Best U.S. States for Adventure Enthusiasts

Last updated on 08/03/2020

Top U.S. States for Adventure Travel

The USA is home to one of the most diverse landscapes in the world. As a result, it is no surprise that it is a popular destination for thrill seekers from all over the world. Rafting the Grand Canyon and rock climbing in Zion National Park are listed among the most popular bucket list items for adventure enthusiasts. In every state there is excitement to be had for adrenaline junkies of all levels, but which state offers the highest number of heart-pounding activities?

  • Snow Sports
  • Mountain Biking
  • Sky Diving
  • Hang Gliding
  • White Water Rafting
  • Climbing Sports
  • Overall
Rank
States
1
California
7.69
10
10
10
9.49
10
9.53
2
Colorado
8.72
6.02
3.79
3
10
9.64
6.86
3
New York
8.97
3.26
4.14
3
7.46
0.92
4.63
4
Washington
5.38
5.69
3.1
3
6.95
1.28
4.24
5
Wisconsin
9.23
0.96
4.83
0
6.1
0.21
3.55
6
Utah
3.59
5.06
3.1
1
5.76
2
3.42
7
Oregon
3.33
2.26
2.41
1.5
8.98
0.92
3.23
8
Idaho
4.62
3.05
1.72
0.5
8.47
0.36
3.12
9
Michigan
10
2.39
3.1
0.5
2.37
0.1
3.08
10
Florida
0
1.16
8.28
0
8.64
0
3.01
11
Montana
4.1
3.32
2.41
0.5
5.42
1.33
2.85
12
Massachusetts
3.33
7.92
2.41
0.5
2.37
0.31
2.81
13
Missouri
0.51
0.6
3.79
0
9.15
0.1
2.36
14
Texas
0.26
2.39
8.28
0
2.37
0.87
2.36
15
Virginia
1.03
1.81
2.76
1
6.78
0.15
2.25
16
North Carolina
1.54
1.21
2.76
0
7.12
0.77
2.23
17
New Hampshire
7.44
2.41
0
0.5
2.54
0.36
2.21
18
Alaska
2.05
0.58
0.34
1
8.14
0.41
2.09
19
Maine
4.87
1.51
1.38
0
4.41
0.31
2.08
20
Pennsylvania
0
3.43
4.14
1
2.71
1.13
2.07
21
Tennessee
0
0.76
2.41
0.5
6.1
1.9
1.95
22
Wyoming
2.31
1.06
0
0.5
5.93
1.59
1.9
23
Georgia
0.26
0.77
3.79
0.5
5.93
0.15
1.9
24
Vermont
6.67
2.17
0.69
0
1.53
0.15
1.87
25
Arizona
1.03
3.48
1.38
1
2.37
1.44
1.78
26
Ohio
1.28
0.63
4.48
0.5
3.39
0.36
1.77
27
Arkansas
0
0.87
1.72
0.5
4.92
1.79
1.63
28
Nevada
1.03
0.99
3.1
0
1.86
1.74
1.45
29
New Mexico
2.31
1.57
1.03
1
1.36
1.18
1.41
30
Minnesota
4.36
0.99
1.72
0
0.51
0.26
1.31
31
South Carolina
0
0.28
2.07
0
3.9
0
1.04
32
New Jersey
0.77
1.88
1.72
0.5
1.19
0
1.01
33
Maryland
0.26
0.82
1.38
1
1.86
0.72
1.01
34
Connecticut
1.28
1.85
1.03
0.5
0.85
0.41
0.99
35
South Dakota
0.77
0.4
0.69
0
3.22
0.56
0.94
36
Iowa
1.79
0.35
1.72
0
1.69
0
0.93
37
Indiana
0.77
0.35
2.76
0
1.69
0
0.93
38
Illinois
0
0.57
3.45
0.5
0.34
0.31
0.86
39
Rhode Island
1.03
0.61
0.69
0
1.86
0.05
0.71
40
Alabama
0.26
0.61
1.38
0
1.53
0.26
0.67
41
West Virginia
1.28
1.02
0.69
0
0.34
0.21
0.59
42
Hawaii
0
0.11
1.03
1
1.36
0.05
0.59
43
Oklahoma
0
0.21
1.03
0.5
1.02
0.56
0.55
44
Kentucky
0
0.41
0.34
0
1.19
0.87
0.47
45
Louisiana
0
0.03
1.38
0
1.36
0
0.46
46
Nebraska
0
0
1.03
0
1.36
0
0.4
47
Kansas
0.51
0.22
1.38
0
0.17
0.05
0.39
48
North Dakota
0.77
0.17
0.34
0
0.68
0
0.33
49
Mississippi
0
0.11
0
0
0.68
0
0.13
50
Delaware
0
0.07
0.69
0
0
0
0.13

Key Findings

Every traveler's bucket list is unique. Some may prioritize skydiving whereas others may prefer a rugged mountain biking adventure. For those who want options, we have found which states have the largest variety of adrenaline pumping opportunities across a range of activities for your vacation.

As you can see, California is the undisputed leader among adrenaline-fueled states. It has a diverse natural landscape with mountain ranges, deserts, valleys and everything in between. These diverse conditions make the state an ideal location for a variety of adventurous activities. According to sources, California has 8,197 mountain biking trails, the highest number in the United States. It also has the most skydiving drop zones with 29 locations. California is also the leader for climbing destinations, as 27crags states that there are over 195 climbing spots worth visiting in the Golden State. Even the residents of California have a reputation as adrenaline junkies, with some individuals aggressively campaigning to legalize one of the most dangerous activities of all, Base Jumping.

Looking elsewhere in the US, it was somewhat expected that one of the northern most states would top the ranking for snow sports, yet some may be surprised to learn that it is Michigan that has the most snow sport areas.

Colorado was another strong performer across a variety of activities, highlighted by over 60 commercially guided whitewater rafting companies, according to Google My Business.

Methodology

Each data point consists of the latest research available from reputable sources. The data was standardized using minmax normalization. The minmax normalization value is multiplied by 10 to create a score (between 0-10). A score of 10 is always the best result, while a score of 0 is the worst. Each state is then ranked on their overall average rating across all adrenaline activities, to find which state has the most adrenaline activities.

InsureMyTrip segregated each activity in addition to giving an overall category score. This will give enthusiasts within that specific extreme sport an opportunity to target the states for their favored activity. Alternatively, the "Overall" category gives adrenaline junkies an encompassing view of states that are the most appropriate for a variety of adrenaline activities.

Sources

Snow Sports

The total number of ski areas and resorts in each state
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ski_areas_and_resorts_in_the_United_States

Mountain Biking

The total number of reported trails from biking enthusiasts in each state
https://www.trailforks.com/

Sky Diving

The number of dropzones in each state
https://www.dropzone.com/dropzones/united-states/

Paragliding & Hang Gliding

The number of Paragliding & Hang Gliding chapters in each state. A chapter is an organization licensed to conduct flying experiences with others
https://www.ushpa.org/page/chapters

White Water Rafting

The total number of commercially guided White Water Rafting opportunities in each state according to Google Maps API
https://www.google.com/maps

Climbing

The total number of reported safe crag sites to climb in each state
https://27crags.com/countries/united-states