best cities for a winter vacation for older generation in America
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20 Best Winter Vacations For Retirees & Seniors In USA (2024)

Last Updated on March 13, 2024 by Nicole

There are countless fantastic winter holiday destinations in the United States for seniors. Whether you crave a tropical beach escape, an exciting city getaway with incredible museums and restaurants, a stay in a charming town discovering its hidden gems, or a thrilling outdoor adventure in the snow or otherwise, there is something for every older adult in America. Even if you have “seen it and done it all”, you will find in this article amazing and interesting winter escapes all over the USA offering unique activities for every kind of traveler. Here are 20 of the best US vacations in winter for retirees.

Table of Contents

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best places to visit in winter in the usa for retirees
Maui, Hawaii

Best US Holidays For Seniors During The Winter Months

Here are 20 of the best places in America to visit in winter for older adults. They include big and small cities, beautiful beaches, and destinations that immerse you in the beauty and thrill of the outdoors, like state and national parks, and beyond.

They are located all over the United States, mostly in warm or mild climates, with a couple of snowy winter wonderlands for those who love winter sports or reading a great book in front of a roaring fire.

For each destination, I feature some of the best things to do, keeping in mind that sometimes you have endless amounts of energy and can’t wait to tackle new adventures, while other times you wish to put up your feet and let the world come to you.

Beyond highlighting fantastic attractions and unique tours and activities, I also provide the expected weather for December, January, and February, so you can properly pack and come prepared.

Finally, how best to reach the destination is set out as well as a fantastic places to stay.

So, gather your friends, family or even go solo and meet new friends, and spend your next winter making new incredible memories in the vast and beautiful United States.

Best Big City Destinations In Winter For Retirees

There is plenty of excitement, amazing restaurants, fantastic shows and incredible tours in major American cities for even the most well traveled person.

best destination in united states in winter for seniors
Phoenix, Arizona (Photo courtesy of Pixabay)

Phoenix, Arizona

Comfortable winter temperatures, a stunning desert landscape, and a vibrant atmosphere make Phoenix one of the best getaways in the USA for seniors in the winter months. 

1. Sunset Hot Air Balloon Ride Over The Sonoran Desert 

There are very few things quite as magical as soaring over the Sonoran desert in a hot air balloon. This sunset balloon ride launches one hour before the sun goes down, and you’ll get to experience the desert at its best- cast in the colorful hues of the golden hour.

2. Stargazing Tour With A Professional Astronomer

The desert just outside of Phoenix is famous for its clear night skies, making it one of the best places in the world for stargazing. Led by a professional astronomer, with special permissions from the Bureau of Land Management, this stargazing tour will allow you to see incredible celestial bodies only visible from Arizona.

3. Arizona Broadway Theatre With Dinner Experience

The Arizona Broadway Theatre combines two in one- a delicious dinner, with an incredible Broadway theater show. Don anything from cocktail attire to an ugly Christmas sweater (even in February – why no!), and get ready to experience the arts in Phoenix. 

4. Go See A Sporting Event

Phoenix is home to all four major professional sports leagues: NFL’s Arizona Cardinals, NBA’s Phoenix Suns, MLB’s Arizona Diamondbacks and NHL’s Arizona Coyotes. In winter, you can catch the tail end of the football season, and will be in the middle of the hockey and basketball season.

Watching your favorite sport battle it out against your hometown favorite while surrounded by passionate, screaming fans would be truly exhilarating.

Weather

  • December: Average highs of 66°F and average lows of 46°F.
  • January: Average highs of 67°F and average lows of 46°F.
  • February: Average highs of 71°F and average lows of 49°F.

You can expect an average rainfall of 1.0 inches over 3 days for each month.

How Best To Reach The Destination

Fly into Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in metro Phoenix, only 20 minutes from the downtown area. You’ll need a car to get around most of Phoenix but it’s easy as much of the city is grid lined.

Best Place To Stay

If you want to stay in downtown Phoenix and would prefer mid-range options, consider the modern and fun FOUND:RE Phoenix hotel. For something more historic and retro, try the Clarendon. They’re both great mid-range hotels.

The Royal Palms Resort & Spa is closer to Scottsdale and a stunning hideaway resort. Set amongst citrus groves and exotic foliage and with the incredible backdrop of Camelback Mountain, this resort is a true oasis in the desert with amenities ready to pamper you.

best cities for a winter vacation for older generation in America
Brooklyn, New York (Photo courtesy of Pixabay)

New York City, New York

Adorned with festive lights in December and seemingly endless forms of entertainment, New York City is the perfect US winter city getaway for older adults and retirees.

1. Catacombs By Candlelight

This unique tour takes you to an otherwise off-limits part of the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral, where you can explore the catacombs and learn all about the history of the church, illuminated only by candlelight. 

2. Take In The Manhattan Skyline By Helicopter

Gain an entirely new perspective of New York City with this helicopter tour. You’ll soar over Central Park, Yankee Stadium, and the Empire State Building, all the while taking in fantastic views of the Manhattan Skyline. 

3. Attend High Tea At The Plaza

High Tea at the Plaza is a truly elevated experience. With your tea, you’ll enjoy an exquisite platter of sandwiches and pastries, surrounded by the elegant decor of the Palm Court, built in 1907. 

Weather

  • December: Average highs of 45°F and average lows of 34°F with 3.3 inches of rain over 6.7 days.
  • January: Average highs of 40°F and average lows of 29°F with 2.3 inches of rain over 4.8 days.
  • February: Average highs of 42°F and average lows of 30°F with 2.3 inches of rain over 4.5 days.

