Solo Travel in North America
Budget: $65 to $100+ a day
Languages spoken: English, Spanish, French
Did you know? In some parts of the USA, many people speak Spanish (e.g. California and Miami).
If you are planning on solo travelling to North America, below is a summary of each country to help you choose the right destination for you. Scroll down to the end for the solo country and city guides.
About North America
Think of North America and you’ll conjure up images of road trips, skyscrapers, desert cities and Rocky Mountains. But with 50 states to explore, plus neighbouring Canada and paradise islands, there are dramatic landscapes, snowy peaks and some amazing beaches to visit. It’s more diverse than you think.
North America is an ideal place for a solo female. Not only do they speak English, but people are relatively friendly, and with great service, you’ll be made to feel special. It’s easy to meet others here and there’s always help if you need it. Plus, finding your way around is relatively effortless.
Although places such as San Francisco and New York are cosmopolitan, you may find that attitudes in the South can be more old-fashioned than the rest of America, but their hospitality is warm and you won’t encounter any uncomfortable stares or leering men here (no more than you would experience in your own country).
America has a diversity of people and although some of the States are safe, you need to be careful in big cities such as Chicago, Detroit and New York. Avoid walking in big cities after dark to prevent being mugged, and ask in your accommodation for any areas that you should avoid.
If you decide to hire a car here, pull over at gas stations at night where there are other people, instead of a quiet spot where you’re alone. If you go hiking, stick to marked trails and don’t hike at night. Many solos camp alone here but if you feel more comfortable look for others to camp next to for a bit more security.
Canada is really safe for solos. Canadians are very liberal and friendly to travellers and even apologise as much as the British. Discover the different regions to explore below.
Solo Travel in America
Starting with the North East, New York has to be the most famous city of all and is a shopper’s paradise, with iconic buildings such as the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building. Take the Staten Island Ferry past the famous Statue of Liberty or wrap up warm and skate around Central Park in the winter.
For ocean solos, you can sail in Newport, Rhode Island, which is said to be the sailing capital of the world. Or ski in Vermont, one of the safest states in America and known for its ski resorts and rural settings.
New Hampshire is great for the outdoors solo, with the White Mountain National Forest and over 1,000 lakes. It even has its own Stonehenge, found in Salem on Mystery Hill.
Take a trip to Massachusetts and spot great white sharks on Cape Cod, an area made famous by the movie Jaws. Cycle along the century-year-old canal or explore the many diverse towns and villages, a draw for tourists with natural attractions and miles of beaches.
Experience the rural charm of Connecticut or the diversity of Maryland with the sea and mountains, and the fun resort city of Ocean City, with its amusement parks and skyscrapers. Hike Valley Forge in Pennsylvania or visit the oldest Protestant church in the USA in Delaware.
Spend some time in the country’s capital of Washington, DC, the centre of the US government, and known for its famous museums and many historical monuments, or travel north and indulge in fresh seafood in Maine.
Head west to deserts, canyons and California sunshine, with a coastline that is just perfect for a road trip. Watch a show in Las Vegas, a desert city known for its nightlife and casinos, or take a helicopter ride across the Grand Canyon to escape the chaos of the city.
Try celebrity spotting in Hollywood and Los Angeles, and walk along the Avenue of Stars before window shopping in Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. See giant redwood trees in California or spot grizzly bears in Yellowstone National Park before admiring the views of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
Explore the Great Salt Lake and rock formations of Utah or the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, or feel the wind in your hair on an epic road trip along Route 66. Visit Texas for the Houston Space Center, New Mexico for the glistening white sands of Tularosa Basin, and ski in Colorado or Idaho. There is plenty of hiking here too, from the Glacier Park in Montana to the Crater Lake and dunes in Oregon.
Chicago sits in the Midwest and is one of the top destinations in the US, with great architecture and art. Take a riverboat along the Mississippi River, visit Cleveland for sports, or pay a visit to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum. Just near Canada is Detroit, with its R ’n’ B legacy, but this isn’t the only city known for its music roots. As well as boasting over 200 fountains, Kansas City has a thriving jazz and blues scene.
Learn more about American history at the Abraham Lincoln historic sites in Illinois or find peace at the International Peace Garden in North Dakota. Visit Nebraska for fossil beds, Wisconsin for 14,000 lakes and Milwaukee for its music festival, Missouri for some country dancing or Indiana for the Basketball Hall of Fame.
They say for American music that all roads lead to the Deep South and you’ll find plenty of live venues in this part of the country, from jazz clubs in Louisiana to the blues in Mississippi. You can follow the Mississippi Blues Trail to enjoy the tunes of Mississippi and visit birth sites and graves of musical legends. Known for its southern hospitality, there’s plenty of culture and history here too. Explore the history of the Cherokee Indians, the largest Native American tribe in the US or see the Cajun Cowboys in Louisiana.
