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Calling all solo travelers! When the open road calls, it’s up to you to decide whether you want to pursue it…. and if you’re here, we’re sure that means you’re ready to jet set! So, which direction is the wide-open unknown pulling you in?
The east coast, the west coast, a big city, or hiking trails? Do you need some solo vacation ideas? Yes, solo travel can be daunting (especially for solo female travelers in America), but that doesn’t mean it has to be avoided.
Together, we’ll find the perfect destination for your solo weekend getaway. Read on for the absolute best places to travel alone in the U.S.
- TL;DR Top 5 Destinations for Solo Travel In The US:
- Best Solo Vacations In The US: Top Cities and Towns
- 1. Jackson Hole, Wyoming
- 2. Hot Springs, Arkansas
- 3. Portland, Maine
- 4. Sedona, Arizona
- 5. The Poconos, Pennsylvania
- 6. Detroit, Michigan
- 7. Santa Fe, New Mexico
- 8. Chicago, Illinois
- 9. Boston, Massachusetts
- 10. Asheville, North Carolina
- 11. Portland, Oregon
- 12. Boulder, Colorado
- 13. Nashville, Tennessee
- 14. Charleston, South Carolina
- 15. Pierre, South Dakota
- 16. Washington D.C.
- 17. Seattle, Washington
- 18. New York City, New York
- 19. San Diego, California
- 20. Salt Lake City, Utah
- 21. Las Vegas, Nevada
- 22. Blue Ridge Mountains, Virginia
- 23. New Orleans, Louisiana
- 24. Key West, Florida
- 25. San Francisco, California
- Cost-Effective Tips for Solo Travelers in the U.S.
- Safety Tips for Solo Travelers
- Staying Safe as Solo Female Travelers
- Secure Travel Insurance
- What are the top solo vacation destinations in the U.S.?
- What tips can you share for solo female travelers in the U.S.?
- How do I meet new people while traveling alone in the U.S.?
TL;DR Top 5 Destinations for Solo Travel In The US:
|Best For First Time Solo Travelers||Boston, Massachusetts|
|Best National Park For Solo Travelers||Hot Springs, Arkansas|
|Best City Getaway||New York City, New York|
|Best Small Town/City Getaway||Sedona, Arizona|
|Best For Adventure Travel||Blue Ridge Mountains, Virginia|
Best Solo Vacations In The US: Top Cities and Towns
The U.S. is a beautiful place for solo travel and group trips. You’ll have the opportunity to pursue both bustling cities and lush hiking trails, beautiful beaches, and historic districts galore. Such variety means no matter where you’re headed, you’re bound to have an adventure.
1. Jackson Hole, Wyoming
While Jackson Hole might not be the first place you think of when you consider “traveling solo,” give it a chance. There are many ways to experience the town and valley and many opportunities to make memories. If you visit Jackson Hole in winter, you’ll find yourself in an American wonderland.
What makes Jackson Hole such an appealing place to travel alone is how it brings you in touch with nature. There are plenty of trails in Grand Teton National Park that are safe to hike solo, and for the most popular trails, you won’t be alone, anyway. Just remember to carry bear spray and make noise as you hike.
If you love snowsports, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and Snow King Mountain offer trails for all skill levels and plenty of frontcountry terrain. While you’re here, explore Teton Village and the town of Jackson for some incredible food.
Some of the attractions you’ll love in this area include the following:
- Jackson Hole Aerial Tram
- Jenny Lake. The trail, visitor’s center, the lake itself – it’s all magical
- Skiing and snowboarding
- A relatively easy hike to Taggart and Bradley Lakes
- A peaceful morning spotting moose at Schwabacher Landing
- National Museum of Wildlife Art
- Jackson Hole Horseback Riding in the Bridger-Teton National Forest
One of many reasons we recommend Jackson Hole is because it’s centering and sobering. You’re in a place off the beaten path that challenges you to explore what you might not usually see, and if you ask us, that makes for a fantastic solo trip.
Local tip: Visit in late August or early September. You’ll get the best weather (be prepared for chilly nights) and fewer crowds.
Safety: Carry bear spray on solo hikes. If you’re skiing, stay out of the backcountry and glades if you’re here alone.
2. Hot Springs, Arkansas
Albeit a stretch from busy modern cities, the natural beauty of Hot Springs makes for an incredible trip, especially for solo travel. Why? Because here, you can enjoy proximity to famous national parks while also experiencing the convenience that comes with… well, civilization.
You don’t have to stay in the city the whole time, though. Alongside the nearby (and stunningly beautiful) Hot Springs National Park, this area of Arkansas promises attractions that really make you feel like you’ve dug up a real gem. Its art-deco stylization of the city and proximity to popular Little Rock make it an indispensable visit while you’re journeying solo.
Need some tips? Here are some attractions that might call to you:
- Anthony Chapel
- Hot Springs National Park
- Bathhouse Row
- Lake Ouachita
- Garvan Woodland Gardens
- This Zip Line Zip Tour at Catherine’s Landing
Hot Springs’s city layout is conveniently located on a central road along 270. Hop onto East Grand Ave, and you’ll experience both proximity to its famed parks and an easy route to navigate the town itself.
If you seek a laid-back vibe alongside the chance to soak in some truly ethereal natural hot tubs, this is the area for you. What better place to decompress from the stress of exploring on your own? Talk about perfect solo destinations!
Local tip: Unfortunately, there are no opportunities to soak in the outdoor thermal springs. If you want to experience them, some bathhouses allow it, but reservations may be required.
Safety: Don’t feed the wildlife—ever. Some folks forget that wild animals are still animals, and interacting with them can be dangerous for all parties.
