Finding physical, material gifts for your grandparents can be challenging because as people get older, they need less and less. Many of the hobbies they used to enjoy aren’t practical for them anymore because of their age.
Also, they’ve been around for a while, so most things that they needed or wanted, they’ve already purchased at some point.
Finally, a lot of the gifts that are meant for grandparents just aren’t fun or exciting to give.
Sure, your grandparents may need a life alert system and medical bracelets, but who wants to give or receive presents like that?
Make your gift-giving to grandparents a little easier this year by giving them an experience to share together rather than some material thing.
30 Great experience gift ideas for your grand parents
A Blast from the Past: Prohibition beer Tour, Chicago, IL
It’s hard to find grandparents today who lived through the age of Prohibition, but even though your grandparents might not have experienced the real thing, they can certainly get a history lesson about it with this tour.
The tour lasts about three and a half hours and will take your grandparents to some of the most famous former speakeasies in Chicago. They’ll learn about how each speakeasy operated during Prohibition and about some of the most notorious criminals and bootleggers of the time.
They’ll also get to taste each location’s signature beer and may even leave the tour a little tipsy.
Nothing’s Better than Brunch: Sunday Brunch cruise, New London, CT
If you’re looking for a lovely, relaxing experience for your grandparents, send them to brunch on the deck of the Mystic Whaler, a 110-foot schooner that’ll sail them around the coast of Fishers Island South.
It’s a three-hour tour that includes a delicious brunch menu, a relaxing day under the sun and on the water and a lot of gorgeous scenery. They’ll see the beautiful water, the scenic coastline and some of Connecticut’s most famous lighthouses along the shore.
They’ll also get the opportunity to take the wooden wheel and be captain for a time if they feel like it.
Send Them off in the Sunset: Boston Harbor Sunset Cruise, Boston, MA
This is a great option for the grandparents who’re just trying to experience a little more beauty in their lives. The 90-minute tour is facilitated by a company with over 80 years of experience in the industry.
Your grandparents can sit back, relax and watch the sun go down as they cruise past such sights as the Old North Church, the Bunker Hill Monument, Boston Light, Charlestown Navy Yard, Harbor Islands National Park and the oldest manned lighthouse in the entire United States.
The tour guide will give them some history and fun facts about each, and the two of them can share a romantic evening as the sun goes down for the night.
Let Them Ghost You: Date Night Pottery Class, Hopkins, MN
Unless your grandparents are the type of people who’re already pretty artistic, creative and active in the arts, this is probably going to be a new, unique experience for them. They’ll be paired with a private instructor who’s been teaching classes for over ten years, and together, they’ll create something beautiful, personal and special.
Whether they’re pottery pros or have never sat down at a potter’s wheel, they’ll have a great time, and they’ll actually bring home something pretty at the end of the night. Best of all, everything they’ll need is included in the price.
Let Them Drift a Little Higher: Private Hot Air Balloon Ride for Two, Oxford, MI
If your grandparents are the type to be a little adventurous, send them gently drifting through the clouds in their own private hot air balloon. They’ll float over the picturesque Michigan countryside, and even if they’ve lived there their entire lives, they’ll see the state in an entirely new way.
They’ll fly under the guidance of an FAA-certified pilot with over 45 years of experience. Upon landing, they’ll get to take part in the traditional champagne toast and celebration. It’s a romantic experience they won’t soon forget.
You’ll Have Them Dreaming of Venice: Romantic Gondola Cruise, Coronado, CA
They may only be in California, but with this romantic gondola cruise, they’ll feel like they’re somewhere much more exotic like Vienna, Paris or Venice, Italy. For 50 minutes, your grandparents will cruise around with their own, private gondolier, traveling through all the various waterways and canals of the Coronado Cays.
There’ll be a wide selection of wine, chocolates and other beverages available for them to purchase to make their trip even more sweet. There’ll also be soft, fuzzy blankets available for them to snuggle underneath if they get cold or if they just feel like snuggling.
The Couple Who Dives Together, Thrives Together: Learn to Scuba Dive, Novi, MI
If your grandparents have talked about always wanting to scuba dive, you can give them that opportunity by buying them a scuba package with the most popular dive program in the entire world. They’ll start their day at the PADI five-star dive center, and they’ll learn all about scuba diving from a trained instructor with over 12 years of experience.
The classes are small, so your grandparents are sure to get plenty of one-on-one instruction time in this 20-hour, three-day course. They’ll learn the fundamentals of scuba diving, as well as information about safety, using and maintaining the dive equipment and more.
They’ll be very close to actual certification after completion of the course, and if they like, they can continue on and complete four, open-water dives to become certified divers.
