The Most Fun States in America

May 8, 2017
Candyce H. Stapen

Find the states with the most variety of fun at affordable prices. WalletHub’s recent study ranks Nevada as the top state for fun and places Mississippi at the bottom.

Based on WalletHub's 22 factor criteria, South Dakota ranked in the top 10 most fun states.

In time for summer getaways, WalletHub has just released its 2017 Most Fun States in America report. Fun for WalletHub, a personal finance review site, always includes destinations that offer cost —effective entertainment as well as the most variety of options. Nevada, home of Las Vegas, ranked as the top state for fun. Interestingly, South Dakota come in second and Colorado third. Alabama, came in at 48 out of 50; West Virginia came it at 49, out of 50. The least “fun” state according to WalletHub: Mississippi.

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Some additional surprises: Alaska, New York and Vermont tied for having the most performing arts theaters per capita; Massachusetts ranked as #1 and New Hampshire, as #2, for the most fitness centers per capita; and Maine, grabbed the top spot, and Vermont came in second for the highest variety of arts, entertainments and recreation establishments.

Remember, in doing big data analysis, WalletHub is likely counting numbers and not necessarily quality. If so, that may mean that New York City’s Lincoln Center may count as one theater and a summer playhouse community theater will also count as one. As always, use these and other studies as a rough guide and not gospel.

WalletHub compared the 50 states using 22 factors to define “fun.” To determine an entertainment and recreation score, analysts considered the number of attractions, movie theaters per capita, beach quality, restaurants per capita and the variety of arts, entertainment and recreation establishments, among other items. A perfect score equals 80. Nightlife counts for 20 points and includes beer and wine prices, performing arts theaters per capita, casinos per capita, and nightlife options.

WalletHub’s 10 Most Fun States in America

1. Nevada, with a score of 56

2. South Dakota, 50.48

3. Colorado, 45.98

4. North Dakota, 44.31

5. New York, 43.93

6. Wyoming, 43.82

7. Oregon, 42.80

8. Louisiana, 42.09

9. Montana, 41.91

10. Hawaii, 41.30

10 Least Fun States

41. Tennessee, with a score of 26.63

42. New Jersey, 26.57

43. Kansas, 25.67

44. Virginia, 24.79

45. Indiana, 23.62

46. Arkansas, 22.78

47. Kentucky, 22.34

48. Alabama, 21.59

49. West Virginia, 16.81

50. Mississippi, 14.52

Most Golf Courses & Country Clubs per Capita

1. Iowa

2. North Dakota

3. South Dakota

4. Montana

5. Maine

Least Golf Courses & Country Clubs per Capita

46. Louisiana

47. Alaska

48. Texas

49. California

50. Utah

Highest State & Local Expenditures on Parks & Recreation per Capita

1. Minnesota

2. Massachusetts

3. Colorado

4. Connecticut

5. New Hampshire

Lowest State & Local Expenditures on Parks & Recreation per Capita

46. Georgia

47. Arkansas

48. Alabama

49. West Virginia

50. Mississippi

Follow Candyce H. Stapen on Twitter: @FamilyiTrips

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