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Which of the contiguous 48 states is the prettiest?


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Home Forums Campfire The Natural World Which of the contiguous 48 states is the prettiest?

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  • #3752306
    Monte Masterson
    BPL Member

    @septimius

    Locale: Changes Often

    The answer will no doubt be subjective and it may be hard to come up with just one. I don’t think I could name my favorite song or movie, but I suppose I could try.

    I’ve been to 44 of the 48 contiguous states, all but Minnesota, the Dakotas and Wisconsin. And I’ve only driven through the southeast corner of Michigan on the way to the Canadian side of Niagra Falls (I hear the UP is incredible in summer).

    But for me the winner has got to be the Green Mountains of Vermont. Yes, the Adirondacks to the west are phenomenal and the White Mountains of New Hampshire to the east are as well. Maine is almost too pristine to believe, yet the Green Mountain State stands out above all the others for me. It’s downright heavenly.

    So what would be your choice if you had to be pinned down to choosing just one? Perhaps it’s a western state. Or how about a top 5?

    #3752308
    jscott
    BPL Member

    @book

    Locale: Northern California

    Well…California. It’s vast, with a huge diversity of ecosystems. Having the Pacific ocean already gives it a hundred points. The Sierra stretch forever, north to south. The weather factors in: it’s hard to appreciate beauty in a never ending rain storm (I grew up in Wa. state…). Hiking season is long; and given altitude, so is the ski season, or it used to be! Add in the desert, the coast and mountain redwoods…I might be missing something. Sheer size gives California an unfair advantage, perhaps.

    #3752313
    matthew k
    Moderator

    @matthewkphx

    Yeah. California. Coastal Humboldt / Del Norte Counties and the Sierras are my happy places.

    I like my home state of Arizona and the Sonoran Desert but Utah has stupidly nice desert and wonderful mountains so my second nomination for prettiest state is Utah.

    #3752315
    W I S N E R !
    BPL Member

    @xnomanx

    California.

    If we’re just talking geography, the diversity of opportunity is staggering. Zero access to the ocean is a non-starter for me.

    Utah is pretty mindblowing but the surfing and spearfishing stink.

    #3752323
    AK Granola
    BPL Member

    @granolagirlak

    Another vote for California. There’s a reason it’s crowded. Beaches for swimming and beaches for tidepooling, all kinds of forests – oak, redwood, pine, you name it. Grasslands, deserts, volcanoes, the list goes on. For sheer variety, it’s gotta be California. Wish I could afford to live there.

    #3752325
    Jo P.
    BPL Member

    @sedimentary

    Locale: Denver, CO

    Utah for me.

    #3752328
    Monte Masterson
    BPL Member

    @septimius

    Locale: Changes Often

    Utah and California would definitely be in my top 5. Many might say Colorado, Montana or Oregon. North Carolina, West Virginia and the Ozarks of Arkansas are honorable mentions as well.

    Geography King gives his top 25 most scenic states, but he also includes Alaska (his #1) and Hawaii. I generally concur, however I’d have Vermont ranked much higher.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gErehD6LwNI

     

     

    #3752331
    Scott H
    BPL Member

    @cbk57

    If it were not for Forrest fires and chronic drought ruining more and more of the western U.S. I would have said hands down the American west, including California.  Now I am more inclined to agree with the O. P.  Not one person here has mentioned New Jersey, hmmm.

    #3752332
    jscott
    BPL Member

    @book

    Locale: Northern California

    One could put it down to ‘which state has the gloppiest pop song written about it…

    Rocky Mountain High

    Hey Colorado (late Flying Burrito Bros. and truly gloppy)

    California Dreaming–actually really good

    and this (with apologies, credit to anyone who can recall this television series’ name, ’cause I can’t

    The bluest skies you ever seen, in Seattle!

    The greenest hills you ever seen, in Seattle!

    Like a beautiful child, growing up free and wild,

    Full of hopes and full of fears,

    Full of laughter, full of tears,

    Full of dreams to last the years… in Seattle!

    #3752333
    Link .
    BPL Member

    @annapurna

    here come the brides

    #3752456
    Baosito
    BPL Member

    @baosito

    Another vote for California as I spent most of my time along the Pacific ocean and the Sierra. It could be me got spoiled by the perfect weather in California, but if I have to choose outside of state, I would think Washington would be a great runner-up.

    #3752632
    Bob .
    BPL Member

    @bcbob

    Locale: Vancouver Island

    None of the above.  Vancouver Island!

    #3752639
    David Thomas
    BPL Member

    @davidinkenai

    Locale: North Woods. Far North.

    I’ve been to each state 6+ times each and to all 3,142 counties in the USA except Duke and Nantucket.

    Whatever you think is beautiful be it deserts, redwoods, beaches, plains, craggy mountains, palm trees, glaciers, volcanism, canyons, moonscapes, farmland, ranchland, rice paddies, avocado orchards, whitewater, alpine lakes, petro-chemical industries, academia, inner cities, gated communities, ghost towns, big-city life or the smallest of towns are all somewhere in California.

