35+ Fun Things to Do in Retirement to Keep Busy


Congratulations! You made it to retirement. You’ve worked so hard for what likely feels like a lifetime, and now you can kick back and relax. Along with all of that relaxing, you might be thinking that you want to find some fun ways to keep yourself busy. 

Jump ahead to these sections:

This is the perfect time to try new retirement hobbies, explore the great outdoors, spend more time with family, and maybe even make a little money on the side. You’ll find articles that are relevant to your new lifestyle and tons of ideas on how to stay busy. 

While you wait for your new subscription to arrive in the mail, we’ve put together a list of 35 fun things to do after you say goodbye to your coworkers for the very last time. 

Free Activities to Try in Retirement

Perhaps you are being careful with your retirement savings, and want to make the most of all your new life without spending a ton of money. Even if money isn’t a consideration, everybody loves a bit of free fun! Here are ten free activities to try after you retire.

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1. Become an artist

Try your hand at painting, drawing, sculpting, or any other art forms that pique your interest. Who knows? You might be surprised to find out that you’re incredibly talented!

Tip for getting started: To make this activity as cost-effective as possible, source supplies from your local dollar store or thrift shop. If you already have supplies laying around the house, perhaps for your grandkids, even better.

2. Make new friends 

Retirement is such a wonderful opportunity to spend time with friends — new and old! Now that you have all the free time in the world, you can find interesting people to share it with. 

Tip for getting started: A good way to make new friends is to join a club. For instance, if you love playing cards, join a local card club (bridge is always a great option), and you’re bound to make some lifelong friends. 

3. Write a book

Your life already has so many interesting chapters. Why not take this opportunity to write a memoir? Your family will be grateful to have a written and detailed history of your life, and this will keep you busy for months (or even years). Plus—you never know—maybe your book will be a smashing success.

Is a memoir not really your thing? Get creative and write a book in the genre of your choosing. 

Tip for getting started: Start with a quick search online. There are many great writer’s tools, resources, and guides available to get you started. The best part — many are 100% free. 

4. Get involved civically

A great activity to get involved in once you retire is civic engagement. With all of your spare time, you can make an impact on your local community. 

Tip for getting started: First, figure out what policy sector you’d like to get into. Are you interested in education, the environment, or other policy areas? Are you passionate about local, state, or federal government? Then find out what policy campaigns or which candidates you’d like to support. 

5. Declutter your life

You’ve probably accumulated a lifetime worth of stuff at this point. Some of it is, of course, valuable and sentimental.

However, we all also accumulate a lot of junk. Now is a great time to organize, repurpose, and clear out anything that no longer serves you.

Tip for getting started: Start by figuring out what you’d like to keep, throw away, donate, or sell. If you are keeping more than you’d like, ask yourself the following questions to help you decide: 

  • Does it work properly?
  • Does it have sentimental value?If you answered yes, where will this live in my home? Is a picture of this item enough?
  • Have you used it in the past year?

6. Pick up an instrument 

Music is so good for the soul. If you’ve been interested in learning how to play an instrument, now’s the time! 

If you’re already a musician, enjoy all the time you now have to play your instrument and learn new songs.

Tip for getting started: Before you fork over any money to an instructor, teach yourself some basics. YouTube is a great place to get started. 

7. Take a free class

You may have moved on from your career, but there is no better time than right now to further your education. You can learn a subject you’ve always been interested in, but never found the time to study with your busy work schedule. 

Tip for getting started: Most community colleges have free classes for seniors. You can also find free courses online in a multitude of subjects. It’s never too late to learn something new.

8. Learn a new language

If you are planning on doing any traveling as part of your retirement plan, it would be really cool to learn the language of your destination. This is also just a fun and useful skill to have in everyday life.

Tip for getting started: Before you spend any money or even commit to a free language class, try a free language learning app at home. Duolingo is an easy, user-friendly option that has worked for many people. 

9. Start a blog

You’ve lived such an interesting life, and now you’re headed on some new adventures. Try blog writing to capture your retirement.

Others may be interested in reading and learning from your experiences. If not, you’ll have a nice living history for your family to enjoy. 

Tip for getting started: There are great free resources for blogging all over the internet. There are also many free blog writing platforms. Watch some YouTube tutorials, read some tips, and then choose the platform and template that suits your style best.

10. Do absolutely nothing

Take some time off! You deserve it! Does sleeping in, eating a late breakfast, and spending the day doing a crossword puzzle sound incredible to you?

Go for it! You’ve spent most of your life working hard—it’s okay to take a well-deserved break. 

Tip for getting started: Some people consider this a sabbatical or gap-year. Take some time right after you retire to do absolutely nothing. When you get tired of this, the world is your oyster. 

Outdoor Activities to Try in Retirement

Journeying into the great outdoors has so many benefits for physical, mental, emotional, and even spiritual health. Here are ten outdoor activities you can test out now that you’re no longer sitting behind a desk or working 40 hours per week. 

