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I was browsing around Facebook the other day and someone had posted one of “those Facebook things” where it asks you to put a checkmark on the number of states that you’ve been to
I find these types of things to be generally harmless but vapid, but what caught my eye was the claim that the average American has only been to EIGHT states! I’m typically skeptical of claims like this, so I did a bit of research
How many states has the average American been to?
According to a 2016 survey by Livability and Ipsos, the average American has only been to 12 states. The most popular states for people to have been to are Florida, California, New York, Georgia, and Nevada.
A few more surprising facts from the survey
- North Dakota is the least visited states
- 10% of Americans (!) have only been to the state they currently live in
- Somehow 15-20% of people have been to Maine, but less than 15% of people have been to New Hampshire (the only state that borders Maine). I guess there’s either a LOT of cruise traffic or some Americans are really bad at geography (or both 😀 )
- Households with no children are more likely to want to visit Alaska, but people with kids are slightly more likely to have Florida on their wish list
I have visited 49 states (just missing Hawaii), but I am not content with visiting states – I am trying to visit every COUNTY in the United States – I’m about 60% of the way there
Looking through my family’s county spreadsheet (of COURSE I keep one!), in addition to my 49 states, my wife has been to 41. My kids have been to 37, 39, 38, 33, 30 and 29. So with a family average of 37, we’re doing our part!
How about you?
Now I want to hear from you! How many US states have you visited? Do you have plans to visit more or goals to visit all 50? Leave your thoughts in the comments
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35. Missing all of New England, Michigan, Tennessee and Kentucky, Iowa and Nebraska, North Dakota, Idaho, and Hawaii and Alaska.
I have been on the ground in 45 states, although only at airport terminals in CA & TX. Missing CN, OR, OK, RI, & VT but hope to get to at least VT & OR in the next few years. Also 14 countries and 7 Canadian provinces. So much more to see and enjoy. Travel opens your mind and gives you perspective.
46 missing colorado new mexico alaska and hawaii
37 different countrys
will get to 50 states and at least 50 countries
I’ve been to all 50 states at least four times. I’ve been to 11 in 2021, so far. I visited 25 in 2020. I’ve also been to 48 countries.
I reached all 50 in 2016
Nice! Congrats. I keep figuring I’ll get to Hawaii one of these days…
50 for me, 49 for my husband, 42 for my daughter (17).
My parents and brother are in the 40s. We had a map for each one of us but lost in the move. I don’t care since I won 🙂
what state did you not go to
I’ve hit your family average: 37 (plus District of Columbia). I’m missing Washington, Oregon, New Mexico, Utah, North and South Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Alaska.
I’m pleased, too, that I’ve been to 5 of the Hawaiian islands.
34 (but 36 if you count changing planes in a state as visiting the state). Missing most of the middle and NH/ME.
I’ve been to 35 as well. Missing Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maryland, Delaware, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Indiana, Oklahoma and Oregon.
50–yes, all 50. I live in Colorado and the last state I visited was South Dakota.
35 so far
50 plus D.C., Puerto Rico, USVI, and Guam.
50 plus DC, Puerto Rico and USVI and 25% of the counties.
I count a state if my foot has touched the ground and not just a building. Therefore, if I had a connecting flight at MSP, Minnesota would not count unless I walked on the sidewalk of the airport. It wouldn’t also count if I drove through a state without stopping.
To that end, I have been to 49 states. For a while, those rules made it 48 states but I made it a point of stepping outside of the building at MSP.
i wonder what constitutes a “visit”. just driving through it? a night? doing something “significant”?
I am a big fan of traveling however you want to travel. In my group of folks that is trying to visit every county, I know of one guy who is trying to eat a Big Mac in every county. Another who doesn’t count it unless he visits the county courthouse. So you do it however YOU want 🙂
I have been to 49. Missing Hawaii. The last two times in maine though have been flying and so I missed NH. I have also been to 5 Canadian provinces. I would like to get to all 10 some day.
We are Australian couple and visited USA 3 times and have been to 18 states
At home all the states and territories of Australia
I only go where I want to go. I don’t know the number or states or countries. Alaska, Hawaii, check…. When we moved East from the West, we encountered people who had never left their county. That was a shock to us.
My family has been to all 50 (kids in college now). We completed the task before my kids turned 18 with our final state….New Jersey! At least they have part of Ellis Island and Port Liberty. We have also been to USVI, PR, six island in Hawaii, as well as many other countries. There is usually something unique in each state and a great educational experience for growing kids. I doubt it is something you would expect from a farmer in “flyover country”. You don’t have to live in a city (done that) to have wanderlust.
