Now that the kids are out of the house and there are no more clocks to punch, it’s time to pick up those hobbies and interests you’ve been putting off for decades. But it’s been so long. Are your interests still, well, interesting?
For many men, this is the beauty of the retirement lifestyle. You don’t have to be particularly economical with your downtime, giving you the freedom to unearth long-dormant passions or to simply explore new hobbies.
If the thought of yoga has you yawning or the idea of knitting has you nodding off, there are a number of activities that are more popular among male retirees. If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve accumulated a list of some popular (and some niche) hobbies for retired men.
1. Competitive Sports
Thankfully, there are plenty of low impact sports that also offer a decent level of competition. Active adult communities provide several competitive outlets that are a bit more high stakes than Pilates but also don’t require a rib-breaking tackle on your neighbor.
Love tennis but not the strain it puts on your knees? Pickleball is a perfect alternative. This relatively new sport, which is essentially a low-impact form of tennis, is becoming so popular in 55+ communities that providing courts is nearly a requirement. For an even more leisurely competitive sport, give golf a try or join a bowling league. Going for a hike through the mountains with friends or increasing body strength through calisthenics, although not competitive per se, are also fitness hobbies popular among retired men.
2. Road Trip
A road trip is so quintessentially American that it’s basically considered a rite of passage. If you’ve never gathered some friends and hit the road, retirement is the perfect time to do that. Explore the Rocky Mountain National Park, peer into the dizzying depths of the Grand Canyon, or just simply drive across the country—destination unknown.
If you’re feeling really adventurous, Western Europe is very road trip-friendly and many of the major cities are within a day’s drive of each other. If you’re not sure where to start, this traveler has mapped out a perfect trip from Paris to Berlin.
3. Learn the Guitar
Have you always been a fan of music but never had the time to dedicate to it? The guitar isn’t only a ubiquitous instrument (you can play virtually any song written in the last 100 years with it), but its low barrier to entry makes it perfect for the instrument novice. After just a few hours honing your skills, you’ll be able to play a handful of songs and eventually play your favorite tunes. Also, a great social activity for musicians is to start jam bands.
Not only is learning the guitar pretty simple, but some of the most popular songs of the 20th century were composed with just three chords, which you can learn here.
What better way to impress friends and neighbors than by proclaiming “I built that” when pointing at a table or chair? Since most people can barely follow IKEA instructions, this is a guaranteed way to give guests pause and admire your work. Not only can you build furniture at your community’s woodworking shop, but you can also try your hand at pyrography, restoring vintage products, or even creating a chessboard.
Before you start clearing out half of your garage, watch this series about how to get started with woodworking.
If tending to the garden doesn’t seem particularly appealing, then consider this: Gardening is the most basic form of self-sufficiency that doubles as a form of low-key exercise. You know how woodworking allows you to say “I built that,” gardening lets you say “I grew that.”
Gardening also creates a more meaningful relationship with your property, knowing that your ground is putting food on the table. Some scientists and historians believe that gardening and agriculture developed out of a desire to brew beer. Which leads us to…
Instead of packing your fridge with cases of cheap beer on game day, you can fill it with your own creation. To get started, all you need is some basic equipment (for around $200), ingredients, a dark corner where the beer can ferment, and some patience. Homebrewing is not only one of the easiest hobbies to start, but it’s also one of the most rewarding.
7. Restoring a Classic Car
Out of all the hobbies mentioned so far, this one is the priciest but also one of the most rewarding. After finding your dream car, there are several websites, books, and classes you can reference to learn the ropes.
Since classic cars are more mechanical in construction, restoring them is quite simple relative to fixing up newer models. It can take a toll on your time, money, and patience, but after it’s all done, you’ll have the satisfaction of a restored Porsche 911 sitting in your driveway.