11. Go camping

With all your new free time, you can explore many different locations. You can try out camping in your backyard or head to a beautiful location in a forest, mountain, or lake. This is also a wonderful activity for the whole family. 

Tip for getting started: Many national parks and camping sites have free or discounted passes for seniors.

12. Try golf

There’s a good reason that so many retired folks love to golf. It’s fun, social, good exercise, and keeps you busy for hours or even days at a time. 

Tip for getting started: It’s a good idea to get started with a professional instructor. Golf is a very challenging sport to learn on your own. 

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13. Cross things off your bucket list

Retirement is the perfect time to make your way through your bucket list. Experience all of the things you want to do before you “kick the bucket”. This is the opposite of morbid — it’s aspirational, fun, and truly living life to the fullest.

Tip for getting started: Don’t have a bucket list? Here’s a great resource to get you started. If you love an adrenaline rush, sky diving is always a great place to start.

14. Go fishing

Fishing, like golf, is the perfect retirement activity because it’s a very time-consuming sport. Fishing is lovely because it can be done independently or with friends. Solo fishing can be very meditative. Fishing with friends can end in a delicious and fresh home-cooked meal.

Tip for getting started: Head to your local hardware or sports goods store and get some advice from the salesperson on gear. 

Try out several different types and locations. Some people love ice fishing while others prefer to lounge on a sunny dock while they dangle their line and feet in the water.

15. Go to special events

When it’s warm out, there are often lots of outdoor events. Go see a local band play in the park or head to a food truck festival. 

Tip for getting started: Go to your town’s website to find local outdoor events. You can also try calling 311 to speak with an operator about how to find out what’s happening in your community. 

16. Try photography

Grab your camera and head to the location of your choice. Snap lots of photos and see what turns out. Be creative!

Tip for getting started: If you have no idea what you’re doing, read some photography blogs, check out some online video tutorials, or find a free local class. 

17. Go hiking 

Hiking is another great activity to try solo or with friends. You can start off easy and do more advanced trails as your skill level increases. 

Hiking is a magical way to get exercise while seeing the most beautiful vistas and views. If you’re also trying out photography, remember to bring your camera!

Tip for getting started: Make sure you bring twice as much water as you’ll need, and when you’re halfway through your water supply, it’s time to head home. It’s also a good idea if you’re hiking alone to let someone know exactly where you’re going, and leave a note with your hiking location at home and in your car. Be safe out there. 

18. Try out some water sports

If you’re the adventurous type, water sports can be so much fun! Even just enjoying boat rides is a great way to soak in some beautiful weather during retirement. Kayaking in still waters is another more gentle and safe water sport that is also excellent exercise. 

Tip for getting started: If you are engaging in a riskier water sport like water skiing, paragliding, jet skiing, or sailing, make sure to have an instructor show you the ropes. If you want to make it a group activity, a canoe is a fun and often hilarious bonding experience. 

19. Exercise

If you haven’t already established an exercise routine, it’s never too late. Go for long walks in your neighborhood or at a park, hire a personal trainer, or find some outdoor yoga classes. The options are endless.

Tip for getting started: Start slowly. An injury is a sure-fire way to spoil your retirement plans. If you’re walking or any other exercise that requires sneakers, invest in a good pair with lots of support.

Find a great video online from a site like DailyOM or YouTube and give it a try. 

20. Raise chickens

Have you ever enjoyed a fresh egg from a friend’s chickens? They are unparalleled! Pick up some new clucking friends, learn how to feed and care for them, and enjoy the most delicious and fresh eggs you’ll ever have. 

Tip for getting started: Make sure to read local ordinances and laws before bringing home any chickens. Some communities prohibit this or have specific rules. The USDA and other organizations have tons of resources on how to keep your chickens healthy, happy, and safe.

Family Activities to Try in Retirement 

Retirement is the perfect time to spend more quality time with your family. You now likely have the freedom and flexibility to travel, babysit, and participate in new activities. Here are ten activities you can try with the family.

21. Travel

Now that you have all the time in the world, travel it! Explore new places you’ve never been, and experience different cultures. 

You no longer have to worry about job responsibilities or saving up vacation time. Choose some family-friendly locations, and bring the kids and grandkids along for some quality time. We can’t think of a better gift than a family vacation. Traveling is incredibly enriching for all ages.

Tip for getting started: Some things about getting older and earning the title, “senior citizen” can be tough, but there are some amazing benefits. Milk it for all its worth by getting steep senior discounts on hotels, museums, zoos, and other travel activities.

22. Visit family

Scheduling time with relatives is challenging when everyone has jobs and responsibilities to work around. Now that you’re retired, you can visit family on their time. 

