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11 Tourist-Friendly Native Indian Reservations to Visit

11 Tourist-Friendly Native Indian Reservations to Visit

Visiting a Native American reservation is something that many people want to do, but aren’t sure how to go about it. These reservations are spread across America and can be difficult to find on your own. Luckily, there are plenty of online resources for finding the reservation you’re looking for.

Plus, if you have questions or need more information, the staff at most reservations will be happy to help out.

Visiting Indian Reservations is an underrated thing to do in the United States and generally across the world. There is so much you can learn about the culture and history of Native Americans by visiting their local reservation.

Some of the most popular Native American Indian places to visit are located near or on sacred sites. It is important that you make reservations in advance of your visit and come prepared.

You will be stepping into respected, cherished native land, so it is important that you remain respectful to the Indian affairs, customs, and practices.

What to Know Before Visiting an Indian Reservation or Native Land

Are you a traveler looking for an interesting and unique destination to visit in the United States? If so, consider exploring Indian reservations on a tour or guide. While some reservations have casino revenues, most continue to face economic hardships.

Here are some things you should know before you go:

  • There are close to 600 different federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native tribes and villages.
  • There are over 5 million Native Americans in the United States, accounting for 2% of the entire population in the United States. Many Native Americans reside on these reservations.
  • The Navajo Nation, which covers three states in the Southwest and encompasses almost all of Indian territory, is the largest reservation area and features several amazing landscapes to visit.
  • Some tribes do not want visitors. They may even request that you contact their tribal office first. To avoid any trouble, phone ahead to the government agency to find out if and where tourists are allowed.
  • Remember that you are a guest while visiting any reservation, and you should respect the people who reside there.

Reservations offer an interesting and unique glimpse into Native American culture. You can learn about their history, observe their traditional ways of life, and experience their art and music.

While it’s important to be respectful and act appropriately when visiting a reservation, it’s most important to learn and meet the tribe members during your visit. There are plenty of activities available for visitors, so be sure to explore all that the reservation has to offer.

If you’re interested in visiting a reservation, be sure to do your research first. Each area is different and only a handful welcome visitors without some form of appointment or advance notice.

Also, each area has its own set of rules, regulations, and local laws. However, with proper planning and preparation, a reservation visit can be an exciting and rewarding experience.

Tourist-Friendly Indian Reservations to Visit

If you’re still not sure where to visit first, here are popular tourist-friendly Native American Reservations open for visits:

1. Navajo Nation, Arizona

Red Rock Sceneries in Monument Valley

The Navajo Nation is located in the U.S. state of Arizona. It is the largest Native American Indian reservation in the country, covering over 27,000 square miles. The reservation is home to the Navajo people, who are known for their traditional jewelry and incredible artwork.

The reservation also has a number of tourist attractions, including Monument Valley, Canyon de Chelly, Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and the Hubbell Trading Post.

Most of these are Navajo Owned so you can only visit on guided tours with a native guide. To get here, you will need to fly to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport or Flagstaff Pulliam Airport. From there, you can rent a car or take a bus to the reservation.

When visiting the Navajo Nation, it’s important to find a place to stay that is close to the reservation. There are a number of hotels and resorts located in nearby towns, such as Flagstaff, Winslow, and Holbrook.

Here are some of the best places to stay if you are planning a multi-day visit:

  • The Hampton Inn & Suites Flagstaff is located just minutes away from the entrance of the Navajo Nation. The hotel offers free breakfast, WiFi, and parking.
  • The Best Western Inn of Winslow is also located close to the reservation and offers free breakfast, WiFi, and parking.
  • For a more luxurious stay, check out The Lodge at Sedona. This resort is located in Sedona, Arizona, and offers beautiful views of the red rocks. The lodge has its own spa, restaurant, and bar.

See Related: Best Father-Son Trips & Vacation Ideas

2. Havasupai Indian Reservation, Arizona

It’s known for its red rock walls and clear blue waters; however, it’s incredibly sacred to its people. You can’t hike or camp at the reservation without reservations with the tribe.

If you plan on visiting Havasupai, expect to spend around $150 camping in the area. To prepare for that kind of trip, read our guide on family camping vacations in the United States.

Getting to Havasupai Indian Reservation is no easy task. The closest airport is in Flagstaff, Arizona, which is about a 2.5-hour drive from the reservation.