For the Grandparents Who Like to Fish: Guided Fly Fishing, Ohiopyle, PA
For the grandparents who prefer the simple things in life, this guided fly fishing tour of the Youghiogheny River will be just the thing for them. They’ll meet up early with their own, private guide, and they’ll spend the day on the river, taking in some of the most gorgeous scenery and, of course, reeling in some of the largest trout imaginable.
The guide is a local to the area who’ll take them to all the best spots on the river.
Get Them on Their Feet (Sort of): Segway Tour, Baltimore, MD
If you feel like your grandparents would enjoy taking a tour of Baltimore but are worried that they wouldn’t be able to make the entire trip walking, hook them up with this excellent Segway Tour instead.
They’ll visit the large pagoda on Fort Hill, take part in some of the most famous local festivals, explore many of Baltimore’s unique, diverse neighborhoods and hear a lot of great local history from a guide who’s an expert on the subject.
Additionally, they’ll head to the waterfront to see some of the city’s most famous restaurants, pubs and boutiques before finishing the day in one of Baltimore’s oldest parks, Patterson Park, and they’ll do it all without taking a step.
For the Country Folks: Soldier Hollow Horseback Riding, Midway, UT
If your grandparents are from the country or just enjoy horseback riding, this is the experience gift for them. They’ll spend the day on the backs of gentle, calm, beautiful horses, exploring the southern slope of the historic Soldier Hollow Valley.
They’ll get to experience a lot of beautiful wildlife and nature, see the site of the 2002 Winter Olympics and take in gorgeous views of Mt. Timpanogos, the Deer Creek Reservoir and the Wasatch Mountains.
When they get to the top, they’ll be at the site of an original Ute Indian hunting camp.
Help Keep Them Healthy: Personal Chef Healthy Cooking Class, Atlanta, GA
If there’s one universal truth about grandparents, particularly grandmothers, it’s that they can cook! However, just because your grandmother (or grandfather) can cook delicious meals, that doesn’t mean they’re cooking and eating healthy food.
Hook them up with this healthy cooking class taught by Chef Megan McCarthy. She’ll come into their own home and cook a delicious, healthy meal for them. Even better, she’ll teach them many of her techniques for cooking healthy, “Superfood”-rich meals so that your grandparents can hopefully start eating a little healthier and live a lot longer.
It’s Never Too Late to Learn to Groove: Private Dance Lessons, Hollywood, CA or Koreatown, CA
It doesn’t matter how old a person is, it’s never too late to learn to dance. Whether your grandparents have four left feet between them or are actually quite suave on the dance floor, these lessons can help improve their moves.
They’ll receive a custom, private lesson with a professional dance instructor that will focus specifically on their dance goals, needs, strengths and weaknesses. They’ll learn about foot placement, technique, body structure and rhythm and can choose between learning the Tango or learning swing, salsa, Latin or ballroom dancing.
A Day on the Water: Whale Watching, Boston, MA
If your grandparents are looking for the experience of a lifetime, send them out to Boston to do some serious whale watching from the deck of a high-speed catamaran. There are actually three outside decks on this large catamaran, and your grandparents can pick the one that gives them the best view of the large population of whales in the water.
The catamaran also features climate-controlled cabins with cushioned seating, tables and high-tech, top-of-the-line video and sound systems. There are even professional whale researchers onboard to give some interesting facts and impart some knowledge about the whales they’ll be seeing.
Help Keep Them Active: Snowshoeing Tour, Park City, UT
This snowshoeing tour of the gorgeous mountains of Park City, Utah is for the grandparents who’re still active and get excited about outdoor activities. It’s a guided tour, and they can choose from two options: a peaceful walk through the snow-covered woods or a more active, aerobic tour of the mountains.
Park City features literally hundreds of miles of trails, many of which are taken care of and kept up by the Mountain Trails Foundation for an optimal tour experience. They’ll get to take in the gorgeous scenery and maybe even catch a glimpse of some winter wildlife.
For All Their Aches and Pains: Couples Massage, Fort Lauderdale, FL
There aren’t many people out there who don’t enjoy a good massage, and the older people get and the more aches and pains they have, the more appealing a massage becomes. Give your grandparents the ultimate relaxation experience with this invigorating couples massage.
They can choose between a deep tissue massage or a Swedish massage in the comfort of their own private couples’ massage suite. Not only does the massage feel great, it can also have some real benefits to your grandparents’ health including increased circulation, improved muscle tone and even firmer skin.
Plus, it’s just nice for them to have some time together being pampered.
A Day They Won’t Forget: Yosemite National Park Tour, San Francisco, CA
This trip is an exhilarating one for anyone, but it’s especially nice if your grandparents have never seen the beauty and magnificence of Yosemite. There, they’ll get to see the famous California Redwoods and giant sequoias.
