With 50 states to choose from, all with a different feel, the United States offers something for everyone. From rugged mountains to sandy beaches to vast farmlands, each state has its own beauty.
Besides the natural beauty of this great country, you also have the opportunity to enjoy a wide array of cultural differentiation within one state and even within one locale. America’s reputation as a “melting pot” is accurate for plenty of reasons. On any given weekend during almost anytime of the year and definitely during the summer, you can find local celebrations celebrating a unique aspect of American culture.
From county fairs and festivals that celebrate the agricultural and industrial heritage of the northeast to community sales that stretch for miles in the southeast, rodeos in the central south and mid-west, and the never-ending variety of fun and culture in the western states American tourists can experience almost anything that humans developed.
And, if you walk away from any of them hungry or thirsty, there’s no one to blame but yourself. If you haven’t taken the time to enjoy genuine Cajun-Creole, Tex-Mex, amazing sea coast cuisine, traditional danishes, spaetzle, bratwurst, funnel cakes, and thousands of other unique food and drink classics from the places that make them the best, then you need to let yourself live a little.
In this list of the best states to visit, we have compiled 15 great states (in no specific order). With so much to offer, the states on this list are perfect for a first time visit or a visit for the umpteenth time. Who knows, your perfect trip might be just around the corner!
Top Places to Visit: Boulder, Colorado Springs, Denver, Vail, Aspen
StateHighlights: Great Outdoor Spaces for Adventuring, 300 Days of Sunshine a Year in Denver
AboutState: Home to the Rocky Mountains, Colorado is known for being progressive and outdoorsy. Visitors can enjoy fantastic skiing (Colorado is known for some of the best skiing destinations in the US), fresh air, great hiking, a happening nightlife in Denver and Boulder, and year-round sporting activities.
Top Places to Visit: Fargo, Bismark, Devils Lake, Theodore Roosevelt National Park
StateHighlights: Hunting and Fishing, Unique Towns, A vibrant Native American Culture
AboutState: An off the radar location until recent years, North Dakota is more than just oil. Located just east of Montana, North Dakota offers excellent hunting and fishing, as well as funky towns full of unique boutiques and eateries. A vibrant Native American culture also adds to the appeal. It also has one of the best national parks in the country in Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
Top Places to Visit: Richmond, Washington D.C., Virginia Beach, Charlottesville
StateHighlights: Access to All the Monuments and Museums that DC has to Offer, Hiking and Exploring in the Blue Ridge Mountains
AboutState: Virginia is for lovers, and it should also be for you as well. Filled with history, the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains, caverns, theme parks, and so much more, it is a must-visit. Along with having so many great sites and attractions to visit, it is also right next to the nation’s capital. This means that you will be able to hop over there for a day or two as well.
Top Places to Visit: Boston, Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket
StateHighlights: Seaside Towns, The History of Boston, Beaches and Countryside
AboutState: Quintessential New England, Massachusetts, offers quaint seaside towns, as well as bustling city life. With seafood, beaches, greenery, and history galore, the small state of Massachusetts is big on personality. History buffs will especially love all the colonial history that Massachusetts offers.
StateHighlights: Access to Six Different Islands, World-Class Beaches, Volcanoes and Rainforests
AboutState: With six unique islands to choose from, Hawaii is an exceptional state. From world-class beaches to volcanoes to lush rainforests, Hawaii offers something for everyone. Whether you are looking for peace and tranquility or fun and adventure, Hawaii is perfect for visitors of all ages.
Top Places to Visit: Bozeman, Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park
StateHighlights: Access to Two of the Most Famous National Parks in the Country, Hunting, Fishing, and Exploring
AboutState: Montana is the land of open spaces. It is the fourth largest state but only has the 44th largest population. This leaves open opportunities for exploring land that is still untouched by civilization. With some of the most breathtaking views in the 50 states and even the world, Montana is absolutely worth a visit.
Top Places to Visit: Louisville, Lexington, Mammoth Cave National Park
StateHighlights: Whiskey Distilleries, Horses, A National Park, Food, and Sports
AboutState: Famous for its rolling hills, bourbon, and horses, Kentucky is perfect for families and individuals. The adventurous types will really enjoy Kentucky – top-notch caving, hiking, and biking abound here. In between all the activities, be sure to check out some of Kentucky’s stellar food and sports scenes.
