The best solo trips in the US

updated 12/13/2022
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Travelling alone isn’t just empowering – it’s also, say many, more enriching. Without the buffer of a travel companion, there’s a heightened immediacy to experiencing new lands and cultures. In the USA, you can take your pick of solo adventures. From cities to national parks to arty enclaves, here are our pick of the best places to travel alone in the USA.

This article is inspired by our Rough Guide to the USA — your essential guide for travelling in the United States.

For solo adventurists — Boulder, Colorado

Calling all solo adventurists: Boulder is the perfect spot to park your hiking boots. Sitting in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, this is an outdoor town with plenty of year-round activities that you can take on solo, from skiing to cycling.

After dark, the fun continues, with a buzzing nightlife. Check out the brewpubs of Pearl Street. Or discover the diverse array of fantastic restaurants, where you can comfortably (and inexpensively) wine and dine alone.

Where to stay in Boulder

  • For a gorgeous stay with Victorian grandeur: Hotel Boulderado. Decked out in period furniture and wallpaper, this hotel is worth a visit even if you're not staying here.
  • For a down-to-earth log cabin stay: Foot of the Mountain Hotel. Affordable and close to nearby national parks.

Boulder, CO — one of the best solo trips in the US / CC0

San Francisco, California — Golden Gate City

The San Francisco spirit can be summed up in two words: be yourself. This is a city that embraces solo travellers. With free summer concerts and festivals, there is plenty of live music.

Take a walk up the steep hills of California street, or across the Golden Gate Bridge. Or take a ride on the city's cable cars — an exciting and novel public transportation.

Where to stay in San Francisco

  • For a B&B style stay: Washington Square Inn. Perfect for solo travellers, this hotel overlooks Washington Square and has airy modern rooms.
  • For something LGBTQ+ friendly: Parker Guest House. This converted mansion has beautiful gardens and ample common areas for meeting new friends.

A view of Golden Gate bridge from the top of Twin Peaks mountain © Shutterstock

Take a solo dip in Hot Springs, Arkansas

Leave Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon to the hordes of summer family travellers. Instead, take a solo trip to trek through America’s lesser-known pockets of the wilderness. Hot Springs National Park is one of the best places to travel alone. Hike the trails at your own pace, and afterwards, soak in a traditional bath at Buckstaff Baths.

Where to stay in Hot Springs

  • For a 1920s-style resort that oozes grandeur: Arlington Resort and Spa. Al Capone rented the entire fourth floor and President Clinton attended his senior prom in the ballroom.
  • For solo campers: Gulpha Gorge Campground. The best place to camp is in the national parks.

Little Rock, Arkansas — one of the best places to travel alone in the US © Pixabay

See the martian landscape of Sedona, Arizona

Looking up at Sedona’s famous red rocks as they glow under the setting sun is a memorable experience – and even more so when you’re alone. The area’s magnificent stillness is best enjoyed without any companion chatter.

Sedona is one of the best places to travel solo in the USA. When you’re ready to join others, there are plenty of ways to do so, such as the First Friday Art Walk (first Friday of the month), which circulates through the top galleries in town.

One of the best places to travel solo in the USA: Sedona, Arizona © Shutterstock

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Atlanta, Georgia — one of the best places to travel solo in the USA

Where better to travel solo than in one of the most famous singles’ cities in the country? Atlanta’s thriving nightlife includes many solo-friendly options. Go out to trivia nights at the bars of East Atlanta or the singles’ meet-and-greet events at the cocktail lounges of glitzy Buckhead. The city’s sights are also made for solo exploring, including Piedmont Park and the High Museum of Art. Atlanta is one of the best places to travel alone in the USA.

Where to stay in Atlanta, Georgia

  • To stay near the High Museum of Art: Artmore Hotel. This cool hotel offers comfortable rooms and has a lovely Spanish Mediterranean facade.
  • For a stay in the downtown area: Hotel Indigo: Atlanta Downtown. Cool-toned rooms that reflect Atlanta's design history.

For singles: Atlanta, Georgia © Shutterstock

Don't miss the American college towns

Cheap, friendly, and festive: America’s student-thronged college towns – from Ann Arbor, Michigan, to Lawrence, Kansas – are a gift for solo travellers. Time your visit with a game day – cheering along with thousands of face-painted fans at a college home football game is the ultimate slice of Americana. As is consuming beer, hot dogs, and more beer.