To count a state, I have to had spent at least one night there. I’m at 49, with only Maine left to visit.
When you do visit Maine make sure to visit Acadia (& catch the sunrise on Cadillac Mountain)! It & Big Sur are my favorite areas. My family (including my grandpa) first visited when I was 4, my daughter’s first confirmed memory (15months) was from there & pretty much as soon as I leave I’m itching to go back.
I’ve only slept in 14 States + DC so there are some wonderful things you’ve seen that I have yet to, but I still doubt Acadia will disappoint you.
As a Canadian, I have visited 42 States thus far including Hawaii (6 visits, 3 Islands) and Alaska. I have driven every inch of I90 from Boston to Seattle and every Inch of I5 from the British Columbia Border to the Mexican Border. I have also been to to the United States Territory Peurto Rico. I plan to visit the remaining soon.
I have yet to be to the Carolinas. Despite visiting Maine & Vermont, I too have not visited New Hampshire. That and Michigan the only two border States missing from my roster.
James – You don’t know what your missing! Having grown up in the Midwest (Chicagoland) and then “out east” in Pittsburgh, I can happily confirm the Carolinas offer you the best of everything. Mountains, Lakes, AND Ocean – all within the same state. Nothing but warm weather in the southern tip and even some cold (if you really enjoy it) just a few hours away in Asheville / Biltmore area. You’ll experience a beautiful, white Christmas in the most incredible home and setting. (Biltmore House) Take my word – You’ve saved the best for last. Look me up when you decide to visit for some local venues. I’ll be happy to oblige.
That would be Awesome. I am even more eager to visit now. I am currently in Hong Kong and will visit Guam and Oahu on my way home. I have also added Hawaii to my list of Hawaiian Islands since my first post.
Melissa is correct. North Carolina is by far the best state in the country: varied scenery, beautiful, warm, welcoming.
There are many many in the world who never leave their small village. We so take for granted our ability to travel in the western world. We take much pride in our “ badges”.
I fortunately live next to Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY. There are adults who have never left my neighborhood. There are adults in my neighborhood who have never even been to THE PARK. These are people who are insular, phoebic & generally closed-minded.
It is regretable that many people have very limited oppertunity to travel, and even worse that some have NO such oppertunity. However I’ll take sharing in the joy of fellow travelers over sad closed-minded people anyday.
I been to 38 states, plus DC. Would love one more time to be in AZ, CA, DC, LA, NYc and VA.
In Europe, I have been to all Western European nations plus two of the former wobbly Eastern ones. Of these 25, 21 for work and residence. As a typical young European (I am 70), I speak three European languages fluently and cope in three others. In all, 120+ countries worldwide.
It is just plain silly to be isolated on this interdependent globe, so, Americans, of whom all of you are migrants, raise your eyes, open your ears and get on your bikes!
Greetings from Uithoorn, The Netherlands
Just finished a trip to Alaska, which was #50 for me. Going back through the list to update it with new requirements – have to Fly, Relax (sleep, but it didn’t fit the acronym), Eat and Drive in each state, calling it my “FRED” list.
For that one, I have 7 to go (most are to fly, since I’ve done the others). Delaware will be hardest since there is no longer commercial air service. Will have to see what can be done on that one…
Alaska was #49 for me and it was just a quick turnaround to the KTN airport. Definitely weak in the “counting it” category but I’ll be back. Because remember I “have to” visit all its counties (boroughs) too 🙂
For your FRED list do you have to fly from / to / or either?
I live in rural Wales UK, and yet have managed to go to 47 states to date.
I had never been to the US, until I was in my 40’s.
Only North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska to go.
Anybody any ideas what to go to ND for, other than to complete the set? I once asked an ND resident, who I met in Alaska. that question, and was just told “Well, you would be welcome to stay in our cabin”!
I have already booked to revisit another 10 states without hitting my missing 3.
I missed ND for the first 39 years of my life and then visited it 3 times in the next year or so to 3 different parts.
drove 300 miles to get to squeeze in north dakota i knew it was hard to get to
but had to do it
Where can we get a couple of those maps?
Tough to figure out how many since we lived in IL from ages 1-5 and I have no idea which states we visited- WI, MI, IO, Kansas, Arkansas? Think I have the rest covered including HI and AK. Now the daughter has the travel bug but I suspect that she wants a world map….LOL
Hit 50 when I was 25 yo. My grandparents loved going cross country so I joined them 3 times. Great memories!
