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50 replies
Best US State and Why?
MMG
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What is your nominee for best/favorite US state and why?

Even though I’ve unfortuanately never been there, California sounds like a good choice to me, if only because it’s so big and diverse. You’ve got a couple of great cities (San Francisco, San Diego, LA), beautiful natural attractions (beaches, mountains, desert), and a spread of cultures ranging from Pacific Northwest to the Mexican border. Am I right in these impressions?

Of the states I have been to, I’d have to say either Massachusetts or Virginia. Both have tons of history and tradition, at least one great city (Boston and DC — I know, it’s not really in VA, but it may as well be), and some great small towns. Each also has a distinct identity, encapsulating some of the best images of the North and South, respectively.

What’s your choice?

nicole
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Even though I have only been to about 1/2 of the US states, I really would be hard pressed to pick the "best" one since I (1) haven’t been to all of them to make a valid opinion and (2) there is such diversity amongst the fifty how could one realistically rate one the best?

I mean, how can you compare the wonderous Alaskan mountain frontier isolation to the serene desert beauty of Arizona to the rolling green hills of Vermont? Each has their attributes and I am sure every one has its faults as well.

In any event, you will probably get a great deal of votes for California but personally, I don’t think California is the end all/be all. (Just my opinion, this from a native Bostonian).

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I agree with the points Nicole makes.

So, I guess from the states I’ve been to, some "must-sees" would be: New Mexico, Illinois, and California.

Danielle_Hollowell
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I agree with the above said, but as i live in texas, i have to say, texas is one of the coolest places to see…

you have rural areas, along with Super mega cities such as Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Houston, (to just name a few)
the beaches in the south, the mexican heritage in the southern areas, as well as the farming country, and hick people, giving texas a nice twist of culture, people, and good ole southern comfort to make this state one of the best states to go see….

Danielle

EricaT
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Danielle,

What part of Texas are you from?

My dad lives near san antonio in new braunfels.

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Best State? Depends on your own personal taste, and what YOU like to do.

Best State to relax in the sun: Florida. Hands down. Ever been to the Keys? Mickey Mouse, Ybor City(Tampa), South Beach… Nuff said.

Best State for sight-seeing? Grand Canyon is pretty impressive. Arizona. Still, I love Up-State Michigan. Mackinaw Isle is unbelievable in Summer.

Best State for Skiing: I am personally partial to Park City, UT and Jackson Hole, WY. However, the state of Colorado would have to win this one. Copper Mt., Aspen, Breckenridge, and Vail…

Best Food: Nawlins, LA

Best Micro-Breweries: Portland, OR

I am leaving from EWR with $4000 for 9 days

MunichBeerBoy

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Oh, and I do agree with the aforementioned posting. San Antonio, TX – particularly the River Walk!!! It’s great!

I am leaving from EWR with $4000 for 9 days

MunichBeerBoy

MMG
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Okay, obviously it’s impossible to realistically pick one "best" state. But I think these types of questions are fun and interesting anyways, and at least they might give you new vacation ideas.

I forgot to mention the two "extreme" states — Hawaii and Alaska. Never been to either (this thread is making me think more about states I haven’t been to than ones I have!), but would love to for obvious reasons.

I’ve also always wanted to check out Texas, especially along the border. Erica, have you ever been to Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels? I was watching the travel channel the the other night and they named it the best (there’s that word again!) water park in the country. Also, what made you list Illinois and New Mexico?

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I’m in no position to judge the ‘best’ or otherwise state in America, as I’ve only been to Washington State (apart from New York City) – but I will say that I loved Washington, the scenery is amazing, especially the Olympic peninsular, and everyone I met was really friendly and helpful. There are a lot of activities you can take part in and some of the towns and cities are really interesting. If people are wondering where to visit in America I’d say it’s definitely worth a trip.

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Ohio, because only natives want to live there. You don’t have to worry about all of the "out of towners" driving prices up!

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quote:
Ohio, because only natives want to live there. You don’t have to worry about all of the "out of towners" driving prices up!

That is the main problem with California. Its gotten to the point that people are considered to be natives after 5 years. CA born snobs like me find that ridiculous. CA is pretty awesome, though. Where else can you surf, ski/snowboard and play in the desert in the same day?

Having said that, if I had my choice I’d probably move to Washington or Oregon. A couple of years ago I was seriously considering it.

hoju
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quote:
I’ve also always wanted to check out Texas, especially along the border. Erica, have you ever been to Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels? I was watching the travel channel the the other night and they named it the best (there’s that word again!) water park in the country.