Ann Arbor, Michigan — one of the best places to visit solo in the USA © Dark Vader/Shutterstock

Go for a solo meander in Beaufort, South Carolina

Sometimes, the best solo experiences aren’t in America’s big cities, but in its small towns, like Beaufort, South Carolina (population circa 4000). This is a charming microcosm of the South is a great solo travel destination. You'll find here a vine-draped historic district, moody antebellum mansions, and a breezy seaside perch on Port Royal Island. Amiable and safe, Beaufort is ideal for solo meanderings, followed by a mint julep (or three) on a breezy porch.

Ready for your trip to the United States? Don't miss our guide to the 20 foods you absolutely must try while in the US.

Historic Cuthbert House in Beaufort, South Carolina © Deborah MacCague/Shutterstock

Austin, Texas for the best solo trips in the US

In some cities, festivals are a special occasion. In Austin, they’re a way of life. The capital city of Texas is a music town, with one of the greatest concert calendars in the country. The city’s tunes are matched by its BBQ. Or get out to the great outdoors. There are a wide array of solo-friendly outdoor activities, from strolling sun-speckled parks to paddling along Lady Bird Lake.

Where to stay in Austin

  • For a stay in the hip SoCo area: Austin Motel. A trendy favourite with visiting musicians.
  • To treat yourself: Driskill Hotel. This handsome and historic hotel in the downtown area of Austin is opulent and worth the price.

A different kind of Texas in Austin, Texas © Shutterstock

Ride a bike through Portland, Oregon

Long overshadowed by larger west coast cities (like San Francisco, or Seattle), Portland is known for its eco-friendly (and hipster) attitude. While here, you won't want to miss the chance to try the local coffee or microbrews. Or visit one of Portland's many bookstores.

Portland is a quirky, walkable city with well-connected public transportation. It is also known for being a great place for bicycling. While travelling solo to Portland, you'll want to take a walking tour of the International Rose Test Garden — which boasts over 10,000 roses. A trip to Portland is one of the best solo trips in the US.

Ready to explore the natural sites of the US? You won't want to miss our guide to the best places to embrace the great outdoors in the United States.

Portland, Oregon — one of the best places to travel solo in the US © Shutterstock

Spend time in the sun in Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu, on Oahu, is by far the largest city in Hawaii. Located on the pacific ocean, and backed by dramatic cliffs, Honolulu is a major tourist destination for a reason. Treat yourself to an ultimate vacation of shopping, eating, and hanging out in the sun.

While here, take a stroll through China Town. The faded green clapboard storefronts feel like another world. Or take a day to explore the Honolulu Museum of Art.

Where to stay in Honolulu, Hawaii

  • For an affordable boutique hotel: Hotel Renew. This hotel features contemporary Japanese-style decor and comfortable rooms.
  • To stay in one of Waikiki's best-loved landmarks: The Royal Hawaiian. Developed in the 1920s the "Pink Palace" is a great place to treat yourself on your solo trip.

Honolulu sunset © Shutterstock

Learn history in Boston, Massachusetts

A modern American city with a rich historical past, Boston is about as Old World and the New World gets. That said, it does not lack modern attractions.

For history buffs, you won't want to miss a solo troll down the Freedom Trail. This 2.5-mile-long red brick stripe in the sidewalk links sixteen points of significant historical sites.

Those hoping to engage with contemporary Boston will want to visit the Museum of Fine arts or see an independent film at Coolidge theatre. Or take a food tour of east coast staples such as boiled lobster, shucked oysters and new england clam chowder.

Where to stay in Boston, Massachusetts

  • To stay in the downtown area: The Godfrey Hotel. This handsome boutique hotel is perfect for solo travellers.
  • To stay in the Back Bay area: The Charlesmark Hotel. This straightforward spot has cosy rooms and a lively bar for socialising with new friends.

Boston: on our list of best solo trips in the US © Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

New York City, New York — the city that never sleeps

If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. That famous quip about New York especially applies to solo travel in the city. Yes, New York is loud and bewildering, but it’s also where you’ll likely have the most memorable solo experiences in the country. Discover this major city by walking across the Brooklyn Bridge at sunset, or curling up with a book under a tree in Central Park. Roam the great halls of the Metropolitan Museum and or sip cocktails under the stars on a rooftop bar.

Where to stay in New York City

  • To stay in the Upper East Side: The Sherry Netherland. An ornate and luxurious hotel modelled after the Vatican Library.
  • To stay in Manhattan: The Algonquin. This hotel is infamous and has a history with literary legends. Meet the resident cat, Hamlet.

NYC is a vast city with so many unique areas to offer. Don't miss our guide to the best areas to stay in New York City.

Ready to finally see New York City? Our tailor-made trip service allows you to travel without the stress of planning or booking. Our trips are completely customisable and crafted by local travel experts. Our East Coast Adventure trip takes you to New York City, Boston, Philly and more.