How Best To Reach The Destination

There are three international airports John F Kennedy International Airport, LaGuardia Airport, and Newark Liberty International Airport. They each offer shuttle services, ride shares, and bus access to NYC. Newark also offers a train to Penn station in downtown New York.

Best Place To Stay

If you’re looking for a great place to stay that is close to all the action but still reasonably affordable for Manhattan then definitely look into the Fairfield Inn and Suites. This hotel belongs to the Marriott family and is clean and comfortable.

Nestled in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, the Walker Hotel Greenwich Village is a boutique hotel right off Washington Square Park. Boasting elegant 1920s-inspired décor, guest rooms feature leather chairs and guests are pampered with bathrobes and slippers making you feel right at home.

I have put together a list of some of the best tips for visiting New York whether it is your first or hundredth trip. From how to save money, how best to get around, how to stay safe, and where to stay, this article has it all. Take a look! I guarantee that you will find something helpful – 50 Best New York City Tips.

best US winter holidays for older adults
New Orleans, Louisiana (Photo courtesy of Pexels)

New Orleans, Louisiana

The colorful and iconic streets of the French Quarter, mild climate, and unforgettable things to do make New Orleans a fantastic US winter city break for the older generation. 

1. New Orleans Food Walking Tour

The Creole and Cajun cuisines are famous in New Orleans, and what better way to experience the best food in the city than a food walking tour? You’ll visit world-renowned restaurants, and learn all about the history of cooking in New Orleans from your tour guide. 

2. Swamp And Wildlife Sightseeing Tour

Just outside the city limits of New Orleans lies another world of swamps and bayous! On this airboat tour, you’ll spot alligators, wild pigs, and more, all while learning about life in the wetlands. 

3. National WWII Museum

The National WWII Museum is an amazing interactive museum that focuses on the American experience in WWII in Europe and Asia — why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today. It is a must-see experience for anyone whether you have a passion for history or otherwise. Purchase advanced tickets to guarantee admission.

4. Jazz concert At Fritzel’s Jazz Bar

Fritzel’s Jazz Bar is a world-famous jazz club, with live jazz performances every night of the week. It’s also the oldest operating Jazz Club in New Orleans. 

Weather

  • December: Average highs of 65°F and average lows of 50°F.
  • January: Average highs of 63°F and average lows of 48°F.
  • February: Average highs of 67°F and average lows of 51°F.

You can expect around 4.5 inches of rain over 8.5 days each month.

How Best To Reach The Destination

Louis Armstrong International Airport is only a 20 minutes drive from the French Quarter.

Best Place To Stay

If you want to stay in the middle of the action but in a beautiful quiet and refined hotel, then consider the Omni Royal Orleans in the French Quarter.

Next to the historic Jackson Square and within walking distance of the Riverwalk, the W New Orleans is also a luxury hotel in the French Quarter but offers an outdoor courtyard pool.

best west coast city in usa for seniors to visit in winter
San Francisco, California (Photo courtesy of Pixabay)

San Francisco, California

With moderate winter temperatures, an iconic waterfront, and an abundance of iconic landmarks, San Francisco offers older adults lots of fun experiences on a winter holiday. 

1. Bike or Walk Across The Golden Gate Bridge

Seeing the Golden Gate Bridge is one thing, biking or walking across it is a whole new level of excitement. Blazing Saddles rents bikes for you to ride across the bridge. 

2. Explore Chinatown and Eat Dim Sum

If you really want to step into another world, take some time to explore Chinatown. Grand Avenue is the colorful, decorated main street of Chinatown with plenty of shopping. Delicious Dim Sum and Great Eastern Restaurant are two of the best places to sample Dim Sum, one of the most beloved Chinese food experiences. 

3. Go To A Comedy Show

The San Francisco comedy scene is one of the best in the world, and you can experience the best of it at Cobb’s Comedy Club, Punch Line, and The Set Up

Weather

  • December: Average highs of 57°F and average lows of 47°F.
  • January: Average highs of 57°F and average lows of 46°F.
  • February: Average highs of 60°F and average lows of 49°F.

You can expect around 3.7 inches of rain over 8 days for each winter month.

How Best To Reach The Destination

San Francisco International Airport is only a 30 minute train ride into downtown. You don’t need to rent a car to enjoy San Francisco and its attractions.

Best Place To Stay

A great place to stay would be in the Fisherman’s Wharf area, which has a lot of tourist attractions nearby. San Francisco Marriott Fisherman’s Wharf is in a great central location and offers elegant comfortable rooms.

Located in a historic building 5 minutes’ walk from Union Square, Marines’ Memorial Club & Hotel Union Square offers old world decor amid luxurious amenities. It boasts a rooftop restaurant, a library, an onsite health club and even a theatre.

best tropical cities for winter escapes in united states for retirees
Miami, Florida (Photo courtesy of Pixabay)

Miami, Florida

Miami is sunny all year long, and a fantastic US winter vacation for mature adults looking to soak up the sun, and embrace the Cuban culture of the city. 

1. Play Pickleball 

Pickleball is popular in Miami, and the city boasts countless courts all over the city. Take a lesson, join a league or simply find a drop in game near you, this sport is fun and a great way to meet new people.

2. Visit the Coral Castle

The Coral Castle is a garden of beautiful sculptures made from coral rock, sculpted by Ed Leedskaldin in 1920, without the aid of any modern building equipment. Some of the most unique sculptures in the garden include functioning rocking chairs, and the world’s only sundial with seasons- all made from stone.

