2021 Adventure Index – U.S. States Ranked

Where in the U.S. can you find the most opportunities for adventure?

America is blessed with an amazing number of destinations if you’re looking to experience a true adventure, from glaciers to deserts and forests to mountains.

Whether you’re into rock climbing, kayaking, mountain biking, skydiving, or pretty much any other extreme sport that you can think of, you can find it in the U.S.

Indeed, you’ll find stunning scenery in which to pursue your chosen activity in every corner of the country. But which states can claim to offer the most to adrenaline seekers?

Top 3 Destinations in 2021

Top 3 adventure destinations for 2021

#1 California

Total Adventure Score: 90.42/100

Coming out on top by some distance was the Golden State, California, which boasted over 45,000 adventure activities across ten different categories, having more options for the likes of rock climbing, surfing, hiking, skydiving, and hang gliding and than any other state.

The sheer variety of the Californian landscape makes it perfect for all manner of adventuring, whether it’s surfing off the Pacific Coast, hiking in the Sierra Mountains or mountain biking through the Redwoods.

#2 Colorado

Total Adventure Score: 55.92/100

Colorado is known around the world for its skiing, with 32 ski resorts located in the state, including some of the world’s very best, such as Vail, Aspen Snowmass and Telluride.

But if skiing isn’t your thing, there’s still plenty to enjoy in the outdoors in Colorado, which had more mountain biking tracks than any other state in our research.
The state is also home to the Rocky Mountains, which are a paradise for hikers and climbers.

#3 New York

Total Adventure Score – 48.42/100

New York State was actually home to more ski resorts than world-renowned destinations as well as any other state. It also scored highly on the number of kayaking destinations, whether that be in beautiful upstate NY or even in the rivers surrounding Manhattan, with the iconic skyline as the backdrop.

From the Adirondacks to the Catskills, there’s much more to New York than the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple itself if you’re looking for adventure in the Empire State.

All 50 U.S. States Ranked

So, if you’re looking to plan an adventure holiday to the States, where should you be looking to visit?
Whether you want to try mountain biking in Colorado, skiing in upstate New York or caving in Virginia, here’s our full ranking of the adventure sports available in all 50 states.

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Methodology & Data Sources

  • We ranked each state on the number of available activities in the following ten categories, giving each state a normalized score out of 100 for each activity, before taking an average overall score across all ten activities.
  • Rock Climbing Routes
    • https://www.mountainproject.com/route-guide
  • Hiking Trails
    • https://www.alltrails.com/
  • Mountain Biking Trails
    • https://www.singletracks.com/mountain-bike-trails/
  • Kayaking Spots
  • Ski Resorts
    • https://www.skiresort.info/ski-resorts/usa/
  • Zip Lines
    • https://www.ziplinerider.com/Zipline_Locations.html
  • Surfing Spots
    • https://surfing-waves.com/atlas/north_america/usa.html
  • Caving Grottos
    • https://caves.org/committee/i-o/grottos/grottos.shtml
  • Skydiving Drop Zones
    • https://uspa.org/DZlocator
  • Hang Gliding Locations
    • http://hangglidingadventures.com/

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