NASHVILLE, TN — Tennesseans know how to deliver on southern hospitality.
A new online survey by BigSevenTravel found that our great state ranks 2nd in the nation when it comes to hospitality and friendliness, not all states are created equal. From old school Southern charm to outright city rudeness, there’s varying degrees of politeness. We asked our social audience of 1.5 million people, “what are the friendliest states in America?”
From strangers helping you find your way when your phone doesn’t work to making new best friends in a local bar, these are the states across the USA where you’ll be made to feel the most (and least!) welcome.
Locals might seem a bit gruff at first (even upstate!), but it’s a melting pot of many cultures and the neighborhoods in each borough of NYC have a community feel if you manage to stick it out for long enough. Just don’t dawdle on the sidewalk or hold up traffic taking Instagram shots…
Arkansas is a friendly state if – and emphasis on if – you’re local. While that’s all well and good for Arkansas residents and their good neighbourly vibes, it can mean that visitors might feel like they don’t quite fit in and are unwelcome.
Delaware might be small – you can drive across the entire state in just 90 minutes, but that doesn’t exactly translate as neighbourly. Is it Delaware’s (possibly misjudged) reputation as boring what makes our readers think of it as unfriendly? Unfortunately it’s ranked as one of the least friendly states in America.
MA locals aren’t exactly rude, per se, but the overall indifference towards strangers can take its toll. Ignoring people isn’t exactly a trait that will put Massachusetts among the friendliest states in America. It also takes a long time be accepted as true Bostonian, not just a blow-in.
The Jersey attitude can be perceived as just outright rudeness. And in this survey, it seems as though that’s definitely the case. New Jerseyans are known for their in-your-face personalities. But hey, at least the (probably unfriendly) station attendant will pump your gas for you.
The state of Washington might consistently rank highly when it comes to environmentally-friendly states, but when it comes to people it’s a different story. While locals aren’t rude, it’s more of a “polite but unfriendly” vibe – hence the ‘Seattle freeze’. Maybe it’s all the rain.
The Granite State is beautiful, with fiercely proud locals who love where they’re from. However, that proudness can often be mistaken for arrogance towards outsiders. Locals here are stubborn, and its sparse rural population can make it harder to make friends.
The home of Sin City, Nevada is a state of vast contrasts. While Las Vegas can be a dog-eats-dog place to spend some time, places such as Reno are more friendly. Overall, Nevada locals won’t go too far out of their way to help a stranger.
Considering Miami is often voted as one of the least friendly cities in America, Florida has its work cut out for it. Cities such as Orlando and its tourist-friendly initiatives are helping the state big time, but overall its reputation has some catching up to do.
If you’re not born and raised in RI, chances are you’ll always been seen as an outsider. Big 7 Travel’s readers didn’t rate Rhode Islanders too highly on the ‘friendly scale’. Smaller neighbourhoods are friendlier, but overall you won’t exactly be greeted with a smile from the local cashier.
Californians like to think of themselves as friendly, but our readers disagree. Los Angeles is no City of Angels when it comes to making strangers feel welcome, with an overall aloof-bordering-on-rude vibe. Smaller cities are more laid-back.
There’s no mistaking Arizona for having the sort of overt friendliness of the South, but locals are generally mellow enough. It’s the sort of place where strangers will strike up a conversation when waiting in line, but don’t expect huge grins. It’s more of a nice indifference towards others.
Connecticut residents are polite, reserved and generally nice, but outright friendly? Not so much. New Englanders have somewhat of a reputation for being aloof, but people will hold the door open for you and say hello. It’s not the most culturally vibrant state, but local open mike nights and community events help to bring people together.
Alaska might be somewhat isolated, but tourism plays a huge part of the economy here, so residents are eager to welcome outsiders. In fact, apart from Alaskan Natives, most residents here were newcomers at some stage, so they know how it feels to be new in town. Either that, or they’ll ignore you, but they’re far from rude.
You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how warm and friendly the people of Montana are. The entire state is more like a small town, despite its size. You won’t be invited into someone’s home for tea, but they’re nice. There’s light-hearted banter between the various towns, with a positive attitude towards tourists and other visitors.
