The 10 Most Popular Hobbies for People Over 65

by Jennifer Grey, Columnist | January 3, 2013 | Comments

Some seniors look forward to retiring—and pursuing a lifetime hobby or passion. Others wonder how they’ll fill the time. The truth is that after your time at work is over, your hobbies take its place—and can fill your days with purpose and enjoyment. Here’s a list of ten of the most popular hobbies out there for senior citizens.


If you’re an outdoor enthusiast and a bit of an adventure-seeker, you’ll love boating. There are many different ways to get involved depending on your area, interest, region, and ability. Canoeing, for instance, can be a low-impact form of exercise and a great way to get out on a lake or calm river. Sailing is also a wonderful way to enjoy the water and the sunshine—and taking sailing classes is a great way to get started. If you’re up for more strenuous exercise, try kayaking.

See Also: Senior Independent Living Communities

Man Playing Golf

Seniors keep busy in all kinds of ways—from volunteering in their local communities to pursuing personal artistic, craft-related, and intellectual passions.




Golf is another great way to enjoy the outdoors—and it’s highly popular with seniors. While it’s not as physically demanding as many other sports, it provides a great opportunity for low-impact cardio exercise—and also helps you improve your coordination. It’s flexible, in that it can be enjoyed solo or in a group.

See Also: Senior Home Care


Something about the slow, relaxing pace of fishing, the opportunity to enjoy a beautiful natural setting by a lake, stream, or river, and the excitement of catching a fish makes it an ideal hobby for anyone looking to relax. Fishing can provide plenty of opportunity for exercise as well as relaxation—and it’s a great hobby for seniors, either on their own or with friends and family. It’s especially fun with a grandchild or two in tow.


Antiquing can give seniors an opportunity to use their historical interests and knowledge in order to spot valuable antiques, collect them, and even make some money. Antiquing is a great hobby to share with friends or to do on your own—to beautify your house or build into a side business.

Digital photography

Photography is a great way to explore your creative side—and share images of vacations, family, and more. You can pursue nature photography, landscapes, cars, family, portraits, or anything else you’re interested in—and digital cameras and software make it easier than ever to take and edit photos.

Building models

If you love building on a small scale, there’s always a timeless classic many of us get introduced to in childhood—building models. You can build model cars, boats, trains—pretty much anything that you have an interest in. It’s a great hobby for keeping hand-eye coordination sharp.


Yes, gardening can be hard on the joints and knees. But there are many tools these days that make it easier for seniors to garden without having to kneel down often or lift heavy loads. And there’s something about nurturing a garden and watching your handiwork come to life in the form of beautiful flowers or delicious vegetables that makes gardening a bit addictive.


Giving back to your community, making new friends, and making people smile—what’s not to love about volunteering? Many seniors get involved in volunteering when they retire after a lifetime of work. There are always plenty of opportunities to volunteer, whether it’s with your local church or religious group, with a homeless shelter or soup kitchen, an animal shelter, or even a literacy nonprofit or your local library.


Genealogy is an increasingly popular hobby. And it’s perfect for seniors, who often have first-hand experience, insight, and memories with older generations that younger family members might not have. Genealogy allows you to find out more about your own family history—the people related to you, stories surrounding them, and where they lived. Becoming involved in genealogy can make your own family history richer—and maybe even lead to meetings with family members you didn’t know you had.


Keep your fingers nimble—and make beautiful scarves, hats, sweaters, and other knitted goods for your family. Knitting is a relaxing and fun hobby that’s ideal for seniors. It’s affordable, portable, and easy to do both in groups and on your own.

Seniors keep busy in all kinds of ways—from volunteering in their local communities to pursuing personal artistic, craft-related, and intellectual passions. Find a hobby—or more than one—that you enjoy, and your retirement will definitely get a lot more interesting.


Joseph Friday

01/18/2014 11:13 pm

When I went over 50 the urge to big game hunt dissipated inside me for some reason. I guess it came down to the spirit being willing but the flab being too great. Although in the past 6 months, I have dropped almost 50 pounds, the thrill of the hunt is not there. Shooting holes in paper is however as the challenge to make that 5 shot single hole at 100 yards still interests me. I also carry it a step further by reloading (rolling) my own ammo while nitpicking, weighing, measuring, etc each and every round of target ammo to assure I have the most accurate loads I can make. Many people and family members think I should give up my guns like Penn did! To that I say balderdash! From my cold dead hands might be worthy of iterating given the political attacks on our bill of rights and the presidents hatred of guns. to them I say, From my cold dead hands... Back to my hobby, The pleasure of making something yourself and using it to compete with or just participate in some activity requiring a discipline involving multiple bodily activities (in this case concentration, breath control, sight picture, steadiness, trigger squeeze, etc) make it a real challenge. I am able to keep my target holes within the diameter of between a nickel and quarter, but my goal is 1 hole a dime will cover. Why! I don't have a clue, just as a golfer would try to get under par, preferably 18 holes in one, or a bowler that 300 score I guess! I would love to teach my grandkids how to shoot and respect guns, but their mother was "conditioned" in school to look at guns as evil things that kill people! Shame that she can't recognize that an inanimate object must be wielded by a human being with malice in their minds and hearts so as to make it take a human life! In my over 50 years of handling and shooting firearms, never once, ever, have I seen a gun load itself, aim itself, squeeze its own trigger and intentionally kill a human being. Only people with strange imaginations can believe that can happen and the majority of them are hoplophobic progressive liberals!

Margie S.

06/03/2014 07:11 pm

Jennifer, where did you get these results? Was it a survey? If so, where were the people from and how many were surveyed?


05/14/2015 03:17 pm

from arm chair data banks !


05/22/2016 02:46 pm

Joseph Friday wrote "When I went over 50 the urge to big game hunt dissipated inside me"If aging has the same effect on all killers of wildlife, I hope all who participate in killing wildlife age rapidly.


05/22/2016 02:49 pm

I'm thinking there isn't a wide sampling of seniors, if any at all (aka just opinion). If you look at the vast amount of seniors with arthritis, and those with age related vision problems more than half the activies on the list of 10 become useless to those seniors.

Armando Delgado

06/05/2017 01:55 pm

Not appropriate Pahtoot. Unless you have a vegetarian all your life you have participated in the killing of an animal. And if you have been a vegetarian you have "killed" animals by taking away their habitats either through the work you do or your home. Animals are been decimated not by hunting or 'Killing' as you phrased it but by habitat destruction. You are a bit emotional.

Gerard Matthews

08/20/2017 09:07 am

What about walking. Swimming. Visiting Pubs. Visiting Graveyards and old Churches to uncover the history of the area. Local politics. Neighbourhood watch. Creative Writing. Amateur Dramatics. The world is your oyster!

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About the Author

Jennifer is a freelance writer based in New York City. She has worked as a GED teacher for an adult education nonprofit for several years, teaching students ranging in age from sixteen to sixty-eight. Today, she writes and researches on numerous topics-including adult education, senior living, and travel.