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State Economies Most Dependent on Outdoor Recreation

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During economic downturns or periods of high inflation, households often reduce nonessential spending to afford basic necessities. And with the consumer price index hitting 9.1% in mid-2022, the U.S. recently suffered through its worst cost-of-living crisis in decades. Some trends in discretionary spending, however, defied conventional wisdom. 

Outdoor recreation generated $563.7 billion in economic output in 2022, a 15% increase from 2021 and up nearly 50% from 2020, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Though the economic impact of outdoor recreation includes support industries, such as lodging, transportation, and government spending, it is primarily driven by consumer demand for a wide range of activities. These include, but are not limited to, skiing, boating, RVing, bicycling, hunting, fishing, climbing, hiking, and field sports. 

With 250 million acres of public land, over 400 national parks, and 95,471 miles of shoreline, there is no shortage of opportunities for outdoor recreation in the United States. In many parts of the country, outdoor lifestyles are central to both the local identity and economy. 

Using data from the BEA, 24/7 Wall St. identified the state economies that depend the most on outdoor recreation. We ranked all 50 states on the share of gross domestic product generated by outdoor recreation in 2022. 

In all but a handful of states, outdoor recreation added billions of dollars in economic value in 2022 and accounted for over 2% of annual GDP in most cases. 

Several of the highest ranking states on this list, such as Florida, are notable for their coastline and are popular destinations for kayaking, sailing, fishing, and other watersports. Many other high-ranking states, including Montana, Vermont, and Wyoming, feature mountain ranges and vast forests, popular for hunting, hiking, camping, and skiing. In others, like Alaska and Maine, residents and visitors have access to both mountains and coastline. (Here is a look at the highest point in every state.)

It is important to note that many of the lower ranking states on this list, such as California, New York, and Texas, have outdoor recreation industries that generate tens of billions of dollars each year. However, their contribution to overall GDP is lower than average, partially because of the outsized economic impact of other major industries. (Here is a look at the most breathtaking natural marvel in each state.

Here are the state economies most dependent on outdoor recreation.

50. Connecticut

Source: DenisTangneyJr / E+ via Getty Images
  • > Outdoor recreation share of GDP: 1.4%
  • > Total outdoor recreation GDP: $4.6 billion (19th lowest of 50 states)
  • > Largest outdoor recreation activities by GDP: Boating & fishing, game areas (including golf and tennis), RVing

49. Delaware

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images
  • > Outdoor recreation share of GDP: 1.5%
  • > Total outdoor recreation GDP: $1.3 billion (the lowest of 50 states)
  • > Largest outdoor recreation activities by GDP: Boating & fishing, RVing, game areas (including golf and tennis)

48. New York

Source: Eloi_Omella / E+ via Getty Images
  • > Outdoor recreation share of GDP: 1.5%
  • > Total outdoor recreation GDP: $31.2 billion (4th highest of 50 states)
  • > Largest outdoor recreation activities by GDP: Festivals, sporting events, and concerts, boating & fishing, RVing

47. Nebraska

Source: Davel5957 / iStock via Getty Images
  • > Outdoor recreation share of GDP: 1.7%
  • > Total outdoor recreation GDP: $2.8 billion (10th lowest of 50 states)
  • > Largest outdoor recreation activities by GDP: Boating & fishing, game areas (including golf and tennis), RVing

46. New Jersey

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / iStock via Getty Images
  • > Outdoor recreation share of GDP: 1.7%
  • > Total outdoor recreation GDP: $12.6 billion (13th highest of 50 states)
  • > Largest outdoor recreation activities by GDP: Boating & fishing, game areas (including golf and tennis), festivals, sporting events, and concerts

45. West Virginia

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images
  • > Outdoor recreation share of GDP: 1.7%
  • > Total outdoor recreation GDP: $1.6 billion (3rd lowest of 50 states)
  • > Largest outdoor recreation activities by GDP: RVing, boating & fishing, game areas (including golf and tennis)

44. Massachusetts

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images
  • > Outdoor recreation share of GDP: 1.7%
  • > Total outdoor recreation GDP: $11.8 billion (16th highest of 50 states)
  • > Largest outdoor recreation activities by GDP: Game areas (including golf and tennis), boating & fishing, festivals, sporting events, and concerts

43. Virginia

Source: ferrantraite / E+ via Getty Images
  • > Outdoor recreation share of GDP: 1.7%
  • > Total outdoor recreation GDP: $11.3 billion (19th highest of 50 states)
  • > Largest outdoor recreation activities by GDP: Boating & fishing, game areas (including golf and tennis), RVing