New York City for the best solo trips in the US © Pixabay

Seattle, Washington for art lovers

Home of grunge rock and a certain major coffee chain, Seattle is a great destination for a solo journey.

Pike Place Market is a great place to treat yourself to fresh seafood while listening to live music. This lively area is a great place to go for a solo walk. Countless stalls offer piles of lobsters, crabs, salmon, vegetables, fruits and flowers.

Art lovers will love this city's many art museums. The Seattle Art Museum hosts a permanent collection that contains a little bit of everything - from greek vases to Australian aboriginal art. For more contemporary art, take a stroll through the Frye Art Museum. Or for something unique, visit the Museum of Pop Culture. This funky and colourful museum is dedicated to Seattle's music legacy.

Where to stay in Seattle

  • For a hip stay: Staypineapple. This downtown boutique has a bright pop art theme. The daily happy hour serves drinks and pineapple cookies.
  • For somewhere central: Inn at the Market. This luxurious boutique hotel is located directly next to Pike Place Market.

Seattle Skyline, Washington, USA © Shutterstock

Dance with new friends in New Orleans, Louisiana

Infused with a dizzying jumble of cultures and influences, New Orleans is a vibrant city worth a solo visit. Known for its many festive celebrations, New Orleans is a great destination to travel solo and meet people.

Mardi Gras is New Orleans's urban spectacular. During carnival season this historic city turns into a whirl of parades, parties, street revels and masked balls. Or visit this city's many Cajun and Creole festivals. You'll find here the opportunity to enjoy Cajun and zydeco music, crafts, and delicious food.

For nightlife, you'll find a large number of bars and venues to enjoy live music. Try The Maple Leaf in Uptown or One-Eyed Jack's in the French Quarter. New Orleans should definitely be on your list of the best solo trips in the US.

Where to stay in New Orleans

Find more accommodation option in our guide to the best places to stay in New Orleans.

Ready to take your dream trip to the United States? Our tailor-made trip service allows you to go on the trip of your dreams without any of the stress of planning and booking. Our trips are completely customisable and crafted by local travel experts. Our Cross Country USA trip takes you to San Francisco, Las Vegas, New Orleans and more.

New Orleans steamer, Mississippi © Shutterstock

Savannah, Georgia — a beautiful place for a solo trip

American towns don't come much more beautiful than Savannah. Take a walk through the ravishing historic district that forms the core of this city. Arranged around Spanish garden squares, here you can find just about every architectural style of the 18th and 19th centuries.

Or try Savannah's waterfront, at the foot of Bay Street. Try local seafood, or meet new friends at the many salty bars filled with partying crowds. River Street is a great place for solo travellers to meet new people.

Savannah, Georgia, USA w Forsyth Park Fountain © Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Try craft brews in Salt Lake City, Utah

Headquarters to the Mormon Church, Salt Lake City is surprisingly one of the fasted growing cities in America. Despite the city's unique liquor laws, Salt Lake City is becoming a hot spot for local craft breweries and cocktail bars. You'll find here an up-and-coming nightlife scene that is worth travelling to.

SLC is a great destination for the solo traveller who loves the outdoors. Take a trip to the nearby mountains for skiing, or to the nearby canyons for an unforgettable solo hike. For a truly unreal experience, visit the nearby salt flats.

Where to stay in Salt Lake City

Local craft brews are popular in Salt Lake City, Utah © Shutterstock

Go to the National Parks of Moab, Utah

The small town of Moab is known primarily for its surrounding national parks. It makes for a great base for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether it be mountain biking or hiking, Moab is a great place for a solo vacation in nature.

The red rock landscapes of Moab are an otherworldly delight. Arches National Park, five miles northwest of Moab is the premier place to see the infamous bright orange desert arches. Visit Balanced Rock or Delicate Arch for an unforgettable solo adventure.

Where to stay in Moab

  • For a good value: Best Western Greenwell Inn. You'll find here a central, modern hotel with tasteful furnishings and fittings.
  • For somewhere unique: Inca Inn. A budget motel with an outdoor swimming pool and amazing disco-light showers.

Moab Utah, Arches and Canyonlands National Parks © B Norris/Shutterstock

Take solo trip to San Diego

California's second most populous city is affluent and libertarian, bus also easy-going and friendly. With beautiful beaches and year-round good weather, San Diego is one of the best places to travel alone in the US.

For solo travellers, take a walk through the Gaslamp District. Once San Diego's city centre, which later became a notorious red-light district, is now a trendy and charming part of town. This area is filled with trendy cafes, antique stores, and art galleries.

