Winter in the Midwest is beautiful, but it’s also chilly, and icy conditions can make outings dangerous. Many Midwesterners take a vacation during winter months to trade ice and snow for sunshine and greenery. Taking a winter vacation is a great opportunity for seniors to escape the cold for awhile, and popular vacation spots often are less expensive and less busy during winter months.
Below, we’ve rounded up some of the best winter vacation spots for seniors looking to warm up away from home this season.
Williamsburg, VA is one of the first settled cities in the United States, making it a great spot for history buffs. Stop by Colonial Williamsburg and experience what life was like in America in the 18th century. Catch a carriage ride or walk the streets, explore the shops of world-class tradesmen, and chat with historical figures who helped build our nation. Lastly, you can check out the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, which has one of the largest collections of American folk art in the world.
When the sun goes down, take a candle-lit ghost tour of Colonial Williamsburg or attend the trial of a pirate as a member of the jury and help decide his fate!
Williamsburg is also known for its shopping and dining experiences, including the Yankee Candle Company, Merchant’s Square, the Williamsburg Antique Mall, and a variety of restaurants offering new age dishes, seafood, home cooking, and more.
In the winter, temperatures in Williamsburg are fairly mild and usually in the lower 60s. This trip is great if you’re looking to get away from the frigid temperatures but don’t want to travel too far. This trip can also be made reasonably by car, if you want to avoid the airport.
Palm Springs, CA
Palm Springs, CA is a great option for a complete change of scenery from the Midwest. Located in the Sonoran Desert in Southern California, Palm Springs has a warm, dry climate with temperatures averaging in the low 70s during the winter months. Palm Springs may be in the desert, but this destination is a slice of paradise with activities for all, including hiking, golfing, shopping, spas and hot springs, and beautiful architecture.
For city explorers, there are guided tours available of the plethora of post-war architecture around the city, as well as plenty of glamorous shops to stroll and a variety of restaurants serving up everything from classic dishes to modern cuisine for adventurous eaters. For nature lovers, you’ll find plenty of hiking trails outside the city. The Andreas Canyon Trail and Tahquitz Canyon guided nature hike are two options great for seniors. Both trails are a couple miles each that only take a few hours to explore, and they feature beautiful scenery, like a 60ft waterfall in the Tahquitz Canyon.
One advantage of Palm Springs for traveling seniors is you can fly into the Palm Springs International Airport, so there is minimal additional travel time to your hotel or accomodations. If you plan on sticking around the city, seniors can take advantage of the bus system to get around. The SunLine Transit Agency buses can get you to most places in the city, and seniors ride for under one dollar a day. You will want to rent a car if you plan on getting out to hiking trails, riding the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, or taking a day trip to the ocean.
Sedona, AZ is another beautiful spot out west that offers a variety of outdoor and indoor activities. Sedona is a geologic treasure trove, and it’s the only place in the United States where you can view gorgeous red rock formations whose hues change in the light and under different weather conditions. In addition to hiking trails, there are Jeep tours available to explore several of these gorgeous canyons by car instead of on foot.
In the city of Sedona, there’s a lively art scene and New Age vibe that offers unique shops and experiences. You’ll find artwork as well as beautiful jewelry and stone pieces you won’t find anywhere else.
If the relaxing resort lifestyle is more of your ideal vacation, Sedona also has plenty of resorts with views of the mountains and stunning red rock formations. These resorts offer a variety of activities from golf courses and bicycle rentals to luxurious spas.
Sedona is a great spot for seniors because of its dry, mild winter climate with temperatures in the high 50s and low 60s. While you’ll want to bring a light jacket, clothes to layer with, and sunscreen, these milder temperatures make exploring the outdoors more pleasant for travelers of all ages.
Savannah, GA is a great place if you’re a self-proclaimed foodie. Warm up from the winter with the weather and the vibrant food and culture scene. Take the Culinary and Cultural Walking Tour of the city to learn more about its history and get plenty of tasty bites of local cuisine, or explore the city on your own and find plenty of well-known and hole-in-the-wall restaurants offering authentic Southern comfort foods from BBQ to shrimp and grits to fried green tomatoes.
Savannah is also rich in U.S. history and antebellum architecture. Explore the town on the Old Town Trolly Tour where you can hop off at stops you want to explore and hop back on another trolly when you’re ready to keep going. There’s also plenty of walking tours through the historic district and several beautiful old mansions and homes. For the history buff, take a walking tour focused on Savannah’s role in the Civil War, and for the adventurer, there’s a variety of ghost and haunted places tours.
Like Williamsburg, Savannah is a great place to explore the past, but it’s also close to the coast, so you can get your ocean view, too. Savannah’s winter temperatures are generally in the low- to mid-60s, so it’s great for seniors to warm up without worrying about extreme temperatures.
Miami Beach, FL
If you’re looking for a more traditional winter getaway, Miami Beach is your spot: sun, sand, and the ocean. Miami Beach has plenty of beach-side resorts along the beautiful Atlantic Ocean for warming away all your winter blues. Make sure to bring that sunscreen!
When you’re done at the beach, you can browse a plethora of art museums, like the Wolfsonian-FIU Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, or the Art Deco Museum.
If you’re a plant enthusiast, Miami Beach is also home to the Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden. This garden hosts a beautiful collection of tropical flora like palms, cycads, flowering trees, and vines. Any plant lover couldn’t leave the garden without perusing through a collection of documented botanical specimens dating back to the 1930’s.
Miami Beach is located in Southern Florida, so the weather is hot and humid year-round. Make sure to bring along light, breathable clothing, sunglasses, and a visor or hat as well as sunscreen and a water bottle to stay protected and hydrated. When spending time on the beach, make sure to take breaks in the shade.
There are plenty of unique places across the country where seniors can spend their winter vacation. Wherever you go, make sure to research the weather and accessibility of any accommodations you may need, and don’t forget to pack your curiosity.