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SUNDAY COFFEE WITH JEB: SENIOR TRAVEL IDEAS


Seniors Explore Best Places To Visit

imagesMany seniors enjoy traveling during their retirement years. Today the variety of tours is almost limitless. Senior travelers might enjoy educational tours. Culinary Tours, Art Tours, Science Tours, Foreign Language Tours, Performance Tours, College Visit Tours, Theater and Drama Tours, and Adventure Tours are among the many possibilities.

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 Daily Women Talks lists their Top 8 Destinations for Seniors starting with Niagara Falls. If you have never paid a visit to the Falls, its time. Branson is one of the most popular destinations for seniors, especially for the more active folks. Golf, museums, shopping, and shows  are some of the many activities offered by this big music town. Given the title  “Live Music Show Capital of the World”, Branson they say, is the best alternative for Las Vegas.

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The biggest advantage of being in your senior years is having tons of free time to spend traveling. Whether you are planning a solo trip, a trip with your loved one or even a family trip with your grandchildren there are many beautiful destinations around the U.S with special budget offers for seniors that you can choose from.

Group Tours For Seniors

Group Tours has a listing of their preferences for senior group tours if you prefer to travel with a group or with friends.

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 About Travel lists their top destinations for seniors. They hike up into Canada and then take off for France. France is the world’s top travel destination. France has it all – the Alps, the Normandy coast, soaring church spires and historic castles, then add in France’s excellent food and delightful wine choices.

 

About Travel has bargains all set for you with a variety of tours and sites. They list the top sites in Europe and then Australia and New Zealand.

Travel Clubs For Seniors

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Check out your own region. There are senior travel clubs that cater to singles or groups.  Clubs that offer cultural tours.  Clubs that provide discounts.  Clubs that fit just about any need or desire.

 One could go on and on with this blog, but we will draw it to a close with Home Away that takes seniors abilities and interests in mind. They note that for many seniors, retirement opens up a whole new world of possibilities. The kids are grown and on their own, and seniors are no longer tied to their jobs.

This is your chance to get away, see the world, and enjoy life with family and friends and make new friends. The world is your oyster, so why not spend your days out exploring. Start your mind wandering with these travel suggestions.  Enjoy making plans for a super vacation and perhaps view a few Senior Travel Tips prior to your departure. The choice is all yours. Enjoy. -jeb

SUNDAY COFFEE WITH JEB


Seniors Fall In Love With Warsaw

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Dzien’ dobry.  I recently read in a Travel & Experience section of our local Sunday paper that Warsaw is considered to be vibrant and trendy and a great place for a visit. Senior friends, get your coffee and let’s go to Warsaw today see why it is gathering so much attention in the travel world.

I learned  that Warsaw is the sprawling capital of Poland with a population or nearly 2 million. It has been on the rise since Poland joined the EU in 2004. Senior visitors soon find out that the old is combined with the new throughout the city.

Its widely varied architecture, from Gothic churches and neoclassical palaces to Soviet-era blocks and modern skyscrapers, reflects the city’s long, turbulent history. As Poland’s cultural hub, Warsaw has a thriving nightlife and music scene, both classical and underground.

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Seniors Enjoy Poland’s Capital City

Warsaw, with over 400 years of pride as a capital, is Poland’s largest city and an economic, political, and cultural center. The symbol of the city is the Mermaid, featured on the city seal. You will find mermaids all over the city.

Warsaw is a bustling metropolis and features an unforgettable history. A city where a fourth of the terrain is covered by parkland and a city of culture for all tastes and budgets. Most of Warsaw’s tourist attractions are on the left or western bank of the Vistula River.

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Lonely Planet notes that once you’ve travelled around Poland, you realize this: Warsaw is different. Rather than being centered on an old market square, the capital is spread across a broad area with diverse architecture: restored Gothic, communist concrete, modern glass and steel.

This jumble is a sign of the city’s tumultuous past. Warsaw has suffered the worst history could throw at it, including virtual destruction at the end of World War II – and survived.

Senior Visitors Eat Their Way Through Town

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This senior would head out first for The Warsaw Old Town, one of the most prominent tourist attractions and the oldest part of the capital city and also a World Heritage Site.

