22 Cheap Nostalgia Trips for Seniors


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There's something reassuring about things of old, and sometimes an urge to step back in time to relive youthful days. From admiring classic cars to strolling along a boardwalk, there are surprisingly inexpensive ways for the young at heart to recapture the spirit of yesteryear. Some locations might demand a visit -- or inspire you to find a similar activity closer to home.

Related: 50 Fulfilling, Productive Things to Do in Retirement

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Car buffs will delight in the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan. Located between Detroit and Chicago, the site boasts more than 400 vintage cars and motorcycles, a retro-styled diner, an old-fashioned gas station, and a packed calendar of lectures, car shows, films, and other events. Admission is $12.

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There's something innately romantic about snuggling into a balcony seat with a favorite person. The Paris Theatre in the heart of New York City, which favors art-house and foreign releases, offers an elegant take on the single-screen movie experience. Senior tickets are $12.50.

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The summertime experiences of the boardwalk -- arcades, souvenir shops, ice cream cones, and saltwater taffy -- are still available in Ocean City, Maryland. The three-mile beach boardwalk also has rides, bike rentals, and a museum and aquarium.

Related: 21 Best Beaches for a Budget Vacation in 2017

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Music lovers can relive amazing moments at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, whether they're fans of Elvis or David Bowie, "Dick Clark's American Bandstand" or gospel. Seniors 65 and older get in for $21.25.

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The classic diner experience is fading, but there's still the Busy Bee, in Brookline, Massachusetts. Called a "greasy spoon par excellence" by a Yelp reviewer, this family-owned favorite has been drawing Bostonians in search of the classic breakfast for decades.

Related: Cheap Eateries You Have to Try in All 50 States

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Hawaii is home to Pearl Harbor, attacked on Dec. 7, 1941, by the Japanese. The Pearl Harbor Historic Sites, including the incredible sunken USS Arizona Memorial, offer perspective and the chance to pay respects to the fallen. Admission is free.

Related: 15 Awe-Inspiring Memorials and Other Places to Honor Our Vets

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Lake Compounce in Bristol, Connecticut, has been open since 1846 and is billed as the nation's oldest continually operating park. The retro atmosphere includes roller coasters such as the Wildcat, "thrilling families since 1927," and the Boulder Dash, "voted world's No. 1 wooden coaster." People over 60 get in for $23.

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If a quiet spin on a carousel sounds better, check out Playland in Rye, New York. Its 1915 carousel features some 66 horses sporting jewel-studded harnesses and chariot seats around a rare Gavioli band organ. Admission to the 280-acre amusement park is $30 (cheaper for spectators and Westchester residents).

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The Museum at Bethel Woods takes visitors back in time to the heady days of peace and love at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair in the summer of 1969. The Bethel, New York, culture center has an active concert schedule and themed activities. Admission for visitors 65 and older is $13.

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Family road trips to classic destinations were a part of so many childhoods -- kicking the seats, whining for a rest stop, and, oh, yes, seeing some national treasures. Mount Rushmore National Memorial in Keystone, South Dakota, is as impressive as ever, and still free.

Related: Where to Go in 2017: 14 Budget Vacation Destinations for Seniors

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With email continuing to replace the handwritten letter, it's nice to remember a time when missives came through the mail. Go back to the roots of the mail service at the Pony Express Museum in St. Joseph, Missouri, where the tale comes to life in video, tours, exhibitions, and special events. Senior admission is $5.

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Aviation fans will marvel at the history on display the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park in Ohio -- including the first practical airplane built by the Wright Brothers in 1905. Only one site in the park charges admission: The Dayton History at Carillon Park asks $7 from those 60 and older.

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The Doo Wop Preservation League, in Wildwood, New Jersey, is dedicated to the pop culture and imagery of the 1950s and '60s. It's a classic Jersey Shore destination with a "Doo Wop Motel District" and themed eateries, entertainment, and special events.

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The Iowa State Fair, Aug. 10-20 this year, has an international reputation and attracts more than a million visitors each year. This year's lineup includes everything from livestock to grandstand entertainment and thrill rides. Tickets are $8 in advance, or $12 at the gate.

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Those with an interest in the military will be fascinated by the West Point Museum's more than 60,000 historical artifacts and the ongoing mission of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. It's free to visit; just have ID and be ready for a background check or escort.

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The Fleetwood Roller Skating Rink in Summit, Illinois, has been open some 60 years. Newly renovated, it charges $8 or less -- with skate rental for just $3 -- to enjoy a little aerobic exercise with your nostalgia.

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Pack into the old station wagon, head to the drive-in, hit the snack bar, and let the fun begin. An experience lost forever? Not yet, thanks to a handful of holdouts nationwide screening classics as well as new releases. Options include the seasonal Warwick Drive-In in Warwick, New York ($8 senior admission), and the year-round Vineland Drive-In & Swap Meet in City of Industry, California (starting at $9 for weekday admission).

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The Brimfield Antique Show and Flea Market is actually a collection of shows on fields dotting an otherwise quiet two-lane road. Held for a week each May, July, and September, it offers a seemingly endless array of antiques, collectibles, and other quirky finds. Most fields are free; some charge up to $6 admission.

Related: 50 Flea Markets Across America That Bargain Hunters Won't Want to Miss

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Fans of classic TV can head to weekend screenings at the Paley Center for Media, with locations in Los Angeles and New York City, to enjoy shows such as "I Love Lucy" on the big screen with free admission. (An $8 contribution is encouraged.)

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Atlanta's historic Oakland Cemetery, founded in 1850, serves as the final resting place of city -- and national -- notables, including golf legend Bobby Jones and author Margaret Mitchell. The grounds, with free admission, are also noted for their sculpture, architecture, and gardens. Tours are $6 for seniors 65 and older.

Related: 13 Cemeteries With Celebrity Star Power

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Recall Little League days or that heady trip to a first Major League Baseball game with a pilgrimage to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York. Delve into America's favorite pastime in all its facets. Admission is $15 for seniors 65 and older.

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The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is not only the largest Roman Catholic Church in North America but also one of the 10 largest churches in the world. Admission is free.