What Are The Best States For Outdoorsy People?

When it comes to exploring the great outdoors, the United States offers a vast array of options for outdoor enthusiasts. From majestic mountains to pristine beaches, there is no shortage of natural beauty to be found in this country. However, some states stand out above the rest when it comes to providing the best opportunities for outdoor activities. Whether you enjoy hiking, camping, fishing, or just taking in the scenery, these states have something for everyone. This is why we decided to explore some of the best states for outdoorsy people, examine what makes them special, and why they draw in so many nature enthusiasts each year.

Considering the many benefits of being outdoors, getting outside is important! Researching across eight expert sources, we found the top seven best states for outdoorsy people in the U.S.! If you don’t agree with our list or feel we missed out on a good location, we would love to hear from you in the comments down below. Now, onto the list!

The List: Best States For Outdoorsy People, According to Travel Experts

1. California

The first state for all our outdoorsy types that we are taking a look at today is California. Topping our list is the state with an “unmatched nine national parks, 38,196,000 acres of public land, and a staggering 18,467 miles of trails,” says Cultural Currents. California truly is a paradise for nature lovers, with its diverse landscapes that range from rugged coastlines to towering mountains. With so many national parks and miles of trails to explore, there is no shortage of outdoor adventures to be had in the Golden State. Whether you enjoy hiking, camping, or simply taking in the breathtaking views, California has something for everyone to enjoy in the great outdoors.

aerial view of road near body of water during daytime
California coastline (Photo by Bobby Yang on Unsplash)

Adapt Network describes California’s tucked away “waterfalls and towering redwoods” and even its clear “sandy beaches” as some of the best natural attractions in the state. The abundance of wildlife and plant species in these parks makes them a haven for nature enthusiasts and photographers alike. Whether you’re exploring the ancient forests of the redwoods or watching the sunset over the Pacific Ocean, California’s natural beauty is sure to leave a lasting impression on all who visit.

Southern California is reported as the place to be for adventure seekers who wish to surf and kayak by All Around Moving. The warm waters of the Pacific Ocean provide the perfect playground for those looking to catch some waves or paddle along the stunning coastline. California as a whole has almost endless opportunities to explore land and water, making it a top destination for outdoor activities. So pack your bags, grab your gear, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure in the Golden State.

2. Utah

Venturing into “the heart of the West,” our next state is Utah. With five national parks, Utah is a goldmine for nature enthusiasts. From the towering red rock formations of Zion National Park to the otherworldly landscapes of Arches National Park, Utah offers a diverse range of natural wonders to explore. The state’s unique geological features, such as the Great Salt Lake and the Uinta Mountains, provide endless opportunities for outdoor adventure (Cultural Currents).

Hikers in Zion Natioanl Park, Utah
Hikers in Zion Natioanl Park, Utah (Photo by Maridav on Shutterstock)

Adapt Network calls Utah the dream location to buy property if you want to be surrounded by nature. The abundance of hiking trails, camping sites, and picturesque vistas make Utah a paradise for nature lovers. Whether you prefer to marvel at the stunning rock formations or relax by a serene lake, there is something for everyone in this beautiful state. Considered by many as a top destination for outdoor enthusiasts, Utah truly offers a one-of-a-kind experience that is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Trip Savvy adds that Utah is also home to multiple amazing ski resorts that attract visitors from around the world during the winter months. Whether you are an avid skier or hiker or simply enjoy being surrounded by the beauty of nature, Utah has something to offer everyone who visits. With its stunning landscapes and endless opportunities for outdoor adventures, it’s no wonder why the state of Utah remains a top choice for nature lovers.

3. Colorado

With its towering mountains, rolling plains, and crystal-clear lakes, Colorado offers a wide range of outdoor activities. Whether you enjoy hiking, skiing, fishing, or just taking in the stunning views, there is something for everyone in this beautiful state. Plus, with over 300 days of sunshine a year, there’s plenty of time to explore all that Colorado has to offer (Camp Leaders).

The Maroon Bells in Colorado
The Maroon Bells in Colorado (Photo by Mike Scheid on Unsplash)

All Around Moving reports the Rocky Mountains as a must-see stop for nature lovers when visiting Colorado. The iconic Rocky Mountains provide endless opportunities for outdoor adventures, from challenging hikes to exhilarating ski slopes. With its diverse ecosystems and abundance of wildlife, exploring the Rockies is a truly unforgettable experience. Whether you’re a seasoned outdoor enthusiast or just looking to connect with nature, Colorado’s Rocky Mountains are sure to leave you in awe of the beauty and majesty of the natural world.

Cultural Currents also points out that Colorado is also home to the highest skiable acreage in the U.S. The state’s 28 ski resorts offer a variety of terrain for all levels of skiers and snowboarders, making it a perfect destination for winter sports enthusiasts. In addition to skiing, visitors can also enjoy snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and even ice climbing in the winter months. With so much to see and do, it’s no wonder that Colorado is a top choice for outdoor adventurers from around the world. Whether you’re hitting the slopes or simply taking in the stunning views, a trip to the Rockies is sure to be an unforgettable experience.