42. Maryland

Source: Kruck20 / iStock via Getty Images
  • > Outdoor recreation share of GDP: 1.7%
  • > Total outdoor recreation GDP: $8.3 billion (22nd highest of 50 states)
  • > Largest outdoor recreation activities by GDP: Boating & fishing, game areas (including golf and tennis), festivals, sporting events, and concerts

41. North Dakota

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images
  • > Outdoor recreation share of GDP: 1.8%
  • > Total outdoor recreation GDP: $1.3 billion (2nd lowest of 50 states)
  • > Largest outdoor recreation activities by GDP: RVing, boating & fishing, game areas (including golf and tennis)

40. Pennsylvania

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images
  • > Outdoor recreation share of GDP: 1.8%
  • > Total outdoor recreation GDP: $16.9 billion (8th highest of 50 states)
  • > Largest outdoor recreation activities by GDP: RVing, game areas (including golf and tennis), festivals, sporting events, and concerts

39. Oklahoma

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images
  • > Outdoor recreation share of GDP: 1.9%
  • > Total outdoor recreation GDP: $4.5 billion (18th lowest of 50 states)
  • > Largest outdoor recreation activities by GDP: RVing, boating & fishing, game areas (including golf and tennis)

38. Kansas

Source: Jacob Boomsma / iStock via Getty Images
  • > Outdoor recreation share of GDP: 1.9%
  • > Total outdoor recreation GDP: $3.9 billion (16th lowest of 50 states)
  • > Largest outdoor recreation activities by GDP: Boating & fishing, RVing, game areas (including golf and tennis)

37. New Mexico

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images
  • > Outdoor recreation share of GDP: 1.9%
  • > Total outdoor recreation GDP: $2.4 billion (8th lowest of 50 states)
  • > Largest outdoor recreation activities by GDP: RVing, game areas (including golf and tennis), boating & fishing

36. Iowa

Source: pabradyphoto / iStock via Getty Images
  • > Outdoor recreation share of GDP: 1.9%
  • > Total outdoor recreation GDP: $4.6 billion (20th lowest of 50 states)
  • > Largest outdoor recreation activities by GDP: RVing, boating & fishing, game areas (including golf and tennis)

35. Alabama

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images
  • > Outdoor recreation share of GDP: 2.0%
  • > Total outdoor recreation GDP: $5.5 billion (22nd lowest of 50 states)
  • > Largest outdoor recreation activities by GDP: RVing, boating & fishing, game areas (including golf and tennis)

34. Kentucky

Source: Davel5957 / iStock via Getty Images
  • > Outdoor recreation share of GDP: 2.0%
  • > Total outdoor recreation GDP: $5.1 billion (21st lowest of 50 states)
  • > Largest outdoor recreation activities by GDP: RVing, boating & fishing, game areas (including golf and tennis)

33. Texas

Source: Kruck20 / iStock via Getty Images
  • > Outdoor recreation share of GDP: 2.0%
  • > Total outdoor recreation GDP: $47.6 billion (3rd highest of 50 states)
  • > Largest outdoor recreation activities by GDP: RVing, boating & fishing, game areas (including golf and tennis)

32. Michigan

Source: Davel5957 / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images
  • > Outdoor recreation share of GDP: 2.0%
  • > Total outdoor recreation GDP: $12.4 billion (14th highest of 50 states)
  • > Largest outdoor recreation activities by GDP: RVing, boating & fishing, game areas (including golf and tennis)

31. California

Source: Ryan Herron / E+ via Getty Images
  • > Outdoor recreation share of GDP: 2.0%
  • > Total outdoor recreation GDP: $73.8 billion (the highest of 50 states)
  • > Largest outdoor recreation activities by GDP: Amusement parks & water parks, RVing, game areas (including golf and tennis)

30. North Carolina

Source: pawel.gaul / E+ via Getty Images
  • > Outdoor recreation share of GDP: 2.0%
  • > Total outdoor recreation GDP: $14.6 billion (11th highest of 50 states)
  • > Largest outdoor recreation activities by GDP: Boating & fishing, game areas (including golf and tennis), festivals, sporting events, and concerts

29. Georgia

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images
  • > Outdoor recreation share of GDP: 2.1%
  • > Total outdoor recreation GDP: $15.7 billion (10th highest of 50 states)
  • > Largest outdoor recreation activities by GDP: Boating & fishing, RVing, game areas (including golf and tennis)