They’ll visit Yosemite Falls and Yosemite Village, as well as other famous sights like El Capitan and Half Dome. The beautiful waterfalls, giant trees, open expanses of meadows and captivating wildlife are things your grandparents won’t want to miss.
If the weather is good, they even have the option of taking a two-mile hike to visit the Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias.
Jazzing It Up a Little: Tall Ship Jazz Sail, Manhattan, NY
Although your grandparents probably aren’t old enough to have lived through the jazz age, that doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate some great jazz. Send them out for a night on the town with this tall ship jazz sail experience.
They’ll climb aboard the Clipper City, New York City’s only tall ship, for a gorgeous night on the water, taking in the stunning views of Manhattan at night and enjoying some of the most acclaimed artists’ exciting jazz music.
They can dance; they can drink, or they can just sit back and enjoy the evening. Either way, it’ll certainly be a night to remember.
For the Couple with Discerning Tastes: Private Wine Education Tour, Hume, VA
This is a great, low-key experience for the grandparents who enjoy a good glass of wine. They’ll get to visit the Philip Carter Winery in Hume, Virginia, which is a very scenic part of the Virginia Piedmont area.
They’ll pair up with a certified Philip Carter Wine Educator for an informative and interesting guided tour of the winery and the vineyard. The guide will tell them a little about the wines and the history of the Carter family.
After the tour, they’ll enjoy a wine appreciation and education class, which will teach them all about wines, fermentation and wine tasting. Finally, they’ll end the day with a scrumptious picnic featuring local delicacies such as chocolates, chutney, cured meat and delicious cheeses.
An Evening Over the Big Easy: New Orleans After Dark Aerial Tour, New Orleans, LA
New Orleans is beautiful just about anytime night or day, no matter how people experience it. Seeing it from a magnificent, 360° aerial viewpoint, though, is one of the best ways to see it. Your grandparents will get to take in the lights and views of the famous New Orleans cemeteries, business districts, neighborhoods and more.
From 1,500 feet above, they’ll see the Mississippi River, the Port of New Orleans, the French Quarter, the Superdome, the Spanish Plaza and more.
A Walk to Remember: Walk to the Waterfalls, Maui, HI
Even if your grandparents aren’t very active, they’ll still enjoy this slow-paced amble through the stunning rainforest of Maui. It’s a short hike, only about a mile long, and the guide will take them at a pace similar to an easy stroll.
On the journey, they’ll get to see two different waterfalls ranging in height between 10 and 20 feet. They can walk, take pictures and enjoy the sights, or if they’re feeling adventurous, they can even jump in the water and have themselves a swim.
It’s a very peaceful journey they’ll always remember.
Swim with the Fishes: Dolphin and Snorkel Tour, Waikiki, HI
This is another great Hawaii experience if your grandparents are up for visiting the island. It’s an all-day tour that’ll take them out into the ocean to snorkel with the dolphins. At first, they’ll meet their guide and get an in-depth safety lesson to help keep them safe and risk-free.
Then they’ll get to experience a real-life, traditional E’Hoi Mai Ceremony. Then they’ll head out to some of the clearest, most beautiful water in Hawaii. They’ll get to snorkel with more than just dolphins too.
The water is teeming with all kinds of marine life including sea turtles and a bright array of tropical fish. They’ll even get to do a little exploring on their own if they get tired of snorkeling.
For the Foodies: Afternoon Culinary Adventure Tour, Las Vegas, NV
Send your grandparents out to Vegas to have a blast. With this tour, they’ll get to explore the city and eat some of the best food it has to offer. The tour lasts about two and a half hours and will take your grandparents to many of the best restaurants in Las Vegas.
At each one, they’ll get the VIP treatment, which includes VIP seating at each one and the option to try up to four of each restaurant’s signature dishes. Along the way, they’ll also get to see some of the glitz and glam of the city as they pass casinos, venues, the people on the promenade, some of the city’s most famous fountains and more.
Delicious and Entertaining: Dixieland Jazz Brunch Cruise, Newport, KY
If your grandparents prefer water to land, let them enjoy their day traveling the Ohio River by riverboat. They’ll hear some of the best jazz music of the South, take in some sun on one of the ship’s decks, visit the cash bar and of course, enjoy a delicious brunch featuring everyone’s brunch favorites of fruit, salad, sweet breads, biscuits, sausage and bacon, eggs, potatoes, meat dishes and more.
American History, Dallas Edition: JFK Food and History Tour, Dallas, TX
This is one of the lengthier tours on the list, lasting about four hours, but if your grandparents love history, it’s also one of the most interesting. On it, they’ll learn about Dallas’ culture and history and get some little-known facts about the Kennedy assassination while they visit many of the sites that were involved.
They’ll also get to see much of Dallas’ famous architecture, ride the DART and get to have tastings at many of the most popular eating spots in Dallas including Eureka, Baboush and more.
