Since checking off travelling to all 50 US states last year, I get asked a lot what my favourite states are? That’s a pretty tough question!
So, based off my overall travel experiences here goes. Firstly, generally people are friendly everywhere and each of the 50 US states has something special to offer but for natural wonders (national and state parks, wildlife, scenery), historic places, museums and my own personal interests (the great outdoors, wildlife, history, aviation, live music, architecture, pop culture etc.) my top 10 US states are as follows (in alphabetical order).
The vast great outdoors, amazing scenery, glaciers, national parks such as Denali National Park and abundant wildlife (grizzly bears, Orca, Humpback whales, moose, caribou, sea lions, puffins, eagles, sea otters and so much more). Alaska has it all! The remote feel to Alaska makes any journey there feel like a true adventure.
Spectacular desert and canyon scenery including the Grand Canyon National Park. Ancient first nation sites and history. Aviation history (PIMA and the 309th AMARG “Boneyard”) and so much more. Arizona has something for everyone.
A huge state with scenery that ranges from great forests (giant redwoods) to mountains, golden beaches, stunning lakes and deserts. Yosemite National Park, Joshua Tree National Park and so many more state and national parks. This wonderful scenery is accompanied by exciting big cities like Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco; then you have the celebrity scene, Hollywood, great music (so many bands, so little time), lots of history and so much more to make it an exciting place for all.
4. New Mexico
Ah New Mexico, you magnificent place. UFO’s in Roswell, Billy the Kid’s grave, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, ancient first nations history, White Sands National Monument, White Sands Missile Range, atomic history from the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos to the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History in Albuquerque this state certainly has something for everyone and is a place I really loved travelling in!
5. North Dakota
North Dakota was favourite place of Teddy Roosevelt and you really cannot blame him. Vast openness, views that seem to go on forever and the Badlands including Theodore Roosevelt National Park. A state that people just seem to drive across but just leave that interstate and many natural wonders and historic destinations await you.
Beautiful beaches, lush forests, the Columbia River Gorge, mountain scenery like Mt. Hood, the Spruce Goose, weird but alluring Portland with its food trucks, craft beer breweries and Voodoo Doughnuts. This is one fantastic state (plus no sales tax!). Get yourself to Oregon ASAP!
7. South Dakota
Mt. Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Monument, the Black Hills, Custer State Park, the Badlands, Deadwood, Sturgis the list goes on. What a stunning state to visit.
More national parks than you can poke a stick at including the stunning beauty of Zion National Park, Arches National Park and the vastness of Canyonlands National Park, Utah really is something. The people are friendly and there is so much to see and do in Utah, it is a place everyone should visit some day.
From Seattle and its iconic Space Needle to the national parks, stunning mountains (Mt. Olympia, Mt. Ranier, Mt. St. Helens and more) and abundant wildlife on land and sea (whales especially), Washington state is a sentimental favourite for me. Cross the Cascade Mountains and you leave the Emerald City for vast arid spaces much like the outback. A fascinating place steeped in aviation history dominated by Boeing and a rich music history (Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Queensryche, Pearl Jam the list goes on). A fantastic state indeed!
Vast open spaces with the wildlife abundant and geothermal active Yellowstone National Park (bears, moose, elk and so much more), the stunning vista of the Grand Teton National Park and the iconic Devils Tower make Wyoming a fascinating place to visit. Go see Old Faithful burst to life and enjoy this beautiful state to its fullest.
Some other states came close to making the list but overall these are my personal favourites. For the most part these are sparsely populated states that have some of the best National Parks and great wide open spaces. I love it out there!