15 Most 'Outdoorsy' U.S. States from 15 Most 'Outdoorsy' U.S. States
15 Most 'Outdoorsy' U.S. States
15 Most 'Outdoorsy' U.S. States
Every state has a spectacular hike or crazy active adventure you should try; but some stand out more than others. The definition of “outdoorsy” can be very broad. The states on the following list, in no particular order, have been selected based on reviews and rankings by National Geographic, Backpacker, Matador Network, and Outside Online. Criteria such as how many recreational hiking and biking trails, camping and skiing opportunities, rock climbing locations, swimming and other water sports they offer, have been taken into account.
Surrounded by water, year-round warm weather lending locals plenty of time to spend on outdoor activities, annual sporting events like The Honolulu Marathon, Ironman Hawaii, the Honolulu Triathlon, and The Great Aloha Run, and two national parks with incredible active volcanoes you can hike – it’s no surprise that Hawaii made the list. You can start your morning with a cool surf session, go snorkeling or scuba diving before lunch, paragliding in the afternoon, and biking down a volcano before dinner.
The Golden State boasts a diverse and remarkable outdoorsy scene – hiking, biking, climbing, camping, swimming, surfing, and even skiing are all available. With seven national parks and hundreds of deep valleys, grand meadows, vast wilderness areas, waterfalls, caves and caverns, national historic trails and monuments, every day is an adventure day in California. It has the highest number of rock climbing, summer camps, and campgrounds throughout the country. San Francisco has the highest percentage of the population with walkable park access, 98.04 percent, and the highest number of bike-rental facilities per 100,000 residents, according to WalletHub. Eureka-Arcata-Fortuna has been voted by Backpacker as one of the “best cities to raise an outdoor kid.”
Go skiing and mountain biking in Crested Butte, the best singletrack in the Rockies, or Aspen; hike Mount Sanitas near Boulder; paddle Lake Irwin and participate in the annual kayaking competition held on Oh Be Joyful Creek; ride the loop from Boulder to Lyons via the Peak-to-Peak Highway; or rock routes scattered in Bighorn Sheep Canyon between Salida and Canon City. Canoe, raft and kayak through canyons, or climb on the sandstone at East Animas. Many places in the Centennial State made National Geographic’s list of best places for adventurous long weekends. Boulder, Durango, Colorado Springs, and Fort Collins were named by Backpacker among the best places for outdoorsy kids.
With a total of 11 national parks, recreation areas, historic trails, monuments, and sites, the Equality State offers hundreds of adventurous opportunities for locals and tourists. Go on morning mountain bike laps on Teton Pass; hike up to Phelps Lake in Grand Teton National Park; and river surf down the Snake River. While Jackson Hole, where you can ski right into the city in the winter, is the most famous place in Wyoming, as it borders Grand Teton national Park and is very close to Yellowstone, Lander is a known for its sport climbing opportunities. Yellowstone contains approximately one-half of the world’s hydrothermal features, according to the National Parks Service. There are more than 10,000 hydrothermal features, including over 300 geysers.
There are five national parks in Utah, three of which are among the most famous in the country – Zion, Bryce Canyon and Arches, which has 50 campgrounds, a testament to how much people love to be outside. Hike into Delicate Arch for sunset, mountain bike scenic red-rock trails. Visitors and locals love the Fiery Furnace Walks, which are a real gem. Hiking, rafting, mountain biking (here's why you should try it) and rock climbing (you should master these skills) are a few options. Natural Bridges National Monument is a "Dark Sky Parks,” one of four in the western world. It is ideal for stargazing.
Oregon wants to be the fittest state in the U.S. by 2021. Bend and Portland often make the lists of the fittest and fitness-friendly cities in the country due to a large percentage of the population that is meeting CDC aerobic exercise guidelines and a lot of city parkland. Bend is surrounded by the lower Cascades and is snuggled within Deschutes National Forest, making it perfect for backcountry skiing, rafting (Celestial Falls are among the most dangerous in the world), fishing, hiking and world-class rock climbing. The stunningly beautiful Oregon coastline is best appreciated from off shore, so paddle out and let the view take your breath away. The Tillamook County Water Trail offers 200 miles of navigable water for everyone.
New York may be among the worst cities for recreation activities, according to WalletHub, but there the Empire State has Lake Placid, New Paltz and Montauk, to name a few, that make it one of the best outdoorsy states in the U.S. The Adirondacks is perfect for year-round adventures. Diverse landscapes offer endless opportunities for outdoor activities. The Giant Mountain and Rocky Peak Ridge is a stunning 11-mile hike in the High Peaks with a gorgeous crest descent with otherworldly panoramas. Other spectacular hikes include Mount Esther, Mount Marcy or any of the 46er Peaks. Take your bike for a ride along the rolling route dubbed “Fantastic 52”; go ice climbing at Cascade Pass and Chouinard’s Gully; ski on Whiteface Mountain and its three peaks and the biggest vertical drop east of the Rockies.