During the Warsaw Uprising in August 1944, more than 85% of Warsaw’s historic center was destroyed by Nazi troops. After the war, a five-year reconstruction campaign by its citizens resulted in today’s meticulous restoration of the Old Town, with its churches, palaces and market-place.

For you senior gourmet folks, they say that you can “eat your way through town.” Take a look at the Top Ten Attractions in Warsaw by My Destination. Enjoy your time in Warsaw. You will come away with  many fond memories and maybe even pick up a few words in Polish. Do widzenia -jeb

SENIORS TRAVEL THROUGH ARIZONA


Seniors Enjoy Historic Wickenburg

DocumentWelcome to Wickenburg, a town of 6,500 residents primarily located in Maricopa County, Arizona, with a portion in neighboring Yavapai County. Senior travelers will find the town 60 minutes northwest of Phoenix.

The Wickenburg area with much of the Southwest became part of the United States by the 1848 treaty that ended the Mexican-American War. A German named Henry Wickenburg was one of the first prospectors. His efforts were rewarded with the discovery of the Vulture Mine, from which more than $30 million worth of gold has been dug.

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Ranchers and farmers soon built homes along the fertile plain of the Hassayampa River (a Yavapai term meaning “river that runs upside down”).  Together with miners, they founded the town of Wickenburg in 1863.

This is one loaded site so bring up the links at the top that provide a nice overview of the town. Find the Travel Guide and flip through the pages and then view the Photo Gallery of Wickenburg, a town full of western history. I enjoyed reading the names of the various sites and restaurants in town.

 Seniors Visit The Western Museum

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Wickenburg’s Desert Caballeros Western Museum is renowned for “Cowgirl Up,” the country’s most important annual showcase for female artists of the West. Several tours are available that are well worth your time as they provide an insight that you might miss on your own, especially the many older historic homes.

The local Wickenburg Chamber of Commerce promotes the town with  annual events  that pack the town: a Bluegrass Festival, A Cowboy Poetry Gathering, the annual Christmas Parade of Lights and the Gold Rush Days featuring a Senior Pro Rodeo.

The National Senior Pro Rodeo Association circuit is designed for cowhands aged 40 and older. One can expect familiar rodeo events like barrel racing, roping and bull and bronc riding.

Seniors Enjoy The West’s Most Western Town

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It is said that Wickenburg, Arizona is arguably The West’s Most Western Town, where the air is clean and the cowboy lifestyle endures. Senior visitors will discover everything from a dude ranch, great golf, horseback riding and art & culture with the annual festivals.

Arizona Leisure notes that like so many Arizona towns, the rich mining history of Wickenburg, Arizona is a testament to the hardy resolve of the gold rush dreamers who flocked to the area in the 1800s, searching for their share of the greatest riches ever known.

What sets Wickenburg apart however from other early Arizona mining camps is its location near the lush and fertile Hassayampa River, giving the region a storied reputation both as a gold mine mecca and agricultural promise land.

My wife and I drive through Wickenburg on our way to Las Vegas and have stopped to enjoy some fine southwest food. It’s a neat town for a visit all year long. -jeb

SENIOR DESTINATION: DURANGO, COLORADO


Seniors Ride the Narrow Gauge Railroad

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Durango, Colorado is a year-round, vacation destination where senior visitors can ride the world famous Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. The train is a remnant of the time when Durango was a mining town where silver and gold flowed from the mines of the La Plata Mountains.

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Many visitors go over to nearby Mesa Verde National Park where skiers and snowboarders enjoy the slopes of Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort.

I would try to time my visit in the fall, that perfect season to enjoy the color and beauty of the mountains. We would explore downtown’s shopping boutiques, fine restaurants and historic hotels.

My wife and I always choose to stay in a historic B&B or hotel on our visits. The Strater Hotel would fit the bill quite nicely. Dating back to 1887, it is one of the West’s iconic hotels in downtown Durango.