28. Ohio

Source: pawel.gaul / E+ via Getty Images
  • > Outdoor recreation share of GDP: 2.1%
  • > Total outdoor recreation GDP: $17.2 billion (7th highest of 50 states)
  • > Largest outdoor recreation activities by GDP: RVing, game areas (including golf and tennis), boating & fishing

27. Illinois

Source: franckreporter / E+ via Getty Images
  • > Outdoor recreation share of GDP: 2.1%
  • > Total outdoor recreation GDP: $21.9 billion (5th highest of 50 states)
  • > Largest outdoor recreation activities by GDP: Game areas (including golf and tennis), boating & fishing, festivals, sporting events, and concerts

26. Missouri

Source: f11photo / iStock via Getty Images
  • > Outdoor recreation share of GDP: 2.2%
  • > Total outdoor recreation GDP: $8.8 billion (21st highest of 50 states)
  • > Largest outdoor recreation activities by GDP: Boating & fishing, RVing, festivals, sporting events, and concerts

25. Rhode Island

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / iStock via Getty Images
  • > Outdoor recreation share of GDP: 2.3%
  • > Total outdoor recreation GDP: $1.7 billion (4th lowest of 50 states)
  • > Largest outdoor recreation activities by GDP: Boating & fishing, game areas (including golf and tennis), RVing

24. Mississippi

Mississippi | Jackson Mississippi Skyline
Source: SeanPavonePhoto / iStock via Getty Images
  • > Outdoor recreation share of GDP: 2.4%
  • > Total outdoor recreation GDP: $3.4 billion (14th lowest of 50 states)
  • > Largest outdoor recreation activities by GDP: RVing, boating & fishing, game areas (including golf and tennis)

23. Tennessee

Source: f11photo / iStock via Getty Images
  • > Outdoor recreation share of GDP: 2.4%
  • > Total outdoor recreation GDP: $11.9 billion (15th highest of 50 states)
  • > Largest outdoor recreation activities by GDP: Boating & fishing, festivals, sporting events, and concerts, RVing

22. Arizona

Source: dszc / E+ via Getty Images
  • > Outdoor recreation share of GDP: 2.5%
  • > Total outdoor recreation GDP: $11.7 billion (17th highest of 50 states)
  • > Largest outdoor recreation activities by GDP: RVing, game areas (including golf and tennis), boating & fishing

21. Wisconsin

Source: warrenlemay / Flickr
  • > Outdoor recreation share of GDP: 2.5%
  • > Total outdoor recreation GDP: $9.8 billion (20th highest of 50 states)
  • > Largest outdoor recreation activities by GDP: Boating & fishing, RVing, game areas (including golf and tennis)

20. Arkansas

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images
  • > Outdoor recreation share of GDP: 2.5%
  • > Total outdoor recreation GDP: $4.1 billion (17th lowest of 50 states)
  • > Largest outdoor recreation activities by GDP: Boating & fishing, RVing, game areas (including golf and tennis)

19. South Dakota

Source: Jacob Boomsma / iStock via Getty Images
  • > Outdoor recreation share of GDP: 2.5%
  • > Total outdoor recreation GDP: $1.7 billion (5th lowest of 50 states)
  • > Largest outdoor recreation activities by GDP: RVing, boating & fishing, game areas (including golf and tennis)

18. Oregon

Source: jbentley09 / iStock via Getty Images
  • > Outdoor recreation share of GDP: 2.5%
  • > Total outdoor recreation GDP: $7.5 billion (25th lowest of 50 states)
  • > Largest outdoor recreation activities by GDP: RVing, boating & fishing, game areas (including golf and tennis)

17. South Carolina

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / iStock via Getty Images
  • > Outdoor recreation share of GDP: 2.6%
  • > Total outdoor recreation GDP: $7.6 billion (25th highest of 50 states)
  • > Largest outdoor recreation activities by GDP: Boating & fishing, RVing, game areas (including golf and tennis)

16. Minnesota

Source: Aerial_Views / E+ via Getty Images
  • > Outdoor recreation share of GDP: 2.6%
  • > Total outdoor recreation GDP: $11.7 billion (18th highest of 50 states)
  • > Largest outdoor recreation activities by GDP: Boating & fishing, RVing, game areas (including golf and tennis)

15. Louisiana

Source: f11photo / iStock via Getty Images
  • > Outdoor recreation share of GDP: 2.7%
  • > Total outdoor recreation GDP: $7.9 billion (24th highest of 50 states)
  • > Largest outdoor recreation activities by GDP: Boating & fishing, RVing, festivals, sporting events, and concerts

