Best Hobbies For Retirees

Best Hobbies For Retirees


John E Chambers
August 26, 2021

Retirement gives you all the time in the world you never had during your active working years.

While that is a good thing, too much free time can be overwhelming if you don’t know what to do with it, and that can lead to bodily and mental deterioration. 

You can’t spend all the rest of your years lounging on the couch and hope to be healthy. Fortunately, there are plenty of great hobbies for retirees and older adults that offer physical, mental, and even financial benefits.

In this article, we take a look at seven of the best pastimes for those who are no longer actively working. You can choose any of these hobbies that you are passionate about just for the fun of it. But you can also do it to earn some extra cash to help offset your daily expenses and stretch your retirement savings.

Without further delay, let’s get into some of the best hobbies for retirees.

7 Highly Beneficial Hobbies for Retirees 

1. Gardening


Older people can get plenty of benefits from gardening, even if they only do it as a pastime. Getting up and about, spending time digging dirt, potting plants, and watering them can significantly improve dexterity and stamina. 

Gardening usually means eating healthy, especially if you prepare your own meals. This will also save you money on buying food that may not be prepared with healthy ingredients.

Planting a seed and watching it blossom into something beautiful is not only satisfying but can be addictive in a good way!

Can you make money from this hobby?

It’s possible to make serious profits from gardening if you are an avid gardener. However, you are likely to earn pocket change from the hobby as a retiree. 


  • Gardening doesn’t only offer physical and mental health benefits, but it also provides healthy and nutritious food. 
  • Watching your seed grow offers a sense of achievement and fulfillment.
  • After a considerable time gardening, you may lose weight, especially around the waist.


  • There is a slight risk of developing respiratory illnesses or catching fungal infections from digging up dirt. 

2. Pottery


There’s something childlike about pottery! Perhaps it is the freedom to dip your hands into clay and get messy without feeling any guilt.

Or it is the excitement that comes from watching an image in your mind takes form in physical reality. Whatever the case, pottery connects you to your inner child and your creative prowess.

Pottery brings about a tactile experience that is similar to meditation. This offers therapeutic benefits, as it can regulate your breathing, lower your heart rate, and reduce your blood pressure. The result is usually a deep sense of relaxation and wellbeing.

As one of the popular hobbies for retirees, pottery involves gentle movements that strengthen the arms, wrists, and hands. Older people who are prone to hand arthritis will find this hobby useful in alleviating osteoarthritis – the wearing down of the protective cartilage that cushions the end of bones. 

Can you make money from this hobby?

It usually won’t take too long before ceramics start to pile up in your home if you are passionate about pottery. While you can gift out your creative work, you can also sell the items at online marketplaces or art shows and craft shows.


  • The pastime envelops your mind and body in the world of creativity, allowing you to experience an overall sense of wellbeing. 
  • Pottery promotes brain activity and exercises your hand, wrist, and arm muscles.


  • Your space can quickly become crowded if you don’t have a way to sell or gift the items.

3. Fishing


You are not likely to turn out a pro angler if you take up fishing after retirement. But this is a pastime that offers plenty of mental health benefits, making it one of the best hobbies for retirees looking to fight off depression, reduce anxiety, and promote relaxation.

Similar to meditation, sitting in the great outdoors talking to the water, while carefully observing and waiting for signs of a bite requires a higher level of focus and awareness. This activity can lower your stress hormone or cortisol levels, take your mind off internal conflict, as well as improve concentration.

Fishing is also a form of low-impact exercise that engages your arms, shoulders, core, and legs muscles. Trekking to a new fishing spot, casting your line, and reeling in your fish are activities that offer excellent workouts.

Can you make money from this hobby?

Of course, fishing can earn you a decent income if that’s something that appeals to you. You could make money selling lures and other supplies to fishing shops.


  • Fishing is an excellent excuse to get in touch with nature.
  • The pastime offers lots of mental and physical health benefits.


  • Fishing costs can add up pretty fast, especially if you are looking to make money from the hobby.

4. Sightseeing


Sightseeing may be a hobby you would want to explore if you have no qualms meeting new people. But what has sightseeing got to do with meeting new people?

Ever heard of tour guides?

Of course, you have! Tourists usually need the services of local guides to get around a city. Tour or sightseeing guides also help tourists to get recommendations for restaurants, hotels, and other attraction sites that may be of interest to the visitors. 

So, if you enjoy meeting new people perhaps and you are an active retiree, you could consider adding sightseeing to your list of hobbies – a bonus point if you live in a large city with lots of tourist attractions. 

Can you make money from this hobby?

Yes, you can! Tour guides can earn an average of $17 per hour or even more, depending on the city. They can also receive handsome passenger tips in addition to their base pay. This can boost the total daily earnings substantially.

