25 relaxing destinations to visit after you retire
25 relaxing destinations to visit after you retire
When saving for retirement, most people plan to have money to travel. After all, you've worked long and hard over your career to ensure you can enjoy your golden years. Many might expect retirement to be vacation enough, but taking trips is also an essential activity that retirees should take advantage of. At these destinations, you can see beautiful sights, learn, try new things and fulfill lifelong dreams while relaxing on a well-deserved break.
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Now that you're retired, you have some more flexibility with your schedule and can finally take an epic bucket list trip to see the jaw-dropping Wonders of the World. The Taj Mahal in Agra, India, is a massive white marble mausoleum that is considered one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. It was commissioned in 1631 by an emperor as a tomb for his favorite wife and a testament to their love.
Bar Harbor, Maine
Bar Harbor, Maine, is one of the best coastal cities in the country for a relaxing seaside retreat. Visitors can enjoy outdoor adventure at nearby Acadia National Park, whale-watching and delicious seafood and lobster.
Waffles, chocolate, Old World charm - what's not to love about Bruges, Belgium? This European destination has cobblestone streets, canals and colorful buildings that make the perfect backdrop for romantic strolls. The town is also a magical Christmas destination in the wintertime.
Scotland is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, with stunning highlands, coastlines and castles. Edinburgh, the country's capital, is a great place to experience the country's past and present. Tour the iconic Edinburgh Castle, which was the inspiration for Hogwarts in the Harry Potter books, climb Arthur's Seat, and schedule a Scotch whisky tasting or plan your own crawl through the city's colorful bars.
Fairbanks, Alaska, is perhaps the best place to see one of the most stunning natural wonders in the world: the northern lights. The city even has its own Aurora Borealis Forecast System to guarantee optimal viewing. Adventure-seekers can get their adrenaline pumping on a dogsled ride or by whitewater rafting through Denali National Park, while those looking to unwind can hit up one of the mineral-rich hot springs or stroll through one of many cool museums.
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If you're an animal lover, the Galapagos Islands should be your next major vacation. This isolated string of islands in the Pacific Ocean includes some of the most pristine and ecologically diverse habitats in the world. Here, you can observe Darwin's finches, giant tortoises, sea lions, marine iguanas, penguins and more up close by snorkeling, scuba diving and hiking around the islands.
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While Cuba has been an off-limits destination for many decades, retirement is your chance to visit the colorful capital of the island nation. You can still cheaply travel to Cuba through a variety of legal avenues despite restrictions. Havana is the cultural heart of the country with its pastel-hued vintage cars and buildings. Kick back and enjoy a slower pace of life while learning about Cuba's unique artistic history at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes and its future at the Fabrica de Arte Cubano.
Less than 1 percent of all tourists heading to Hawaii visit the island of Lanai, according to a study by Guide of U.S., so it's the perfect place to enjoy the state's unmatched natural beauty without the crowds. This hidden American gem has stunning beaches and golf courses, perfect conditions for snorkeling and scuba diving, and trails for hiking, horseback riding or UTV riding through lush forests.
Jeju Island, South Korea
Known as "the Hawaii of South Korea," Jeju Island is a volcanic island retreat that allows you to experience Korean culture outside the bustling metropolis of Seoul. Visitors can hike a dormant volcano, find hidden waterfalls, see wild horses, go scuba diving, stroll along the white-sand beaches and enjoy fresh seafood, including sea urchin and abalone.
Kruger National Park, South Africa
If you've always dreamed of going on an African safari, Kruger National Park in South Africa is one of the best places on the continent to see majestic wild animals, including the "Big Five" game animals. One of Africa's largest game reserves, the park spans plains, mountains and forests and has overnight lodges inside as well as nearby private luxury accommodations where animals can roam up to your camp.
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The Seychelles is a dreamy, hidden gem in the Indian Ocean with swaying palm trees, azure waters and pristine white-sand beaches that feel like a postcard come to life. This off-the-beaten-path country is comprised of 115 islands off the east coast of Africa, with Mahé being the largest. Mahé has some of the best beaches in the world for swimming, surfing, diving, snorkeling and photography. You can also kick back at a luxury resort or explore the dining scene in the capital city of Victoria.
Located off the coast of Italy, Sicily is a vibrant mix of cultures, which is evident in the art and architecture in its historic capital city of Palermo. Home to Italy's biggest opera house, Palermo also has Arab-style street markets, 12th-century churches, museums and charming plazas. The city is also close to coastal fishing villages and wineries.