Both tourists and scientists alike are drawn to the Coral Castle not just for its beauty, but also for the mystery of its construction. While Leedskaldin was alive, he claimed to have built the 1,100 ton Coral Castle using the same secrets the Egyptians used to build the ancient pyramids.

3. Swim In The Venetian Pool

The beautiful, spring-fed Venetian Pool features two waterfalls, cave grottoes to explore, and incredibly clean water that is refilled daily.

4. Cuban Restaurant Experience

Miami’s rich Cuban influence makes for an amazing cultural and culinary experience. Versailles and Cafe la Trova, are two can’t miss Cuban restaurants. Be sure to also pay a visit to Ball and Chain where you can enjoy incredible food and live music.

Weather

  • December: Average highs of 77°F and average lows of 65°F.
  • January: Average highs of 76°F and average lows of 63°F.
  • February: Average highs of 77°F and average lows of 64°F.

You can expect around 1.5 inches over 5 days for each month.

How Best To Reach The Destination

It’s extremely easy to get to Miami. In addition to the city’s main international airport, MIA, there’s a slightly smaller airport in Fort Lauderdale that tends to be less crowded and is only a short drive away.

Florida also has an extensive long-distance bus system, so you can easily travel from cities like Jacksonville, Tampa, or Orlando to Miami.

If you prefer to travel by train, Amtrak provides multiple routes to the city from nearby cities and from as far as New York City.

Best Place To Stay

Loews Miami Beach Hotel is a great hotel for couples, families or friends. It’s location is amazing. Its very close to the Collins Avenue shopping area, the Miami Beach Boardwalk and Ocean Drive.

Just outside of central Miami Beach and offering an exceptional oceanfront location, the Radisson Resort Miami Beach features stylish accommodation along with modern amenities, perfect for relaxing or accessing the best things to do in Miami.

Other Resources

If after reviewing this article you are still looking for travel inspiration, consider these other suggestions.

For those who are only looking for warm and cold destinations in the United States, please see:

If you are not sure when you might travel and only looking for city escapes, please see 20 Best Cities To Visit In The USA.

Best Beach Destinations In USA In Winter For Seniors

Who doesn’t love the heat of the sun or the warm gentle breezes from the ocean in the middle of winter? If winter in your hometown brings snow, cold and barely 8 hours of daylight, a trip to a tropical beach is one of the best things to do.

Even if you live somewhere with a mild winter climate, sticking your toes into the warm sand, a refreshing outdoor pool or the lapping waves of the ocean while sipping your first cocktail of the day is the perfect way to spend an afternoon.

best tropical beach getaway in usa in winter for seniors
Big Island, Hawaii

Kona, Hawaii

Kona is a beautiful seaside town on the Big Island of Hawaii. With a warm, tropical climate, and an abundance of unique activities, Kona is one of the best winter tropical beach destinations for seniors. 

1. Nighttime Snorkel With Manta Rays

This nighttime snorkel offers Kona travelers a once-in-a-lifetime experience to swim with Hawaii’s gentle, graceful manta rays. You’ll also get to learn all about the animals from the Naturalist on board.

2. Coffee Farm Tour

Kona is famous for coffee, and you can learn about every step in the production process on this Kona coffee farm tour. And of course, you’ll get to sample some delicious Kona coffee while you’re at it. 

3. Luau

What better way to immerse yourself in Polynesian culture than at a Luau? The Voyagers of the Pacific Luau includes oceanfront views, a delicious Hawaiian buffet with traditional fare, Polynesian dances, music, a fire knife show, and more. 

Weather

  • December: Average highs of 82°F and average lows of 70°F.
  • January: Average highs of 81°F and average lows of 68°F.
  • February: Average highs of 81°F and average lows of 68°F.

You can expect around 3 inches of rain over 7 days for each month.

How Best To Reach The Destination

To reach Kauai, you’ll fly into the Lihue Airport, which connects to Oahu, the Big Island, Maui, destinations on the US mainland, and some Canadian cities. While it’s possible to get between the larger towns on Kauai by public bus, it’s best to rent a car to easily access the popular destinations on the island.

Best Place To Stay

Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the Aston Kona By The Sea resort features an oceanfront outdoor pool and spacious suites with a fully equipped kitchen for those days when you want to make your own dinner and cocktails.

best beach holiday in winter in America for retirees
South Padre Island, Texas (Photo courtesy of Pixabay)

South Padre Island, Texas

This picturesque little barrier island has warm pristine beaches, outstanding sunsets, and perfectly mild winter weather. South Padre Island is one of the best American beach destinations for retirees in winter. 

1. Horseback Ride On The Beach

Horseback riding on the beach of South Padre Island is a magical experience. You can choose to go for sunrise, sunset, or even during the full moon if it lines up during your trip. 

2. Charter A Fishing Boat

The waters surrounding South Padre Island have fantastic fishing, and there’s no better place to cast from than on a fishing charter boat. Isla Tours offer a variety of charter options, depending on your group size, for how long you want to fish, and where you want to go. 

3. Ride A Slingshot

One of the most fun ways to explore South Padre Island is to zip around in a slingshot! You’ll enjoy the speed and zippiness of a motorcycle, but with the safety of four wheels on the ground, without sacrificing the feeling of the wind in your hair. 

Weather

  • December: Average highs of 70°F and average lows of 57°F.
  • January: Average highs of 68°F and average lows of 55°F.
  • February: Average highs of 70°F and average lows of 57°F.

