If you hate driving, the best way to travel the United States is by Instagram.
Most states have a tourism department that manages a public Instagram account. If you’re the type of person who wants to see the U.S. but aren’t interested in leaving your couch, consider browsing through some of these very well-curated pages.
No state is superior to any other state, but some states have more engaging Instagram content than others. There are states that are really good at showcasing sandwich content, for example. Other states really know how to find a quality landscape photo, or have a knack for animal photography.
Of course, a state’s Instagram page isn’t going to be perfectly representative of the state itself. You may not be particularly impressed by Massachusetts’ state tourism account, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit Massachusetts, which apparently has one of the country’s best accents.
These accounts are, however, somewhat telling of what the state thinks its best features are. They’re different beasts from that state itself, and that’s a beautiful thing.
Here are the very best state Instagram accounts:
Forget whatever feelings you may have about Texas for the moment. The state’s Instagram account is particularly good at showcasing Texas’ spectacular collection of wildflowers. These ‘grams make me want to run through the state’s fields and meadows while crooning old country songs. I know that makes me sound like a total Yankee, and I’m comfortable with it.
Look at all this color. This is serious flower content, y’all.
Wyoming is home to some of the country’s best parks, including Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park. That’s reflected in the state’s Instagram page, which showcases Wyoming’s spectacularly diverse topography.
More importantly, the account highlights Wyoming’s incredibly eclectic collection of wildlife. I am here for the eagle, mouse, deer, and sheep photos.
Visiting the Wyoming Instagram page is like going to a zoo – except you don’t have to pay an exorbitant fee to get in.
“Virginia is for lovers – of Instagram,” the state’s motto (could theoretically) go.
Like a few other states on this list, Virginia is particularly good at featuring the state’s extreme culinary creations. I’m a fan of “The Woody,” a pulled pork, sliced brisket, and slaw sandwich that uses Krispy Kreme donuts in lieu of a bun. The sandwich is a product of a local barbecue food truck.
Would I ever want to eat something like this? Of course not. But I appreciate the state for including it on its page. This is state food porn at its very best.
I would move to Virginia just for a chance to slurp (?) eat (?) this milkshake.
Honestly, I wouldn’t go within 50 feet of this soft-shell crab Bloody Mary, but I appreciate the level of olive flair here.
When it comes to food Instagrams, however, Mississippi has Virginia beat, slightly. Maybe that’s just my food bias talking – I love soul food from the Deep South.
Either way, the state is really good at identifying the carbs, meat, and fish that make Mississippi regional cuisine exceptional.
Sure, the state’s beaches are pretty. But who cares? Nature is nothing next to delicious saturated fats. Check out these beautiful, calorie-laden dishes.
Nevada is so much more than Las Vegas, and its state Instagram page shows it. The account highlights some of the awesome wildlife you might find in the state, as well as some uniquely weird and distinctly Nevadan pieces of history.
Marvel in the size of these bunny ears. Laugh or groan at this strange Nevadan tombstone. Follow the account.
It’s honestly not fair for a state to be this pretty. But Oregon is dripping in natural beauty, and the state’s Instagram account isn’t afraid to brag about it.
Who cares about Portland’s awesome food scene when you have this much water?
Make as many Florida jokes as you want, but don’t you dare knock its state tourism account, which is one of the best in the country.
Like Oregon, Florida is abundant in natural beauty. The account does a great job highlighting that element. There’s photo after photo of the state’s aquamarine-tinted waters. Welcome to (Instagram) paradise.
When it comes to water, though, Michigan tops nearly every state on this list. Take a look at this photo of Fisherman’s Island State Park, located in Charlevoix, Michigan. Even though Michigan is over a thousand miles north of Florida, these waters look practically tropical.
The same is true of Mackinac Island National Park, located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
3. New Hampshire, @visitnh
New Hampshire’s account features plenty of gorgeous sunsets, as it well should. The Granite State enjoys beautiful New England forests, lakes, and a tiny stretch of coastline – ideal backdrops for sunsets.
You could print out the entire account page and turn it into a set of postcards.
No disrespect to my native coast, the East Coast, but the West Coast is technically the best coast. No account demonstrates that better than California’s state tourism account, which is a visual feast and frankly puts my home state’s (New York) to shame.
Montana is Big Sky Country, and the state’s Instagram account is fully aware of it. Photo after photo features the state’s notorious skies, jaw-dropping mountains, and glacier lakes.
You can go to Montana and see it for yourself. Or you can just follow the Instagram account.
Place your cynicism aside for the moment. These ‘grams are too good to be snarky about.
It’s summer. Time to road trip your way through America – by logging onto Instagram.