History, nature, music, culture, and mystery. It’s all waiting for you right here in the good ole U.S. of A.
Once upon a time, tropical was trendy. But the Boomers of today are opting for travel that involves more than sand and sunburns. They want destinations with sustenance and stories. According to a recent AARP poll, more than 90 percent of Boomer travelers have made domestic travel plans for 2019. Depending on your specific tastes there are plenty of extraordinary senior travel ideas for your next state-side adventure.
Wanted: Life-Long Learners
If exercising your brain is as important as satisfying your wanderlust, incorporate travel into your journey for knowledge. From lessons in history, civics, and social studies to science and the arts, educational trips and tours abound. Immerse yourself in learning while enjoying the sights, sounds, and cultures of a new area.
Small Town USA
Laid-back, friendly, casual, and unique. If that’s more your style, you’re not alone. Online searches for small town travel dramatically increased in 2018 (to the tune of 276 percent according to Pinterest). Hamlets, villages, and tiny towns are reinventing themselves, adding boutique hotels, artisanal eateries, and thriving music and arts scenes. Here are some of our favorites:
- Ouray, Colorado: Filled with many of its original Victorian buildings, this quaint little town, tucked into a canyon in the San Juan Mountains is nicknamed “Switzerland of America.” In winter, visit the Ouray Ice Park — considered one of the “premier ice climbing venues in the world.” Summer offers the full gamut of off-road, backcountry activities, plus an awe-inspiring Fourth of July fireworks display. It’s located about six hours southwest of Denver and five hours north of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
- Lostine, Oregon: This old farming community five hours east of Portland may be small (population 300), but the tally of tourists is big thanks to Tyler Hays (high-end furniture designer and builder) who purchased the 107-year-old mercantile, M. Crow & Co., in 2012 “to prevent its closure and the loss of an iconic memory of my childhood.”
- Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan: Touched by the waters of Lake Superior, St. Mary’s River, and Lake Huron, Michigan’s oldest city is a naturally-themed “water park” of sorts. With locks and lighthouses, boat tours and kayaking, and even shipwrecks that bring divers from across the globe, there’s something for everyone. It’s about seven hours northeast of Chicago and eight hours north of Indianapolis.
- Tubac, Arizona: About 2-1/2 hours south of Phoenix, this historic community offers a cozy small-town feel combined with big-city artistry. Pottery shops, the K. Newby Gallery & Sculpture Garden, and Tubac Center of the Arts mesh local and national talent. Not to mention the best prickly-pear margarita around.
Hit the Road Jack
The road trip: scenic byways meandering through lush landscapes; coastal highways leading to breathtaking views and beautiful beaches; interstates connecting iconic images of America’s past with the glitz and glamour of big cities. It’s the classic American adventure.
Whether you’re itching to get out for the day or want to plan a week-long getaway, the choices are as endless as the miles you can drive.
Of course, the Pièce de La Bucket List is a journey along the “Mother Road” — Route 66. Tackle it in phases or trek cross country from Santa Monica to Chicago (or “go West young man,” with a start in The Windy City).
Check out www.lonelyplanet.com for some of the most detailed, colorful, and informational road trip travel guides available.