During retirement, active adults can pursue their favorite pastimes, explore new activities, and find creative ways to stay physically and socially active. There are plenty of hobbies for seniors that allow you to learn new skills, expand your knowledge, and fully enjoy your leisure time.

Regardless of experience level, every hobby offers a place for beginners to start. Many hobbies for seniors are inviting because they require little-to-know previous knowledge. Instead, it’s all about finding a place to start and discovering a new favorite pastime.

Our ultimate guide to hobbies for seniors features 50 recreational activities for anyone to enjoy any time. We organized these hobbies into ten sections: indoor hobbies, outdoor hobbies, healthy hobbies, hobbies on the water, athletic hobbies, hobbies for singles, hobbies to do together, hobbies for men, hobbies for women, and online hobbies.

As you browse our ultimate guide to hobbies, we hope you feel inspired to try something new.

NOTE: Many Senior Activity Centers in our coastal communities have a laundry list of activities. Check out your nearest one!

CONTENTS OF THIS ARTICLE

  • CREATIVE HOBBIES: Arts and Crafts, Cooking, Painting, Photography, Playing an Instrument, Woodworking, Writing
  • OUTDOOR HOBBIES: Bird Watching, Camping, Gardening, Geocaching, Hiking, Horseback Riding
  • HEALTHY HOBBIES: Dancing, Tai Chi, Yoga etc.
  • HOBBIES ON THE WATER: Boating, Fishing, Shelling, Snorkeling, Swimming, etc.
  • ATHLETIC HOBBIES: Axe-Throwing, Bowling, Croquet, Golfing, Tennis & Pickleball
  • HOBBIES TO DO SOLO OR WITH FRIENDS: Antiquing/Collecting, Board/Card Games, Book Clubs, RV Road Trips, Travelling, Wine and Restaurant Clubs,
  • HELPFUL HOBBIES: Adopting/Fostering Animals, Classic Car Restoration, Lifelong Learning, Making Money, Volunteering
  • ONLINE HOBBIES: Geneaology, Podcasts, Social Media, Video Games, Youtubing

CREATIVE HOBBIES

When you want to relax in your home, there are plenty of indoor hobbies to occupy your free time. Enjoy these activities from the comfort of your home and on your own schedule.

Arts and Crafts: Crocheting, Knitting and Sewing…

A senior craftswoman painting a clay plate in an art studio

Many people enjoy arts and crafts activities because they love working with their hands and creating beautiful things. There’s also an abundance of artful activities to explore, such as jewelry making, scrapbooking, knitting, ceramics, painting, mosaic, and many more. For a fun social activity, try getting together with friends for themed crafting sessions.

Crocheting, and similar hobbies such as knitting and cross-stitching, are great indoor hobbies because they offer projects for any skill level. Crochet with colorful yarn to create blankets, dishcloths, headbands, scarves, cute stuffed animals, and almost anything else you can imagine.

Another unexpected option is Candle Making. When you make your own candles, you can customize everything about them, from the calming scent and color to the shape of the holder. Candle-making is a deceptively simple hobby, and there are so many different waxes, essential oils, and containers to choose from, leading to endless combinations to try. Candles also make great gifts and crafts to sell for a little extra money.

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Cooking

In the kitchen, active adults can experiment with fresh ingredients to explore new cultures and taste global cuisines. Rather than a daily chore, cooking becomes a way to perfect your favorite nostalgic dishes, try new recipes, and impress friends and family at dinner parties and holiday events.

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Painting

Closeup of a senior man's hands holding a painting brush and a palette while painting in a park

As a hobby, painting can be enjoyed together or alone. Many people enjoy community painting classes or painting events at local venues: Best Local Paint Places. Additionally, painters can bring their easels to their favorite outdoor spots to capture natural skies and scenes. Check out great picnic spots for some inspired landscapes.