You can expect less than an inch of rain over 3-4 days in each month.

How Best To Reach The Destination

Fly into either Valley international Airport, McAllen International Airport, or Brownsville International Airport. For the easiest connection, catch a flight to Brownsville since it is the closest airport to the island. It has a free Valley Metro shuttle service that will take you to your final destination in 35 minutes. 

Best Place To Stay

Margaritaville Beach Resort South Padre Island offers beautiful comfortable rooms oceanfront inviting you to go on long walks on the beach or watch the sunset at the pool side bar.

best places in usa to visit for a tropical beach holiday for seniors
San Juan, Puerto Rico (Photo courtesy of Pixabay)

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is one of the best tropical winter beach vacations for older adults in the USA. The territory’s diverse wildlife, vibrant culture, and unique history offer travelers lots to do. 

1. Take Salsa Dancing Classes

This San Juan Salsa Dancing Class is a fun way to immerse yourself in Puerto Rican Culture, all the while getting a bit of exercise in their open-air dance studio. 

2. See Castillo San Cristobal

Castillo San Cristobal is an incredible Spanish Fortress that was finished in 1765, and built to protect San Juan. It’s the largest fortress in the Americas, and one of the most beautiful and impressive sites to see on Puerto Rico. 

3. Explore Bioluminescent Bays

Puerto Rico is famous for having some of the best bioluminescence in the world, and the bioluminescence here peaks during the winter months! This bioluminescence tour takes you through a sparkling lagoon of this beautiful, glowing natural plankton. 

Weather

  • December: Average highs of 83°F and average lows of 73°F with 1.9 inches of rain over 8.7 days.
  • January: Average highs of 83°F and average lows of 72°F with 1.3 inches of rain over 6.6 days.
  • February: Average highs of 83°F and average lows of 72°F with 1.4 inches of rain over 6.8 days.

How Best To Reach The Destination

The closest airport to San Juan is the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport (SJU), also known as the San Juan Airport. It is the busiest airport in the Caribbean. It is located in Carolina, Puerto Rico which is a quick 3-mile ride from San Juan. 

Getting a rideshare or taxi from the airport to San Juan is quite reasonable, but renting a car in Puerto Rico is an option too if you want to explore the island.

Best Place To Stay

There are many hotel options, restaurants, and nightlife in San Juan. You can choose to be in the historical section of the old town, or on the outskirts on the beach at the luxury hotels. Conveniently, many tours operate and depart from San Juan.

With an outdoor infinity pool overlooking Condado Beach, La Concha Renaissance features large guest rooms with private sea view balconies. In addition, the brightly decorated rooms have floor to ceiling windows opening to the balcony.

Guests can relax on a lounge bed at the sundeck surrounding the outdoor pool or enjoy a drink from the poolside bar in the hot tub.

best American beach getaways for older generation in winter
Sanibel Island, Florida (Photo courtesy of Pixabay)

Sanibel Island, Florida

Located on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Sanibel Island sees sunny winters with warm waters. Sanibel Island is famous for its raw nature and wildlife, and is one of the best trips in the United States in winter for the older generation. 

1. Kayak the Great Calusa Blueway

The Great Calusa Blueway meanders 190 miles from the ocean, all the way through Lee County’s various tributaries. For wildlife spotting and some exploration, you can kayak through a portion of the Blueway from Sanibel Island. Just rent kayaks and launch from Tarpon Bay Explorers.

2. Beachcombing 

Sanibel Island is incredibly famous for its unique seashells. To find the best shells, go for an early morning walk on this barrier island. 

3. Dophin Spotting Tour

This sunset dolphin spotting tour will give you a chance to spot some of Sanibel Island’s most beloved wildlife, set against the stunning backdrop of the sunset. 

Weather

  • December: Average highs of 75°F and average lows of 60°F.
  • January: Average highs of 73°F and average lows of 57°F.
  • February: Average highs of 75°F and average lows of 59°F.

You can expect around 1.5 inches of rain over 5 days each month.

How Best To Reach The Destination

Getting to Sanibel is easy. Fly into the Southwest Florida International airport (RSW) in Fort Myers, a 30 minute drive away.

Best Place To Stay

Island Inn is located on 10 acres of Sanibel Island with 550 feet of private beach. All rooms have a seating area, full kitchens and a view of the ocean. It is 5 minute’s drive from the 5,200-acre J. N. Darling Wildlife Refuge and less than 22 miles from Fort Myers city centre.

winter is best time for mature adults to visit tropical beaches in usa
US Virgin Islands (Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands

This gorgeous Caribbean Island has practically perfect winter weather, ocean water temperatures hovering right around 80 degrees, and a quieter atmosphere than neighboring islands. St. Thomas is the perfect tropical US beach escape in winter for mature adults. 

1. Golfing

The Buccaneer Beach & Golf Resort is only a 2-hour scenic ferry ride away from St.Thomas, on the neighboring island of St. Croix. 

Set against the stunning backdrop of the sparkling Caribbean ocean, the Buccaneer boasts a par 70 course spanning over 5,000 yards. Several of the holes even have ocean views. 

2. Swim With Sea Turtles

The calm, protected waters around the Virgin Islands makes great underwater visibility and perfect snorkeling conditions. This sea turtle snorkel tour allows you to snorkel and spot sea turtles. 