14. Washington

Source: wonderlane / Flickr
  • > Outdoor recreation share of GDP: 2.7%
  • > Total outdoor recreation GDP: $20.0 billion (6th highest of 50 states)
  • > Largest outdoor recreation activities by GDP: Boating & fishing, RVing, game areas (including golf and tennis)

13. Nevada

Source: f11photo / iStock via Getty Images
  • > Outdoor recreation share of GDP: 2.7%
  • > Total outdoor recreation GDP: $6.1 billion (24th lowest of 50 states)
  • > Largest outdoor recreation activities by GDP: Festivals, sporting events, and concerts, RVing, game areas (including golf and tennis)

12. Colorado

Source: pawel.gaul / iStock via Getty Images
  • > Outdoor recreation share of GDP: 2.8%
  • > Total outdoor recreation GDP: $13.9 billion (12th highest of 50 states)
  • > Largest outdoor recreation activities by GDP: Snow activities, RVing, boating & fishing

11. Idaho

Source: vkbhat / E+ via Getty Images
  • > Outdoor recreation share of GDP: 3.1%
  • > Total outdoor recreation GDP: $3.4 billion (15th lowest of 50 states)
  • > Largest outdoor recreation activities by GDP: RVing, boating & fishing, game areas (including golf and tennis)

10. New Hampshire

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images
  • > Outdoor recreation share of GDP: 3.2%
  • > Total outdoor recreation GDP: $3.3 billion (12th lowest of 50 states)
  • > Largest outdoor recreation activities by GDP: RVing, snow activities, boating & fishing

9. Utah

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images
  • > Outdoor recreation share of GDP: 3.2%
  • > Total outdoor recreation GDP: $8.1 billion (23rd highest of 50 states)
  • > Largest outdoor recreation activities by GDP: Snow activities, RVing, boating & fishing

8. Indiana

Source: Ultima_Gaina / iStock via Getty Images
  • > Outdoor recreation share of GDP: 3.4%
  • > Total outdoor recreation GDP: $16.0 billion (9th highest of 50 states)
  • > Largest outdoor recreation activities by GDP: RVing, boating & fishing, game areas (including golf and tennis)

7. Florida

Source: Kruck20 / iStock via Getty Images
  • > Outdoor recreation share of GDP: 3.6%
  • > Total outdoor recreation GDP: $52.4 billion (2nd highest of 50 states)
  • > Largest outdoor recreation activities by GDP: Amusement parks & water parks, boating & fishing, RVing

6. Maine

Source: Ultima_Gaina / iStock via Getty Images
  • > Outdoor recreation share of GDP: 3.9%
  • > Total outdoor recreation GDP: $3.3 billion (13th lowest of 50 states)
  • > Largest outdoor recreation activities by GDP: Boating & fishing, RVing, game areas (including golf and tennis)

5. Alaska

Source: Jacob Boomsma / iStock via Getty Images
  • > Outdoor recreation share of GDP: 4.0%
  • > Total outdoor recreation GDP: $2.6 billion (9th lowest of 50 states)
  • > Largest outdoor recreation activities by GDP: Boating & fishing, RVing, snow activities

4. Wyoming

Source: DenisTangneyJr / E+ via Getty Images
  • > Outdoor recreation share of GDP: 4.1%
  • > Total outdoor recreation GDP: $2.0 billion (7th lowest of 50 states)
  • > Largest outdoor recreation activities by GDP: RVing, snow activities, boating & fishing

3. Montana

Source: Jon Bilous / iStock via Getty Images
  • > Outdoor recreation share of GDP: 4.3%
  • > Total outdoor recreation GDP: $2.9 billion (11th lowest of 50 states)
  • > Largest outdoor recreation activities by GDP: RVing, boating & fishing, game areas (including golf and tennis)

2. Vermont

Source: AlbertPego / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
  • > Outdoor recreation share of GDP: 4.6%
  • > Total outdoor recreation GDP: $1.9 billion (6th lowest of 50 states)
  • > Largest outdoor recreation activities by GDP: Snow activities, RVing, game areas (including golf and tennis)

1. Hawaii

Source: okimo / iStock via Getty Images
  • > Outdoor recreation share of GDP: 5.6%
  • > Total outdoor recreation GDP: $5.7 billion (23rd lowest of 50 states)
  • > Largest outdoor recreation activities by GDP: Game areas (including golf and tennis), boating & fishing, amusement parks & water parks

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