Fulfilling Hobbies To Do in Retirement

Finding multiple hobbies you love is one of the great secrets to having a happy retirement.
hobbies to do in retirement

Are you looking forward to retirement, but wondering what in the world you’re going to do with all that free time? Finding a hobby you love is one way to feel fulfilled after your working years. Hobbies can help you stay physically active, keep your mind sharp and connect you to new friends.

And there are so many possibilities to choose from! You can finally get into the hobby you’ve been itching to do for years but never had the time for, or check out an exciting activity that’s totally new to you.

Not sure where to start? Get your wheels turning with these eight hobbies to do in retirement.


Have you always dreamed of writing a novel? Retirement is the perfect time to do it! You can find tons of how-to guides that can help you dive into your new novel, memoir, cookbook or children’s book. You could even start a blog based on your interests or experiences!

And you can write almost anywhere – from the comfort of a cozy chair, at your favorite coffee shop, in your neighborhood park or even a hammock at the beach.

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Whether you’re growing fresh veggies for dinner, transforming your backyard into a tranquil Zen garden or vying for a blue ribbon with your gorgeous roses, gardening is one of the hobbies to do in retirement that ticks a lot of boxes. It’s creative and inexpensive, it promotes relaxation, physical exercise and connection with nature, and you can do it alone or with others. Plus, your friends will be more than happy to share your summertime bounty of tomatoes and zucchini. The internet is full of resources and kits for first-time gardeners, like mini herb gardens, beginner tool kits, unique vegetable kits and bonsai starters.

Fitness or Sports

Love yoga? Crazy for tennis? If you’re wondering about hobbies to do in your retirement that could help your overall wellness, the answer could lie in your morning workout or favorite sport. Staying physically active has huge benefits for your health. There’s so much to choose from, both indoors and outdoors, low-impact and high – yoga, hiking, cycling, running, swimming, tai chi, Zumba, rock climbing, walking, weight-lifting. Check out our wishlist of the best home gym equipment.

Need more golf, basketball, softball or tennis in your life? Join a club or community league to make friends and have fun playing your favorite sport.


There’s something so satisfying about making things with your hands, especially after a career that involves sitting at a desk.

Here are some ideas to explore:

  • Woodworking
  • Pottery
  • Stained Glass
  • Mosaics
  • Crocheting
  • Sewing
  • Quilting
  • Scrapbooking
  • Jewelry making

Create items that are useful, beautiful or both. Design tiles for your new garden, knit cute scarves for your grandkids, sew blankets for people in need, build the perfect dining table. You can also try learning something new by getting a kit with instructions and all the materials you need.

hobbies to do in retirement

Learn To Play a Musical Instrument

Maybe you played piano when you were young but had to give it up, or you’ve always wanted to learn the violin but never had time.

It’s never too late to learn a new instrument, and studies have found the process can improve your memory, boost concentration and reduce stress.

Sign up for one-on-one lessons, tune in to instructors on YouTube or check out a how-to guide for your instrument of choice. Make music with new friends at a weekly jam session or join a community orchestra.


Dancing is a wonderful way to meet new friends and stay active in your retirement. There are so many styles of dance to choose from, you’re sure to find one that matches your physical ability and musical taste.

Try swing dancing, waltz, contra, salsa or country line dancing. Most community dances offer a free lesson before the main event, or you can build your confidence with lessons at a dance studio (spangly costumes not required!).


Want to see the world? Whether you’re planning the ultimate barbecue road trip or want to sip wine at a Parisian cafe, with your newly flexible schedule, retirement is the perfect time to travel. You might not be able to go anywhere just yet, but it’s never too early to start planning. Check out our wishlist for the best travel accessories to bring with you!

When you’re able to travel, you can snag deals and discounts by visiting AAA.com/Travel.


Have you always dreamed of getting into photography? These days there are plenty of affordable, entry-level digital SLR cameras to choose from. Get started with a photography class to learn your craft and make new friends.

Through taking photos, you can explore your city, engage with nature, document your travels and capture moments with your family. You’ll gain technical skills, develop your artistic side and create something special to share with others.

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What are your favorite hobbies to do in retirement? Tell us in the comments below!

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70 thoughts on “Fulfilling Hobbies To Do in Retirement

  1. Like your ideas. I belong to a gym, garden, travel, and build dollshouse’s with furnishings. I also have lunch w/girls 1-2 x a month, when we’re all in same county. I’m still trying to find a volunteer thing that fits me. I am thinking of going back to work p/t too.

