For many older adults who are wheelchair users or need mobility devices such as a cane or walker, the idea of taking a vacation can be daunting. Even if it’s with family members.
But the good news is that there are many destinations for senior citizens with mobility issues that offer accessible travel (with family members or without). It just takes a little bit more planning. For example, you always want to check ahead to ask about wheelchair accessibility, access to elevators, etc.
Believe me, vacations for seniors with mobility issues are doable!
You can also consider contacting any of these tour companies who specialize in accessible tours for seniors. Or contact a travel agent to help you plan your trip.
Vacations are important parts of life; they provide the opportunity to recharge and spend time with family and sometimes friends. Vacations can also be great opportunities for exploring new places, trying out new hobbies, or even getting some exercise.
The key to some of the best vacations for elderly adults is finding an activity and destination that fits your fitness level and mobility limitations.
Many websites with senior citizen trips and ideas tell you about places to go but the truth is, a great many cities and towns are accessible to most anyone with limited mobility so I thought that in this article I will research some accessible vacation themes and ideas that you can do almost anywhere.
You deserve a break and we have some unique ideas of perfect spots for you! So take advantage and make this the best time of your life!
24 Senior Citizens’ Vacation Ideas
Here are some great ideas for vacations for handicapped seniors to help inspire your next vacation! (If you prefer to watch our web story on this topic, check it out here.)
1. Ocean and River Cruises
Cruises are, in my opinion, the easiest way to take a vacation without too much physical exertion which makes them an obvious choice and perfect for many senior citizens. The cruise line can usually attend to most any special needs you may have.
Cruise ships offer an opportunity for you and your family to explore new popular places while also enjoying the all-inclusive amenities of the ship itself.
I took many cruises with my elderly in-laws and I can tell you from personal experience that the ships were very accommodating for seniors who use canes, walkers, and wheelchairs.
In addition, they offer a wide range of activities on board and off-board (via accessible tours and excursions). There were times, I admit, that I never left the ship!
No matter what your activity level is, you can enjoy a great vacation on a cruise ship.
According to GuideForSeniors.com, the 5 best cruises for seniors are…
- Azamara Club Cruises (a subsidiary of Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd.)
- Holland America Line – I personally love this cruise line.
- Royal Caribbean International – Another one of my favorites! Some of the most amazing ships I’ve been on have been with Royal Caribbean.
- Oceania Cruises – Seems to be a more upscale cruise line
- Silversea Cruises – A family-owned line with smaller ships that offer ultra-luxury accommodations.
Of course, you can also look at cruises via the port cities they can take you to. Some very popular ones are…
- An Alaskan cruise
- Caribbean cruises
- European cruises
Get more details about each of these lines at GuideForSeniors.com
If ocean cruises are not your style, consider taking a river cruise. These smaller boats are one of the best ways to visit beautiful parts of many countries.
There are many different river cruises in the USA, in Canada, Europe, South America and other countries.
Just like their ocean counterparts, the river cruises are a wonderful and easy way to travel if you are using a walker, a cane or a wheelchair to get about.
Some of the most popular river cruises are…
- AmaWaterways – they offer river cruises throughout the rivers of Europe leaving from cities such as Paris, Budapest and Amsterdam.
- CroisiEurope Cruises – another European river cruise line to consider leaving cities like Strasbourg, France and Engelhartszell, Austria.
- Scenic Cruises – Yes, Europe has many river cruises and this is yet another. Leaving from Budapest, Zurich and Nuremberg.
- American Cruise Lines – The USA also has a few river cruises as well leaving in locations such as New Orleans, Maine and Portland, Oregon.
As far as vacations for senior citizens go – I would rate cruising at the very top!
If you’ll be flying to start your cruise, read our article, Air Travel Risks For The Elderly, next.
2. Museums and Art Galleries
Indoor and handicap accessible places like museums and art galleries can be one of the best things to do in some cities and towns. They can also be great vacation options for history and art lovers who have limited mobility.
An idea would be to visit a city or town that has multiple indoor museums and galleries to visit. Some of the cities that could be on your list are…
- New York City
- Chicago, Illinois
- London, England
- Washington, DC
- Paris, France
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Florence, Italy
- Athens, Greece
- New Orleans, Louisiana
- Denver, Colorado
- Rome, Italy
If larger cities are not your idea of a vacation, consider these 100 small “Art” towns that you can visit and enjoy.