See Related: Best Resorts in the USA For Families
3. Portland, Maine
The easternmost state in the U.S. certainly has bragging rights, and we welcome you to indulge in them. When you visit the tip of the country, you’ll see what we mean.
With delicious chowder, lobster, and other seafood, Portland, Maine, is a foodie’s daydream. From New England’s famed clam chowder to other local delicacies, flavor fanatics will find their every need catered to.
Here, you’ll experience the freshest shellfish you’ve ever eaten, crack crab legs over the table, and explore the many features that make Maine a main event. It’s not just food the city has to offer, though. When it comes to things to do, Portland will keep you busy.
Just spend all day by the water, looking out over the coast, or you wind it down in town. Stop by the main street, enjoy the architecture, and visit local eateries that guarantee a full stomach by day’s end.
Other activities include:
- This Vintage Fire Truck Sightseeing Tour of Portland
- This Schooner Tall Ship Cruise on Casco Bay
- This Old Port Culinary Walking Tour
- Allagash Brewery
- Hadlock Field
- Eastern Promenade
Portland makes for impeccable harbor views. While visually rewarding, walking the busy cobblestones in Old Port might make you a little tired (hungry, even). Luckily, you’re in the perfect place to stock up on some of America’s best seafood!
Local tip: Should you want to get the most out of your Portland visit, you’ll need two or three days to explore. Plan your trip with this in mind just so you can see everything!
Safety: There’s a low rate of violent crime in Portland, but it’s recommended that you keep an eye on your belongings, as you might anywhere. Avoid traveling alone at night.
4. Sedona, Arizona
Sedona is one of the few places in the world that really makes you feel at ease. Its vibrant red rocks, holistic and glitzy resorts, rustic buildings, and overall friendly atmosphere greet solo travelers like you with open arms.
This is one of the several reasons we selected it, but there are others. For one, it’s practically famous, what with its bright scarlet trails, blistering heat, and the stone structures you’ll find here, unlike any other.
Sedona isn’t just for hikers; there are plenty of activities and sights to enjoy. Plenty of lovely artisan shops are within walking distance of numerous parking lots, so you can drop your rental car off nearby and immediately head to the store. Metaphysical vendors are prominent here, and the variety they present makes for a spiritual experience in itself.
Some personal recommendations include:
- Cathedral Rock
- Broken Arrow Trail
- Tlaquepaque Arts and Shopping Village
- Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend
- Airport Mesa
- This Sedona Outback Trail Jeep Adventure
When visiting this oasis, you’d do well to remember to carry your fill of water. Arizona is hot, but even if it’s not the heat, enjoying your glasses of Sedona-made wine will call for hydration. The culinary scene here is also phenomenal.
If you’re planning to visit (for hiking or otherwise), be sure to adhere to the general rules we’ve established over this week. Dress appropriately, bring emergency supplies, and drink plenty of water.
Local tip: There are some trailheads in Sedona only accessible via the Sedona Shuttle. Visit SedonaShuttle.com to see the schedule.
Safety: The biggest risks in Sedona are natural disasters, such as flooding or wildfires. Be mindful of the heat and soiled tap water. Stay hydrated, and be careful on trails!
5. The Poconos, Pennsylvania
A high point in Pennsylvania, both literally and figuratively, is the Pocono Mountains. This small range is considered part of the Appalachians and stretches to the Kittatinny Mountains, where you’ll find the Delaware Water Gap.
You can hike in the Poconos—trailheads in Jim Thorpe and views like Bushkill Falls make certain of that—but what’s unique about these mountains is their luxury. Various resorts, family entertainment, and access to natural reserves mean you can connect with nature while signing up for a relaxing massage.
Said resorts, such as Camelback Lodge & Aquatopia Indoor Waterpark, Carriage House, and Cove Haven Resort, are reasonably priced per night, so you get the bonus of relaxation and affordability.
Other activities and attractions nearby include:
- Lake Wallenpaupack
- Shawnee Mountain Ski Area
- Bushkill Falls
- Hickory Run State Park
- This Private Mount Pocono Observation Air Tour
- This Candle Making or Terrarium Workshop in the Poconos
One of the reasons the Poconos is among the best places to travel alone in the U.S. is because of this variety. Stop by the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway, ride at Tricky Triangle Pocono Raceway, or enjoy a dose of history at the No. 9 Coal Mine and Museum.
The museum above promises exciting (if brief) train rides into a real mine. Experiencing this on the mountain would make for a good story, if not a cool, rocky souvenir!
Local tip: If you hear someone give directions and use the phrase “up the mountain,” don’t be confused. In the Poconos, that’s a genuine tool for navigation. This terminology typically refers to towns and areas around the Pocono Plateau.
Safety: The biggest safety risk in the Pocono Mountains is getting lost. It’s easy to lose track of where you are, so the best way to stay safe is by using all the materials at your disposal. Bring emergency supplies!
See Related: Best States to Visit in the USA
6. Detroit, Michigan
When it comes to cities that buzz, Detroit is one of them. This bustling hotspot always has something going on, from incredible street art to busy jazz clubs. Not to mention its proximity to the Great Lakes, whose many mirrored surfaces are the subject of intrigue nationwide.
Here’s a fun fact: While neither Michigan nor Detroit may be considered “wine country” in the U.S., it boasts one of the largest urban wineries nationally. If you’re craving a glass, stop by Detroit Vineyards, located just on the outskirts of Eastern Market on Gratiot Ave. Recently opened and full of flavor, you can wash the day away in toasts and snacks at the city’s heart.
