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Mountain Forest Hiking

By Rachael Mattice

Road trips are for the young and adventurous at heart, regardless of the individual’s real age. Oftentimes cruises, international trips and cross country excursions do not fit the needs, health and budget of many seniors still longing to check off items on their bucket list. Being geographically located in South Orange County and Southern California allots for many close trip options that are fitting for any senior lifestyle.

Here are a few senior-friendly road trips tri-city residents can look into for singles, couples or even family excursions.

For the Outdoorsmen and Hikers

  • Acquire an “America the Beautiful” National Park Lifetime Pass: Arguably one of the best discounts and perks offered to seniors, the national parks lifetime senior pass and/or annual pass offers free admission to any national park in the U.S. to residents age 62 and over. For $80 for a lifetime or $20 for an annual pass, one or two road trips alone will give seniors a return on investment. Visit for more details.
  • Zion National Park: In approximately 7.5 to 8 hours in the car, seniors can reach the magnificent Zion National Park in Utah for an extended weekend of sight-seeing, small hikes to the Lower Emerald Pools, walks along the Virgin River and dining out in Springdale. Check out for a sample itinerary for seniors.
  • Yosemite National Park, Joshua Tree National Park: For those wishing to stay within California state lines, both Yosemite and Joshua Tree National Parks offer different, but breathtaking views and experiences that can be tailored for seniors. Most of the major attractions at the 2.5-hour trip to Joshua Tree in the high desert lead travelers down Pinto Basin Road and Park Boulevard. Sample three-day itineraries are also available for all ages. Seniors can also check out what AARP offers when booking hotels near Yosemite National Park.

 For Foodies and Sommeliers

  • Napa or Santa Barbara, California: Whether traveling north to Napa Valley or hopping on the train for a few hours to Santa Barbara, foodies and wine connoisseurs alike can enjoy a culinary road trip to one of California’s several wine pockets. Many of these packages include guided culinary shopping, cooking classes, wine tastings and farmers’ market forays. Edible Destinations has several examples depending on location, budget, length of stay and ethnic food preferences.

If considering traveling with an adult child, their “on-a-schedule” lifestyle may be different from what most retired seniors have become accustomed to. Before setting off on the road trip together, here are a few tips from to discuss so expectations from both sides are clear:

  • Time is relative
  • Provide peace of mind
  • Pack together; make sure luggage is accommodating to the vehicle

Read more of our Aging Well special section here:

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