20 Romantic Destinations for Seniors
Romance is not reserved for the young, and neither is a love of travel. Older couples in search of a special getaway probably don't want to vacation surrounded by crying toddlers or groups of raucous, partying singles. Several search engines are designed specifically to help seniors plan the ideal vacation, including AARP's Trip Finder Tool and Expedia's AARP Travel Center, where AARP members get discounts on hotels, car rentals, and more. For a little destination inspiration, here are 20 options that offer a memorable and peaceful opportunity to reconnect.
Ypsilanti is known for its many museums and music festivals. The Michigan Firehouse Museum and Education Center occupies a fire station built in 1898. Just down the road, the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum showcases a variety of antique cars. The Yankee Air Museum, meanwhile, was once a working part of the Willow Run B-24 Bomber Plant, built by the Ford Motor Co. during World War II. The city also hosts an annual two-day Elvis Fest in early July. The Queen's Residence bed and breakfast, where rooms start at $134 per night, receives rave reviews from AARP guests.
The 187-mile Coal Heritage Trail is a nationally designated scenic highway winding through West Virginia's Appalachian Mountains and showcasing America's industrial heritage. The historic Elkhorn Inn & Theater, featured on HGTV and CNN Travel, provides a romantic base for exploring this scenic region. Located in Landgraff along the Norfolk Southern's Pocahontas route, the hotel is known for its world-class railfanning (train photography) opportunities. Additional activities popular at the inn include trout fishing on Elkhorn Creek and bird watching. Rooms start at $99 per night.
Montreal offers the exotic appeal of a foreign city, without a far-flung journey. That's not the only attraction. Located on an island in the St. Lawrence River, Montreal is known for its French colonial neighborhoods with cobblestoned streets and the gothic revival Notre Dame Basilica. There are also numerous options for romantic dinners in this charming city. The Hotel Travelodge Montreal Centre, where rooms can start around $107 U.S., offers a 10 percent AARP discount.
Alaska showcases the best Mother Nature has to offer: waterfalls, glaciers, and wildlife. The biggest question will be what to focus on in the country's largest but most sparsely populated state. A cruise is one of the most romantic ways to take it all in. Renting an RV and driving around the state on your own schedule is also a memorable option. Train journeys are a relaxing and intriguing approach, allowing travelers to enjoy a reclining chair while watching the scenery through a picture window. The Alaska Railroad offers a half-fare program for those over 64.
Founded in 1670, the historic Southern city of Charleston, with its cobblestone streets, antebellum houses, and intriguing French Quarter, offers a sophisticated romantic getaway. Days here can be spent exploring Southern plantations, taking carriage rides, and browsing King Street's antique shops. Come evening, take a sunset sailboat cruise aboard the Schooner Pride. The Days Inn Charleston Historic District offers AARP members 10 percent discounts. Charleston is also known for its abundance of fun and affordable activities.
Oxford, Maryland, is a waterfront town of about 650 people. Visits here are all about quality time together. The community is known for its charming bed and breakfasts, the most notable being the vintage Robert Morris Inn, which has the distinction of being America's oldest historic inn. The 300-year-old property (rooms start at $145 per night) was the home of Robert Morris, famous for being the "financier of the Revolution," and a close friend of George Washington. Oxford offers peaceful strolls along tree-lined streets, and there's a ferry to take visitors shopping in the historic community of St. Michaels.
A city oozing Southern charm and bursting with history at every turn, Savannah is a fascinating destination, a place for romantic dinners and explorations of its many parks and squares. Historic-district walking tours showcasing Southern architecture are a popular activity, as are visits to Forsyth Park, with its avenue of moss-draped oak trees. Stay in the historic downtown to be close to it all. Expedia's AARP Travel Center lists numerous hotels for less than $200 per night, including the Planters Inn on Reynolds Square, which offers a prime location. The Best Western Savannah Historic District offers a 10 percent AARP discount.
Napa has much to offer vacationers in search of a peaceful escape -- fabulous wine and breathtaking views at every turn, golf courses, hot-air balloon rides, and did we mention the Wine Train? The impeccably restored train takes passengers on a three-hour, 36-mile journey from Napa to St. Helena for luncheon and dinner trips. Perhaps best of all, there are many AARP Napa vacation spots and lodging options available.
Because they tend to be culturally oriented with many walking tours of port cities and none of the over-the-top onboard attractions that kids like, riverboat cruises are highly recommended by both CruiseCritic and AARP. Among the fascinating American river cruise itineraries are Mississippi River voyages showcasing antebellum plantations, Civil War memorials, and more. The American Queen Steamboat Co. offers themed cruises focused on Mark Twain, the Kentucky Derby, and the 1950s and '60s. Prices include pre-cruise hotel stays, wine and beer with dinner, and shore excursions.
