14 Top Places to Travel Alone in the U.S.

Written by Anietra Hamper
Oct 3, 2019

Planning to travel alone in the Unites States is an exciting adventure waiting to happen. There are a wide range of destinations that are welcoming to solo travelers, providing easy accessibility and transportation, a range of things to do, and friendly communities that will have you going home knowing new friends.

Your solo trip planning should start with identifying the kinds of landscapes and experiences that call to you. Have you always wanted to stay at a dude ranch? Climb a mountain? Kayak through the Bayou? Or, are you just looking for an urban getaway of iconic experiences and local food?

The United States has such diverse landscapes, from the Oregon coast and California beaches to the desert Southwest, tall grass prairies in the great plains, and glaciers in Alaska.

Plan your solo journey with our list of the best places to travel alone in the U.S.

1. The Florida Keys

A palm-lined beach in the Florida Keys

Traveling to the Florida Keys is a breeze for people going it alone because the laid-back atmosphere means you can pack flip-flops, a swimsuit, shorts, and a T-shirt and be on your way.

Key West is especially welcoming to solo travelers. The southernmost key is easy to navigate, and you can walk to the beach and the Old Town to explore the small shops or the Ernest Hemingway Museum. There is also a nice Shipwreck Treasure Museum in Key West. You can save a little money by bundling museum tickets if you plan to visit several.

You can also hit several islands on your Keys vacation by island-hopping to Key West, Islamorada, and Key Largo. You can fill the agenda with some of the best of each island, like deep-sea fishing, snorkeling, or shopping at the local art galleries. Of course, the beach is the main draw and there is no shortage of ocean, sand, and seashells.

Accommodation: Top-Rated Florida Keys Resorts for Families

2. The Outer Banks, North Carolina

Bodie Island Lighthouse, Cape Hatteras National Seashore

While the Outer Banks of North Carolina is a popular family vacation destination, it is a delightful and safe trip for solo travelers. With more than 100 miles of coastline along the Atlantic Ocean, the barrier islands are full of small villages and plenty of beautiful beaches where you can relax and enjoy the time alone.

Some of the more popular areas are Cape Hatteras, Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills, and Duck. It is easy to find many vacation home rentals, small hotels, and even campgrounds, but you will want to book early if your travel plans are during the summer months.

You can base yourself in Cape Hatteras, where you can collect shells along the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, visit the many local artist studios, and take advantage of the outdoor activities.

Another option is to split your trip to stay in several different areas, so that you can travel along North Carolina Highway 12 to the other towns along the Outer Banks. Some of the highlights for solo travelers are kayaking in the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, visiting the historic lighthouses along the coast, experiencing the wild horses in Corolla, and taking a hang-gliding lesson over the 100-foot sand dunes at Jockey's Ridge State Park. Kitesurfers will find great conditions on Hatteras Island around Waves, Salvo, and Rondanthe.

3. Door County, Wisconsin

Clear waters in Door County, Wisconsin

You might be traveling alone but you will arrive at Door County, Wisconsin feeling like you've known the locals your whole life. The warm, Midwestern peninsula of Door County is a natural paradise that welcomes solo travelers.

With 300 miles of coastline around the peninsula bordered by Green Bay on one side and Lake Michigan on the other, Door County is as exciting to explore alone in the winter as it is in the summer.

Take your pick from one of 19 communities like Sturgeon Bay, Sister Bay, Ephraim, or Egg Harbor to base from and stay in one of the many independently owned lodges and bed and breakfasts.

Kayak along the limestone bluffs; hike in Peninsula State Park; taste in-season cherries or apples from the local orchards; hit one of the many public beaches; or take the ferry across Death's Door to Washington Island for a day, where you can visit a lavender farm in the summer and see the famous Schoolhouse Beach made entirely from rocks.

Accommodation: Top-Rated Resorts in Door County, WI

4. San Diego, California

San Diego skyline

A solo trip to San Diego is rejuvenating. With a consistent climate throughout the year there's never really a bad time to go. Take your pick from the beaches along the 70-mile coastline as you relax in the sand or learn a new water sport, like stand up paddleboarding.

Since you are traveling alone, you can even hit a different beach each day in Del Mar, La Jolla, Mission Beach, and Ocean Beach.

Spend some time in Balboa Park, the biggest urban park in the United States, with museums, gardens, music, and the famed San Diego Zoo.

