Top 10 Most Beautiful States in America

It’s hard, almost unfair to name the most beautiful states in the US, as each of them has its own share of natural beauty added to the man-made constructions, its own particular character, its own incontestable magic. Nevertheless, I decided to make up a completely subjective top of 10 most beautiful states in America.

10. Florida

Also known as The Sunshine State, Florida lies in the southernmost point of continental United States as an alluring mix of trendy beaches, sprawling cities, lovely lighthouses, balmy weather and sweet Latin vibe.

Even without glamorous Miami, Fort Lauderdale aka The Venice of America and Disney World – the largest and most famous theme park in the world, Florida would still be a good-looking cosmopolitan state with something for everyone. Its greatest assets are probably the wonderful beaches, the swanky way of life and the Hispanic influences, but there are also a myriad of secluded places in Florida waiting to be discovered.

9. Oregon

Oregon scenery

Photo by ex_magician

Full of striking contrasts, cultural sites and landscapes that rival those in Lord of the Rings, Oregon can be easily considered one of the most spectacular states in the US. Home of breathtaking Steens Mountain, Crater Lake National Park, outstanding Oregon Coastline and many spectacular highways, such as the Historic Columbia River Highway and the Cascade Lakes Highway, the state of Oregon is definitely a mother nature’s gift and a must-see destination while visiting the States.

8. Michigan

Michigan landscape

Photo by Jim Sorbie

Michigan State is blessed with some of the greatest lakes and natural beauties in the United States. Highlights include the stunning Pictured Rocks, the charming Victorian-style Mackinac Island, the wilderness preserve of Isle Royale, the scenic Sleeping Bear Dunes, the Porcupine Mountains, as well as the lakes of Superior, Michigan, Huron and a share of Erie, all of them part of the Great Lakes region.

7. Colorado

Home to a great collection of gorgeous national parks and monuments, charming ski resorts, lively cities, historical towns and wildlife sanctuaries, it’s no wonder Colorado always makes the list of America’s most beautiful states. After all, not many places in the world can compete with the scenic natural beauty and the diversity of Colorado. From the heights of the splendid Rocky Mountains to the deep canyons engraved by the Colorado River, lies a world of its own that begs to be explored.

6. Hawaii

Waipio Valley Hawaii

Photo by SF Brit

Hawaii, the 50th of the United States of America, stands out due to its exceptional culture, rich flora and fauna, and diverse appealing scenery. It is the only state in the US made up completely of islands, and prides itself with an incredible array of protected areas, from the amazing Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, Haleakala National Park and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to the historical parks of KalaupapaKaloko-Honokōhau and Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau. Top places of interest include Oahu’s famous Pearl Harbor, Maui, Big Island and the stunning Kauai Island.

5. Arizona

Featuring five distinct regions, a wide palette of cultures and the nickname of Grand Canyon State, it’s no surprise Arizona is one of the most visited states in the country. Such a captivating place dotted with striking dessert landscape, famous canyons, pine forests, mountains, pretty lakes, twinkling rivers, quaint valleys and Indian ruins, certainly  deserves its place in the spotlight.

 4. Utah

Utah Canyonlands

Photo by Mark Land

Inspiring, pelicular and utterly gorgeous, Utah is certainly the state of rugged beauty, outdoor activities, incredible geological wonders and Old West way of life. From adventurous Moab with its national treasures – the Arches National Park and the Canyonlands National Park, to the picturesque Rocky Mountain Basin, where lie some of the best ski resort in the US, Utah has something for everyone.

3. Alaska

Tidewater Margerie Glacier

Margerie Glacier

Reaching out into the Arctic Ocean, Alaska, the largest and the least densely populated state in the US, is a spectacular combination of endless snow-caped mountains, breathtaking lakes, incredible wildlife and abundant culture, all soaked in a deep local flavor. Furthermore, Alaska is a paradise for adventure seekers, and the home of some of the most beautiful backdrops in the world.

