Best Hobbies for Retirees: 13 Fun & Budget Friendly Ideas

One hobby on this list is not like the others... $$$ 👀

Best Hobbies for Retirees: 13 Fun & Budget Friendly Ideas
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Retirement can be as exciting as it is daunting. While you finally have the time to relax and enjoy your hard-earned break from work, you might also find yourself searching for new activities top hobbies to fill your newfound free time. The options are endless!

In this article, we'll explore 13 retirement hobby ideas to help you enjoy this new stage in your life (plus 10 bonus ideas at the end).

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How Do I Find Hobbies in Retirement?

Finding the right retirement activities to fill your time can be overwhelming!

Let's break it down:

  • Identify What You Love: Start with a fun brainstorming session. Write down activities you’ve missed doing or always dreamed of trying. There's no wrong answer!
  • Research and Connect: Use the internet to uncover gems or ask around—friends and family can be great resources. Local community centers and libraries are treasure troves for low-cost classes and clubs.
  • Sample and Explore: Give potential hobbies a test run without committing long-term. Try a workshop, join a club meeting, or sit in on a class. There’s no harm in switching if something doesn’t fit.

The 13 Best Retirement Hobbies

Here's a baker's dozen of ideas for new hobbies that you can pick up during your retirement:

#1: Self-Publishing on Amazon

Self-publishing on Amazon is a great hobby for retirees looking to share their stories, knowledge, or creativity with the world.


  • Flexibility: Work at your own pace and set your own deadlines.
  • Creative Control: Maintain complete control over your content, cover design, and pricing.
  • Recurring Income: Earn royalties on every book sale long after your book is published.

How Much Money Can You Make Self-Publishing on Amazon?

Income from self-publishing on Amazon can be pretty variable, especially at the beginning. Some newbie authors and publishers earn a few hundred dollars a month, while others make tens of thousands. The whole point is that the more high-quality content you publish, the more your book royalties can begin to stack up and bring in steady, recurring income month-to-month.

On average, KDP self-publishers earn 70% royalties on e-books priced between $2.99 and $9.99, and roughly 60% royalties on paperbacks by publishing on Amazon.

Here's the story of a retired professor who started making over $1100 per month from a single book!

AIA Course

AIA is a beginner-friendly self-publishing program that teaches retirees the ins and outs of self-publishing, from researching the most lucrative book ideas, creating an eye-catching book cover to implementing a marketing plan.

We also show you how to outsource 90% of the publishing process if you'd rather be putting your time towards other hobbies!

Student Testimonials

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#2: Participating in a Book Club

Book clubs are perfect for retirees looking to stay mentally and socially active.

Here's why you might consider joining one:

  • Meet New Friends: Connect with like-minded people and enjoy engaging conversations.
  • Keep Your Brain Sharp: Regular reading and discussions boost cognitive health.
  • Find Inspiration: Discover new genres and authors that you might not have considered as a younger reader.

How to Find a Book Club:

  • Local Libraries and Bookstores: Check for existing clubs or events.
  • Online Clubs: Join virtual groups that match your interests (Facebook, Goodreads, LinkedIn).

#3: Walking and Hiking

Walking and hiking are great outdoor activities for retirees, with tons of mental and physical health benefits.

Here’s why you might want to lace up those walking shoes:

  • Boost Your Heart Health: Walking and hiking improve cardiovascular fitness.
  • Strengthen Muscles: Build your muscle strength and endurance.
  • Increase Flexibility: Improve balance and flexibility.
  • Reduce Stress: Enjoy the peace & quiet of nature.
  • Socialize: Meet new friends and join walking or hiking groups.

#4: Education & Online Classes

It's never too late to learn something new!

Benefits of Online Learning

  • Stay Mentally Engaged: Fight off brain fog and keep flexing your neurons.
  • Discover New Interests: Explore topics you’ve always been curious about.
  • Flexible Learning: Study at your own pace from home.

Topics to Explore

  • Foreign Language: Brush up or learn new ones on platforms like Duolingo or Drops.
  • Arts: Take painting, drawing, or photography courses.
  • Technology: Learn new tools and software that can make your life easier.
  • History & Culture: Dive into trends and contribute to your family history.

