Romance is not reserved for the young -- and neither is a love of travel. But mature couples in search of a special getaway may not want to vacation surrounded by crying toddlers or hard-partying singles. A variety of search engines are designed to help retirees plan a vacation, including AARP's Trip Finder Tool and Expedia's AARP Travel Center, where help AARP members get discounts on hotels, car rentals and more. Here are 20 options that offer a memorable and peaceful opportunity for grown-ups to reconnect.
20 Romantic Destinations for Seniors
Perched on a bluff outside of Tucson, the romantic Hacienda Del Sol resort offers horseback riding, a spa, botanical gardens and world-class dining. The Grill at Hacienda Del Sol has received numerous awards, including best romantic dining by Tucson Lifestyle Magazine. Rooms start at $149 per night.
Napa offers fabulous wine, stellar views at every turn, golf courses, hot air balloon rides -- and did we mention the Wine Train? The restored train takes passengers on a three-hour, 36-mile journey from Napa to St. Helena for either lunch or dinner trips. There are plenty of inexpensive vacation packages and lodging available. Rooms at the Wine Valley Lodge for AARP members start at $90 per night.
The American Queen Steamboat Company offers themed cruises focused on everything from quilting, Mark Twain, and the popular music of the '50s and '60s. The company is offering discounts between $1,000 and $2,400 on 2018 holiday cruises. A nine-day cruise departing Dec. 23 can be booked for $1,999 per person before discounts. Prices include pre-cruise hotel stays, wine and beer with dinner, and shore excursions.
Volunteer vacations provide an opportunity for retirees to share their valuable experience while also allowing time to explore a new destination. Some volunteer vacations even include cooking classes, dance lessons, workshops, and seminars. Global Vision International welcomes 50-plus volunteers. Its two-week Costa Rica community development project, in the coastal town of Quepos, starts at $1895, not including airfare.
A yoga retreat in Hawaii can be not only romantic, but a refresher for body and spirit. The Kalani Honua yoga center in Pahoa is offering special reduced rates on cottages of $199 per night. The center offers 50 classes a week covering everything from nature to wellness.
Take in all the sights between Los Angeles and Seattle on Amtrak's Coast Starlight. Picturesque stops along the route include Santa Barbara, San Francisco, and Portland. Amtrak offers seniors a 10 percent discount on the rail portion of any Amtrak Vacation. A one-way coach seat with a senior discount can be purchased for around $156, while a private sleeping cabin can be had for $615 per person.
Founded in 1670, the historic city of Charleston has cobblestone streets, antebellum houses, and an intriguing French Quarter perfect for romance. Days can be spent exploring Southern plantations, taking carriage rides, and perusing King Street's antique shops. Later, take a sunset sailboat cruise aboard the Schooner Pride. The Days Inn Historic District offers AARP members 10 percent discounts, too.
There are more than 50 theaters featuring live shows in Branson, Missouri, so a vacation can easily be built around seeing them. Popular options include Dick Clark's American Bandstand Theater where The Legends in Concert (impersonators ranging from Elvis to Bette Midler) headline. You can also catch the Beatles' tribute band Liverpool Legends at the Caravelle Theater. Rooms at the Westgate Branson Woods Resort and Cabins, located in the theater district, start at $63.
A vibrant art scene and world-class culinary options are some of the highlights in Santa Fe. 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. Many Santa Fe hotels offer AARP discounts including the Best Western Plus Inn of Santa Fe, where rooms start at $99.
Savannah is an ideal spot for romantic dinners and strolls through the many parks and squares. Historic district walking tours are popular, as are visits to Forsyth Park with its avenue of oak trees. Stay in historic downtown to be close to it all. The Best Western Savannah Historic District offers a 10 percent AARP discount.
A waterfront town of about 650 people, Oxford is known for its charming bed and breakfasts, the most notable being the vintage Robert Morris Inn. America's oldest historic inn, the 300-year-old property (rooms start at $145 per night) was the home of George Washington's close friend Robert Morris. Don't stay indoors if the weather's nice -- Oxford offers peaceful strolls along tree lined streets.
Romantic Charlottesville is home to Thomas Jefferson's Monticello (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), more than 30 local orchards and vineyards, and the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains. 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 and upscale dining are among the highlights off the slopes. There are also venues like The Aspen Music Festival & School and the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet to explore. For extra romance, ride up Aspen Mountain on the Silver Queen gondola and picnic on the mountaintop while listening to a live concert. Rooms at the Carbondale Days Inn offer a 10 percent AARP discount.
Ypsilanti is known for its many museums and music festivals. The Michigan Firehouse Museum and Education Center occupies a fire station built in 1898, while down the road the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum showcases a variety of antique cars. The city also hosts an annual two-day Elvis Fest in July. The Queen's Residence bed and breakfast, where rooms start at $134 per night, receives five stars from AARP guests.
The 187-mile Coal Heritage Trail is a nationally designated scenic highway winding through West Virginia's Appalachian Mountains. The historic Elkhorn Inn & Theater provides a romantic base for exploring this scenic region. Located in Landgraff along the Norfolk Southern's Pocahontas train's route, the hotel is known for being an ideal spot for watching the trains go by. Rooms start at $99 per night.
Montreal offers the exotic appeal of a foreign city without a far-flung journey. Located on an island in the Saint 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 a romantic dinner in this charming city. The Hotel Travelodge Montreal Centre, where rooms start at $75, offers a 10 percent AARP discount.
The star of many famous photos shot by Ansel Adams, Yosemite allows couples to immerse themselves in the outdoors. Take a peaceful, one-mile hike to Lower Yosemite Falls, where waters flow at capacity in the spring. Yosemite is also a bird watcher's paradise (the Yosemite Conservancy offers day and weeklong birding seminars). Many of the area's numerous (and often cheap) hotels offer AARP discounts, including Travelodge Angels Camp and Best Western Cedar Inn & Suites.
Lake Tahoe offers a peaceful, waterside escape with stellar scenery. Spend a romantic day making the 72-mile drive around the lake. On the way, pay a visit to Emerald Bay State Park on the lake's southwest shore. Golfing, swimming, and shopping are also available. Rooms at the Parkside Inn at Incline start at around $129 and include a free breakfast.
Alaska showcases the best nature has to offer from waterfalls to wildlife. The biggest question for travelers will be how to get around the country's largest and most sparsely populated state. Taking a cruise or renting an RV are popular choices for many retirees. Train journeys offer a relaxed pace, plus a reclining chair for observing the scenery. The Alaska Railroad Corporation offers a half fare program for those over 64.
Sedona is located amid a geological region dominated by red-rock formations, which shift colors with the changes in weather and light. The area is also home to pine forests where lodge accommodations allow for vacationing amid the trees and wildlife. Red Rock State Park is also popular for bird-watching. The Best Western Plus Inn of Sedona, located on a hilltop minutes from hiking trails, offers a 10 percent AARP discount and free breakfast buffet.
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