IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Helihiking or Palm Springs? Top travel choices for seniors

“Today” travel editor Peter Greenberg offers some best destination bets when taking that once in a lifetime trip.
/ Source: TODAY

Whether they're going on a short vacation or they're taking that "once in a lifetime" trip more and more seniors are getting out to see the world. “Today” travel editor Peter Greenberg shares some choice destinations.

ElderTreks is an adventure travel company designed exclusively for people 50 and over. With 15 years of experience, they offer active small-group adventures in over 50 countries. Their all-inclusive land journeys focus on adventure, culture and nature. ElderTreks' offers several High Arctic adventures aboard some of the world's most impressive icebreakers, equipped with Helicopters and zodiacs for remote northern exploration. Explore Russia's Far East, Canada's High North, Greenland or journey to the North Pole on expedition ships carry no more than 110 travelers. Prices vary depending on trip and cabin type and start from $6,850 USD. Departures run from July through September to experience the 24-hours of light during the Arctic summer. Thailand -- ElderTreks' 20 day journey to Thailand is limited to 16 travelers and retails for $2495 USD. Departures run during the dry-cool season from November to February. The third offer is a Sanctuary -- Valley of the Grizzlies, Sail aboard the 8 passenger Ocean Light 2 to the Valley of the Grizzlies, a wildlife Sanctuary protecting the Grizzlies and their habitat on Canada's West coast. This all-inclusive 6-day journey is $1275 USD.  For more information visit or call 1-800-741-7956.  PR contact, Gary Murtagh

ElderhostelElderhostel, a non-profit organization, can be an inexpensive alternative for those who are 55 + and want to continue learning while traveling. They offer packages to both domestic and international destinations including National Parks, Australia and New Zealand, Snapshots, a three to five day trip, Creative Workshops, and Holidays and Festivals. Prices from $429 for a 5-night stay in the States to $2581 for a 14-day stay overseas. All prices include accommodations, food, classes, activities, taxes, and tips. For more information you can call 877-426-8056, write them at Elderhostel, 11 Avenue de Lafayette, Boston, MA 02111-1746, or visit them online at

Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa & Marina
Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa & Marina along Maryland's Eastern Shore. They have $99 senior rates at this upscale property. What is great about this is all the activities at the resort. Yes, there’s golf, but also bicycle tours and bird watching.  Offer expires, 12-31-04.  Visit for more information.

This is one of the new hot spots for senior travel (sending you tape overnight tonight). Until recently, the island was notorious for being bombed by the US Navy for target practice. Located seven miles off the coast of San Juan Puerto Rico, it’s gorgeous, and new resorts are starting o spring up. The newest and most luxurious is the Wyndham Martineau Bay Resort and spa. And the rates are very attractive because it’s received so little publicity. The Navy is gone, the beaches are yours, now is the time to go!

SeaPines at Hilton Head IslandMeandering along the coast of South Carolina, Sea Pines Resort exemplifies peaceful Lowcountry landscapes and gracious hospitality, providing an ideal place for seniors to travel and retire. The first eco-planned community in the world, this private-gated 5200-acre resort is famed for its Harbour Town icon and lighthouse, PGA Heritage Classic and 605-acre wildlife preserve. With 54 holes of golf on three courses, retired couples are an increasing segment of golfers at Sea Pines — with the privileged opportunity for membership at the Sea Pines Country Club. Active seniors enjoy sailing excursions on the Stars and Stripes and the 20 miles of biking and walking paths while more mellow activities range from photography clinics to sea turtle walks. With the charm of a marina village, the resort encompasses ocean-side villa retreats, a four-diamond luxury Inn and southern plantation-style homes available to rent or own. Villas start out at $104/night to rent and $200,000 to buy, and homes begin at $1,200/week to rent and $350,000 to buy. Currently 22 percent of Sea Pines residents are retirees.

Palm Springs
Palm Springs remains a favorite senior destination. First, of course, is the weather.

  • 350 days of sunshine, only 3 inches of rain per year, relative humidity near 10% most of the year.
  • Attractions and events open year round to satisfy the most discriminating senior tastes.
  • Affordability, village atmosphere, very relaxing and spiritual, while Palm Springs is known for its natural healing waters and spas associated with its hotels and resort properties. The resort ambiance permeates both day and night along with the slower tempo in a warm desert setting.
  • Easily accessible via the Palm Springs International Airport with direct flights from Denver, Las Vegas, Seattle, Vancouver, Portland, San Francisco, Sacramento, San Jose, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Chicago, and Minneapolis/ St. Paul with connecting flights from any other major city in the U.S. in the country. Airlines servicing Palm Springs include: American, Alaska/Horizon, America West, United, Continental, Delta, and Northwest.
  • Via car, Palm Springs is an easy 2-hour drive from Los Angeles, San Diego, and Orange County on Interstate 10.
  • All of the local hotels, attractions, restaurants, are within 5 minutes of the downtown village of Palm Springs, which allows ease of mobility for both the film crew and the wedding party.
  • Quite often seniors come to Palm Springs on vacation and end up buying a condo, home, or timeshare.

Last but not least are the “woopies”
A term coined by Arthur Tauck of Tauck travel –- it stands for well off older people. The increased vitality of 60- and 70-something folks is what is being appealed to in the product offerings by Tauck, an upscale operator.  Here's a quote about their heli-hiking (helicopter flies you up the mountain and you walk down) from their message board (They're a long way from simple bus trips to casinos): "Both my wife and I were in our late 70's when we took the Bugaboo helihiking tour. There were four levels of hiking depending on physical strength. We found that one level was quite easy and we had no problem at all and was very impressed with the scenery. One of our concerns was that it said that you had an 18-inch high step into the helicopter. This did not appear to be a problem for anyone. We have taken at least 5 Tauck tours and in our opinion this was one of the best."  It's no longer about seniors walking from the bus to the Louvre.  They now have seniors who expect (or are pleasantly surprised) to walk on glaciers, paddle sea kayaks, and do far more adventurous things than they did in the past. Visit