EXPLORE MORE:
Mispillion Art League | Rehoboth Art League | DAC (Developing Artists Collaborative) | Cape Artists Gallery

Photography

The art of photography requires a keen eye, a sense of creativity, and the proper equipment (although these days, a high-quality cell phone camera can take excellent photographs). Make your next hike a photography walk by taking pictures of nature, flowers, wildlife, sunsets, and whatever else catches your eye.

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A senior couple sitting on a couch while singing and playing acoustic guitar together

Playing an Instrument

It’s never too late to pick up an instrument and learn (or relearn!) how to play your favorite tunes. Musical instruments such as acoustic guitar, ukulele, and piano offer new opportunities to develop your skills and enjoy your favorite music, whether playing solo or with friends.

EXPLORE MORE: Lewes-Area Music Teachers and Lessons | Sussex County Music Lessons and Stores

Woodworking

Woodworking, or sometimes called whittling, is an activity in which wood is your canvas and your imagination is the limit. Using a set of tools, a sharp blade, and some patience, you can shape a piece of wood into whatever you desire. Woodworking also has the added benefit of saving you a little money since you’ll be able to make your own furniture and decor.

Top view of a senior man taking measurements with a pencil and notebook while woodworking

EXPLORE MORE: Delaware Woodworker’s Guild | Woodworking Classes Near Me (Sussex Co)

Writing

Through writing, active adults can tell stories, share their memories, and communicate with friends and family. Some of the most popular forms of recurring writing include journals, diaries, short stories, poetry, and letters. Many active adults even start online blogs to engage with a community of readers.

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OUTDOOR HOBBIES

Some of the most popular hobbies connect active adults to the great outdoors. These activities are ideal ways to spend time breathing in the fresh air and getting some physical exercise.

Birdwatching

As with photography, birdwatching also requires a careful eye as well as a lot of patience and knowledge. When you’re new to birdwatching, make sure to bring a local bird reference guide to see which birds fly through your area during a certain time of year. Also, it can be a fun challenge to train your ear to identify different bird calls and nature sounds, such as woodpeckers or bullfrogs.

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Camping

There’s something magical and empowering about spending the night outdoors in nature. With modern advancements in tents, sleeping bags, and other gear, camping has never been so comfortable. Some state parks even offer luxury lodges, resorts, and spas for campers who like a little more comfort.

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Gardening

Whether you want to have a small vegetable patch or a sprawling flowerbed, gardening provides a satisfying outdoor experience right outside your door. There are many flowers, shrubs, vegetables, and herbs to choose from, allowing you to create a garden that’s perfectly curated to your tastes and interests. Also, many active adult communities even have community gardens where you can share your green thumb with friends and neighbors.

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Geocaching

In what has been called “the world’s largest treasure hunt,” geocaching is an outdoor activity in which participants follow GPS coordinates to find hidden treasures called caches. Active adults can participate in this hide-and-seek game any time; all you need to get started is a GPS system (like Google Maps) and a geocaching app.

An older woman holding her partner's hand as they head down a nature trail with a hiking group

EXPLORE MORE: State Parks’ Geocaching Guide | DE Geocaching Trails

Hiking

Exploring nature trails is a popular way to exercise while also experiencing everything nature has to offer. No matter where you live, nearby parks can provide scenic views, native wildlife, and comfortable trails for you to traverse at your leisure. As you gain endurance, try seeking out longer trails on more rugged terrain.

EXPLORE MORE : Easy Striders, local hiking group | Top Local Hiking Spots

Horseback Riding

Active adults who love animals, adventure, and being outdoors might want to make horseback riding their next hobby. Many larger state parks have horseback riding trails and stables where you can arrange for a guided riding session. It’s a great way to see beautiful scenery while enjoying a leisurely ride.

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Healthy Hobbies

Many hobbies can arise out of a passion for health and fitness, and there are a variety of activities that can help active adults stay physically active and maintain their health. Whether you want to build muscular strength, improve your balance, or increase your overall fitness, one of these hobbies could help you stick to your goals.

