This article examines the leisure behaviour, attitudes and life satisfaction of a sample of 383 retirees aged 50 or more years in an Israeli national survey. Multivariate analyses identified four leisure-styles on the basis of the type of leisure activity engaged in, its relative sophistication, whether it was a formally-organised cultural activity, and its location (at home or outdoors). The four styles were: ‘company seekers’, ‘media consumers’, ‘culture enthusiasts’ and ‘sophisticated choosers’. The levels of participation in the four styles were associated with nine background characteristics: gender, education, income, former occupation, work status, retirement pattern, origin, residential area and health. Differences in life satisfaction were associated with leisure participation and leisure satisfaction. Two of the groups, the ‘culture enthusiasts’ and the ‘sophisticated choosers’, were relatively active, and enjoyed significantly higher levels of satisfaction in both their leisure and their lives. These findings tend to support Havighurst's ‘activity theory’. Since these two leisure-styles were followed by minorities, and most of the sample pursued the other leisure-styles, the findings imply that a large proportion of the retired population are inadequately prepared to take up ‘active leisure’. If more older people are to become engaged in active leisure, with benefits to both themselves and to society, they require more guidance and support.