Detroit will undoubtedly deliver if you’re a solo traveler searching for urban adventure. Here are a few activities:
- Exploring the genuine undiscovered beauty of Detroit
- This fun Motor City Ghosts Tour
- The Ford Piquette Avenue Plant
- Motown Museum
- Comerica Park
- Detroit RiverFront
- The Guardian Building
Known as the Motor City, its title is entirely appropriate: vintage cars, vehicle-heavy streets, and minimal public transport make it literal. Detroit was built for driving, and that’s what the activities you’ll find encourage. Is that all there is to do, though?
Not at all! Even with a smaller-than-average downtown, there are opportunities for interested parties to walk (along the river street), enjoy the sights, and explore other avenues. You can even glimpse the long Ambassador Bridge to Canada and peer over the water to another country!
Local tip: Motor City is designed for driving, so a rental car is key. Public transport is less reliable than other cities, and in fact, it’s often recommended you avoid it.
Safety: Detroit’s inner city is riskier than the suburbs, and public transport is more dangerous than you might find elsewhere. Tying in with the above; rent a car.
7. Santa Fe, New Mexico
A smaller yet still exciting addition to the list is unquestionably Santa Fe. New Mexico’s capital, this gorgeous city, is small and large simultaneously. Boasting ancient Pueblo architecture, varied creative arts, great food, and an influential culture that abounds in the community, there’s no doubt it’s one of the most memorable solo trips you could experience.
One of the first things you’ll notice is the city’s age. Founded in 1610, there’s plenty of history here, not just in the adobe landmarks. It originated as a Spanish colony and later became a hub for art, artifacts, and exhibitions that serve as homages to the American Southwest. You can see some of these exhibits in person at:
- Palace of the Governors
- Museum of International Folk Art
- Meow Wolf Santa Fe
- Santa Fe Plaza, where you can enjoy this New Mexican food tour
- The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum
If you’re creative, the latter is an art museum that’s most certainly worth visiting—the O’Keeffe property actually houses a permanent collection of the artist’s work: over 3,000 of them, to be exact.
While visiting Santa Fe, consider its history. Think of its Indigenous population, their art, and that symbolism. What you think and feel in those moments makes Santa Fe one of the best!
Local tip: If you’re going to explore the trails around Santa Fe, respectfulness is key. Leave No Trace.
Safety: Altitude sickness is a real concern in this area. To avoid it, rest, wear a hat, consume light fair, and drink lots of water!
See Related: Things to Do in Albuquerque, New Mexico
8. Chicago, Illinois
Chicago is another super solo travel destination. The third largest city in the country, it’s a cultural hub that you simply can’t miss. Neighbor-friendly, bustling, and exciting, locals and visitors alike are dedicated to Chicago and all the lesser-known treats it provides (and not just the big silver Bean).
Being in the Midwest, many expect the Windy City to be less than exciting when, in fact, the opposite is true. There are plenty of things to do here, spanning a range of interests, including local landmarks in Old Town, international art, enthralling history, and much more.
Popular things to do or see in Chicago include:
- Millennium Park
- The Magnificent Mile (or Mag Mile)
- The Art Institute of Chicago
- Museum of Science and Industry
- This Gangsters and Ghosts Tour
- Chicago Helicopter Tours
- The Bean!
As you stop by some of the most iconic points of interest in the city, you’ll find yourself wandering. Maybe you’ve ended up on the Mag Mile, exploring the Chi’s many upscale locales. Grab some pizza, see the views, and take photos… after all, this is only the beginning.
Visit the Bean. Get some beans (in coffee form) of your own. Take a stroll around the gridded, well-planned city, and make memories you’ll never forget.
Local tip: Unless you’re Minnesotan, Canadian, or Siberian, don’t visit in winter. If you have no choice but to visit during the chilly months, utilize the Pedway.
This underground network of tunnels (yes, really!) is handy when Chicago freezes over. Either that or rent a car.
Safety: Chicago is fairly safe, although take normal precautions. Avoiding public transport in the evening hours—traveling alone past nine is riskier.
Read Also: Best Vacation Spots in the United States
9. Boston, Massachusetts
With around sixteen million visitors annually, Boston’s pretty popular. Despite the cold and damp weather that creeps in for much of the year, there’s always something fun to do in Boston.
Americans can really get in touch with their roots in this beautiful, walkable city in New England. By that, we mean you can visit the first botanical garden in the U.S…. among other historic sites, of course!
What makes Boston special is some combination of American history, culture, and charm that keeps visitors returning. Collide with the past in a revolutionary way as you make your way down its thriving city streets, flush with vibrancy and plenty of things to do.
Some activities you might like include:
- Museum of Fine Arts
- Fenway Park
- The Freedom Trail
- Boston Public Library
- This Boston Ghosts and Gravestones Trolley Tour
- Nearby Salem and other New England gems
The most popular time to visit is summer and fall, and you’ll find local events reflect that. Enjoy outdoor concerts, walk the Freedom Trail, or take a day cruise on the water. There are seasonal festivals throughout the year, too!
As an integral part of the formation of the United States, Boston is a hub for history. Here, you’ll find countless tours and world-class museums and the unique charm of New England alike melded into one.
Local tip: Boston is busy. Book attraction tickets and accommodation ahead in peak season. Public transportation here is pretty great.
10. Asheville, North Carolina
One of the best solo travel destinations, Asheville has rightfully earned itself a reputation as “Beer City.” Why? Simple: Asheville boasts the most breweries per capita in the country, making it a great place for drinks… and good food! But that’s not the only reason to stop by.
As a cultural, historic town, you can access national parks and specialty museums. It’s also a huge foodie destination, so if you’re looking for something delicious to eat, you’ll definitely find it here: take a bite out of 17 (give or take) local farmers’ markets and support sustainable agriculture all in one go.