Smaller towns may not have the number of museums that the larger cities do but they usually have the most interesting ones. Here are some examples…
- The Hammer Museum in Haines, Alaska
- Johnson Victrola Museum in Dover, Delaware
- The Bread Museum in Ulm, Germany
- The Mustard Museum in Middleton, Wisconsin
- Idaho Potato Museum in Blackfoot, Idaho
- The Chocolate Museum in Cologne, Germany
- The Lucky Cat Museum in Cincinnati, Ohio
- Laurel and Hardy Museum in Harlem, Georgia
- Matchstick Marvels Museum in Gladbrook, Iowa
- Museum of Bad Art in Somerville, Massachusetts
- The Kazoo Museum in Beaufort, South Carolina
- The Neon Museum in Las Vegas, Nevada
- The Dog Collar Museum Kent, England
- The Spam Museum in Austin, Minnesota
- The Apron Museum in Luka, Mississippi
Travel for seniors with limited mobility can certainly include beaches. It’s a great destination for many older adults who love warm weather!
You don’t have to rule out beaches just because you find it too hard to walk on the sand. There are many beaches with boardwalks and sidewalks that you can visit.
If you’re planning family vacations with your grandchildren – a beach destination may be a wonderful option.
Some of the beaches and ideas that I can recommend are:
- Daytona Beach – The beautiful beaches in Daytona offer handicap parking, free beach wheelchairs and easy accessibility throughout the area.
- Miami Beach – If you enjoy the heat in South Florida, consider Miami Beach. They provide beach mats to make it easier for anyone with mobility issues to walk on the soft sand. They also have free motorized and manual wheelchairs with wide wheels made specifically for a beach.
- Myrtle Beach – South Carolina also has beautiful beaches and Myrtle Beach is a great location. They offer free beach wheelchairs, handicap parking and accessible points throughout the beach.
4. National Parks
Another type of popular tourist attractions are national parks. Many are wheelchair accessible , and you can still enjoy all the natural beauty that these parks have to offer.
According to OutsideOnline.com the best places for those with limited mobility are…
- Acadia National Park in Maine
- Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in Colorado
- Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona
- Glacier National Park in Montana
- Yellowstone National Park that spans Idaho, Montana and Wyoming
Read more about visiting U.S. National Parks in our articles about the National Park Pass for Seniors (here) and about the America The Beautiful senior passes (here) and whether they are worth the purchase.
5. Botanical Gardens
A botanical garden can be a great place to visit for some vacation time. Many adults love to visit Botanical Gardens and why not? They are filled with beautiful and unique flowers and plants and offer a wonderful, serene setting.
Here are just a few botanical gardens that are perfect for seniors who use a cane, a walker or a wheelchair.
- United States Botanical Gardens in Washington, DC
- Montreal Botanical Garden in Montreal, Canada
- Adelaide Botanic Garden in Adelaide, Australia
- Brooklyn Botanic Garden in Brooklyn, New York
- Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida
- Waimea Valley and Falls Arboretum in Honolulu, Hawaii
- Singapore Botanic Gardens in Singapore
- Atlanta Botanical Garden in Atlanta, Georgia
- Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden in Cape Town, South Africa
6. Bus Tours
When I was younger I took a few bus trips with my classmates and what I remember is a lot of talking, laughing and singing!
After having just taken a bus tour in Iceland, Robin (the other half of Senior Safety Advice) says that after a few days, the members of her bus tour were in a very similar situation (minus the singing!).
Bus tours are a streamlined “cruise on land” that can take you to many popular destinations in a comfortable and relaxed manner.
As Robin found with her tour, they are perfect for many senior travelers who are looking for limited mobility vacations.
There were several seniors with limited mobility in her group and they were watched out for and cared for by everyone on the bus (Find out whether Iceland is good for seniors to visit on a bus tour).
One of the other things she loved was that the tour guide offered both entertainment and history all wrapped up in an organized trip. Leaving her to just sit back and enjoy.
As with her group, many bus tours are accessible for seniors with limited mobility and oftentimes the tours are filled with older adults so you should be in great company!