300 Days of Sunshine Attracts Seniors

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The City of Durango, with its population of 17,000, is the county seat of La Plata County and enjoys over 300 days of sunshine. Seniors can enjoy the scenic countryside; the San Juan range is amazing to visit in any season.  

You won’t have any problem searching for attractions in Durango. Senior visitors can choose whitewater rafting, hiking the Animas River Trail, skiing, biking, fishing in the local streams, horseback riding and snowmobiling.

For another “adventure” the Full Blast Zipline Canopy Tour is  only 1 mile from downtown Durango. Oh yes, Fort Lewis College calls Durango home.

 Historic Train Attraction

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The Animas (that’s River) Museum is in the old City School (1904) with the history of La Plata County. It features exhibits, programs, archives of old photos and if you are interested, a research library to take you back to the olden days in and around Durango.

Much of Durango’s history dates back to the building of the railroad. In 1860, a prospector discovered flakes of gold in the San Juan Mountains north of present-day Durango.

The train that hauled precious metals in the 1880s, now takes tourists for a 47-mile, open-air journey through mountains and forests and past abandoned mines to historic Silverton and back.

Seniors, set your GPS for Durango and experience some of Colorado’s scenic wonders and its many attractions. It’s a city that offers a dozen vacations in just one destination. I would have to agree that Durango is one crafty little mountain town! - jeb

SENIORS ENJOY MIAMI AREA


Seniors Bypass Mars for Jupiter

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Jupiter, Florida that is. Jupiter, with a population of nearly 60,000, is one of the northernmost suburbs of the Miami metropolitan area. It might even earn the name “Eventville,” as there is something going on all year long for senior visitors to enjoy.

Jupiter was rated as the 9th Happiest Seaside Town in America by Coastal Living in 2012. I was planning on providing our readers with the derivation of the name Jupiter, but it got a little complicated, so I invite you to read it for yourselves.

Jupiter_Florida_Loxahatchee_River_photo_D_Ramey_Logan-1I’d head for Harbourside Place, the premier downtown location for shopping, dining, luxury hotel accommodations, entertainment and boating.

Nestled along Jupiter’s Intracoastal Waterway, Harbourside Place conveys a classic, coastal vibe. Bring along your senior appetite and savor the flavors in one of the classic restaurants and then shop in more than 15 national and specialty stores.

Me, being a former baseball coach, I’d enjoy watching spring training at Roger Dean Stadium. It’s home to the Marlins and Cardinals baseball training camp.

Seniors Love Florida’s ‘National Wild And Scenic River’

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Carlin Park is a favored spot to play volleyball, tennis, softball and bocce ball. Senior visitors can run or walk the exercise course that features 20 unique training stations, have a snack at the café or light up one of the grills.

The Seabreeze Amphitheater features live music, special events and the annual Shakespeare by the Sea Festival. Stop by Dubois Park, with more than 1,200 feet of tropical palm-lined beach.

I would try to talk my wife into a canoe trip on Florida’s only “National Wild and Scenic River,” the Loxahatchee.  Named “lowchow” (turtle) and “hatchee” (river) by the Seminole Indians, the beautiful Loxahatchee River is an 8.5 mile waterway located near the cities of Jupiter and Hobe Sound.

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The Loxahatchee is famous for its large stands of Bald Cypress, countless birds and diverse wildlife and where self-guided and guided trips are offered. We could paddle our canoe or kayak down a cypress lined waterway, noting heron, egrets, turtles, deer and a wide variety of bird species and other wildlife.

Senior Racecar Enthusiasts Take Note

The Gulf Stream is so close, you can dive with turtles, Goliath Groupers and colorful tropical fish. The Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse & Museum offers climbing tours of the landmark 1860 Lighthouse. The lighthouse is often used as the symbol for Jupiter.

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Senior theater goers, The Maltz Jupiter Theatre is a 550-seat, community- based regional theatre. For senior race car enthusiasts, the Palm Beach International Raceway is an acclaimed motor sports facility featuring a challenging 2.034-mile Road Course and an exciting 1/4-mile Drag Strip.