I’m from Texas, too (Austin), and I would definitely recommend it, but in no way because of Schlitterbahn, or any other theme park. Long lines, shivering in the wind while your feet are burning up on the asphalt, only a few good rides, I’d say go to it once to experience it if you want, but since visiting about 10 times, I’m in no hurry to go again.

In Texas, you have South Padre (it’s no Caribbean but still a good beach), The area up around El Paso/ Big Bend (huge rock formations, cacti, mountains), Enchanted Rock (and out near there a lot of Texas wineries to visit, and roadside delicious peachstands to buy from), in Austin, my favorite site is Mt.Bonnell which you can hike up and look out over a beautiful lake way down at the bottom, green hills, and insanely big, cool houses dotting the green.

And there’s so much more.

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I guess the "Best" U.S. State depends on what you’re into. If you like big, dense metropolitan cities and don’t enjoy the hassle of renting a car, NYC and Chicago are #1 and 2 with a bullet. If you like museums, NYC is a strong #1, with Washington DC and Chicago making a strong #2 and 3. If you like to eat, that’s a much more difficult question. New Orleans is renowned for its Cajun food (though I’ve never been there), and you can’t go wrong ordering seafood in Seattle. It comes as no surprise that you can find any kind of cuisine in both New York and Chicago. I live in LA and am thoroughly underwhelmed by the "big" restaurants. Although there are some good eats, the better culinary bargains come from the small little taco stands and Mediterranean restaurants.

If you like the Great Outdoors, no state can outdo California. It’s an expensive state to visit, you’ll almost certainly have to rent a car, and you simply won’t be able to see it all in 10 days or 1 week. But San Francisco is beautiful (if a little overpraised), San Diego is relaxed, and some of the most scenic drives in the world travel through CA. I’m talking about the PCH (Pacific Coastal Highway) between LA and SF. I’m talking about the Tioga Pass from Mono Lake through Yosemite National Park. I’m talking about the Generals Highway, which passes through the giant sequoias of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

However, as much as I like San Antonio, Texas is not a contender for Best U.S. State.

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Well, I’ve lived in California my whole life and I love it. I live in LA. CA is great because you have pretty much everything you need: beaches, deserts, mountains. There is always something to do. Vegas is about 5 hours away from LA so if you want to really party I would recommend going there for a weekend.
Aside from CA, I would say that New York is my second favorite. I would pretty much skip all the other states unless you’re just going to vist. New Orleans is cool, Florida is nice…I’ve never been to Hawaii or Alaska but I’m sure they are beautiful.

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I just returned from Hawaii. It was never on my list of places to visit, but I’m glad I did. It has a lot of natural beauty. That and South Carolina are probably my favourite states.

MMG
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quote:
I just returned from Hawaii. It was never on my list of places to visit, but I’m glad I did. It has a lot of natural beauty. That and South Carolina are probably my favourite states.

Once again I’m curious about other people’s choices. I have a lot of relatives in SC and lived there for a few years myself; its charms are not lost on me, but I don’t know if I would put it on a "best" list. What about SC makes you put it on your list?

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I’m from Canada, but have lived in Connecticut and California while playing and working in hockey and I find that the US is really all coast with little in between. Now I know I’ll get replies that the true essence lies in the middle or heartland states but I couldn’t find anything of interest there.

I found myself having the best time within 100 miles of an ocean……ie: San Diego, Los Angeles, Vegas (more than 100 miles but who cares, it’s Vegas), New York, Boston, FLA, New Haven, Providence…..

Naturally, there are two exceptions….Cleveland and Omaha.

So for the favourite state I’d have to say California, for San Diego, LA and San Fran, and New York, for NYC, Lake Placid and the catskills.

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Hey MMG

I really liked SC because I used to go there when I was younger, and stayed at my aunt and uncles condo on Fripp Island (close to Hilton Head). I just loved the area, I found it has a charm that I still haven’t seen in any other state.

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If I’m living in America, I have to live within 60 miles of Cleveland. Somewhere like Sandusky would be good because I’d be close to Cleveland and Ann Arbor. So Ohio is my choice.

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It seems that people are basing these opinions on one or two places or experiences in a particular state, without considering the state as a whole. The question isn’t about best city: you certainly can’t say that Illinois is the best state simply because of Chicago, nor can you defend New York State with New York City (having said this, yes, both cities are great!).