One of the easiest ways to explore San Diego alone is with the hop-on, hop-off trolley, which can take you to all the top attractions, where you can spend as much time as you like before heading off to the next one.

Accommodation: Top-Rated Resorts in the San Diego Area

5. Grand County, Colorado

Fall colors in Grand County, Colorado

Exploring Grand County, Colorado alone gives you a good mix of the pure natural side of the state and mixing with the locals. Grand County, located less than 70 miles outside of Denver, is the dude ranch capital of the United States. There are four world-class dude ranches, where you can experience the Wild West at your own pace.

One of the best dude ranches is Latigo Dude Ranch, which transports you to your private cabin by horse and wagon. All-inclusive weeklong packages make it easy for solo travelers. You pick the activities that appeal to you, from daily horseback riding in the mountains to swimming, white water rafting, and yoga.

The rest of the time, you feel like a modern-day rancher with home-style cookouts, cattle drives, and perfect sunsets every evening as you learn how to throw a lasso like a real cowboy.

6. Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Capitol Building at dusk

With more than 17 Smithsonian museums, galleries, and the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. and a host of other tourist sites to visit, it is a great city to see at your own pace.

Many of the museums are located on the National Mall, so it is easy to stay at a nearby hotel and make that your destination for several days. Most of the museums are free, and with easy public transportation, you can visit Washington D.C. alone with minimal cost compared to some other major cities.

If you are a political junkie, you can stroll around the U.S. Capitol complex and the perimeter of the White House, or take a public tour. You can also take the subway into some of D.C.'s hip neighborhoods, like Barracks Row, artsy Brookland, and Edgewood or the foodie scene in the Navy Yard district. You might also want to book a scenic boat trip along the Potomac River.

One of the perks of traveling alone in Washington D.C. is that you can more easily score a table for one at some of the popular restaurants without waiting.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Washington, D.C.: Best Areas & Hotels

7. Portland, Oregon

Downtown Portland

In a city of "makers" with a laid-back vibe, Portland, Oregon is one of the most welcoming communities in the United States for people traveling alone.

There are so many free things to do in the city, from perusing through Powell's City of Books, the largest independent bookstore in the U.S., to hiking in Forest Park, a large preserved natural area in Portland. You can spend an entire day or two just going to local galleries and meeting artists who are turning their ideas into a reality with products that are unique to the Portland area.

There are many areas for outdoor recreation, like biking or leisurely strolls through the International Rose Test Garden.

Transportation is simple in Portland. It's a walkable city, but you can hop on the Portland Streetcar to get to the various neighborhoods. Do not end your solo trip to the city without planning some time to hang out at a local café (it's a thing in Portland) and trying a Captain Crunch doughnut from Voodoo Doughnuts.

Accommodation: Top-Rated Places to Stay in Portland, Oregon

8. Moab, Utah

Double Arch in Arches National Park

In need of some fresh air and visual inspiration for your solo vacation? Few places can scratch that itch like Moab, Utah, where the outdoors is the centerpiece of attention. While the area is a top destination for mountain biking, camping, and people who love the outdoors, you will find other solo travelers here looking for life perspective among the stunning rock formations and nighttime constellations.

There are two national parks in Moab to explore: Arches National Park and Canyonland National Park. There's also Dead Horse Point State Park, which has some of the most breathtaking natural landscapes to photograph 2000 feet above the Colorado River. How you choose to experience the parks is up to you. From mountain biking and hiking to white water rafting, fishing, and golfing.

9. New York City

New York City at dusk

You might not think of New York City first when it comes to traveling alone, but it is actually a great city for solo travelers. In a city where everyone is doing their own thing, it is easy to navigate through the crowds alone. Getting to New York City is easy with three airports, and getting around the city by train or subway means that you don't have to take a taxi everywhere.

Plan your visit in sections by putting the main attractions like Times Square, Central Park, the Brooklyn Bridge, and a boat trip around the Statue of Liberty on the top of the list.

Plan at least one evening to hit Broadway with a nice pre-show dinner in the city. You can pick up same-day discount Broadway show tickets in the afternoons at local kiosks, and as a party of one, you can even decide which show to see at the last minute.

Round out your visit by going to some of the ethnic neighborhoods like Little Italy, Queens, Little Guyana, Little India, and Little Odessa.