Live in Missouri. Hit 50 in 2015. Last three, in order, MN, ND, AK. Most visited, NY & CA.
I’d guess a lot of the folks who went to Maine drove up from/through Boston, blinked and never realize they were in New Hampshire for a few minutes.
I am off to number 48 (WI) today, leaving SC & RI.
I finished the 50 states for the first time back in 1994. I initially counted a state only if I have spent at least one night in it, but I’ve done far more extensive visits now. Had never heard of the FRED criteria until a previous commenter noted it. My wife is a recent immigrant (2014) and we have a three-year old son. They will finish the fifty states next July. I don’t do counties, but I’ve completed various other lists, like the seven continents, man-made and natural Seven Wonders of the World (every list I could find and there are many) and countries of the world (over 100 visited, but lots to go). Someone mentioned the Hawaiian Islands – we visited the six that are normally accessible to tourists. It has been refreshing to re-visit so many places and see them through the observations of my wife and son. Those first moments of wonder in a new location are special.
Saw another comment posted on this thread, so came back to update mine. I guess the travel bug obsession never ends. My wife and son (now four) completed the fifty states in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on 07/26/2019. Also note that I’ve been in all five oceans (oceanographers include a Southern Ocean, so I do too), my wife has been in all oceans but the Southern Ocean, and my son still lacks the Indian Ocean and Southern Ocean. Our stint in the Arctic ocean was brief, but included both arms and legs, so we count it. We’re off soon to increase their continent count!
Didn’t flights from California to Europe stop in Bangor ME? Maybe that is what some folks are counting. Been to all but North Dakota and Hawaii and perhaps Nebraska. I thought I was there when I was a kid but can’t confirm it. We are going to go through there on our next trip to the E coast.
We live in CA and when we make a trip to the E coast to see relatives/visit, we try and stop along the way to see cool things. Be it a 10 minute visit to Cadillac Ranch, or a few hours at the Alamo, once we get out of the west, we try to see something to make the trip a bit more interesting. Don’t fly (went to AK before I married non-flying wife) so Hawaii is a possibility but not until after I retire in a few years.
The average of 8 states doesn’t sound very high but quite a few people either don’t have the extra money for even a road trip, don’t have relatives to visit that live far away, aren’t really interested in seeing cool things or perhaps live in TX where you can drive 800+ miles and still be in the same state (El Paso to Beaumont). Mid-Atlantic and northeast folks may go to another state every day whereas someone that lives in Laredo TX has a pretty long drive to hit another state.
My wife and I have been to all 50 States. I have been to 132 Countries 8 Canadian Provinces and all 7 continents. She has been to 105 Countries and 6 continents. We are still adding. Fun!!
Very true @Dano, As they say, “the sun has rise and the sun has set and here we is in Texas yet.” I have driven a 1000 miles in a day from my home in British Columbia enroute to my vacation home on Phoenix. There is definitely a lot of cool things to see along any journey wherever you go.
One place is the Four Corners of America where you can lay on the ground and be in four States at one time.
Once retirement arrives, get yor tickets to Hawaii. “Book’em Dano! lol
I visited all of the lower 48 plus Alaska. All Canadian provinces and territories. Driven the length of the Trans-Canada highway, U.S. 2 and U.S. 20. Everything was driven on non interstate highways.
48 for me, I am missing North Dakota and Maine.
3007 counties in US, not counting parishes and that BS.
The number I see most often is 3,143, which includes parishes, boroughs, independent cities and other “county equivalents”
49 for me….missed CT somehow….could have driven over the State Line and say I’d been there but I didn’t. I’m in Illinois.
36, if I include the District of Columbia. Missing AK, DE, GA, ID, KY, MN, MT, NC, ND, SC, SD, VT, WV, WI, WY.
I hit 50 sates about 25 years ago. I have also been to 197 of the top 200 largest US cities.
34 and mostly do to work travel.
Ok, I’m definately slacking! I’ve only been to 20 states (slept in 14 and passed through 6) + DC so far. And I’ve only been to 7 other countries so far.
I have no need to check off a list, but there are plenty more places I’d like to go. Already booked to add Seattle WA soon 😉
Does it count as sleeping in a state if you doze all the way through Rhode Island or Delaware on I-95? Or do you have to spend a night there sleeping?
Personally, I was unsure whether to count my visit to the Carolinas as actually visiting a both states, as all we did was basically sleep (on the Crescent Amtrak route).
