FIFTY STATES, RANKED!
My Definitive List of Where You Should Go
THIRD ANNIVERSARY BONUS EPISODE! People often ask me where they should go when they visit the US. Having been to all 50 states (plus DC and Puerto Rico, which should be states), I can actually answer this. And in this not-at-all-serious episode, I try to answer that question.
Being a nerd, I created a spreadsheet and complex formula tanking each state in terms of natural scenery, historical sites, charm, cuisine, and debauchery. I share the top ten on this episode.
When you disagree, and you will, drop me a line or pick a fight on Twitter (@wonderspodcast).
Here's the full list (with Top 10 designations for each category):
52. North Dakota - Wide open plains, ideal for solitude
51. Nebraska - Omaha is a neat city
50. Oklahoma - Tulsa is OK!
49. Kansas - Bonus for KC barbecue (really MO though), even if it is literally flatter than a pancake
48. South Dakota - The Black Hills are spectacular
47. Arkansas - The Ozarks are lovely
46. Nevada - [Top 10 Debauchery] Sin City!
45. Wyoming - [Top 10 Scenery] Empty gorgeous mountain landscapes
44. Idaho - Famous for potatoes! And Basque-settled mountains
43. Iowa - Famous for corn! And charming utopian villages
42. Mississippi - Delta blues, magnolias, and outstanding literature
41. Delaware - Bite-sized morsel of history
40. Minnesota - Twin Cities! One of the great centers of American music
39. Indiana - Indianapolis has the world's biggest auto race and much more
38. Alaska - [Top 10 Scenery] Biggest and most starkly beautiful part of America
37. Montana - Beautiful mountains, surprisingly hip cities
36. Alabama - I know, I know, but give it a shot. It's far more fascinating than you'd expect.
35. West Virginia - The mountains really are lovely
34. Illinois - [Top 10 Debauchery] Chicago is America's best city
33. DC - [Top 10 History] America's capital is a history gold mine, and fun off the beaten path
32. Utah - [Top 10 Scenery] Mountains and canyons and a very unique culture
31. Ohio - For a while in the late 1800s, everything came from Ohio
30. Missouri - St Louis and Kansas City are landmark cities
29. Kentucky - Rolling bluegrass, mammoth caves, and oh, the bourbon
28. Vermont - [Top 10 Charm] Green mountain postcard villages
27. Connecticut - [Top 10 Charm] Get off the highway and be surprised. Also best pizza in the US
26. New Jersey - Often mocked, but Jersey has history and fun in spades
25. New Hampshire - [Top 10 Charm] A charming state undergoing a renaissance
24. Arizona - [Top 10 Scenery] The Grand Canyon but quite a lot more
23. Colorado - [Top 10 Scenery, Debauchery] Rocky Mountain High, in every way
22. Michigan - Has everything except mountains, and more than 5,000 km of shoreline
21. Maryland - [Top 10 History] Baltimore is a special place
20. Wisconsin - Beer. Cheese. Kringle. Pretty much everything you need
19. Rhode Island - [Top 10 Charm] A ton of culture, history, and charm tucked in a postage stamp
18. Oregon - [Top 10 Scenery] Mountains, coast, and fun despite the rain
17. Washington - [Top 10 Scenery] Mountains, coast, and fun despite the rain
16. Louisiana - [Top 10 Food, History, Debauchery] Laissez les bons temps rouler
15. North Carolina - [Top 10 Charm] From the Outer Banks to the Blue Ridge, NC will impress
14. Texas - [Top 10 Food, Debauchery] Get away from the crowd to find the real Texas
13. Georgia - [Top 10 Food, History, Charm, Debauchery] Atlanta for the party, the rest for the charm
12. Florida - [Top 10 Debauchery] More than just the Mouse and Miami
11. Pennsylvania - [Top 10 History] Yes, Philly, but Pittsburg, Gettysburg, and the Appalachians too
10. Massachusetts - [Top 10 Food, History]
9. Maine - [Top 10 Food, Charm]
8. Tennessee - [Top 10 Debauchery]
7. New York - [Top 10 Food, History, Debauchery]
6. Virginia - [Top 10 History, Charm]
5. South Carolina - [Top 10 Food, History, Charm]
4. Puerto Rico - [Top 10 Scenery, History]
3. New Mexico - [Top 10 Food, Charm]
2. Hawaii - [Top 10 Food, Scenery]
1. California - [Top 10 Food, Scenery, Debauchery]
You can tell I was "objective" because I didn't fudge the numbers to rank Oregon ahead of Washington.