Retirement Bucket List: 44 Ideas for the Golden Years

Retirement – a word that evokes images of sunny beaches, leisurely strolls, and carefree days. For many, it’s the ultimate goal—a time to leave behind the daily grind and pursue hobbies, travel, or simply enjoy a slower pace of life. Of course, that also means completing things off your retirement bucket list!

While you might have a harder time doing the things you want to do in your golden years compared to 20, 30 years back, that doesn’t necessarily mean you also have limited things to do in retirement. Quite the opposite, in fact.

From discovering local attractions to becoming your own financial guru to starting your very own dinner club, here is a lowdown of the best ideas,  activities and things to do in retirement.

44 Bucket List Ideas for Retirement Happiness

Retirement Bucket List: The Best Activities, Fun Hobbies & Ideas of Things to Do When Your Older


1. Attend Community Events

A great way to stay active, engaged, and social during retirement is by attending community events like fundraisers, charity walks, and even barbecues. Not only do they provide opportunities for learning, entertainment, volunteering, and physical activity, but they can also give you a chance to participate in activities that you find meaningful. 

You can find community events in your area by checking local event listings, community websites, and local organizations.


2. Be Your Own Financial Guru

Being financially literate or your own financial guru is a great tool in helping you support your lifestyle after you stop working. Even simple things like creating a budget and staying informed about scams or risky financial investments will allow you to have a better sense of control over your own finances and make smart decisions about money. 

Our 75 Simple Ways to Save Money article can help on your financial journey or you can check out your local community for any upcoming financial education seminars or workshops to help you learn more.

Be Your Own Financial Guru

3. Become a Teacher

Do you still remember your favorite teacher back in the day that has left a lasting impact on you? Like what American historian Henry Adams once said, a teacher’s influence on a student does not end in the classroom. If teaching and inspiring the youth is what you would want to do, why not make a difference by becoming a teacher?

Sure, your skill set of 20+ years in architecture may not come in handy when teaching something like history and whatnot. However, the extra knowledge, experience, connections, and wisdom you’ve gained throughout the years certainly will. Plus, it’s also a chance to learn new things of your own!

Of course, you’ll need to meet the qualifications for teaching in your state, and you may want to consider volunteering to gain experience and make connections in the education community.

Become a Teacher

4. Binge a Podcast

Looking for a new recreational activity? Then podcasts may just be the thing for you. You can think of these as similar to radio talk shows, albeit in a pre-recorded format. Because of that, you have the freedom to listen to each podcast’s audio ‘episodes’ at your own pace whenever and wherever you want without having to worry about missing one.

Podcasts also cover different topics and genres, such as news, comedy, true crime, you name it. You will have no trouble finding one that aligns with your interests or even finding something new. Some of the most popular apps for listening to podcasts are Apple Podcasts (previously iTunes Podcasts) and Spotify.


5. Commit to Your Health

You’ve probably heard of the saying ‘health is wealth.’ And that certainly rings true for everyone. This may involve developing healthy habits such as exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and managing stress.

But like all life-changing habits, it’s also important to take it one small step at a time so that you can actually commit to it. 

Even just getting yourself up and moving more than the usual or working on some brain puzzles is already a start. By making your health a priority, not only will it improve your overall quality of life, but it will also allow you to enjoy a more fulfilling retirement.

Commit to Your Health

6. Declutter Your Home

Decluttering may sound easy to do. But in reality, it is never easy, especially if you have accumulated a lot of personal items that are hard to part with. Still, this also gives you the chance to live more simply and less burdened by stuff, not to mention you’ll also have a more organized and simplified living space. It also reduces the likelihood of accidents like tripping and falling (especially in our golden years,) so that’s one thing to consider as well.

When decluttering, it’s best to do it bit by bit. Be patient, and don’t overwhelm yourself. Take your time going through the stuff you have at home, and decide which items you would want to keep, donate, or even throw away. You may also want to consider which of them you’d like to pass down to your loved ones. While the process can be an emotional one, it can also be a freeing experience once you’ve sorted everything out.