The growing diversity in Virginia is adding even more of a welcoming and friendly atmosphere to the state. While some people might see it as quite traditional and wary of strangers, the cultural haven of Washington D.C . and other metro areas make it a positive place to be.
People in Vermont are friendly and sociable, making this an easy state to make new friends in. Tourism is huge here, so overall, locals will go out of their way to help visitors to the area. Small town Vermonters might take a while to fully accept new residents, but once they do you’ll have friends for life.
Generally, locals of North Carolina are good-mannered, eager to help and friendly to both other locals and visitors alike. People will say ‘hi’ just about anywhere: Walmart, the parking lot or even when stopped at a red light. The state is a melting pot of people from all over the country, which is a highlight.
People from Utah are famously friendly, so you’re sure to be made to feel right at home here. Salt Lake City is a wonderfully vibrant and social place to be, and is also rated one of the most LGBTQ+ friendly major cities in the country.
Maine’s low-crime rate and general friendliness of locals make it a popular state to move to, and our readers seem to agree. New Englanders are often thought to be reserved, but Mainers are open and warm. You’ll see this as soon as you arrive here.
West Virginians are some of the most welcoming and friendly people you’re likely to meet on your travels across the USA. There’s a chilled out pace of life here that lends itself to a warm atmosphere. The mountains act as somewhat of a protective wall between West Virginia and the outside world, so there’s a strong community.
Iowa is well known for being a generally friendly and kind state, with people regularly waving hello to strangers and saying hello on the street. Cashiers will greet you with a smile, roadside farmers will tell you all about their tasty crops and there’s a real sense of community.
Michiganders like to think of themselves as a friendly bunch, but Detroit and Ann Arbor in particular can be hard nuts to crack. In general, people here have a good sense of humour and are easy-going with Midwest politeness.
Maryland is among the most densely populated states in the nation, and is home to diverse cultures. Its openness to outsiders means that it’s a vibrant and social place to spend some time. You’ll easily find yourself making new best friends in a bar in Baltimore.
Wisconsin is a Midwestern gem where people have good manners, a tight-knit sense of community and a fun attitude. In fact, Green Bay is one of the happiest places in the United States, so it’s no wonder people are nice as pie. Could it have anything to do with the Packers?
This is one of the least-populated and visited states in America, but it’s certainly nothing to do with its great locals. North Dakotans are down-to-earth and willing to help, without expecting anything in return. Our readers scored the state highly on its community vibe.
Oregon is well known as a state where people are nice to strangers. Sure, the Portland hipster scene might take a while to break into, but they’re nice – swear. It’s also the most pet-friendly state in America, so your pooch will be welcome here too.
Mississippi is a charming state with plenty of Southern sweetness. One thing that surprises most out-of-towners about Mississippi is how friendly the people are here. Locals are polite as can be and will welcome you as one of their own – once you don’t try to tell them how much better “up North” is!
People in Missouri will tell you their entire life story before you’ve even had the chance to say ‘hello’. They’re nice and tend to actually be interested in what strangers have to say – there’s no fakeness here.
If you’re friendly, then everyone you meet in Alabama will be friendly to you. Stick to that golden rule and you’ll see that Alabama is one of the friendliest states in America. Strangers will hold the door open for you and even help you carry groceries to your car – just for the sake of being nice.
South Dakota is full of vibrant, forward-looking communities filled with engaged and friendly people. Even in big cities here, people will openly chat to strangers about everything from the weather to football. The people here practically define the meaning of ‘Midwest Nice’.
In Kentucky, you’ll quickly find that people are nice no matter what. Whether you’ve been born and raised here or are just passing through, locals will treat you with the same kind attitude. Kentuckians have a particular kind of friendliness that will make you want to move here immediately.
You might not instinctively think of cities such as Philadelphia or Pittsburgh as being friendly, but they really are. Citizens here are truly friendly – the slogan “You’ve Got a Friend in Pennsylvania” was created for a reason. Our readers ranked it highly in terms of helpfulness from strangers. Look lost? Chances are a good-natured local will help you out.