2. Montana

Glacier National Park

Photo by Dave Sizer

Montana, the land of unspoiled landscapes and big blue skies, is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful states in America. Featuring a wide range of activities, historical sites and natural splendors such as pristine meadows, tremendous river valleys, gorgeous mountains and glaciers, The Big Sky Country offers foreigners a clear image of the genuine American West. Most important tourist attractions in Montana comprise the mesmerizing Glacier National Park, the Lawis & Clark Trail, Yellowstone (three entrances are located in Montana), the wonderful Big Ski Resort nearby, and of course the Montana Rocky Mountains situated in the western part of the state.

1. California

California coast

Photo by Dawn Ellner

Because it’s charming and because it has it all, from iconic beaches and fascinating cities to picturesque vineyards, rugged mountains, quiet forests, marvelous lakes, remarkable parks and dramatic deserts, California stands atop of my list as the most beautiful state in the US. Besides, the Golden State is home of some unique destinations such as Hollywood, Disneyland, Yosemite National Park, Napa Valley wine region and the charming San Francisco Bay area, to name but a few.

What’s your favorite state in America?

82 Responses / Leave a comment

    • victoria Reply

      My favorite is Montana I have dreams of going there I really love it its so wonderful!!!

    • Chuc Presley-Clubb Reply

      North Carolina is one of the most beautiful states in the USA! You have the southern charm and hospitality—-and the mountains of the Blue Ridge and Great Smokies—plus the gorgeous Outer Banks of the Atlantic Ocean! The “Tar Heel” state is a top 10 state of variety and beauty!

  1. Joyful Shoehorn Reply

    I feel so lucky to live in Oregon. It is such a beautiful, beautiful place – even in all shades of gray weather. Montana & Alaska are close runners up for me too though. I’d also include Washington & Wyoming on the list.

  2. Miruna Corneanu Reply

    I agree with you, Oregon is wonderful. As for the other states, I would’ve liked to include them all, but ..it was only room for 10. However, each of them deserves a post of its own, so stay in touch:).

  3. Yvette Aubusson Reply

    It actually hurt my eyes looking at these breath stopping images. I’d say you’ve pretty well nailed the list. Arizona is the jewel in my travel crown as a self confessed desert junkie. Under one ‘roof’ you have the Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, Saquaro Forst, the Meteor Crater, Arizona-Sonora Desert… and the list goes on. It is impossible not to want to photograph these. Many countries have grand vistas to stop us in our tracks but the USA can boast a phenomenally diverse buffet of natural wonders on scales that are no doubt visible from space too. I think rating a place has as much to do with what it looks like (does it knock our socks off?) as to how it makes us feel. Stand beneath the cliffs of Yosemite and listen to what resonates within you. Awe. Humility. Insignificance. Privilege. Even fear. When a place moves you like that, it’s usually to another good place and a great reason to keep on travelling.

  4. Miruna Corneanu Reply

    Hi Janice,
    Before writing this post, I was so afraid that many Americans won’t agree (which is normal, because everyone loves its own state and each state has its own charm). However, your comment comes like a breath of fresh air:). Thanks!

  5. Andy Reply

    Miruna, those are some incredible pictures. I would say that I definitely agree for the most part to your state listings. I’d say on a random note Louisiana could give #8 Michigan a run for its money, but then again I haven’t yet been to them all. But I will soon!

  6. Elicello Reply

    Yellowstone is primarily in Wyoming. It really should only be mentioned if Wyoming were on this list.

  7. nickasatourian Reply

    I judge by eco-diversity, affordability and ability to actual enjoy the environment. California is becoming a third world ghetto. It’s Pacific waters are filthy. The state is so large that taxes and gas prices make affordability nearly impossible and travel a rare occasion. I would put California at number 3 or 2 if not for its government.

    1. Wyoming (Forests, Deserts, Mountains, Rivers and Lakes)
    2. Colorado. My home (Forests, Deserts, Mountains, Rivers and Lakes)
    3. Oregon (Forests, Mountains, Rivers and Lakes)
    4. Washington (Forests, Mountains, Rivers and Lakes)
    5. Texas (Plains, Valleys, Lakes and Gulf Of Mexico)
    6. Minnesota (Forests, Mountains, Rivers and Lakes)
    7. California (Forests, Deserts, Mountains, Rivers and Lakes)
    8. Virginia (Endless forests, prairies, foothills, valleys, rivers and lakes)

    • Dylan Reply

      Love Wyoming!! Here’s my list: 1. Alaska 2. Idaho 3. Iowa 4. Maine 5. Minnesota 6. Michigan 7. New Hampshire 8. Ohio 9. Oregon 10. Wyoming

    • PatJ Reply

      I agree with your top three. Yellowstone and the Tetons in Wyoming are just stunning, but there are several other areas in that state that are beautiful, too.

  8. Andy Reply

    any list that doesn’t include washington is no list at all. Cascade and Olympic mountains, the puget sound and pacific coast, the largest expanse of temperate rainforest in the US, and that’s just the west side of the state. In the east you have amazing geologic structures such as the columbia gorge and scablands, the palouse in the southeast, and the foothill of the rockies in the north east.

    • Miruna Corneanu Reply

      Hi Andy,
      I’m sure Washington is beautiful and I would love to visit it some day. However this is a subjective list and all your suggestions are welcome!

  9. Ritz Kashyap Reply

    I’m an Indian and I havnt visited the US. Bt if I do my top priorities wil be montana,michigan, wyoming,florida,utah,colorado and of course oregon,as i’m a nature lover. I’ve only seen pictures bt from your discussion now I’m sure I’m nt wrong.

  10. Parker Reply

    I know its opinion, but you skipped the entire Appalachian mountain chain, one of the most beautiful areas in the world (subjectively). Virginia or maybe New Hampshire or North Carolina needs to be on there! Think of Virginia, the Shenandoah valley, Atlantic ocean beaches and dunes, vast forests of rolling hills, beautiful lakes and beautiful rivers like the Potomac or the James. Great list though.

    • b. shumaker Reply

      Couldn’t agree more. North Carolina is beautiful as well as Virginia. And they have such a rich history that adds to the beauty.

  11. George Wilkerson Reply

    Mississippi is another state that in my opinion is beautiful. It has a very ugly reputation but if you visit you will fall in love. Also we have amazing southern hostility.

  12. Mike B Reply

    I can’t disagree with your opinion ;-) My passion is motorcycle touring and I’ve traveled to all states mentioned except Alaska and Hawaii. For diversity, I would have to say California is tops on the list bar none. The combination of deserts, mountains, coastlines and BIG trees is amazing. That state almost has it all. I say almost because if you like “swamps”, you’ll have to go south for that.

    My home base is in northeast Georgia in the Blue Ridge Mountains and I have to give a shout-out for my state. You will find not find a more geographically diverse state east of the Mississippi. We have beautiful mountains, plains, wetlands, and coast-lines. I can’t think of a better place to live If you like to travel (the world’s busiest airport is also just down the road). Interestingly enough, I find the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen to be in the southwest plains of Georgia in the fall. There’s something about the open fields of peanuts and onions that yields the most spectacular hues of purple and orange when the sun is sliding below the horizon.

  13. Laurel Reply

    Lived in 4 of the top 10! Oregon is my favorite as far as landscape but the lack of sun is not pleasant. Utah, Colorado, and Florida are the other states. We hope to settle in colorado soon.

  14. Vicky Reply

    Just arrived home a couple of days ago here in Germany from a tour starting New york, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington & Atlantic City. I´m a nature lover! I would say that the natural beauty and the breathtaking views in Washington especially the cruise along the Potomac River passing the historic monuments, landmarks and bridges has impressed me the most.

  15. PatJ Reply

    I’ve been all over the country. How Wyoming did not make this top 10 list is pretty amusing. I’d put the Cowboy state near the top of the list and certainly ahead of Utah, Arizona and Michigan.

  16. Stephanie Reply

    You must not have been to Washington. I’ve traveled all over the country and there’s no place like it. Mount Rainer, Olympic mountains and rain forest, the ocean, the bay, Seattle.

  17. Yola Reply

    You have described all of the states so beautifully, Miruna! It’s hard to determine which of them to “pick”. We are a South African couple looking for work at a ranch in one of the states (yip, a ranch – lol. Nature lovers since I’ve worked at famous SHAMWARI game reserve and love the outdoors). For some reason Montana stole our hearts, but your description of the states made it MUCH HARDER to decide!! Hopefully our sunny south-african spirits won’t get broken by the -temperatures of cold montana. Thank you for this beautiful, informative page. Regards Frans & Yola

    • Miruna Reply

      Thank you for your beautiful words, Yola and nice meeting you. I really hope you guys will have an excellent time in Montana!

  18. Lilo Reply

    You must be kidding. Hawaii makes only #6? There is no beach in California that can even compare to the majority of Hawaii’s beaches. The snorkeling / sea life is unmatched in almost any area of the world. Hawaii is as beautiful as a dream.

    • Miruna Corneanu Reply

      I really appreciate your comment, Lilo, and I’m sure you’re perfectly right about Hawaii’s lovely beaches. However, I thing this is just a matter of taste. Thanks for stopping by!

  19. JDW Reply

    Thank you for this list. We all have our favorite places and it was enjoyable to read about yours. Based on your list, you would probably enjoy Washington and Wyoming, too. Happy travels.

    • Miruna Reply

      That’s very kind of you! Actually, one of my friends has recently returned from Washington and he absolutely loved it, so I’m sure it’s a beautiful state.

  20. Jeremy Sylvia Reply

    I Love Cali! California Is ThE Only State That You Can Be In A Desert, Snow Board, Surf, And HIke In, All In One State! Incredible!!!

  21. zack Reply

    Very happy to see that Michigan made the list! As a life long resident, I can tell you it is a very underrated state. Everyone things about Detroit and Flint but when you head into northern Michigan (mainly the upper peninsula) you will surely see why Michigan is on this list!

  22. Sam Reply

    The East has so much variety, that you really need to have 5 states from the West and five states from the East.

    1. California
    2. Arizona
    3. Colorado
    4. New Mexico(culturally and scenically enchanting)
    5. Montana
    6. North Carolina, amazing place
    7. Virginia has it all
    8. Vermont. Beautiful people, too.
    9. New York State. It has NYC, too; world’s greatest city.
    10. Wisconsin is my favorite Great Lake state, and I lived 5 years in Michigan
    and four years in Wisconsin. Michigan is nice, though.

  23. Noah Gekiere Reply

    So your telling me that California is more beautiful than Colorado, Hawaii and Alaska?!? Never in a million years. Now Cali is extremely beautiful, by not more than Colorado, and I’ve seen both. I go to Sonoma Valley and California and Estes Park Colorado, which is right in the middle of the Rocky Mountains and that’s amazing. I live in Michigan personally and I don’t think it should be and lower rated than what its at. When you go up north and to the U.P. its amazing. Sleeping Bear Dunes was named most beautiful place in America by GMA last year too.

  24. Sam Reply

    I was born in Colorado, and remained obsessed with Colorado after we moved to Michigan.
    I first saw California when I was 18, and it has the best(and worst)of everything. It’s a more interesting
    state than Colorado. Hawaii and Florida are BORING unless you are nuts about the beach.
    Never been to Alaska. It must be pretty boring, too, if you’re not into permafrost. Sleeping Bear Dunes is the most beautiful place in America!??? Has GMA ever heard of Maroon Bells near Aspen?
    Have you ever been to Maroon Bells? You’ll faint. Or Colorado’s Great Sand Dunes Natl. Park?

    I have lived near Tokyo for 21 years. This is an interesting place. I live about 55 miles from Fukushima Ground Zero. LOL. House is almost paid off.

  25. Farhad Adam Reply

    Hmmm they are stunning for me. But as a matter of fact i have never been into one. Vice versa i am stuck in Afghanistan which as definitely 180 degrees to US. Hope to see these natural lands one day!

  26. MackNY Reply

    I’m not sure if you’ve ever spent time in New York outside New York City – but as someone who has spent time in all 48 lower states and lived in California, Pennsylvania, and Virginia – I can tell you that, as a NYC resident, New York State is absolutely the best kept secret in the U.S. So what makes New York so beautiful? Here is a brief list of superlatives.
    - New York is the only state in the country that stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes (fronting on 2 Great Lakes)
    -Home to Adirondack Park, a breathtaking park in the East’s great Mountain region. The park is the largest in the US – larger than Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Glacier and Great Smoky Mountains COMBINED. The winter Olympics were held in the Adirondack area town of Lake Placid twice.
    -Long Island’s East End has one of the most beautiful coasts from the Hamptons to Montauk Point – and particularly the more remote r North Fork area too.
    - The Finger Lakes Wine Region was voted the most beautiful wine region in the world in a Budget Travel magazine survey beating out regions in France, Italy and California. It is also the oldest wine region in the country and second in size only to California’s.
    -The Hudson Valley region just north of NYC is known as America’s Rhine for its scenic beauty and collection of grand estates (Rockefeller’s Kykuit is a standout) along the river. The area is home to West Point, the setting for the Legend of Sleepy Hallow tales, family farms, and picturesque towns and villages dating to pre-colonial times. The Hudson Highlands area is particularly scenic.
    -The “Gunks” region (Shawgunks) offer the greatest rock climbing cliffs East of the Mississippi
    - The Thousand Island Seaway – archipelago of over 1,000 islands straddling the US/Canadian border.
    -Niagara Falls!
    So what other state offers our largest city at one end, its largest state park in another, and Niagara Falls in yet another.
    And no city (except for Chicago) comes close to matching having the beauty of NYC’s northern suburbs which are still dominated by small villages connected by train to Manhattan with gorgeously scenic billboard-free parkways like the Taconic, Saw Mill, Bronx River, etc.that curve and meander through lush forest and over rivers and falls, mere miles from the heart of Manhattan.
    Come explore it some time!

  27. Miruna Corneanu Reply

    Wow! Thanks for the complex info!No, I’ve never had the chance to explore the state of NY, but I really really hope to do it one day.

  28. Josh Reply

    If I’m not mistaken that picture for Arizona is actually Dead Horse Point State Park which is in Utah and why does the picture for Colorado look like it was taken in Moab, Utah with the La Sal Mountains in the background?

    • Brandon Reply

      That is Garden of the God, with Pikes Peak in the background. So I assure you its Colorado Springs not Moab.

  29. Sandeep K Reply

    Josh,
    You are mistaken; the picture for Arizona is actually Horseshoe Bend, located 4 miles southwest outside the town of Page.

    The picture for Colorado is definitely not that of the La Sal Mountains but of Pike’s Peak which is a famous mountain of the Rockies near the city Colorado Springs. The red sandstone structure belongs to the Garden of the Gods within the city.

    Miruna, your list and descriptions are great; I’ve been to all states you’ve mentioned except Alaska and Hawaii. As many others have said, Washington is not to be ignored due to its sheer beauty with abundance of rainforests, evergreen forests, mountains, glacial lakes and fertile rolling hills in the east. I also feel Utah is the most diverse of all states in terms of scenery and activities, from canyoneering in Zion to hiking in Bryce Canyon, to riding an ATV in Arches or Canyonlands to hitting the slopes in the Wasatch Range outside SLC, to testing flat speed on the Wendover salt flats…. the endless list goes on. Just my 2 cents. Utah and Colorado FTW.

    • Miruna Corneanu Reply

      Thank you very much for your explanatory email. You’re right, I certainly regret for not including Washington in the list.

  30. Jacob Dunstan Reply

    Hi Miruna, interesting list. However, I must profess it disappoints me a little that Vermont failed to make the cut. It’s my favourite US state. Burlington, VT on the banks of Lake Champlain is a spot of unrivaled majesty and beauty (in my opinion). Having lived in North Carolina, I also would have that gloriously piney state in the top ten. Great list nonetheless though, and it’s inspired me to check out states like the ostensibly pristine states of Montana and Oregon which I hitherto haven’t seen!

    • blanche Reply

      I moved from California to Ohio, and am a landscape photographer. While in CA, I had to carry my camera everywhere and shot photos of everything. It’s so beautiful there. After moving to OH, haven’t felt the need to touch my camera for over 3 years. That’s how ugly Ohio is.

  31. Tricia Reply

    I’m lucky enough to have lived in three of the 10 most beautiful states. California, Montana and Oregon!

  32. Kari Alisa Kling Reply

    I’m also wondering how none of the Appalachian region made the list. As a Pennsylvania resident who has been to many other states, Pennsylvania is absolutely the prettiest. If you come here, you will see tons of mountains, waterfalls, rivers, gorges. Many people I know, who are from other mountain states and have been to PA, say it’s the most beautiful state they’ve been to.

  33. Carole Matz Reply

    I just want to say that USA is most beautiful country in world. I am from UK and have been to South Africa (boring, arid, overrated especially Cape Town which can’t hold a candle to San Francisco and Rio (OK I’m going south now!). Believe me Table Mountain is just a flat boulder and I couldn’t wait to leave the place. If you want to see a lion go visit a theme park and save yourself the air fare! Sun City is one casino in middle of nowhere–hello have you seen Vegas?
    USA has some delightful places which aren’t on the main tourist map. One is Mount Dora in central Florida which is just gorgeous.

  34. robert Reply

    I also made a top 10 list which is quite close to yours. It’s a lovely list and as I’m not a foreign English speaker it really improved my english . Thank You !

  35. Ema Reply

    Try not to copycat from other sites next time and be more original.

    • Miruna Corneanu Reply

      Hello Ema and thank you very much for your comment, and for sending me the link to the other article from where you believe I copied something. It actually helped me to discover another “wanna-be” travel writer who’s stealing content and photos from the web. I will take all necessary legal actions against this website. As for your unfounded accusations, it’s easy to see who copied from whom, just take a look at the date the article has been published.

  36. Jonathan Reply

    I just felt so bored and can’t sleep, so I’ve decided to give my own list (Top 25 Most Beautiful, Scenic States of America). I was born in upstate New York and currently live in Hyannis, MA. As we all know, every state has their own hidden gem.

    1. Utah
    2. Arizona
    3. Alaska
    4. Hawaii
    5. California
    6. Idaho
    7. New Mexico
    8. Wyoming
    9. Montana
    10. Colorado
    11. Oregon
    12. Washington
    13. Nevada
    14. New York
    15. Pennsylvania
    16. New Hampshire
    17. Virginia
    18. North Carolina
    19. Maryland
    20. West Virginia
    21. Vermont
    22. Massachusetts
    23. Maine
    24. Florida
    25. South Dakota

  37. Cameron Reply

    Great list! Here’s my opinion…

    1. Hawaii
    2. California
    3. Utah
    4. Oregon
    5. Washington
    6. Idaho
    7. Colorado
    8. Arizona
    9. Montana
    10. Vermont

    As you can see I am very biased towards the west coast and mountain west. I have been to some of the eastern states and they are very beautiful in their own right but for me without peaks, the pacific coast, or desert landscapes they can’t compare.

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