For even more tips see Marie Kondo and The Home Edit who are masters in the field.

Declutter Your Home

7. Devote Your Time to a Pet

From dogs to cats to birds and whatnot, a pet can provide you with a constant source of love and affection.

While pets do not ask for much outside their basic needs, you should also consider the responsibilities and costs of owning one before bringing a pet into your life.

Devote Your Time to a Pet

8. Discover Local Attractions

How well do you know the city or state you’re living in? If someone asked you, ‘what’s there to do around here?’, can you point them to something interesting? With the responsibilities of everyday life, it’s easy to miss out on a lot of things happening around us. Now that you’ve retired, however, you now have more time discovering new sights and experiences your neighborhood has to offer.

One way you can go about this is by recommendation. Ask your friends and loved ones if they know of any local attractions in your area that you haven’t heard of. Another great tip is by exploring either on foot or riding something, like say, a bike. You never know what fascinating sights you might see as you explore around. Just make sure to stay safe, enjoy the journey, and do it at your own pace.

Discover Local Attractions

9. Do Some Puzzles

Whether it’s for fun or keeping your mind sharp, there’s no doubt that engaging in puzzle activities is beneficial for you. Depending on the puzzle you’re working on, it will require you to concentrate, memorize, and even use problem-solving skills.

There are different kinds of puzzles, so you’ll have no trouble finding one that interests you. It can be a word game like Scrabble, logical ones like Sudoku, chess problems, and even something mechanical like the Rubik’s cube. And, of course, we can’t be talking about puzzles without bringing up the time-tested jigsaw puzzles!

Do Some Puzzles

10. Face a Fear

Being afraid of something is natural. However, there are times that it can also hold you back. Retirement can be a time to face fears and try new things without the constraints of work and other obligations. It’s never too late to conquer a fear or overcome a challenge, and doing so can provide a sense of accomplishment and personal growth.

Whether it’s fear of public speaking, learning a new skill, or trying a new activity, taking steps to face your fears can be empowering and help build your confidence. With a positive attitude, support from family and friends, and a willingness to take risks, you can successfully conquer your fears and enjoy life to the fullest.

For more tips, read Overcoming Anxiety to Live Your Dream: 8 Tips to Facing Your Fears.


11. Find a Solo Activity

Finding a solo activity can be a great way to enjoy some alone time, explore your interests, and engage in self-care. Solo activities can take many forms, from reading a book or practicing yoga to painting or gardening. The key is to find an activity you enjoy and gives you a sense of relaxation or accomplishment.

Solo activities can also be a way to maintain cognitive function and stay engaged with the world around you. By dedicating regular time to a solo activity, you’ll also establish a sense of routine and structure in your life, which can be beneficial for mental health. Whether it’s a quiet hobby or an active pursuit, solo activities can be a rewarding way to spend your retirement years.

Find a Solo Activity

12. Focus on Self Care

Retirement can be a time of major life changes, and self-care can help reduce stress and anxiety. Engaging in self-care activities, such as meditation, yoga, or hobbies, can help you feel more relaxed and calm.

Self-care can also help you maintain your independence by keeping yourself physically and mentally strong. And by taking care of yourself, you will also be less likely to need assistance from others, which can help you feel more empowered and confident.


13. Get a Fun Part-Time Job

You might be thinking, ‘I just retired, and now I have to work again?‘ Well, hear me out for just a second. Retirees have a wealth of skills and experience that can be valuable in the job market. And what’s different this time is you now have the time and wealth of experience to look for a part-time job that is both flexible and fun at the same time. 

It’s also a great way to earn some extra cash to supplement your retirement, while also having the chance to enjoy new experiences.

One of the ways you can go about this is by letting your friends and family know that you’re looking for a part-time job, and consider reaching out to your professional network as well. You never know where a job lead might come from. By identifying your interests, considering your skills, looking for flexible options, networking, and prioritizing fun, you can find a part-time job that’s fulfilling and enjoyable.