Explore the Gulf Coast beaches of sweet home Alabama, take a nostalgic riverboat ride along the Mississippi River, the Harpers Ferry in West Virginia or just get off the tourist track in Georgia. Visit Kentucky for the Kentucky Derby, South Carolina for Myrtle Beach and Arkansas for America’s only diamond mine. Tennessee is home to the Great Smoky Mountains and the musical legend Elvis Presley – a visit to Gracelands will get you rocking and rolling.
The capital of Tennessee, Nashville, is home to country music, with the Ryman Auditorium and the Grand Ole Opry. Florida is the most southernmost point of America and if you’re looking for fun, then this state has it all. From swanky beachfront clubs in Miami and the Keys to amusement parks in Orlando, this state is the place to find plenty of other tourists and party until sunrise.
Travelling America Alone
There are so many ways to get around America and it is fairly easy for a traveller here. Greyhound buses operate throughout the continent, with good bus timetables and they allow you to buy passes to get from state to state.
America is also known for its road trips and with iconic journeys such as Route 66, hiring a car here is easy and gives you the freedom to stop where you wish, though you have to be over 21 years old to hire a car. Getting from state to state does take time, but there is a good flight network and many low- cost internal flights if you need to travel long distances.
The North East has the best public transportation. It is recommended to take public transport here, as parking a car is costly. A car is needed to explore the Midwest and it’s easy to find a car-rental company. Greyhound do operate buses here, but they may be slower than you need.
There are a few options of getting around outside the cities in the west of America. You can rent a car, take the Greyhound between cities or fly with low-cost airlines. The Marta is a good train system within Atlanta, or you can fly with Southwest Airlines and other low-
cost airlines. Gas is cheaper here, so renting a car isn’t as expensive as in other parts of America.
Solo Trip To Alaska
For those who love the outdoors, Alaska is the perfect region for nature, with remote wilderness, mountain peaks and glacier lakes to an abundance of wildlife, from whales to brown bears. With more national parks than you’ll have time to see, Alaska is broken up into regions, each with scenery that will just blow you away.
Getting Around Alaska
Driving in Alaska isn’t that easy, as some of the roads are in poor condition. Although there is a railway line, it can be costly, so if you need to get around, consider an air pass with Alaska Airlines. If you’re feeling flush, renting a plane and a pilot is a unique way of exploring the state. Ferries run along the coast, which takes you through the fjords and past Anchorage.
Bermuda Solo Travel
Although still owned by the UK, Bermuda lies off the coast of America and is made up of several islands isolated from the rest of the continent. Accessible only by boat or plane, Bermuda’s attraction is its pink sandy beaches and the famous Bermuda triangle. With 21 square miles to explore, Bermuda has a great island vibe with party boats, heritage and culture and welcoming Bermuda hotels. With names such as John Smith's Bay and Somerset Village, if you're coming from the UK, you'll feel right at home.
How To Get Around Bermuda
There are many ways to get around Bermuda, but the best way to explore this unique island is on a motorbike or by bicycle (you don’t need a driving licence to rent a scooter here). Or rent a hybrid bike to help you get up the hills. The only cars you can rent here are eco-friendly small electric ones but there is a good bus system that can take you to the beaches. Ferries operate daily and there are four different ferry routes, which can be quicker than taking the bus.
Solo Travel in Hawaii
Hawaii is an amazing destination and one for the solo bucket list. It attracts women searching for transformational travel as well as nature and volcano lovers. As well as gorgeous locations and warm tropical waters, the islands have a lot of historic significance. If you love to surf, then head to the North Shore of Oahu. This area is well renowned for its amazing coastlines, beautiful beaches and its waves during the winter that are larger than life.
Explore Na Pali Coast while you’re here. The most popular destination in Hawaii is the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, where you can take guided tours and boat shuttles to learn more about what happened at this famous harbour. Then there’s Maui for the historic hot spot of Lahaina town.
Crime is low in Hawaii and places such as Hilo are untouristy, so you can integrate with the locals. As a solo, be careful on isolated beaches where theft can occur.
Getting Around Hawaii
The road to Hana is one of the most popular activities and is the most beautiful drive in Hawaii. The Hana Highway has gorgeous landscapes, including waterfalls, black sand beaches and the only winery in Maui. Hire a car to experience this island at your own pace. Hawaiian Air and Mokulele Airlines both offer flights to and from the islands.
Solo Travel in Canada
Canada is so vast that it has much to offer. There’s Alberta, with a rugged beauty of turquoise lakes and rolling grasslands with endless hiking trails and natural hot springs, or Labrador, one of the world’s last wilderness regions to lose yourself in. Visit Charlevoix, with the oldest rock formation on Earth or walk on the ocean floor at the Bay of Fundy, a Marine Wonder of the World.