When I think of best state, I think of overall attributes:
natural beauty
unique culture
climate
attitude of its people
infrastructure
range of activities
standard of living
access to metropolises/international airports

I would have to say that California as a whole DOES stack up as one of the best states, but one of the reason for this I believe is that it’s the largest — the state itself varies a great deal from north to south. Still, you can’t argue that it has a lot to offer.

Personally I think the Texas climate is too extreme in the summer and that the standard of living in rural areas is questionable and that the attitude/perspectives/education level of many of its natives lacks the variety or depth of people living in other states. I love San Antonio, Austin and Houston, but those are only one part of Texas.

I have to vouch for my home state on this one: Maryland.

Maryland has a LOT to offer: Washington DC, Baltimore, Annapolis, Philadelphia, Richmond…all within a stone’s throw.

There are great beaches, great fishing/crabbing, beautiful natural areas around the Chesapeake Bay…you can go boating, biking along the C and O canal, Potomac River…there’s Great Falls….good skiing in Western Maryland…beautiful farms in southern Maryland…quiet getaways in areas like St Michaels and Solomon Islands…

The entertainment/eating out/nightlife/culture is great — the Smithsonian Museums in DC are FREE and fantastic…Washington DC is a melting pot for cultures and foods, the live music and quality of the music is great too.

The area is easily accessed by THREE international airports (BWI, Dulles, Reagan National), though one downfall of the area is congestion/traffic.

The history of the area is wonderful too, with Maryland’s backdrop of slavery leading up to the Civil War…Harper’s Ferry…Gettysburg not too far away…tobacco plantations in the southern part…Annapolis once being the US capital for a short time…and who can dispute that DC is a wonderful place to learn about the history of the country?

And, overall, people in Maryland, esp in the metropolitan areas, are very open-minded, well-educated and proactive about their communities. They have traveled a lot but also take a lot of pride in their state. They enjoy the hustle-bustle of city life, but like to retreat to their own quiescence. The educational opportunities there are very good, with a few of Maryland’s public school counties ranking the top in the nation and the Univ of Maryland gaining more attention everyday.

I’m not originally from there, but it’s where I grew up, and after having traveled to 37 US states and around the world a few times, I can definitely say that it ranks up there.

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i’ve lived in los angeles my whole life. i personally am not a big fan of southern california but think northern california is quite nice. i haven’t been to too many states but i think hawaii is amazing. i never had too big an interest in going but my parents wanted me to come with them and my sister when they went and i fell in love with it. oregon is nice as well.

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What about the greater Toronto area ?? I heard its pretty fantastic, a real big city feel… wait isn’t Toronto in Canada ? Jesus I keep forgetting ! Can ya really blame me ?

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Personally, I’m a bit partial to Colorado…it’s got natural beauty, urban cities, and the people are generally relaxed and easygoing…I myself live in Detroit, and for all the knocks we take, it’s a very interesting city and there is actually a lot to do…and Northern Michigan is beautiful in the summer and full of snow sports for the winter…

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quote:
What about the greater Toronto area ?? I heard its pretty fantastic, a real big city feel… wait isn’t Toronto in Canada ? Jesus I keep forgetting ! Can ya really blame me ?

So does this mean that some in Canada want to be our 51st state????

I grew up in the Mountains of Tennessee and trust me, take your scenery from across the land and it won’t compare to the Smokies at dusk in the fall.

As for cities…chicago.

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New York- Because NYC is there,, that is a good enough reason

and yes that’s where I’m from so I am inherently biased

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Following in hope’s footsteps, I have to recommend Virginia. It’s like Maryland, only better. And more of it – ocean beaches, bay beaches, islands, forests, mountains, lakes, rural or urban places, mucho history, near North Carolina (don’t underrate it). And Washington DC is right there – for my money a better town than NYC (heresy!). The only downside is the politics.

Other states? Colorado for intense scenery and hiking (as opposed to the older, gentler stuff found in VA). California is certainly great in terms of nature, all the people stuff I’m not so fond of. Skip Arizona, the Grand Canyon is just a hole in the ground (a very big hole). I’ve always wanted to go to Vermont in the fall. Never been to the U.S. Pacific Northwest, so can’t comment, but Vancouver, BC was as nice a town as I’ve been in.

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OK, I will put my two cents worth into this discussion. Of course, everyone should, at least once in their lifetime, come to ALASKA. Southeast Alaska, specifically where there’s beauty everywhere, not to mention great fishing and hunting in the pristine wilderness. No humidity in the summer, just comfortable 70’s and not much below 32 in the winter.