Get a Fun Part-Time Job

14. Get Closer to Your Partner

As couples enter their golden years, it can be a great time to focus on getting closer to one another. With more time and fewer distractions, you can now spend more quality time with your partner and explore new activities together.

Whether it’s enjoying a quiet evening at home, traveling to new places, or checking things off your couples bucket list, finding ways to connect and strengthen your bond with each other can be a fulfilling part of retirement.

Of course, this may also mean that you might want to consider seeking out counseling or support to work through any rough patches that this new chapter in life has brought.

Get Closer to Your Partner

15. Get in Touch with Nature

With how fast things are going these days, it’s easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of life even after you retire.

At times like this, escaping into nature’s arms is one of the best retirement activities you can do. It can be soaking up some sun, taking a walk in the park, reading a book under a tree, or doing some ‘forest bathing.’ Simply spending time with nature provides you with a sense of connection to something greater than yourself.

Get in Touch with Nature

16. Go Back to School

Many seniors choose to pursue higher education later in life, either to learn new skills or for personal enrichment. However, returning to school in your golden years can have its unique set of challenges, such as balancing schoolwork with caregiving or health issues that could impact your ability to participate.

Fortunately, there are many resources available to help elderly individuals succeed in higher education. Many colleges and universities offer programs specifically designed for nontraditional students, including online classes, flexible schedules, and support services for older adults.

Overall, going back to school in your later years can be an enriching experience. And always remember to not let age hold you back from pursuing your education and your dreams.


17. Go to Live Theater

Seeing performances in a live theater can be a wonderful way for you to experience the arts and enjoy an evening out. Live theaters offer a unique and captivating experience that can be both entertaining and thought-provoking.

Check out theaters in your area that may be offering live performances. Look for community theaters, regional theaters, and professional theaters that may be staging plays, musicals, and more. If you’re in New York City (or are planning to visit,) you can visit Broadway. There are dozens of theaters in the Broadway district that offer performances of hit shows like Hamilton, The Lion King, and Wicked.


18. Host a Party

Whether it’s a birthday celebration, anniversary, or holiday gathering, hosting a party can be a fun and rewarding way to bring together friends and family and create cherished memories. Parties can take many forms, from a casual potluck to a formal dinner party, and can be tailored to your and your guests’ preferences and interests.

With careful planning and a positive attitude, hosting a party can be a great way to stay socially connected and enjoy time with loved ones.


19. Join (or Start) a Club

Joining or starting a club lets you meet new people who share the same interests as you. And as a retiree, being part of a club can also be a way for you to give back to the community and share your knowledge and experience with others.

Clubs can take many forms, from book clubs and writing groups to hiking clubs and travel clubs. The key is to find a club that aligns with your interests and offers opportunities for socializing and learning.

Join (or Start) a Club

20. Learn a New Language

Our world is more connected than ever before, which is why learning a new language (or two) is an excellent tool to have in your repertoire. I mean, nothing surprises and makes you feel connected with the locals more than being able to converse with them in their mother tongue, especially if you’re traveling abroad.

With language courses available both online (like Duolingo) and offline (in schools/workshops), learning a new language has never been more convenient and accessible.


21. Learn a New Skill

Is there a particular skill that you would love to learn, like playing the guitar, making pots, or knowing your way around your smartphone? Well, you reading this is probably the perfect sign for you to step up to the challenge and start. It may seem daunting at first, but remember that everybody has to start somewhere, no matter your age.

With the right attitude and willingness to learn, you will continue to grow not just in skill, but as a person as well. And with so many resources available, including online courses, community classes, instructional videos, and even people you may know, learning a new skill will be a rewarding entry to include on your bucket list.


22. Learn to Dance

Who says older people can’t bust a move? Not only does dancing help you bump up your fitness levels, but just the act of dancing can make you feel a few years younger.

Even if you have never danced before, you have a lot of fun and exciting dances to choose from, such as ballroom dancing, tango, line dancing, and even hip hop.