Some of the other sights (and sites) you can find here include:
- Asheville Gem Mine
- Chimney Rock
- Asheville Pinball Museum
- Basilica of Saint Lawrence
- This Asheville Night-Time Walking Ghost Tour
- This Blue Ridge Parkway Waterfalls Hiking Tour from Asheville
A personal favorite of ours is the Asheville Pinball Museum. A super unique stop, making your way through its slapdash exhibitions is a treat and a half. Check out and learn about old pinball machines, and see which game best suits you!
You won’t be indoors all the time, though. When it comes to hiking, remember your wilderness rules while you’re here. If you’re heading out to Chimney Rock, be sure to dress appropriately and bring hiking shoes. Safety first!
Local tip: Winter is actually a very pleasant time to visit Asheville. The mornings are chilly, but the days can warm up to around 50 degrees!
Safety: Asheville is largely safe, but make sure you’re prepared for any hikes.
See Related: Best Things to do in Outer Banks, North Carolina
11. Portland, Oregon
Did you know Portland, Oregon, boasts its very own rose garden? The International Rose Test Garden sits on one of the city’s rolling hills overlooking the skyline.
Each year, a non-profit hosts a rose festival here to promote the area in and around Portland. There’s also an equally stunning Japanese Garden, also in the hills overlooking the city, and it’s the perfect spot for a cleansing stroll.
What else is there to see? More than you might think. Portland welcomes its visitors with classic sights (the famed Portland sign, an essential photo spot) as well as lesser-known local treasures.
Hungry? Visit a food truck on your way around town—they’re everywhere! Looking for something to do? Explore the following:
- Pittock Mansion
- Portland Saturday Market
- Powell’s City of Books
- International Rose Test Garden
- Portland Japanese Garden, which you can explore on this guided tour
- Voodoo Doughnuts! (I NEVER miss this place)
- This Full-Day Guided Oregon Coast Tour from Portland
One of the details about Portland that sticks out to me is the accessibility of for-rent vehicles. Small, motorized scooters line the streets, and anyone interested can hop on for a small fee. Ride along the streets and sidewalks, but avoid park grounds where scooters are prohibited.
Portland’s entire city is quiet and relaxed, with plenty of attractions within walking distance of its central hotels. During my last trip, I bought way too many books at Powell’s famous bookstore… but is there such a thing as too many books?
With great public transportation and plenty of sites within walking distance, this solo trip results in a restful excursion that still feels like a bigger city. As you can see, Portland has everything you need.
Local tip: Consider taking public transportation to save money on rideshares, and buy locally! Family-owned businesses are a big thing here.
Safety: Statistically, gun violence has risen nationally, and Portland is no exception. Trust your instincts, and if you notice anything strange, be sure to tell law enforcement.
12. Boulder, Colorado
Adventure and modernization roll into one when you make a pit stop in Boulder. It’s a fantastic destination for solo travelers, particularly because there’s so much to do and see in the vicinity.
Fancy a food tour? Boulder is home to some of our favorite restaurants in Colorado. Hankering for hiking? Take a road trip to the Garden of the Gods.
With a high elevation, proximity to countless canyons, and gorgeous biking trails, you don’t need to go far to find outdoor entertainment; it’s right at your hotel room door. For instance:
- Colorado Chautauqua Park
- Pearl Street Mall
- Flagstaff Mountain
- Boulder Falls
- Discover Rocky Mountain National Park from Boulder
These provide a unique perspective of the state that you won’t experience elsewhere. After all, there’s nothing quite like Boulder.
Still, maybe city-hopping is on the agenda. If you’d like, you can make your way over to Denver, the Mile High City, under 40 minutes away by car.
Colorado itself can be chilly and temperate. When you’re here, shop around and see if you can find a comfortable hoodie in the event of a quick weather change. It never hurts to be prepared.
Local tip: While Boulder is typically mild all year, it still gets cold. Wear layers during your travels to guarantee your comfort and your health.
Safety: Bicycle theft is very common in Boulder. If you’re renting and/or using one, lock it up and keep an eye on it.
13. Nashville, Tennessee
It’s only natural that Nashville would be a great place for live music, and it most certainly is—while you’re local, the tunes you’ll hear will be legendary. But that’s not all…
There are plenty of artisan restaurants to enjoy in this musical hub, as well as a litany of museums that you can spend all day wandering in, covering everything from the arts to modern nightlife.
If you’re in search of historic hotspots in Music City, check out some of these other local treats:
- Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
- Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage
- Nashville Parthenon
- Ryman Auditorium
- Grand Ole Opry
- A Helicopter Tour of Downtown Nashville
- The Nashville bar scene is off the chain
If you have an extra hour or so, take a walking tour around the historic parts of Nashville. Here, you’ll enjoy complete and total immersion in Nashville’s history and learn about the musicians, concerts, and celebrities that still impact the city today.
It’s not all sweet tunes and roses, though. Nashville has a past that’s worth exploring. Visit Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage, the Belle Meade Historic Site and Winery (a former plantation), and see what else you’ll find.
Safety: Nashville can be a bit shady after dark. Travel in well-lit areas, lock the doors of your vehicle upon entry, tell someone your route, and avoid carrying valuables.
See Related: Things to Do in Memphis, Tennessee
14. Charleston, South Carolina
We return to the eastern seaboard with a stop along the coast. A natural addition, Charleston covers everything a solo traveler might be looking for; warm weather, history, and a good time wrapped into one!
Catch some waves at the beach, then trot on over to the Charleston historic district to get in touch with the long past that makes this city such a gem. Where else can you find that?
