The Most Entertaining States For Tourists

All 50 states in America differ drastically from one another– from busy city life in New York to the quieter climes of Utah. And everywhere has something different to do for entertainment and relaxation – but which states have the most to do? A new study from PlayNJ finds which states offer the most when it comes to entertaining their tourists. Every state was ranked based on how much fun they are for travelers

20. Hawaii

This state is an isolated island archipelago in the central Pacific, famed for its beautiful yet rugged landscape, waterfalls and tropical foliage. It ranks No. 1 in the "happiness" category. Comfortable weather, gorgeous scenery, beautiful beaches, thrilling watersports, and an intriguing culture are some of the many reasons why people enjoy visiting Hawaii.

19. Virginia

Another of the 13 original colonies, Virginia stretches from Chesapeake Bay to the Appalachian Mountains, with a long Atlantic coastline in between. McAfee Knob is probably the most photographed site along the iconic Appalachian Trail. The state is home to some of the most stunning national park – Shenandoah. Cyclists will find themselves right at home in this park full of trails, leaves and a festival dedicated to fall cycling.

18. Washington

Snow-capped mountains and the wooded islands of Puget Sound are contrasted by the hi-tech city of Seattle in the northwestern state of Washington. The state has some of the best beach towns in AmericaAdventurers will like kayaking and clam digging, nature lovers will love the horseback riding and bird watching opportunities.

17. Massachusetts

Walk the Freedom Trail in the capital of Boston and visit countless other colonial sites in this historic small state. One of the best adventures in the state is to go on a hot air balloon ride above the gorgeous Pioneer Valley. Boston is home to some fantastic displays of changing leaves. The city has a lot to offer in the way of leaf peeping.

16. Ohio

Discover great lakes, rivers, mountains and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Ohio. Columbus is one of the most underrated cities in the country. One of the best parks and public gardens in the U.S. is there. The Franklin Park Conservatory is a great attraction year round. Themed gardens, glass sculptures and wine offerings round out this kid-friendly spot, making it perfect for date night as well. The hipster in you will love the Short North and the artist will appreciate the amount festivals the city holds each year.

15. Montana

A diverse terrain stretches from the Rocky Mountains to the Great Plains in this huge but sparsely populated western state. Montana is like a promised land for hikers. East Rosebud Trail is a family and dog-friendly trail, popularly known as The Beaten Path. You will be hiking for about 25 miles, crossing some of the most remarkable landscapes within the 944,000 acre Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness.

14. Arizona

Arizona is a large southwestern state best known as the home of the vast Sonoran Desert and the mile deep Grand Canyon. The second most visited national park in the U.S., a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a natural wonder revered by just about everyone, this colossal canyon has beckoned people to its cutaway gorges for hundreds of years. Lake Mead, a manmade reservoir, is popular for unlimited and unrestricted watersports

13. Missouri

Covered by grassy plains and the Ozark Mountains, this state once hosted the Olympic Games and is well known for both its love of jazz and art. The city of Branson is one of the best value destinations this year. Outdoor fun, zip line rides, attractions like the Hollywood Wax Museum, live shows, amazing acrobats and animals – Branson has it all. Nature lovers also have access to thrilling opportunities.

12. Pennsylvania

One of the 13 original colonies, Pennsylvania boasts a rich history showcasing American freedom, including Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. Pine Grove Furnace State Park is among the best camping places in North America. You are close to the Appalachian Trail, which is one of the most beautiful in the entire world. The Keystone State has the second most national recreation trails and overabundance of state parks, rock climbing locations and summer camps.

11. Colorado

Arid desert, snow-capped mountains and large canyons combine create the majestic landscapes of Colorado. Go skiing and mountain biking in Crested Butte, the best singletrack in the Rockies; hike Mount Sanitas near Boulder; paddle Lake Irwin; ride the loop from Boulder to Lyons via the Peak-to-Peak Highway. Boulder, Durango, Colorado Springs, and Fort Collins are among the best places for outdoorsy people.

10. Wisconsin

Bordering two of the Great Lakes, the Wisconsin is known for its farming heritage, large forests and breweries. Madison, the capital of Wisconsin, is one of the least stressed cities in the U.S. The locals are friendly, the culture is incredible, and the food is delicious. Try Madison Log Rolling, hike the Ice Age National Scenic Trail, and go kayaking, boating, and cycling.

9. Illinois

The midwestern state bordering the Mississippi River is known as the Priarie State because of its vast stretches of open landscape.  Lake Shore Drive in Chicago is among the extended stretch of urban parkway in America, according to The Travel Channel. It's bordered for most of its 15-plus miles by green space, beaches, and Lake Michigan on the east and by a mix of parkland, skyscrapers. Make some stops along the way and check out Lincoln Park, the Lakefront Trail, and the beautiful beaches.

8. Tennessee

Tennessee is a landlocked southern state where you'll find Nashville, the home of country music, including the Grand Ole Opry and Elvis' Graceland home. Tourists who want to have an enjoyable weekend on a modest budget should consider Nashville. Listen to music at the famous Bluebird Café and take a stroll along the Music City Walk of Fame – all for free. Surprisingly to some, the state is ranked No. 2 when it comes to the most fun theme parks.

7. New Jersey

With a long stretch of Atlantic Coast stretching down from New York City, New Jersey is a mix of holiday resorts, industrial heritage and iconic landmarks. The Garden State is ranked No. 1 in the "theme parks" category, with a total of 30, even though some of them are among the most dangerous in the country. A fun activity is a driving tour of some of the state's most spectacular and unique destinations along the New Jersey Coastal Heritage Trail Route.

6. Minnesota

The source of the great Mississippi River can be found here, as can the vast Lake Superior and the twin cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. With a nickname like the "Land of 10,000 Lakes" you know the drives in Minnesota will be scenic; that's one of the factors that make this state the third best for summer road trips.

5. Nevada

Dominated by the bright lights and glamour of Las Vegas, you can also explore the natural beauty of the desert in Nevada. Hiking, mountain biking, cycling, rafting, sky diving, zip lining—Las Vegas and the surrounding area just about has it all. Tourists willing to take slightly longer trips can explore the state's national parks, 13 state parks and practically endless acres of public land.

4. New York

Stretching from New York City to Niagara Falls, the Empire State is a diverse place where you can find the Hamptons, Brooklyn and everything in between. The city that never sleeps is on the bucket list of every world traveler; just know what to avoid. The state sure is fun for tourists with its 18 theme parks, nine zoos, 205 gambling establishments and 75 theatres, but it ranks 33rd when it comes to happiness.

3. Florida

With the Atlantic on one side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other, Florida boasts, among many other things, the unique Everglades ecosystem. The Sunshine State with a coastline of a total of 1,197 statute miles, tidal shoreline of 2,276 miles, 663 miles of beaches and more than 11,000 miles of rivers, streams and waterways, according to official figures, is hotter than ever in terms of popularity for active adventures. 

2. Texas

Vast and sprawling, with deserts, forests and the mighty Rio Grande, Texas is one of the most iconic states in the U.S., with cities including Dallas, Houston and Austin, which alone offers many different reasons to love the Lone Star State. There are 151 stadiums in the state – the most in the country – that host all kinds of games, concerts, competitions and other fun events.

1. California

The Golden State is stretching for nearly 900 miles that are lined by beaches, with interiors covered by redwood forests, deserts and the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Literally every type of adventurer will find the best activity to suit his or her wildest interests. There are 1,566 unique things to do, according to the study. California ranks 13th in the "happiness" category alone.