4. Montana

Noted as one of the most “appealing states in the nation” for its natural beauty by Adapt Network, Montana is up next. Known for its stunning mountain ranges, expansive forests, and sprawling lakes, it’s truly is a nature lover’s paradise. Visitors can explore iconic national parks like Glacier and Yellowstone or try their hand at outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, and skiing. With its charming small towns and welcoming locals, Montana offers a peaceful and rejuvenating escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Glacier National Park in Montana
Glacier National Park in Montana (Photo by Steven Mason on Unsplash)

Explore states how easy it is to get out of the house year-round in Montana with swimming off a boat in the summer, skiing in the winter, and everything in between available at your fingertips. Whether you prefer the thrill of whitewater rafting or the tranquility of birdwatching, Montana has something for everyone. The diverse landscape allows for a wide range of outdoor adventures, from horseback riding through the rolling hills to rock climbing in rugged terrain. No matter the season, Montana’s natural beauty and endless opportunities for exploration make it a must-visit destination for any outdoor enthusiast.

Charles Moving and Storage also points out Montana’s gorgeous wildlife. The state offers a chance to witness majestic creatures like grizzly bears, elk, and bald eagles in their natural habitats. With over 55 state parks and countless miles of hiking trails, there is no shortage of ways to connect with nature in Montana. So pack your bags, lace up your hiking boots, and get ready to experience the beauty and wonder of Montana’s great outdoors.

5. Washington

Next up on our ranking is the state of Washington, and like Trip Savvy says, there’s no place like it for adventure enthusiasts. Whether you’re looking to hike in the breathtaking Cascade Mountains, kayak through the serene waters of Puget Sound, or explore the lush rainforests of Olympic National Park, Washington has something for everyone. 

The Puget Sound in Washington
The Puget Sound in Washington (Photo by Jessie Chou on Unsplash)

Cultural Currents says Washington is the place to be for nature lovers. The state is home to three national parks, 13,467,000 acres of public land, and 3,026 miles of shoreline, making it truly a gem for outdoor lovers. Whether you’re a seasoned outdoor enthusiast or just starting to dip your toes into adventure, Washington has something for everyone to enjoy.

Described by Xome as great for all-year-round fun, Washington offers so much. In the summer, visitors can explore the lush forests and crystal-clear lakes, while in the winter, they can hit the slopes at one of the state’s many ski resorts. With its stunning natural beauty, Washington truly is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts of all levels. 

6. Alaska

Described by Explore as taking mountainous terrain to an entirely new level, Alaska, the 49th state, is next on our ranking. With its rugged wilderness, towering peaks, and vast glaciers, Alaska offers some of the most breathtaking scenery in the United States. From Denali, the highest peak in North America, to the stunning fjords of Kenai Fjords National Park, this state is a true outdoor enthusiast’s paradise.

green pine trees near snow covered mountain during daytime
Denali Mountain (Photo by Bryson Beaver on Unsplash)

A close second to California in terms of the number of national parks, Alaska has a total of eight, as mentioned by Trip Savvy. These national parks offer a diverse range of outdoor activities, from hiking and wildlife viewing to kayaking and fishing. In addition to its natural beauty, Alaska is also home to a rich cultural heritage, with vibrant indigenous communities that have inhabited the land for thousands of years. Whether you’re seeking adventure in the great outdoors or looking to immerse yourself in local traditions, Alaska has something for everyone to discover and enjoy.

Noted by Cultural Currents as harboring a “true wilderness experience,” venturing to Alaska will not be a regret for those looking to be one with the land. With its vast expanses of untouched wilderness and stunning landscapes, Alaska truly offers a unique and unforgettable experience for those who visit. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or a cultural aficionado, Alaska will leave you in awe of its beauty and history.

7. North Carolina

Called an “amazing place to live” by Xome, North Caroline is home to beautiful hiking trails in the Blue Ridge Mountains, stunning waterfalls in Pisgah National Forest, and picturesque beaches along the Outer Banks. Outdoor enthusiasts can also enjoy activities like kayaking, fishing, and camping in the state’s many parks and recreation areas. With its diverse landscapes and mild climate, North Carolina offers endless opportunities for adventure and exploration for those who love the great outdoors.

Outer Banks beach in North Carolina
Outer Banks beach in North Carolina (Photo by Jason Pischke on Unsplash)

Named a “nature-lovers dream” by Adapt NetworkNorth Carolina truly has something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you prefer the tranquility of the mountains, the excitement of the beach, or the thrill of exploring new hiking trails, North Carolina has it all. The state’s abundant natural beauty and diverse ecosystems make it a prime destination for those seeking to connect with nature and experience all that the great outdoors has to offer.

Charles Moving and Storage describes “the breathtaking landscape of Asheville’s rolling hills” as a noteworthy attraction for visitors to the state. Visitors can also explore the charming small towns and vibrant cultural scenes that make North Carolina a truly special place to visit. 


Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This article may contain affiliate links in which we receive a commission if you make a purchase.

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About the Author

Jilly Hite

Janelle is a freelance writer from New York. Her writing focuses on parenting, tech, business, interior design, education, and telling people’s inspiring stories. Janelle has written for Mustela and Newton Baby and has bylines in Pregnant Chicken, Syracuse Woman Magazine, the Baldwinsville Messenger, and Family Times Magazine. She holds a master’s degree in literacy from the State University of New York at Oswego.

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  1. Kim:

    I enjoyed this very much. A fun and fact-filled reed.

    Keep up the good work!


  2. How can Arizona not be on the list? Amongst other beautiful areas, Grand Canyon (the greatest place on Earth), and Antelope Canyon.

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