Looking for something more laid-back? Other activities include the following:
- Sullivan’s Island
- Robert Lange Studios
- Waterfront Park
- Check out some of Charleston’s top restaurants and breweries
- The 34 West Theater Company
- The Black Fedora Comedy Mystery Theater
- A Downtown Charleston Food Tour
- Guided tours and Carriage tours around Charleston
You won’t regret hitting the beach. Decompressing on your own is part of what makes solo trips so valuable, and after exploring downtown Charleston, you’ll need a few lazy hours in the sun before retreating to your hotel.
But if the heat isn’t for you, you’ll be pleased to find how avid and entertaining Charleston’s theatrics are. Visit the local theater productions that perform nearby and find comedy, tragedy, and, most importantly, a grand night out!
Local tip: Charleston is fairly casual, although visiting the South comes with the expectation of “Southern hospitality.” Be “polite” and be safe!
Safety: Charleston has some issues. Walking alone at night is inadvisable regardless of race or gender. Likewise, storms are best avoided by scheduling your travel around hurricane season.
15. Pierre, South Dakota
As the second-smallest capital city in the country, it deserves extra attention. It stands out to us thanks to its small-town vibe, its many museums, the stunning surrounding views, and fun local eateries.
The best way to enjoy Pierre as a solo traveler is by starting your day with food. It’s no New York, but we’ve heard on good authority that nearby bakeries produce some delicious donuts.
Try checking out the Donut Shop, Pure Bliss Cupcake Co., or Branding Iron Bistro. This way, you get to support a local business and then go around town to see the sights, which detail national and local history in tandem. These include:
- Fort Pierre
- Cultural Heritage Center
- Trail of Governors
- Oahe Dam
- State Capitol
- Hiking the surrounding prairies
- The Dakota Discovery Museum
While traveling in the Dakotas, you’ll quickly learn that the states keep their secrets close to the chest. There are plenty of perks here, from a bona fide ghost town to prairies and beautiful gulches.
Local tip: The capital city of Pierre and nearby Fort Pierre border the Missouri River. This brings them close to Lake Oahe, a 231-mile sight that’s a must-see.
Safety: It’s best to avoid the colder seasons in case of severe winter weather.
16. Washington D.C.
Washington, D.C. belongs on this list, although perhaps for reasons you might not anticipate. Aside from its status as a historic city, it’s extremely walkable, and there are plenty of things our country’s capital has to offer for pennies, and it’s not just the White House.
With a bustling downtown area, access to the famous National Mall, and a waterfront with countless bands and live music, you’ll check all your boxes when you stop in D.C.
We recommend getting a sightseeing pass to embark on some D.C. walking tours and tour the many Smithsonian museums. Experience some of the greatest exhibitions on natural and national history the city has to offer!
During your trip to the District of Columbia, consider:
- The National Mall
- The Wharf D.C.
- Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
- National Archives
- The U.S. Capitol and Library of Congress
- D.C. Monuments
- Enjoying a day trip from D.C. by train
- A Guided Sightseeing Segway Tour
- This Washington D.C. in A Day Guided Sightseeing Tour
When stopping by the National Mall, you can stroll the grounds between numerous famous landmarks, like the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. They’re all just a few minutes’ walk apart, so you can see both of these and more.
Local tip: Washington, D.C., actually boasts free WiFi for visitors and residents! You can access it through a variety of hotspots spread across the city. Look up D.C. Net for more.
Safety: Washington, D.C., has a reliable police presence for obvious reasons. Still, it’s best to keep your sightseeing to daytime only (unless you’re thinking of a D.C. Monuments and Memorials Night Tour).
17. Seattle, Washington
A showstopping city that’s ideal for adventurers and city-likers is Seattle. Despite the rain, it’s quite a dynamic city; from Pike Place Market to the Space Needle, Seattle knows how to deliver entertainment, shopping, and top tourist attractions.
It doesn’t stop there, though. Natives to Seattle and travelers everywhere know how deep lore about the Pacific Northwest runs.
Why? Because there are so many incredible things to see and do, like:
- Chihuly Garden and Glass
- Sky View Observatory
- Olympic National Park
- A Pike Place Market Food Tour
- The Beneath The Streets Underground History Tour
- A trip to Mt. Rainier
- Check out West Seattle for more shopping and restaurants
It’s amazing to see the evolution of a city like Seattle, from its space needle (the first sketch of which was done on a napkin) to its up-and-coming buildings. The current city actually sits on top of the original city, which burned down in the 1800s. Talk about perseverance.
With plenty of convenient public transport, easy access to a major airport, and even proximity to Canada, we believe Seattle is among the best places to travel alone in the U.S. I’ve visited Olympic National Park, hiked its many trails, and made the drive back to civilization in no time at all.
Local tip: Locals don’t use umbrellas! If you don’t want to stand out, opt for a raincoat or let the drizzle do its thing.
Safety: Visitors should be aware of significant homelessness and the risk of theft or property crime.
See Related: Things to Do in Leavenworth, Washington
18. New York City, New York
The Big Apple is something of a fantasy. With so many stories, iconic images, and star power, NYC’s popularity is unparalleled… and for good reason.
Perhaps the world’s greatest cultural melting pot, countless people have come here—artists, entrepreneurs, refugees, and everything in between—to make their dreams a reality. People still do.
If you ask us, that makes it one of the best cities in the world. It weirdly provides something for people in a Concrete Jungle that smells funky: hope.