From there, you’ll need to take a taxi or shuttle to the village of Supai, located at the bottom of the canyon. There’s no public transportation available in Supai, so you’ll have to rely on taxis or your own vehicle.

The only other option is to hike in, which can take anywhere from 8 to 10 hours. If you’re not up for a strenuous hike, be prepared for a long journey.

See Related: Best Day Trips from Phoenix, Arizona

3. The Blackfeet Reservation, Montana

Lake and Mountain View in  Glacier National Park

If you’re looking for an interesting and unique travel destination, be sure to check out the Blackfeet Nation. The Blackfeet Nation is a Native American reservation located in Montana. The reservation is home to the Blackfoot people, who are descendants of the Siksika, Kainai, and Piegan Blackfoot tribes.

Today, the Blackfeet Nation is home to around 16,000 people and is one of the largest reservations in the United States.

The Blackfeet Nation is a popular tourist destination, thanks to its rich culture and beautiful landscape. Some of the reservation’s most popular attractions include the Glacier National Park and the Browning Museum.

The reservation is also home to a number of historic sites and cultural centers, which offer visitors a unique glimpse into Native American culture.

See Related: Best Things to do in Sedona, Arizona With Kids

4. Seminole Indian Reservation, Florida

Bear Exhibit at A-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum
Vlad in the Lab” by Mo Kaiwen 莫楷文 is marked with CC BY 2.0.

One of the most popular tourist destinations in the Seminole Nation in Florida. The Seminole reservation in Florida is home to the Billie Swamp Safari, which offers airboat excursions and swamp rides.

You can also stay at a traditional roof-roof home on the reservation, and enjoy native storytelling and performances at night. While you’re there, be sure to check out Florida’s Space Center and Space Coast.

The A-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum holds an American Indian Art Celebration in the Everglades in honor of its Seminole heritage each November. There will be storytelling, performances, alligator fighting, or vendors selling traditional artistic products.

Looking to stay near the Seminole Nation in Florida? Here are a few places to consider:

  • Best Western Gateway to the Keys: This hotel is located just minutes away from the Seminole Nation reservation and offers free Wi-Fi and breakfast. It’s also pet-friendly, so you can bring your furry friend along on your trip!
  • Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino: If you’re looking for a little bit of luxury, the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is a great option. This hotel offers on-site dining, a spa, and a casino. It’s also located close to the reservation, so you can easily visit all of its attractions.
  • Hampton Inn & Suites Lakeland: This hotel is located close to the Florida Polytechnic University, making it a great option for those visiting the area for school. It also offers free breakfast and Wi-Fi, as well as an outdoor pool.

5. Metlakatla Indian Community, Alaska

The Metlakatla Indian Community is located on the Annette Islands in Alaska.

It is Alaska’s only official reserve, and it remains the state’s sole indigenous reservation. From Ketchikan, a ferry or a short flight is required to get to the Metlakatla Community.

The Landing Hotel or Black Bear Inn offers places to stay, or visitors can camp at the Metlakatla Marina.

The community is home to the Annette Island Tribe and offers a variety of cultural experiences, including traditional dance performances, handicrafts, and totem pole carving demonstrations.

There are only a few places to eat in Metlakatla. You can go to the Metlakatla Mini-Mart, Munchies, Al’s Hungry Raven, Leask’s Market, and the Shadow Mountain Coffee Stand.

If you are going to be in Metlakatla for more than a day or two, you will want to bring food with you – just be sure to clean up after yourselves.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to do in Phoenix

6. Crow Creek Indian Reservation, South Dakota

The Crow Creek Indian Reservation is located in central South Dakota and is home to the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe.

The reservation does welcome visitors and offers a variety of cultural experiences and important traditions, including traditional dance performances, handicrafts, and pow-wow celebrations.

The tribe’s pow wow grounds are a popular tourist destination, and the reservation is also home to the Crow Creek Cultural Center, which showcases the tribe’s history and culture.

If you’re looking to visit the Crow Creek Indian Reservation, here are some directions:

  • From Rapid City, SD: Take Highway 16 east for about 60 miles until you reach the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe reservation.
  • From Pierre, SD: Take Highway 83 south for about 120 miles until you reach the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe reservation.
  • From Mitchell, SD: Take Highway 37 east for about 95 miles until you reach the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe reservation.
  • From Chamberlain, SD: Take Highway 83 north for about 45 miles until you reach the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe reservation.