Where to Learn

  • Online Platforms: Websites like Coursera, Skillshare, Masterclass, and EdX offer a huge range of courses.
  • Local Colleges: Many institutions also offer continuing education programs for seniors, some at a discount.

#5: Crafting, Carpentry, and Woodworking

Crafting, carpentry, and woodworking are perfect if you want to spend your retirement years doing something hands-on.


  • Creativity: You can create from the heart!
  • Satisfaction: Completing a project gives a sense of accomplishment.
  • Connect with Others: You might be able to pass on these skills to your grandchildren or other family members.

Learning and Improvement

  • Online Tutorials: Platforms like YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram offer free tutorials.
  • Local Classes: Local hardware stores (and even big names like Home Depot) often offer shop classes for all skill levels.
  • Books and Magazines: Subscribe to art and woodworking magazines or borrow books from the local library for tips and project ideas.

Ideas for Craft Hobbies

  • Gifts: Handmade gifts like picture frames, jewelry boxes, or toys for grandchildren.
  • Home Decor: Create unique home decor items such as shelves, coat racks, or garden decorations.
  • Functional Items: Build practical items like small furniture, tool boxes, or kitchen utensils.

#6: Volunteering or Mentoring

Volunteering or mentoring can be incredibly rewarding retirement hobbies. These activities allow you to share your knowledge and experience with others, and they help you maintain a sense of purpose and fulfillment in daily life.


  • Sense of Purpose: Helping others just feels good.
  • Make a Real Difference: Stay engaged and connected to your local community.
  • Personal Growth: Learn new skills and gain new perspectives.

Popular Options

  • Nonprofits: Join local organizations focused on education, healthcare, or environmental conservation.
  • Animal Shelters: Volunteer with local shelters to care for animals by walking them, feeding them, or even reading to them.
  • Family Programs: Help with after-school programs, food banks, or senior centers.


  • Youth Programs: Mentor young individuals in academics, sports, or the arts.
  • Professional Mentoring: Share your business experience with budding entrepreneurs.
  • Arts and Crafts: Teach creative skills like painting, music, or writing.

#7: Yoga, Taichi, and Martial Arts

Yoga, Tai Chi, and certain Martial Arts are great for seniors aiming to maintain physical and mental well-being.


  • Physical Health: Improves flexibility, balance, and strength.
  • Mental Well-being: Reduces stress and anxiety.
  • Mindfulness: Improves focus.


  • Gentle Exercise: Low-impact, suitable for all fitness levels.
  • Styles: Start with beginner-friendly chair yoga or restorative yoga.
  • Accessibility: Classes available online or in person.

Tai Chi

  • Flowing Movements: Combines smooth movements with deep breathing.
  • Health Benefits: Improves balance, focus, and overall health.
  • Beginner-Friendly: Suitable for all ages and fitness levels.

#8: Video Games & Board Games

Games are good for entertainment and mental challenges, whether you're keeping it old school or venturing out into the more modern ones.


  • Mental Stimulation: Improves cognitive functions like memory, strategy, and problem-solving.
  • Social Interaction: Connects you with friends, family, and online communities.
  • Entertainment: Offers fun and relaxation during leisure time.

Video Games

  • Brain Games: Puzzle and strategy games like Sudoku, Tetris, and Brain Age.
  • Adventure Games: Explore new worlds and solve puzzles in games like The Legend of Zelda and Animal Crossing.
  • Social Games: Join online multiplayer games or social platforms like Words with Friends, Scrabble, Mario Party, and even Jeopardy.

Board Games

  • Classic Games: Enjoy timeless favorites like Chess, Scrabble, and Monopoly.
  • Strategy Games: Challenge yourself with Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, or Risk.
  • Social Games: Host game nights with friends and family with snacks and drinks.

#9: Gardening

Gardening offers a range of physical and mental health benefits for people of all ages, but it's especially popular among retirees who might not have had the time for it previously.


  • Physical Health: Improves flexibility, strength, and stamina through moderate physical activity.
  • Mental Well-being: Reduces stress, anxiety, and depression.
  • Cognitive Exercise: Improves planning, problem-solving, and decision-making skills.
  • Social Interaction: Join gardening clubs and community gardens.