But there’s more to do than hope your way around New York City. While it boasts less glitz and glam than Vegas and certainly more grime than Paris, it still manages to be a go-to hotspot that everyone loves. Some activities you might like would be:
- Exploring New York’s restaurants
- Times Square
- The High Line
- Chelsea Market
- The Empire State Building
- An NYC TV and Movie Tour
- Edge and the Observation Deck
- The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
- A Helicopter Flightseeing Tour of NYC
Pro tip: Grab an NYC CityPass and hit up the best of New York on the cheap.
New York sits on a grid system, which makes navigating the city pretty easy once you’ve figured it out. Track your destinations and your accommodations by plotting your location on a map!
As the largest city on this list, what makes it great for solo travel is the sheer amount of things to do and the anonymity that comes with the size of it. While you’re here, you can’t miss the Empire State Building and other iconic attractions.
Local tip: Don’t ride in empty subway cars. This is a common mistake for tourists, as the temptation to avoid a packed car is high; still, if the car is empty, it’s unoccupied for a reason.
Safety: Don’t use unmarked cabs or taxi services. All New York City taxis are identified quite clearly. There are visible I.D. numbers and rooftop lights that distinguish this.
19. San Diego, California
San Diego is one of those cities that encourages you to find something new to do every day, and that’s one of the reasons why it’s on our list of best solo trips.
From its famous Comic Con (or SDCC) to Balboa Park and the gorgeous beaches in between, you have plenty to see and all the time in the world to do so.
The city’s residents are big on public art, and you’ll find countless colorful murals adorning the walls of practically every neighborhood you explore. That’s not to mention the architecture, which distinguishes itself along the Coronado Bridge.
It’s not just pretty, though—there are plenty of things to do, entertainment-wise, such as:
- House of Blues San Diego
- San Diego Zoo
- Check out Point Loma
- Cabrillo National Monument
- Balboa Park
- USS Midway Museum
- The obligatory San Diego Seal Tour or Whale Watching Cruise
There are some truly unique aspects of San Diego that solo travelers will find once they fully explore it. For instance, did you know this city is one of the few places where the rare Torrey pine tree grows? You can visit Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve nearby.
San Diego is a treat for solo travelers because it embraces your flexibility. When you’re on your own, there’s no schedule to adhere to but yours; thus, it makes for a more exciting trip.
Local tip: An idyllic escape from the big city, you can take the Coronado Ferry across the calm Pacific waters and enjoy Coronado Island.
Safety: The crime rate in San Diego is lower than the national average for a city of its size, but the best practices regarding your safety in any city still apply.
See Related: Most Exotic Places in California to Visit
20. Salt Lake City, Utah
Of the best places to travel alone in the U.S., Salt Lake City (or, colloquially, SLC) stands out. Why? Well, first of all, it’s a unique spot.
Salt Lake City’s claims to fame vary just as much as the melting pot of tourists who visit it. It’s known for the Sundance Festival, Temple Square, the Crossroads of the West, the Great Salt Lake, and more.
You’ll have plenty of opportunity if you need to scratch an itch for the wilds while you’re out and about in SLC. Drive to the lake (approximately 18 miles from the city), or make your way to other picturesque destinations in Utah, such as Arches National Park or Canyonlands National Park.
Some additional perks to enjoy locally include the following activities:
- Big Cottonwood Canyon
- Natural History Museum of Utah
- Red Butte Garden
- Salt Flats
- Great Salt Lake
- A Trolley Adventure Tour of Salt Lake City
- The SLC Haunted Old Town Tour
There is also incredible access to some of the best skiing in the country from SLC, thanks to the sheer volume of runs and variety. You can access Utah’s four most famous ski resorts (Alta, Brighton, Snowbird, and Solitude) in one weekend if you’d like, and you’ll find them all uniquely appealing, with their own views and slopes.
These resorts can be reached by car or UTA public transit. Likewise, if needed, Many hotels in the area offer free storage for ski and snowboard gear.
Local tip: You can navigate the center of SLC at no cost. The city offers light rail lines through Trax, and downtown is a free fare zone!
Safety: There’s a natural disaster risk between intense windstorms and the drying Great Salt Lake, so be wary. While little can be done about Mother Earth’s plans to stay safe, basic city rules apply.
Avoid being alone at night, and stick to brightly lit areas. Solo female travelers stay alert.
A friend from Utah I met at a conference gave me some advice about visiting SLC. One thing that stood out was his warning for younger solo female travelers to be extremely wary of young men approaching them in public and trying to engage them in conversation, particularly in less-crowded areas.
21. Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas may be a controversial addition to this list, but it’s an amazing destination for solo travel. You don’t need the excuse of a bachelor party to have a reason to go to Vegas. It’s not all about the glitz, the glam, and the gambling; it’s about experiencing a new city in a unique light.
Staying in Vegas means proximity to all those things. So, yes, you can gamble, drink, and have a great time, but there’s even more to enjoy. You can explore everything from Madame Tussaud’s famed wax museum to road-tripping to Grand Canyon National Park.
What else might interest you on your solo travels? You can also visit the following:
- The casinos and restaurants of the Strip
- Fountains of Bellagio
- Fremont Street
- The Mob Museum
- Take a day trip to The Grand Canyon
- Take an Emerald Cave kayak tour
- Explore landmarks like Hoover Dam and the Skywalk from Vegas
- Red Rock Canyon
- Tour the Vegas Dunes by ATV
While you might have an idea in mind about Vegas, it’s actually no longer the gambling capital of the world (Macau now holds that title). That means that while you’re in the area, you may enjoy less casino-hopping and more hiking trails!
When it comes to places to travel alone in the U.S., Vegas is a great spot. It’s also one of the best cities to visit and meet people organically. This especially applies if you’re taking tours in and around the area that bring you to local wonders.
Local tip: There are a variety of monorails in Las Vegas, of which some are free. The main monorail runs the length of Las Vegas Boulevard, or the Strip, up to MGM Grand.
22. Blue Ridge Mountains, Virginia
Spanning nearly 600 miles and upwards of eight states on the eastern seaboard, the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains make for an incredible solo trip that will stay with you for years. Where do you begin?
We recommend Virginia. Located in the mountain range’s approximate center, outdoorsy folks and city slickers alike will admire its natural beauty.
Plus, there’s plenty to do and see, with countless nearby national parks and hiking trails galore. Activities and sights include:
- Shenandoah National Park
- Luray Caverns
- Blue Ridge Music Center
- The Garden Maze
- Luray Valley Museum & Shenandoah Heritage Village
- A Waterfalls and Blue Ridge Parkway hiking tour with an expert naturalist
Solo travelers will love the peace and quiet of the wilderness and the ability to flip the script and rejoin civilization whenever it appeals to them!
Running alongside the mountain range is the Blue Ridge Parkway. A reputed “All-American Road,” this is one street you’re likely to find yourself on no matter where in the mountains you go. Its scenic, picturesque views will pass the time effortlessly.
Local tip: If you take a rental car on the Blue Ridge Parkway, be aware of the weather patterns. Fog and rain are common, and it’s often thick enough to limit your visibility to a grand total of 20-30 feet ahead.
Safety: Hiking boots are recommended. Emergency supplies should be carried with you, and hikers should remain on only the marked trails without straying.
See Related: Things to Do in Norfolk, Virginia
23. New Orleans, Louisiana
There’s nothing like NOLA in the U.S., making it an incredible place. Heavily inspired by French Creole and Cajun influence, the city has fantastic restaurants, live music, more alcohol than you can drink, and even ghosts!
Here, it’s a casual affair to visit a graveyard and its most famous resident, Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau. You walk amidst the crumbling masonry and sip on a Hurricane as you go because New Orleans’s culture and lax drinking rules mean you can drink on the street.
New Orleans’s historic city is a great destination for party lovers but also for spooky aficionados… Who also enjoy a good muffuletta. Entrenched in local culture, this is where to be if you search for a genuinely decadent food tour. I know because I’ve done it (Etouffee is one of the best things I’ve ever eaten; this is coming from an Italian-American!).
What else is there to do in the area? Some touristy (and not-so-touristy) things include:
- Garden District
- The Museum of Death
- Honey Island Swamp
- Jackson Square
- French Quarter
- Book an Evening Jazz Cruise with Dinner on a Steamboat
- Go on an Airboat Ride
Tasty traditional food can be found everywhere, with in-house variations in style and flavor. Some places have famed dishes, and others carry the staples. While you’re here, you should try etouffee, jambalaya, gumbo, muffuletta, and beignets.
If you can’t decide what to try first, why not grab all of them? The best way to absorb alcohol is through filling your stomach, and there’s no better place to do that than at Central Grocery and Deli.
Local tip: It’s customary for folks to celebrate their birthday by pinning a dollar to their shirt. If you see someone doing as much, toss them a buck or two! And if you’re considering winter escapes like no other, consider visiting during Mardi Gras!
Safety: Try to avoid walking around alone at night. Rent a car or use rideshare services to get home and stay near the streetlamps. I was advised to avoid being out in the French Quarter past one in the morning for my own safety.
24. Key West, Florida
When it comes to places to travel alone in the U.S., there’s no better place to kick back than the Florida Keys. These beautiful islands sit at the southernmost point of the U.S., and the overseas bridge that runs through them carries you directly through otherworldly views.
You can benefit from history, relaxation, and fruity little drinks here. If you need a beach, this is where to be. What makes the Keys such a beauty? The heat is a great gift to snowbirds, and its sights and lively towns are beautiful and entertaining.
You really can’t go wrong with anywhere in the Keys, but my personal favorite is Key West. It’s a veritable slice of heaven with fab restaurants, resorts in all shapes and sizes, and a relaxing seaside vibe.
While you’re here, we recommend you visit the following:
- Mallory Square
- Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory
- Duval Street
- Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum
- Dry Tortugas National Park
- The Key West Ghosts and Gravestones Trolley Tour
- Embark on a Sunset Sail with Full Bar
If you’re looking to navigate the islands and need help figuring out where to start, we can help. The dreamy archipelago covers a wide variety of interests, so you can try snorkeling, swimming, or bumming it on the beach.
The Keys are bustling with things to do, from local landmarks like the actual, physical southernmost point. With live music in a variety of restaurants and a spooky, ghostly walking tour, you’ll find entertainment around every corner.
Local tip: The nationally acknowledged “best beach” in Key West is actually not located on the island. Sunset Key harbors a private beach; while anyone can visit, reservations are required.
Safety: Divers and snorkelers use a flag system to inform boats of their presence, cyclists are encouraged to use the paved Overseas Heritage Trail, and some websites stay very active during the hurricane season to keep visitors and residents informed.
See Related: Most Beautiful Beaches
25. San Francisco, California
Last but not least, we have San Francisco. A beautiful city full of street performers, rolling hills, and trolleys, what catches your eye first? Probably the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s tough to narrow down San Francisco’s best tourist spots since there’s so much to do… but that’s what makes it a great destination for solo travel.
Golden Gate Park welcomes solo travelers, and we do not doubt that fellow tourists will gladly take your picture as you pose before its famed arches. Other top attractions include:
- Ghirardelli Square
- Fisherman’s Wharf
- San Francisco Chinatown
- Golden Gate Bridge
- The San Francisco Love Tour
- This cute GoCar San Francisco Tour
When traveling solo, cities can be scary, especially when big. Did you know that Golden Gate Park is actually bigger than Central Park? It’s true, if hard to fathom.