3. Drive to Drake’s Seat

For one of the most stunning views in all of the Virgin Islands, you can drive up to Drake’s Seat on St. Thomas. You’ll be able to look out over the sandy white beaches and other islands, and snap some incredible photographs. 

Weather

  • December: Average highs of 84°F and average lows of 73°F with 1.2 inches of rain over 4.5 days.
  • January: Average highs of 83°F and average lows of 72°F with practically no rain.
  • February: Average highs of 83°F and average lows of 72°F with practically no rain.

How Best To Reach The Destination

The best international airport to fly into when visiting St. Thomas is Cyril E King Airport (STT). It’s very close to the main city, Charlotte Amelie, as well as the ferry port to St. John. The best part is that US citizens and permanent residents don’t need a passport to visit.

Best Place To Stay

The Secret Harbour Beach Resort is a lovely beach-front complex on a secluded swimming and snorkeling beach 7.5 miles from Charlotte Amalie and 9 miles from Cyril E. King Airport. It offers 2 restaurants, and 1 and 2-bedroom suites with full kitchens and a private balcony or patio.

Best Small Town Experiences In USA In Winter For Mature Adults

Some cities offer small town charm and experiences with all of the modern conveniences and luxuries of big cities. If you are looking for the perfect balance between a relaxed pace but with exceptional restaurants, attractions and hotels, then these options are for you.

best us cities for winter getaway for older adults
Savannah, Georgia (Photo courtesy of Pixabay)

Savannah, Georgia

With its mild weather, charming cobblestone streets, lush Spanish moss, and rich history, Savannah is one of the best places with small town charm for older adults in December, January or February. 

1. Riverboat Sightseeing Cruise

If you want to learn about the history of Savannah, experience panoramic views from the water, and cruise by the Old Fort Jackson, you’ll want to embark on this Savannah Riverboat Sightseeing Cruise

2. Visit the Unique Museums

With such a rich history, it’s no surprise that Savannah has more than its fair share of incredible museums. The Savannah History Museum, the Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum, the Prohibition Museum, and the Graveface Museum are some of the most renowned, and some of the most peculiar museums in the South. 

3. Ghost Trolley Tour with Dinner

This Ghost Trolley Tour is a fantastic way to learn about the history and tragedies of Savannah, and includes a delicious dinner at The Pirates House, one of the most historic buildings in Savannah. 

Weather

  • December: Average highs of 63°F and average lows of 45°F with 2.6 inches of rain over 7 days.
  • January: Average highs of 61°F and average lows of 42°F with 3.1 inches of rain over 8 days.
  • February: Average highs of 64°F and average lows of 45°F with 3.4 inches of rain over 7.7 days.

How Best To Reach The Destination

Fly into the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, located 20 mins from downtown. You can easily reach via Lyft or Uber. Also, it is 4 hrs from Atlanta or 2 hrs from Charleston, if you are up for a road trip.

Best Place To Stay

Experience southern hospitality at the Bluff Hotel, situated in the heart of Savannah’s historic district and within walking distance of the famous River Street and City Market.

The Bluff Hotel features a complimentary continental breakfast for guests to start the day off right, and rooms are large and comfortable.

snowy winter destinations in usa for seniors
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

Located in the picturesque Idaho Panhandle at an elevation of well over 2000 feet, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho is one of the best places in America for older adults to take a snowy winter trip.

1. Downhill Skiing

Downhill skiing is a favorite pastime of the locals in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Silver Mountain Resort, Schweitzer Ski Area, and Lookout Pass are all fantastic places for skiing, just outside of town. 

2. See The Northern Lights In Fernan Sandal

Coeur d’Alene offers its winter visitors the unique opportunity to spot the Northern Lights. One of the best places to see the lights is from the Fernan Sandal snowmobiling area, within the Coeur d’Alene National Forest.

There are warming huts in the area where you can get toasty and enjoy the light show. You can also spot the northern lights from nearby Schweitzer Mountain. 

3. Rent An Igloo On The Lake

To really get into the winter spirit, you can rent your own beautiful igloo on the lake, for a remarkable evening of creative cocktails and specialty appetizers. 

Weather

  • December: Average highs of 35°F and average lows of 25°F.
  • January: Average highs of 35°F and average lows of 26°F.
  • February: Average highs of 41°F and average lows of 28°F.

You can expect an average of 7 inches of snowfall in each of December and January, and 4 inches in February.

How Best To Reach The Destination

The closest international airport is in the neighboring city of Spokane, only twenty minutes away. Alternatively, you could go on an Idaho road trip and fly into Boise about a seven-hour drive away.

Best Place To Stay

The Blackwell Hotel is a community favorite in Coeur D’Alene, and alongside unique rooms, the hotel offers incredible garden and patio spaces to help you unwind after a long day of exploring.

The Roosevelt Inn is a boutique hotel located in downtown Coeur d’Alene. The historic property was once a school house and offers views of the Coeur d’Alene Lake. Guests at the Roosevelt are provided with a delicious daily breakfast. There are also a couple of living rooms, which offer games and movies.

best small towns to visit in usa for retirees in winter
Beaufort, South Carolina

Beaufort, South Carolina

Beaufort, South Carolina is famous for being the film site of Forrest Gump, along with its delicious seafood, beautiful beaches, and incredible 19th century architecture. It makes for the perfect winter small-town getaway for seniors.

1. Day trip to Hunting Island

Hunting Island in winter is fantastic. The crowds are gone, and it’s a great time to comb for unique seashells, look for fossils and seabirds, and walk along the island’s 5 different hiking trails. 