Tip for getting started: If you’re visiting your kids, offer to babysit the grandkids. This will give you some one-on-one time with the little ones who probably see you as their hero. Take advantage of those senior discounts for some fun and exciting family-friendly activities. 

23. Volunteer

Volunteering is an enriching and generous way to stay busy once you retire. Elevate this experience by inviting your family to join you. 

Children can experience the joy of giving back, and you can get some quality time with the people you love most while doing good in the world. 

Tip for getting started: When it comes to volunteering, there are endless options. From nursing homes to soup kitchens and animal shelters to national parks, there’s an organization out there that’s a great fit for you.

24. Dance the night away 

Dancing is one of the healthiest activities you can do. Studies have shown that dancing regularly can reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s by over 75%! 

Tip for getting started: Dancing with family and friends is even more fun. Find a local ballroom class or salsa event and bring the whole crew. 

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25. Take a cooking class 

Food is better when shared. Take some cooking classes and wow your family with your new delicious skills. 

Tip for getting started: Find classes at local colleges, community centers, and even shops like William Sonoma at the mall.

26. Re-engage with your spirituality

If you are religious or spiritual, you may feel like your career and time constraints kept you from participating as much as you would have liked. 

Now that you have much more free time, you have the opportunity to reconnect to your practices and community. 

Tip for getting started: There are so many ways to reconnect to your faith. You can go to services, read books, engage in regular prayer, or even just unplugging technology and plugging into nature can be spiritual for many. 

27. Connect with your heritage 

Research your family history, create a family tree, or travel to the places your family originated. Share what you’re learning with your relatives, or take them on this journey with you. 

Tip for getting started: Creating a family tree is the perfect way to learn about your heritage and to have a keepsake for many generations. Not sure where to get started? Check out how to find, create, and understand your family tree.

28. Foster a pet

You may feel like you’re not ready to commit to many years caring for a new furry friend. Fostering a pet until they find a forever home is a great solution, and the grandkids will love having a new playmate when they visit.

Tip for getting started: Do a search online for some reputable fostering organizations, or head to a nearby animal shelter to explore your options.

29. Teach your grandkids a new skill

You’ve spent decades honing and refining valuable skills in your career, why not use this opportunity to spend time with your grandkids and share your wealth of knowledge. 

Tip for getting started: Learning through play is valuable and much more fun for everyone. Teach them skills by creating games, puzzles, and sharing experiences. If teaching isn’t really in your wheelhouse or of interest to you, take the grandkids to a class and learn new skills together. 

30. Frequent your local library 

Pickup your grandkids and head to the local library and share the joy of reading. This is also a great place to make new friends. 

Tip for getting started: Head to your local library’s website, and you will likely find an event calendar. Libraries often have both senior events, and also music and storytime events for the kiddos. 

Side Hustle or Money-Making Retirement Activities to Try

Just because you’ve retired from your career, doesn’t mean that you don’t still have marketable skills! If you’re interested in making some extra money in your retirement, here are some ideas to get you started. 

31. Sell your art

If you’ve taken up art as a retirement hobby, you may have discovered that you’re actually really talented! If so, try your hand at selling your masterpieces. 

Tip for getting started: Contact a local art gallery to see if they would be interested in displaying your work. Some shops and restaurants also display local artists’ work for sale. Another option is to list your work online on sites like Etsy or eBay. 

32. Remodel your house

Now that you have all the time in the world, tackle those projects around the house that you never got around to. This could be a very lucrative hobby, as it could greatly increase the value of your home if you choose to sell. 

Tip for getting started: Head to your local hardware store and get some expert tips. If you’re not a hands-on person, find a local contractor to help. 

33. Get a job you’re passionate about

This might seem counterintuitive. You just retired, after all! However, you may have always wondered what a different career path would have been like. Now is your opportunity to find out.

Tip for getting started: Start by thinking through what would truly interest you. Don’t take the first thing that comes along. You’re retired now — you get to be choosy. Once you pick a field of interest, search the web for openings. You can also directly contact organizations you would love to work with and inquire if they might have a good fit for you. 

34. Start a business

Have you always dreamed of being your own boss? Do you feel like you can solve a problem that many consumers face? Try your hand at entrepreneurship! 

Tip for getting started: Before you invest your life savings into your new business, take an entrepreneurship class or workshop at a local college or community center. You can get financial, operational, and other business advice and see if your idea is ready to hit the market. 

35. Become a teacher or tutor

After all those years of hard work in your career, you’ve gained some truly valuable skills and expertise. Share this wealth of knowledge by becoming a teacher or tutor. 

Tip for getting started: Try reaching out to your local community college or nearby schools. See if they would be interested in having you come teach a class or tutor students in your area of expertise. 

Enjoy Your Retirement to the Fullest

Whatever you choose to do with this new chapter of your life, we encourage you to enjoy it to the fullest. If you try an activity and realize it’s not for you, move on to the next one! This time belongs to you, and you’ve truly earned it. 

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