After more than a year of living through a global pandemic, who doesn’t want to have some fun right now? “People are tired of lockdowns and every aspect of pandemic life. ‘Return to normal’ is the main agenda of many individuals,” says Jalayer (Jolly) Khalilzadeh, an assistant professor at the School of Hospitality Leadership at East Carolina University. So with Covid numbers dropping in the U.S. and more people feeling safe about getting out and traveling this summer, the personal-finance website WalletHub recently released a report on the most fun states in America—and the results will definitely put a smile on your face.
“There are certain states where fun is not just an option but also a way of life,” says WalletHub financial writer Adam McCann. To come up with the list, WalletHub compared the 50 states across 26 key metrics, including the cost of a movie, accessibility of national parks, casinos per capita, and more. The aim was to see which states offer the greatest variety and most cost-effective options for enjoyment.
Coming in at the top of the list as the happiest state in America is California, which has the most restaurants, most movie theaters and most fitness centers per capita. The Golden State’s long shoreline, spending on recreation and nightlife also contributed to its win. Fun fact: California also has more national parks (nine) than any other state, which helped give it an edge.
Next on the list was Florida, followed by Nevada, New York and Illinois rounding out the top five for fun.
According to WalletHub, West Virginia is the least fun state in America. It bombed in a number of categories. West Virginia tied for 49th with the lowest personal expenditures on recreation services per capita. It tied for 44th in the lowest variety of arts, entertainment and recreational establishments. It came in 48th with the fewest fitness centers per capita. And it was 49th in fewest performing arts theaters per capita. Rounding out the un-fun list was Mississippi, Delaware, Arkansas and Rhode Islands—all in the bottom five.
So where did your state rank in the most fun states in America? Read on to see the full list and some of the fun categories. You can also see the breakouts for other categories and the methodology here.
The Most Fun States in America in 2021
- New York
- North Carolina
- New Mexico
- South Carolina
- New Jersey
- South Dakota
- North Dakota
- New Hampshire
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia