Special Report

The Most and Least Fun States in America

Just about everyone is likely to agree that fun has been in short supply over the past year-and-a-half. But now it’s time to enjoy ourselves again.

As America looks to put the pandemic in the rearview mirror, bars, restaurants, and theatres are reopening and returning to normal capacity. People are taking to the roads and airways in droves, we’re working out in gyms again instead of in front of the TV, and national parks and resorts are filling up. (We won’t be alone in the most popular recreation areas in the U.S.)

We’re also moving. For some at least, pandemic-induced introspection has led to the conclusion that it is time to relocate to new surroundings in search of better work-life balance and a change of scenery. Flexible work arrangements that may become permanent have offered newfound freedom, and time at home has spurred others to consider a career change.

Whether it’s for a getaway or to start a new life, where are the best places to go? To put it another way, since we’re probably all ready to have a good time when we can, in what states are we likely to enjoy ourselves the most?

In an attempt to answer that question, 24/7 Tempo has ranked all 50 states in terms of where you’re likely to have the most (and least) fun. The ranking is based on information compiled by WalletHub, a credit advice site owned by Evolution Finance, Inc. 

The site’s study was based on an index calculated from 26 different metrics covering the categories of Nightlife (including number of music festivals, performing arts venues, and casinos per capita and average prices of beer, wine, and movies) and Entertainment and Recreation — ranging from number of restaurants, fitness centers, marinas, and amusement parks per capita to access to scenic byways and beach quality. (For other measures of states’ qualities, see our ranking of the best and worst states to live in).

Click here to see the most and least fun states in America.

Another important measure is how committed each state seems to be to the support and improvement of parks and recreation facilities. The amount each one spends annually on these things comes from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Annual Survey of State and Local Finances for 2018, the most recent year for which data was available when this story was completed.