In San Francisco, though, you’ll be pleased to find it’s among the best places to travel alone in the U.S. Why? Firsco’s crime rate is statistically lower than many other popular U.S. cities. While you might anticipate West Coast smog, vagrancy, or risk of theft, your chances of running into issues are lower here than elsewhere in the Bay Area.
Local tip: San Francisco restaurants are popular and are likely to fill up quickly. Make reservations!
Safety: Be mindful of your surroundings, avoid wearing flashy jewelry or valuables, visit touristy spots in the daytime, and stay in lodgings that are in reputable areas.
Cost-Effective Tips for Solo Travelers in the U.S.
Group travel is convenient in part because you can split what you buy; solo travel, however, flips that on its head. With a little research and a lot more budgeting, you can plan a trip that’s as rewarding as it is frugal. First and foremost, set up a travel budget spreadsheet.
List all your necessary information alongside expectations for various expenses.
- Diet while traveling and foodie destinations
- Entertainment and activities
- Souvenir costs
If you stay in hostels and skip guided tours, your estimates will be lower. You may want to budget more for food if you need a big breakfast to fuel your day.
The location also matters here. It’s hard to find inexpensive meals in Jackson Hole or Key West, but bigger cities tend to have bodegas and street carts that make it possible to grab breakfast or lunch for just a few bucks.
Your spreadsheet will look something like this:
|Food and Drink||$20-$75/day|
|Entertainment & Activities||$20-$75/day|
|Souveniers + Misc||$10-$25/day|
For a cost-effective experience, give yourself a little leeway in your budget. This will allow for changes in plans, although there are plenty of options that could help you keep expenditures low. These include:
- Shop at a grocery store instead of going out
- Get local transport tickets instead of Uber or Lyft
- Stay in hostels and book through HostelWorld or shared Airbnb
In addition to granting you a lower price, the latter also lets you get to know fellow travelers. Hopefully, they’ll be new friends!
I also recommend packing smart. You want to balance carrying all the essentials, but not carrying too much, with having the right luggage for the job. This is especially true if you’re not relying on a rental car.
Safety Tips for Solo Travelers
Traveling solo requires responsibility, and awareness is the best way to handle it safely. Solo travel can be just as safe as traveling with a partner. Some ways to guarantee this include:
- Know that safety is a factor that ought to be considered from the moment you start planning the trip.
- Understanding your strengths and weaknesses will help you to prepare yourself better.
- Be cautious when choosing your destination, and research the area at length. We recommend visiting reputable websites about the area that can inform you accordingly.
- Consider travel insurance to assist with your trip. Check prices with SafetyWing for full-nomad or travel health insurance for younger travelers.
- Be sure to stick to a safe schedule—for example, set up your flight or ride to arrive before it gets dark.
What matters is that you do everything you can to remain aware during your solo journey!
See Related: Totally Awkward Solo Travel Situations & How to Cope
Staying Safe as Solo Female Travelers
Most women will understand what I mean when I say we know when something feels suspicious. It’s rarely unwise to trust your basest instincts. Your body may sense people in your periphery before you actually notice them.
Even if you don’t physically see anything unusual, sometimes, you know. There could be sounds you heard but didn’t register or things you touched that felt out of place. Be sure to:
- Be cautious with taxis and rideshares.
- Be alert when drinking.
- Avoid wearing expensive or flashy items.
- Dress appropriately for your visiting place, as this can vary culturally.
- Keep your phone charged so it works when you need it.
- Consider emergency-specific technology and anti-theft bags.
- Join female solo travel groups on social media.
For women, it’s important to remain in touch with loved ones who know you’re traveling solo. Consider sharing your location via GPS with a trusted friend or family member. If somewhere seems dangerous, clear out.
Secure Travel Insurance
Lastly, a travel insurance policy will reimburse any insured aspects of your trip. This is important because life is unpredictable, and it helps to travel knowing your bases are covered.
For solo travelers looking for protection on the go, we recommend choosing the insurance based on the type of trip you’re pursuing. I recommend SafetyWing for solo travel, but if you want to shop around, check out TravelInsurance.com!
What are the top solo vacation destinations in the U.S.?
It’s a matter of opinion, but of the 25 destinations listed here, the top choices are Portland, Maine; Boston, Massachusetts; Seattle, Washington; Charleston, South Carolina; and Sedona, Arizona. These were selected for their lower crime rates, as well as their walkability and convenience.
Trust your gut. Be alert when drinking. Walk with confidence, as dangerous people will take advantage of your lack of familiarity with a region.
On top of all that, use your phone strategically and carefully so that you don’t run out of battery and/or have access to it when you need it. Finally, tell people where you’re going.
How do I meet new people while traveling alone in the U.S.?
Stay in hostels and sign up for their activities, volunteer, try various tours with groups, connect on Facebook, chat with your seatmates, or consider staying in a shared Airbnb to meet people organically.
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- About the Author
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A bona fide expert in budget travel, Lana has been to 25 countries across four continents (although she hopes to round that up to seven soon!), as well as 29 U.S. states. She has a penchant for country hopping and proudly presents tips and tricks to help our readers do the same. Lana is currently based near Philadelphia, but spends a significant amount of time in Italy with family.
She’s fluent in three languages – English, Italian, and American Sign Language – and, through her studies, has been inducted into the Phi Beta Delta Honor Society for International Scholars and the Gamma Kappa Alpha Italian Language Society.