8 of the Best Vacation Spots for Retirees

Whether you retired recently or have long since settled into your life of leisure, it’s time to travel! After all, what better way to spend your hard-earned retirement? Now is the time to visit those places you’ve always through about seeing.

If you’re looking for retirement travel ideas, you’re in luck. We’ve found eight of the best spots in the United States to savor your newfound freedom. From wine tasting to world-class golfing. These spots offer relaxing, yet exciting ways to celebrate the joys of retirement.

1. Jefferson, TX

Steeped in history, Jefferson is the perfect spot to travel in retirement. Take a slow stroll through the quaint downtown, or sample the region’s comfort foods. Be sure to tour the many historic landmarks along the way. Make time to explore the mysterious and enchanting Caddo Lake, too. You’ll find plenty of opportunities to enjoy this welcoming bayou town in the piney woods of East Texas.

Where to stay: Treat yourself to a comfy stay at centrally located Delta Street Inn B&B.

What to eat: Feast on the fabulous, fried pickles at Auntie Skinner’s Riverboat Club Restaurant and Bar.

Don’t miss: Take a moonlit pontoon ride on Caddo Lake with Mystique Tours in neighboring Uncertain.

2. Las Cruces, NM

Las Cruces makes a great retirement getaway. With an average of 294 days of sunshine per year, a booming wine culture, and some of the best food in the southwest. There is something here for everyone. Enjoy a day of shopping, history, and margaritas in Old Mesilla Village. Soak up the ideal weather with an afternoon of golfing or hiking.

Where to stay: Enjoy stellar views at Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces.

What to eat: Indulge in the best eggplant parmigiana you’ll ever eat at Lorenzo’s Italian Restaurant.

Don’t miss: Imbibe your way down the Mesilla Valley Wine Trail—it’s the oldest wine-producing region in North America.

3. Yakima, WA

If you retired so you could spend more time outdoors, make your way to Yakima. Any time of year is a good time to visit. The city enjoys an average of 300 days of sunshine per year. Better yet, it has four distinct seasons. Enjoy golfing and hiking in the warmer months. In the winter, put on your snowshoes and enjoy the crisp air. There’s year-round adventure waiting in Yakima. Looking for some wine tasting or apple picking? Explore the orchards and wineries that pepper the fertile valley.

Where to stay: Post up in the heart of the action by booking a room at Hotel Maison.

What to eat: Savor the cedar plank salmon at Carousel French Cuisine.

Don’t miss: Stop by Johnson Orchards to pick apples and sample cider.

4. Williamsburg, VA

Known as the world’s largest living history museum, Williamsburg exudes yesteryear charm. Relish its cobblestone streets, historic taverns, and costumed townsfolk. Role-playing citizens chatter in the diction of colonial times. Even if you’re not a history buff, this city has plenty more to offer. There are ample shopping and dining options. Seek out the vibrant gardens throughout town. It’s the perfect spot to slow down and savor the pleasures of retirement.

Where to stay: Treat yourself to an indulgent stay at Williamsburg Inn–A Colonial Williamsburg Hotel.

What to eat: Enjoy a tasty meal and rousing conversation at Food For Thought restaurant.

Don’t miss: Immerse yourself in the past at Williamsburg’s renowned historic area.

5. Kailua-Kona, HI

If you’ve been saving a trip to Hawaii for retirement, Kailua-Kona is well worth the wait. Dry, sunny weather awaits against a backdrop of dramatic volcanic slopes. This Big Island jewel is as breathtaking as it is relaxing. Kailua-Kona has delicious coffee, flea markets, and history—King Kamehameha lived here! It also offers incredible golfing and snorkeling spots.

Where to stay: Splurge on the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai.

What to eat: Sample the savory pan-roasted mahi mahi at Holuakoa Gardens.

Don’t miss: Experience a once-in-a-lifetime helicopter tour with Big Island Expedition with Leisure Time in Hilo.

6. Grand Junction, CO

Maybe you skipped Grand Junction when you were still in the workforce. Luckily, this underappreciated town is best explored when you have plenty of time, making it the ideal pick for retirees! Grand Junction offers tons of activities, including golfing, hiking, and snow sports. It also boasts more than 20 wineries and vineyards in the area, plus easy access to the breathtaking 63-mile Mesa Scenic Byway.

Where to stay: Enjoy a relaxing stay at the laid-back Grand Vista Hotel.

What to eat: Pair a glass of wine with the exceptional paella at 626 on Rood.

Don’t miss: Take an excursion to Grand Mesa, the world’s largest flat-top mountain.

7. Sarasota, FL

Nothing says relaxation like miles of white-sand beaches and a perfect climate. That’s why Sarasota is one of the top travel destinations for retirees. Spend your days soaking up the sun and splashing in the gentle waters. If you feel like exploring, visit the area’s botanical gardens, museums, and aquariums. Love indulging your inner foodie? Experience Sarasota’s eclectic eateries, from coastal seafood shacks to swanky spots downtown.

Where to stay: Embrace the tropical vibe by booking a room at Lido Beach Resort.

What to eat: Sample fresh seasonal fare at Lila Sarasota.

Don’t miss: Allow enough time to explore the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art.

8. Galena, IL

Conjure up an image of the quintessential Midwestern town. What appears in your mind will match Galena, Illinois. With gift shops and antique stores galore, it’s easy to please your inner shopaholic. Prefer to test your luck? You’ll find casinos here, too! Beyond the shops and slots, there’s plenty to do in Galena, such as visiting museums, skiing, and even wine tasting.

Where to stay: Book a room at the picturesque lakeside Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa.

What to eat: Savor the shrimp-stuffed lemon pepper ravioli at Fried Green Tomatoes.

Don’t miss: Step into the past as you explore Ulysses S. Grant’s former home.

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