Solo travel destinations, American Southwest, from relaxing spas to hiking National Parks

One of the great features of the Southwestern United States is that it really has something for everyone. In late November, I booked an elegant spa / 5-star hotel in the Scottsdale, Arizona area. There were a wide variety of options available from lounging to hiking. From the east coast, a surprise to me was that the desert that time of year was not always warm. The outside terraces had heat lamps, which made it comfortable even after sunset to sit outside for dinner.

Apparently, I wasn't the only one thinking of blazing sunshine and cowboys riding out on the horizon. I booked a full day excursion to the Grand Canyon. When my minibus arrived, snow had begun to fall. One of our small group, a woman from Europe, dressed in "desert" gear, light clothes and street shoes, stormed into the gift shop. She returned to admire the view of the Canyon decked out in layers of sweatshirts, a baseball cap that provides only a marginal improvement from the cool temperature!

Another surprise: As a kid, I was with my colleagues in the schools, who crowned "Home on the runway … where buffaloes roam". This was more playful than reality, since there are apparently no "American buffaloes" only "bison".

Additional day trip options from the Scottsdale area include a large artist colony, Sedona, ranging from Frank Lloyd Wright of the 20th century to its memorable natural red rock landscapes. One hike is the Apache Trail with the nearby Goldfield Ghost Town, which eventually ends at Roosevelt Dam.

In any case, it was an enjoyable trip that I would recommend. The only downside? When traveling, I prefer to be within walking distance of a number of sights.

A very different, but equally enjoyable trip, came with Christmas in Santa Fe, New Mexico. There was plenty of snow, which was very seasonal, but better was the historic city itself. There were several restaurants, shops and local landmarks such as St. Francis Cathedral Basilica. The latter was built recently in the late 1800s, but serves a 400-year-old parish. Native Americans offered jewelry and other items, the most popular of which were turquoise and silver chains, earrings and even belt buckles. (Earlier in November, Santa Fe hosts the winter Indian market SWAIA.)

Santa Fe day trips include:

• Taos

• Abiquiú

• Turquoise trail

• Bandelier National Monument with 70 miles of hiking trails

• Georgia O & # 39; Keefe's home

• Pecos National Park

• For a change of pace, Las Vegas is also within easy reach.

In addition to the view, Taos is famous for slightly challenging ski slopes. Although a remedial intermediary, I dutifully brought my skis to Santa Fe and expected a day's skiing on Taos. Although I had arrived in time for almost daily snowfall, my trip unfortunately coincided with the Christmas week. As a result, the minivan commuter services I contacted were unavailable. Local residents discouraged me from renting a car to do the unknown mountain driving alone during potentially heavy snowfall. A creative solution was to make a trip to the mountain and hope to find one upon return. I declined the opportunity to get stuck overnight and seek lodging with a day where I enjoy the region around Santa Fe.

I found year-round both Arizona and New Mexico great choices for solo travelers. However, for side trips to national parks, check for winter closures.