TripAdvisor notes that Celebrities like PGA Tour golfers Ernie Els and Camilo Villegas, singer Celine Dion and actor Burt Reynolds own homes in the Jupiter area. So set your GPS for Jupiter and enjoy your stay. -jeb

SENIORS TRAVEL THE MAINE COAST


Seniors Spend Quality Time In Rockport

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Rockport, Maine, a popular tourist destination with a population of 3,500, has a longstanding reputation as an artists’ community. Seniors learn that notable artists and art institutions play a significant role in the town’s economic and social life.

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Rockport, or “the River” was settled in 1769 by Robert Thorndike. Goose River Village, as it was known until 1852, was originally part of the Megunticook Plantation.

Rockport got its name for the rocky terrain and its well-known limestone industry. The town supplied most of the stone used in the US Capitol Building in Washington DC after it was damaged during the War of 1812.

Andre the Seal Statue at the Rockport Marine Park is dedicated to a seal that was saved by a local fisherman, becoming a sort of local mascot. The marble statue was unveiled by Andre himself, 8 years before he died in 1986.

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Senior Visitors Enjoy Rockport Harbor

Rockport Harbor is highly scenic, whether you choose to sail or boat from the harbor or just dine at a waterfront restaurant where senior visitors can order a fresh steamed Maine lobster. Rockport Charters offers  views of local wildlife and lighthouse tours.

Bay Chamber Concerts has brought music, particularly classical music, to the midcoast area. Being on the Atlantic coastline, seafood reigns at 21 fine restaurants. Check out the many vacation rentals.

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Senior golfers can play a round or two at the 18-hole Oceanside Course said to one of the finest by Golf Digest. Or a round or two at the Samoset Resort Golf Course. Seniors can spend your favorite winter holiday at the Samoset an historic Maine resort.

Consider a cruise on the Schooner Yacht, Heron, from the Rockport Harbor. If you have a few days to spare and enjoy cruising, take a long sailing adventure, also known as camping on the water trips, that are available with the Schooner Timberwind.

 Seniors Meet Oreo Cookie Cows

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The Belted Galloway, more commonly known as Oreo cookie cows due to their black and white stripe coloring, are a surprisingly popular attraction. The 136-acre Aldermere Farm is highly popular with folks of all ages.

In the late 1800s, Rockport became one of the leading lime producers in the country, with production happening all year round. The town also became known for its “Lily Pond Ice” export. 50,000 tons of clear ice was harvested every year and exported to different countries around the world.

Rockport is one of those small harbor towns that senior travelers will not want to pass by on your way up the Maine coast. Enjoy your lobster, that cruise, the inviting ocean breeze and all the amenities that Rockland has to offer. -jeb

SUNDAY COFFEE WITH JEB


Seniors Venture Off To Romania

travel-romaniaAs a teacher of French for nearly four decades, I knew that there were five romance languages.  We know about French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and ?…then what? It’s Romanian. I believe that anyone who knows any of these other four languages could “get by” in Romania.  Do you have your coffee?  Senior friends, let’s check out this country that is  on the western shore of the Black Sea.

Romania has come a long way in the decades since communism fell. It’s a modern country with all the amenities you would expect in the 21st century. But it also has a rich and diverse culture that dates back thousands of years.

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Romania derives from the Latin romanus, meaning “citizen or Rome.” Archaeological studies have uncovered some of the oldest human remains of Homo Sapiens in Europe possibly from the first modern humans to have entered the continent some 42,000 years ago.

 Seniors Discover The Essence Of Romania

Authentic, Natural and Cultural are the words that best capture the essence of Romania, a dynamic country rich in history, arts and scenic beauty. It’s history has not been as idyllically peaceful as its geography. Over the centuries, various migrating people invaded Romania.

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The country enjoys resorts, hot water spas, huge monasteries, medieval towns, Constantin Brancusi and six World Heritage Sites. 19.96 million folks call Romania home.

Due to its location in South East Europe, Romania has a temperate-continental climate and the temperatures vary significantly during the year. I would recommend May, June or July.  Read what visitors to the country have to say about their time spent there. This blog that encourages folks to come for a visit.