    1. Hi Linda!

      Thanks so much for reading. It certainly sounds like you’re having a wonderful retirement. Good luck in your search!


    2. Do you like animals? Shelters are always looking for volunteers. Is there a Zoo near you? Try being a Docent, which is an educational volunteer.

    3. I volunteer one day a week for Meals on Wheels. It has been very fulfilling. I know people who do it 3 times a week.

    4. Hi Linda, I can suggest two volunteer possibilities, American Red Cross and local Food Bank. You may already have expertise needed at these organizations. Best of luck to you!

  2. I think the key is to start developing other activities before retiring. If you don’t already have a hobby or other interest outside your work and family you should start exploring now. I plan on retiring in about 5 years but I will still need a supplement income so my sister and I have started a small farm. Now it doesn’t take much energy and time and all we sell is eggs on a very small scale but we are planning on the future of the farm. I look forward to spending time with the animals, being my own boss and being as one with nature.

  3. I found a Public Access TV training course. I learned to use professional equipment for recording, editing and production. I now produce my own shows which are broadcast at regular times. I interview and have conversations about any topic of my choosing. I have interviewed many folk about Spirituality in their endeavors: yoga, music, running. I have had discussions with a local chaplain about our thoughts about Spirituality and some of the ways it works in our lives; I have interviewed a Humanist and a Metaphysician and have learned a great deal. The training at the TV studio was free and open to any resident in the broadcast area. I wish I hadn’t waited until I was 78 years old to find this wonderful creative outlet for myself.

    1. Congratulations for your achievements. Your story is truly inspiring to me. While reading I did experience your energy and excitement for doing all that. That is believing in self. Wishing you greater success. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  4. Don’t forget the classic….learn to play duplicate bridge! I took it up in an adult ed class 6 years ago and now I am playing every day, even during the pandemic! It’s very challenging and a great way to keep the mind sharp, and to make new friends.

    1. I couldn’t agree more. I’ve been in the hobby for more than 60 years and since I retired, I’m making real progress on my newest layout. Just adding to the 8 already occupying my office and basement. I’ve also done presentations in the past, bringing a few of the smaller layouts to libraries, church groups, elementary and preschools. After all these years, it nice to know that many people still enjoy seeing model trains.

      1. I have a friend whose dad designed and built extensive model railroad layouts. When he died, my friend took his extensive layout apart. Email me at fnm51@verizon.net if you think you want to see what he has left, for possible purchase.

  5. Don’t forget to include square dancing and Pickleball! They provide endless opportunities for social fun and travel.

    1. I am also a square dancer. My husband and I were fortunate enough to have danced in thirteen states. I belong to a square dance club in Newtown, CT called the Rocking Roosters.

  6. Take up chess! You can learn on any number of websites or from youtube videos and when you think you’re ready, you can play chess 24/7 online. Learn with a friend, and then you can play and socialize at the same time.

  7. When I was looking retirement in the face last October, a friend suggested I go to watercolor painting classes with her. I joined two and at the age of 70, I found out that I actually have some artistic ability. I even sold 6 of my watercolors, which thrilled me to no end. Not only does it give me a sense of worth, but I just love painting.

    1. I retired last August and found out how much I love acrylic painting. There are quite a few tutorials on YouTube.

  8. So something a little different..I’ve always been fascinated with the paranormal. Had the chance to start-up my own paranormal investigation service, and now do regular ghost hunting, crypto investigations etc. Love it; starting visiting “haunted locations” throughout the country , which makes me travel more!! Heading for Europe (when we can) to visit the old castles there

  9. Agreed, TJB. DOTake up the card game of Duplicate Bridge. Once the pandemic ends, most local bridge clubs will re-open, and lessons offered on how to begin learning the game. Playing bridge is not only interesting, but has been medically found to enhance a senior’s mental capacities! In addition, the social interaction creates the opportunity to develop many new friendships. As an avid player, I would strongly recommend it.

  10. Paper folding known as origami is my passion. I have won many awards for my origami. At Christmas I decorate my tree with origami ornaments such as stars, animals and orbs. Origami keeps my mind active and my fingers nimble and it is only paper.

  11. I have dabbled in paints, i.e. canvas, mixed media, water colors it’s fun and I can get totally lost when painting. I recently discovered that I love pencil and charcoal art. I have created greeting cards, note cards and love the creations.

  12. I got into family genealogy, both my husbands and mine. 8 families. I’ve decided to stop and create albums for existing relatives with the data, stories of deceased and photos. They love it! So rewarding and an opportunity to see where we’ve come from.

