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Alabama is a Southeastern state that borders the Gulf of Mexico. In 1819, it became the 22nd state, and some of its most influential historical landmarks include Martin Luther King, Jr.'s church and the Rosa Parks Museum. Aptly nicknamed the Heart of Dixie, Alabama is home to more than 4.8 million people, and they're typically known for their Southern charm, hardworking spirits, and love of college football.
Alaska, northwest of Canada, is the largest state as well as the most sparsely populated, with its 741,000+ residents spread across 663,300 square miles. From river valleys to mountains to forests and tundra, Alaska's terrain is as diverse as its people. Alaska’s residents are of several races and ethnicities, including Alaska native, American Indian, Caucasian, Asian, black, and native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander.
The Grand Canyon, the Hoover Dam, the Arizona-Sonora Desert, Horseshoe Bend, Arizona State University -- these are some of the places that may come to mind when you think of the Copper State. Over 6.9 million people live in Arizona, and some of the most famous faces that hail from there are Emma Stone, Wonder Woman herself Lynda Carter, Alice Cooper, Steven Spielberg, and Cesar Estrada Chavez.
Arkansas is the Land of Opportunity in all aspects of life, including dating. Its cities, including Little Rock, Fort Smith, and Fayetteville, are rich in athletics (the Razorbacks), the arts (the King Opera House), literature ("I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings"), music (Johnny Cash), and nature (forests, caves, mountains, rivers, and, of course, hot springs). With a population of nearly 3 million, Arkansas has a match (or two) out there waiting for you.
As the Beach Boys said, "I wish they all could be California girls [or guys]." Stretching 900 miles along the West Coast and with 39.3 million residents, California is the third largest state in the US as well as the most populous. It's sunny and dry pretty much all year long and has easy access to the ocean, mountains, and popular destinations like Hollywood, Silicon Valley, and San Francisco. California's culture has a lot of Hispanic, Asian, Eastern European, and Bohemian influences, and it's also one of the world's biggest tech hubs.
Over 5.5 million Coloradans live in the Centennial State, whose southwest tip makes up one part of the country's Four Corners (along with Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico). Colorado has some of the best skiing, snowboarding, and hiking -- not to mention award-winning wines and beers -- of any place on earth, thanks to innovative cities like Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins. With a state song like John Denver's "Rocky Mountain High," it'd be hard not to be high on life in Colorado.
Connecticut, with its bustling coastal cities and charming small towns, appeals to a variety of personalities and lifestyles. About 3.6 million people live there and millions visit every year. The home of Yankee Doodle and the setting for "Gilmore Girls," this New England state is full of historical magic and modern charisma.
Slightly more than 952,000 people reside in Delaware, making it the second smallest state. But remember good things come in small packages -- on the flip side, it's the sixth most densely populated. Some other things worth noting about Delaware is its impressive nickname, the First State, identifying it as having been the first to ratify the Constitution. And Delawareans love their Punkin Chunkin, Blue Rocks, and Dead Poets Society.
Bordering Maryland and Virginia, the District of Columbia, or Washington, DC, is the U.S. capital, of course. Here, you'll find 681,000 residents and neoclassical monuments and landmarks such as the Lincoln Memorial, the National Mall, the Washington Monument, and the Library of Congress. DC is a more liberal city, with 76% of registered voters listed as Democrats, but the city isn't just about the politics -- it also has thriving arts, theater, sports, and music scenes.
Florida is made up of beautiful beaches, lush everglades, and majestic farmland, and let's not forget attractions like Disney World, the Kennedy Space Center, the Daytona 500, and Ernest Hemingway's house. Thanks to the University of Florida, Florida State University, and other popular educational institutions, the Sunshine State has a large college (and single!) crowd. The median age for the state’s 20.6 million residents is 40.
In Georgia, one day you could be soaking up some sun on Tybee Island, and the next day you could be hiking up the Blue Ridge Mountains -- that's how diverse it is. The same goes for the people -- mingle with the city folks in Atlanta (pop. 470,000) and chat up the down-home country guys and gals in Helen (pop. 540). Also called the Peach State or the Empire State of the South, Georgia has a population of 10.3 million and is the largest state east of the Mississippi River in land area.
Nicknamed Paradise of the Pacific, Hawaii isn't just the 50th state -- it's also one of the most romantic. Hawaii is made up of eight main islands (approximately 750 miles of combined coastline) and has about 66 waterfalls, three active volcanoes, 13 major mountain peaks, and 1.4 million+ residents.
