Top Summer Travel Destinations for SeniorsTop Summer Travel Destinations for Seniors

It’s summer travel season, and older travelers are on the go. The AARP’s 2016 travel trend survey, conducted late last year, found that 99% of the Baby Boom generation has leisure travel plans for this year, with 45% planning trips to both domestic and international destinations. However, with Americans warned about potential terrorism in Europe this summer and the Zika virus discouraging Latin American travel, some travelers are now focusing more on destinations closer to home. Here are some of the top domestic destinations for Baby Boomers.

The most popular US destination: Florida

It’s not surprising that the Sunshine State leads the AARP list of popular travel spots for seniors. The state knows how to cater to the 55-and-up crowd, from dinner discounts and special deals on all kinds of activities like museum admission, theater tickets, and bus fare. Visit Orlando’s resorts and theme parks, bask on the white-sand beaches of the Panhandle, or treat yourself to golf and spa treatments at the PGA National Resort in Palm Beach.

Miami is a popular destination for foodies, especially those who love seafood and Latin/Caribbean flavors. The city’s port sees millions of cruise passengers each year before they sail to Key West, the Caribbean, the Bahamas, the Mediterranean, and other far-flung ports of call. It’s also a great city for people-watching on the beach.

Another Boomer hot spot: Las Vegas

What happens in Vegas is usually thoroughly air-conditioned, wheelchair accessible, and designed to cater to your every whim. Spend some time at the casino tables, take a dip in the pool, or just enjoy all the restaurant offerings. Spas, golf, and shopping round out your options. Then there are the shows. This summer’s hot tickets include Cirque du Soliel’s The Beatles LOVE, Jersey Boys, and Million Dollar Quartet.

Rest and relaxation in Hawaii

Seniors list Hawaii as another favorite destination, and travel experts love it, too. Travel + Leisure magazine ranked Honolulu, on Oahu, among its top 10 summer destinations, thanks to dry, sunny weather and better deals for travelers. Vacation rental company HomeAway seconds the Oahu recommendation, in part due to spectacular Waikiki Beach, where you can take surf lessons, shop, and sight-see. You can also indulge in the ultimate seaside pastime – resting in the shade doing absolutely nothing.

Upscale down-home fun in Branson

For country music fans, outdoorsy types, and anyone who wants to take a lake cruise on an old-fashioned riverboat, Branson, Missouri, is a must-visit destination. Dozens of live shows include tributes to George Strait and ABBA, Sunday Gospel choir performances, illusionists, and plenty of bluegrass music. The Ozarks setting is perfect for hiking, fishing, and golf. Two local nature trails, Roark Creek and Table Rock Lakeshore, are paved for easy walking and wheelchair accessibility.

Summer travel tips for seniors

Ask about senior discounts when you’re booking your travel arrangements, and be sure to keep a photo ID with you when you reach your destination so you can pick up more senior deals during your stay. Stay hydrated en route – the combination of summer heat and dry airplane cabin air can make you feel tired just when you want to have some energy. Pack as light as you can (we have detailed tips here) and have fun.

Casey Kelly-Barton is an Austin-based freelance writer whose childhood was made awesome by her grandmothers, great-grandmother, great-aunts and -uncles, and their friends.

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