Florida after 50: Having Fun in the Sunshine State

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When a Florida vacation is mentioned, what usually comes to mind are shores with sandcastles, tropical hotels, and jaunty theme parks. While Florida does offer amazing parks, resorts, and beaches, there are many more diversions to be found, often that cater to an older and more-refined clientele. Whether you are looking for authentic Cafe Cubano, or creating your own zen retreat, Florida offers many leisure activities for older adults.

If your interests are in the magic kingdom or the wild kingdom, an amazing trip to Florida is waiting for you. Recreate a vintage Florida vacation, or sample something totally new; our experts have tips that range from mouse ears to yoga to barbecued alligator.

Stick With the Classics

Nick Plagge headshotNick Plagge is the Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Business Development for Seniortous Vacations, a tour company with nearly 40 years in business. Florida may be known primarily for beaches and theme parks, and Plagge feels that notoriety is worthwhile.

We’ve found that our passengers really get a kick out of iconic Florida activities. That ends up being a broad spectrum – from beaches to theme parks – but they’re things that Florida is known for and, frankly, does better than any other place. Orlando still represents the kid in all of us, especially those of us with fond memories of escaping the chilly confines of the northeast to enjoy a sun-soaked day at the Magic Kingdom. Although another state might have “Vacationland” on its license plate, there’s no denying that it’s really Florida that holds that distinction.

Going back to my Orlando example, we have older passengers who have traveled with us almost since the beginning of our first Florida trips. They go to Orlando every year, and they hit EPCOT, Disney, now Universal, Sea World, all of the parks – every year, year after year. And of course it’s not just theme parks. The state has this almost magical draw for those of us who as kids thought of Florida as the quintessential land of Palm Trees and white sands, and in many cases still do, even as “kids of all ages.”

The Taste and Feel of Florida

Florida is of course more than theme parks – that six foot tall mouse is not a native species, after all. The unique tropical environments and the amazing blend of cultures and peoples in the state Grace Della headshotof Florida make it a truly fascinating place that offers endless opportunities for deeper exploration.

Are you ready to experience tantalizing Florida food? Latin cuisine expert Grace Della is a second generation culinary tour operator, and with her experience as a restaurant critic and cooking contest judge, Della understands what makes food in Florida truly special, and she shares her expertise via Miami Culinary Tours.

A customer can anticipate learning about the different cultures and their cuisines that make up Miami. Our culinary tours appeal to customers over 50 because this demographic has a greater appreciation of homemade, artisanal and food that has been prepared with the surrounding of a slow cooking process. This age bracket typically appreciates more than just savoring the cuisine. They are able to see the value that comes from learning the customs of a different culture and their cuisine. We also cover the history and architectural aspects of each culture and their cuisine.

We also cover the history and architectural aspects of each neighborhood where we conduct our walking culinary tours and people over 50 enjoy learning about past stories about people that helped shaped an area. At tours are more than just food, they are a cultural, architectural and culinary experience narrated by passionate locals who eat daily as we do at the tours.

The Florida Everglades are a wetland area unlike anywhere else in the world. Spanning central to south Florida, the everglades are home to cypress and mangrove trees, as well as endangered animals like the manatee and Florida panther. Jessica Arrington works at Wild Florida, a company that offers up-close and personal tours of the nearly 100,000 protected acres of the Florida Everglades. Whether you want to touch an alligator, or just enjoy the lush natural world of Florida from a safe distance, Arrington has an outdoor adventure option for you.

Wild Florida Tours boatWild Florida offers airboat eco-tours, a 15 acre wildlife park full of native and exotic animals, ranch buggy tours, and  delicious BBQ from our restaurant. With airboat tours going out all day from 9:00am to 4:30 pm there are many opportunities to fit any schedule. The wildlife park can be explored at your own pace anytime from 9:00am to 6:00pm. There are several opportunities to feed exotic birds in the walk-in aviary, hold a live alligator, and see gator feedings all day.

Our airboat tours are exciting, yet very safe and educational. All of our boats are U.S. Coast Guard approved and adhere to strict safety standards.The wildlife park can be explored at any pace and any level of activity. Our facilities are completely wheelchair accessible, and we also offer a 15% discount for seniors.

Discovering Health in the Sunshine State

Vacation does not need to be all about idle indulgence or tireless touristing, it can also serve as a time of retreat, renewal, and discovering new ways to good health. If you are ready to leave the spring break lifestyle behind, Florida offers a lot of options to have you feeling better (rather than worse) the next morning.

Samantha Hersch headshotSamantha Hersch is a part of the family company that publishes the Seniors Blue Book, an activity guide that creates a valuable network for seniors, their families, and the organizations that serve them. They publish two guides for different areas of Florida, both filled with unique events and other opportunities. If you are looking for activities to keep you fit, or free health educational events, Hersch has them:

Visit SeniorsBlueBook and click the Senior Activity Calendar where we have pages and pages of activities for mature adults in Southwest Florida to get out and enjoy. Most of which are free or at low cost.

The Sarasota area is in particular is a fantastic place for older Americans to come and enjoy. Sarasota County is actually being considered by The World Health Organization WHO Initiative  to be deemed a “Senior Friendly City”. This Organizations cause is to create an “Age-Friendly World”. An age-friendly world enables people of all ages to actively participate in community activities and treats everyone with respect, regardless of their age. It is a place that makes it easy for older people to stay connected to people that are important to them. And it helps people stay healthy and active even at the oldest ages and provides appropriate support to those who can no longer look after themselves.

Jean Erlbaum, who runs Yoga For Relaxation, has been teaching yoga since 1972, and currently offers classes in Naples, Florida. In particular, she looks forward to teaching classes with the older adults because of the good fun and the great relationships she regularly finds there. If you are looking to fit a few downward dogs into your trip down south, Erlbaum (jean.erlbaum@verizon.net) has some advice for yoga novices.

Jean Erlbaum headshotThe benefits of doing yoga are well known to most seniors: reducing stress, calming the nervous system and relaxing muscles, ligaments, and tendons, increasing the efficiency of the all the systems of the body, strengthening the immune system and bringing balance to the whole hormonal system. Additionally, deep breathing enhances the work of the digestive, pulmonary, and cardiovascular systems and massages all the internal organs. Many people rely on yoga to prevent or heal back or joint injury, to align and strengthen muscles and bones.

But beside all this serious stuff, it is also fun. Getting together with a friend or a group of friends to go to a class or even watch a yoga dvd in your living room gives you time to learn and stretch and play together. Noticing what you can still do and what you can no longer do makes for some friendly competition and some good laughs.  

Remember to stay within the limits of what your body can do comfortably and within any medical guidelines your doctor has given you. Do what feels good and skip what doesn’t and HAVE FUN!!

More than Palm-Framed Sunsets

Florida offers amazing experiences that are accessible to all, but even though many of them may seem geared towards youth there is a plethora of activities, tours, and destinations specifically for older adults, as our experts attest above. So, stop shivering and come down south to enjoy your golden time in the sun.

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