In addition to being celebrated as the Potato State, Idaho is also celebrated as the Gem State because of its reputation for dazzling gemstones. That's pretty romantic, right? Over 1.6 million people call Idaho home, and we'd safely say that most of them love the outdoors. Another fun fact a friend and his wife told me is that Boise, the capital, surprisingly has some of the best Mexican food they've ever had.
Everywhere you look, Illinois has a city worthy of any date night -- from Chicago to Springfield and Naperville. This Midwest state offers its 12.8 million residents sporting events (e.g., thanks to the Cubs and the Bears), informative museums and historical sites (e.g., Lincoln's home), exciting music (for fans of blues, jazz, gospel, rock, and hip hop, among other genres), and fun activities (e.g., the Adler Planetarium or the John G. Shedd Aquarium.)
Indiana’s motto is the Crossroads of America, and the state certainly lives up to it. Its 6.6 million residents lead various lives and have all kinds of interests, particularly racing. Every year, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway hosts the Indianapolis 500 and the Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400. Located in the Great Lakes region of the country, Indiana is also home to destinations like the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, the Holiday World & Splashin' Safari, and Turkey Run State Park.
The heart of the Corn Belt, Iowa is a beloved Midwestern state that's bordered by the Mississippi, Missouri, and Big Sioux Rivers. Not only does Iowa have some of the most awe-inspiring scenery around (rolling plains, quaint farmhouses, decades-old bridges, miles-long cornfields, etc.), but it also has some of the nicest people. Just over 3 million, to be exact!
How could you not love a place that's known as the the Sunflower State? Kansas, another Midwestern gem, is among the most productive agricultural states, growing gorgeous sunflowers as well as delicious corn, soybeans, and sorghum. Numerous famous books, movies, and bands come from Kansas, including "The Wizard of Oz," Superman, and, of course, the rock band Kansas. The 2.9 million Kansans also can't get enough of their sports, cheering for the Chiefs, Royals, Jayhawks, and/or Wildcats.
When we think of Kentucky, we think of the three Bs: bluegrass, bourbon, and barbecue. Thanks to the Blue Grass Boys, Willett Distillery, and Louisville-style chili, this Southeastern state has made a name for itself in the music, liquor, and culinary worlds. Kentucky has a population of 4.4 million, with Louisville, one of its most popular cities, claiming about 597,340 residents.
Louisiana has one of the most ethnically diverse populations -- its Creole and Cajun culture is a melting pot mostly influenced by France and Africa but also Spain, Asia, and Native Americans. About 4.7 million people call Louisiana home, and it's easy to see why they're so proud of it. The Sugar State has some of the most amazing food, jazz and blues music, art and literature, and outdoor recreation of any place on Earth.
Maine may be nicknamed Vacationland, but more than 1.3 million men and women happily reside here. This Northeast state is typically recognized for its exquisite seafood; captivating museums, plays, and film festivals; and unbeatable weather. Stunning white winters, colorful springs and falls, and sunny warm summers make Maine perfect for any type of date.
Because its population (6 million+) is a wide mix of ages, genders, sexual orientations, races, religions, cultures, lifestyles, and backgrounds, people have given Maryland the nicknames Little America or America in Miniature. Some of the most famous Maryland references in movies and television include "Annapolis", starring James Franco and where the United States Naval Academy is based, and the award-winning HBO show "The Wire," which was set in Baltimore.
With over 6.8 million residents (80% of them living in the Greater Boston area), Massachusetts is the most populous state in New England. In terms of entertainment in Massachusetts, you'll find sports (the Red Sox, of course), orchestras, fairs and festivals, live dance and musical performances, historical and contemporary museums, and water activities such as sailing, yachting, fishing (both freshwater and deep sea), and whale watching. In terms of education, some of the top schools in the world are in Massachusetts, including Harvard University, Wellesley College, and Amherst College.
One of my friends is from Michigan, and, like most of its 9.9 million residents, she is extremely passionate about the state, especially her Detroit Lions, Michigan Wolverines, Faygo, and Mackinac Island. This Midwestern state is often called a Water-Winter Wonderland because it has 64,980 inland lakes and ponds and gets an average of 30 to 40 inches of snow a year. A few of Michigan's most bustling cities include Ann Arbor, Flint, and Grand Rapids.