Follow historical routes in Yukon, with granite peaks and alpine lakes, or go back in history with Celtic traditions in Nova Scotia. Canada is great for a self-drive or, if you prefer some company, then the Rocky Mountaineer will take you on a spectacular journey through the Rockies.
For the adventure solo, British Columbia is the place to surf or ski in the famous ski resort of Whistler. Spend time outdoors at Algonquin Park, kayaking, canoeing and quad biking whilst spotting moose. Go horse riding on the world’s largest active sand dune in Saskatchewan or spot polar bears in the famous Hudson Bay.
Go whale watching in New Brunswick and enjoy its multicultured history or kayak among beluga whales in Manitoba. Explore the Arctic wilderness of the Northwest territories and get pulled on a husky sleigh before spending a night in a wooden log cabin, enjoying a warm fire. Or just slow down the pace at Prince Edward Island with some of the friendliest locals you’ll ever meet.
Canada also has vibrant cities: Toronto, a multicultural city with trendy restaurants and a great nightlife scene; the festival city of Edmonton; Calgary, with outdoor adventures; and Ontario, with the world-famous Niagara Falls. Not forgetting Ottawa, the capital, a city with famous landmarks and culture, or Vancouver, with the famous Stanley Park and aquarium.
For French Canadian culture, visit Quebec and Montreal, where you can step back in time in the cobblestone streets and fortified city walls. Or visit Victoria for a British colonial charm. You can mingle with the locals in Halifax while spotting kilt-wearing soldiers, enjoy the culture and festivals of Saskatoon or the artistic talents within Dawson City, or explore the Arctic capital of Nunavut with thousands of years of Inuit history.
Travelling Around Canada
If you’re planning to travel outside the cities in Canada, it’s not difficult to get off the beaten track as it’s easy to get around. Greyhound buses also operate in Canada and there’s a good rail system with VIA Rail, but getting somewhere can take a few hours as the distances are quite vast.
The Rocky Mountaineer is an iconic rail journey across the Rocky Mountains. It isn’t cheap, but is one of the most spectacular train rides in the world. If you prefer some company to travel with, try one of the tourist buses, such as Moose Network, which are good value and provide you with ready-made company to see the rest of the country with.
There is also the option of renting a car, but as a solo, other methods work out cheaper. There are internal flights with West Jet and Air Canada Jet, especially if you’re hopping from city to city.
Fly or take the boat to Newfoundland. There are shuttles, which can take you to the next town, but the bus route isn’t that frequent. Renting a car is very expensive here, so use public transport if you can.
Attractions of North America
- Skiing in Whistler
- Explore the beauty of Banff
- Watch a show in Las Vegas
- The skyline of Toronto
- See polar bears in Hudson Bay
- Whale watching in Alaska
- Watch a musical on Broadway in New York
- Hiking in Maui
- Visit Graceland in Tennessee
- Listen to jazz in New Orleans
- Watch a baseball game in the oldest baseball stadium in Boston
- See a volcano in Hawaii
- Drive along Route 66
- Enjoy the nightlife in Miami
- Admire the architecture in Chicago
- Drink whisky on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail
- Have fun in a theme park in Orlando
- Hike Yellowstone National Park
- White-water rafting on the Rogue River in Oregon.
Seven Wonders of the World
- Grand Canyon – Arizona, USA
- Aurora Borealis – Northern Lights, Alaska
North America Itineraries
Canada – Calgary, Banff, Jasper, Lake Louise, Yoho National Park, Calgary.
Alaska – Anchorage, Seward, Kenai, Homer, Anchorage.
LA to Vegas – Los Angeles, San Diego, Scottsdale, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas.
Montreal to Toronto – Montreal, Ottawa, Algonquin, Niagara Falls, Toronto.
West USA – Los Angeles, San Diego, Scottsdale, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Death Valley, Yosemite National Park, San Francisco, Pismo Beach, Los Angeles.
New York to New Orleans – New York, Washington D.C, Appalachia, Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans.
Vancouver to Alaska – Vancouver, Port Hardy, Inside Passage, ferry to Juneau, Glacier Bay National Park, ferry to Whittier, Seward, Kenai Peninsula, Anchorage.
Chicago to San Francisco – Chicago, Wisconsin, Sioux Falls, Kennebec, Badlands National Park, Custer State Park, Devil’s Tower, Cody, Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Jackson, Salt Lake City, Tonopah, Yosemite National Park, San Francisco.
One Month in North America
New York to San Francisco – New York, Washington D.C, Shenandoah National Park, Appalachia, Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans, Houston, San Antonio, Carlsbad, Santa Fe, Cortez, Mesa Verde, Monument Valley, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Death Valley National Park, Bishop, Yosemite National Park, San Francisco.
If I've inspired you to take a solo trip to North America, click on the photos below for the solo destination guide to help you plan a trip to that city, country or region.