New Mexico is the sort of place where you’ll come across friendly people in pretty much every town. It’s laidback and culturally diverse. Plus, two cities in the Land of Enchantment even made the list of Top 20 Cities for LGBT-friendly retirement in 2018. There you have it.
With a population of 10.3 million, this Deep South state has a unique mix of rural and city neighbourhoods, but overall, locals are super friendly. It’s easy to get to know people here, even in larger cities like Atlanta. Big 7 Travel readers thought Georgia was pretty peachy.
You’ll hear over and over again that Idaho is home to some of the friendliest people in the USA, and our readers agreed with this. People here really are friendly, and not in an annoyingly nosy way. Idaho lives up to its reputation for warm hospitality and a genuine openness towards strangers.
Illinois is in the heart of the Midwest, with super friendly locals. Chicago is known for being one of America’s most tourist-friendly cities, knocking NYC out of the water. It’s also a decent state for visitors: according to Neighborhood Scout, Illinois has 19 of the safest cities in the country.
Nebraskans are some of the sweetest people you’ll meet in America. You’ll see people helping each other out everywhere you glance, with a strong community feel. Learn to master the ‘one finger’ wave while driving, and you’re practically a local.
Despite its recent tumultuous past with natural disasters, locals go above and beyond to make you feel welcome here. While the state is ethnically diverse, Louisianans all have one thing in common: they make the state one of the friendliest and best places ti be in America.
Ohio is a classic example of Midwestern manners and a genuinely positive attitude towards other people. Locals are open-minded and will eagerly share their favourite place to eat or drink with out-of-towners. It’s a great place for families too, with lots of kid-centric activities.
Hawaii has a keen focus on tourism, so visitors are really looked after here hospitality-wise. It’s known for its “Aloha Spirit”. Living in paradise must do something good for the soul, as you’ll be greeted with a warm smile from everyone you meet here.
Oklahoma City doesn’t have the nickname of ‘The Big Friendly’ for no reason: this is one of the friendliest states in America. People here are always keen to strike up conversation and will look after their own community no matter what. They’re equally nice to visitors, too.
The famous Kansas friendliness can come as a surprise for visitors from other states, so be prepared to engage in random conversations with just about everyone you meet here. Local’s openheartedness towards strangers makes the state such a beautiful place to visit.
Colorado’s progressive atmosphere makes it an enjoyable state to visit, with some of the friendliest people in the world to boot. It’s family-friendly and safe, with heaps of culture and makes visitors soon feel like locals. Whether you’re in Denver or the countryside, you’ll get an instant feel for the friendliness here.
Locals in Indiana pride themselves on their exceptional ‘Hoosier hospitality’, going above and beyond for other people. People here are good-natured, with a good sense of humour. So much more than just a “fly over” state, Indiana will hold a special place in your heart after just one visit.
Wyoming might be a a quiet-ish state, but the people here make it a fun and vibrant place to spend some time. There’s a real sense of community in even larger cities, where it’s common for a stranger to help you unstick your car from the snow or carry your groceries. Leave your keys in your car? Chances are it will be safe and sound.
Texas’ enthusiastic locals and greetings of ‘Howdy!’ everywhere you go have surely helped it secure its place among the friendliest states in America. Its large cities are boosted with small town vibes from locals, who will welcome you with open arms.
South Carolina’s residents are famously welcoming, making it such a friendly place to spend some time in. The Southern states are well known for their hospitality and kindness and South Carolina has both in spades.
That classic Southern charm is in full swing in Tennessee, where locals have a buzzing attitude and an eagerness to show off their city to out-of-towners. Add in the lively music scene and it’s clear why it’s one of the friendliest states in America.
And the winner out of all the friendliest states in America? Minnesota takes top spot, thanks to its extraordinarily friendly residents. It’s called ‘Minnesota Nice’ for a reason – the atmosphere in the Twin Cities and beyond is hard to match, with a homey feel and locals who go the extra mile to welcome tourists.