Just call Minnesota the Star of the North -- its 5.5 million citizens do! This Midwestern state is famous for its sports (like Vikings football, Twins baseball, Timberwolves basketball, and Wild hockey) and being the setting for classic dramas like "Fargo" and comedies like "Grumpy Old Men." But Minnesota is also famous for its booming arts scene -- in part due to institutions like the Walker Art Center, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the Minnesota Fringe Festival.
To date, Mississippi has 2.9 million inhabitants and counting and is the birthplace of hundreds of famous musicians, actors, writers, politicians, journalists, and celebrities, including Elvis Presley, Morgan Freeman, Oprah, and William Faulkner. With a nickname like the Hospitality State, don't expect anything less from Mississippi than open arms and wide smiles... and maybe a glass of sweet tea or two.
Missouri's population is at 6.1 million, with about 55% living in St. Louis and Kansas City, two of the state's most exuberant cities. Racial demographics break down as 83.2% Caucasian, 11.8% black, 4.1% Hispanic or Latino, 2.1% multiracial, and 2% Asian. Whereas, religious demographics are 77% Christian, 0.4% Jewish, 0.2% Eastern, and 0.2% Islam. Missouri has dozens of cool attractions, and a few of the most celebrated are the Gateway Arch, Silver Dollar City amusement park, and the St. Louis Zoo.
Let's look at Montana by the numbers: 1 million residents, 3,000 lakes and reservoirs (including Swan Lake), approximately nine college and/or minor league sports teams (including the Grizzlies), two national parks (Yellowstone and Glacier), and hundreds of restaurants and bars (including Yesterday’s Calf-A). With so many people and so many ways to meet them, you're basically guaranteed to find a treasure in the Treasure State, and that treasure will be in the form of a date.
The Great Plains, a grand stretch of land covered in prairie, steppe, and grassland, make up most of Nebraska. The Cornhusker State is home to slightly more than 1.9 million people, and they never run out of romantic things to do. If you’re into history, there’s the Chimney Rock National Historic Site. If you’re outdoorsy, there’s the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, Lauritzen Gardens, and Heartland of America Park. If you’re a sports fanatic, the Baseball College World Series is held in Omaha every year. For a special getaway, there are tons of bed and breakfasts as well as places like Slattery Vintage Estates for glamping. And, of course, we have to talk about the food in Nebraska. Some of the state’s most acclaimed restaurants include The Boiler Room, Stella’s, Banhwich Cafe, and Sebastian’s Table.
From Las Vegas to Reno to Carson City and Lake Tahoe, Nevada has some of the most exciting cities on this planet. Over 2.9 million visitors take part in the Silver State’s many casinos (e.g., Binion's), shows (Cirque du Soleil), dining experiences (e.g., Raku), clubs (e.g., TAO), parks (e.g., Valley of Fire), and other attractions. In Nevada, it’s perfectly OK, and even encouraged, to give in to your desires.
New Hampshire is extremely rich in history, being the first of the colonies to establish its own government separate from that of Great Britain and its own state constitution. The Granite State, as it’s also called, has 1.3 million residents, and its capital city is Concord, while its largest city is Manchester. New Hampshire’s motto is “Live Free or Die” -- so whether you’re ice fishing on Hawkins Pond, hiking Mount Washington, sailing on Lake Winnipesaukee, hang gliding at Morningside Flight Park, eating at the Birch on Elm, or simply relaxing at Mountain View Resort & Spa, the state wants you to do you.
More than 8.9 million New Jerseyans or New Jerseyites live in New Jersey, a state that sometimes gets a bad rap because of shows like “Jersey Shore” and “Real Housewives.” The Garden State’s saying is “Liberty and Prosperity,” and it’s easy to see why. It’s the second-wealthiest state by per capita income, the 11th most populous, the most densely populated, second in solar power installations, has an annual record of $43.4 billion in tourism revenue, and has more scientists and engineers per square mile than any other place in the world.
New Mexico is known as the Land of Enchantment, so it’s understandable that 2 million people have chosen to make it their home. At 47%, New Mexico has the highest percentage of Hispanic ancestry than any other US state. Several movies and TV shows have been set in New Mexico: “Breaking Bad” in Albuquerque, “No Country for Old Men” in Santa Fe, and “Let Me In” in Los Alamos. Some of its popular destinations include the Rocky Mountains, Carlsbad Caverns, White Sands National Monument, and the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.
New York has more than 19.8 million residents, with more than 40% of the population living in New York City (aka the Big Apple), making it the most populous city in the country. Yes, New York City has Broadway, Rockefeller Center, a bunch of amazing museums, and an incredible food scene, but that’s not all the Empire State is about. You can explore wineries on the Finger Lakes, experience whitewater rafting in the Adirondacks, parasail above Lake George, ride horseback on Long Island’s beaches, admire the leaves changing on Prospect Mountain in the fall, hike the Catskills, and so on.