You can check out some local dance classes in your area for the type of dance you want to learn. There are also plenty of instructional videos online, so you’ll have an easier time learning the steps at the comfort of your own home.


23. Live Your Purpose

Do you know your purpose in life? Don’t sweat it if your answer is no. Many of us, including ones in our golden years, have yet to find and live our purpose. However, once you’ve figured that part out, it will give you an even greater sense of direction and motivation in your life.

One of the ways that can help you find your purpose is to try out as many of the things that interest you as possible. And that includes things that are outside your comfort zone. It can be volunteering in your community, pursuing a lifelong passion, or finding ways to give back to others. Whatever that may be, it all boils down to finding things that make you want to do it over and over again.


24. Make a Bucket List

If you can do anything or be anywhere you want to be with just a snap of a finger, what or where would that be? Climb Mount Everest? Become a best-selling author? Sleep under the Northern Lights? The list goes on and on. Making your bucket list and completing things off of it is a fun and inspiring way to spend your retirement years and beyond.

One of the benefits of having your own bucket list is that it helps you contemplate what you really want to accomplish and put those intangible ideas into something more tangible (e.g. on a piece of paper.) It can serve as a physical reminder that if you can see and hold it in your hand, you can realize it. It also gives you something to look at and work towards.

Just remember that no matter how simple or impossible your goals and dreams may sound like, what ultimately matters is that you find meaning and purpose in pursuing and realizing them.


25. Make Crafts

Another fantastic and creative retirement idea you can add to your bucket list is making different arts and crafts. What I love about this is that you don’t even need expensive materials to get started. Plus, it can even be a fun bonding activity you can do with loved ones.

Some examples of these crafts include crocheting/knitting, soap/candle making, scrapbooking, and many more. Whichever you choose, just let your creative juices flow and enjoy the process.


26. Mentor Others

Have you ever thought about becoming a mentor? As someone who’s retired, you’ve probably accumulated a lot of skills and expertise over the years that could really benefit others, whether they’re just starting out in their career or trying to make a big transition.

There are so many different types of mentoring – you could work one-on-one with someone or lead a group mentoring session. You can check out local organizations, schools, or even your previous employer if they have any mentoring opportunities available. You can also apply as a mentor in an online mentoring program like score.org.


27. Plant a Garden

Gardening is a great hobby to start, especially if you want to work on having a green thumb. There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing your plants and flowers grow under your care and attention. Plus, it’s also a great way to put in some exercise in your day since gardening requires constant care.

If gardening under the sun is too much physically, don’t fret! You can dedicate a small space inside your home where you can put potted plants/flowers so that it will be easier for you to take care of them.

Plant a Garden

28. Play Brain Games

Forgetting things has always been a normal part of aging. However, that doesn’t mean that we can’t take steps to keep our minds engaged and sharp. That’s where brain games like trivia quizzes, brain teasers, and chess come in.

Aside from being fun, a challenging piece can help improve different areas of your brain, such as your problem-solving skills, memory, and attention. Couple that with some good food and exercise, and you’re on your way to having a mind as sharp as a steel trap.

Play Brain Games

29. Read More Books

Whether you’re a bookworm or a casual reader, reading books can be a rewarding and relaxing way to explore new ideas and stories, and keep your mind active and engaged.

Reading can be a way to escape into new worlds and learn about new cultures and can provide a sense of intellectual stimulation and mental challenge. It can also be a way to reduce stress and improve overall well-being, as you take time for yourself and engage in a quiet and calming activity.

It may be a good time to go back and revisit all the classics. For a list of must-read classics, see our list of the Best Classic Books to Read

Read More Books

30. Redecorate Your Home

Like decluttering, making changes to your home’s decoration can help bring a breath of fresh air to your living space. With more free time, you have the opportunity to carefully consider each room and create a space that truly reflects your personality and style.

This could involve updating furniture, changing wall colors, adding decorative pieces, or even rearranging the layout of your living spaces. Redecorating can also provide an opportunity to create a more functional living space that accommodates any physical limitations you may have.


