Once you retire, you may feel like you finally have time to travel like you’ve always wanted. In fact, according to Maria Gillen, director of the AARP’s travel website, travel is the number-one aspiration for Americans 50 and over. However, your travel destination wish list is probably different than it was when you were younger. Maybe you aren’t looking for hostels in Europe or hiking excursions through the Andes. So if you’re interested in a slower pace, or at least the option of a slower pace, here are ten of the best senior-friendly towns to visit.
- Williamsburg, Virginia
This town, near Virginia’s coast, is best known for its American Revolution-era history museums and historical recreations, but it also offers a variety of other activities. In addition to ambling down the cobblestone streets of this well-preserved town, you can kayak, bike, shop, and dine in elegant restaurants.
- Palm Springs, California
Palm Springs, the iconic resort town, is truly an oasis. Because it is a popular retirement destination, most businesses cater to seniors, but its popularity with celebrities keeps the nightlife interesting. This town is perfect for golfers, too.
- Bar Harbor, Maine
If you love nature, Bar Harbor is a great senior-friendly town. In addition to the beautiful coastal views from town, 47,000-acre Acadia National Park is close by. And unlike many national parks, you don’t have to be a hiker or rock climber to experience the park; you can explore the wilderness via boat, bus, or trolley.
- Juneau, Alaska
Another beautiful coastal city, Juneau boasts a newly-redeveloped walkable waterfront and an exciting culinary scene. It’s a great starting point for boat excursions and other day trips. Local businesses cater to seniors because the city is a stop for many cruise ships during the summer months.
- Jekyll Island, Georgia
This small island off the coast of Georgia is a great spot for golf, tennis, beaches, and biking. The historic Jekyll Island Club Hotel Clubhouse dates from the nineteenth century and was the preferred retreat of the Vanderbilts, Pulitzers, and Rockefellers. The Clubhouse now hosts elegant dinners, brunches, afternoon teas, and Sunday dinner dances.
- Charleston, South Carolina
Another coastal Southern destination, Charleston is a great destination for retirees on a budget. Soak up the culture and history at attractions like the Fort Sumpter National Monument and Gibbes Museum of Art that offer senior discounts. Each spring, Charleston hosts the Spoleto performing arts festival, which offers a 10% discount for seniors.
- Branson, Missouri
This vacation town in the Ozarks is famous for its shows and concerts, golf, and the History of Fishing Museum. Beatles fans can check out the Liverpool Legends, and country music fans will love A Tribute to Marty Robbins at Little Opry Theatre. Most shows have matinee as well as evening performances, in case you don’t feel like making it a late night every night.
- Wilmington, North Carolina
Wilmington, on the coast of North Carolina, recently received one of TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice awards. It’s a budget-friendly destination, with many free attractions such as Wrightsville Beach Museum of History, the Hanover County Arboretum, and several nearby beaches and state parks. It’s a great destination for golfers, too, with six public golf courses.
- Yakima, Washington
If you like wineries, fly fishing, and apple picking, you might like Yakima, Washington. With is “small town” feel (and prices) and its proximity to nearby Mount Rainier, this town is an off-the-beaten-path vacation destination, but is great for seniors. Yakima was voted as one of “America’s Best Small Cities on the Rise” by SmarterTravel in 2014. If you like to travel with your dog, many businesses, like restaurants and brewpubs, in Yakima are pet friendly.
- Hendricks County, Indiana
This area may not be on your vacation radar, but if you like 1950’s culture and design, don’t miss Plainfield’s Oasis Diner, a 1954 restaurant that has been restored to its original splendor. Hendricks County, a suburb of Indianapolis, also features other arts and cultural activities. Local tourism organizations, such as Visit Hendricks County, also offer themed package tours and arts workshops for seniors.