The Best Places For Solo Travel in the US
Design your dream solo getaway in one (or many) of Plum Guide’s favourite US destinations.
We won’t deny that travelling with a group of friends or family is fun. But sometimes when you want to get away from it all, you really do mean from it all, and that means taking off by yourself. Here at Plum Guide, we’re ardent believers in the restorative effects of a solo holiday, so we’ve travelled from beachy coastlines to snowy mountain peaks to unearth the best places for solo travel in the US.
You may have chosen a destination, but what about where to stay? Being by yourself shouldn’t mean sacrificing on luxury or comfort: you deserve to starfish on that king-sized bed to your heart’s content. Which is why our home critics have searched the States for the most beautiful homes for when you’re adventuring solo. You can thank us when you get back.
New York City
If you ask us, New York was made for solo travellers. In the city that never sleeps, there’s something to do and see every hour of the day and night, and having a travel companion would only slow you down. Whether you’re hitting up the typical tourist attractions of the Big Apple, bagging last-minute Broadway tickets, taking a street food tour around the hipster hangouts of Brooklyn and Queens, or brushing up on some culture at the city’s vast range of museums, New York is a city whose delights are somehow amplified when you’re discovering it alone.
The wild, weird landscape of Joshua Tree is like a magnet for mystics, artists, and travellers seeking solitude; it’s no wonder that this beautiful land is one of the best places for solo travel in the US. You could spend your whole trip wandering the desert, exploring the iconic boulder formations and unique trees that litter the sand – it’s your holiday, after all, so you can do as you please. If you can drag yourself away from the desert, there are plenty of little towns dotted around the edge of the park to discover. Mingle with the locals and treat yourself to a unique piece of art in creative hub Yucca Valley, learn to spot some constellations at Sky’s the Limit Observatory in Twentynine Palms or head to the slightly bizarre, slightly cheesy, but very fun, Pioneertown, a place that’ll take you straight back to the Wild West. Tie up your horse (or park the car, if you chose the boring option) and enjoy traditional American fare at iconic diner Pappy and Harriet’s. Best part of solo dining? No one’s going to ask to share your fries.
You might associate Los Angeles with glitzy celeb parties more than peace and quiet, but trust us when we say it’s one of the best places for solo travel in the US. Put on your sunnies and swan around town like an international man or woman of mystery straight out of Hollywood. The best views of the city are undoubtedly from the observation deck of Oue Skyspace, and thrill seekers will love the chance to take a trip on the completely transparent slide, suspended almost 1000 feet above the ground. (Bonus: on a solo trip to Skyspace, there’s no one to hear you scream). LA is filled with activities best done alone, from museum-hopping, spending long, lazy days on the beach, and sampling its renowned yoga scene. After all, in a city where no one knows your name, it really doesn’t matter how silly you look in downward dog.
We’re sticking with the Cali sunshine for our next destination; Palm Springs has a bohemian, rock&roll, devil-may-care vibe that draws independent solo travellers from all over the world. It’s also a popular inland detour from the Pacific Coast Highway so if you’re doing the world’s most iconic road trip solo, this is a great place to end on a high note. Here you can indulge in late brunches, spend all day browsing the treasure troves of vintage in shops like Iconic Atomic and The Frippery, and really hone in on your favourite works in Palm Springs Art Museum without dragging any reluctant travel companions along behind you. With many of the city’s hippest restaurants (like hidden speakeasy Counter Reformation) offering bar seating only, Palm Springs is a top destination for solo diners and it’s much easier to get into the most exclusive eateries without a reservation if you’re dining alone. Smile big, tip bigger, and we promise you’ll get the best seat in the house.
If you’re an avid skier, you’ll know there’s nothing more annoying than hanging around waiting for your travel companions to finish breakfast while you’re raring to hit the slopes. If you ask us, a solo trip to Aspen is essential if you’re really serious about being first on the mountain (or want to avoid judgment for choosing the bunny slopes – we can’t all be alpine champs, after all). Venture off the slopes and you’ll discover a town filled with sophisticated glamour tempered with a down-to-earth friendliness that makes Aspen one of the best places for solo travel in the US. Enjoy your snowy solitude with a trip to the Glenwood Hot Springs, a drive through the scenic peaks and valleys, and a visit to Nobu outpost Matsuhisa where you won’t have to clash chopsticks with your dining companion for the last salmon nigiri. And if you do get lonely, head to the cosy Aspen Brewing Company Tap Room and make some new friends over an après ski beer.
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