San Diego Waterfront Public Park © f11photo/Shutterstock

Shop in Palm Springs, California

Known for its boutique shopping and premier golfing, Palm Springs is a great place to travel alone in the US. With year-round lovely weather, this a great place to go to the spa or relax poolside.

The adventurous will also find great things to do while travelling solo here. Take a day trip to the nearby Joshua Tree for a fantastic time in the desert. Or take a ride on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway — a beautiful and unforgettable gondola ride that takes you across the Coachella Valley.

Where to stay in Palm Springs

  • For a vintage stay: A Place in the Sun Hotel. You'll find here a hotel first built the 1950s as a retreat for the production of the crew of the film A Place in the Sun, starring Elizabeth Taylor. This a popular option with a saltwater pool.
  • For a southwestern-style stay: Casa Cody Inn. This hotel was built in 1920s by glamourous Hollywood pioneer Harriet Cody, this historic B&B offers tasteful rooms and is two blocks from downtown.

The government building of the Cathedral City and Palm Springs © Patricia Elaine Thomas/Shutterstock

For music lovers, Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville is known for its thriving music scene and is one of America's great solo travel destinations. There are many bars and venues to enjoy live music here as well as places to learn about American music history.

Rock fans, particularly White Stripes aficionados, will enjoy a pilgrimage to Third Man Records. Started by Jack White, this fun studio is a great place to browse music or even cut your own vinyl record.

For country fans, a trip alone in the US would not be complete without a visit to Nashville's Country Music Hall of Fame. This fascinating and well-known museum is a treasure trove of memorabilia - including Elvis's gold Cadillac.

Where to stay in Nashville

  • For a trendy place to stay: Thompson Hotel. This inviting hotel has industrial-chic rooms with windows overlooking The Gulch and downtown.
  • For country lovers: Omni Nashville Hotel. Connected to the Country Music Hall of Fame by a walkway, and with a rooftop pool.

Nashville is one of the best places to travel solo in USA © Shutterstock

The hiking trails

The famous naturalist John Muir once said: “in every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” And this is particularly true for solo hikers, where your only companion is nature itself, and any chatter comes from the birds. America is a boon for solo hikers, with well-maintained trails that fan out across the country.

Trek a section of the Appalachian Trail, the longest hiking-only footpath in the world, which extends from Maine to Georgia; embark on the 37-mile Teton Crest Trail in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park; or, follow in the footsteps of John Muir, on the John Muir Trail through the Sierra Nevada mountains in California. For solo-hiking safety tips, check the National Park Service.

Where to stay at America's National Parks:

  • For a trip to Yellowstone: Yellowstone Village Inn. This beautiful lodge is located near the park and has a swimming pool for those who love a solo swim.
  • For a trip to the Sierra Mountains: Sierra Nevada Resort. A beautiful hotel and rooms with their own fireplaces.

The United States contains over 240 national parks, and it can be hard to choose which to visit. Don't miss our guide to the best national parks in the USA.

Grand Teton — one of the best solo trips in the US © Shutterstock

The open road

When it comes to solo travel, there’s nothing quite like taking the wheel and cruising the open road while singing as loudly (and badly) as you want. The USA is the quintessential road trip nation, with vast highways and freeways crisscrossing every state.

Try the famous Route 1 which traverses the length of California – don’t miss stunning Big Sur – to the mountain-flanked Seward Highway in Alaska to Highway 16 through Texas Hill Country, where you can refuel in towns like Bandera, the self-proclaimed “Cowboy Capital of the World.”

We have compiled a list of the most beautiful places in the United States that can help you choose the perfect destination for a solo trip.

Big Sur with the Bixby Bridge in California © Songquan Deng/Shutterstock

Our list of the best places to travel solo is the USA could truly keep going, but for now, we will leave you with our top 11 states. Ready to visit the USA? Check out the Rough Guide to the United States. Read more about the best time to go, the best places to visit and best things to do in the US.

If you prefer to plan and book your trip to the US without any effort and hassle, use the expertise of our local travel experts to make sure your trip will be just like you dream it to be.

We may earn commission when you click on links in this article, but this doesn’t influence our editorial standards. We only recommend services that we genuinely believe will enhance your travel experiences.

Travel advice for USA

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updated 12/13/2022
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Writer and editor AnneLise has journeyed – and wine-tasted – her way around the world, contributing to outlets including The New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, Time Out, Rough Guides and DK Eyewitness. She regularly flits between New York City, California and the countries of her roots, Spain and Denmark. AnneLise is also a content and creative strategist, a radio/podcast host and a travel expert at annual festivals and in the media, from NBC to CNN. Follow her adventures: @AdventureAnneLise on Instagram, @AnneLiseTravels on Twitter.

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