Top Places to Visit: Arizona, Grand Canyon National Park, Sedona, Scottsdale
StateHighlights: Access to the Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, and Monument Valle, Nightlife and Dining in Phoenix and Scottsdale
AboutState: The fact that the Grand Canyon is located in Arizona makes it worth a visit all on its own. Outside the Grand Canyon, though, there are still so many amazing places to visit. There is the Petrified Forest, Monument Valley, and a more civilized option in Phoenix and Scottsdale.
Top Places to Visit: Asheville, Charlotte, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Raleigh
StateHighlights: The Biltmore Estate, Hiking and Exploring the Great Smoky Mountains
AboutState: With rolling hills and a temperate climate, North Carolina makes for an ideal getaway. The Biltmore Estate is located here, but if mansions aren’t your thing, North Carolina also offers a number of private and picturesque cabin rentals. Add in happening cities like Raleigh and Charlotte, and there is something for both the country lover and city lover.
Top Places to Visit: Jackson, Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park
StateHighlights: Skiing, Hiking and Exploring, Access to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks
AboutState: Rugged and unspoiled, Wyoming is the perfect place to get away from it all. Famous parks like Yellowstone and Grand Teton allow visitors hours of enjoyment. Additionally, a host of outdoor activities, as well as lodging, make Wyoming an ideal spot to visit.
Top Places to Visit: Portland, The Oregon Coast, Crater Lake National Park
StateHighlights: Hiking and Exploring the Oregon Coast, Portland’s Exceptional Downton, Dining, and Culture
AboutState: The Oregon coast is one of the most breathtaking places in the world. Throw the quirky and fun city of Portland into the mix, and Oregon is the perfect place to get breathtaking views, great food, an eclectic shopping scene, and stellar hiking trails.
AboutState: Boasting some of the best beaches in the world, Florida is a haven for sun worshipers. Popular attractions like Disney World and Busch Gardens also make Florida a very family-friendly spot to visit. World-class dining and outlet shopping in the US also add to Florida’s appeal. For a more in-depth look at the beaches in Florida, check out our list of the best beaches in Florida.
Top Places to Visit: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Yosemite National Park
StateHighlights: Hollywood, the Golden Gate Bridge, Yosemite National Park, Beaches, and Iconic Highway 1
AboutState: With a great climate and range of topography, California has something for everyone. Iconic sites like Hollywood, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Coronado Island offer something for every member of the family. And, don’t forget about scenic Highway 1, which is one of the most scenic drives in the world.
Top Places to Visit: New York City, Catskill Mountains, Upstate New York
StateHighlights: Everything the Big Apple has to Offer, Hiking in the Countryside, Wineries, and the Catskill Mountains
AboutState: New York is a must-see, not just for NYC, the largest city in the United States, but also for its idyllic countryside and wineries. For both the city and the countryside, check out New York in the early fall, where colorful fall foliage is sure to awe and inspire.
Top Places to Visit: Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Austin
StateHighlights: A Vibrant Music Scene in Austin, the Space Program in Houston, Food, Beaches, and Historical Sites
AboutState: The largest state in the continental US, Texas, is home to great sports teams, fantastic food, and a surprisingly diverse culture. Be sure to check out coastal Texas, especially multicultural Houston, which boasts a space program and great nightlife.
Best States to Visit Conclusion
We could’ve found something in all 50 states that would be worth visiting, but unfortunately, we needed to narrow the list down a little more than that. We hope that this list of the best states to visit will inspire you to travel and visit some of these great places.
In a country as large and diverse as America, there’s undoubtedly something to find that will fascinate and enrich everyone and provide some of the best memories ever. Educationally too, travel is an excellent aid for kids to learn and appreciate some of the things that they learn about in school.
Even with all the wonders of technology at our fingertips, there’s still something to be said for being in the places you learn about in the history books. That’s why schools still take field trips to museums and other interesting places that allow you hands-on learning.
Don’t feel like taking your vehicle or camper on a long trip or don’t have the time for an extended stay? Think about getting onto a chartered bus trip. Many bus companies run day or weekend trips into nearby states’ hot spots, attractions, and festivals as a way to keep up their business, and this might add to the convenience and relaxation you experience on a day or weekend trip. Avoid the hassles of driving and still have fun? Why not?
Another way to keep costs down and still have fun might be to look into local campgrounds if you do have the time and intention for an extended stay in one of our 15 Top Picks.
If you take a trip to one of these great states, we would love to know how your trip went in the comments below!