7. Local Boat Tours
Local boat tours to beautiful locations like Niagra Falls, NY / Canada can make for a wonderful vacation for seniors.
Other types of tours like this can be found in…
- Wendella Boats in Chicago, Illinois
- Lake Powell, Utah
- St Johns River Taxi in Jacksonville, Florida
- Niagara Falls in New York and Canada
- Island Princess Cruises in Stuart, Florida
- Portland Boat Tours in Portland, Oregon
8. Tours for Handicapped Seniors
Embarking on a travel vacation is an enriching experience that should be accessible to all, regardless of physical limitations.
Let’s take a look at some tours that are specifically designed for handicapped older adults.
- Travel for All
- Easy Access Travel
- Wheel the World
- Ability Adventures
- Accessible Caribbean Vacations
- Disabled Accessible Travel
- Epic Enabled
- II Viaggio Travel
- Latin America for All
- Tapooz Travel
9. Music Themed Vacations
If music is your jam then consider a vacation in places like Nashville, TN or Branson, MI where many of the shows are handicap accessible.
10. City Walking Tours
For those who can do a bit of walking with a cane or walker consider a walking tour. Just make sure to ask the tour operators how long is the walk and are there spots in between to sit and rest.
Also know that many major cities like Chicago and New York offer wheelchair accessible walking tours where you can explore your favorite landmarks in comfort.
You can also indulge in walking tours provided by museums such as the one offered by The Walnut Creek Historical Society. This is often a small group tour giving you a history of this beautiful northern California town.
Some other walking tours you can investigate are…
- Historic Savannah Walking Tours
- Wilderness on Wheels in Grant, Colorado
- Wheelchair friendly trails in Austin, Texas
- River Walk in San Antonia, Texas
- River Walk in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
- River Walk in San Diego, California
Some of the most accessible cities for citizens with mobility issues include:
There are several cities around the world that are known for being accessible to citizens with mobility issues.
Here are some examples:
- Stockholm, Sweden: Stockholm is often regarded as one of the most accessible cities in Europe. It features well-maintained sidewalks, accessible public transportation, and many attractions and facilities designed with accessibility in mind.
- Vancouver, Canada: Vancouver has made significant efforts to ensure accessibility for people with mobility issues. The city has accessible public transportation, including low-floor buses and SkyTrain stations with elevators. Many sidewalks have curb ramps, and attractions such as Stanley Park and the Vancouver Aquarium offer accessibility features.
- Portland, USA: Portland has been recognized for its efforts to improve accessibility. The city’s public transportation system, including buses and light rail, offers accessibility options. Many parks, museums, and public facilities prioritize accessibility.
- Singapore: Singapore is known for its accessibility infrastructure. The city has made extensive efforts to ensure barrier-free access to public transportation, including buses and trains. Sidewalks and pedestrian crossings are generally well-maintained and equipped with curb ramps, and many public buildings have accessibility features.
- Melbourne, Australia: Melbourne is considered one of the most accessible cities in Australia. The city has accessible public transportation, including trains and trams with low-floor access. Many attractions, parks, and shopping centers have accessibility features, and the city has a strong focus on creating an inclusive environment.
- San Francisco, USA: San Francisco has made strides in improving accessibility for citizens with mobility issues. The city’s public transportation system, including buses and cable cars, offers accessibility features. Many popular tourist destinations, such as Golden Gate Park and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, have accessible facilities.
- Barcelona, Spain: Barcelona has taken steps to enhance accessibility throughout the city. The public transportation system, including buses and metro stations, is designed to accommodate people with disabilities. The city’s sidewalks are generally well-maintained and equipped with curb ramps, and major attractions have accessibility features.
- Seattle, USA: Seattle has taken steps to enhance accessibility for its residents and visitors. The city’s public transportation system includes buses and light rail with accessibility features. Many tourist attractions and public spaces have accessible facilities.
It’s important to note that accessibility features and infrastructure can vary within cities, so it’s always a good idea to research specific locations and services to ensure they meet individual needs.
11. All Inclusive Resorts
Some other senior citizen trip ideas includes resorts!
All inclusive resorts are another “cruise on land” idea where you travel to one place and get to relax and do as much as you like or nothing at all.
I would recommend to search for all inclusive resorts and then contact them to find out if they can accommodate your mobility issues.