I didn’t always live here but moved here to get away from the rat race and crime in the lower 48. Plus Alaska is a lot more relaxed on many issues. After all, it’s the last frontier! So even if you don’t want to live here, come visit.

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I really love Kentucky!!!!

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Well, this topic has taken on a life of its own.

And I wasn’t far from the mark regarding California – every second person thinks that is the best state but I still stand in the minority for that. And forget about Texas – TExans consider themselves as their own country within the confines of the US border.

Anyway I think you really can’t pick. There is so much beauty and characteristics for each state, I wouldn’t be able to narrow down to just one but could probably pick a top ten I guess.

I think New England (which obviously is 6 different states) could almost stand as its own state. Maine is called vacationland for a reason. Portland is funky vibrant city (though small) and the wilderness there is relatively untapped once you get away from the southern corner. Rocky beaches, hiking, skiing, pine trees and moose etc etc.

Vermont is sort of in a class all its own and is surprisingly different from New Hampshire. Beautiful green mountains (or hills if you compare them to higher peaks out west!), quaint farmlands, funky towns like Burlington and Bennington, Lake Champlain.

Massachusetts has the wonderful Berkshires, Cape Cod and one of the oldest cities in the US (Boston of course) complete with culture, universities, history and sights.

I think CT, RI and NH take backseats to these states but I’m biased.

Anyway, there is also New Mexico – a wonderful state in a category all its own. What do you expect from a state that was really part of another country for longer than its been part of the US? The scenery and landscape is mystefying and wonderous. Names the "Land of Enchantment" it certainly is. Sante Fe has the 3rd highest per capita of art galleries art scene (after NY & LA), great skiing at Taos, the whole state has a cuisine that is yummy yummy yummy and hot, and then there is Carlsbad Caverns, WHite Sands and the like, as well as the unique history of the native american populations who live and work in this state, providing a unique culture.

And then there is Wyoming, Montana, Alaska, Florida, and the list goes on. How to pick?

I think an easier list to compile would be the WORST US state.

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Yeah we did that in Favorite Places a little while back; New Jersey seemed to be one of the winners. In my opinion, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio could go in there, too.

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Colorado hands down is IMO the number 1 state in the USA.

Reasons:

  • Rocky Mountains – boarding, skiing, biking, hiking, camping, fishing, etc…
  • Denver – Great night life (have you been to LODO? A bar on every street corner), every professional sporting team that matters (that includes the real game of futbol)
  • Boulder and Ft Collins are both great college towns
  • Colorado has the second-highest percentage of college graduates in the US
  • Southern and Eastern Colorado – farming communities…yummy veggies and fruit
  • The Great Sand Dunes (have you boarded sand?)
  • 300+ days of sunshine a year

okienole3
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OKLAHOMA HANDS DOWN

Coloreado and Florida runners up

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TENNESSEE!!!!

I have been to every state in the US, except Iowa and Ohio cause they both suck, and TN is hands down the coolest state. The state of TN represents all the great, easy going aspects of the South and combines them with the fast pace urban feel, which is like NYC.

Here is why,
1.)Im here
2.)Nicest people on earth
3.)Knoxville—>I go to college here and can tell you it kicks ass! Ok, you got the great smokey mountain national park,,the most beautiful national park in the US,,has so many different species of trees in it that it actually contains more varieties than all of Europe. Fly Fishing is unbeatable,,more trophy winning trout than in any other state in the entire east coast. skiing in ober and with a 2001’s #1 party school here, the night life rocks. Plus you havent lived till you sip some home-grown "Mountain Dew".
3.)Nashville—>Country Music capital, Home of the Titans, one of the greatest downtown areas in the country, and the women are, well they are perfect yet still plentiful.
4.)Memphis—>Im from here, so it of course kicks ass. The bluff city has THE BEST BBQ (not texas), Beale street is a 24-7 party, we got a great NBA team, an incredible music scene, HOME OF THE BLUES AND ROCK N ROLL, and of course HOME OF ELVIS AND GRACELAND.

TENNESSEE is the best state in the U.S., CALI and NY are overdone and the people there arent as hospitable as in dixie!

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Okay, I live in California, so I’m obviously biased.
And I am only comparing it to the other states I have visited, Florida, New York state, Mass., Oregon, Louisiana, Hawaii. All those states were incredible, however, I think CA has to be one of the best states I have seen.

Like others have said before, mountains, skiing, beaches, desert, farmland (yes, California is a huge agricultural state),old mining towns, national park, diverse cultures, some great cities, great weather, great wine, great system for higher education (K-12 is another story), etc.

