While taking my daily scroll, I encountered a fun question from one of my favorite online discussion boards, “When traveling in the US, which state surprised you the most?”
While Hawaii, Orlando, Myrtle Beach, Las Vegas, and other popular vacation destinations seem to get tons of attention and visitors, there are 50 glorious states to explore across America. Travelers are experiencing more of them, and here’s what they said.
1. South Dakota
Someone shared, “Driving through South Dakota, there was a point where all the way to the horizon was grass in every direction. The sky was blue, and the grass was green. The only sign of civilization was the road”
“It felt like being in this weird kind of pleasant void space. Like a loading screen for life?” Another added, “The Black Hills are stunningly beautiful.”
2. New Mexico
“New Mexico is gorgeous. Santa Fe was a huge surprise. The history and culture there are fascinating. All the art is influenced by the Spanish, Anglo, and Native Americans,” replied one. Another agreed, “The sunrises! It’s like another planet.”
“Idaho. I never realized how much of it was desert,” someone confessed. Another confessed, “I’m surprised to read it. I wasn’t aware that ANY of it was desert.”
“Oh yeah. Boise goes from foresty mountains to quite scrubby with some trees around the city and green neighborhoods to hundreds of miles of dirt and brush-filled desert. Not a lot of sand except in a few places, though,” the original poster responded.
Someone admitted, “I didn’t know there were evergreen forests in Arizona until I saw them firsthand while driving in from New Mexico on the 40 in a blizzard. There were at least two feet of snow on the ground. So my idea of the southwest looked like Phoenix, Tucson, Vegas, Albuquerque, with the open desert as far as the eye can see.”
“But that region is shockingly diverse. I honestly had no idea places like Flagstaff existed. I stayed a few nights in Williams in Arizona, and it genuinely felt like I was in Upstate New York again.”
“I woke up in a small town in Kansas and immediately felt like I traveled back in time 20-30 years. It almost felt like a movie set,” replied one. Another shared, “I drove through Bridgeport, Connecticut, and I got this eerie sensation as if I’d gone back in time 50-60 years. I can’t explain it, but it was weird.”
One person confessed, “I had no idea how hot and humid Florida could be.” “I’m from North Carolina, where the heat and humidity can get terrible, but Florida is just an entirely new level. If you fly into an airport in Florida, it hits you in the face as soon as you step outside,” another agreed.
“After moving to Oregon for work, I quickly realized it was one of America’s best-kept secrets,” one stated. “After a few years, I learned that Oregonians prefer it that way. Everywhere you look, it’s pretty much a National Geographic photo.”
Another agreed, “Yup. It’s stunning, and we have a wide variety of ecosystems. Ocean, mountains, plains, Forests, deserts. We got it all in one state.”
One person shared, “Alaska. I was born there but moved away as a toddler. I heard about it from family all my life, pictures, and videos. So I was perfectly prepared for what to expect, but the actual experience of seeing Alaska can never be replicated.”
“Alaska is mouth-watering gorgeous. We went on a couple of cruises there, and I loved to sit outside and watch the magnificent scenery go by,” another agreed. “I think it’s the most beautiful state in the union.”
“Washington State,’ another suggested. “With Cascade Mountains, Olympic National Park, Mount Rainier, Leavenworth, Steven Pass. Washington has things to do all year round, even though it is expensive to live there and raining a lot.”
“Utah,” shared one. “It’s incredible! I moved out of state, and I miss it so much. Those mountains are something else.” “I went to Salt Lake City for the first time a few years ago, and I was astonished at how beautiful the area is,” another confessed.
We hope you enjoyed this Reddit response list of surprising experiences in the U.S. and it inspires your 2023 vacation plans.