Some places to consider are…
12. Resort Like Hotels
Many destination hotels have wheelchair accessible rooms where it is possible for a person with limited mobility to still enjoy themselves.
I love staying in a hotel room with a great view. I often take weekend vacation trips to these types of hotels. I can sit back, take in the view and do what vacations are meant to do for me, relax!
According to Smartertravel.com some of the best resort hotels for seniors with limited mobility are…
- Noelle in Nashville, Tennessee
- Resort at Squaw Creek in Olympic Valley, California
- Novotel Melbourne on Collins in Melbourne, Australia
- Halekulani in Honolulu, Hawaii
- Grand Velas Riviera Maya in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
- Mirror Lake Inn Resort and Spa in Lake Placid, New York
- Intercontinental David in Tel Aviv, Israel
13. Movie Themed Trips
If you’re into movies, maybe a trip to Los Angeles where all the great older movies were made. Make it a point to see at least one movie a day.
There are multiple movie themed tours available. I would recommend to contact the one(s) that you are interested in to get information on how accessible they are for your limited mobility issues.
14. Theater Themed Trips
Or maybe theater is your passion. Well, then a trip to Broadway is on the list!
But don’t think that New York is the only place to go for a theater themed vacation. I would recommend Ashland, Oregon which is famous for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
15. Activity Themed Trips
Cooking is something several of my friends love and they enjoy taking a culinary class wherever they travel. Making a trip to a great city and taking a few culinary classes could be a great vacation trip for you.
Outdoor activities are certainly not off limits to seniors with physical limitations.
Golf is another activity that you can still take advantage of! So why not make that a vacation destination for yourself if you love to play golf! You can find more information from the U.S. Adaptive Golf Alliance.
Fishing tours for adults with disabilities can get you back on the water to do the thing that you love – fishing!
If you’re an adventurous type and looking for a unique experience then consider the wheelchair accessible tours by National Geographic. They include things like Hot Air Ballooning and Riding a Camel in Morocco!
16. Book Themed Trips
If you’re a book lover like my friend Judy then you may consider visiting any of these wonderful book stores as an absolute treat during your vacation.
- Powell’s Book Store in Portland, Oregon
- Cărturești Carusel in Bucharest, Romania
- Livraria Lello in Porto, Portugal
- Alabama Booksmith in Birmingham, Alabama
- Ler Devagar in Lisbon, Portugal
- Literati Bookstore in Ann Arbor, Michigan
17. Keeping It Local
Senior vacation destinations don’t have to be in a faraway place. Who says that you have to travel long distances to take a vacation?
I personally love sleeping in my own bed at night so taking a road trip to local places is a great way for me to take some time off.
Some perfect destination ideas could include things like…
- Wine tasting events
- Live shows in local parks
- Visiting historic buildings in your area
- Taking in the history at historical landmarks in your area
For many older adults, day trips every so often are a much better alternative than longer vacations.
Take a little time to check your local area for events that are wheelchair accessible. These places would also be accessible to seniors who use canes or walkers. Click here to do a Google search.
18. Rent A Private Residence
If you prefer to spend your vacation time in your own space instead of a hotel then take a look at Handiscover – an Airbnb for people with limited mobility.
19. Games, Theater and Relaxation
For vacations with everything, you may want to consider places like Las Vegas, NV. There’s a little bit of everything there. It’s easy to get around and you can spend your time enjoying the theater, gambling, people watching or just relaxing.
20. Golf Cart Tours
I bet you never heard of golf cart tours! What a great way to get around an city or area.
These are tours where the guests drive their own golf cart throughout the tour.
21. Amusement Parks
I believe that all amusement parks comply with the Americans Disabilities Act (ADA) and provide accessibility for disabled and of course, seniors that use adaptive equipment for mobility.
I would recommend that you contact any amusement park you may be considering to visit. This would be a wonderful vacation to spend with your family, especially the grandkids!
Here are some links to the information about accessibility for some popular amusement parks.
22. Riding The Rails
Trains are another great way to sightsee and get around for a relaxing and enjoyable vacation if you are limited in your mobility.
Amtrak is the most popular train service here in the USA and with it’s senior discounts, it can be an affordable way to travel for your next vacation.