Renew your connection with each other while doing good. Volunteer vacations are increasingly popular with seniors, providing an opportunity for retirees to share their valuable experience and knowledge while also allowing time to explore the host destination and enjoy cooking classes, dance lessons, workshops, and seminars. Global Vision International welcomes volunteers age 50 and older. Its two-week community development project in the coastal town of Quepos, starts at $1,790, (about $127 per night,) not including airfare.
A yoga retreat in Hawaii can be romantic and a great refresher for body and spirit. Yoga offers numerous physical benefits, especially as people age. It's an exercise that improves balance, stability, flexibility, and joint health. There are few more beautiful backdrops for such a getaway than Hawaii. The Kalani Honua yoga center in Pahoa is offering special reduced rates on cottages at $200 per night. The center offers 50 classes a week covering topics such as nature, culture, and wellness.
Take in all the stunning sights between Los Angeles and Seattle, Washington on Amtrak's Coast Starlight journey, which includes such picturesque destinations as Santa Barbara, San Francisco, and Portland, and miles of majestic coastline and ocean expanses in between these cities. Amtrak offers seniors a 15 percent discount on the rail portion of an Amtrak vacation. A one-way coach seat can be purchased for around $193, or spring for the private sleeping cabin for $615 per person.
There are more than 50 theaters featuring live shows in Branson, Missouri. The Gatlin Brothers, the Oak Ridge Boys, and more have performed here. Popular options include Dick Clark's American Bandstand Theater where the Legends in Concert tribute shows headline (and where there's a display of cars from the 1950s), or there's the Caravelle Theater, which showcases the Beatles tribute band Liverpool Legends. The Knights Inn and Suites, located in the theater district, offers a 10 percent senior discount.
A vibrant art scene, world-class culinary options, museums, and eclectic shopping are some of the highlights of Santa Fe, a culture-filled destination that provides plenty of opportunity for romance. There are abundant hiking opportunities and golf courses, and, for thrill-seeking seniors, there's rafting on the Rio Grande. Don't miss taking in a show at the legendary Santa Fe Opera, where the open-air theater offers 360-degree views of the surrounding wilderness. Numerous Santa Fe hotels offer AARP discounts.
Home to Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, more than 30 local orchards and vineyards, and the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains, Charlottesville offers history, wine tasting, and a plethora of outdoor activities for a couple's retreat. The region was named a top romantic getaway by AARP. There are also numerous hotels in the area that offer a 10 percent AARP discount, including La Quinta Inn & Suites and Best Western Plus Crossroads Inn & Suites.
There's more to Aspen than skiing. Farmers markets, glitzy boutiques, and unforgettable dining are among the highlights off the slopes. There's also a variety of live music and cultural offerings at venues such as the Aspen Music Festival & School, the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Theater Aspen, and the Wheeler Opera House. For a little more romance, take a ride up Aspen Mountain on the Silver Queen gondola and picnic on the mountaintop while listening to the weekend concerts held there. At the Carbondale Days Inn, there's a 10 percent AARP discount.
The location of numerous iconic images by famed photographer Ansel Adams, Yosemite National Park is a must-see California destination that allows couples to immerse themselves in the outdoors. The park's wonders include Yosemite Falls, El Capitan, and Bridalveil Fall, to name a few. Don't miss taking a peaceful, 1-mile hike to Lower Yosemite Falls, where during spring, waters flow at max capacity. With more than 250 types of birds in the park, Yosemite is also a bird watcher's paradise. The Yosemite Conservancy offers day and weeklong birding seminars. Numerous area hotels offer AARP discounts, including Travelodge Angels Camp and Best Western Plus High Sierra Hotel.
A destination highly recommended by AARP, Lake Tahoe offers a peaceful escape with stellar scenery. Spend a romantic day making the 72-mile drive around the lake, stopping to take in the views along the way, including paying a visit to Emerald Bay State Park on the lake's southwest shore. Golfing, swimming, and shopping are also popular pastimes here.
The romance of Sedona is tied to its many beautiful outdoor experiences. The city is located amid a fascinating geological region dominated by red-rock formations, which shift colors with the changes in weather and light. The area is also home to beautiful pine forests where lodge accommodations allow for vacationing amid the trees and wildlife. Red Rock State Park is popular for bird-watching. The Best Western Plus Inn of Sedona, located on a hilltop just minutes from hiking trails, offers a 10 percent AARP discount and free breakfast buffet.
In addition to its stunning location perched on a bluff, the romantic Hacienda Del Sol offers horseback riding, a spa, botanical gardens, and world-class dining. The Grill at Hacienda Del Sol has received numerous awards and distinctions, including being lauded for "Best Romantic Dining," "Best Wine List," and "Best Dining with a View," by Tucson Lifestyle Magazine. There's also monthly live music.