10. Seattle, Washington

Downtown Seattle at sunset with Mt. Rainier in the distance

Seattle, Washington is an easy city to visit alone. The people are friendly, the scenery is inspirational, the vibe exciting, transportation easy, and lodging plentiful in a wide range of price points. In fact, you will probably see a lot of people in Seattle dining alone or doing solo activities. It is easy to get from point A to point B in the city on the Metro system or Monorail system.

Start your solo Seattle agenda at the Space Needle, where you can go up to the observation deck for a phenomenal 360-degree panoramic view of the city. If you like the view then you might want to check out the observation deck at Columbia Tower, where you can get a high view of the Space Needle.

Stop for some famous Seattle coffee at a local café or take a cup of Joe to go as you stroll along the waterfront and peruse the local produce at the Pike Place Market.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Seattle: Best Areas & Hotels

11. Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas

If you are a music lover traveling alone, one of your top considerations should be Austin, Texas where music and festivals are just a way of life. The Texas capital has more than 250 music venues to enjoy and a host of other activities to fill your solo agenda in between. Hunker down for some famous and memorable Texas barbecue to fuel up for your adventure.

There are lots of outdoor activities to enjoy alone in Austin. Barton Springs in Zilker Park is one of the largest springs in Texas and a great way to cool off with a swim to beat the heat. You can enjoy a morning swim or paddleboard outing at Lady Bird Lake, a popular reservoir located in the heart of downtown. You can also plan walks around the lake on Schoal Creek Trail, a 4.4-mile trail that takes you through several parks.

For some social interaction, you can sign up for one of the many tours available around town to local museums and attractions.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Austin: Best Areas & Hotels

12. Boston, Massachusetts

George Washington Statue at Public Gardens in Boston

The historic city of Boston, Massachusetts is great for solo travelers because there are so many things to do, and it is easy to walk to most of them. Start your visit on the Freedom Trail that will take you to some of the most significant historical landmarks in the city.

If you visit during baseball season, plan a night at Fenway Park to take in a Boston Red Sox game. Spend one evening getting a different perspective of the city with a sunset boat tour of Boston Harbor.

There are many tours and museums in Boston. Since many do require admission, you may want to prioritize some of the best, like the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum, Plimoth Plantation, and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Museum.

One of the best ways to hit a number of attractions is by taking a hop-on, hop-off trolley tour.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Boston: Best Areas & Hotels

13. New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans at dusk

The city of New Orleans has a reputation for an extravagant and wild scene at times, but it is also known as one of the friendliest cities in the United States, which makes it a great destination for people traveling alone. Hit the Bourbon Street jazz clubs to soak in the music scene of the city or plan a day trip to the Jazz Museum for some historical perspective.

There are many history tours in the city that you can take, or you can plan your own walking tour through some of the neighborhoods to see old Victorian homes and visit some of the unique cemeteries.

You will want to spend some time in the famed French Quarter, where you can shop at the local boutiques and indulge in iconic New Orleans cuisine. Stop for a taste of beignets at Café du Monde and try some of the local Cajun cuisine.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in New Orleans: Best Areas & Hotels

14. Honolulu, Hawaii

Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head

Hawaii is a bucket list destination for many people, and while it is usually associated with honeymoons and couple's travel, there are several places, like Honolulu, that are great destinations for solo travel.

One of the reasons Honolulu, on the island of Oahu, is terrific for traveling alone is because it is more touristy and less remote than other Hawaiian destinations. The public transport system is geared toward tourists, so you can find it easy to get around to attractions and to Oahu's beaches.

For sure, Waikiki Beach will be on your agenda along with the waterfront dining. For other days on your vacation, plan a trip to climb Diamond Head on your own or take a tour. Pearl Harbor is a must-see, and taking in a luau, even alone, is an experience you will never forget.

If you want to plan a snorkeling adventure it is best to take a guided trip or hit one of the populated snorkeling spots like Hanauma Bay, where there are other people around you.

Accommodation: Top-Rated Resorts in Honolulu

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More Solo Travel Ideas: If you need more ideas for solo trips, you can review our articles on weekend getaways in Massachusetts, Ohio, and Alabama. If you are looking for outdoor adventure ideas that you can do alone, you might consider white water rafting and kayaking in Washington or white water rafting in West Virginia. Another great solo destination, especially for peace and relaxation is Sedona, Arizona. Here, you can enjoy a yoga retreat, wander through new age shops, or tackle the scenic hiking trails.

Discover destinations, find outdoor adventures, follow the journeys of our travel writers around the world, and be inspired.

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