The wonderful thing about train trips for elderly adults is that you can take longer, all-inclusive trips and even day trips locally. It’s really nice to have so many options available.
Of course, they are not the only train service – here are some great train vacation ideas to consider for your next get away!
- Grand Canyon getaway
- National Park vacations
- Railway Adventures through Australia
- VIA Rail through Canada
- and many more scenic train trips to take throughout the world
23. Mobility Scooter Vacations
If you have your own mobility scooter then there are certainly many places you can go from national parks to cities and even beaches.
But if you prefer to leave your scooter at home (or you don’t own one) there are plenty of scooter rental places that you can rent one to use to enjoy your vacation.
Know that there are weight and measurement limitations on most lifts (for trains and buses) for mobility scooters so you will need to check with these types of transportation before you book your trip.
For example the shuttle buses in Yosemite National Park can accommodate mobility scooters and wheelchairs up to 24 inches wide and 46 inches long, with a top weight limit (scooter and person) of 750 pounds.
I would say that limitation is pretty common, but of course you should check in advance about any lift limitations, especially if you use a bariatric scooter.
24. Virtual Vacations
Finally, if your mobility issues are limiting you to the extent that you simply find it too difficult to take any type of travel, then you may want to consider virtually traveling to places from the comfort of your home and your easy chair!
Using a virtual reality headset – you can take a trip almost anywhere and see some of the most beautiful places on earth.
Take a museum tour, a trip to the Antarctic, scuba dive the barrier reef and travel through many of the major cities throughout the world!
For some locations, you don’t even need a virtual headset. Go visit these wonderful museums in England, virtually!
If you are looking to vacation in Europe but have some mobility issues, take a look at my article on European Tours.
The Importance Of Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is crucial for senior citizens with limited mobility who are planning a vacation. As we age, mobility issues may become more prevalent, and it’s essential to take appropriate precautions when embarking on a trip.
Here are some reasons why travel insurance is important for seniors with limited mobility:
- Medical Coverage: Seniors with limited mobility may have pre-existing medical conditions or require specific medications. Travel insurance provides coverage for medical emergencies that may arise during the trip, including hospitalization, doctor visits, and medication expenses. It offers peace of mind knowing that any unforeseen medical costs will be taken care of.
- Trip Cancellation or Interruption: Mobility challenges can sometimes lead to unexpected changes in travel plans. Travel insurance can protect seniors from financial losses if they need to cancel or cut short their trip due to health-related issues. It typically covers non-refundable expenses such as flights, accommodation, and tour bookings.
- Emergency Evacuation and Repatriation: In the event of a medical emergency requiring urgent evacuation or repatriation, travel insurance provides coverage for transportation back to the home country or to the nearest medical facility equipped to handle the situation. This can be crucial, especially if specialized medical care is required.
- Personal Liability: Travel insurance often includes personal liability coverage, which protects seniors if they accidentally cause damage to property or injure someone else. This coverage can provide financial protection against potential legal claims and help manage any associated expenses.
- Assistance Services: Many travel insurance policies offer assistance services that can be invaluable for seniors with limited mobility. These services may include 24/7 emergency helplines, medical referrals, translation services, and support in arranging medical appointments or accommodations tailored to their needs.
- Baggage Loss or Delay: Travel insurance can provide coverage for lost or delayed baggage, ensuring that seniors have access to necessary items if their luggage is misplaced during the journey. This can be particularly important for individuals who rely on specific mobility aids or medical equipment.
- Travel Support and Guidance: Travel insurance providers often offer travel support and guidance, providing valuable information about accessible destinations, transportation options, and facilities suitable for seniors with limited mobility. This assistance can help seniors plan their trips more effectively and ensure they have a positive and enjoyable travel experience.
It is important to review the specific terms and conditions of travel insurance policies, particularly regarding pre-existing conditions and coverage limitations.
Seniors with limited mobility should consider obtaining comprehensive travel insurance that specifically caters to their needs.
By doing so, they can minimize financial risks and enjoy their vacation with greater peace of mind.
Kindle Books For Vacation Reading
One of the great things about vacation is having the time to just sit back and enjoy a good book. But carrying books around with you is not very convenient. That’s where Kindle readers come in!
We recommend the Kindle Paperwhite because it can be read outdoors which makes it very easy and versatile.
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