Getting Started

  • Start Small: Begin with easy-to-grow plants like basil, tomatoes, or marigolds.
  • Choose the Right Plants: Choose plants that thrive in your region and climate.
  • Experiment: Try different plants and garden designs to discover what works best for you.

#10: Golf

Golf offers a chance to be outdoors, enjoy nature, and challenge your precision and strategy.


  • Physical Health: Improves muscle strength, flexibility, and balance.
  • Cardiovascular Health: Walking several miles during a round promotes heart health and weight management.
  • Mental Stimulation: Improves focus, strategy, and patience.

Social Aspect

  • Community Bonding: Join local clubs, leagues, or retirement community courses to meet new people and bond with friends.
  • Team Formats: Try different formats like stroke play, match play, and scramble to keep the game interesting.

#11: Learning a New Musical Instrument

Playing music provides an outlet for creativity and numerous cognitive, emotional, and social benefits.

Popular Instruments

  • Ukulele: Great for beginners due to its small size and simple chord structures.
  • Guitar: Offers acoustic or electric and tons of genres.
  • Piano: Keyboards are pretty easy to find on Facebook Marketplace or pawn shops.

Tips for Getting Started

  • Start Slowly: Get to know the basics and build a solid foundation.
  • Stay Consistent: Establish realistic goals and practice regularly to see steady progress.
  • Join a Group: Connect with fellow musicians or join a local group to share your progress, gain feedback, and learn from others.

#12: Writing or Recording

Writing or recording your thoughts, experiences, and memories can be a therapeutic and enjoyable hobby for retirees.


  • Cognitive Enhancement: Improve memory, vocabulary, writing, and critical thinking skills.
  • Mental Well-being: Reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Legacy Creation: Document your life stories and experiences for friends, family, and future generations.

Writing Formats

  • Personal Essays: Share your thoughts and feelings on specific experiences or topics.
  • Memoir Writing Class: Focus on particular times, events, or themes from your life.
  • Fiction: Create characters and plots to write short stories or novels.
  • Poetry: Express emotions and observations through verse.

Recording Ideas

  • Oral History: Record personal stories and memories, providing a first-hand account of your life.
  • Audio Journal: Speak your thoughts and experiences out loud.
  • Podcasts: Discuss topics you're passionate about or interview interesting people.

#13: Knitting, Crocheting, and Needlework

Knitting, crocheting, and needlework are great for older adults who love working with their hands and creating something tangible.

Types of Projects

  • Knitting: Use two long needles to create items like scarves, hats, blankets, and socks.
  • Crocheting: Use a single hook for textured items such as baby blankets, dishcloths, and doilies.
  • Needlework: Practice embroidery, cross-stitch, and needlepoint to make home decor items or gifts.


  • Relaxation: Reduce stress and go at your own pace.
  • Skill Improvement: Improve fine motor skills and cognitive function.
  • Creative Output: Produce beautiful, functional items for yourself or loved ones.

10 Bonus Ideas

Here's a bonus retirement hobbies list:

  1. Birdwatching: Place feeders in your own backyard.
  2. RV Life: Tour the National Parks.
  3. Building a Collection: Collect coins, stamps, dolls, etc.
  4. Cycling or Swimming: Train for your first triathlon.
  5. Become a Foodie: Seek out Michelin star restaurants around the world.
  6. Puzzles: Join a puzzle contest.
  7. Film Critic: Share all your reviews online.
  8. Genealogy: Create a family tree.
  9. Scrapbooking: Create memory books for each grandchild.
  10. Trivia: Join a trivia team.

Self-Publishing: A Hobby That Pays $$$

Senior living doesn't have to be boring!

Finding out about self-publishing has been a breath of fresh air to thousands of seniors all over the world. See for yourself why it is among the best side hustles for retirees.

They've gone from...

  • Worrying about their retirement funds to feeling in control
  • Being afraid they'll never stop working to only working when they feel like it
  • Wanting to spend more time with their family to actually doing it

And for most of them, it was a completely new hobby they never even knew existed.

See how you can get started with one of the only hobbies for seniors that actually pays you to do what you want!

Access the free self-publishing webinar here!

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