31. Spend Time With Grandkids

They say that there’s nothing like a grandchild to put a smile on a grandparent’s face. As a grandparent, you have the opportunity to form a unique bond with your grandchildren and be a positive influence in their lives. Activities like baking, crafting, or reading together can create cherished memories that last a lifetime.

Additionally, spending time with grandkids can keep you active and engaged, both physically and mentally. It can also provide a sense of purpose and meaning, as you pass on your knowledge and experience to the next generation.

Whether it’s a weekly visit or a summer vacation, time spent with grandkids is a precious gift that can bring happiness and warmth to your golden years.


32. Start a Blog

If you’re new to blogging, a blog (or web log) is a type of personal website that is updated on a regular basis. One example of this is our very own Bucket List Journey. While there is definitely a learning curve involved, starting a blog in your golden years is possible with the right support and resources.

But why should you start one? Blogging can be a way for you to share your experiences and expertise to a broader audience, which can be gratifying and fulfilling in itself. It can also give you a sense of community and connection with others who share similar interests or experiences. Another reason is it can provide you with a source of income through advertising, sponsorships, or affiliate marketing, which can be a great way to supplement your retirement income while doing something enjoyable and rewarding.

You can check out some of my tips and tricks on how to start your blogging journey below:


33. Start a Dinner Club

Good food brings people closer together, and that’s exactly what dinner clubs are for.

Simply put, you can think of dinner clubs as sort of like a potluck/social club, where a group of people get together to share meals and socialize. Not only will it add a more intimate dining experience for your group, but it may also become a start of a new tradition.

The group can be composed of friends, family members, or even strangers who share a common interest in food and socializing. Each member then takes turns hosting the dinner and preparing the meal(s), often with a theme or cuisine in mind.

Here is a great guide you can follow to help you in starting your own dinner club: How to Start a Dinner Club by Fresh Exchange


34. Start a Journal

Journaling is a fun, creative outlet which can help you reflect on your life experiences and explore your thoughts and emotions in writing. It can take many forms, from writing daily reflections to documenting special events to free-flowing writing and more. It can be a way to keep track of goals, challenges, and achievements, and to gain a deeper understanding of oneself.

Writing in a journal can also provide a sense of structure and routine, and help maintain your cognitive function. If you’re interested in starting one, consider setting aside a regular time each day to write and experimenting with different writing prompts and styles to find what works best for you.


35. Start a small business

While it will require a lot of work and planning compared to being employed part-time, you can leverage your skills and experience by starting your own fun, small business instead.

For example, if you love cooking or baking, you could start a small catering or meal delivery business. Alternatively, if you enjoy gardening, you could start a small landscaping or garden design business.

In addition, starting a small business can help you feel more purposeful and organized, as well as provide a source of social connection through interaction with customers and other business owners.


36. Stay Social

Staying social during your golden years is important for overall health and well-being. Retirement can be a time of isolation, so it’s important to make an effort to stay connected with others. This could involve joining a social club or group, taking classes, volunteering, or participating in community events. Additionally, spending time with family and friends, including grandchildren, can provide you with a source of joy and fulfillment.

Staying social can also give you opportunities to make a positive impact on others and engage in activities that you enjoy. Overall, making an effort to stay social can help promote a sense of vitality, happiness, and connectedness that can contribute to a fulfilling and satisfying retirement.


37. Study Your Family’s Ancestry

How well do you know your family tree? Tracing your family’s roots and learning about its history and genealogy can provide a sense of connection to your ancestors, as well as a greater understanding of your family’s traditions and values. It can also be a way to pass on this knowledge to future generations, preserving family history and heritage for years to come.

Retirement provides ample time to devote to genealogy research, which can involve digging through old family records, talking with relatives, and conducting online research, like with Ancestry.com. There are many genealogy resources available, including websites, libraries, and archives that can assist with research. Additionally, there are many organizations and groups dedicated to genealogy (although they can be pricey,) which can provide support, education, and opportunities for collaboration with other researchers.


