Bucket List Destinations and Travel Ideas for Over-50s

by Jonathan Wallace
Bucket list

As we reach our 50s, many of us find that we have more free time and disposable income, making it the perfect time to check off some destinations from our bucket lists.

Whether you’ve been before or not, there are numerous places that will make for a perfect vacation. Here, we’ll explore some of the top bucket list destinations and travel ideas for over-50s, covering everything from scenic spots to cultural experiences and adventure activities.

Napa Valley, California

Napa Valley is a must-visit destination for wine enthusiasts and those looking for a relaxing getaway. Known for its world-class wineries and vineyards, Napa Valley offers wine tastings, vineyard tours, and wine pairing dinners. The region’s expansive rolling hills and hot springs make it an ideal destination for those who enjoy a bit of vino. If you’ve always wanted to ride in a hot air balloon, Napa Valley checks that box as well. The food scene is also exceptional, with some of the best chefs and restaurants in the country offering gourmet food and wine pairings.

Vero Beach, Florida

Vero Beach is a quieter alternative to other popular Florida destinations, making it perfect for those looking for a more relaxed vacation. With wonderful seafood restaurants, local shopping, and a lovely farmer’s market on Saturday mornings, Vero Beach offers a slower pace that is ideal for the mature crowd. If you want to stay active, there are still plenty of breweries, festivals, and spots with live music to enjoy. The shoulder seasons of May through June or September through October are recommended for warm weather and a variety of activities.


For those who love nature and wildlife, Alaska is a top destination. From summer to winter, there’s no shortage of breathtaking landscapes to explore, along with a wealth of wildlife viewing opportunities. If you visit Fairbanks between August 21 and April 21, you’re likely to catch the aurora borealis, or Northern Lights, a true bucket list item.


Hawaii is a paradise for those who love scenic natural beauty, arts and culture, outdoor recreation, health and wellness retreats, and amazing cuisine. The island chain offers something for everyone, from relaxing on the beach to taking a volcano tour or hiking through a rainforest. Whether you’re looking for adventure or simply want to unwind, Hawaii has it all.

Washington, D.C.

A visit to our nation’s capital is a must for everyone at some point in their lives. Washington, D.C., offers a wealth of historical landmarks such as the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, and Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The Smithsonian Museums and other top-notch museums provide endless hours of entertainment. The city also has plenty of top-notch restaurants where you can refuel throughout the day and night.

African Safari

For those who have always dreamed of going on an African safari, now is the time to book that trip. An African safari is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see some of the most amazing wildlife in the flesh. It can also be a great way for seniors to get some exercise and fresh air while learning about African culture and history.

African bush elephants (Loxodonta africana) female with six-week-old baby, Matetsi Safari Area, Zimbabwe
Charles J. Sharp, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

See-It-All Adventure in South America

South America is a continent with natural beauty, diverse cultures, and exciting activities. For seniors who have always wanted to explore a particular part of the world and haven’t been there yet, a sampler-style trip that takes in the region’s greatest hits is the way to go. From the Amazon rainforest to the Andes mountains, there are countless experiences to be had in South America.

Walking Holiday in Spanish Camino

The Spanish Camino is a challenging but rewarding pilgrimage that can help seniors stay active and connect with their inner selves. The Camino de Santiago pilgrim paths offer day walks along the way, allowing you to discover new destinations and meet other people from all over the world. This is a great way to learn about Spanish culture and history while staying active.

Experience the Golden Circle in Iceland

Iceland is known as the ‘Land of Fire and Ice,’ and its natural wonders are a must-see for any traveler. The Golden Circle excursion includes the stunning Gullfoss waterfall, the UNESCO World Heritage Site Thingvellir National Park, and the regular eruptions from the geysers. You may even get a chance to see the Northern Lights on a 3-night trip to Iceland.

Explore Venice

Venice is a city that will leave you enchanted. Known as ‘La Serenissima,’ it is famous for its enchanting warren of canals, quaint alleys, and busy squares. Home to some of the most famous landmarks such as St. Mark’s Square, the Gothic building of Ca’ d’Oro, and the imposing marble Palazzo Ducale, Venice is a must-visit destination for anyone.

Take a Tram in Lisbon

Lisbon is a city that is full of charm and character. The yellow trams, or ‘remodelados,’ are an iconic symbol of the city and offer a great way to see all the top sights like Belem Tower, Jerónimos Monastery, St George’s Castle, and Monument to the Discoveries. It’s also lovely to just wander through the winding streets of Alfama, the oldest quarter of Lisbon.

Cruise from New Orleans to Memphis on a Steamboat

For a unique and relaxing experience, consider taking a cruise from New Orleans to Memphis on a steamboat. This trip offers a chance to see the American South in a different way, with the added bonus of enjoying the scenic views along the Mississippi River.

Mississippi Queen Steam Paddle Boat
Ron Shawley, CC BY 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Island Hop in the Untouched Hebrides

The Hebrides are a group of islands off the west coast of Scotland that are known for their natural beauty and untouched landscapes. Island hopping in the Hebrides offers a chance to explore the islands, visit historic sites, and enjoy the local culture.

Iona and Staffa Inner Hebrides
dun_deagh, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Take the Ultimate Adventure to Icy Antarctica

For the ultimate adventure, consider taking a trip to icy Antarctica. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will take you to the bottom of the world, where you can see penguins, seals, and other wildlife in their natural habitats. This trip is not for the faint of heart, but it is an experience that will leave you with lifelong memories.

Explorers photographing an Adélie penguin colony near Snow Hill, Antarctica
Denis Luyten, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

In conclusion, there are countless bucket list destinations and travel ideas for over-50s. Whether you’re looking for adventure, relaxation, or cultural experiences, there’s something for everyone. So, start planning your next trip today and make the most of your golden years.

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