If you are looking for some travel inspiration, here are 24 states to visit in 2024!
With 50 states covering over 3.7 million square miles, the United States is a huge country (it’s crazy to think that the entire continent of Europe is only slightly larger than America).
I could spend a lifetime exploring the United States (scratch that, I could spend a lifetime exploring Texas alone – how is it possible for a state to be so big?).
And the more time I spend here, my bucket list grows. From driving along the Pacific Coast Highway to grabbing a deep-dish pizza in Chicago, there are a million things to do (and fifty states to visit).
This list has become a staple on Passport To Eden. I update it every year, reflecting on the states I’ve visited and want to visit. While it’s daunting to whittle down the United States to a simple list of states, I’m a little relieved that, year after year, I get to add to this post instead of subtracting.
After all, the U.S. is filled with everything from breathtaking small towns to crazy party spots. It’s a place with diverse landscapes and bustling cities. No two states in the U.S. are the same; each is filled with hidden gems and a nuanced food culture.
Side Note: This is the second year that Hawaii is not on our list of states to visit! While Hawaii is still objectively one of the most beautiful places in the United States, the Aloha State is sadly suffering from overtourism. You can read about it here. I also recommend this article by Mariah Rigg.
Without further ado, here are the top 24 states to visit in 2024 (in no particular order).
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Oklahoma is one of the most underrated states to visit in the USA.
I fell in love after spending a month exploring a few small towns in southern Oklahoma a few years ago (and later obsessively visiting OKC). I fell in love with the leafy hiking trails, the quiet sunsets in the city, the detail-oriented museums, the street art, and the amazing coffee culture.
Oklahoma is seductive. It’s a state that’s constantly growing and evolving. And you can see that change in action.
P.S. Oklahoma is one of the cheapest states to visit in the USA. There are many budget-friendly hotels, free attractions, and dives if you want a weekend getaway that won’t break the bank.
Having lived in Virginia for almost a decade, I can say with 100% confidence that Virginia is one of the prettiest states to visit in the U.S. (especially in the summer, fall, and spring).
Virginia is a unique state because it feels Northeastern even though (according to U.S. Census designation) it’s Southern. It’s a mix of hustle and bustle and bucolic scenes.
Tall tree-lined roads plus rolling hills equal the perfect gateway to the United States.
If you only have a few days in the area, explore the DMV (DC-Maryland-Virginia) highlights first. Add Colonial Williamsburg to your itinerary. And squeeze in a day trip or two (if you’re visiting in the fall, Shenandoah is a must).
California is a huge tourist magnet (for local adventurers and roadtrip goers alike). With almost 270 million tourists flocking to California each year, The Golden State is a travel hotspot. And for good reason.
Home to iconic sites like the Hollywood Sign and Golden Gate Bridge (and one-of-a-kind natural areas like Yosemite and Joshua Tree), California makes it onto this list of the top 24 states to visit in 2024 with a bang.
Between lively cities (Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco) and quirky small towns (Solvang, Mendocino, Carmel-by-the-Sea), you won’t be hard-pressed to find things to do in California!
Wyoming highlights include Grand Teton Park, Yellowstone National Park, and Black Hills. Enough said.
It’s one of the top states to visit if you are searching for a place to relax, unplug, and unwind. Wyoming is a refreshing destination that lets you get in tune with nature (while maintaining easy access to modern conveniences).
Y’all know I love Texas. I spend half my time on Passport to Eden talking about Texas.
I started this blog to document Texas attractions because when I first moved to Texas, I thought there weren’t that many. How wrong I was.
Florida is one of the craziest states to visit in the United States. It’s a whirlwind area known for its beaches, theme parks, and nightlife scene (mojitos, anyone?).
From Universal Studios to Key West, there are so many things to do in Florida your head will be spinning after your first trip (especially once you realize how many miles you walked at Magic Kingdom).
My favorite city (and solo travel destination) in Florida is, hands-down, St.Augustine. It’s more of a small town, and although it’s touristy, I loved that it felt like a history museum.
Nevada is known for Las Vegas, but this state is much more than that. From the Valley of Fire to Mt. Charleston, nature lovers will get a kick out of all the outdoorsy things to do here.
It’s a sparse state, but so worth visiting! And if you’re looking for a quick day trip from Las Vegas, add the Hoover Dam to your Nevada road trip itinerary.
The Grand Canyon is a big (over 1000 miles big) reason to visit Arizona.
There are several others, too: Mission San Xavier del Bac, the Desert Botanical Garden, and the Sonoran Desert.
And with offbeat spa retreats (Scottsdale), lux resorts (Sedona), and camping spots (Flagstaff), this is the perfect state to visit on any budget.
2023 brought one of the biggest changes in my life: I spent my first year living in Tennessee! I’m so excited to continue filling up the blog with Tennessee guides, as this is one of my favorite states to visit in the U.S.
Start your tour in Memphis at Sun Studio and trek (via car) toward the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. Throw in a few day trips to cute-as-a-button towns like Collierville and Gatlinburg, and you’re in for a treat.
Another one of my favorite states to visit in the United States is Arkansas.
Arkansas has this effortless, natural beauty (which is probably why it’s called the natural state – good job, Anshula). Home of mountain towns like Eureka Springs and world-class art collections like Crystal Bridges, the Ozarks are a great starting point on your Arkansas road trip.
Snake towards Hot Springs before heading to the capital (and later North Little Rock).
There’s plenty to do in Illinois beyond Chicago (though I could spend a year in Chicago and still not see everything).