2. Golfing

Beaufort County is home to over 50 incredible golf courses. Some of the best include the Old Beaufort Golf Club, Secession Golf Club, and The Legends Golf Course.

3. Carriage Tour

One of the best and most festive ways to get a feel for Beaufort is to take a narrated Horse-Drawn Carriage Tour through the historic part of the city. You’ll not only explore Victorian and Antebellum architecture, but also Hollywood movies sites. 

Weather

  • December: Average highs of 62°F and average lows of 45°F with 2.7 inches of rain over 7 days.
  • January: Average highs of 60°F and average lows of 42°F with 3.1 inches of rain over 8 days.
  • February: Average highs of 63°F and average lows of 45°F with 3.3 inches of rain over 7.5 days.

How Best To Reach The Destination

Fly into the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport and drive one hour and 15 minutes north.

Best Place To Stay

Located in historic Beaufort less than 1 mile from the waterfront, you will find Rhett House. Built in 1864 and featuring antique decor, guests can relax on the spacious veranda. Rooms have a fireplace for cool evenings and access to the veranda to enjoy the warm sunny days.

There is complimentary bicycle hire and a full southern breakfast offered each morning. Hunting Island State Park is only 20 minutes’ drive.

best american getaway in winter for mature adults
Santa Barbara, California (Photo courtesy of Pixabay)

Santa Barbara, California

Santa Barbara offers beautiful beaches, sunny days, and a wonderful blend of southern California and Spanish Colonial culture. If you’re a retiree seeking a beautiful American small town culture on the west coast of the USA, Santa Barbara is hard to beat. 

1. Explore The Old Santa Barbara Mission

Built in 1786, the Old Santa Barbara Mission is one of the most beautiful and iconic sites to see in Santa Barbara. The Mission has pretty lawns and gardens, and is framed by the stunning Santa Ynez Mountains. In addition to amazing art and architecture, you can also visit the Mission Museum and the historic mausoleum. 

2. Wine Tasting In Santa Ynez

Often overshadowed by the wine country of northern California, make no mistake, the Santa Ynez wine country produces some of the best wines in the state. This Santa Ynez Wine Valley tour picks you up in Santa Barbara, and takes you through some of the best vineyards in Santa Ynez with wine tasting and delicious food. 

3. Dinner At Loquita

Santa Barbara has several fantastic eateries, but Loquita takes the gold medal – especially if you want to embrace the Spanish roots of Santa Barbara. Loquita is an incredible, authentic Spanish restaurant on Santa Barbara’s iconic State Street. Be sure to try the paella. 

Weather

  • December: Average highs of 64°F and average lows of 43°F with 2.3inches of rain over 5 days.
  • January: Average highs of 64°F and average lows of 43°F with 3 inches of rain over 5.5 days.
  • February: Average highs of 65°F and average lows of 45°F with 3.5 inches of rain over 6 days.

How Best To Reach The Destination

Santa Barbara is about a 2-hour drive north of LAX (the closest major airport). Those traveling from the western US may also be able to find flights into Santa Barbara Airport, a regional airport that is a 15-minute drive west of Downtown Santa Barbara.

Best Place To Stay

There are plenty of great hotels in the area, but one particularly excellent option is Palihouse. This boutique hotel is conveniently located just a couple blocks off State Street, and has a pool on-site.

Mason Beach Inn is less than 5 minutes’ walk from the beach. This Santa Barbara inn features an outdoor heated pool and a hot tub. In addition, historic Downtown Santa Barbara is half a mile from the inn so you can park your car for your winter getaway, if you wish.

best winter getaways in american small towns for retirees
Sunset (Photo courtesy of Pixabay)

Fairhope, Alabama

Fairhope, Alabama is a small yet vibrant southern town located right on the Gulf Coast. The town is jam-packed with lovely shops, galleries, and restaurants. With mild winter temperatures, Fairhope is one of the best winter trips for seniors in the USA.

1. Food Tour

The best way to experience the culinary offerings of Fairhope is to embark on the Taste of Fairhope Food Tour. You’ll stop by 5 different restaurants, and sample everything from artisanal ice creams to sandwiches from the “French Quarter of Fairhope”.

2. Explore the famous art galleries

Fairhope is famous for its art galleries, and boasts a variety of collections from local artists, and artists all over the US. Swing by the Eastern Shore Art Center to see their rotating art exhibits, Kiln Studio & Gallery for amazing pottery and ceramics, and Hello Gallery Arts & Things for the best local jewelry and art pieces. 

3. Watch the sunset from the Fairhope Pier

Fairhope is pristinely located right along Mobile Bay, which has some truly spectacular sunsets. The Fairhope Pier is one of the best places to watch these beautiful sunsets and there are several benches right along the pier perfect for viewing. 

Alternatively, Sunset Pointe in the marina also has amazing sunset views. You can enjoy seeing them from their indoor or outdoor seating area while enjoying their sumptuous food and raising a toast with your favorite cocktail, beer or glass of wine. 

Weather

  • December: Average highs of 64 °F and average lows of 45°F with 4.4 inches of rain over 9 days.
  • January: Average highs of 61 °F and average lows of 43°F with 4.7 inches of rain over 9.5 days.
  • February: Average highs of 65 °F and average lows of 45°F with 5.0 inches of rain over 8.5 days.

How Best To Reach The Destination

The nearest airport to Fairhope is Mobile Aerospace Apt (BFM) Airport which is 12.4 miles away. Other nearby airports include Mobile (MOB) (23.2 miles), Pensacola (PNS) (42.6 miles) and Valparaiso (VPS) (81.1 miles).

