The 8 Best U.S. National Parks for People Over 65
One of the best parts of retired life is the ability to travel. Maybe you dream of translucent blue waters and white sand beaches and finally getting some time to relax—or perhaps you’d rather take this time to explore. If your adventurous side is calling, maybe you want to check a few U.S. snational parks off of your bucket list. In that case, travel experts have the perfect recommendations just for you. Read on to discover the eight best national parks to visit if you’re over 65.
Badlands National Park
A recent study from Aging in Place found that Badlands National Park in South Dakota is the most accessible national park, specifically for those who use wheelchairs. There are approximately three wheelchair-friendly trails to explore, and when it’s time to grab a bite to eat, you can rest assured that 92.3 percent of restaurants at the park are accessible.
Beyond these features, Badlands attracts visitors from across the world, offering different options for camping, hiking, or just taking in the park’s “rugged beauty.” You can enjoy it all, whatever your level of mobility.
Grand Canyon National Park
If you’ve always wanted to see the iconic Grand Canyon, it’s really never too late. This is the second-most accessible national park, per the Aging in Place data, and according to Adam Marland, travel photographer and writer for We Dream of Travel, it’s a great option for older adults.
“The entire South Rim has a paved walkway, but can also be driven,” Marland says, noting that this portion of the park tops his to-do list.
However, he wouldn’t recommend the North Rim to older visitors. According to the park’s website, the North Rim is commonly called the “other side” of the Grand Canyon and is only seen by 10 percent of visitors.
Yosemite National Park
Another popular national park, Yosemite is a great option for visitors of all ages, Marland tells Best Life. But there are specific advantages for older adults, especially if you don’t want to overdo it on walking or hiking.
“The entire Yosemite Valley is driveable and most of the waterfalls and iconic sights can be seen from parking areas,” Marland explains. “This includes the best views in all of the park, such as Tunnel View, Glacier Point, Yosemite Falls, and Horsetail Falls, among many others.”
Yosemite also offers year-round guided bus tours, ranging from a two-hour Valley Floor Tour to an all-day tour to Tuolumne Meadows and back—and thanks to the different terrain throughout the park, there are hiking options for all ages. “Most of Yosemite’s most popular trails are flat, circling Yosemite Valley at a low altitude,” Carlos Grider, travel writer at A Brother Abroad, says, making the hiking experience both comfortable and enjoyable.