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8 Best American Road Trips For Seniors

Aah … there’s nothing like hitting the open road and experiencing the sights, sounds and feelings of different regions around the United States. Taking a road trip can be a fantastic way for seniors to explore America the beautiful. When it comes to road trips for seniors, the sky’s the limit. But where do you go for the best U.S. road trips? 

In this article, we’ll cover some of the best road trips for seniors that offer unforgettable road adventures for seniors in the United States.


1. Arizona

You can’t talk about an Arizona road trip for seniors without considering the famed, historic Route 66. While the route actually runs from Chicago, Illinois, to Santa Monica, California, the Arizona portion is not to be missed. 

Traveling from west to east, we start our Route 66 tour in Hackberry, AZ, a town that still embraces its mining history. Make sure to stop by the Hackberry General Store, built in 1934, to see the artwork from original owner Bob Waldmire.

Next up on our best American road trip in Arizona is Seligman. Seligman likes to call itself the town that was forgotten by the world. When Interstate 40 opened up, the town became completely bypassed. Here you'll find several fun gift shops that embrace the spirit of Route 66 Americana.

Continuing on, we eventually reach Winslow, Arizona, the town made famous by the Eagles song “Take it Easy.” Make sure to find yourself “standing on the corner” in this town, and visit the historic La Posada Hotel. The hotel was originally a Fred Harvey Railroad hotel that employed highly trained waitresses famously known as "Harvey Girls." 

Next on our Arizona road trips for seniors, we reach Holbrook. If you’ve ever watched “Cars” with your grandkids, you are familiar with this town: the Cozy Cone Hotel was inspired by Holbrook's Wigwam Motel. Make sure to stop by Arizona Sake to say hello to Atsuo Sakurai and taste some of his award-winning rice wine.

2. Texas

There are many possibilities for road trips for seniors in Texas, but the best route for an American road trip in this state is the Hill Country drive between Austin and San Antonio. Take this trip in the spring when the wildflowers are blooming along the road. 

There’s plenty to see in Austin, where you can soak up live music, experience the food truck scene, and catch the bats swooping out from under the South Congress Bridge.

Next, head west to Dripping Springs. This small town is home to countless breweries, distilleries and wineries. It’s also a great place for bird watching, as Dripping Springs has been named an official “Bird City” by the Texas Audubon Society.

Take the drive north to visit the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park. Keep going, and you can hike up the 425-foot granite dome at Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. Dip south from here to find antiques and museums in Fredericksburg. 

Continuing on will bring you to Boerne, where you can walk the caverns. End your trip in San Antonio with a visit to The Alamo and dinner at the gorgeous River Walk downtown.


Pacific Coast Highway

3. California

Next on our best United States road trips for retired couples is California's Pacific Coast Highway. Stretching from San Francisco to Los Angeles, Highway 1 will take you through picturesque Pacific Coast towns such as Monterey, Santa Barbara and Malibu. You can do this drive in about eight hours, but it's better to take a week to see everything this route has to offer.

This road trip for seniors has a little something for everyone. From the Elephant Seal Rookery at San Piedras Beach to nightlife along the route and any type of food you can think of, you are sure to have a great time.

Don’t miss the Hearst Castle in San Simeon, built by publishing tycoon William Randolph Hearst in 1919. With its historic artwork and gorgeous seaside vistas, this sprawling estate is a sight to behold.

Take a quick detour off Highway 1 to visit Solvang for some shopping in this village full of Danish architecture, antique shops, restaurants and more. Don't miss the town square, with its replica of Copenhagen’s famous Little Mermaid statue and a bust of Hans Christian Anderson.

Take some time and explore Santa Barbara, a town with plenty of history, art and culture.

Next up is Santa Monica and the famous Santa Monica Pier. Visit the amusement park on the pier and have a meal at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., a seafood restaurant inspired by the movie “Forrest Gump.”

Eventually, after traveling through great surfing spots such as Huntington Beach and Newport Beach, you'll find yourself at the end of the line in Dana Point.

4. New Mexico

The next stop on our best American road trips is New Mexico. Explore northern New Mexico with a road trip between Santa Fe, Taos and Albuquerque and discover the southwestern art that collectors go crazy for. Visit Los Alamos to discover the history of the Manhattan Project, and learn about the Native Americans who inhabit this part of the state.

Take a trek south to see the natural beauty this state is known for. Stop by the International UFO Museum in Roswell, and visit the Museum of Space History in Alamogordo to learn about New Mexico’s part in space exploration. See Carlsbad Caverns to wander through the vast underground network of caves, and stop off at the Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge in Socorro.


5. Florida

The Sunshine State is one of the best road trips for retirees, and for good reason. Florida is ripe with adventure, and its year-round warm and sunny weather makes it excellent for day or weeks-long road trips. From stunning coastal drives to vibrant cities and unique attractions, there are various senior road trip ideas if you’re looking to explore Florida.

To start, consider beginning your adventure in Miami, known for its lively culture, beautiful beaches and cuisine. Popular neighborhoods to drive through include South Beach, Little Havana and Wynwood. After a day of adventuring, relax and enjoy the sunset on the sandy shores of Miami Beach or stroll along the Ocean Drive promenade and grab a bite of Cuban cuisine.

