Blessed with spectacular coastlines, beautiful national parks, diverse cultures, and world-renowned attractions, the United States is a must-visit destination for any traveler. And if you’re a first-time visitor, you’ll have to make some tough decisions about which states to see in the limited time you have. A recent discussion of travelers online might help you plan your first trip to America, and according to them, these 11 states should be at the top of your list.
It might not be the most famous of states, but Utah is home to some of the most stunning landscapes in the country. And if you’re an outdoor lover, you’ll find plenty to do here, from hiking in Zion National Park to snowshoeing in the Uinta Mountains. Utah is such a phenomenally beautiful state and the natural history is so tangible and real. There are places where you can touch actual dinosaur bones,” shares one European who lives in the DC area.
2. New York
Say what you want about New York, but the state is an absolute must-visit for any tourist visiting the U.S. for the first time. Most visitors are stunned by the state’s sheer amount of things to do. Of course, no visit is complete without traveling to New York City, home of countless historic buildings, tourist traps, culturally significant sights, and some of the best pizza you’ll ever eat.
Like New York, Illinois is home to one of the greatest cities in the country. Chicago has reliable and safe public transportation, is very walkable, and it has amazing architecture, and the architecture river boat tour is great,” reveals one resident. “The city is easy to explore on foot and has unique neighborhoods.” (For the record, Chicago-style pizza is pretty good, too!)
Pennsylvania is home to two major cities, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, with plenty of attractions. Many people believe that Philadelphia has a perfect combination of culture and fun. “Philly has lots of history and culture,” reveals one woman. “Its city center is compact and easily walkable. There’s quite a bit of diversity to explore, and you can find affordable eats.”
The past meets the present in Massachusetts, home to countless cities with great cultural significance in American history. Boston is one of the most beloved cities in the country, and for good reasons: its art scene is world-renowned, its professional sports teams carry a lineage of excellence, and its residents rank as some of the friendliest in the country!
Countless people call California the best state to visit because it’s so varied! From amusement parks to national forests and everything in between, no traveler will be bored in California. “California is the best state by far if you’re going to visit for a while,” expresses one woman. “We have beaches, mountains, lakes, rivers, deserts, and valleys. Our food is the most diverse out of all the states while sustaining quality, especially our Mexican food. I’d even argue that most modern American culture originates from SoCal and the Bay Area.”
7. South Carolina
For history buffs, visiting South Carolina is the best way to learn about the evolution of U.S. society and culture. Once deeply embedded in slavery, the state has many monuments, museums, and exhibits shining a light on the issues that eventually led to the American Civil War. But if you want to relax near the beach, the city of Charleston is a quaint, up-and-coming town with plenty of things to do.
There’s no place in the United States quite like Texas. From the state’s culture to its history to its unparalleled barbeque, there’s something for every visitor in the Lone Star State. Historic cities like San Antonio serve as culturally-significant places that keep the heritage of Texas alive. Moreover, larger cities like Dallas and Austin give first-time visitors all the adrenaline they need to have an unforgettable time!
Deep in the American South is Louisiana, home to one of the most fun cities for first-time tourists to experience: The Big Easy. “New Orleans is great,” admits one traveler. “It’s pretty sketchy and dirty, but man, is it fun, historical, and unique in many ways. And while food isn’t everything, it’s worth pointing out that New Orleans has some amazing cuisine.
Most Americans travel to Florida once a year for one reason: to vacation. As the home of some of the world’s best destination resorts and theme parks, visiting Florida means saying “yes” to adventure! Disney World, Six Flags, Sea World, and Universal Studios are all located in Florida, making it the perfect destination for any family looking to live more adventurously.
The Pacific Northwest exists almost as a separate entity from the rest of the United States, and no better state exemplifies this than Oregon. If stunning scenery, breathtaking mountain views, and an unbelievable bar and restaurant culture is something you’re interested in, cities like Portland and Salem can offer everything a first-time visitor needs.
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