I've Spent My Retirement Traveling — Here Are 9 Resorts Retirees Will Love
You're retired — and vaccinated — and it's time to treat yourself to a well-deserved and probably long-awaited vacation. With no time constraints, you can plan a stay of a few weeks, and you might appreciate the convenience of a destination resort that lets you arrive, unpack, and enjoy dining and most activities on site.
Like many retirees, you're game to try something novel or pick up a new hobby, and you want to continue (or start) focusing on your well-being and health. The right mix of relaxation and activities, opportunities for time outdoors, pampering, and fun should complete the picture. A place designed for adults might be ideal, and perhaps a (short) visit and some entertainment for the grandkids and family would work well, especially if your get-togethers have been limited over the past year.
We've searched for a few places based on these amenities, and we have suggestions for you here. We hope at least one will spark your vacation imagination and get your planning started.
Suncadia Resort: Cle Elum, Washington
Set in Washington's Cascade Mountains and the Wenatchee Washington National Forest, this picturesque resort offers rich scenery, crisp mountain air, and a variety of outdoor activities. Choose The Lodge for panoramic river and mountain views or The Inn, an elegant lodge with golf course views.
Play golf, try your hand at archery, or grab an axe and heave it at the target. (Yes, axe throwing is a popular new activity!) Hike or stroll along deer and elk trails, rent a bike, canoe, or kayak, or find your inner artist with a resort-provided acrylic painting kit or a tie-dye lesson. Begin the day with guided meditation or a full-body outdoor workout class. Fit in a spa treatment for some pampering. Should the grandkids arrive for a visit, there's a pool, stuffed bear factory, and plenty of ways to play at Suncadia.
Big Cedar Lodge: Ridgedale, Missouri
This wilderness resort in Missouri's Ozark Mountains is set on 4,600 acres of natural beauty. A wide variety of accommodations lets you choose the perfect place to stay, whether you decide on one of the three grand lodges, a cozy private log cabin, luxurious cottage, or a glamping unit at Camp Long Creek.
Five golf courses and practice facilities include the new Payne's Valley course, driving range, full-swing simulator, and the Tom Watson putting course. Sharpen your aim at the Bass Pro Shops Shooting Academy with sporting clays, American Skeet, and more. Hike, bike, take a scenic nature walk, or journey to Top of the Rock Lost Canyon on an electric cart for waterfalls and lake views. Fitness classes, exercise equipment, and a personal trainer are available. If the grandkids visit, they'll love the Kids Adventure Club and Nature Discovery Center.
Lone Mountain Ranch: Big Sky, Montana
Just 18 miles from Yellowstone National Park, the ranch is set in the Montana Rockies about 40 minutes from Bozeman Airport. Stay in one of 27 historic log cabins, ranging from one to six bedrooms, each individually named and offering wood stoves, cozy rustic furnishings, full baths, forested settings, and stunning views.
In true ranch style, there's horseback riding, with backcountry trails and experienced wranglers to ensure a memorable experience for riders of all levels and ages as well as naturalist guided hikes, mountain biking, and fly fishing, for first-timers or seasoned anglers. Paddle a canoe or kayak or spend a day floating down the Madison River in a tube. Take an excursion to Yellowstone National Park, curated by an experienced guide. Start your day with an outdoor yoga class, and then have some fun with archery or axe throwing. Adventure programs for youth are available as well.
Mission Point: Mackinac Island, Michigan
This waterfront resort boasts the longest lakeshore on the island, and guests can stay in the Main Lodge or the more secluded Straits Lodge with dog-friendly rooms. Guest rooms and suites in both lodges feature comfortable furnishings, and the Bois Blanc Suite offers 1,500 square feet, full kitchen, and laundry facilities — ideal for longer stays.
Relax on the expansive lawn in an Adirondack chair, stroll downtown for shopping (Don't miss the famous Mackinac Island fudge), play golf, swim in the pool, or soak in a hot tub to your heart's content. Treat yourself to an afternoon at the Lakeside Spa and Salon. The vintage feel of the island, a National Historic Landmark, is enhanced by its ban on motor vehicles as well as its historic architecture and relaxed pace. Take a horse-drawn carriage ride to learn about the island, and you'll be transported to another era.