You do it however you want! I would count it personally
Interesting – occasional business traveler for 30 yrs, and I’m at 44- ME, NH, ND, SD, SC and AR.
Just got our 50th when we geocached in Alaska.
My 5 year old son has been to 28 states (in order to be included in the count the visit has to be >24hrs), plus Washington DC, Mexico and Canada. He’s been to many of them multiple times and I keep a separate count of states visited each year. He is slated to have states 29-31 added to the tally before the year is out. I’ve been to 38 (will be 39 by end of year). We have seen and experienced a lot on these adventures. I hope to instill in him the virtue of learning about and building connections with people, cultures, places, history, science, art, music, nature, etc over materialistic wants; however, if nothing else, we have a lot of fun and have made many great memories together. I’m looking forward to traveling world wide with him as he gets older.
LOL… I’m @ 27 and excited. It’s fun, isn’t it ?
47 States, including Hawaii, but not Alaska. Unlikely I’ll visit all 50 as I live in The Netherlands and usually only go back to visit my kids in Maryland, or winter vacation in Florida. My wife is Dutch and has been to 17 states. But my wife and I travel a lot in Europe, and we’ve been 32 different countries, I would recommend Malta and Croatia as great places to visit, although they all are really great in their own way.
Been to all 50, many multiple times. Also been to Puerto Rico, Guam, CNMI and will be visiting American Samoa in 2020 (leaving USVI left). I was born in D.C. – so I started as a “stateless” person of sorts haha.
My wife and I visited all 50 together before we got married. We also have tacked all the Canadian provinces with Newfoundland being our last. We are planning a trip to Nunavut later in the year and will only have N.W.T. left after that. Being a bit obsessive, I’ll feel like I still need to get a trip to Labrador proper and St. Pierre & Miquelon later to get all of North America done.
I see you’ve done the US 2 Route! Funny, I was just thinking about visiting all counties a couple of hours ago. I’ve been in all 50 and 40 of them again since January 1, 2014. My goal is all 50 again and to start adding counties as well. I’m doing a blog but mine isn’t as well developed as yours.
My wife daughter and I have visited all of the lower 48 with plans of heading to Alaska next year.
My personal guideline is that in eachstate, I have eaten a meal and visited a site to count. I was able to reach all 50.
My last was North Dakota. I was very excited and each site I visited in Bismarck, I would exclaim “This is my 50th State”, but would always get a bored look in return.
Finally one woman said to me: “You don’t understand, we are EVERYBODY’s 50th state. And everyone who comes in here tells us the same thing.”
So I have a new goal. I would like to bicycle in all 10 Canadian Provinces. I have already cycled in 8. (And I betcha that the average Anerican can’t even name every Canadian province, eh)
You should check out the “Best for last” club – you can get a T-shirt! https://www.fargomoorhead.org/plan-a-trip/best-for-last-club/
I also use the “have eaten a meal there” rule.
I haven’t biked through each Canadian province(Multiple knee surgeries have seen to that), but I have been to all 10. Plus… all three territories.
I’ve traveled for leisure in all 50 states.
The last ten (40 thru 50) to travel in were: Washington, N Dakota, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Alaska, and Hawaii.
Least favorite: Néw Jersey (no signage on interstate. If you don’t live there you have no clue what is at each exit – gas, food, groceries, etc). The locals know, but nobody else does. Horrible and beyond frustrating for visitors. Doh! 😮
We were scheduled to go to Hawaii and make it 50, but Covid hit.
We’ve also been to every U.S. territory and Canadian province.
My wife and I have been to 40 states together.
In the past year(09/20-09/21) we have been to 21 states.
John – I am in the same boat on both counts. 49 missing Hawaii and had a trip there planned for March 2020 that we had to cancel
Massachusetts (home state)
Military brat (lived in ND for 4 yrs), and I was also in the military, so, using a 2 month minimum, I’ve lived in eleven states, OH x2, ND, AL x2, CA x2, FL, AZ, TX x3, LA, OK, NY & PA as well as four countries. Visited all 50, getting to Alaska in the early 90s. Just returned from a 21 state driving vacation (PA to Vegas, Montana & back to PA) with family (we did stop and see ‘stuff’, but Yellowstone was closed!). For my 2nd go ’round, I’m lacking only Alaska (again). Wife has 40 & daughter has 44 (we don’t count airports). Time to plan a cruise from west coast to Alaska.
note: I have not spent the night in several states (MO, IA, OR, MT), but have eaten a meal in every one. Never been below the equator.