I should preface this post by saying that I’ve physically been to every state in the US. Some states I’ve admittedly not spent too terribly much time in (namely Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Connecticut, Kansas, and Nebraska, all of which I was in for only a few hours), but most other states I’ve visited for at least a day. The following are my top 5 favorite states:
- Alaska. Alaska is a vast, beautiful state. It has a little bit of everything. There is a city–albeit a small one–in Anchorage. Then there is a vast wilderness with stretches for hundreds of miles in every direction. The people are friendly, and there’s some decent food around, too. When I went a couple summers ago, there was a bit of a heatwave, so temperatures were a cool 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit. The landscape was pristine, and there was wildlife everywhere you looked. As for places to visit in Alaska, Anchorage is a must-visit, and I say that quite literally since it’s the only major travel hub in the state. I also highly recommend driving/taking a train out to see Denali. If you’re from the East Coast or anywhere in the world with smaller mountains, then the ordinary-sized Alaskan mountains will blow you away… but Denali? My word, the thing is massive. I could see it from over 100 miles away, and that is not an exaggeration. Just go see it for yourself if you don’t believe me. I also think you should see the glaciers in Prince William Sound, which I already covered in a previous post.
- Nevada. Vegas, baby! But no, seriously… Nevada is beautiful. I already explained some of this in another post, but the city of Las Vegas is really just magical. I mean sure there’s gambling and lots of other sinful things, but c’mon! Neon lights in a desert with mountains in the background; who wouldn’t want to see that? Plus, if you love food, you’ll be in luck. Las Vegas has extremely good quality food from every cuisine imaginable. Some of the dining options in the casinos may seem expensive, but the portion sizes are MASSIVE. Vegas’ food is probably cheap in terms of dollars-per-serving. Vegas is also conveniently located near many great sites for nature lovers like Valley of Fire State Park and Death Valley National Park.
- Oregon. This may be the Portland Timbers fandom in me speaking out, but I really loved Oregon when I visited. The state is saturated with the unique culture of Cascadia. Everything is green. When you walk around Portland (an absolutely beautiful city, by the way), one of the things that stands out is all the greenery. The streets downtown are lined with towering trees. Much of the northern and coastal areas of the state, as far as I could tell, were just great big forests. However, the real gem in Oregon is Crater Lake. If you even remotely like nature, you need to go there. Just take my word for it.
- Georgia. Somewhat surprisingly, after visiting all of the other states in the country, I’ve come to really appreciate my own home state. Atlanta, especially, is an amazing city. Atlanta has a unique culture with a diverse blending from recent waves of immigration from Latin America and Asia as well as an influx of transplants from the Northeast and Midwest. The result? ATL is now the true cultural capital of the South, and most parts of Metro Atlanta have great, tight-knit communities within them. Elsewhere in Georgia, there are other nice places to visit, too, such as the old city of Savannah and Stone Mountain.
- Maine. I was somewhat hesitant to include Maine in at #5 on the list because there’s really not much to Maine other than small New England towns and the coastline with Acadia National Park, but yeah, Maine is here at #5. Acadia is really just that nice. The national park, centered on the strangely-named Mount Desert Island, boasts views of the bluest waters I’ve ever seen on the Atlantic Coast. If you’re ever in Boston or just New England in general, I’d highly suggest you pop on up to visit Acadia.