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Your State’s Favorite Outdoor Summer Activity

One of the best parts of summer is being able to enjoy the warm weather and spend time outside. It’s the perfect time to visit a national park, hang out by the pool, or head to a local park for some afternoon sun.
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It turns out that people from every state enjoy doing different activities during the hot summer months. At Top Nutrition Coaching, we were curious about which outdoor summer activities were the favorite in every state, so our analysts sifted through search data to find out! Check out our map below to see which summer activity is your state’s favorite!

Facts & Findings

  • Camping is the most popular outdoor activity in the summer and was the favorite in 16 states
  • Gardening is the nation’s least favorite activity and was the most popular in only one state—Kansas
  • Not a single state had hiking as its top outdoor summer activity

Outdoor Summer Activities

In many states, the weather isn’t nice and sunny all the time, so summer may be the only time to enjoy the warmth and soak up the sun’s Vitamin D. Here are the outdoor activities many enjoy during the summer.


What better way to enjoy the great outdoors than sleeping in it? Get away from the city life and suburbs and set up your tent! Most national parks have camping areas, so you can hang by the fire at night and explore the parks during the day. Besides national parks, most states have other areas that you can camp in.

States where camping is the favorite outdoor summer activity:

  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • Georgia
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • New Hampshire
  • North Dakota
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin


If you’ve only got a few hours to spare, but want to get out of the house and relax, a picnic can be your quick outdoor fix for the day! You can pack a full meal, complete with a main course, sides, and drinks, or you may opt for bringing just a few snacks along. Head over to the nearest local park or set up a blanket in your backyard—wherever you can sit and eat will do just fine!

States where picnicking is the favorite outdoor summer activity:

  • California
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Rhode Island
  • Wyoming


Gardeners are found to be some of the happiest people, and it makes sense why! When you’re spending time not only outside, but among plants in green spaces, you’re likely to experience less anxiety and depression, and it has even been found to reduce risk of dementia. Maybe other states could learn a thing or two from Kansas and start gardening more!

States where gardening is the favorite outdoor summer activity:

  • Kansas


Running and hiking are a great way to spend time outdoors, but sometimes we want to move a little faster or don’t want so much pressure put directly on our knees. That’s when biking comes in handy! You can try a harder route and hit the mountains for a bike trip or take a leisurely bike ride through your neighborhood on a cool summer evening.

States where biking is the favorite outdoor summer activity:

  • Alaska
  • Colorado
  • Idaho
  • Montana
  • New Mexico
  • Utah
  • Vermont


Swimming can be both fun and relaxing—depending on what you’re up for! Visiting a natural “blue space,” such as a lake, river, or ocean is best in most cases since there’s evidence that blue spaces can improve your mental health. However, if you can’t make it to a natural body of water, the pool is always a great option for both convenience and safety if you want a quick dip in cool water!

States where swimming is the favorite outdoor summer activity:

  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • Oklahoma
  • South Dakota
  • Virginia


Who doesn’t love to eat food right off the grill? While it’s particularly fun to do on Independence Day, smoking meat and grilling other food is one of the best ways to bring people together. Barbecuing on a summer evening is something that everyone should enjoy.

States where barbecuing is the favorite outdoor summer activity:

  • Alabama
  • Mississippi
  • North Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas


We looked at Google search trends surrounding popular outdoor summer activities and compared their relative search volume across each state to find out which activity is the favorite in every state.

An image of a table showing favorite outdoor activities per state

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About the author

Nicolette Star Maggiolo, RD, LDN
I'm a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist with education from Boston University and clinical training from both Brigham & Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. I specialize in helping the military and non-military individuals embrace nutrition as a partner in both their mental and physical health.

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