Dancing

Dancing is a fun way to exercise without feeling like you’re exercising. No matter what genre of music you enjoy, you can find an abundance of dance-oriented workout videos online. Many active adult communities also have dance clubs or host dance lessons in their amenity centers. Try learning a new type of dance, such as ballroom, salsa, or line dancing. Articles: “Line Dancing in DE” | “Zoom to Zumba” | “Time to have LaBlast

Swing Dancing is another great option. Since the 1920s, couples have enjoyed a fun night of swing dancing to big band jazz tunes on a crowded dance floor. Aside from taking lessons with your partner, many venues host swing dancing nights where you can dress up and go show off your moves. (Keep up with local calendars, like ours, to keep abreast of special events: SUBSCRIBE. Otherwise, check out the local senior centers and dance studios for lessons.)

Tai Chi

Tai Chi is an ancient martial art that consists of slow, flowing movements designed to produce a meditative experience. This form of exercise is great for strengthening muscles and toning your body through relaxing motions. It can also put your mind at ease and keep you young at heart.

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Closeup on the hands of a senior woman as she meditates while practicing yoga

Yoga

The relaxing practice of yoga can keep your body toned, limber, and flexible without the stresses of an intense workout. Yoga positions and movements span several levels of difficulty that provide invested beginners a hobby that they can grow into. ARTICLES: “Yoga, Why’s It’s not Just for Women Who Want to Stretch” | “Beach Yoga has Zen, Waves and Sounds” |

HOBBIES ON THE WATER

If you live near a lake, river, or ocean, then you likely have favorite aquatic activities. Even if you just take yearly vacations to the beach, these hobbies are perfect for summertime when you want to be out on the water.

Boating

No matter what kind of vessel you captain, boating is one of the best ways to get out and explore the waters near you. Being out on a lake or even embarking out into the ocean can be a relaxing way to spend a day.

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An older couple sitting on the end of a dock and fishing

Fishing

Fishing is both a relaxing and exciting pastime that provides hours of entertainment out on the water. Certain types of fish require specific gear and sometimes even unique fishing techniques in order to catch them, but taking on the challenge is half the fun.

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Shelling

If you’ve ever walked on the beach looking for seashells, then you know how relaxing and rewarding shelling can be. In addition to collecting seashells, avid collectors look for sea glass, driftwood, shark teeth, and whatever else may have washed ashore. You can use the collected shells for crafts or decorations, or you can take photographs and then toss them back to sea.

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Snorkeling

Snorkeling is an experience like no other that allows participants to view underwater vistas while floating comfortably on the top of the water. Underwater exploration allows you to see the world from a different perspective and observe aquatic wildlife.

EXPLORE MORE: Snorkeling in DE: article by USA Today

Swimming

As a low-impact exercise, swimming is a great way for active adults to maintain their fitness. Learning different strokes and techniques can bring both challenges and a sense of accomplishment. However, it’s sometimes nice to just relax and spend time in the water too. “Healthy Options from Water Aerobics to Balance”

EXPLORE MORE: Public Swimming Pools in Sussex Co.

MORE GREAT LOCAL DE PAST-TIMES

Athletic Hobbies

From playing sports to watching games to following the latest news and trends, many lifelong sports fans carry their passion for athletics into retirement. These athletic hobbies are some new options as well as some of the most popular choices for active adults.

Axe Throwing

Axe throwing, a rugged activity that has grown in popularity in recent years, involves throwing an axe or hatchet at a large wooden target, focusing on accuracy rather than speed. Similar to dart throwing, multiple games can be played, all of which are extremely satisfying. Try it local with Axe-Throwing at Lefty’s (with a bowling alley and more great fun on-site).