Seniors Can Travel by Train, Car Or River Cruise

 

A journey of a few hours by car or train can take you from the Danube River to a beautiful, intact, medieval town in Transylvania; from Bucharest – Romania’s capital city – to the Black Sea; from Southern Transylvania to Bucovina or Maramures.

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Seniors can take a step back in time as you visit one of the world’s famous painted monasteries in Bucovina, the ancient, hilltop citadel in Sighisoaraor an authentic, centuries-old, folkloric village in Maramures.

Many senior tourists see Romania on the popular Danube River cruises. Usually the itinerary will include several countries and features stops at small villages and major cities along the way.  Most cruises through the Romanian section of the Danube make visits to Bucharest.

Senior friends, if you remain interested in visiting Romania, I would suggest that you do so as a member of tour group arranged through a reputable travel service. jeb

SENIORS TRAVEL TO SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA


Seniors Flock North To California’s Capitol

sacramento-ca-skylineSenior visitors are invited to California’s capital, Sacramento, population 480,000, about 90 miles northeast of San Francisco. Sacramento sits at the confluence of the Sacramento and American Rivers in the northern tip of California’s expansive Central Valley.

Even though the capital is in the northern portion of the state, it is said that “California Begins Here.” Today it features trendy downtown nightclubs and nine shopping malls, historic attractions, over 30 galleries, museums and theaters, that help make it interesting and keep its storied past alive.

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Others call Sacramento America’s Farm to Fork Capital. No other major city in America is more centrally located amid such a diverse range of high-quality farms, ranches and vineyards. Award-winning chefs and restaurants provide the perfect complement.

Senior Visitors Enjoy Old Sacramento

Old Sacramento is a 28-acre historic riverfront district with more than 125 boutique shops, restaurants and attractions. The State Capitol building is beautiful and the accompanying Capitol Park is alive with California’s colorful political past and historic achievements.

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Built in 1869, the Capitol  with its white domed top, features an interior filled with mosaic floors, stained glass windows, mural-covered walls and a 100-foot rotunda within a double-domed ceiling. I have seen many state capitol buildings, but this one stands above the rest.

Sacramento was founded in 1850 by gold rushers. Sutter’s Fort is the last remaining structure from the days before the Gold Rush. Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park is the original site where gold was discovered and can still be found. The Fort was built by John Sutter, the famed Swiss immigrant who jumpstarted California’s Gold Rush.

Senior Oenophiles, Take Note…

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And for senior oenophiles, the region all around Sacramento is home to one of California’s oldest wine-producing areas. There are over 200 wineries in the region with most offering free tastings and access to the wine-making process and the winemakers.

Senior travelers can make a day of sampling and visiting some scenic vineyards. Bring along your hiking boots and a bike as you will discover the American River Parkway to be a biking/walking trail surrounded by natural, protected habitats, scenic bridges, acres of parks, fishing spots, kayaking and tubing areas.

The city offers 18 different tours: underground Sacramento, river tours, food tours, sailing tours, wine tours and more. Senior visitors quickly discover that Sacramento means History, Character and Lifestyle.

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Folks with an interest in trains might enjoy the Railroad Museum’s huge collection of antique locomotives. The Crocker Art Museum, Fairytale Park, the Governor’s Mansion, the Zoo and Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament are additional must see attractions.

Put this exciting city on your travel bucket list and spend time in northern California and Sacramento. You will find a joyful bunch of amenities for folks of all ages. -jeb

SENIORS VISIT AUSTIN, TEXAS


Seniors Enjoy This State Capital

images “The secret is out. Everyone who visits Austin these days leaves with something great to say.”  These seniors drove through downtown Austin to check it out and we remember well the state capital building as well as the University of Texas campus. Both were awesome.

Austin was named in honor of Stephen F. Austin, the “Father of Texas” and the republic’s first secretary of state. Maybe you already knew that.

Austin, on the eastern edge of Texas Hill Country along the Colorado River, is not only the state capital, but lays claim to being the “live music capital of the world.” It’s also a center for film, and home to the Formula 1′s Circuit of the Americas raceway.