Prague, Czech Republic
One of the most underrated destinations in Europe, Prague is brimming with medieval charm with architectural gems such as the Charles Bridge, Prague Castle and Wallenstein Palace. Prague is also home to some of the best beer in the world, making it a must-visit destination for beer lovers.
The Provence region of France is the stuff of postcards, computer backgrounds and calendars because of its vibrant, rolling fields of purple lavender. Now that you're retired, it's time you finally got to visit this place instead of only wistfully looking at in on your computer screen. The area is full of tranquil, historic towns and quaint hillside villages with medieval castles alongside modern shops and restaurants. The region is known for its cuisine using local ingredients.
If you haven't had time before retirement, now's the time to finally take the ultimate great American road trip. Cruise down Route 66 from Chicago to LA, customizing your itinerary to cater to your interests along the way. There are nostalgic mom-and-pop shops, hole-in-the-wall diners and jaw-dropping natural wonders, such as the Grand Canyon and the Petrified Forest.
San Jose, Costa Rica
San Jose is a great base to explore everything Costa Rica has to offer, with stunning sights that include forests, beaches and national parks such as Poas Volcano National Park. But San Jose itself is worth exploring for its food, parks, museums and architecture, all less swarmed by crowds than other Latin American capital cities. San Jose is also home to the country's first independent craft brewery as well as plenty of cafes where visitors can enjoy a cup of Costa Rican coffee.
Sante Fe, New Mexico
Sante Fe, New Mexico, is a mecca of Southwestern food, art and culture that has plenty to do and see no matter the season. In the fall and winter, you can peruse the city's art galleries, visit the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, enjoy vibrant festivals or go skiing in the nearby Sangre de Cristo Mountains. In the spring and summer, hike to Nambe Lake, shop at the bustling farmers market and enjoy the flavors of Hatch green chile season.
Savannah, Georgia, is a quintessential romantic American getaway for lovebirds at any stage of life. Cruise along the charming waterfront on a sunset riverboat tour or take a stroll through the city's many historic homes and squares, including the iconic Forsyth Park. If you're interested in the paranormal, Savannah has ghost tours that highlight its many real haunted buildings and houses.
Retirees flock to Sedona, Arizona, for the Southwestern city's red rock formations and world-class spas. Spend the day hiking or horseback riding through the stunning landscape on hundreds of trails before unwinding with unique spa treatments like a red clay wrap or blue corn body scrubs. There are plenty of fantastic art galleries and restaurants in town, and Sedona is also close to the Verde Valley Wine Trail.
For a relaxing weekend getaway spent sipping wine along a scenic coast, head to the slow-paced wine town of Sonoma, California. The area includes beaches, stunning views, spas, restaurants and of course top-notch wineries.
To experience a serene retreat in China, head a few hours outside of Shanghai to the historic canal town of Suzhou. The city is famous for its museums and more than 60 classic Chinese gardens, including the stunning Humble Administrator's Garden. In fact, it has the most UNESCO-recognized gardens in the world, making it a beautiful place to experience this cultural artform.
Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
Located on the tropical Indonesian island of Bali, Ubud was famously featured in the book and movie "Eat, Pray, Love." The secret might be out about this movie destination you can actually visit, but it's still a gorgeous, peaceful place to explore 11th-century temples and the Monkey Forest sanctuary, shop from local artisans and take a variety of yoga classes.
Walla Walla, Washington
California might be the most well-known wine destination in the United States, but if you're looking for a less crowded, underrated small town where you can enjoy outstanding American wine, head farther north to Walla Walla, Washington. The city's downtown has more than 30 wine tasting rooms, and there are more than 100 wineries in the area. Walla Walla also has charming farms, hiking and biking trails and river access for boating, fishing and more.
If you want to visit a hub of museums where you can spend the day learning about art, history and culture, Washington, D.C., is the vacation destination for you. The Tidal Basin is a gorgeous place to stroll, especially in the springtime when the cherry trees are in bloom, and the monuments of the National Mall are a must-visit for any history buff.
If you're looking for an idyllic outdoor escape, head to the mountain town of Whitefish, Montana. Nestled next to Glacier National Park, the town is a great base camp for hiking, biking, paddling or driving Going-to-the-Sun Road during the day and then relaxing at night while enjoying shops, restaurants and breweries. Visit in the winter to enjoy skiing and snowboarding at Whitefish Mountain Resort. If you're planning a winter escape, you might be surprised to learn that it's actually the best time of year to take a cruise.
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