The Best National and State Parks for Solo Travel This Winter

Reyna GobelDec 14, 2018

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Planning a solo trip, especially if you’re usually on the move with a partner, friends or a car full of kids, can feel uncomfortable or daunting.

But those who do it often will tell you traveling solo can be life-changing. And incorporating outdoor adventures could be even more rewarding.

Here are three national or state parks solo travelers should visit this winter, and how to make the most of travel rewards to get there.

1. New Orleans Jazz Historical Park

The New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park is often referred to as one of the birthplaces of jazz music. Near the French Quarter, the park serves as both a jazz history museum and a starting point for exploring music across the city.

Admission is free to the museum and for most programs offered there. It’s the perfect place to visit in January before the Mardi Gras crowds arrive in February, says Rue Mapp, founder of Outdoor Afro.

Best use of mileage or travel rewards

You can’t camp in this national park, but you can use travel rewards for hotels in New Orleans.

2. Zion National Park

“Whether you go with friends or alone, you will rarely be alone in Zion,” says Shanti Hodges, founder of Hike It Baby. “It's a well-trafficked, amazingly efficient park that can handle the burden of nearly 4.5 million visitors a year.”

How active you want to be at this Utah park is up to you. You can do intense canyoneering activities or you can just sit on the bus and ride through the park taking in the views. “The tunnels in the park are also amazing feats of architecture and fun to drive through on the way from Springville to Orderville,” Hodges explains.

Weekly passes in a vehicle are $35 and $20 per person on foot. Youth under 15 years old are free.

Best use of mileage or travel rewards

There are plenty of chain hotels nearby where you may be able to use travel rewards. Delta has flights directly into Cedar City Regional Airport. To use frequent flyer miles or travel rewards from other airlines, Las Vegas is the nearest city. Then, you can rent a car and drive about three hours through beautiful scenery.

3. Red Rock State Park

Five years ago, USA Today named Sedona, Arizona, the location of Red Rock State Park, the most beautiful place in America. And while there are no official national parks, this state park is glorious. The rocks look like sunsets when the light hits them, serene creeks run through red rock mountains and energy vortexes are said to merge for healing and spiritual growth.

Veronica Irons, a psychic at the Center for the New Age, recommends visiting the Native American historic sites nearby to see ancient cave art. And just 30 miles away is Montezuma Castle National Monument, an 800-year-old cliff dwelling.

Entrance fees at Red Rock State Park are $7 for those 14 and older, $4 for kids 7 to 13, and children 6 and younger are free. Camping permits start at $15 per night.

Best use of mileage or travel rewards

You can fly into Flagstaff on American Airlines and then drive about an hour to the park. If you’d like to use miles from another airline, Phoenix is about two hours away and offers service from most major carriers.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:

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