There are a few different places to stay near Crow Creek Indian Reservation. The best place to stay would be The Golden Buffalo Casino Restaurant and Motel. It offers a variety of rooms, from standard rooms to suites, and it has a casino, restaurant, and lounge on-site.

If you’re looking for a more affordable option, the Prairie Wind Casino and Hotel is a great choice. It’s located just minutes from the reservation and offers comfortable rooms and suites at a reasonable price.

If you’re looking to camp near Crow Creek Indian Reservation, the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe Campground is a great option. It offers campsites with electrical hookups, as well as showers and restrooms.

See Related: Best Things to do in Sioux Falls, South Dakota

7. Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma

Houses and Trees at Cherokee Heritage Center
Cherokee Heritage Center” by literacythree is marked with CC BY 2.0.

The Cherokee Nation is the largest tribe in the United States, with more than 300,000 members. The reservation is located in eastern Oklahoma and covers more than 14,000 square miles.

There are a number of things to see and do on the Cherokee reservation from visiting the Cherokee Heritage Center to taking a ride on the Cherokee Nation Rail Runner.

The Cherokee tribe has a long and rich history, dating back to the 15th century. The tribe was originally from the Great Lakes region, but they were forced to migrate west in the 1830s after the United States government passed the Indian Removal Act.

The Cherokee Nation is a proud and resilient tribe, and they have made a lot of progress in the last few decades with a completely reconstructed Cherokee Village.

Here you can learn several rich traditions about their own unique history.

The Visitors Center is located in the town of Tahlequah, Oklahoma. It’s open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, and admission is free. The center has exhibits on the history and culture and it’s a great place to learn more about this fascinating tribe.

There are a number of great places to stay nearby. The closest town is Tahlequah, Oklahoma, which has a number of hotels and motels. If you’re looking for a more traditional Indian experience, you can stay in one of the Cherokee’s many tribal lodges.

There are also a number of campgrounds in the area, so you can camp out under the stars and enjoy the peace and quiet of the Cherokee Indian Reservation.

8. Pueblo of Laguna, New Mexico

The Pueblo of Laguna is a federally recognized tribe that resides in New Mexico. The area is home to more than 6,000 members and covers more than 100,000 acres. The reservation is known for its stunning vistas and its many cultural attractions, which include the Laguna Pueblo Cultural Center.

The Pueblo of Laguna is located in the southwestern part of the state of New Mexico. The closest major city is Albuquerque, which is about 60 miles away.

If you’re driving to the Pueblo of Laguna, take Interstate 40 west to exit 161. Head south on NM-522 for about 18 miles.

There are also a few different airports near the Pueblo of Laguna. The closest airport is the Albuquerque International Sunport, which is about 60 miles away.

There are a few different places to stay near the Pueblo of Laguna. The best place to stay would be the Resort Hilton Santa Fe Buffalo Thunder. It offers a variety of rooms, from standard rooms to suites, and it has a casino, restaurant, and lounge on-site.

If you’re looking for a more affordable option, the Prairie Wind Casino and Hotel is a great choice. It’s located just minutes from the reservation and offers comfortable rooms and suites at a reasonable price.

If you’re looking to camp near Pueblo of Laguna, the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe Campground is a great option. It offers campsites with electrical hookups, as well as showers and restrooms.

9. Wind River Indian Reservation, Wyoming

River and Trees at Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton National Park” by jeffgunn is marked with CC BY 2.0.

The Wind River Reservation in Wyoming is the seventh-largest Native American reservation in the United States. The area encompasses more than 2 million acres and is home to the Eastern Shoshone and Arapaho tribes. The area is well known for its Absaroka Mountains, Boysen State Park, and Grand Teton National Park.

While visiting, be sure to check out the Eastern Shoshone Tribal Cultural Center, Museum of the American West, and St. Stephens Indian Mission & Heritage Center. There are also plenty of outdoor activities available, such as pack trips, ice climbing, camping, and dog sledding as well as indoor learning experiences such as arts and crafts. For more information on things to do in Wyoming, read our complete Wyoming value travel vacation guide.

To get to the Wind River Reservation, you’ll need to fly into Riverton Regional Airport. From there, it’s about a 30-minute drive. There are also a few smaller airports located within the reservation itself, such as Dubois Municipal Airport and Fort Washakie Municipal Airport.