Some things that aren’t great about Calif: average cost of living is SUPER high, real estate prices are ridiculous. Public transportation (except in some select cities) is horrible and inconvenient, and depending on your politics, we have a really, ummm, "interesting" governor. And since the state is considered one of the younger states of the union (compared to the east), not a whole lot of history, unless you count the Spanish and Native American histories (and we should really have more of that highlighted, IMO)

Depending on what you believe is important, I think California is a great state.

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Just dont go to Iowa, it’s a shit hole. But I live in Atlanta, Georgia, and I love living here.

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Hotlanta is pretty cool, so is Athens,,,,but Southern Georgia is a little too red for me. and yes iowa,as well as, ohio is a shithole

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its a toss up between CALI..my home.. and NY

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Washington. From mountains to the sound it’s lush and green; overflowing with trees. Views of mountains on all sides (Mt. Rainier, the Cascades, the Olympics). Good economy; lots of great music; great resturants. I’m from the Midwest and I’ve done all you can do there. Out here you always have new choices—this state constantly reinvents itself.

If you want to roadtrip, you’re only 2 hours from Vancouver BC and 2.5 hours to Portland. The climate is temperate (no extreme winters or summers) and the people, overall, are good-natured and down to earth.

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New JERSEY,

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Oregon. The coast is incredible, Portland is a great city, and any state with a univerisity team called the Beavers (Oregon State) has my vote.

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Michigan isn’t really getting a fair shake here, probably cause a lot of people haven’t had the time to go anywhere except Detroit (which I do admittingly kinda like for its ghetto-charm and music scene, I’ll have to admit). Just the upper portion of the lower penninsula is amazing, much less the UP.

That being said, I’m moving to Boulder, CO in 6 weeks Smile

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I haven’t been to all the states, but I need to ring in some votes for Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine from rural, relaxed points of view.

New York should be very high on the list – perhaps tops – it has the best big city (NYC) and also great country and scenery (upstate NY).

I can’t stand Florida, but California has its good points.

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I second Oregon.

Hell, even Californians know. They move here in droves.

We’ve got:

- A Mediterranean Climate (good for wine)
– Lots ‘o’ Mountains (world class skiing at Mt. Bachelor)
– The beach
– The high desert
– Canyons
– One of the best cities in the nation (Portland)
– Regional Hub for Microbrewed Beer!
– Two good-sized college towns
– A unique blend of politics

Sheesh, I could keep going but what’s the point? It’s a hell of a lot better than Texas and Cali (most places in either that is).

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quote:What is your nominee for best/favorite US state and why?

Best for what — cost-of-living? Low crime? Best scenery? Best clubs? Best live music? Best for movie location for film, set in the Depression era?!

I could probably give 50 different answers!

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Alaska was my favorite for the past 10 years but this year I went to Hawaii and it blew my mind so it’s probebly beating Alaska by a nose. other favorites of mine are
HI
Ak
Ca
Co (skiing)
NV (Vegas baby!)
MN (boundry waters, Mpls. home)
LA (Mardi Gras,Halloween,music)
still haven’t hit NY Frown

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quote:I have been to every state in the US, except Iowa and Ohio cause they both suck

How do you know if you’ve never been there? It’s interesting how people think they’re experts on a place they’ve never been.

Use your head.

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I’ve been to both and, to confirm, comparatively they do suck.

Iowa is better than Ohio, however (excepting Cleveland).

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"Suck" is a relative term and really doesn’t give much information. In terms of crime and general cost, there is no doubt those states would come out ahead of many others! What helps is specific comments so that people can learn from your views. If you’re speaking about the ease of finding hostels or clubs, then those states probably rank rather low.

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Massachusetts is the perfect state for students. (maybe not so much if you’re not a student. I don’t know I’m still one). Boston doubles in size when school starts, summer time is when you need to walk around copley sq. It reminds me of Europe. Cambridge, Charles River etc….

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So many wonderful states it’s difficult to pick the best. On the flip side, I’m just plain dumbfounded that anyone could find the State of Texas even remotely appealing. It’s a festering sore of a state. A mistake of nature. If I was in charge I would personally push the NUKE button to rid the world of it forever. A scourge on humanity I’m telling you’ze.

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Hands down California and Nevada.

CA (I just lived in the Silicon Valley): traditional but contemporary at the same time, always perfect weather, we got about 320 days of sunshine a year, mountains, beach, shopping, good food.

Nevada : Lake Tahoe is amazing, and of course Reno & Las Vegas.