Transportation is critical to older adults' ability to participate in social activities in their community. We examined the association between modes of transportation and restrictions in social activity (i.e. visiting with others, religious attendance, clubs and organised activities, and going out for enjoyment), with particular attention to the moderating effects of economic vulnerability. We used logistic regression to analyse data from 7,197 community-dwelling older adults from the 2011 wave of the National Health and Aging Trends Study, a representative sample of adults aged 65 and over in the United States of America. Economic vulnerability moderated the association between transportation mode and social activity restrictions. Findings suggest that even when economically vulnerable older adults have access to driving, walking or public transit, they may be at a higher risk for social exclusion than their counterparts with more financial resources.