Now that COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted in much of the United States, you may be on the lookout for the best places to travel in the summer. As a retiree, however, you might prefer not to deal with noise from partying college students or a raucous hotel bar keeping you awake at night.
Fortunately, many of the best places to travel in the summer are also ideal for seniors looking for relaxation, culture, scenic landscapes, seascapes and more. Consider these seven travel destinations as you make your summer plans.
1. U.S. National Parks
The United States has 63 national parks, including the Grand Canyon. These national treasures are some of the best places to travel in the summer. U.S. national parks range as widely as national monuments, scenic trails, seashores, national historic sites, scenic riverways, mountain ranges and more. Choose one national park to enjoy this summer or plan a cross-country road trip to experience several of the parks. To help you choose national parks to visit, browse the list of national parks at the U.S. National Park Service.
Plan to hit multiple parks? Save money by purchasing an $80 senior pass, which covers entry and recreation fees and provides certain discounts.
Alaska is one of the best places to travel in the summer. You'll find abundant land and seashores offering a glimpse of whales, moose, caribou, grizzly bears and other wildlife. Alaska is also home to more than 30,000 bald eagles — more than in any other state. Average summer temps range from 33 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit at Denali National Park and Preserve, a rural wildlife preserve best traveled by bus in the summer. To experience Alaska in all its summer glory, book an Alaskan cruise and explore cities such as Juneau and Sitka, named two of the best places to vacation.
3. European River Cruises
Want to tour Europe without navigating the highways? Travel site Frommer's recommends taking a river cruise through Germany, Austria and Hungary for up-close views of castles, picturesque villages and cities such as Budapest and Vienna. You can also book excursions such as bike tours, wine tastings and theater performances in your favorite European cities.
4. Santa Fe
Santa Fe, New Mexico, stands to be of the best vacation destinations for seniors for its proximity to the Santa Fe National Forest, with hundreds of thousands of miles of forest lands, as well as its artist community, art galleries, Southwestern culture, Spanish colonial adobe buildings, dry climate and walkable downtown. Tour the museums, galleries and Sante Fe's historic churches, and get some fresh air with outdoor activities such as golfing, walking and sightseeing via bicycle.
5. Canadian Rockies
The Canadian Rockies encompass an area about 1,000 miles southeast of northern British Columbia, Canada. Packed with glacier-fed lakes and awe-inspiring peaks, this mountain range is one of the best places to travel in the summer for seniors. For the best view of this region's natural beauty, book a rail tour on the to take in the Canadian Rockies' highest peaks, British Columbia's coastal rainforest, Fraser Canyon or the Cariboo gold rush region.
6. Pacific Coast Highway
If you love crashing surf and the serenity of a West Coast sunset, why stop with just one California coastal town? Take a scenic drive along Highway One, which runs along the Pacific coastline from San Juan Capistrano in Southern California to the Oregon border. Whether you drive this highway over a long weekend or plan a scenic summer road trip, you'll experience some of the best places to travel in the summer, ranging from colorful beach towns to major cities such as San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
There's no shortage of Caribbean islands with quiet accommodations. Some of the best places to travel in the summer for seniors include Barbados and Antigua, according to Frommer's. To take in more than one island, book a Caribbean cruise that offers excursions at each port.
Ready to plan your summer retirement travel? Research these destinations and other best places to travel in the summer online. Then pick up a current road atlas or guidebook and plan your trip before hitting the road.