If you want to take things up a notch, you can sign up with tour websites that connect travelers with local guides.  


  • Sightseeing is a great way to get good physical exercise, even if you are not looking to make money from the hobby.
  • Meeting new people can open up a world of opportunities that may be otherwise not possible.
  • You get to show off the beautiful parts of your city.


  • Sightseeing is a great hobby but the chances of making money from it can be slim in certain places, especially if you live in small towns without many tourist attractions.
  • Setting up tour guide services on online platforms can be a bit tricky for some older folks who are not particularly tech-savvy.

5. Photography


Photography is not just about capturing impressive scenery; it is a great way to get out in nature and get some great workouts. 

Oftentimes, you will have to walk several miles and even go hiking up the mountains to get great shots. This is not only good for your legs and heart but also great for your brain. That’s because photography allows you to get in touch with the artistic side of your brain and stimulate it.

As a hobbyist, photography can bring you closer to family and friends and also provide opportunities for socializing. 

Can you make money from this hobby?

While there are many ways younger hobbyists can make money from photography, older people or retirees don’t necessarily get into photography to earn money. Still, you can sell your unique images on stock websites for a small income.


  • Photography can bring a lot of joy into your life, even if you don’t earn any money from it.


  • Capturing high-quality images usually require investing good money in some high-end gadgets. This can be discouraging if you don’t have a strong passion for photography, especially if you are not planning to make money from the hobby.

6. Pet Care

Pet Care

Fight loneliness and depression by caring for a pet. Owning a pet, such as a dog, usually means walking the pet on a regular basis. This provides opportunities to exercise and also socialize with others you may meet outside. 

But even if your four-legged friend doesn’t need walking, pets provide loyal companionship that can help you manage loneliness and depression.

Playing with pets can also help you maintain and promote good health by decreasing triglyceride levels, reducing cholesterol levels, and lowering blood pressure.

Can you make money from this hobby?

As a retiree, you can turn your love for your four-legged friends into a profitable hobby.

Whether you choose to be a pet sitter or walk dogs for your busy neighbors, there is a high potential to make a decent income off pet care. You can even decide to take things a bit further and open an animal rescue or a doggy daycare.


  • Taking care of pets can lower your stress level and keep you physically fit. 
  • Pets can make you feel a lot safer, so you won’t be home alone. Some dog breeds can scare off burglars and protect you during your routine walks. 


  • Pet care may not be a suitable pastime for elderly people with allergies 

7. Birdwatching


Retirees who love being in nature can take up birdwatching as a hobby. Besides traveling around the country, and possibly other parts of the world, you also get to see lots of amazing bird species firsthand.

The saying that there is no age limit to learning applies to birdwatching, too! The activity allows you to learn new things in the great outdoors – some of which have nothing to do with birding. 

In addition to learning new stuff, spending time outdoors improves your mood and gives you plenty of time to zone out and reflect on important things, which is great for your mental health. Not to mention breathing in the fresh air all day and soaking up vitamin D. 

Birdwatching often involves quickly catching a glimpse of birds before they disappear from your range of vision.

This helps improve your mental alertness. Plus, you have to put in plenty of hours walking and hiking up different terrains in search of specific bird species. All of these activities provide some serious cardiovascular workouts.

Can you make money from this hobby?

Indeed, you can make money from birdwatching but the earning potentials depend on your birding skills.

As a retiree, you probably should focus on the health benefits and satisfaction you get from birdwatching unless you are ready to go through proper education and endure the long study to become a professional ornithologist.


  • Spending time in nature can be calming, and older people living with dementia can benefit from the experience as it reduces stress and depression levels.
  • Birdwatching provides a change of scenery, which is great for older people who tend to spend more time indoors.


  • Birdwatching can be a physically demanding activity, and may not be suitable for older retirees who are frail. Thankfully, you can do the activity from a nearby nature reserve or park.

Final Thoughts

Retirement can be as exciting as you make it! With all the time in your hands, you can have great fun and also be productive in the process. Not every hobby mentioned here will appeal to everyone. But you can enrich your golden years with whatever sticks out for you. 

In addition, you get to boost your income with these activities while enjoying the mental and physical health benefits they offer. 

One last thing: adopting one or two of these hobbies for retirees can keep you active, but you don’t want to ignore your safety. It is important to know how to manage risks in any activity before venturing into it. 

Reference Articles


John E Chambers

John E Chambers is an experienced financial advice expert. Born in Chicago, he has a master's in Industrial Finance, but he has spent decades offering investment advice to businesses and individuals alike. He is the founder of and wants the website to be valuable for retirement advice. In addition, he writes articles that help users jump-start their retirement plans and choose the best investment options. If not pondering over stock market statistics or reading some magazines, you can find John spending time with his family. As an early retiree, John also offers unique insights into what post-retirement life is like.