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America’s 10 Best States for Adventure Seekers

by Keith langston

A new index has ranked every state in America to determine which has the most opportunities for adventure seekers.

Biking at California's Mammoth Lakes (Photo by Umomos)

The outdoors resource website, Outforia,  has just created a ranking of the best states for adventure in America. They complied the listing by counting the number of adventure opportunities each state has. In total, there were 10 different types of activities being ranked, including things like the number of hiking trails, the number of ski resorts, and even how many skydiving zones each state has. Here are the top 10 states for adventure seekers…can you guess which state took the top spot?

 

10 – Texas

Big Bend, Texas (Photo: Zack Frank)

Texas has tons of outdoor opportunities thanks to the state’s mostly-warm climate and numerous biomes. In Texas, you can find deserts, swamps, forests, and prairies…not to mention the state’s 400 miles of coastline. Highlights in the Lonestar State include Big Bend National Park, which has everything from horseback riding to stargazing, and even hot springs; Palo Duro Canyon, which offers stunning desert views; and the cypress-covered Caddo Lake which proves to be a relaxing spot for kayaking, canoeing, and fishing.

 

9 – Florida

Manatees in Crystal River (Photo: Alex Couto)

Florida is one of America’s most tropical states, rivaled only by Hawaii. This means the state offers adventures you can’t find anywhere else. From manatees, alligators, and even the endangered Florida panther, to towering palm trees, snorkeling galore, and endless sandy beaches…it’s a destination not to be missed. For excellent snorkeling, boating, and beach walking, the Florida Keys are an absolute must. For hiking and paddling, the famed Everglades National Park is your best bet, and for a truly off the beaten path adventure, dive into the Devil’s Den, which is an opening to an underground prehistoric river.

 

8 – Michigan

Upper Peninsula in winter (Photo: Ken Wiele)

Some people might be surprised to hear that Michigan is an outdoors paradise…but for those who live in the Midwest, the state has long been known as one of America’s best-kept secrets. The state’s Upper Peninsula offers ample hiking, biking, and paddling in the warmer months, and during the winter, it becomes a haven for skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and exploring ice caves. In the Lower Peninsula, Sleeping Bear Dunes is regularly counted as one of the most stunning places in America. On the other side of the state, Thunder Bay, which has finally been preserved as a marine sanctuary, is a diver’s and snorkeler’s paradise thanks to its number of historic shipwrecks.

7 – Wisconsin

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore (Photo: Gottography)

Did you know that surfing is a popular sport in the Wisconsin town of Sheboygan? In fact, surfers come from all over the world to visit “The Malibu of the Midwest”. Best of all, there’s no sharks to worry about! Aside from the state’s rich surfing history, they also have famous rock formations. The Wisconsin Dells is a five-mile gorge in the Wisconsin River that carved away at the region’s Cambrian sandstone to create epic cliffs along the riverside. Similarly, the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in Lake Superior boasts a number of islands whose edges were carved away by erosion, leaving behind a playground for hikers, swimmers, and paddlers.

 

6 – North Carolina

The Outer Banks, NC (Photo: MarkVanDykePhotography)

North Carolina has over 2,000 miles of hiking trails. In fact, the storied Appalachian Trail runs through the state, so it’s no wonder why hiking, rock climbing, and camping are so popular throughout North Carolina. And for those who are looking for a coastal getaway, the state’s famous Outer Banks offers everything from parasailing, to horseback riding, swimming, and more. Or, for a great balance of art and the outdoors, the eclectic mountain town of Asheville is a unique combination of progressive city life surrounded by boundless nature.

 

5 – Virginia

Tubing in Shenandoah (Photo: Jon Bilous)

From the wild horses of Assateague Island to the gorgeous autumn foliage in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia isn’t just for lovers…it’s also for adventurers. Among the many things to do throughout the state, ziplining, ATV tours, and camping are just a few. Plus, with the state’s mid-Atlantic location, it has mild winters and long summers, making it perfect for adventure almost year-round. One surprising thing the ranking revealed is that Virginia has a surprisingly large number of caves and caverns to explore, including the Luray Caverns, one of the largest in the country.

 

4 – Pennsylvania 

Geese over Middle Creek, PA (Photo: Delmas Lehman)

With much of the state covered in dense woodlands, it’s no surprise that Pennsylvania is a haven for adventure seekers. The state has a whopping 22 ski resorts, including large-scale destinations like Camelback Mountain. But for those looking to escape the crowds, the Alleghany National Forest has long been known as one of the most pristine patches of wilderness left in the eastern United States. The Alleghany region has miles-upon-miles of trails for hiking and biking, numerous campgrounds, and is known for its abundance of wildlife, including black bears, red foxes, and the brilliant snowshoe hare, who’s able to change its fur from white to brown depending on the season.

 

3 – New York

Whiteface Mountain, NY (Photo: FrankDeBonis)

New York has hosted the Winter Olympics not once, but twice. Lake Placid, located in New York’s famous Adirondack Mountains not only has an array of Olympic history, but many of the sports complexes are still operational and are open for various activities like skiing and skating. Further south in the state is the Hudson Valley, loaded with everything from Bungie jumping and tubing, to exploring the remains of Bannerman Castle. Best of all, the Hudson Valley is an easy day trip for the 20 million people living in the New York City area.

 

2 – Colorado

Rock climbing in Colorado (Photo: vonnahmed1)

Colorado is a state synonymous with outdoor adventure. The Rocky Mountains hold exciting journeys around every turn. It also topped the rankings with having the most mountain biking trails (1,323 in total) of any state. On top of that, ski towns like Aspen, Breckenridge, and Steamboat Springs provide excellent opportunities for the winter sportsman, and Rocky Mountain National Park is loaded with rock climbing and hiking. Colorado is also famous among mountaineers for having more 14ers (mountains over 14,000 ft.) than any other state.

 

1 – California

Surfing in Malibu (Photo: Dalaifood)

Not only is California home to popular surf spots like Malibu and Huntington Beach, but according to the rankings, it also has over 30,000 rock climbing routes and more than 10,000 hiking paths. Add to that the state’s stunning National Parks like Yosemite and Sequoia, the epic ski destinations like Mammoth, and gorgeous desert escapes like Joshua Tree, and you have a state that, quite literally, has everything an adventurer could ever want.


To view the full ranking of all 50 states, check out Outforia’s Adventure Index

 

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