Best City/state for a first time solo visitor to the US

Travel Forums North America Best City/state for a first time solo visitor to the US

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31. Posted by CosmosaurusRex (Budding Member 6 posts) 13w Star this if you like it!

Hello! Since you mention that you would ideally be spending two to three weeks on your trip, might I recommend a California road trip? Most people here have suggested San Francisco or Los Angeles, so why not both? They're only around 5-6 hours away from each other depending on which route you take. While the East Coast of the United States might have more historical locations regarding the founding of the country, the West Coast has plenty of historical sites that pertain to Westward Expansion, the Gold Rush, California Missions, abandoned military sites from World War II, Mexican/Spanish colonization, and plenty of other history-rich locations - it's not like nothing ever happened out here.

The state of California is one of the most geographically diverse that the US has to offer - you can visit the beach, the mountains, the desert, and agriculture rich valleys. If you're interested in natural sights there's large Redwood forests just North of San Francisco, Yosemite National Park a few hours drive East of SF, and the drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles along the coast is absolutely stunning. Once you're in Los Angeles there's plenty of touristy activities like visiting Hollywood, hiking to the Hollywood Sign from Griffith Park, and there is an incredible food scene across the city. If you're up for extending the road trip, San Diego is a couple hours drive south of Los Angeles and offers even more stunning beaches, historical and active Naval sites, and even entry into Mexico through the border town of Tijuana. Hope you're able to make a trip out to California even if it's not your first trip to the United States.

32. Posted by puma_085 (Budding Member 15 posts) 13w Star this if you like it!

@CosmosaurusRex Thanks a lot for your tips. A roadtrip in california really sounds like a good idea.

California has indeed lots of stuff to offer. Thx for your tipp about San Diego too. Have not considered visting the city but looks like a great place with many awesome places. So it worth considering a vist too. I also have not considered to extend my reach to Mexico to be honest but from San Diego it would be possible.

33. Posted by 55vineyard (Full Member 176 posts) 12w Star this if you like it!

It only takes 5-6 hours to drive from SF to LA if you take boring I-5 (hope you like agriculture) or maybe 7-8 if you take Highway 101. But if you want to see some of the most beautiful sights driving coastal Highway 1 through Monterey, Big Sur, Carmel, Central Coast and Santa Barbara en route to LA, you need several overnight stops en route.

34. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 1544 posts) 12w Star this if you like it!

Rather than California, I still would recommend that you concentrate on the Northeast Corridor, including Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., particularly if you plan to visit this year. You state that you like cities with historical significance. The Northeast certainly has that in spades. It also has efficient and affordable public transportation networks. As a solo traveler, spending two or three weeks driving a rental car in California can incur significant costs. There continues to be a shortage of rental cars (even new and used cars for purchase) in the United States, driving prices sky high. Gasoline prices in California are among the highest, if not the highest, in the nation:
Please note that many countries in Europe have value-added taxes. The U.S. has no VAT. So you need to tack on various taxes and fees to purchases, particularly hotels. The amounts can be significant. Online travel agencies, such as, can give you an idea, since they usually list taxes and fees (stated as separate items) with the room price. Taxes vary from state to state, county to county and city to city.

35. Posted by Ray Bell (Budding Member 61 posts) 12w Star this if you like it!

Don't forget Chicago if you really want to look at cities...

A beach in the centre of the city...

[img][/img] industry on the waterfront for many miles, interesting buildings and history. Some buildings are old, some are new:


And sometimes a mist will roll in between those tall towers:


I have previously expressed my view of cities, but Chicago does seem (like Seattle) a bit different. If you would like to have a look at my broader descriptions of my trips around the USA, just send me an e.mail and I'll give you a link. That applies to everyone, I'm happy to share my 4000+ photo and word essay - which includes maps - with anyone wanting to look at it.

[ Edit: -- ]

36. Posted by puma_085 (Budding Member 15 posts) 12w Star this if you like it!

@ berner256 Yeah the east coast was and is still plan A. I have also figured out that some cities on the east coast would be the perfect destination for a history buff like myself. California has become quite attractive as well. But you are mentioning some valid points. The fuel costs are something that should not be underestimated.

Renting a car is also not the cheapest matter either.

A potential east coast trip would eliminate the problem because I could rely on public transport.

So maybe for this year a east coast trip would be smarter and than saving more money and do the California trip a few years in the future..

37. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru 4303 posts) 12w Star this if you like it!

Boston is a popular city for tourists to visit. Lots of history, etc. There is rail service from Boston to Maine. The local train (MBTA) goes from Boston to Providence RI. The regular train service can take you from Boston to Washington DC too.

Some tourists stay in the outskirts of Boston for cheaper accommodation. They take the MBTA into Boston. (Many people who work in Boston live in smaller cities and commute daily to work.)

Have fun.

38. Posted by puma_085 (Budding Member 15 posts) 12w Star this if you like it!

@Ray Bell Thanks for your reply. I have not considered Chicago for a vist but it sounds interesting. Seeing the Lake Michigan could also be a very nice sight. Too bad I cannot see your pictures because they were edited. The lake seems to be really beautiful.

@karazyal Thank you too for the info about Boston the MBTA train line has really lots of things to offer.

Did not know that there is line from the Boston Area to Providence Rhode Island. Have never heard of Providence before to be honest but after researching about it I have to say it would be a interesting city to vist due to it's history.

39. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru 4303 posts) 12w Star this if you like it!

Link for Providence/Stoughton Line:

Good luck.

40. Posted by parkhyun036 (Inactive 1 posts) 11w Star this if you like it!

OMG! How I miss travelling. I also wish to travel soon depending on the state of the pandemic will be. I'm so happy for you because you can now plan out your destinations. I suggest you start off in New York. I mean it's called the city of dreams for a reason, right? Then maybe you can travel to Washington after depending on your desired route. It's possible to take a train from New York to Philadelphia and Washington, then take a train to Boston, perhaps stopping off in New Haven and renting a car to explore some of Connecticut, New York state and Massachusetts' countryside and small towns. If you have a car with you, LA is one of the best places to tour around. Also, it's a good place to shop especially if you have a budget.