The Most Beautiful States in America, Ranked. Where Did Wisconsin Land?

By Christina Lorey
March 6, 2023

Wisconsin earned a respectable spot on Thrillist’s list ranking all 50 states.

Few other places on earth have the same geographic range as the United States. Here, you can find everything from sweltering deserts and mossy rainforests to unending tundras.

Naturally, there’s bound to be some sibling rivalry among the states: Deserts or mountains? Mountains or lakes? Lakes or forests? Forests or beaches? Beaches or glaciers? Glaciers or orchards? Orchards or prairies? 

Thrillist assembled a crew of well-traveled writers to settle the debate, ranking all 50 states by beauty

Where did Wisconsin land?

A respectable #23. “More than prairies and dairies,” the writers praised. “You can wander 800 miles along the shores of Lakes Superior and Michigan, not including the 15,000-odd lakes scattered around the rest of the state. Yes, that’s more than Minnesota’s Land of Ten Thousand Lakes.”

So where did we fall short?

“The state lacks a single grand, signature natural feature that you just gotta go see, though the Apostle Islands [pictured below] are one-of-a-kind and you’ll be hard-pressed to find country more pleasant than Door County.”

“But to truly appreciate Wisconsin’s full array of cliffs, forests, water, and the occasional natural stone bridge, take the 1,200-mile-long Ice Age Trail that winds through the state like a tapeworm,” writers added. “Glaciers left these lakes and boulders for you to enjoy, so you might as well use ‘em.”

California (praised for its natural diversity), Hawaii (celebrated for its beaches), and Alaska (noted for its natural wonders) came in as the top three most beautiful states in America.

MORE: 12 Restaurants to Put on Your 2023 Bucket List


  • Christina Lorey

    Christina is an Edward R. Murrow-winning journalist and former producer, reporter, and anchor for TV stations in Madison and Moline. When she’s not writing or asking questions, you can find her volunteering with Girls on the Run, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, and various mental health organizations.

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