National Parks are the ideal destination for retirees not only because of the distinct natural beauty. But also because anyone over 62 visiting these protected lands can purchase a lifetime pass for a one time fee of $80.
Retirees have the luxury of beating the summer crowds by planning a trip during the offseason. Traveling during the parks “shoulder” season can sometimes cut the cost. Both accommodations and airline tickets may be cut in half.
To help narrow the choices here are the five best national parks for retirees based on walkability.
5 Best National Parks Based on Walkability
- Yellowstone (Wyoming). Yellowstone is very flat in general, you can walk along the designated boardwalks to view the natural hot springs. Or get a close-up view of Yellowstone’s “supervolcano” also known as Old Faithful without gaining any elevation.
- Grand Canyon (Arizona). The breathtaking views of the Grand Canyon can be admired simply by walking the flat path around the rim of the Grand Canyon. It’s only if you want to hike into the canyon where you would meet uneven terrain. Also worth considering is of course elevation when exiting the canyon.
- Yosemite (California). Hiking around Yosemite’s valley floor is easily enjoyed by people with all athletic levels or mobility. You can take a scenic walk enjoying the sheer rock mountains that surround you. Or you can sit in the shade while watching the rock climbers attempt to scale El Capitan.
- Acadia (Maine). Unlike the other parks listed Acadia is not in a mountainous region. Acadia is a park located on the coast of Maine with miles of shoreline. This makes it easier for retirees to explore. You can scout the woodlands, lakes, and shorelines with no hiking involved if that’s what you prefer.
- Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado). Rocky Mountain NP has various different landscapes. You can spend the morning chasing waterfalls and the afternoon enjoying a leisurely walk around a lake. Don’t forget to stop in Estes Park for a bite to eat or some ice cream after a long day on the trail.
Jenna’s Tip: These parks can be admired from the observation point not far from the parking lot making it easy for individuals with low mobility to enjoy spectacular views.
If you’re planning on upping your elevation for a whole new perspective here are some useful tips.
Tips for Hiking
- Stretch before you start. Stretching will help prepare your muscles for the hike.
- Dress appropriately, wear comfortable clothing and footwear. If you are gaining in elevation wear layers. It is likely to get cooler the higher you go, even if your base temperature is very hot.
- Hike at your own speed.
- Begin with short hikes.
- Use hiking poles to lessen the impact on your knees.
- Always bring water, a snack and a cellphone.
Now you’re prepared to view the beauty of the world in a unique way. By earning a picturesque view all on your own and enjoying the satisfaction of doing so.
Never be afraid to try something new, who knows what you’ll find.
Jenna Schamer is a Marketing Specialist at Twin Lakes and avid hiker who has explored many national parks across the United States. Jenna inherited her wanderlust from her father John and grandmother Margaret. Together they have discovered the joy of the outdoors.
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Twin Lakes is a continuing care retirement community in Cincinnati, Ohio, offering villa homes, apartments, rehab services and more. We’re focused on supporting the vibrant and active lifestyles of our residents so they can age well. For more information, contact Twin Lakes online or at 513-247-1300.