But if you only have one day in the state (and are situated in the Windy City), hit up all the touristy highlights: Cloud Gate, Skydeck, and Navy Pier.
Or take a day trip to Galena. You won’t regret it.
Ohio has some of the best art museums in the United States, making it a top destination for culture travelers.
Beyond art, Ohio is known for its lush trails, rolling hills, and gardens.
But honestly, I’m still not over how many museums Ohio has.
There’s a toy and plastic brick museum, and there’s even a museum dedicated to showcasing divine statues. And if you’re looking for something offbeat, head down to the National Barber Museum in Winchester.
A few winters ago, I headed to Nebraska (specifically Omaha).
That trip was brought on by reading one too many Rainbow Rowell books (she’s a local Omaha author).
I toured some of the spots mentioned in her books and sampled all the cute coffee shops and eateries in the area.
Omaha is one of the cheapest states to visit in the United States. I was shocked by the prices of attractions and accommodations in the area (you can find a swish private AirBnB here for under $50, which is unheard of in the U.S.).
Vermonters will happily tell you that Vermont is the prettiest state in the U.S., and anyone who has been to Vermont will have a tough time disagreeing. Vermont is beautiful. The rolling mountains, glistening lakes, and red barns create a postcard-perfect appeal. And the noticeable lack of billboards adds to Vermont’s small-town charms.
I visited Vermont before spring fully set in and was told to return in autumn. “You haven’t lived until you’ve seen Vermont in the fall,” Vermonters said. Who am I to argue with the experts?
After exploring Northern Louisiana a few years ago (guides still yet to come), I’m pumped to explore Southern Louisiana next year!
Louisiana is a lively state. Think upbeat music, beignets (more beignets), and quirky bookstores (but seriously, why are Louisiana bookstores so cute?)
I’ve been told that the best place to start exploring Louisiana is New Orleans. I’ll spend three days there in spring (followed by a week in the surrounding area), so if you have any recommendations, let me know.
New Mexico is like its own little country. The landscape vastly differs from anything you’ll encounter in the rest of the contiguous states.
Massachusetts is one of the best states in the U.S. for book lovers to visit. With Walden Pond, the Boston Public Library, and Louisa May Alcott’s home, Massachusetts is a literary haven.
Spend a weekend in Boston, visit Salem during Halloween, enjoy a beach day at Crane Beach, and hop on a ferry to Martha’s Vineyard.
Pennsylvania is a state I haven’t explored as much as I would have liked to.
I’ve only been to Philadelphia (and Hershey on a field trip in seventh grade). But with hamlets like Jim Thorpe and Strasburg, Pennsylvania knows how to sketch quaint and modern.
I just want to say that I love how historic this state is. If you’re planning an East Coast road trip to explore early America, you need to add Philadelphia to your bucket list!
If I could spend an entire month exploring all the best small towns in Washington, I would.
From Forks to Walla Walla to Leavenworth, many places in Washington are undeniably gorgeous (especially in the spring and summertime).
And Washington is still a hidden gem for the most part. I always thought the state was all about Seattle (shame on me) until I started researching for my trip there (my friend moved to east Washington last year, and I really want to catch up with her).
There isn’t a state I love more than New York. Like many people (I’m such a cliche), New York is my absolute favorite state in the United States.
It’s one of the best states for solo travelers and couples and families – there’s something here for everybody. My mum was an NYC local for a bit, so I got a chance to explore Manhattan a little while growing up.
But it wasn’t until last year that I left the NYC bubble. Sleepy Hollow caught my heart. And many more beautiful places exist in central and upstate New York.
Connecticut took me by surprise last year. I didn’t anticipate falling in love with this state as much as I did, but here we are. I was taken aback by how nice people in Connecticut were, especially in the small towns. I did stay away from Connecticut’s rich and snobbish neighborhoods, but I still wasn’t expecting to start a conversation with so many random people. Connecticut gets a bad rap for being unfriendly, but that was not my experience.
Connecticut is quintessential New England charm. Go for the charming bed and breakfast retreats, historic villages, white picket fence farms, underrated pizza scene, fresh seafood, and Gilmore Girls atmosphere (though filmed elsewhere, Washington Depot inspired Stars Hollow).
Oregon is one of the most breathtaking states in the United States. With Crater Lake, winding rivers, and a spectacular coastline, it’s easy to see why Oregon is so well-loved amongst Passport To Eden readers (y’all have convinced me I need to move Oregon to the top of my bucket list for the world’s largest bookstore alone).
I initially visited Kentucky on a day trip from Nashville and fell in love with its woodsy thickets and cavernous landscapes.
Caves are a big reason to visit Kentucky (as the saying goes, it’s not what’s outside but what’s inside that matters). Caves are why I keep visiting this state (seriously, it’s an addiction at this point). This is also one of the best states to visit for hiking, scenic drives (there are so many cute barns), bluegrass music, and bourbon tastings.
In 2023, I’m hoping to head further north to South Dakota (hopefully. fingers crossed).
Between the Badlands and Mount Rushmore, I need no more convincing that South Dakota is one of the top states to visit in the USA.
From limestone churches to cafes with stunning views, there’s plenty to do in Sioux Falls alone. But with towns like Lead (the site of the mining museum looks like something straight out of a movie) and cities like Spearfish, I wish I could snap my fingers and magically transport myself there right now.
But then again, I’d love to do that for all these states.
Did you enjoy this post on the top states to visit in the United States? What are your favorite states to visit? Let me know in the comments below what you’d like to add to this list!