If you’re looking to stay near the reservation, there are a few different options. The most popular place to stay is the Wind River Hotel and Casino, which offers both hotel rooms and casino gaming.

There are also a few smaller casinos located on the reservation, such as the Thunderbird Lodge & Trailer Park and the Little Wind Casino.

If you’re looking for a more traditional Native American experience, be sure to check out one of the many tribal-owned resorts, such as the K3 Guest Ranch Bed & Breakfast or the White Buffalo Bed & Breakfast.

See Related: Best National Parks to Visit in November

10. Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, North & South Dakota

The Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota and South Dakota is the fifth-largest in the United States, and spans offer two million acres.

The area is home to a number of ancient burial mounds and rock art. Chief Sitting Bull, who is famous for defeating General Custer, is interred at Fort Yates.

The Standing Rock Monument, a natural formation that serves as the reservation’s namesake at Fort Yates, is also located there. The Legacy Trail, which follows Lewis and Clark’s famous journey, is one of the many activities on offer to tourists.

To get to this reservation, take exit 451 off of I-94 and drive north on ND Hwy 1806. The drive is about two hours long, so make sure you have plenty of gas and snacks packed for the trip.

There are a few different tourist attractions located on the reservation, so it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area.

When visiting the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, there are a few different places to stay near the tourist attractions. The Prairie Knights Casino and Resort is a great place to stay if you’re looking for a casino experience. The casino has over 600 slot machines and table games, as well as a hotel, spa, and golf course.

If you’re looking for something a bit more rustic, consider camping at the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Cedar Ridge Campground.

The campground offers RV hookups and primitive camping and is located just minutes from the attractions on the reservation.

See Related: How to Pack for a Camping Trip

11. Oneida Nation, New York

Oneida Nation in New York is a fascinating and unique travel destination, so be sure to visit. The Oneida Nation is a fascinating place to visit, as it offers a glimpse into the culture and history of the Oneida people. There are many attractions and activities available here, including museums, art galleries, casinos, and golf courses.

You’ll get to experience the rich culture of the Oneidas first-hand while here. The people are warm and welcoming, and they will be happy to share their traditions and stories with you. This is a great opportunity to learn more about Native American history and culture.

If you’re interested in visiting the Oneida Nation, be sure to plan ahead. The reservation is located in upstate New York, and it can be a little tricky to find. You’ll need to fly into Albany or Syracuse, and then rent a car or take a taxi to the reservation.

The best place for you to stay while visiting the Oneida Nation will depend on your budget and what amenities are important for you.

There are many hotels in both cities that offer easy access from the airport, as well as proximity to other attractions like museums and art galleries.

If you’re looking for something more unique than just another hotel room, there are also plenty of bed and breakfasts available in both cities that have beautiful views of nearby lakes or forests.

Final Thoughts

Each reservation has its own unique culture and attractions. The Navajo Nation, for example, is known for its stunning red rock formations and ancient petroglyphs.

The Blackfeet Indian Reservation is home to the beautiful Glacier National Park, while the Seminole Indian Reservation offers a taste of Florida’s tropical climate, and the North and South Dakota sovereign nation of Standing Rock has several historical sights to see.

Visiting Indian reservations offer visitors a glimpse into the natural beauty that we call home and a culture that can provide a life-changing learning experience.

With over 560 federally recognized tribes, there is no shortage of reservations to choose from. If you are interested in learning about the history and traditions of Native Americans, then visiting a reservation should be high on your list of travel destinations.

If you’re looking for an interesting, fun, and historical travel destination, be sure to check out one of the many great Native American Indian Reservations. You won’t be disappointed.

FAQ

What Native American tribes can you visit?

There are many different Native American tribes in the United States, each with its own culture and attractions.

Some popular tourist destinations include the Navajo Nation in Arizona, the Blackfeet Nation in Montana, and the Seminole Nation in Florida. If you’re looking for an interesting and unique travel destination, be sure to check out one of America’s Native Indian Reservations.

Can I visit an Indian reservation?

Yes! Indian Reservations are open to the public. Be sure to double-check with the specific reservation as some reservations may be closed due to tribal or government holidays.

Amenities change from one reservation to another, but travelers can typically enjoy visiting historical and cultural sites, recreation activities such as fishing, hiking, and tours of art galleries along with lots of tastings at local restaurants and shops.

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