“To be, rather than to seem” is the perfect motto for North Carolina. Its 10.2 million residents spend their days reveling in outdoor entertainment (thanks to the Outer Banks), history (thanks to the Biltmore Estate), education (thanks to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), sports (thanks to the Carolina Panthers), romantic bed and breakfast retreats (thanks to the Swag), and culinary adventures (thanks to Mateo in Durham and Chef and the Farmer in Kinston).
In 2016, North Dakota’s population was at almost 758,000, a 12.7% increase from the 2010 census, the largest increase of any state since 2011. North Dakota has three nicknames -- the Peace Garden State, Roughrider State, and Flickertail State -- and is bordered by Minnesota, South Dakota, Montana, and Canada. In terms of dating venues, your options include museums and historical landmarks, parks, trails, and gardens, water recreation, art galleries, musicals and operas, and all kinds of restaurants.
The Buckeye State, the Birthplace of Aviation, the Heart of It All -- these nicknames all identify Ohio, where 11.6 million Ohioans live. A few famous folks who come from Ohio include astronaut Neil Armstrong, singer and actress Doris Day, former president James Garfield, markswoman Annie Oakley, and feminist Gloria Steinem. Ohio has a fun dating atmosphere -- with activities like going to an Ohio State Buckeyes, Cleveland Indians, or Cincinnati Bengals game, visiting Geneva on the Lake, riding amusement park rides at Cedar Point, exploring the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, checking out the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and trying one-of-a-kind restaurants like Melt Bar and Grill, the Buckeye Express Diner, and Tony Packo's.
Technically, Oklahoma is partially located in the Midwest and Southwest, but it's commonly considered a Southern state, even by the US Census. The Sooner State has over 3.9 million inhabitants (or Oklahomans or Okies), with a majority having English, Scottish, Irish, German, and Native American ancestry. But they have similar personalities and lifestyles, dedicated to their jobs, families, and communities. Some of Oklahoma's romantic sights include Myriad Botanical Gardens, Pinot's Palette, Oklahoma River Cruises, Grandison Bed & Breakfast, Castle Falls, and the Civic Center Music Hall.
Oregon has a little more than 4 million citizens, with a pretty even split between men and women (49.6% vs. 50.4%, respectively). Its most well-known cities include Portland (the 26th most populous city in the United States), Eugene (home to the University of Oregon), and Salem (the capital). When looking for romance, folks in the Beaver State head to Portland's Vinotopia/Cinetopia, Hallmark Resort & Spa in Cannon Beach, WildSpring Guest Habitat in Port Orford, Full Sail Brewery in Hood River, and farm-to-table restaurant Thistle in McMinnville.
With a population of 12.8 million, Pennsylvania is the 33rd largest, sixth most populous, and ninth most densely populated state, so you'll never run out of people to meet. You'll also never run out of things to do in the Keystone and Quaker State -- thanks to destinations like the Pocono Mountains, Lake Erie, the Liberty Bell, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Hersheypark, the Pittsburgh Penguins stadium, Buhl Mansion Guesthouse & Spa, and eateries such as Alla Famiglia Tony Luke's Cheesesteaks.
Rhode Island may be the smallest state (in area), but its motto is big. The state and its 1.1. million people simply live by the word "Hope." You'll also hear Rhode Island called Little Rhody or the Ocean State, referencing its large bays and inlets. The state is home to the oldest Baptist church in the Americas, the First Baptist Church of Providence, and the first fully automated post office. For day dates or date night, Rhode Island offers the Breakers Vanderbilt Mansion; Roger Williams Park; Misquamicut Beach; Beavertail Lighthouse; Blithewold Mansion, Gardens, and Arboretum; the Dorrance Restaurant, and Jacob Hill Inn.
Practically 5 million people make up South Carolina's population. The largest city in the Palmetto State is Charleston (aka Chucktown), while its capital is Columbia (aka Soda City). Of course, South Carolina is known for Southern hospitality, but it's also known for football (the University of South Carolina Gamecocks and the Clemson Tigers), Fort Sumter, Brookgreen Gardens, the Lighthouse Restaurant, Magnolia Manor, the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk, Villa Tronco Italian Restaurant, and The Whistle Stop at the American Café. All are a must-see/must-do for your dates.
