We’ve been keeping a little secret…next month we’ll be launching a brand-new range of US destinations.
So, if you’re feeling inspired for a trip state-side, we’ve got just the thing.
Ahead of our big launch, we’ve been crunching the numbers to create our very own Great American Outdoors Index, ranking the best US states for outdoor enthusiasts, whether you’re a visitor or a local.
We went all-in – comparing everything from air quality, to the biodiversity of wildlife, natural beauty and number of national parks per state.
So which do you think topped our list?
Take a look below and read on to find out how we carried out our study.
Results of our research
Ranking in the top spot as the best US state for outdoor enthusiasts was – yes, you guessed it – California! Hawaii also came in at a strong second place.
Of course, California soared to the top with nine national parks across the entire state, which was more than anywhere else in the US. It’s also home to a staggering 6,717 different species of native plants and animals.
Not only this, but California also came first for a ranking of the most naturally beautiful states and achieved an overall score of 69.4 in a ranking of the greenest states, with the fourth lowest energy consumption per capita and the third highest percentage of recycled materials. Top marks!
After California, our top 10 states are:
- South Dakota
- New Hampshire
Hawaii and Washington were both high on our list for many reasons. Hawaii placed second as the most naturally beautiful state in America, and it has the best air quality in the US, with a score of 21.2. Alaska has the second-best air, also with a score of 21.2.
Washington, on the other hand, is home to an impressive 15 different national parks, all of which offer fantastic sights for avid walkers and hikers, and with 3,375 different native species of plants and animals to spot there’s never a dull moment.
It’s also the state with the lowest rate of carbon dioxide emissions, which means travellers can breathe in fresh air as they wander through the deep temperate rainforests, mountain ranges, and even deep fjords and bays once carved out by glaciers.
The New England state of Vermont is known for its incredible natural landscape which is dominated by forests and thousands of acres of mountain terrain perfect for hiking and skiing, so it’s no wonder it also scored well in our Great American Outdoors Index. In fact, the state actually came first as the greenest and most environmentally friendly in the US.
As one of the biggest countries in the world, it’s no wonder that the United States of America plays host to some of the most incredible and diverse adventure opportunities. In fact, every single state has at least one national park, alongside the countless valleys, mountains, canyons and more to hike, climb, camp and walk through.
Each state has its own unique aspects that makes it worth traversing, from the Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming (and parts of Montana and Idaho as well) to the Grand Canyon in Arizona, and the iconic Central Park in New York.
How we did the maths
Ok, ok, so you want to know how we worked all this out? Well here’s the technical bit.
We looked at:
- Natural environment
- National parks
- Wildlife biodiversity
- Natural beauty
- Carbon dioxide emissions
- Greenest states
- Air quality
Using these categories, we established an overall Great American Outdoors score by scoring each state out of 5 across the elements and totalling this together, allowing for the highest available score of 35.
The Carbon Dioxide Emissions score was first assigned a ranking which was then scored out of 5, as the highest level was far above the average across the states.
If there was a tie in the total score, we used the greenest states score as the determining ranking fact.
Phew! So, there you have it.
Where do you fancy a trip to next?
Let us know if you’d like to see the full data set.
Here’s our sources: