My Top 10 US States

American States
50 US States to explore

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).

1. Alaska

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.

Alaska Glacier Wildlife
Beautiful Alaska

2. Arizona

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.

Arizona boneyard
Arizona history to natural wonders

3. California

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!

New Mexico from the White Sands to UFO's!
New Mexico from the White Sands to UFO’s!

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.

North Dakota Badlands Roosevelt NP
North Dakota Badlands

6. Oregon

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!

Oregon - Nature, Food, Aviation and Weirdness
Oregon – Nature, Food, Aviation and Weirdness

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.

South Dakota - Grand monuments to the beauty of The Badlands
South Dakota – Grand monuments to the beauty of The Badlands

8. Utah

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.

Arches NP and Canyonlands NP UTAH
Stunning Utah – Arches NP and Canyonlands NP

9. Washington

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!

Washington state
Washington state my sentimental favourite

10. Wyoming

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.

Wyoming - Yellowstone, Grand Teton and the Devils Tower
Wyoming – Yellowstone, Grand Teton and the Devils Tower

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!


13 Comments Add yours

  1. Girl Gone Expat says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more, Alaska is our #1. But I haven’t been to all 50 states is the US yet (just New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, Illinois, Minnesota, Montana, California and Texas) so guess I don’t have a proper basis to compare with, but we absolutely loved Alaska. We liked New Hampshire as well, oh the lobster we got there was so good!

    1. Deano says:

      New England in general is pretty good 🙂

  2. Thank you for this top, very informative !! So much left to see !

    1. Deano says:

      Not a problem. Always very subjective of course as everyone has a different opinion. Some people love NYC where as for me I can take it or leave. Others love Nevada, Louisiana, New England, Florida and so forth. All great places and I have spent plenty of time in them too (including living in Florida). Such a vast and amazingly diverse country (like many countries in one – despite what people may think!).

      1. I would have put Utah a little bit higher, but I haven’t visited Alaska yet 😉 For NYC, I share the same opinion as you 🙂

      2. Deano says:

        Actually these are just in alphabetical order rather than preference but Alaska is quite the place 🙂

      3. It would have been too difficult to sort by your preferences I suppose 😀 When we tried to do it with the national parks, we struggled a lot 😀

      4. Deano says:

        Ah the parks, best parts of America 🙂

      5. That’s why I want to visit Alaska, badly !!

      6. Deano says:

        Summer is approaching…

      7. Going to Scotland 😉

  3. My 8-yr-old mastered his US geography this year – including the major canals, eastern and western rivers and mountains, bays, and all the capitals. He enjoyed this post. =)

    1. Deano says:

      Glad he enjoyed it!

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