lone hiker at salt lake

Seek out solitude at Salt Lake. (Photo: Getty Images)

Weekend Getaways

Find Your Solitude on a Solo Weekend Retreat

Whether you’re seeing your hometown with fresh eyes or heading to a new destination for a low-key vacation, traveling solo is all about going at your own pace and doing exactly what you want, when you want — no apologies.

Of course, you may have to keep some new travel rules in mind, like checking for travel restrictions and planning ahead to buy timed tickets, where before you could just show up to an attraction.

Here are five destinations that offer relaxing, exciting or just plain fun destinations and activities for those who are seeking solitude, or at least freedom from crowds, on a solo weekend retreat.

Salt Lake City

The Utah capital is full of parks and surrounded by natural wonders, but a good place to start is the lake it was named after, Great Salt Lake, where you can swim and sunbathe at beaches on Antelope Island or take an easy hike along the shore. Red Butte Garden, a botanical garden, offers sprawling meadows, landscaped flower beds and city views.

At Utah Olympic Park, built for the 2002 Olympics, you can view soaring ski jumps and luges and even test your own athletic prowess with bobsled rides, a zip line and a canyon adventure park.

For a more tranquil outdoor adventure, Bonneville Salt Flats is a dried-up lake bed with an otherworldly, reflective landscape perfect for picture-taking.


boston skyline
See Boston from the Greenway. (Photo: Getty Images)

Boston’s parks are perfect for long walks, and the Greenway combines the great outdoors with great art, commissioning large-scale outdoor sculptures and installations that rotate every year.

Boston enjoys a unique place in American history, and many of its colonial sites, like Boston Common and the Paul Revere House, are clustered together, making them easy to see on a walk along the Freedom Trail.

If you’re keen on getting out of town, Blue Hills Reservation is a massive state park just south of the city with more than 100 miles of hiking trails and the outdoor Trailside Museum, where you can see rescued animals.

South along the coast, World’s End is an aptly named green space with views over Hingham Harbor and its islands to Boston’s distant skyline.

Washington, D.C.

wildflowers at the national arboretum
Wander through the National Arboretum. (Photo: Getty Images)

In many ways, Washington, D.C., is already perfectly set up for solo walks. The National Mall is like an outdoor museum, full of epic monuments like the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument and the emotionally stirring Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

You can also walk around the Georgetown Historic District to view Victorian, Federal and Italianate town houses and the elegant Georgetown University campus.

If you’re yearning for nature, a visit to the National Arboretum offers shaded paths, flower beds and majestic trees, plus the eerie National Capitol Columns. Farther afield, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is actually an outdoor museum campus with historic boats and an old lighthouse. Its town of St. Michaels is beloved for its seaside charm and many crab houses.


rowboat in water at japanese garden
Find your Zen in the Anderson Japanese Gardens. (Photo: Getty Images)

Chicago may be most celebrated for its futuristic skyline, but it also has plenty of picturesque low-rise neighborhoods to explore. You can take a walk around neighboring Oak Park to view houses by iconic American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, or stroll around Pilsen, known for its vibrant street murals, especially along the 16th Street rail embankment.

The Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford offer a tranquil respite from city life, with traditional landscaped green spaces, the charming Japanese-style Guest House and a café serving perfect picnic food.

You can also head to the city of Crystal Lake to go swimming or scuba diving in a disused quarry at Three Oaks Recreation Area.

Albuquerque/Santa Fe

santa fe pueblo at night
Santa Fe is magical at night. (Photo: Getty Images)

Santa Fe has its own special take on Southwest cuisine, including reimagined Mexican dishes like burritos and enchiladas and elevated meals using the beans, squash and chiles native to New Mexico. Many of these restaurants still offer takeout and delivery, and the city website has a running list of what’s open now.

In addition, Albuquerque and Santa Fe are right in the midst of pueblo country. The closest, Isleta Pueblo, has one of the oldest Spanish missions in the United States and tells the story of Spanish and Indigenous Peoples who inhabited the area.

You can also drive from one city to the other via the scenic Turquoise Trail, which weaves past mining ghost towns and through a rocky landscape full of the vibrant mineral.