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As you daydream about your next great American road trip adventure, consider steering your trusty vehicle toward the most classically All-American states in the nation. But what does it mean to be All-American?
Well, according to Viator, it’s a blend of things, both good and, uh, less good. Not only did the tour company take into consideration the number of monuments, landmarks, National Park Service sites, and percentage of homeowners, but it also considered the density of fast food restaurants. Hey, they’re not wrong there!
Take a look below at the five most All-American States and decide if any of these beacons of American ideals are suitable for your next road trip. There’s something undeniably charming about classic, old-fashioned Americana, and you’ll feel it in each of these places.
Most All-American States, According to Viator
1. Pennsylvania: The Birthplace of the Nation
Massachusetts, Delaware, and New Jersey all have their spot in early American history, but no place is as revered as Philadelphia when it comes to identifying the birthplace of the United States of America. Nestled in the heart of the Northeast, Pennsylvania claims the top spot on Viator’s list with a compelling blend of historical gravitas and contemporary charm.
Viator granted The Keystone State an All-American Score of 9.05/10, taking into consideration that 70% of the state’s population own their own homes and that there are 19 national park sites, 169 historical landmarks, 36 sporting venues, and over 200 campgrounds. You can travel affordably throughout PA and see the blueprints of the nation unfurled.
From the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia to the steel-clad skyline of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is a tapestry of stories that have shaped the nation. Venture through Gettysburg’s hallowed fields or indulge in the bucolic beauty of the Amish countryside. The ghosts of Washington’s troops can be felt with every chilly breeze in Valley Forge.
Philadelphia is the country’s sixth-largest city, but you would be hard-pressed to find anyone say that it’s not the largest in attitude. Philadelphia sports fans are the most passionate in America – where else do they grease the light poles to discourage climbers and proudly sing “We’re from Philly, no one likes us, no one likes us, we don’t care!” to the tune of “My Darling Clementine”?
See Related: Pennsylvania Slang Terms You Need to Know
2. California: A Kaleidoscope of American Dreams
California secures the second spot with an All-American Score of 8.98/10. Despite its sprawling cities and tech empires, 48% of the land is public land, in the form of National Parks, National Forests, or Bureau of Land Management property.
The Golden State has a whopping total of nine national parks! Channel Islands, Death Valley, Joshua Tree, Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Yosemite, Redwoods, Lassen Volcanic, and Pinnacles National Parks draw millions of visitors each year to marvel at California’s natural wonders.
Travel from the misty redwood forests of the North to the sun-soaked beaches of the South, and you’ll find a state that’s more than a destination – the California state of mind is a real phenomenon. Experience laid-back and slow-paced life in the beach towns, long hours and hard work in the farming communities, jam-packed busy cities, and quiet, silent remote mountain peaks – all in the same state.
Embrace the cultural mosaic of Los Angeles, the innovation hub of Silicon Valley, and the natural wonders that frame the Pacific Coast Highway. In California, every sunset promises the birth of new possibilities.
See Related: Most Famous Landmarks in California to Visit
3. Florida: Where Adventure and Serenity Meet
With an All-American Score of 8.81/10, Florida’s charm is undeniable. Owning a slice of this tropical paradise is a reality for nearly 66% of its inhabitants, a testament to its magnetic allure and creating a benchmark for the “American dream”.
Florida may have the most unique flora and fauna in the country. 11 national park sites include Biscayne and Everglades National Parks. The waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, the islands of the Florida Keys, and the Everglades create habitats for alligators, crocodiles, panthers, black bears, pythons, armadillos, manatees, wild boar, and iguanas.
Sports are huge in Florida – if you don’t believe it, start asking around about the Seminoles or the Gators. Miami has a trifecta of teams – the Miami Heat (NBA), Dolphins (NFL), and Marlins (MLB), and the Florida Pathers (NHL) play nearby. In Tampa Bay, you’ve got the Buccaneers (NFL), Lightning (NHL) and Rays (MLB). The Orlando Magic and Jacksonville Jaguars round out the list.
Did you know that Orlando’s airport, MCO, is among the most visited in the country? Walt Disney World is partially responsible for that, but Universal Studios also attracts more than 20 million thrill-seekers each year.