Make Them Feel like Superstars: Private Limousine Tour of NYC, Manhattan, NY
Allow your grandparents to travel Manhattan in style like the royalty they are. They’ll be picked up in a stretch limousine and driven around some of the most historic spots in NYC. Included on the tour are many stops in Lower Manhattan including SoHo, the West Village, the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, TriBeCa, the South Street Seaport, Little Italy and Chinatown.
They’ll have a native New Yorker along for the ride to act as a guide who will give your grandparents some interesting information about all the places and neighborhoods they visit.
For the Sweetest Grandparents You Know: Broadway Dessert Tour, Manhattan, NY
Man or woman, old or young, people love desserts, so why not give the people what they want?! Send your grandparents to enjoy the flash and sass of Broadway all while tasting some of the neighborhood’s best desserts.
It’s a two-hour tour that includes at least six different dessert tastings, not to mention a fun jaunt through the theater district. Whether your grandparents like cheesecake, black and white cookies, chocolate egg creams or something else, they’ll get a taste on this delightful tour.
The tour will also take them right through Times Square, and they might even get a photo op with a famous Broadway actor or two.
Make Them Feel Like Kids Again: Night Snow Tubing and Brewery Adventure, Boston, MA
If you’re looking to give your grandparents an experience that’s just plain fun, look no further than the Boston night snow tubing and brewery adventure. They’ll get to have a ton of fun in the snow, which should make them feel like giddy children again.
Then afterwards, they’ll have a delicious, filling dinner to help warm them up from the inside before heading to one of Boston’s best, most award-winning breweries. Round-trip transportation will be provided for them, and they’ll have a whole two hours to experience the fun of snow tubing down the snowy mountainside.
Light Up Their Night: Fireworks Bike Tour, Chicago, IL
If your grandparents still enjoy an invigorating bike ride to get their heart beating and their blood pumping, this is the experience for them. It’s an eight-mile trip all told, so make sure your grandparents are up for it health- and energy-wise.
It isn’t for the faint of heart. Still, if your grandparents are active and healthy enough to make the ride, they will absolutely love the journey. They’ll start their ride at Ohio Street Beach, where they’ll have a striking view of Navy Pier and Olive Park by night.
From here, they’ll get to enjoy the famous fireworks shot at Navy Pier. The total tour takes about three hours, and they’ll see some of Chicago’s most famous sights along the way.
Remind Them of a Simpler Time: Napa Valley Dinner Train, Napa, CA
Help send your grandparents back in time with an experience they might remember from their childhoods. Buy them tickets for the Napa Valley Dinner Train, where they’ll enjoy two hours on what Huffington Post calls “one of the most scenic train rides in the U.
S.” They’ll have a great view of Napa Valley’s famous vineyards and wineries, and they’ll also enjoy a delicious, indulgent, multi-course, gourmet meal along the way. They’ll head to Rutherford, and then they’ll turn around and head back.
It’ll feel like a date they might’ve actually taken years ago.
Picking the Perfect Experience for the Perfect Grandparents
There’s a special bond that exists between grandparents and their grandchildren that’s unlike any other relationship on the planet, and if your grandparents are anything like mine, they’ve done so much for you throughout your life that you could probably never even begin to try to repay them. Still, regardless of whether or not you can repay them, you can still honor, appreciate, love and spoil them a little bit. It may not be enough to even the scales, but at least it lets them know how much they mean to you and always will.
One way to do that is by giving them an experience together that they’ll never forget. Not only will this type of experience be something they cherish forever and appreciate you for facilitating, it’ll also give them a chance to spend some quality time together and strengthen their own relationship bonds.
Time away together in a new city – or even experiencing their home city in a new way – can allow them to make new memories, experience new things and find new and exciting passions and interests.
When choosing the right experience gift for your grandparents, don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. Of course there are some things that your grandparents won’t be able to do unless they are the absolute pinnacle of good health. For example, most of us don’t want to stick our grandmother’s on the back of a bucking bull anytime soon.
Similarly, a hardcore whitewater rafting trip might also be ill-advised.
As long as you don’t choose an experience for them that’s incredibly intense and potentially harmful to their health, bones or body, though, don’t be afraid to go big. Even if your grandparents seem a little surprised and unsure at first, once you explain to them what they’ll be doing and why you think it’d be a great experience for them, they’ll trust you. You’re their grandchild, and they love you. If you give them a gift that you genuinely think will bring them joy, they’ll give it a try. Chances are, they’ll even love it.
Have you ever purchased an experience gift for your grandparents?
If so, what was it, and how did they enjoy it? If not, what types of experiences do you think your grandparents would enjoy doing together?
Let us know down in the comments, and be sure to like and share this post with others.
Come back again soon for more great experience gift ideas!