The United States is as vast and varied as any country on Earth. It’s home to thriving hubs of outdoor activity from the deserts of Utah, to the mountains of Colorado, and up the stunning Pacific Coast from California to Washington. Although the Midwest, East Coast, and Southern states don’t receive as much fanfare, they too have pockets of beautiful landscapes and residents that couldn’t imagine living and playing anywhere else.

Most of our favorite outdoor adventures and wilderness can be found in the West. The geographical heart of the West is the Rocky Mountains, which run for more than 3,000 miles from New Mexico to British Columbia through Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana. The Sierra Nevada, home to some of the wildest scenery in the Lower 48, lie further to the west mostly in California. Among these swaths of mountainous terrain are some of the grandest scenery the U.S. has to offer and the best opportunities for getting outdoors from hiking and backpacking to skiing and fly fishing.

The Upper Midwest, once home of the great conservationist Aldo Leopold, is a stronghold of Scandinavian culture and a burgeoning hub for water sports, biking and cross-country skiing. Densely populated cities dominate the Eastern seaboard from Washington D.C. to Boston, but places like Upstate New York, Vermont and Maine provide a refuge of tranquil lakes, colorful forests, rolling hills and mountains. The southern U.S. stretches from Texas, the second largest state, to the Florida Keys and north to the Appalachians. A significant amount of the South’s outdoor activities are centered in North Carolina (see the Great Smoky Mountains and Outer Banks), but Kentucky and other lesser-known destinations are now on the map. 

Two elephants in the room are the 49th and 50th states: Alaska and Hawaii, respectively. Alaska truly is one of the last frontiers and offers some of the biggest and most rugged wilderness on Earth. Wrangell-St. Elias, for example, a place not commonly known or visited, is the largest national park in the United States (it’s six times larger than Yellowstone and covers more land than the country of Switzerland!). Hawaii certainly has seen its fair share of development, but that doesn’t prevent it from being one of the world’s most scenic and pleasant warm-weather destinations.

Our United States Section covers many of the country’s prime outdoor areas, from individual state write-ups to hiking and other activities. You’ll see the list continue to grow, and feel free to reach out with ideas and suggestions. Enjoy your adventures! 

Alaska Grizzly Bears

Alaska Outdoors

No place on Earth is bigger or wilder than the state of Alaska. For scale, 70 percent of America’s national park land and 85 percent of its wildlife refuge acreage lies within the state’s borders. Wrangell–St. Elias National Park...
 California Yosemite

California Outdoors

For the adventure-minded traveler, California is a state that requires little introduction. From Joshua Tree in the south to Mount Shasta in the north, over 600 miles of dramatic coastline in the west to the rugged Sierra Nevada in the east...
Colorado Outdoors

Colorado Outdoors

It is difficult to think of mountains, and mountain sports in the United States, without thinking of Colorado. For many, especially vacationers from the East, Colorado is the first and last stop for adventure. Nearly one-third of the state is flat...
Montana Glacier National Park

Montana Outdoors

What do mountains and rivers have in common? Open plains and endless sky? Sparse population and untouched land? Wilderness and beauty? Besides the fact that one always goes hand-in-hand with the other, these things are...
New York Outdoors

New York Outdoors

So much has been written, sung, filmed, and said about New York that it is in many ways synonymous with the country itself. When most people think of New York, however, they typically think of New York City. The massive mixing bowl...
 Utah Delicate Arch

Utah Outdoors

Utah is best known as a ski state—and a darn good one at that—but what truly makes Utah so unique, and special, is its vast and colorful desert. It’s true that resorts such as Alta, Park City, and Snowbird are world-class ski hills, and all within...
Washington Enchantments

Washington Outdoors

Suppose for a moment that you wanted to begin a life full of outdoor adventures. You’re ready to take up activities like backpacking, whitewater kayaking, sea kayaking, sailing, surfing, windsurfing, rock climbing, mountaineering...
Wyoming Yellowstone

Wyoming Outdoors

If the West is holding on to the fading light of its once proud appellation, “The Wild West,” then Wyoming is one of the final strongholds. Its terrain is harsh and unforgiving: the plains collide boldly with mountains, raging rivers, and...
Seattle hikes

10 Great Day Hikes from Seattle

From the peaks of the Cascades, across the coastal rainforests of the Olympic Peninsula, to towering volcanoes like Mt. Rainier, hiking Washington’s diverse landscapes...
Chasm Lake Colorado

10 Great Day Hikes from Denver

From ski bums to cross-country transplants who moved here for the outdoors, nobody loves their mountains more than Coloradans. Below are our picks for the best day hikes from Denver...
Denali National Park Alaska

Denali National Park

Denali is the crown jewel of the Alaska Range, which forms a boundary between Alaska’s harsh interior and the south-central coastal region. It's the highest mountain in North America...
Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

Kenai Peninsula

The Kenai Peninsula offers Alaska’s widest variety of activities in one of its most accessible regions. People come from all over the world to whale watch in Seward, see glaciers calve in Kenai Fjords National Park...
Harding Icefield Trail Kenai

Kenai Peninsula Hiking Trails

Alaska’s vastness can be intimidating, but the Kenai offers some of the best access to the outdoors in the state. Below are some of the top hiking trails on the Kenai Peninsula, from...
Juneau, Alaska

Juneau, Alaska

Juneau is located on the Inside Passage in southeastern Alaska, surrounded by tall mountains on the narrow Gastineau Channel. The former gold settlement is the only state capital in the United States without road access...
Gates of the Arctic

Alaska’s Arctic Region

Alaska above the Arctic Circle is vast and unforgiving, with human existence seemingly irrelevant. The region is home to America’s largest swaths of protected land, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge...
Anchorage, Alaska

Anchorage, Alaska

Anchorage is Alaska’s biggest city (Juneau is the capitol) and the gateway for adventure throughout the state. The city isn’t big by “outside” standards (“outside” referring to the lower 48 states)...
Wrangell-St. Elias Alaska

Wrangell-St. Elias

Alaska’s eastern interior is dominated by Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, the largest national park in the United States. For comparison, Wrangell-St. Elias is larger than the country of Switzerland and six times...
Haleakala Hiking Maui

Maui's Best Hiking Trails

Maui is about relaxing and beach time, but there’s no better way to stretch your legs and see other parts of the island than a hike. And Maui has it all in terms of trails, from short walks on famous Wailea Beach to full-day treks...
Black Sand Beach Maui

Maui Off the Beaten Path

Maui’s warming sun, fine beaches, extravagant skies, tropical forests, and towering volcanoes live up to their legendary status in every way. Finding the soul of the Valley Isle, however, requires some savvy. It’s not necessarily in big-ticket resorts...