    I grew up assembling that puzzle and touring the ENTIRE state on our twice-yearly family vacations – we got to all 58 counties, every NP, NF, SP, SF, Pioneer Museum, fish hatchery and stretch of state highway because my geographer father always took us to a different place each time.

    The only other two possible contenders were eliminated with the contiguous criteria.

    #3752644
    humorless
    BPL Member

    @sleeping

    Locale: The Cascades

    I’ve been to all but one state (never have been to Hawaii) and I think every single one has amazing beauty, there is no overall winner in my book.

    #3752648
    Jason W
    BPL Member

    @jwoods

    The prettiest state is either California, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah or Tennessee. All are amazing and my favorite is probably the one I was in last.

    #3752654
    AK Granola
    BPL Member

    @granolagirlak

    Northern Minnesota is sure beautiful! But limited to one type of habitat. And no mountains. I think the midwestern prairie is beautiful too, but given that our country has decimated 99% of it, I guess people don’t agree with me.

    #3752750
    Steofan M
    BPL Member

    @simaulius

    Locale: Bohemian Alps

    Nebraska and South Dakota for the National Forests and Grasslands.  Yes, the land was abused but the whole of it is still amazingly empty, yet populated with the most hospitable folks who really do love and care for the land.

    #3752783
    Brad Rogers
    BPL Member

    @mocs123

    Locale: Southeast Tennessee

    Interesting……I’ve never been to Nebraska, but it’s not a state I would have thought I would have heard anyone say was the prettiest in the lower 48.

    #3752858
    Steofan M
    BPL Member

    @simaulius

    Locale: Bohemian Alps

    Brad,

    Check into https://www.greatplainstrail.org/ and look at the Pilot Trail. This will take you through the Western Nebraska. The Nebraska Game and Parks site http://outdoornebraska.gov/ has a great run-down of the parks and trails. Wildcat Hills and Soldier Creek Wilderness are about the best of the bunch.

    Steofan M.

    #3752867
    Monte Masterson
    BPL Member

    @septimius

    Locale: Changes Often

    I hear watching the migration of Sandhill Cranes along the Platte River of western Nebraska is a life changing experience.

    When it comes to vast swathes of forests with good annual rainfall, I’d say West Virginia is probably the most underrated and overlooked state of them all. And when you consider the projected effects global warming, and the never-ending western drought (not to mention how insanely hot the entire Sunbelt is getting) the Mountain State might be attractive to anyone who doesn’t have to look for employment. West Virginia gets bad press mainly because of the economy, which of course fell with the decline of coal. But crime rates are below the national average, real estate is very affordable and the people are nice. Low cost of living. When you look at a tree map of the US you can see the area around the Smokies (TN/NC border) in the Southeast, but then north across the Tennessee valley the other larger swath of green is mostly the eastern part of West Virginia. It’s the wildest and most remote part of the eastern US I’ve found and it contains very few people. Way cheaper land and far less crowded than western NC and east Tennessee.

    And you can see how the heavy snow zone juts down furthest south in West Virginia (eastern US).

    In spite of being one of the poorest states, West Virginia is also one of the safest. It got caught up in the opioid crises in the worst way and that hurt its image. Look at how low the violent crime rate is in New England. That may not mean a lot to some people, yet to others it possibly could.

     

    jscott, you mentioned state songs earlier. Don’t forget that John Denver didn’t just sing about Colorado. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNoZtIPWpyE

    #3752870
    Paul Wagner
    BPL Member

    @balzaccom

    Locale: Wine Country

    When I think of beauty, crime rates and cost of living don’t enter into the equation.  That’s a different question.  I grew up in California and have lived here for most of my life–mainly by choice.  As many have noted, if you want beauty, be that beaches, desert, towering redwoods, lone volcanic peaks or high mountain scenery, California has exactly what you are seeking.

    But then, I think my wife is more beautiful than yours, too.

    #3752871
    Monte Masterson
    BPL Member

    @septimius

    Locale: Changes Often

    Yes Paul, but California is drying up. When there’s no longer any water left you might just consider West Virginia. It will be cheap to relocate there and you’re less likely to become a crime victim.

    Almost heaven. Monongahela National Forest.

    #3752875
    Brad Rogers
    BPL Member

    @mocs123

    Locale: Southeast Tennessee

    It’s certainly true that the “prettiest” state and where would you like to live may not be the same place.  I love Alaska, California is beautiful (it may get my vote too), and I love backpacking in Wyoming, but I’m not sure I’d want to live in any of the three.

    #3752953
    Paul Wagner
    BPL Member

    @balzaccom

    Locale: Wine Country

    Monte–somehow, I am missing the alpine scenery.  And the beaches.  and…

     

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