All 50 States, Ranked by Beauty

I'm not sure I'd want to live in any of the top five states.... 

But I'm glad Wyoming made the top 10!!

10. Michigan

9. Montana

8. Wyoming

Wyoming is so rich with beauty that even the Grand Tetons -- quite possibly the single most dramatic vista in the country -- somehow get overshadowed by Yellowstone National Park right next door. 

But if all you've ever seen of Wyoming is Jackson Hole and I-80, you're missing out on the other-worldly high plains outside of Laramie and Cheyenne, the ghostly rocks of Vedauwoo, the mountains of the Front Range (the same mountains you saw on your trip to Denver), the Wind River Range, the Bighorns, and some of the darkest night skies with the brightest Milky Way in the lower 48. 

That's not to mention Red Canyon, the Red Desert, Devils Tower, or pronghorn populations (you probably know them as antelope, but they're actually pronghorn) that number in the hundreds of thousands, plus elk, moose, and bison. 

Few people venture into Wyoming to see just how the light shimmers off gold Aspen trees on a limitless mountain prairie -- and folks in the Cowboy State like that just fine," stated Thrillist

7. Oregon

6. Washington

5. Colorado

"To make it into the top 10% of scenic states, you’ve gotta have that extra something. And nobody who’s ever set foot in Colorado hasn’t been wowed by the sheer verticality. Colorado has more than 50 -- that’s FIVE ZERO -- peaks higher than 14,000ft, more than triple the rest of the lower 48 combined. Harder to reach, but no less amazing, are the state's abundant mountain lakes, places that make the journey up those peaks worth the trek, and provide some of the most underrated beachfront on the planet. The only drawback to Colorado is the eastern third or so that feels like Nebraska got a director's cut. But if you want to get the most out of this state, take a drive from Denver to Telluride and prepare to be blown away," stated Thrillist.

4. Utah

"To rate this high with exactly zero miles of coastline, you’ve gotta have some superlative sights. And Utah brings it like no other landlocked state in the nation. It’s one of the few states where someone can look at a picture and say, “Oh, yeah, that’s Utah,” whether it’s the famous sandstone arches or the canyons at Moab, or the bizarre formations in Goblin Valley. And that’s just the southern half. The Bonneville Salt Flats are one of the great geological sights in America, and further north Utah is home to powder-covered mountains as good as any in the west. If outdoor recreation is your top vacation priority, you might not find a better place," stated Thrillist.

3. Alaska

"No state will leave you in complete awe of the wild like Alaska. Whether it’s the Kenai fjords and glaciers of the inside passage, or the vast expanse of snow-capped peaks, sprawling tundra, and rugged coastline that make up the state's interior, Alaska boasts the rugged wilderness that just doesn’t exist in the rest of America. Part of the fun here is that much of the state isn’t accessible by road, so the only way to get there is either a scenic boat ride through the forest or a bush plane over glaciers. Both of which can have ample sighting of whales, bears, sea lions, and other animals you typically never see outside of zoos. And even though the land masses here are the biggest scenic draw, Alaska has some pretty respectable beach towns to boot," stated Thrillist.

2. Hawaii

"Pound-for-pound, acre-for-acre, this archipelago is the most spectacularly diverse and diversely spectacular place you can get to without a passport -- and maybe with one. The islands (seven big ones are inhabited; 130 small ones aren't) hold such an array because forested, canyoned Kauai is 6 million years older than the broad, dark, raw Big Island, which is still growing, fed by the glowing volcanic vent that birthed the lot. Between them: Oahu is heart-stopping beaches and jungles and cliffs under constant assault by half-hour rainbows. Maui is a sheaf of vacation postcards that unionized and formed an island. Tourism-light Molokai has some of the world's steepest cliffs into ocean. Lanai looks like the love child of Ireland and a Caribbean isle. You don't think it can be true until you get there, but Hawaii is one of the few destinations that, if anything, manages to exceed its perfect-10 reputation," stated Thrillist. 

1. California

"Yes, it has issues. Lots of ‘em. But how many beautiful things do you know that don’t?So let’s drop the talk of droughts, bankruptcy, and traffic and talk for a minute about how this state has EVERY SINGLE KIND OF BEAUTY you could possibly want. Start in the south with the expansive, natural beaches set against towering cliffs. Then move inland to the moon-like desertscapes in the Mojave. There’s the drive along the PCH and Big Sur, leading in the wine country of the Central Coast and up into San Francisco, a city that owes its aesthetic to cliffside views and curlicues of fog. Oh, and lest we forget Yosemite National Park. Or Redwood. Or Death Valley. Or Anza Borrego. And wine country stretching from Napa Valley in the north to Temecula in the south. Look, California’s not for everybody, but for sheer hotness, nothing else comes close. You can see why, when settling the West, Americans chasing manifest destiny crossed expansive grasslands and steep mountains and punishing deserts only to arrive and say to themselves, The trip was worth it after all," stated Thrillist. 

See the rest of the beautiful states here.


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