Best Place To Stay

Located on the beachfront, the Grand Hotel Marriott Resort and Golf Club features 7 restaurants and lounges along with a private beach on Mobile Bay and two 18-hole golf courses. The accommodation is housed in the historical building and a luxurious spa is also available.

For those looking for even more amenities, the Grand Hotel also features a large lagoon-style outdoor pool, a hot tub, and a lap pool. There are also 10 lighted tennis courts and an on-site fitness center.

Other Resources

If you are interested in traveling during other seasons, please check out these other amazing suggestions:

Best US Winter Outdoor Adventure Destinations For Older Adults

Being surrounded by nature is nurturing and revitalizing. In these destinations, you can challenge yourself to try thrilling outdoor activities or slow things down and soak up the stunning landscapes, viewpoints, and wildlife. These US national parks offer it all.

best national parks for seniors to visit in usa in winter
Haleakala National Park, Hawaii (Photo courtesy of Pixabay)

Haleakala National Park, Maui

Maui’s Haleakala National Park is home to the dormant Haleakala Volcano, endangered Nene geese, and utterly spectacular views. It is a fantastic winter destination in the United States for retirees looking for remarkable outdoor experiences.

1. Bike Down From The Top

The road from the top of Haleakala to the base is one of the most scenic in the world- and if you’re craving adrenaline and adventure, you can even bike down it! 

2. Walk Through Hosmer Grove

Hosmer Grove is a beautiful, lush grove towards the base of Haleakala. The easy 0.4-mile Hosmer Grove Trail Loop takes you through a unique mix of native and invasive Hawaiian botanical species. 

3. Watch The Sunrise or Sunset Over The Crater

From the very top of Haleakala, you can choose to either watch the sunset or sunrise over the volcanic crater. Whichever time you choose, it’s one of the most stunning vistas in the world. 

How Best To Reach The Destination

Maui’s main airport is Kahului Airport. Depending on where you choose to stay, it’ll take you about 25 to 40 minutes to reach your hotel. Public transportation isn’t great so you should make sure you rent a car, especially if you want to explore the island.

Weather

The winter months offer remarkably similar weather. You can expect average highs of 81°F and average lows of 67°F with around 1.7 inches of rain over 6 days for each month.

Best Place To Stay

The Grand Wailea (Waldorf Astoria) with its awesome pool complex is the preferred place to stay for people who like to people watch and be around lots of activity but also enjoy luxury.

The Four Seasons Resort Maui is where the HBO hit The White Lotus was filmed and one of the prettiest and most relaxed resorts on the island. It’s a great place to get a cozy cabana or indulge in spa treatments.

For something a little more laid back, head to the Aston Maui Hill. It features spacious suites with fully-equipped kitchens and is 6 minutes’ walk from Kamaole Beach Park III. It offers lots of amenities such as heated outdoor pool, hot tub, a tennis court, shuffleboard and a putting green.

best outdoor destinations  for older adults in United states for winter escapes
Everglades National Park, Florida (Photo courtesy of Pixabay)

Everglades National Park, Florida

Florida’s Everglades National Park is by far one of the best national parks for seniors. In winter, the otherwise humid Florida climate is at its mildest, making it one of the best times to visit this incredibly ecologically diverse national park. 

1. Mangrove Tunnel Kayaking Tour

What’s more adventurous than kayaking through the mangroves and keeping an eye out for incredible species of birds, reptiles, and plants? This mangrove tunnel kayaking tour is one of the best ways to explore the Everglades.

2. Everglades Birding, Photography and Wildlife Expedition

Florida’s Everglades boast one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. This birding, wildlife, and photography expedition will not only create the opportunity for you to spot wildlife you might never notice on your own, but you’ll also get to explore some of the Everglades uninhabited barrier islands. 

3. Shark Valley Tram Tour

This open air tram takes park visitors through the Everglades “River of Grass”, for views and some wildlife spotting.

Weather

  • December: Average highs of 77°F and average lows of 63°F.
  • January: Average highs of 75°F and average lows of 60°F.
  • February: Average highs of 77°F and average lows of 62°F.

You can expect around 1.4 inches of rain over 4.5 days each month.

How Best To Reach The Destination

The closest airport to the Everglades is the Miami International Airport at less than 40 miles to the main entrance to the National Park.

Best Place To Stay

Ivey House Everglades is an eco-friendly hotel located in Everglades City. It offers canoe and kayak rentals and also hosts Everglade tours. The guest rooms are air conditioned and equipped with a refrigerator. There is an outdoor pool and tropical waterfall on the grounds.

Hampton Inn and Suites Miami-South/Homestead is located between the airport and the National Park and includes amenities such as a heated pool and free parking (unheard of in the Miami metro area).

best outdoor experiences for older generation in us national parks for vacation in winter
Big Bend National Park, Texas (Photo courtesy of Pixabay)

Big Bend National Park, Texas

With a unique mix of famous rivers, iconic canyons, and stunning desert landscapes, Big Bend National Park is a must-visit. The Park also has incredibly mild winters, making it one of the top winter escapes for retirees looking for an outdoor retreat. 

1. Hike The Santa Elena Canyon

The Santa Elena Canyon trail is an easy 1.7-mile hike that offers spectacular canyon views. 

2. Big Bend Backroads Tour

To delve a little deeper into the history of the land in Big Bend National Park, a Big Bend Backroads Tour will take you to see fossil graveyards, old Indian petroglyphs and pictographs and other hidden gems. 

