8

Great Vacation Destinations in the U.S. for Seniors

We know there are questions around travel amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Read our note here.

Who says that seniors should slow down when it comes to travel? For many people, “getting up there” in years also means more disposable income, decreased responsibilities from parenting, and the well-earned wisdom that time flies too swiftly to postpone dreams — including dream vacations. If you still want to dance until dawn at a crowded club, no one is stopping you, but here are eight destinations with a bit more adult appeal that are perfect for relaxed grown-up getaways.

8

South Walton, Florida

An aerial view of Fort Walton Beach in Florida.
Credit: pisaphotography/ Shutterstock

The Florida Panhandle cities of Destin and Panama City have plenty of high-rises and luxury outlet malls, but the stretch of quiet communities along Highway 30-A in Walton County are the true gems along the Emerald Coast. The protected white sand beaches are perfect for strolling in any season, but don’t miss the section of coastal dune lakes that stretches out along Walton County’s 26 miles of shore. These shallow freshwater and saltwater depressions are found in only a few places around the world, and are home to a variety of rare water lilies, blue herons, and playful river otters. The beach communities — including Seaside, which touts the environmentally friendly design principles of New Urbanism — are filled with galleries, boutiques, bookstores, and restaurants that showcase the Gulf Coast’s succulent seafood.

7

Sedona, Arizona

A view of the road leading to the Red Rocks State Park in Sedona, Arizona.
Credit: SNEHIT PHOTO/ Shutterstock

The otherworldly sandstone rock formations surrounding Sedona make it a natural choice for outdoor recreation, but the Arizona town is also a hub for spirituality and wellness, thanks to the presence of energy vortex sites that are thought to promote healing, meditation, and self-exploration. Explore the natural wonders at Red Rocks State Park, take a Jeep tour or hot air balloon ride, or relax with a crystal massage at one of Sedona’s many spas. A four-hour journey on a vintage train is a great way to see the Verde Valley, and don’t forget to check out the tiny town of Jerome. Once a mining village, it’s now an exclusive artists’ enclave. If you’ve brought Fido along, El Portal is a pet-friendly hotel, just steps from Tlaquepaque, which houses some of Sedona’s best shops and restaurants.

6

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia downtown skyline with a pretty blue sky.
Credit: gangliu10/ iStock

Not interested in American history? Despite what you may think about Philadelphia, that shouldn’t deter you from visiting. Although Philadelphia, founded in 1682, is home to Independence Hall (where the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were signed), Revolutionary War sites, and the Liberty Bell, Pennsylvania’s “City of Brotherly Love” offers much more than history. Start with art at the Philadelphia Museum (where you can recreate the famous stairs scene from Rocky), but don’t miss The Barnes, which has one of the best collections of impressionist and post-impressionist works in the world. The food scene is world-class as well, from classic Italian American red sauce joints around the Ninth Street Market to cutting-edge plant-based feasts at award-winning spots like Vedge.

5

Camden, Maine

Camden, Maine from overhead showing the bay, harbor, and city.
Credit: traveler1116/ iStock

There’s perhaps no place that offers a more iconic Maine experience than Camden. Drive or hike to the top of Mount Battie for an overview of picturesque Penobscot Bay and downtown Camden, and check out the stone memorial tower that honors the fallen soldiers of World War I. The famed Camden Yacht Club is members-only, but the High Street Historic District is filled with great shops and restaurants — don’t miss Uncle Willy’s Candy Shoppe for a sweet treat. And for what may be the quintessential Maine experience above all, see the sea on a lobster-laden Windjammer cruise.

4

Denver, Colorado

A view of Larimer street, a tourism highlight in the city of Denver, Colorado.
Credit: pascaluehli/ iStock

Colorado’s capital city is one of the sunniest spots in the nation, with bluebird skies offering clear vistas of the magnificent Rocky Mountains that rise up from the west. The former frontier outpost is now an incredibly popular vacation destination, with plenty of appeal for seniors, too. Check out world-class cultural institutions like the Denver Art Museum, the quaffable craft beer scene (with more than 100 breweries), thrilling professional sports competitions, and the many outdoor recreational opportunities (skiing, cycling, climbing) that are right on Denver’s doorstep. Step into the Old West by exploring the gold-rush town of Golden, or get trippy at the newest (and largest) installation of Meow Wolf, an immersive modern art experience at Convergence Station.

3

Maui, Hawaii

The Kaanapali Beach on the west shore of the island of Maui in Hawaii.
Credit: YinYang/ iStock

Hawaii’s “Magic Isle” lures travelers of all ages with lush emerald mountains, sapphire blue waters, and crashing waterfalls that sparkle like diamonds. But for seniors, Maui is a true tropical paradise, where you can pair laid-back adventure with elegant resorts, top-notch golf, and fine dining. Make the luxurious community of Wailea your home base for exploring the island, and from there, set out to watch humpback whales on a naturalist-led cruise, or take to the skies for a helicopter tour of the island’s highlights. Drive the famed Road to Hana, stopping at sites such as the Rainbow Eucalyptus Grove and the Garden of Eden Arboretum along the way. If you can, don’t miss a drive at sunrise straight to the summit of Haleakala. At 10,023 feet, the dormant volcano is Maui’s highest peak.

2

Anchorage, Alaska

Downtown Anchorage, Alaska on the water with mountains in the background.
Credit: Jeff Manes/ iStock

Remote and rugged landscapes teeming with wildlife make Alaska a nature-photographer’s dream. While a cruise can be a great way to take in Alaska’s natural beauty, Anchorage, the largest state’s largest city, offers urban comforts and sophistication with wilderness right at its front door, as well as a relatively pleasant climate. A mere 11 miles along the Coastal Trail takes visitors from downtown to the chalet entrance to Kincaid Park, a former Cold War military installation. On a clear day, you can see Denali, North America’s tallest mountain, but the 1,400-acre park also has moose, bears, and miles of paved and single-track trails for hiking and biking. In the city proper, you’ll find rustic-chic hotels and restaurants making the most of the coast’s abundant seafood.

1

San Luis Obispo County, California

A view from a vineyard in San Luis Obispo, California.
Credit: rappensuncle/ iStock

Spanning 80 rugged miles of coastline along the Golden State’s Central Coast, San Luis Obispo County offers an appealing mix of natural wonders — the area is home to a population of elephant seals (who have their own sanctuary), a grove of Monarch butterflies, and much more. Dubbed “Slo Cal,” SLO is also the state’s third-largest wine region, with 217 wineries and tasting rooms, and a culinary hot spot featuring various gastronomical delights, from Morro Bay oysters to the Michelin-starred Ox + Anchor. Agritourism is another big attraction, so try your hand at luffa harvesting or forage some kelp. You can also kayak, stroll along pristine beaches, or check out the stunningly extravagant architecture of San Simeon’s Hearst Castle.

Share

Facebook iconTwitter iconEmail icon
Related article image

10 Most Expensive Places to Live in the U.S.

Related article image

8 Tips to Create the Perfect Packing List

Related article image

16 Interesting Geography Terms You Should Know

Related article image

9 of the World's Most Beautiful Airports