the Swiss Alps. From there, one glides onto Lake Geneva, bordering the venerable city of the same name, and then on into France. The attractions are many: Roman, Gothic and Renaissance architecture, glorious countryside and lovely villages, vineyards and the chance to sample local foods and wines. Whether you go with that special someone, on your own or as part of a tour, the romance of this mix of beauty and history should stay with you, the best souvenir of any trip.
Related: Best Cruise for the Money 2017
Catch the Fall Colors of New England
Many have driven to New England to take in the fabled fall colors. Have you ever considered viewing all that beauty from the decks of a cruise ship? These cruises can last anywhere from six to 14 days, possibly more. For example, an 11-day trip’s itinerary could look like this: You set sail from New York City, and wind your way up through those glorious colors, setting foot in Boston, Halifax and Sydney (Nova Scotia), up to Charlottesburg (Prince Edwards Island), through Quebec’s Saguenay Fjord National Park, ending in the exciting city of Quebec City. The national park, by the way, would make an excellent destination in its own right, rich as it is with assorted activities, wildlife, magnificent views and affordable accommodations from camp sites to cabins to huts.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Long popular with tourists, this senior-friendly city only becomes more so as time goes on. Culturally, there are few cities of this size that could offer more and, thanks to technological advances, the ways to appreciate it also continue to grow. If you want to see the city, and the surrounding area, from a fresh perspective, then why not engage in the two-and-a-half hour “Amazing Scavenger Hunt” as described at Tour Beaver. While covering about one-and-three-quarters miles, and using smartphones or tablets, the players are fed clues and puzzles which they solve, while simultaneously exploring the city. If the scavenger hunt idea appeals to you, Santa Fe is only one of many cities that offer them. Keep in mind that there are those who say the best time to visit this lovely, sunny city is from September to November, when the temperatures are most comfortable for the majority of folks. No matter when you go, though, take your sunscreen.
Related: Traveling with Pets
If none of the above sparks your imagination, go to your favorite search engine and type in your most beloved hobby or interest (quilting, chess, beekeeping, zombies, whatever it might be!) and add the word “vacation.” I can almost guarantee, you will not be disappointed.