Take a Hike! Just Not in Florida, Study Says

Florida ranks a disappointing 26th among states for best hiking, says a study by Why This Place
A hiking trail
Find out why Florida ranked so low for its hiking trails. Pixabay

Americans love to hike, but just not so much in Florida, according to a new study.

About 59 million Americans participated in hiking activities at least once in 2021, a growth of 80.4% since 2006, according to Statista.

But Florida was not among the best states for hiking, a new report from the travel/photography blog Why This Place says. In fact, Florida ranked 26th among U.S. states (wedged between Ohio and Oregon, which seems like a good hiking state, but what do we know).

Related: Best Florida Beaches for Hikers

The factors analyzed within the Why This Place index included the number of hiking trails and waterfalls relative to state area, the percentage of each state covered by national and state parks, as well as the average yearly temperature, number of waterfalls, and rainfall.

(We can see what Florida might rank poorly for some of those categories.)

Connecticut was named the top state for hiking, followed by Massachusetts, Hawaii, California and New Jersey. (Seriously? New Jersey?)

Here are the Top 10 states for hiking:

  1. Connecticut
  2. Massachusetts
  3. Hawaii
  4. California
  5. New Jersey
  6. Arizona
  7. Washington
  8. New Hampshire
  9. Utah
  10. Rhode Island

Connecticut comes second only to Massachusetts with a staggering 1,455 hiking trails per 1,000 square miles. The state also has the third-highest state and national park coverage, accounting for 8.49% of its total area, and the fifth-highest number of waterfalls relative to its size, with 30 waterfalls per 1,000 square miles.

Florida, meanwhile, has an average rainfall of 54 inches, an average temperature of 71.4 degrees, and state/national forests cover 7.42% of the state. The number of hiking trails per thousand square miles, though, stands at only 34, and the number of waterfalls – well, we know about waterfalls in Florida. (Florida has 0.112 per thousand square miles.)

If it makes you feel any better, here are the top 5 worst states for hiking, according to the Why This Place index: North Dakota, Alaska, Kansas, Mississippi and Louisiana.

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