The Best Trips to Take in Your 60s

From a train journey through the Canadian Rockies to a tour of the pyramids in Egypt, these are the top vacations for seniors over 60.

Senior woman on cruise ship observation deck

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With 61 being the average age of retirement in the U.S., your seventh decade might just be the time to explore the places you've always dreamed of but could never visit. Sure, health and financial situations vary greatly and can create limitations when it comes to traveling, but there are still plenty of getaways to suit just about any physical ability or budget.

It's time to start ticking off some of those bucket list items, whether that means booking a beach destination for some rest and relaxation or embarking on the adventure of a lifetime in a faraway place (an African safari, you say?).

From cruises to train trips to glamping experiences, here are the best trips for travelers over 60.

01 of 12

A River Cruise

Sailing the Danube on the Viking Freya
Dagmar Schwelle

For first-time cruisers, a river cruise is a safe starting point. Rivers such as the Danube (Central and Southeastern Europe), the Rhine (starting in the Swiss Alps), and the Seine (in northern France) are popular because they flow right through picturesque and historic cities, allowing for a variety of shore excursions.

But you don't have to go abroad to sail along a scenic river. In the U.S., the Mississippi — flowing from northern Minnesota all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico — is a popular option, with three main cruise lines operating both contemporary boats and old-style paddle wheelers. Less trodden but equally charming are the Columbia and Snake Rivers in the Pacific Northwest, and even the Hudson River in New York.

02 of 12

A Journey Across the Sea

Aerial View Of Mega Cruise Ship On Sea
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Veritable seaborne cities, some of the largest cruise ships are equipped with restaurants, theaters, pools, and casinos to keep guests entertained and comfortable while sailing the ocean blue. The itinerary options are near infinite, with some lines circumnavigating the Mediterranean and others embarking on maritime journeys in the North Atlantic, South Pacific, Asia, and beyond. We recommend booking with Holland America, Cunard, or Royal Caribbean for big-ship cruising in optimal comfort. And if you've always imagined making a classic transatlantic crossing and have the time, you might check off a bucket list item with a week on the famed Queen Mary 2.

03 of 12

A Cruise Aboard a Midsize Ship

Kayakers sharing water with Winstar Windspirit ship in Bora Bora
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Midsize cruise ships that carry between 250 and 600 passengers offer many of the same amenities that large ships offer, but they can also stop at ports that can't accommodate colossal vessels–the towns and villages on Alaskan Dream Cruises' trip through the Inside Passage, for example. Also check out Paul Gauguin Cruises' South Pacific itineraries and Windstar's trips in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean — both options available to just a few hundred passengers at a time.

04 of 12

A Ride on the Orient Express

Venice Simplon Orient Express train and crew in Bulgaria
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The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, a rolling homage to perhaps the most famous rail service in history, carries passengers aboard luxuriously restored 1920s carriages across Europe — and across time. The Classic Route, which runs between Paris and Venice, takes passengers through picturesque European cities, towns, and farmlands in the comfort of private cabins or grand suites, with elegant dining and bar cars to enjoy along the way. Make the journey even more fun and dress to impress on this nostalgic (and iconic) train ride.

05 of 12

An All-American Train Trip

Passenger photographing rock formation from Amtrak's Zephyr Train
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The California Zephyr, an Amtrak train that travels from Chicago to the Bay Area, passes through some of the most incredible natural scenery in the western United States, including the Great Plains, the Rocky Mountains, and the Sierra Nevada. As a bonus, it's a decidedly convenient way to cross the country, especially for those with time to spare and a preference not to fly.

Almost an equal distance but traveling a more northern route is the Empire Builder, also by Amtrak. It connects Seattle and Chicago, winding through the Rockies and along parts of the famous Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. For longer trips like these (40-plus hours), make sure to book a bedroom or roomette for comfort.

Looking for something shorter? The 35-hour Coast Starlight route traverses the West Coast between Los Angeles and Seattle, offering spectacular views of the Pacific shoreline, ancient redwood forests, and snow-capped mountains, all best seen from the Sightseer Lounge car.

