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2016 Top Summer Vacations for Seniors

Planning on spending the sweltering summer lying like a lizard in front a rotating fan?  Think again!  Factoring in weather, availability, and budget, we have narrowed down our top 3 summer vacation destinations for senior citizens.  While reading through the list below, envision yourself on your perfect summer vacation.  Are you looking for entertainment, history, and site seeing? Perhaps, pure relaxation?  Regardless if you end up choosing one of the following vacation destinations or not, we hope this list gives you the motivation to get out of out of town and see the world this summer.

1. Colorado Ski Towns

General Ambiance

The heavenly Colorado Rockies hold some of the most breathtaking views in the entire nation.  Contrary to the crowds and long lines of the ski season, summers are a perfect time of the year for senior citizens to visit the Rockies - avoid the tourist rush while also enjoy the mild weather.  Not only do all of the major resorts convert their ski runs into hiking and biking trails, but they are easily accessed by stunning, vertical gondola rides.  Natural hot springs, river rafting, rodeos, local food and wine, golf, and camping… these are just some of the activities you can expect to enjoy in the crisp mountain air.  

One thing that makes a Colorado mountain vacation unique is that you can get several different types of experiences in one trip.  Looking for that "French Alps" feeling?  Then visit Vail or Aspen and stay a 5-Star hotel or boutique bed and breakfast. Both will provide full relaxation and pampering.  Looking for an authentic "Mountain Town" feeling?  Then visit Steamboat Springs or Telluride and stay at an AirBnB condo to save money.   If you are really looking for an adventure, then rent a tent and camp several nights underneath the mountain stars. 

Accessibility

The major disadvantage to this vacation is accessibility.  Even the closest ski resorts are a couple hours away from Denver International Airport (DIA). Shuttles and trains are available but we recommend renting a car in order to hop from mountain town to mountain town.  We also recommend spending a couple days in Denver before and after visiting the Rockies in order to break up the long travel time.  Warning…this vacation is the most physically demanding choice on our list. The high elevation of the Rockies should be a consideration: the air is considerably thinner at 7,000-13,000 ft. above sea level.  A Colorado vacation is an active vacation so we recommend this for seniors who love to exercise and experience the outdoors.  Ski towns in Colorado have the best weather forecast on our list.

2. Philadelphia, PA

General Ambiance

There is no denying that Philadelphia can get hot in the summer, very hot!  So why did we put Philadelphia on the list?  Because for those who love history and food then The City of Brotherly Love has endless activities to choose from.  Site see, eat, site see, eat...repeat.  Really, this is a city oozing with history and if you are a senior citizen who has yet to visit our former nation's capital (before moving to Washington D.C.), and the place where the Declaration of Independence was signed, then it is your obligation to do so.  God bless America! Visit the African American Museum, The Franklin Institute, The National Constitution Center, and much more.  Explore vibrant neighborhoods such as Rittenhouse, Chinatown, and Washington Square West.  Tap into a rich culinary scene exploding with young chefs and new, cutting-edge eateries, while also dining at generational, family owned restaurants who best exemplify longevity, consistency, and hand-me-down recipes.  Of course, you can't leave without trying an authentic Philly cheese steak.  Extra cheese wiz please!

Accessibility

Philadelphia has inbound flights from almost every major airport in the nation, so getting here is not a problem.  On the other hand, Philadelphia is the fifth most populous city in the nation, and just like any other major US city, traffic can be a nightmare. We recommend you to stick to public transportation, and not rent a car.  Stay downtown and take taxis and Ubers from place to place.  It will be easiest.  The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) is also a great option for public transportation.  Warning…if you want to experience Philadelphia then be prepared to spend money.  Hotel accommodations is not something to frugal on, and museum tickets and restaurant tabs will add up too.  Furthermore, because Philadelphia summers can reach 100 degrees plus humidity, we highly warn that if you are a senior with a heart condition or heat sensitivity to think twice about visiting during the summer-time.  Otherwise, if your health and finance are in order, we guarantee Philadelphia will be a city you will never forget.   

3. Santa Barbara, CA

General Ambiance

Santa Barbara is a beautiful city located on the coast of California.  This is a great place to rest, relax, and kick back on the beach.  Santa Barbara is perfect summer vacation destination for boomer and seniors because the weather a pleasant 70 to 75 degrees.  Be sure to check out the historic Old Mission Santa Barbara to learn how the city originated back when the Spanish first created the mission in 1786.  If you do go, be sure to go on a Thursday or Friday at 11, or on Saturday at 10:30 for a guided tour - first come first served.  Santa Barbara also has a wide variety of great restaurants; some suggestions are the Toma restaurant and bar for Italian, the Lark for a modern take on American food, or Los Agaves for Mexican food. You can’t leave without eating fresh seafood; we would suggest dining at Santa Barbara Shellfish Company, Bouchon, or Cadiz Bar and Restaurant. 

Santa Barbara is also known for its breathtaking coast and beaches which are great for long walks, sun tanning, and sunset gazing.  We would suggest checking out the Arroyo Burro County Beach Park, but sometimes best just to ask the locals for a hidden gem. Stearns wharf is a great place to spend an afternoon or evening walking around.  Also, be sure to look into the vineyards just to the North of Santa Barbara.  We would suggest the Santa Ynez Valley located a short 30-minute drive, nestled in Santa Ynez and San Rafael mountains.  The views are breathtaking and the weather will be cooler if it is too hot out.  Plus, who does not enjoy a nice glass of wine or two, from one of the best wine regions in the United States.

Accessibility

Santa Barbara has its own airport which you can definitely use if the convenience outweighs the cost, but we would suggest flying into Las Angeles Airport, (LAX), and renting a car to drive the short distance to Santa Barbara.  The drive is just over two hours and is a gorgeous drive up the coast on the famous highway US-101.  We also think a car is perfect for getting around the city, as well as the beaches, vineyards, and missions scattered around this heavenly city.  Once in Santa Barbara, it is possible to get around using public transportation and shuttles if this suits you more though, so the choice is really yours to make.  

Written by Nick Schaller, Tim Flemming, & Alex Milzer with Senior Directory, LLC

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