Montage Palmetto Bluff: Bluffton, South Carolina
Guest rooms, suites, cottages, and residences are available in the 20,000-acre community that encompasses a nature preserve, two picturesque villages, a riverfront marina, and Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, making it easy to choose accommodations for your visit. In fact, should you fall in love with the Lowcountry lifestyle, moss-draped oaks, and natural beauty, you might make a permanent home there as many visitors have over the years.
Play golf at the May River Golf Club, kayak, canoe, or take a boat tour and spot dolphins cruising along with you. Sporting clay stations wind through a 40-acre forest for shooting practice and games. Tennis, bocce ball, and pickleball courts are offered for both play and instruction, if you want to improve your skills. Stroll or take a leisurely bike ride among tree-lined paths. When the family comes to visit, the youngsters will enjoy Paintbox for games, crafts, movies, scavenger hunts, nature walks, and outdoor activities, and they'll thrill to the treehouses as they climb to the observation deck.
Cavallo Point: Sausalito, California
Located at the foot of San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge and set among 75,000 acres in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Cavallo Point offers stunning scenery, world class dining, and a variety of experiences. Historical architecture blends with contemporary design, giving guests the choice of historic or contemporary-style rooms, many boasting views of San Francisco Bay, in a serene setting just minutes from the city.
Hike, bike, run, or walk during the day, and spend the evening around an outdoor fire pit. Take a guided hike, yoga class, sunset cruise, or an exciting Seaplane or Helicopter tour. At the Healing Arts Center & Spa, guests can choose from a variety of wellness experiences. Cooking classes and demonstrations are offered, and the Cavallo Point Oyster Experience features chef Tony Adams shucking and grilling fresh oysters to be served with expertly paired wine and cocktails. Camp Cavallo for Kids keeps them busy with nature hikes, art, games, and historic exploration.
Arizona Biltmore: Phoenix, Arizona
If classic luxury is the vacation style you're after, the newly renovated Arizona Biltmore, a Waldorf Astoria Resort, should be high on your list. Built in 1929, the 39-acre estate at the base of the Phoenix Mountain Preserve is reminiscent of old Hollywood glamour with 701 accommodations (including 36 suites, 28 cottages, 54 villas) and Frank Lloyd Wright-influenced design.
Closed for more than a year for major renovations, the resort reopened in May 2021 with new restaurants, a day spa, and seven pools including an adults-only pool and family pool with a 65-foot water slide. Play golf, tennis, or pickleball or take advantage of concierge arrangements for hot air balloon rides, stargazing, biking, hiking, and more. At Tierra Luna Spa, select from a range of curated therapies or join a yoga or aqua aerobics class. Be sure to order a Tequila Sunrise at the Wright Bar where the cocktail was invented.
Bungalows Key Largo: Key Largo, Florida
This all-inclusive, adults-only resort is a tropical oasis where you can choose from a variety of activities or just relax in a poolside cabana. Stay in a waterfront bungalow or one set among the lush gardens with a soaking tub and outdoor shower.
Water sports include kayaking, paddleboarding, snorkeling, and swimming in the protected bay where you might see manatees and dolphins glide by. Don your snorkel gear to float among colorful native fish. Join a beachfront yoga class or do your own workout at the full-service Fitness Tiki Hut and then head to the Zen Garden Spa's steam room, sauna, or outdoor treatment cabana for a soothing massage. Find your spot at the Sunset Pool, and sip frozen drinks while you work on your tan. Watch the sun go down on a catamaran cruise with a cocktail in hand.
Rancho Bernardo Inn: San Diego, California
Guest rooms, suites, and specially designed accessible rooms are set among lush gardens for a secluded feel. Private patios and balconies offer garden, spa, or golf course views. The resort's 250 acres and San Diego's perfect weather provide opportunities for al fresco dining and outdoor activities.
Play golf at the pristine 18-hole course, relax by the pool, or have fun with lawn games like cornhole, croquet, or oversized Connect Four. Tour the Chef's Garden to see the source of the restaurants' fresh ingredients or get some ideas for your home garden. Spend some time at the spa, take a sunset yoga class, or arrange a private session. You can interact with a trained bird of prey with a private falconry encounter. If young ones visit, they'll love the "dive-in movies" at the family pool, the well-equipped game room, and San Diego's nearby attractions.