Officially nicknamed the Mount Rushmore State, South Dakota has 865,450 men and women and many influences that contribute to its unique culture, with American Indian, Western, and European roots. Several of the state's most romantic things to do, recommend by South Dakotans for South Dakotans, include visiting Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, Akela Spa of Deadwood, Spearfish Canyon Lodge, the Goss Opera House and Charley's Restaurant, CH Patisserie, and Strawbale Winery.
About 6.7 million volunteers reside in the Volunteer State, whose capital and largest city is Nashville, also called Music City. Our favorite Tennessee date venues include: Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art (for some flora and culture), Belcourt Theatre (for newly released as well as indie films), Watts Bar Lake (for canoeing), Great Smoky Mountain National park (for picnicking), the TN Valley Winery (for, well, wine), the Cabana Restaurant (for intimate dining), and the Catbird Seat (for a more interactive eating experience).
We've all heard that everything is bigger in Texas, and that's definitely the case. It's the second largest state by area and population, with approximately 27.9 million residents. The Lone Star State's motto is "Friendship" because its name comes from the Native American Caddo word Tejas, which means friends. But singles can find so much more in bustling cities like Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, and El Paso, among others.
A couple of years ago, a friend of mine and his wife once drove through Utah on a road trip, and they said it is one of the most gorgeous states they've ever seen. And we think its 3 million citizens would agree! From the Zion National Park and Angels Landing, to Park City Mountain Resort and Goldener Hirsch Inn, to the Copper Common restaurant and the Paris Bistro -- the Beehive State provides romance everywhere.
Vermont has received accolades from numerous media outlets, organizations, businesses, and websites -- including being named the safest state, the leading producer of maple syrup in the US, and the 12th happiest state. Its 624,500 residents have also been ranked among the leanest/fit in the country. The Green Mountain State loves its festivals, like the Vermont Dairy Festival and the Vermont Brewers Festival, and its theater like the Bread and Puppet Theatre and House of LeMay -- which also happen to make for great dates.
In Virginia, which has 8.4 million people, it's all about doing what makes you and your date happy. Get your surf on at Virginia Beach. Get your hiking on at Shenandoah National Park. Get your history lesson on at Petersburg National Battlefield. Get your drinking on at 2 Witches Winery & Brewing Co. Get your culture on at the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra. Get your relaxation on at the Historic Williamsburg Inn & Spa. Lastly, get your eating on at the Shack, a Southern-inspired restaurant, or Trummer's on Main, an elegant barbecue joint.
In terms of dating, Washington has size on its side. Not only is it the 18th largest state, but it's also the 13th most populous with 7.3 million residents. But Washington also has the environment going for it. Outdoorsy singles flock to places like Mount Rainier National Park, Cascade Range, Spokane Falls SkyRide, the Hoh Rainforest, San Juan Islands, and the Seattle Space Needle. And when they get thirsty and hungry, they flock to Cave B Inn & Winery, Fremont Brewing Company, the Pink Door, and the Whitehouse Crawford Restaurant.
West Virginia's 1.8 million residents sure know how to live. When they want music, they turn to the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra and the Keith-Albee Theatre. When they want to watch sports, they turn to the West Virginia Mountaineers and the Marshall Thundering Herd. When they want to pamper themselves, they turn to the Greenbrier Resort and Stonewall Resort. When they want to enjoy the outdoors, they turn to Blackwater Falls State Park and the Ritter Park Rose Garden. When they want to indulge in good food, they turn to Laury's and Vagabond Kitchen.
I should've been born in Wisconsin because I'm a self-professed cheesehead -- just like its 5.8 million inhabitants. The state, which is known as America's Dairyland, has about 100 cheese factories, including the popular Beechwood Cheese Co. and Cedar Grove Cheese, Inc. And what goes with cheese better than wine? Wisconsin is home to more than 85 wineries, including Bauer-Kearns Winery and Northleaf Winery. Could a state get anymore romantic?
Wyoming is officially nicknamed the Equality State, but it's also unofficially known as the Cowboy State and Big Wyoming. And its 585,500 citizens have dating possibilities anyone would be jealous of: Get a couples massage at the Spa Suites at Rustic Inn, go hiking in the Grand Teton National Park, visit Old Faithful and enjoy the show when it goes off, set out on a hot air balloon ride with the Wyoming Balloon Company, try your hand at horseback riding at Mill Iron Ranch, and eat an incredible meal at Morris House Bistro, the Kitchen, or the Lotus Café.