06 of 12

The Canadian Rockies by Rail

Rocky Mountaineer train on Morant's Curve in Banff National Park
Chris Hepburn/Getty Images

If it's majestic mountains, icy-blue waters, dramatic canyons, and miles upon miles of evergreen forest you're keen to see, the revered Rocky Mountaineer is your ticket. There are four itineraries to choose from, but the most popular one is the First Passage to the West, traveling from Vancouver to Banff and Lake Louise (and vice versa). Passengers can admire the surroundings from the comfort of glass-topped observation cars or soak in the fresh mountain air from outdoor viewing platforms.

07 of 12

The Galápagos

Penguins swimming next to a boat of tourists
Getty Images

Since this archipelago is off the coast of Ecuador, you'll need to travel to either Quito or Guayaquil to start your journey. Small ships or yachts are ideal for getting close to nature, and with most you can kayak, snorkel, or dive when not simply observing the resident iguanas, giant tortoises, penguins, sea lions, and numerous bird species from the comfort of the deck. The vessels are great for day trips, but you can also opt for a live-aboard experience or a stay at one of the hotels on one of the few inhabited islands. In any case, planning well ahead of your trip to the Galápagos is important because of limitations on the number of visitors.

08 of 12

An African Safari

Couple sitting outside while on an African safari in Kenya
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For many, an African safari is the ultimate vacation and the first great adventure considered after retirement. Planning one, however, can be overwhelming with the number of options, from which tour company to book to how much to spend to where to stay. Accommodations range from luxurious glamping sites to rustic lodges and tent camps — all perfectly comfortable for the over-60 set. Special interests such as seeing the Big Five, spotting certain birds, or cultural experiences should be considered as well. Small group hikes or jeep rides are good options for an intimate experience. Research and planning are key in creating your perfect safari vacation.

09 of 12

A Northern Lights Escape

Colorful northern lights shining above trees
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Many people hope to see the aurora borealis in their lifetimes, but the northern lights are notoriously elusive. Their appearance is spectacular but unpredictable, influenced by weather, the time of year, and solar activity. There are many great destinations for seeing the Northern Lights: Guided tours in Alaska, northern Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and Finland accommodate seekers of greatest nature's light show. Lodging options range from glass igloos to cozy cabins. When choosing a tour, try to book one that offers a return trip if your pursuit of polar lights proves unsuccessful.

10 of 12

Egypt and the Pyramids

View of the Karnak temple in the evening, Egypt
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Who isn't fascinated by the Great Sphinx of Giza, the pyramids, and the stories of King Tutankhamun and the tombs of the pharaohs? Near Cairo, home of the artifact-packed Egyptian Museum, visitors can explore the Great Pyramid of Giza and several smaller pyramids. In Luxor, a one-hour flight away, visitors can visit Karnak, a complex of ancient temples, statues, and obelisks, as well as Luxor Temple, dating back to around 1450 B.C.E. Top the trip off with a boat excursion on the Nile for the full experience.

11 of 12

The Belmond Hiram Bingham

The dining car with tables set for dinner on the Orient-Express Hiram Bingham train which runs between Cusco (Poroy) and Machu Picchu via Ollantaytambo
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Another luxury ride to a destination on many travelers' bucket lists, Hiram Bingham, a Belmond Train, takes passengers from Cuzco, Peru, to nearby Machu Picchu. The train, featuring Pullman-style carriages decked out with upholstered armchairs and varnished wood and brass, is named after the American archaeologist, explorer, and writer who revealed Machu Picchu to much of the world in 1911.

12 of 12

A Staycation

Man admiring bonsai trees at National Bonsai and Penjing Museum
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Don't forget that it's never too late to become a tourist in your own backyard. Staycations are an easy and convenient way to scratch the travel itch without going too far out of your comfort zone.

Stay in a downtown hotel or a tucked-away Airbnb. Find a new restaurant, museum, or neighborhood you've yet to visit. You're bound to discover some fresh pleasures and maybe even a new hobby close to home. Do it on your own schedule, working around crowded days and using those off-peak senior discounts to your advantage.

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