38. Take Up a New Hobby

Looking for a new outlet for your creativity? Consider taking up a new hobby. With more time and flexibility in your hands, you now have the chance to look for hobbies you didn’t get to explore earlier in life. Some hobbies you might find interesting include stamp collecting, home brewing, and video gaming (for more ideas check out our 100 Hobbies Examples).

Of course, there’s lots more for you to choose from, depending on your interests. If you can’t decide which one to take yet, you can always do it the old fashioned way: try out each one that catches your eye until something clicks with you!


39. TRY a New Sport

There’s this quote from George Bernard Shaw that goes, ‘we don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.’ Regardless of your age and level of exposure to sports, taking up a new sport can be an exciting and rewarding way to mix things up and stay active and healthy. 

It’s also a great opportunity to meet new people and make new friends who share similar interests. Depending on what kind of challenge you’re looking for, you can go for a sport that put you in a battle of wits like chess, or something more physical like bowling or even cycling (depending on your fitness level, of course.)

Take Up a New Sport

40. Take Up Bird Watching

Birdwatching is one of those hobbies that is not only relaxing, but also a fulfilling way to connect with nature. You can do it in a variety of settings, from nature preserves to even the comfort of your backyard.

It is also very easy to pick up, as all you need to get started is a bird book and a pair of binoculars. However, you’ll also be needing a good amount of patience for this one, especially if you’re in an urban setting.

Take Up Bird Watching

41. Think About Relocating

There may come a time that you actually might want to consider relocating to someplace new. Maybe you’re looking for access to quality medical care. Or lower cost of living. Even being close to family and friends for that sense of community and social support. There are lots of points to consider, not to mention the responsibilities and costs of the move itself.

Whatever your reasons for relocating may be, if it would make you happier in important aspects of your life, then it would probably be for the best. Just be sure to think things through, as this is one of the biggest changes you’ll make in your golden years, especially if you have long established your roots in where you’re currently at.


42. Travel

Traveling is one of those things that will surprise you each and every time. It allows you to experience new cultures, see new sights, and at times push you out of your comfort zone. And like your bucket list, traveling helps you meet and make those lasting memories that give your life meaning and purpose.

It can be going on a road trip to a new state, flying to a country you once dreamed of visiting or even start checking off the ultimate travel bucket list. There are plenty of experiences out there just waiting for you to discover, so make the most out of them once you get the chance.

Travel

43. Volunteer for Your Favorite Cause

Inspiration can come in different forms, one of which is volunteering. No matter what your age is, you always have the power to make a positive impact on a cause you’re truly passionate about. And when that selfless act lights something inside a person, it can also inspire others to do the same.

Whether it’s tutoring students, helping at a local food bank, or participating in a neighborhood clean-up, volunteering can be a fulfilling and meaningful way to give back to the community during your retirement.


44. Write a Book

Writing a book can be a fulfilling and engaging way to explore your creativity and share your experiences and insights. Whether it’s a memoir, a work of fiction, or a self-help book, it can also give you a sense of accomplishment and personal growth as you develop your writing skills and work towards a completed project. Additionally, publishing a book can be a way to share your story and knowledge with others, leaving a lasting legacy for future generations.


And that about wraps up our retirement bucket list ideas! Retirement is a major life transition that can be both exciting and daunting. But with careful planning and consideration, you can make this new chapter in your life something to look back on. No age is too late for that next adventure, so go out with a bang and enjoy the fun things to do in retirement

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through my links, I earn a commission that helps to keep this blog running—at no extra cost to you. For more information read my full disclosure.

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2 thoughts on “Retirement Bucket List: 44 Ideas for the Golden Years”

  1. Hi there! I stumbled upon your travel blog while planning my next adventure, and I must say, I’m thoroughly impressed! Your descriptions of the places you’ve visited are so vivid and captivating that I feel like I’m right there with you.

    Reply

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Annette White the Owner of Bucket List Journey
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