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Its abundant parks and lakes are popular for hiking, biking, swimming, boating and other outdoor pursuits. TripAdvisor rates the State Capital Building #1. Senior visitors will see why when you get up close. It features a gorgeous whispering gallery rotunda and 22 acres of scenic grounds.

Seniors Appreciate Sightseeing Tours

A great means to get acquainted with Austin is to take one of ten sightseeing tours available. Saves a lot of walking, plus you will see the highlights of the city.  How about 46 museums to consider and some great nightlife, theaters, parks and sports events?

Seniors, roll up your blue jeans, pull up your Justin cowboy boots, adjust that new shiny silver belt buckle and welcome to Austin, home to nearly 900,000.  It’s the 11th-most populous city in the United States and fourth-most populous city in the state.

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The capital of Texas attracts a number of young, talented university students, which has prompted a good-natured culture war between the newcomers and the city’s longtime residents.

Every year thousands of hipsters, groupies, and die-hard fans and folks just like you and me flock to Austin for the annual South by Southwest festival, which has catapulted the Texas city up the must-visit charts for many visitors.

“Do Your Thing” In Austin, Seniors

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Frommer’s on Austin: ”… prides itself on giving all comers a warm welcome: punks and honky-tonkers, environmentalists and SUV drivers, cowboy boots and Birkenstocks…Austin maintains its small-town feel and green spaces. Whether you’re looking for posh shopping or line dancing, you’re welcome to “”do your thing”” in Austin.”

Fodor’s adds that “Austin is a boomtown of culture and creativity. It’s a hub for music, comedy, and filmmaking, as well as a favorite foodie destination. It has also been one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S. and the tech boom continues to turn the city into Texas’s answer to Silicon Valley…”

Plan a visit now.  Seniors, enjoy all that this capital city has to offer.  -jeb

SENIORS ENJOY THE FLORIDA KEYS


Seniors Bask In The Sun In Key Largo

keylargo_slide02 Key Largo, an island in the upper Florida Keys archipelago, is the largest section of the Keys, at 33 miles long. Senior visitors find that Key Largo, the first and northernmost of the Florida Keys, is an hour’s drive from South Florida’s two major airports, and a world away.

This island boasts natural wonders plus friendly locals who are ready to help senior visitors enjoy them. You can arrange an eco-tour, float on a parasail, thrill yourself on a jet ski, or relax on a sunset sail or sightseeing tour. And then you can unwind at one of several parks or beaches or stroll through a local art gallery.

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Senior visitors can enjoy Key Largo’s ties to the sea including scuba diving, snorkeling, an underwater hotel, sport fishing, eco-tours, beaches and dolphin encounter programs.

The island also offers nature trails and a rehabilitation center for wild birds. Senior visitors will find plenty to keep busy including some great sport fishing.

 Seniors Find History Of Pineapple And Key Lime

Fodor’s notes that the first settlement on Key Largo was named Planter,back in the days of pineapple, and later, key lime plantations. For a time it was a convenient shipping port, but when the railroad arrived, Planter died on the vine. Today three communities—North Key Largo, Key Largo, and Tavernier—make up the whole of Key Largo.

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The lush flora and lively fauna abound in the Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and Everglades National Park.

Underwater, the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary teems with life, where senior visitors might catch a glimpse of the American Crocodile that thrives at Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge.  

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary are the only living coral reef in the continental United States. Key Largo is an ideal place to come face to face with dolphins at a site called Dolphins Plus and scuba divers enjoy exploring Spiegel Grove.

Seniors Plan Weekend Getaway

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Key Largo is a great destination for a weekend getaway or a short day trip, located about 60 miles from downtown Miami. The local Chamber has a website with great information including a calendar of events, a visitors guide and a Visitor Center.

Looking for a truly unique experience? Jules Underwater Lodge is a hotel located 30 feet below the water’s surface. I think that I would prefer a glass bottom boat tour where I could watch marine life from a distance in the comfort of a boat. I did that once before in Mexico and would do it again in a wink.

Snorkeling would also be of interest to my wife and me. Key Largo is known as the “Dive Capital of the World”.

Senior travelers, make your way to the Keys and enjoy all that Key Largo has to offer. -jeb

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