I've traveled solo to all 50 states. Here are the places I'd recommend to first-time solo travelers.

  • Over the past 10 years, I've traveled to all 50 US states and nearly every US national park.

  • Although there's no wrong way to travel, some locations are better than others for a solo getaway.

  • Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Moab, Utah, are two of my favorite places to visit on my own.

Over the last decade, I've traveled solo to nearly every US national park and — as of last year — all 50 US states.

I'm often asked which states, cities, or general areas are "best" for those new to solo travel.

Although I believe there's no wrong way to solo travel, some locations lend themselves better to a solo getaway than others.

I like to return to smaller, budget-friendly cities that are easy to navigate and offer various outdoor activities, museums, and great food and drink options.

Here are the locations I'd recommend to first-time solo travelers.

One of my most memorable solo trips was to the Georgia coast.

Emily standing on a path beneath massive, winding trees.
The Georgia coast offers lots of great activities for solo travelers. Emily Hart

One of my most memorable solo trips was one I didn't expect — road-tripping the coast of Georgia.

Starting on the Florida/Georgia border, stop at Cumberland Island National Seashore for history, hiking, and wild horses.

Head to St. Simons Island for laid-back beaches and great food, then follow the coast to Savannah for museums, food, and maybe a ghost tour.

I love watching the sunrise on the beach at Tybee Island.

Northern New Mexico was described to me as introvert heaven.

Emily Hart sits in a chair, while wearing a black fedora, a white patterned sweater, black pants, and boots. She is sitting in an outdoor area with a bull skull on the wall.
My first solo trip was to Northern New Mexico. Emily Hart

The first place I traveled to alone was Northern New Mexico, and it's still the first place I recommend for first-time solo travelers.

Long the home and getaway spot for infamous loners like Georgia O'Keeffe and D.H. Lawrence, the areas in and around Taos and Santa Fe are perfect for solo travelers.

From museums to hiking, hot springs, ski hills, wineries, and eclectic short-term rentals, it's no wonder it's been described to me as introvert heaven.

Don't miss a detour to Abiquiu and Ghost Ranch — an impressive 21,000-acre National Natural Landmark and former home of Georgia O'Keeffe — for hiking and history.

Traveling to Moab, Utah, feels like stepping into another world entirely.

Emily, wearing a purple crop top, black shorts, a beige hat, and sunglasses, sits on a rock looking out at a small body of water and large rock formations.
Two national and one state park are located in Moab, Utah. Emily Hart

Home to two national and one state park, Moab has many outdoor activities available to suit any type of traveler.

Although it's popular for families and group travel, it's the perfect spot for solo travelers as well.

The proximity of Moab — with great restaurants, breweries, and lodging options — to the well-trafficked parks and outdoor adventure outfitters make it incredibly accessible for solo travelers who want to get outside.

Don't forget to check out the sunrise at Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park.

Kennebunkport, Maine, is the perfect spot for a relaxing getaway.

Emily, in a long-sleeve shirt, black scarf, jeans, and sunglasses, sits on a beach while holding a coffee cup.
Maine is a great state for solo travel. Emily Hart

As a whole, Maine is a great place for solo travel.

With gorgeous rugged coastlines, ample forests, quaint small towns, and bed and breakfasts on seemingly every corner — it's the perfect place to reset.

I especially love visiting Kennebunkport in the shoulder seasons for some solo self-care.

The coastal town is easily accessible from Boston and has plenty of shops, nature trails, resorts, beaches, and lobster rolls.

Don't miss kayaking downtown on the Kennebunk River.

Chattanooga, Tennessee, is a walkable and friendly city.

Emily, wearing a black shirt, sunglasses, and a pink hat, takes a selfie on a bridge.
Chattanooga, Tennessee, is a great location to travel to solo. Emily Hart

Chattanooga, Tennessee, is my favorite approachable midsize-southern city to travel to solo.

The town is hip and has urban pockets while also being surrounded by nature and hiking.

Easily accessible for a weekend trip from Atlanta, Nashville, Knoxville, and Birmingham, the city is walkable and friendly and hosts several festivals throughout the year to explore.

If you want a unique adventure, try stand-up paddleboarding to a bat cave on Nickajack Lake with Outshine Adventures.

California's "SLO coast" of San Luis Obispo County is one of my favorite places to travel.

Emily looks out at the sunset on a California beach.
I love visiting California's SLO coast.Emily Hart

Roadtripping the California coast is a bucket-list experience for many travelers. But if the entire 655 miles of Pacific Coast Highway isn't something you want to undertake solo, head to the central coast.

With fewer crowds and incredible beauty, the "SLO coast" of San Luis Obispo County is one of my favorite places to travel.

From San Luis Obispo to Avila Beach, Pismo Beach, and Morro Bay — each stop is just as impressive as the last.

Don't miss taking a slight inland detour to Paso Robles for wine tasting.

The Olympic Peninsula is the perfect solo travel destination.

Emily walking along a rocky beach in Olympic National Park.
One of the highlights of the Olympic Peninsula is Olympic National Park. Emily Hart

The Pacific Northwest is an outdoor lovers' paradise, and Olympic National Park on the Olympic Peninsula is one of its crown jewels.

I've returned to Washington several times to visit the peninsula and its stunning rocky beaches.

Its dense and quiet rainforests and towering mountain ranges, with plenty of campsites, lodges, and short-term rentals, are perfect for a solo adventurer and conveniently located near Seattle. It's a great long weekend getaway.

Don't miss detouring to Cape Flattery, part of the Makah Reservation and the northwesternmost point of the contiguous United States.

Alaska is the perfect place to try out a solo cruise.

Emily, wearing a purple puffer vest, a white long-sleeve shirt, black pants, and purple sneakers, takes a photo on the balcony of an Alaskan cruise.
I was nervous to sail alone, but had a great time on my trip to Alaska. Emily Hart

I hesitated to hit the seas solo on a cruise to Alaska, thinking I might feel out of place alone or restricted by the ship. But it didn't take long for me to fall in love with solo cruising.

It was heaven, with plenty of activities and excursions, food and drink, and spa services at my fingertips.

Don't miss Glacier Bay National Park on your sailing. Only two ships are allowed in the park daily by the park service, and it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

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