One of the best things about getting older is retirement. If all goes well, you will have some money saved up, some free time, and the chance to use that to go off and enjoy yourself for a while. The kids have left home, you have few responsibilities, and the wisdom to put all that free time to proper use.
The downside, however, is that while you may have time and money, they often don’t have the energy they once did. That saying about youth being wasted on the young is very true! Nights out may be too rowdy, and it’s hard to have fun when, in your mind, most of the people in the venue with you look like they should still be at school! Adventure days out may put too much strain on the joints or be too much activity for certain family members.
Here are a few of my top picks for inclusive, fun and relaxing day trips for seniors.
A Super Spa Day
Spa days are something that all the adults in the family can enjoy. They are a good chance to disconnect from the world and treat yourself to a bit of pampering. If you’re stressed out at work, your daughter is struggling at college and you know that grandma hasn’t been taking good care of herself, why not spend an afternoon getting a manicure, pedicure, moisturizing facial and massage? You’ll all feel amazing afterwards.
Spa treatments can be fun for the men, too. Saunas, steam rooms and hot stone massages don’t discriminate. Everyone can enjoy them, and they’re the sort of thing that people rarely buy for themselves. If you’re looking for a senior gift experience that will make your loved ones feel great, find a local spa, book a luxurious vehicle to go there in, and enjoy feeling like royalty for the day.
Sightseeing Coaches or River Cruises
A day trip to a big city doesn’t have to be exhausting. You can often see the sights of big cities on an open-topped coach, take some great photos with your digital camera, make some memories, and learn all about the city without having to walk further than from the car park to the coach. Some areas have afternoon river cruises and these are even more fun since they often include meal service.
This kind of sightseeing trip offers a good chance to see a new place and also get some quality bonding time in with your loved ones. If you book a trip for early in the day you can then take the afternoon to go visit the most interesting places on foot.
Book in advance and the tickets for these trips are typically affordably priced. Trips can vary in length from an hour up to a full afternoon, so do your homework before you schedule one.
Watch the Big Game
There’s something infectious about the enthusiasm that people feel for sports. Even if you aren’t a sporty senior yourself, if you pick a nice warm day to go to a sporting event, and have good seats, you’ll likely find that the vibe at the game is so good that you’ll have fun anyway. If you have someone with you who can explain the rules, it’s even better.
There’s more than just the game, too. Head to your end of season college football game and there will be mascots, cheerleaders, bands and other spectacles to enjoy at the same time. Buy some junk food, enjoy a drink, and soak up the atmosphere. It’s enough to make you feel young again!
Hands on Museums
When most people think of museums and art galleries, they think of boring, stuffy places where all the exhibits are behind glass. Yes, if your loved ones are particularly fascinated by a specific artist or a period of history, they might want to go to a museum devoted to that, but there are plenty of educational places out there that are far more fun and appealing these days.
Take a trip to a ‘living museum’ where people wear traditional attire and play the roles of traditional jobs. Head to a hands-on museum where you can learn by doing, or go to an architectural site and watch as a dig is being performed. There are chocolate factories and breweries that will let you try to make your own items to take away with you, and there are many history museums where you can dress up yourself for photos, and really ‘feel a part of history’.
This kind of day trip works for the whole family. The key here is to make a day out of the visit, rather than trying to do the science museum in the morning and the art gallery in the afternoon. Get a leisurely start, explore one place well, stop off for a meal, and consider that a successful day before the kids get cranky and your older relatives get tired. That’s our top tip for a successful school day trip out.
Seasonal or Festive Markets
If you’re looking for a shorter trip, then why not head out to a seasonal or festive market? A trip to the beach during the summer or to see some Christmas lights and go shopping in November/December makes for a fun outing that gets everyone into the right spirit for that time of year. It’s a chance to buy some Easter eggs or Christmas gifts for the family, pick up some fine foods, and admire the bric-a-brac on the stalls, even if you don’t buy much. Book a Greyhound trip to a nearby city with a good market and you can enjoy a weekend away without breaking the bank.
This kind of trip will involve some walking but it doesn’t have to be a lot. If the hustle and bustle of the market gets to be too much, then you can always find a quiet cafe to relax in or retire back to the hotel for some rest.
Tickets to big shows can run into the hundreds of dollars sometimes, and those big shows are noisy, crowded, rowdy and not really a place that a lot of seniors will want to be. By the time the opener is done and the main attraction comes on, even a lot of younger fans are getting restless.
Tribute bands offer a more intimate, chilled out, affordable and fun experience. They have another advantage too. It’s likely that your grandfather doesn’t know who PVRIS is, but they may well have happy memories of AC/DC from their college days. Take them to see a tribute band and they can reminisce about their misspent youth and enjoy a party atmosphere in a more relaxed setting.
Seniors Know How to Have Fun
Planning a trip with an elderly person doesn’t have to mean stuffy museums, silent art galleries, and markets full of crafts. Talk to that senior citizen in your life, and see what they would like to do. They might surprise you!
Seniors like to party, try new things, and explore too. The challenge that they often face with traveling is limited mobility and energy. Many of the conditions that affect people as they age, including diabetes and arthritis, make prolonged periods of exertion difficult. Work around that, and you can all have a good time.
Plan your activities with plenty of downtime between them so you aren’t rushing from attraction to attraction. If you get through your bucket list quickly, you can always take a detour. If anyone in your party needs a break, then it won’t lead to people feeling stressed out or guilty that people are ‘missing out on fun’ because of them.\
What day trips do you recommend for seniors? Have you had a particularly enjoyable day that you would like to share? Please share your experiences in the comments below!