    1. I took up genealogy about 15 years ago when I was contacted by a cousin in another state who was doing it. I must admit it is very addictive, but I love doing it. These days I have some mobility issues so it is a great hobby for someone like me. I have met cousins I never knew existed both in the USA and in Scotland and Ireland. I am also researching my husband’s family (Lithuanian) and that of my Italian daughter-in-law so I can pass on all our family trees to my grandchildren.

  13. I like the musical instrument idea and thought of that. Unfortunately, I always wanted to play the drums (been practicing on my steering wheel my whole life!). But, I’ll probably need buy-in from my wife and neighbors first.

    1. Check out electronic drum kits! You can bang away to your heart’s content at 2:00am and no-one will hear a thing

    2. My husband has an electric drumset, which is great. He can hear the music he is playing drums to, and it is very quiet except to him with the earphones, unless he plugs it into an amp. But even with an amp, he can control the volume.

  14. Absolutely, it’s best to cultivate some interests before retiring. I’ve been doing family research for more than twenty years, love photography, sing with two local choral groups, and enjoy reading. I’m active on the boards of two local organizations. Add in daily chores and a bit of gardening, and I don’t know how I ever found the time to work full-time.

  15. My grandmother taught me to knit and crochet when I was 10 or 12 but I never really used it until my first grandchild was on the way. I never forgot how and wanted to make my first grandchild the kind of heirloom baby sweater & afghan set that my grandmother made and I was thrilled with the result. She’s 23 now with 2 siblings and her Mom always reminds me that they’ve kept that set and how precious it is. As a lifelong professional teacher, I decided to get certified as an instructor in both knitting and crochet and I absolutely love teaching others to make memorable gifts as well. What a gift it is to pass on traditions and crafts for a lifetime of handmade treasures!

  16. I was an economics/math major in college and worked in the finance industry for 25 years, so when I retired I decided I needed to use the “other” side of my brain and have taken up watercolor painting, ukulele lessons and joined a senior chorus. Haven’t had so much fun in years!

  17. I have been able to parlay my love of teaching (yes, I am a newly retired teacher) and my love of crochet and combine them. I am now a certified crochet instructor with 3, possible 4, students.

  18. I have gone back to stamp collecting and this makes me an armchair traveler. You can learn a lot of history and culture this way. There is also a lot of virtual stamp club activity. My grandkids got me into building Lego models. I favor the Architecture series which does buildings and monuments. Both of these hobbies are very suitable to pandemic restrictions.

  19. I like working with my hands. Presently, I am handcaning a chair and putting an imitation rush seat into another.

  20. Handmade greeting cards is one of my hobbies. I make cards for nursing homes, children’s hospitals. If you’re lucky you can sell them too to cover costs at least. It’s helped me to stay busy during our stay at home orders.

    1. Even as a child I made cards for occasions like birthdays and anniversaries for family members. Over the years I have sometimes done cards or other artsy-crafts-type things (like decorated treasure boxes), mainly for grandchildren and my husband. Could you kindly tell me more about what you do and how you do it? E.g., do you mass produce your cards in some way? Or is each one totally unique? I also like “do-good” activities, so the idea of cards for those in some way needy appeals to me. Do you send cards to such people or give or sell them to homes who then give or sell them to the actual senders? Anything you can tell me I would love to know. Thank you! Viv

  21. How about Model Railroading? Many clubs all over the country to get you started. Great camaraderie and involves multiple skills such as woodworking, wiring, model building and creating scenery. Check out one of many clubs via links such as http://www.wmrr.org.

  22. True..you have to find a hobby before retiring, so life will be interesting and productive after you stop working. I retired 3 yrs ago and I joined 2 senior centers for activities to kill boredom and found new friends. I did zumba and yoga exercises 3x a week in one senior center and did free acrylic painting classes for 2.5 hours/ 2x a week in another centerAAA. But since pandemic closed all senior centers, I started doing my chair yoga in my living room and sewing mask for the frontliners and making quilts and bags on the leftover fabrics, for my grandkids and gifts for families and friends. No time wasted and I feel productive. I’m almost 70(next month) but my energy is high like a young woman. I believe, the positivity in me is what’s keeping me alive. Stay safe and get that vaccine into your arms!!!!

  23. I have too many hobbies. Working on antique cars. Photography, I’ve been taking photos since 1950 have over 28,000 filed B&W negatives.Working on our house. Photographing
    & recording trad jazz, both current & past (Born in ’35 and prefer music of the ’20’s-’30’s)
    Plus a number of other things.