Pine Grove Furnace State Park is among the best camping places in North America. You are close to the Appalachian Trail, which is one of the most beautiful in the entire world. Hiking through the forest is a breathtaking experience. If you manage to hike the whole trail, which is about 2,185 miles, you will be one of a few compared to how many try to complete it. Close to 10 million people visited Pennsylvania’s national parks, monuments, trails and historic sites, according to NPS. The Appalachina trails, the Blue Ridge or Pocono Mountains, and roaming waterways also lure locals outside. The Keystone State has the second most national recreation trails and overabundance of state parks, rock climbing locations and summer camps.
Several of Florida’s bigger cities were ranked among the best the outdoors, according to Forbes. Nice weather, a lot of parkland, and an abundance of water sports keep people active outside. Imagine what you can do with a coastline of a total of 1,197 statute miles, tidal shoreline of 2,276 miles, 663 miles of beaches and more than 11,000 miles of rivers, streams and waterways, according to official figures. Biking and kayaking through the Everglades, which is the largest subtropical wilderness in the U.S., paddling with alligators, and flyboarding are unique experiences that will open your imagination in terms of what’s possible. Dry Tortugas National Park is on almost every list of places to go camping. If you’re looking for primitive camping destinations, the seven charming islands in the relatively small park are the places to be.
Large percentage of population using public transportation to get to work; many people bikin to work; and high walking scores are the reasons why Seattle is among the fittest cities in America. National parks, historic and geological trails, as well as many recreation areas make Washington a very outdoorsy state. Its diverse landscapes, Cascade Range, Olympic Mountains, old-growth forest are the reason why the Evergreen state, which has the highest number of state parks, is a prime location for mountain biking, climbing, fishing, hiking, skiing, and camping.
Michigan is surrounded by five of the greatest lakes in the U.S., making is perfect for sailing, relaxing on pristine beaches and swimming in turquoise water. Mackinac Island is perfect for outdoors because no cars are allowed. Go on long, forested hikes among magnificent pine trees. The Upper Peninsula is an underrated summer adventure destination you should visit. This natural beauty has 1,700 miles of shoreline on three Great Lakes. On top of all the water sports you could enjoy on lakes Superior, Huron and Michigan, the UP also has expansive forests, mountains, lakes, streams, waterfalls, beaches, bluffs and islands nearby. Visit the remote Isle Royal National Park where moose and wolves usually outnumber humans or seek out shipwrecks in Lake Superior.
Many travelers would be surprised to find that the Last Frontier is much more than a Canadian-connected land mass with a chilly climate and a whole lot of wildlife. The 49th state takes mountainous terrain to an entirely new level; the pointy peaks go on for miles and miles from flightseeing to wildlife watching and world-class fishing, Alaska offers unique activities. Some highlights include kayaking excursions in Kenai Fjords National Park, Skagway’s quaint and historic frontier-style Main Street and heli-skiing adventures in Haines. Alaska hosts a handful of road races throughout the year and many of them boast unique themes and courses.
With Glacier and Yellowstone national parks in the Big Sky Country, getting out of the house is easy year-round – swimming off a boat in the summer and skiing in the winter, camping in the spring, and hiking in the fall. See brown buffalo herds in yellow fields, enjoy natural volcanic hot springs, and visit the iconic Old Faithful, which continues its scheduled eruptions. Bozeman is a famous adventurous destination because it’s surrounded by the spectacular national forests of Gallatin and Beaverhead-Deerlodge, but Whitefish is not to be missed either. Mountain bike the 30-mile Whitefish Trail, go hiking in Glacier National Park, rock climb the crags at Stonehill, and paddle along the Whitefish River.
Ely is often mentioned as one of the best places to live in America because it combines a small-town vibe with many opportunities for adventurous activities year-round such as canoeing, biking, hiking, snowshoeing, and fishing. There are more than 5,000 lakes, river and streams, many biking and hiking trails in the Superior National Forest, and remnants of glaciers to explore. Hike the North Country National Scenic Trail; head to the St. Croix and Namekagon rivers for world-class paddling; touch rocks half as old as the world, experience the life of a voyageur, and immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of a boreal forest at Voyageurs National Park.
People have been drawn to the rugged coast of Maine for many decades. Acadia National Park, home to many plants and animals, and the tallest mountain on the U.S. Atlantic coast, is among the most visited in the country. People go to hike granite peaks, bike historic carriage roads, or relax and enjoy the scenery. It should be on your bucket list: it’s one of the friendliest parks for pets; its dramatic rocky coastline is magnificent; it has some of the best beaches; and the popular but dangerous Precipice Trail is many people’s favorite attraction. Portland is one of the best places to sea kayak and has more than 100 miles of nature trails. It’s also one of the best cities to raise outdoor kids, according to Backpacker.