30 great vacations for retirees
Retirement is a chapter of life that usually tops off decades of planning, preparing, saving, and investing. For most, retirement is not just one big vacation, but if you have the means, a hard-earned trip is certainly in order. The same as anyone else planning some downtime away from home, retirees need to plan their vacations in the right order. What can you afford? What do you like to do? And how far do you want to go?
For some, the ideal vacation is a sun-soaked blur of sand, waves, and frozen drinks. For others, fishing, boating, and water-skiing are the name of the game. For more adventurous retirees, it might be skiing in the snow-covered mountains, or perhaps hiking or camping. In other cases, some might be in the market for a high-end luxury cruise, a low-key river cruise, or a flight on a plane to the other side of the world.
Stacker compiled a list of 30 vacation destinations that offer something for every retiree on every budget. Many are in the United States, but others involve overseas jaunts to some of the farthest reaches of the planet. Prices for potential accommodations are included, and sometimes those accommodations are part of packages that include airfare. Since the cost of air travel can swing wildly depending on when you travel, where you're coming from, and even the day of the week that you buy the tickets, the cost of airfare was omitted unless air travel was included as part of a package deal. Also, the stated offers are subject to changes in price and availability.
It's also important to note that the accommodations are only suggestions. While the list sticks mostly to hotels and resorts, you might choose to tour the same city, country, or island by using a bed and breakfast, campsite, cabin, or Airbnb rental as your home base. Read on to learn about some options for your ideal retirement travel plan.
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Danube River Cruise
Take in the majesty and mystery of old-world Europe with a river tour of the Danube. You'll experience the grand cities and quaint medieval towns that rose to prominence on its banks like Budapest, Vienna, and Nuremberg, as you coast in luxury through Hungary, Austria, and Germany. Viking River Cruises offers eight-day, three-country trips that include six guided tours starting at $1,999.
U.S. Virgin Islands
You can relax on the postcard white sand beaches and soak in the turquoise waters of the Caribbean's Lesser Antilles Islands without ever leaving the country—sort of. Because they're U.S. territories, Americans can travel to and from the islands of St. Thomas, St. John's, and St. Croix—known collectively as the U.S. Virgin Islands—without a passport. Perfect for retirees looking to chill out in child-free serenity, you can get a two-person, seven-day package at the adults-only Sand Castle on the Beach resort on St. Croix for $2,830.20, including airfare, hotel, taxes, and fees.
Step into America's past with a fun and educational vacation at one of the country's most popular destinations for retirees. Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia brings the world of the Founding Fathers to life, and the Historic Triangle Package from Colonial Williamsburg Resorts gives you unlimited access not only to Colonial Williamsburg, but also to the Jamestown Settlement, the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, and more. Two-night packages with Williamsburg Lodge accommodations are roughly $215 per person.
Yosemite National Park Wine Tour
Yosemite National Park is one of the greatest natural treasures not just in the country, but in the world—and California wine is spectacular, too. Both the Yosemite Valley Lodge and the Majestic Yosemite Hotel offer accommodations for the Grand Grape Celebration Package, a vacation that's hard to beat for retirees who love both wine and natural beauty. Packages start at $334 per night, per person and include an intimate meet-and-greet with some of California's top vintners, tasting seminars, and a five-course gala dinner complemented by expertly paired wines.
Retirees can get a taste of European metropolitan life in a place that's just a little more than six hours north of New York City by car. Clean, safe, and bursting with things to do, Montreal's cobblestone French Colonial streets and Gothic Revival architecture are worlds away from the common U.S. city, yet all so close. If this sounds like your kind of retirement vacation, two travelers can get a four-night package that includes airfare and accommodations at the highly rated Hotel Zero 1 for $854, including taxes and fees.
Nestled between New York and the Mid-Atlantic cities of Baltimore and Washington D.C. is Philadelphia, a city that has something for retirees of every stripe. The Colonial-era tourist district, famous for the Liberty Bell, can keep history buffs enthralled and, although it's synonymous with cheesesteaks, Philly is one of the most prized restaurant cities in the country right now. There also are all the cultural amenities, museums, exhibits, tours, and nightlife you'd expect to find in a major East Coast city—plus all things "Rocky." You can't get a more central location than the Warwick Hotel in Rittenhouse Square, where rooms start at $209 per night.
Snorkeling, diving, boating, fishing, nightlife, dancing, and cooling your heels on the beach. Sound like a tropical paradise? It is—all in a city in Florida. The southernmost city in the continental United States, Key West is America's slice of the Caribbean—it's actually closer to Havana, Cuba, than it is to Miami. Two travelers can get five nights in the top-rated Southernmost Beach Resort, plus two round-trip tickets for $3,336.88.
Cape May, N.J.
You'll retire your Jersey Shore stereotypes when you head to Cape May, a quaint and historic beach resort town that's sleepy in the offseason and booming in the summer. The historic Carroll Villa Hotel offers a flight of beers at Ludlam Brewery, wine tasting at Hawk Haven Vineyards, a $30 breakfast voucher, 30% off dinner entrees at the hotel's own restaurant, The Mad Batter, and two tickets for a trolley tour of the Historic District—which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places—for $119 to $149, depending on the room you choose.
Lake of the Ozarks
The outdoor playground of the Midwest, the Lake of the Ozarks is two hours from the vacation hotspot of Branson, Mo., and perched in the Ozark Mountains, the highest range between the Rockies and the Appalachians. A true paradise for golfers, anglers, campers, boaters, and outdoor enthusiasts of all tastes, the Lake of the Ozarks is bursting with small-town charm and is a mecca for retirees. Rooms at Robin's Resort are $95 to $260 in season and $80 to 200 in the off season.
Although it's a booming, bustling, college town anchored by Ole Miss, the town of Oxford is a perfect destination for retirees. One of the cultural epicenters of the Old South, the town's rich history coexists with its vibrant scene of nightlife, shopping, cuisine, and entertainment. You can stay in the time capsule of antebellum Southern plantation architecture and decor that is the Castle Hill, for $99 a night.