Thanks to the United States’ wide variety of geography and various climates, every U.S. state has unique and beautiful physical features. Residents of each state could argue that their home state is more beautiful than the other 49 states.
While ranking the states by their beauty is subjective, Thrillest has ranked each state by their beauty. Thrillest assembled a team of writers who combined has visited all 50 states. This team weighed the “variety, quantity, concentration, highlights, and lowlights” of every state’s physique. They realized that every state has beauty worth seeing - whether it’s mountains, lakes, beaches, forests, orchards, or glaciers.
We’ve included in the list of most beautiful states the most beautiful place in each state as well, according to Conde Nast Traveler.
California has almost every kind of natural beauty. The state boasts beaches in the south along its coast, deserts as you move inland, vineyards in wine country, mountains, and national parks. California’s most beautiful place to see is the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park in Big Sur.
Hawaii is considered to be the second most beautiful state in the U.S. Because each of Hawaii’s seven main islands is very different in age, their features are unique from each other. Hawaii has white sand beaches, volcanoes, cliffs overlooking the ocean, and frequent rainbows. Visitors to Hawaii must see Nā Pali Coast State Park on Kauai.
Alaska takes the third spot on the list. Alaska is sparsely populated and mainly occupied by glaciers, mountains, tundra, and overall rugged wilderness. Alaska is the perfect place to catch whales, bears, sea lions, and other animals you don’t normally get to see outside of zoos and aquariums. The most beautiful place in Alaska is Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve covering 3.3 million acres of mountain, glaciers, fjords, and more.
Utah ranks fourth on the list but is the first state on the list with no coastline. Utah is home to five national parks, including the famous Arches National Park with its grand, sandstone arches. Utah also has powder-covered mountains for skiing in the winter, deserts, and the Bonneville Salt Flats, one of the best geological sights in the U.S. The most beautiful place in Utah is Bryce Canyon National Park.
Colorado is well known for its mountains. The state has over 50 peaks higher than 14,000 feet. Accompanying the state’s many mountains are the mountain lakes, which have pristine waters and views. While the eastern part of the state is relatively flat, much like Kansas, the mountains make up for it. Two must-see mountains in Colorado are the Maroon Bells in the White River National Forest.
Washington is home to Mt. Rainier, a 14,410-foot stratovolcano about 59 miles south-southeast of Seattle. Washington is home to two mountain ranges: the Cascades, where Mt. Rainier is located, and the Olympics, which is full of rainforests. Some parts of the state even have desert scenery. With all of this natural beauty, visitors of Washington should be sure to check out the Hoh Rain Forest in Olympic National Park.
Washington’s neighbor Oregon is just one spot below as the seventh-most beautiful state in the U.S. Oregon is known for its rugged coastline, beaches—most notably Cannon Beach and Seaside—, mountains (specifically Mt. Hood), forests, and desert land in its southern region. It can be said that the most beautiful place to see in Oregon is Crater Lake National Park.
Wyoming, another western state, takes the eighth spot. Wyoming has grand high plains, its share of the Rocky Mountains, the mysterious rocks of Vedauwoo, the springs of Yellowstone National Park, and many other sceneries that will leave you speechless. Additionally, Wyoming has one of the clearest night skies in the country, allowing you to see the Milky Way and millions of stars brightly and clearly. Wyoming’s must-see location is the Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park.
Just below Wyoming in the ranking and above it geographically is Montana. Montana is home to some Rocky Mountains, large lakes, and two gorgeous national parks: Yellowstone and Glacier. While Montana is one of the largest states by area in the country, it is home to just 1 million people, allowing nature to be preserved and untouched. Glacier National Park is the must-see place in Montana. The 1,583 square-mile wilderness park has glacier-carved peaks and valleys that run to the Canadian border.
Michigan closes out the top ten list of the most beautiful U.S. states and is the only Midwestern state to make the top of the rankings. Between the Upper and Low Peninsulas, there are about 3,288 miles of lake coastline that touch four of the five Great Lakes. Michigan also boasts over 11,000 inland lakes and nearly untouched forests in the Upper Peninsula. Make sure to check out Michigan’s Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.