For years, whenever people found out we had plans to visit all 50 states they asked me, "Which state is your favorite so far?" That question has morphed into, "Now that you've been to all 50 states, which one is the best?" I've heard the question so often in the last month that I realized it needs a dedicated blog post.
First, I'll get my disclaimers out of the way.
- "Best" is extremely subjective.
- I haven't been to every part of every state. I can only judge on what I've experienced.
- For the majority of the states, I've only visited during one season. Many states are dramatically different in the summer and the winter. I try not to let the weather influence my opinion of a state, but that can be hard to do.
- I visited some of the states with a toddler and others with a teenager. The experience is completely different. Trevor's age has had a major impact on what we do when we travel, which in turn influences my opinion of the state.
- This is my opinion. Yours may differ, and you're welcome to tell me if it does, but you're not going to convince me that I'm wrong about my own opinion.
So which state is the best? Actually, that's really easy to answer.
California is the best state.
California has everything. California is the most diverse state and the most visited state, both by Americans and the rest of the world. It has some of the best food and wine in the world. No matter what climate you like, you can find it somewhere in California. There is so much natural beauty; in fact, California has more national parks (9) than any other state. (Alaska, which is four times bigger than California, is #2 with 8 national parks.) You can famously ski and surf at world class locations on the same day in California; it's the only state to have hosted both the Summer Olympics and the Winter Olympics. I could go on and on, filling pages with superlatives about the Golden State. California is a great place to visit and an even better place to live.