Looking for a solo travel adventure that combines both culture and history? The United States boasts numerous Native American communities that offer a chance to learn about their vibrant culture, traditions, and heritage. Here are ten of the top destinations that offer solo travelers the opportunity to immerse themselves in the world of Native American culture.
1. Taos Pueblo, New Mexico
Taos Pueblo is an ideal destination for travelers who want to learn more about the Pueblo people of Northern New Mexico. With over a thousand years of history behind it, Taos Pueblo is one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the world. For solo travelers, the attraction offers guided tours that give visitors a chance to learn about the Taos Pueblo’s culture by visiting multi-room adobe buildings in traditional style, and watching traditional dances. While on this tour, visitors can interact with the Taos Pueblo locals, and learn about their customs and way of life.
2. Monument Valley, Arizona and Utah
Monument Valley, located within the Navajo Nation tribal park, is a stunning natural wonder of sandstone formations that brings many stories to life. The park has a rich cultural history that is shared through guided tours by Navajo guides. The tours are not only thrilling but also informative, providing cultural insights to the area’s history, storytelling, and cultural traditions. For a more immersive experience, Monument Valley offers visitors a chance to stay overnight in a traditional Navajo hogan (a traditional dwelling house for Navajo tribes).
3. Black Hills and Badlands, South Dakota
If you are interested in exploring the cultural diversity of South Dakota, the Black Hills and Badlands offer an opportunity to connect with the Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho tribes. Visitors can tour the Crazy Horse Memorial, which is dedicated to the famous Lakota warrior, as well as discovering the history and heritage of the Lakota people at the nearby Indian Museum of North America. The Badlands Loop Road also features informative signs about the region’s geology and indigenous peoples, providing a unique education for solo travelers.
4. Haida Gwaii, British Columbia
Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands) off the coast of British Columbia, in Canada is the traditional territory of the Haida Nation. Solo travelers can learn about their rich history, art, and traditional culture at the Haida Heritage Centre. The center offers exhibitions, workshops, and live demonstrations of traditional Haida practices, all set within a magically beautiful landscape of stunning beaches, forests, and hills.
5. Cherokee, North Carolina
A small town in western North Carolina, Cherokee, is the home of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Visitors can learn about the Cherokee’s history, culture, and their way of living by visiting the Museum of the Cherokee Indian. After visiting the museum, one can then explore the nearby Oconaluftee Indian Village, which offers a chance to watch live demonstrations of traditional Cherokee practices such as pottery, basket weaving, and dances.
6. Mesa Verde, Colorado
Solo travelers that love adventure and history combine can visit Mesa Verde National Park, located in Southwestern Colorado. The park is home to the best-preserved cliff dwellings in all of North America, attracting visitors from all over the world. Guided tours offer visitors a way to learn about the ancestral Pueblo people who lived in the area for centuries, and also explore their ancient dwellings.
7. Standing Rock, North Dakota
While Standing Rock became famous across the globe for the Dakota Access Pipeline protests in 2016, the reservation is also rich in history and culture worth exploring. Visitors to Standing Rock can learn about the tribe’s way of life by visiting the Standing Rock Cultural Arts Center, which features exhibitions, performances, and workshops. The Pow Wows, held in the area throughout the year, are also an excellent way to learn about and participate in the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe celebrations and culture.
8. Walpi, Arizona
Walpi, situated on the Hopi reservation, is one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in North America. The village provides visitors with a unique opportunity to learn about the Hopi people’s religion, history, and cultural practices. Guided tours are available to take visitors through the community and discover their traditions further.
9. Shakopee, Minnesota
Located in the Twin Cities in Minnesota, Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community is a welcoming spot for visitors to learn about their rich cultural history. The tribe’s history and customs are displayed at the Dakotah! Sport and Fitness center, and visitors can also attend annual Pow Wows held by the community.
10. Anchorage, Alaska
The last but not the least stop on this list is Anchorage, Alaska. The region and its surrounding areas are home to various Native American groups, including Yupik, Tlingit, and Inuit. The Alaska Native Heritage Center, located in Anchorage, features exhibitions, demonstrations, and performances by Alaska Natives, offering a unique and educational experience for visitors to learn about the region’s culture and traditions.