You've put in your time with that old 9 to 5, and now it's time to continue checking off your bucket list, travel goals included. Whether you're interested in staying close to home or journeying to an entirely new continent, these top senior vacation spots for 2020 will satisfy your wanderlust and help you make the most of your retirement.
1. Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe was founded in the early 1600s, making it America's second-oldest city, a vibe that is still very much present today. The bevy of well-preserved Spanish-Pueblo buildings make a memorable backdrop for Santa Fe's wealth of cultural activities. On any given day, you can drop in on a jewelry boutique, buy some native art then dig into Native American-inspired cuisine. Active seniors won't be disappointed either. Proximity to the Sangre de Cristo Mountains provides plenty of options for hiking and skiing, while the mild, dry climate keeps conditions comfortable year-round without sacrificing the unique aspects of each stunning season.
Tucked away to the northwest of the lower 48 contiguous United States, Alaska is the wintery wonderland vacationers often forget about. That's a mistake. Cruises offer seniors an opportunity to get up close and personal with marine life, glaciers and other breathtaking bits of scenery without the need for tiring hikes or ATV rides over rough terrain. Tack on a land excursions to Denali National Park and some face time with native herds of caribou, bears, wolves and more, and there's adventure galore at prices that don't have to overwhelm a retiree's budget.
Some 32.3 million Americans have some Irish ancestry, meaning around 10% of the population can trace their lineage back to the Emerald Isle. Though that's a significant number, you certainly don't have to be Irish to enjoy sights like the Giant's Causeway, the Cliffs of Moher or a scenic loop through the Ring of Kerry. Whether you're an outdoor enthusiast, a history buff, a foodie, a Guinness devotee or simply love great music and even better hospitality, Ireland has it. It's all easily accessible too thanks to the prevalence of affordable tours and the fact that the entire island is only 175 miles wide and 300 miles from top to bottom.
4. Solvang, California
It's less than a three-hour drive from Los Angeles to Solvang, California, and just 45 minutes from Santa Barbara, but you'd be forgiven for thinking you'd somehow been transported from Hollywood to the old country. Solvang is a small city (population sits at just over 5,000 people) known for its Danish-inspired architecture and glut of wineries. Spend the day wandering through shops and eateries that look like gingerbread houses come to life, take selfies in front of the windmills, or plan your getaway to coincide with one of the many festivals, wine tastings or seasonal fetes the village is known for. It's a relaxing spot full of charm and much closer than you'd expect — perfect for seniors who long for something different but might not have the capital, time or ability to trek overseas.
5. Stockholm, Sweden
Accessibility can be a top concern for seniors who may have mobility issues or find themselves with visual or auditory impediments. Stockholm is known for its thoughtful city planning and access initiatives, with everything from ramp-equipped pedestrian crossings to apps that combine GPS technology and audio-visual cues to help users navigate safely. With all those options available, it's easy for anyone to explore Stockholm's network of 14 major islands (there are actually 30,000 total in the Stockholm Archipelago) and all the museums, midsummer festivals, galleries, vintage boutiques and delicacy-laden cafes contained therein.
There are more than 100 hiking trails weaving in, out and around the breathtaking red rocks of Sedona, with difficulty levels ranging from fairly moderate to expert. Seniors who still like to work up a sweat can easily find a path that suits their fitness level, but there's also a visitor's center with lovely views as well as roadside pullouts that offer spots to soak up Mother Nature's handiwork. Flesh out your itinerary with stops at Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village, a jaunt down the Verde Valley Wine Trail and a day or two at one of Sedona's legendary spas.
Travel is often an eye-opening experience, but it's just as important to know you're coming back to a home and community you love. In between booking your dream vacation, check out vibrant and active independent senior living at Brightview. Our communities are designed to keep residents active, healthy and engaged.
All the activities they plan here at Brightview are wonderful. I’ve never been so busy and made so many friends.Joseph, Brightview Great Falls
Travel with Brightview Senior Living
Brightview Senior Living communities frequently provide local travel opportunities for our residents. These excursions are carefully planned with our resident’s abilities and desires in mind. In addition, many residents of our Brightview Communities enjoy taking their own trips with their fellow neighbors. This is an essential part of our SPICE program philosophy, touching on each resident’s Spiritual, Physical, Intellectual, Cultural, and Emotional well-being.