Bowling

This classic sport is one that is simple in concept, difficult to master, and enjoyable for all skill levels. Whether you’re an experienced bowler or picking up the ball for the first time, every round of bowling is different and exciting. Look for a great local spot: Bowling Places in Sussex County

NOTE: Other great, local options include Bocce Ball, Billiards, Read our article, “Billiards, Bocce Ball, and Bowling“.

Croquet

Croquet is a leisurely activity that can be set up and played on virtually any lawn or outdoor space. It consists of using wooden mallets to strike balls so they roll through metal loops stuck from the ground. It’s simple to play and simple to enjoy.

Golfing

Golf is a sport about precision, patience, and simply having a good time out on the course. Whether you’re alone or with friends it’s still fun to just grab your clubs and hit the links. Golfers enjoy the respectable and classy atmosphere of golf clubs as well as the scenic views on the courses.

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IF you love TENNIS…you’ll love Pickleball

Pickleball embodies the quickness and coordination of tennis without the high-intensity cardio that comes with it. This is a two-versus-two activity where players try to hit a ball over the net in such a way that their opponents cannot hit it back. It’s a fun way to stay active with a partner or a group of friends.

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A senior man in a crowd of spectators cheering at an outdoor sports event

Spectator Sports

Many people like to watch sports just as much as they like to play them, and there are plenty of opportunities to do so. Whether you enjoy going and seeing your favorite local team play or you want to meet up with some other fans to watch the big game on television, there are plenty of ways to get involved in your spectator sport of choice. (Try searching Facebook for local groups devoted to your team / sport, etc.)

Hobbies to Enjoy SOLO or with Friends

Some hobbies for singles create opportunities to meet fellow singles, neighbors, and friends. For couples but it can be especially rewarding to find a hobby that you both enjoy. Whether you’re going alone, in a couple, or with a group of friends, these activities add the fun!

Antiquing / Collecting

There are thousands of communities of people who enjoy collecting and selling different items. From baseball cards to old signs to antique tools, there’s bound to be a niche collectible market that would interest you. It just takes a bit of digging, and the search engines of Google and Facebook are helpful (just remember to mention your local area, or at least “Sussex County Delaware” top help get local ideas.)

Active adults who love shopping and hunting for the perfect treasures might also enjoy antiquing. Try visiting antique stores, flea markets, and vintage shops in your search for one-of-a-kind items. To turn your antiquing hobby into a day trip, take a drive to the surrounding states to find large, unique stores.

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Board & Card Games

In communities across the country, neighbors like to gather for weekly or monthly game nights. Some like to play new games every time, some bring an assortment of games, and some meet competitively to play bridge, bunco, bingo, canasta, and many more. When you live in an active adult community, chances are you can find a few neighbors who love playing games. (Many local senior centers also have weekly activity options like Bridge, Mah Jongg, etc.)

Book Clubs

If you already love reading, you may consider joining a book club. In a book club, everyone reads the same book at the same time and then meets together to discuss it. The meetings can take place at local coffee shops, wine shops, restaurants, or each other’s home. Book clubs are a great way to make reading social.

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Restaurant & Wine Clubs

In most cities, and even in some larger 55+ communities, active adults can find several dining clubs to join. Many of these clubs meet on a regular basis to try out new restaurants or wineries in the area while socializing. Through these clubs, active adults can meet like-minded individuals and make new friends.

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RV Road Trips

Some active adult snowbirds who drive RVs or campers to their winter destinations already know the joy of driving RVs. Recreational vehicles offer a way to see the country via its open roads. There are so many scenic road trips and leisurely routes through Middle America that you’ll always be planning your next RV trip.

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Traveling

During retirement, active adults often finally have enough time and freedom to travel the country and the world. By seeking out new experiences, cuisines, and sights, traveling is a fun way to discover new interests and explore unique activities together.

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Helpful Hobbies

Active adults can also enjoy their pastimes while making a difference in the world. Consider how you can turn your skills, talents, and favorite activities into helpful hobbies that support your local community or an international cause.