  24. Collecting, restoring and rebuilding vintage electronics (radio, stereo, etc) as well as the amateur radio hobby.

  25. Chess is one of the best to stimulate your mind and keep it active. lichess.org
    Hit the gym or workout at home for the physical side of things.

  26. Many people now are getting pets; if you have a dog, why not take it to training classes, maybe investigate the many dog sports that are available? You’ll end up with a well-trained dog, new friends, and a new hobby, all while keeping your mind active, learning new things!? You’d be surprised at the people who do dog sports, from moms and dads, to physicians, attorneys, and CEOs!

  27. I volunteer for Soldier’s Angels and get so much from it. I support deployed military by sending a package a month and a weekly letter. I also belong to the Letter Writing Team and write as many or as few letters a month that I want to. The requirement is only one letter per month. A great organization with the nicest people. By doing this I feel that I am still contributing

    1. That is a challenge! How about things online? Covid has forced many museums, botanical gardens, zoos, etc to offer lectures, concerts, and classes online for low/no fees. I’ve done a NY Botanical Garden with a botanist who does research in South America, and am signed up for a Sea Chantey workshop at Mystic Seaport CT. Neither place is local to me, and these are not existing interests but sounded like fun!

    2. That is hard, but possible things might be painting (watercolors don’t have odor), drawing, puzzles (there are some very fine ones available), birdwatching, audio books, regular reading, genealogy online, etc. One of my relatives has a portable oxygen concentrator that lets her be outdoors or getting around for a few hours without worrying about running out of oxygen; if he doesn’t have one, you might look into it for your husband.

  28. Genealogy keeps me very busy! Also organizing photos, videos, important papers (Wills, Power of Attorney, Healthcare Proxy).

    1. I do too, Steve. It is difficult for folks who never have to understand. I suppose it is counterintuitive that exhilaration and relaxation of the mind come from it, but there it is. I’m not much for a club (occasional poker run will do), but finding friends that ride is really special. Alone or together, there is always something something sweet to see or smell out there. Plus, I got AAA towing for my bike once I upgraded my membership: I hope to never need it.

  29. Yes, I have enjoyed ham radio very much over the years – started well before retirement. The opportunities for public service and the challenge of creating and setting up portable systems are my favourite aspects. 73, KB1HAD

  30. Trapshooting is a wonderful activity. It is done outside, which is especially important during covid. On top of that, you will meet a wonderful group of caring and informative people. It is open to women and men alike.

  31. I already have a number of hobbies that I hardly ever pay attention to anymore because I haven’t retired yet, but plan to in another month or so, and the computer takes up more time than it should. But I’m looking forward to knitting again, writing again, playing guitar again, costuming for the medieval club again, and starting to cook again which I left off with years ago because my husband’s better at it. I’d like to join a chorus again, take belly dance lessons again, and take art lessons because after a childhood full of drawing, I gave it up at age 15 and have regretted it most of my adulthood. And my husband has his own idea: we go to science fiction conventions and sell used books, but he wants to expand it into a home business online. I will not be bored!

  32. As a hobby, use your free time and lifetime of experience with consumer goods to post product reviews on Amazon. Working folks appreciate the recommendations and may not have the free time to post their own reviews. I have been writing reviews for years.

  33. Last June of 2020 I took up the task of refinishing my double sash windows on our Colonial home. I have set up the process by reading lots of articles and watching lots of videos on Youtube. So, with the proper tools and precautions I set about working on a small bathroom window to see how the routine would go. It is like producing a flowchart, like you would do when working on a computer program. So far I am now working on our 5th window and experiencing lots of satisfaction with my new found hobby. You also must understand your limitations when choosing a new hobby but so far I am completely satisfied with my choice. P.S. The original windows add a lot of character to our home.

  34. I love to walk n hike. I also enjoy gardening, travel, jigsaw puzzles, reading. Sometimes I still help out at my old job and I volunteer with the local St Vincent de Paul Society group in my town.

  35. I have expanded on a newish hobby to me – rug braiding. I purchased a supply of wool, was gifted with quite a bit, and purchased another quantity from a church. Result: an obsession with researching braiding to hone my skills and have made three 5×7 rugs and numerous smaller ones during our Covid isolation. I feel so rewarded and thankful for being able to produce something useful. My children and grandchildren will have rugs made just for them for years to come.

  36. After reading all these wonderful replies, I decided to make a list of all the hobbies I just read. Excellent ideas and so many I never considered. Thank you everyone!

  37. Cooking is a great thing to do in retirement. I have tons of recipes and my friend and I plan to make a lot of them. Being in the kitchen is good therapy.

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