3. Scenic Overlooks

This Texas National Park is full of amazing vistas. Don’t miss the Santa Elena Canyon overlook, Sotol Vista Overlook, and the Rio Grande Overlook, all of which you can reach by car.

Weather

  • December: Average highs of 60°F and average lows of 36°F.
  • January: Average highs of 59°F and average lows of 34°F.
  • February: Average highs of 65°F and average lows of 38°F.

You can expect very little rain.

How Best To Reach The Destination

To reach Big Bend National Park, the closest airport is located in Midland, TX. A rental car is a necessity both to get to the national park and navigate the area once there.

The drive from Midland to Big Bend takes approximately 3.5 hours, though there are some charming small western towns to explore along the way such as Alpine and Marathon. 

Best Place To Stay

Lajitas Golf Resort and Spa is just 10 minutes from Big Bend National Park. It offers a full-service spa and a variety of dining options featuring gourmet West Texas cuisine. The rooms are equipped with a refrigerator and a coffee machine.

The Black Jack’s Crossing Golf Course provides guests with premier golfing opportunities. The Resort also features activities such as hiking, horseback riding and fossil explorations.

best snowy destinations in us for winter holidays for mature adults
Jackson Hole, Wyoming (Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Surrounded by both Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons, Jackson, Wyoming is one of the most iconic, snowy destinations in the western United States and a fantastic choice for seniors looking for some winter fun. 

1. Snowshoe In The Grand Tetons

There’s no better way to get outdoors and enjoy the snow than snowshoeing in the Grand Tetons. This snowshoeing tour requires no prior experience. It includes snowshoes, poles, and overboot gaiters, and takes you through some of the best of the Grand Tetons backcountry. 

2. Wildlife Safari Tour

The areas surrounding Jackson are utterly wild, and even in the wintertime, you can spot coyotes, bald eagles, wolves, bison, elk, winter foxes, and more. On a Jackson Hole Wildlife Safari Tour, you’ll have the opportunity to spot these incredible wintering animals in a fun, safari-like atmosphere. 

3. Dinner And Live Music

To really get into the Western spirit, have dinner at the Silver Dollar Bar & Grill, located within the historic Wort Hotel. The restaurant serves classic western cuisine, and you can even catch live music after dinner in the Silver Dollar Bar, and The Silver Dollar Showroom. 

Weather

  • December: Average highs of 25°F and average lows of 8°F.
  • January: Average highs of 25°F and average lows of 6°F.
  • February: Average highs of 29°F and average lows of 9°F.

You can expect around 12 inches of rain in each of December and January, and 9.5 inches of rain in February.

How Best To Reach The Destination

Jackson Hole Airport is the closest regional airport and is in fact, located inside Grand Teton National Park. International travelers should fly into Salt Lake City International Airport and transfer to a regional flight, or drive (around 5 hours).

Best Place To Stay

The Wyoming Inn is a perfect place to stay. This luxury lodge is just minutes from downtown Jackson, and has a large lobby fireplace, spacious rooms, and an on-site restaurant.

The Virginian Lodge is 5 miles from Grand Teton National Park and Jackson Hole Mountain Ski Resort. It offers all year heated outdoor pool and hot tub. Guests can relax at the Western-themed saloon complete with live music and a dance floor.

best tropical outdoor escapes in usa in winter for retirees
Dry Tortugas National Park (Photo courtesy of Pixabay)

Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida

Winter is the best time to visit Dry Tortugas National Park when you can explore crystal clear reefs and find some winter sunshine. Dry Tortugas National Park is by far one of the best US winter trips for retirees. 

1. Snorkel 3rd Largest Reef System In The World

Dry Tortugas National Park is home to the Florida Keys Reef Tract, which is the 3rd biggest reef system on the planet. The reef is home to countless species of tropical fish and coral, making it perfect for snorkeling – even just steps from the beach. 

2. Tour Fort Jefferson

Fort Jefferson is an abandoned military fort surrounded by the gorgeous turquoise waters of the National Park. A tour of the fort offers interesting information about the fort’s history, and spectacular views. 

3. Charter A Fishing Boat

Delph Fishing Charters departs from Florida Keys and provides an exclusive fishing experience within Dry Tortugas. You’ll get to fish in untouched waters aboard their incredibly comfortable 40-foot fishing boat. 

Weather

For each winter month, you can expect average highs of 76°F and average lows of 67°F with around 1.5 inches of rain over 4 days.

How Best To Reach The Destination

Fly into Key West International Airport and rent a car upon arrival so that you can quickly and easily get around. 

For less expensive flights, fly into Miami International Airport (MIA) and then drive the four hours south to Key West. The drive itself is pretty iconic and fun, with great views of the ocean.

Best Place To Stay

There aren’t any hotels in Dry Tortugas National Park (although you can camp). Most people stay in Key West and then, take day trips.

Nestled along the Florida Bay, a short drive from historic Old Town Key West, Parrot Key Hotel & Villas offers an outdoor pool, casual cafe and a variety of activities. It is surrounded by lush landscaping and gardens where guests can go for a swim in one of the 4 outdoor pools. It is close to many of the fun activities and nightlife that Key West offers.

Last Word

There are many amazing places to visit in the United States for a holiday in winter for seniors and retirees. They offer fantastic things to do, often offering unique experiences unlike anywhere else that you may have been. Whether you crave excitement or relaxation, warmth or the cold, there is something for everyone.

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