In Florida, worlds collide and harmonize—where the vibrancy of Miami’s streets, Disney World’s enchantment, and the Everglades’ tranquility exist in a delicate balance. No matter if it is the call of the ocean or the whisper of palm trees, Florida invites you to discover a state where every day is a celebration of life.
See Related: Best Beach Resorts In Florida
4. New York: Urban Landscapes, Shimmering Lakes, and Rolling Mountains
New York State is an emblem of ambition and diversity. New York is so much more than the City that Never Sleeps. It boasts access to two Great Lakes, Niagara Falls, the Adirondacks, the Catskills, Lake Champlain, and more arts and culture than just about anywhere in the country.
Beyond the city’s iconic skyline, the state unfolds into the serene Adirondacks, the cascading majesty of Niagara Falls, and the tranquil vineyards of the Finger Lakes. New York is an ever-unfolding story where every street, every town, every mountain echoes with the promise of the American dream.
It rounds out the top five with an All-American Score of 8.69/10, thanks to its 24 national park sites, legendary sports franchise like the New York Yankees, the New York Rangers, New York Giants… along with the Jets, the Mets, the Bills, and the Islanders.
Madison Square Garden is the most famous venue in the country, but the Saratoga Performing Arts Center may be the most beautiful. Speaking of Saratoga, the spa town of Saratoga Springs is also one of the most famous horse racing towns on the planet.
Though it’s far from the bluegrass of Kentucky, American history has been made at Saratoga four times. In 1919, Man O War lost his only race to a horse named Upset, coining the popular sports term. Since then, three Triple Crown winners have lost to underdogs at Saratoga, giving the track the ominous nickname “Graveyard of Champions”.
So far, the coast has dominated the list, but a midwestern wonderland steps into view as the 5th most All-American state. Why Michigan? With a score of 8.64, it’s a glowing representation of Americana.
Well, first off, Michigan is second in the nation when it comes to the percentage of the population that owns their own home, so the American Dream is alive and well here. Once you start to look around, you’ll see why so many sow their oats in the upper Midwest.
Michigan is bounded by Lake Erie, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, and Lake Superior, making its nickname an obvious one – the Great Lakes State. The lakes themselves are known for a plethora of recreation opportunities in all seasons. It’s no surprise that many of Michicgan’s 200+ campgrounds are on the shores.
Six National Park sites grace this landscape, including one National Park (Isle Royale), two National Lakeshores (Sleeping Bear Dunes and Pictured Rocks), Keweenaw National Historical Park, River Raisin National Battlefield Park, and the North Country National Scenic Trail.
One cool thing about Michigan is that it’s almost like two states in one. The Upper Peninsula is so different than the rest of the state, and you’ll find the residents have pride in their “UP” life.
You’ll also find a balance of urbanization and small-town life. Visiting Detroit is a blast for anyone who loves automotive history, but Mackinac Island is so focused on small-town living that cars aren’t even allowed!
The Detroit Tigers (MLB), Detroit Lions (NFL), Detroit Red Wings (NHL), and Detroit Pistons (NBA) bring sports to the state, but it may be college football that creates the most pride. The University of Michigan Wolverines have the most wins in college football history.
Visit Michigan and enjoy both sunrises and sunsets on the water. This is a state where you’ll truly get to feel the heartbeat of America.
The Journey Continues…
Beyond the top five, America’s story is vast and varied. Each state’s unique score and character contributes to the nation’s rich tapestry. Viator’s All-American Score is your guide to the experiences that define the U.S., inviting you to set forth on a journey of discovery and connection.
The open road awaits, dotted with the footsteps of those who’ve ventured before and those who dare to dream. Pack your spirit of adventure and set your sights on these quintessentially American destinations.
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Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a full-time traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers experience a fully immersive cultural experience as he did initially living in Italy. He’s a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wanderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). After visiting 12 countries and 13 national parks in a year, he was devoted to creating and telling stories like he’d heard.
Plus, after spending more time on airplanes and packing, he’s learned some incredible travel hacks over time as he earned over 1 million Chase Ultimate Rewards points in under a year, helping him maximize experiences as much as possible to discover the true meaning of travel.
He loves listening to local stories from around the world and sharing his experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time.