Then, head south to the Overseas Highway to make your way to the Florida Keys. A stop at Key Largo is a must, where you can take a snorkeling or diving class to view marine life and coral reefs at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. Once you reach Key West, you can walk the charming streets lined by colorful buildings and visit sites like the Hemingway House. On your drive out, you can make a pit stop to explore the Everglades National Park and take an airboat through the wetlands, and finish your road trip up the Gulf Coast stopping at towns like Naples and Fort Myers.


6. New England

One of the country’s best road trips for seniors is through New England, consisting of Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. These Northeast corridor states feature some of the country’s oldest landmarks and stunning scenery. One popular time to embark on a road trip throughout New England is during the fall, when you can enjoy the vibrant orange, red and yellow foliage blanketing the landscape.

Starting in Connecticut, you can drive along the coast to quaint towns and villages like Greenwich, Mystic, and Niantic, before entering Rhode Island. Once you’re in the Ocean State, pay a visit to Newport, where you can visit Gilded Age mansions like The Breakers, Marble House, Rosecliff, The Elms and Chateau-sur-Mer.

Next on the list is Massachusetts, where a trip to Boston is a must. Walking the Freedom Trail to  the Paul Revere House, Faneuil Hall, the U.S.S. Constitution docked at Charlestown Navy Yard and Bunker Hill, this capital city has something for everyone, especially those looking to learn more about the history of America. 

Continuing along your New England road trip, drive inland through Vermont and New Hampshire, quiet states that are known for their charming towns like Stowe and Manchester. Hiking and taking photos of the covered bridges, such as the Cornish-Windsor Covered Bridge, are excellent road trip activities as you make your way through New England. 

Or perhaps you’d prefer to hug the coastline of New England through Maine along Coastal Rt. 1. This route provides you the opportunity to stop and visit incredible towns such as Portland, Brunswick, Wiscasset, Boothbay Harbor, Camden and Bar Harbor, all while taking in calm bays and cozy harbors dotted with lighthouses and sailboats before ending up at Acadia National Park. There, you’ll get up close to the rough waters of the Atlantic Ocean crashing along the rocky, cliff-lined coast.


7. North Carolina

Another one of our recommended senior road trip ideas brings you to North Carolina, which boasts a diverse blend of scenic beauty, historic charm and outdoor adventures. Starting in Asheville, visitors can explore the Blue Ridge Mountains or walk through the River Arts District to shop from local artisans. We can’t forget the historic Biltmore Estate, either, built by George Vanderbilt. This 250-room chateau is America’s largest home and houses a unique collection of antiquities, from paintings by Monet and Renoir to intricate tapestries adorning the walls and hand-carved furniture showing the craftiness of woodworkers in decades past.

The next stop on your North Carolina road trip can bring you to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s one of the most visited parks in the country. Here, you can hike through lush forests and explore roaring waterfalls. Then, make your way to Charlotte, known for its culinary scene and NASCAR heritage, where you can visit the NASCAR Hall of Fame or stroll through the historic Fourth Ward neighborhood.

To round out your trip, drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway and stop in quaint towns like Boone. Along the way, you can visit the historic Mast General Store in Valle Crucis, while window shopping and getting a bite to eat in downtown Boone.


8. Colorado

The last state on our list of the best senior road trips brings you to the Centennial State. Colorado is known for its breathtaking beauty, with Rocky Mountain National Park making up a large chunk of the state’s skyline. By flying into the Mile High City of Denver, you can head northwest, stopping in Boulder to shop and dine along Pearl Street under the Flatiron Mountains, then continuing to Rocky Mountain National Park via its gateway mountain town, Estes Park. With majestic mountain vistas, alpine lakes and abundant wildlife, the Rocky Mountains and charming Estes Park are excellent for those seeking adventure or those who just want to absorb the mountain views up close. 

Back in Denver, visitors can spend several days exploring the city’s cultural attractions, such as the Denver Art Museum, Larimer Square and the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. This capital city is also known for its thriving beer scene, excellent for those who love introducing their palette to new craft beverages.

From Denver, continue your road trip to Aspen and Maroon Bells, two destinations known for their world-class skiing and outdoor recreation. From hiking and mountain biking to fly-fishing, these two destinations offer exciting activities year-round. You can then continue driving to Telluride and Ouray along the scenic San Juan Skyway, also known as the Million Dollar Highway, thanks to its stunning mountain scenery. Once in Telluride, you can take a gondola trip for picturesque panoramic views of the landscape and finish by soaking in the warm hot springs of Ouray.

For those looking to check off more national parks on their list, continue driving south by first stopping in Durango, a charming town nestled in the Animas River Valley. You can hop aboard a train that takes you along the historic Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, before finishing your road trip to Mesa Verde National Park. In this national park, you can explore the ancient cliff dwellings of the indigenous Ancestral Puebloans.


Explore Road Trips for Seniors with Road Scholar

For a curated road trip vacation, take an educational journey with Road Scholar. Just search Road Scholar’s “On the Road” learning adventures for unique experiences across the United States. At Road Scholar, our team of local experts will guide you throughout your chosen destination to answer questions and educate you on local history, geography, wildlife and more. Meet our faculty and learn about our tours today!