Adopting / Fostering Animals

In addition to volunteering and fundraising, there are several more hobbies for animal lovers, such as fostering animals. Check your local shelters and nonprofit organizations to find out how to become temporary foster parents. This service helps keep animals out of shelters while they wait to find their forever homes.

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Classic Car Restoration

There’s something to be said about taking an old, inoperable piece of machinery and restoring it to its original glory. Sometimes neglected classic cars can be bought for cheap and, with a little love, fixed up to be your own personal hot rod.

EXPLORE MORE: Delaware Collector Car and Truck Clubs | Classic Car Shows in Sussex County

Lifelong Learning

Those passionate about expanding their knowledge and expertise should continue their lifelong learning pursuits. With both online and in-person classes available, active adults can learn foreign languages, history, art, architecture, creative writing, and anything else that sparks their interests. Plus, there are plenty of free courses and lessons online.

NOTE: Osher Lifelong Living Institute offers great local courses (over 300 each spring / fall, as well as shorter summer courses)

Making Money

Some hobbies can even provide an additional source of income for those who enjoy making and selling. On websites such as eBay, Etsy, Amazon and Facebook Marketplace, active adults can sell and trade handmade arts and crafts, collectibles, antiques, jewelry, candles, and much more. There are also local markets and seasonal craft fairs to participate in.

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A senior woman organizing an outdoor picnic for a fundraising event

Volunteering

Many active adults and retirees who find themselves with more leisure time decide to give that time back through volunteering. With thousands of local and national service organizations to choose from, volunteers get to support a cause and help others in a social environment.

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NOTE: a special subset of Volunteering is Fundraising

Another way to make a difference in peoples’ lives is through fundraising for nonprofit organizations and local causes. Raise money through bake sales, arts and crafts, and community yard sales, or come up with other creative ways to use your time and talents for good. You can also make new friends at fundraising events and connect over a shared interest in a good cause.

Online Hobbies

Thanks to cell phones, tablets, laptops, and computers, everyone can enjoy different hobbies anywhere and at any time. These hobbies all use the Internet to connect to new and interesting content worth revisiting time and time again.

Genealogy

With a little curiosity and a lot of determination, active adults can trace their family trees through the process of genealogy. This worthwhile endeavor connects people to their past and their ancestors, creating an account of family history that can benefit generations to come.

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A cheerful senior man enjoying an online hobby on a tablet at home

Podcasts

Next time you’re driving, running errands, doing chores, or lounging around the house, try turning on a podcast. Podcasts come in a variety of formats, but generally, they’re audio stories that people can listen to. These days, there are podcasts on almost any topic, including culture, education, true crime, news, health, and storytelling. HOW TO FIND PODCASTS EASILY

Solving Puzzles

All types of puzzles can encourage sharper mental acuity and quicker wit. Jigsaw puzzles, crosswords, sudoku, word searches, brain games, and mobile apps like Candy Crush and Wordscapes are all great companions for a leisurely afternoon–and all also found ONLINE!

Social Media

Social media can connect active adults to like-minded communities who enjoy the same hobbies. Plus, sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest have plenty of tutorials and do-it-yourself guides if you’re looking to learn a new activity. HOW TO FACEBOOK SEARCH FOR A GROUP

Video Games

Whether you want to relax and unwind or experience a new fantasy world, there are video games out there for every interest. They’re a great way to relax, but they can also help improve your memory, focus, dexterity, and vision. Check out “The Best Video Games for Active Adults” to get started.

YouTube

Since it was first launched in 2005, YouTube has become one of the most popular platforms in the world for watching videos. Anyone can create and post their own videos, and the topics can include news, musical performances, arts and crafts tutorials, sports, comedy, and much more. Just search for a topic and you’ll find a video to watch.


By Maddy Crozier, Originally published on June 19, 2020 at www.55places.com

Article topics were reorganized, with local links and italicized notes provided by The Delaware Retiree Connection.com, Summer 2023.

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