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The best trips for any solo traveler offer the opportunity to enjoy fun attractions and adventures while meeting new people. Being able to get around and communicate easily are big pluses too. Whether you’re looking for an active trip, a relaxing vacation, or something else, these are some of the top trips solo retirees can take.
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Jacksonville offers a long list of things to do, with the perfect blend of warm weather, a lively riverside downtown, a fabulous art scene, beautiful beaches, and plenty of other seniors to meet and mingle with at places like the Saturday morning Riverside Arts Market. If you’re into history, be sure to visit Kingsley Plantation to discover Florida’s past. The Cummer Museum of Arts and Gardens showcases nearly 50,000 works from Camille Pissarro to Norman Rockwell, along with 2.5 acres of beautifully manicured gardens, while the Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail offers a picturesque paved path for cycling.
Less than a two-hour drive north of Phoenix, Sedona lies in a geological wonderland, with unique red rock formations that change color with the light and the weather. A top destination for retirees, its mild climate makes it ideal to visit year-round. If you enjoy activities like bird watching, hiking, Jeep tours and exploring a vibrant art scene, it’s an ideal pick. You can also enjoy outstanding shopping, a spa day at one of many world-class spas, or take advantage of the many New Age services like sound healing and all sorts of alternative cures for enhancing your well-being.
If you’re looking to check off items from your bucket list, a safari in South Africa is a great option allowing you to get up close and personal with incredible wildlife in a safe and comfortable way. Kruger National Park is renowned as one of the best on the continent for viewing the “Big Five”, which includes a lion, leopard, rhino, Cape buffalo and elephant. The park offers fully guided packages that are low impact and great for the budget-conscious too, with most days spent in all-terrain vehicles observing the animals.
The oldest state capital in the U.S., Santa Fe has a colorful history and a historic main plaza that will make you feel like you’re in another country. It offers many outstanding art galleries and extraordinary museums – in fact, there’s a higher concentration of galleries and museums here than almost anywhere else in the world, all within reasonable walking distance from the town square. It boasts countless fantastic restaurants, an idyllic climate and breathtaking surrounding scenery with a variety of trails to explore nearby if you like to hike.
One of Mexico’s most picturesque destinations and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, San Miguel de Allende is a well-preserved colonial town that was twice voted the “best city in the world” by Travel + Leisure magazine. Stroll the cobblestone streets to enjoy the magnificent architecture and wide array of culinary and artistic diversions. The vibrant art scene boasts many studios and galleries with working artists and artisans to check out. There are also lots of foreign retirees, writers and artists here, primarily from Canada and the U.S., to mingle with, along with friendly locals. The hot springs at Spa La Gruta and Escondido Place are ideal for relaxing with the warm water said to have medicinal qualities.
The Florida Keys stretch over 125 miles from Biscayne National Park in the north to Key West, the southernmost point in the U.S., providing one of the best destinations for those looking for a tropical vacation without traveling overseas. Enjoy a laid-back vacation sipping refreshing cocktails or take advantage of the water sports options, with more than just about any other destination in the entire country. You can be relaxed or as active as you want to be, ending your days with a stunning sunset, watched from one of the pristine beaches or on a sunset sailing cruise. You’ll find plenty of opportunities for shopping and dining on fresh seafood too.
Washington State’s San Juan Island offers peace and tranquility along with opportunities for outdoor recreation and wildlife watching. Easily reached via ferry from Anacortes, about 90 minutes north of Seattle, National Geographic named the archipelago one of the world’s best destinations for travelers. San Juan Island is home to Friday Harbor an especially charming town with fantastic restaurants, unique shops, galleries and museums. The island is also one of the best for spotting orca whales and other marine life via a whale watching boat trip or from the shore, particularly around Lime Kiln Point.
If you’re thinking of Europe, Copenhagen is ideal for a solo travel experience. Don’t want to be alone once you get there? This friendly city is one of the easiest to meet welcoming locals and other single travelers. Most Danish speak English as their second language, so communication is rarely a problem. Rent a bike by the hour, day or week to explore the city and parks, view the Danish Crown Jewels housed in Rosenborg Castle, see the famous Little Mermaid statue that was inspired by the fairytale from Hans Christian Andersen, and marvel at the home of royalty at Amalienborg Palace.
San Antonio is home to many famous sites that can be explored on an open-air bus which often includes other mature traveling singles so you’re unlikely to be the only retiree enjoying the attractions. Routes will bring you to popular spots like the Alamo, the Theater District and the San Antonio Museum of Art. If you’re there on the first Friday of the month you can enjoy the First Friday Art Walk too, which features open galleries throughout the city.
Charleston is jam-packed with history and it’s renowned for hospitality, with especially friendly locals. Solo retirees will find it easy to get around and connect with others through a variety of outstanding group tours, from historic tours taken on horse-drawn carriages to food tours and even boat excursions. It’s home to gorgeous parks and plantations, a mouthwatering culinary scene, and highly-acclaimed museums like the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art. Visit Fort Sumter for an in-depth look at civil war history at the McLeod Plantation Historic Site, which recounts the lives of the homeowners and slaves.
Scottsdale is a top pick for many travelers looking to golf or just enjoy a relaxing vacation, including single retirees. You definitely won’t be alone in your age group with around a quarter of the population at 65 or older. The year-round sunny weather makes it a great golf destination, although you may want to avoid the sizzling hot summer months when playing the world-class greens at places like Eagle Mountain Golf Course. There are countless resorts with beautiful pools and spas, and a wide range of restaurants serving top-notch Southwestern cuisine. Taking the Taste of Old Scottsdale food tour is a great way to sample a variety while meeting other travelers.
Newport is home to famously magnificent historic mansions like The Breakers and The Elms, remnants of the lavish lifestyles of the country’s wealthiest industrialists in the 19th and early 20th centuries. You can tour them on your own or as part of a group tour to meet up with other like-minded solo travelers. You’ll find many mouthwatering restaurants serving seafood that can be enjoyed while listening to music along the waterfront, and if you visit in early August you can enjoy the annual Newport Jazz Festival. The Bowen’s Wharf Seafood Festival in mid-October and the Newport Waterfront Oyster Festival in May are both worth planning a visit around too.
Prague is another fabulous European city for solo travelers, including retirees. It’s walkable, easy to get around, and easy to communicate in English in most places. Filled with magnificent beauty, history and art, one of its top attractions is Prague Castle, the world’s largest castle complex. The 12th-century Old Town Square with its famous Prague Astronomical Clock is a great place for people watching while dining on inexpensive delicous Czech fare at one of the many cafes and restaurants.
Los Cabos appeals to travelers of all ages, including lots of retirees who can enjoy everything from world-class sport fishing to teeing off at championship golf courses, whale watching excursions, ATV tours and more. Medano Beach is one of the hottest spots, with beautiful swimmable waters and buzzing nightlife, but you can always book one of the many fabulous resorts to just relax and enjoy swimming and lounging around a gorgeous ocean view pool.
One of the world’s most breathtaking countries and hottest travel destinations in recent years is also one of the safest: Iceland. There are many different tours available from small and large group options, but driving is easy here and there is little chance of getting lost so you might just want to rent a car and enjoy a scenic drive along the Golden Circle. This popular route features one of the most magnificent waterfalls in the country, Gullfoss, fantastic geothermal features at the Geysir area, and Thingvellir National Park. Start or end your journey with a soak in the warm healing waters of the famous Blue Lagoon.