Leaving California? If you want ‘fun’ lifestyle, here are states to move to

There’s no shortage of “fun” in California, so relocating to a place with nearly as many leisure options is no easy task.

As a public service – not to mention highlighting an economic lesson or two – my trusty spreadsheet created “fun” grades for each state to help anyone contemplating an out-of-state move.

Now, if you’re in a hurry for the rankings, my math recommends moving to Florida, or Hawaii, Massachusetts, Colorado or Minnesota.

That’s the overall conclusion of a scorecard derived from eight measures of fun. How do states outside of California compare on benchmarks including how much is invested in recreation, what’s the level of leisurely resources, how tasty is the food and how fine is the weather?

Please note that any state-by-state scorecard is a rough estimate of the ranking’s target. Results will suggest the winners and losers for a hypothetical but typical household.

Caveats noted, the study says fun-seekers looking to become ex-Californians should avoid Indiana, Alabama, West Virginia, Kansas and Kentucky.

Oh, and other popular spots that have been havens for Golden State departees?

Texas ranked No. 28 for fun, Arizona 12th, Nevada, eighth and Idaho seventh.

The details

Relocation is often more than a pragmatic hunt based on economic factors. So, the availability of recreational opportunities should be part of any search for a new hometown outside of California.

Let’s peek under the hood of these rankings to reveal some of the variances among the states when it comes to their “fun” factor.

Follow the money: To see where local cash flows to fun, we considered how much of household budgets go toward recreational goods and services. The biggest spenders, based on Bureau of Economic Analysis numbers, are in Utah, Washington and Alaska. Smallest expenditures? West Virginia, Mississippi, and New Mexico. California would rank 12th if it was included.

Staffing: Great recreational options require a significant workforce. States with the most folks employed in leisure and hospitality businesses, on a relative scale, are a solid hint of places where recreation is plentiful.

Federal job stats tell us the highest concentrations of workers providing fun are in Nevada, Hawaii and Wyoming. Fewest? Iowa, Minnesota and Washington. California would rank No. 23, in this math.

Natural environment: You’d like to live where pollution is low and nature is well-tended. US News & World Report has graded the states on their environmental qualities.

The best states were Hawaii, New York and Massachusetts. The worst were Indiana, Louisiana and Nevada. Surprisingly, California ranked a lowly 30th.

Weather: You need decent weather to enjoy most recreational activities. And most Californians are spoiled, weather-wise.

Using various sources for temperature, precipitation and severe weather, the spreadsheet found the best bets for a pleasant day were in Nevada, Utah and Arizona. The worst? Avoid Pennsylvania, New York and Indiana. California ranked seventh.

Best food: Dining is a key part of the “fun” quotient of any region. Combining three state rankings of “best food” by Far and Wide, TravelKatz, and Femanin served as the accounting of cuisine.

The composite top states for food were New York, Washington and Hawaii. Worst? North Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas. California would be No. 1 if it was ranked.

Parks: To measure the supply of outdoor alternatives, we gauged the share of state parklands to the overall geography with data from CLIQ Chair.

The states most-filled with parks were Alaska, New Jersey and Hawaii. Meanwhile, it’s hardest to find a park in Kansas, Nebraska and Mississippi. And California would rank third if included in these grades.

Serenity: Recreation lowers tension. So the calmest places must be fun, no?

Looking at the recent stress-by-state grading from WalletHub, the highest levels of tranquility were found in Minnesota, Utah and New Hampshire. The most anxious lived in Mississippi, Louisiana and New Mexico. California was the 22nd most-stressed state.

Another view: To make sure we’re not too far off, we also included a somewhat similar “fun states” tabulation by WalletHub.

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𝗖𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝘁𝘀, 𝗖𝗼𝗽𝘆𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 & 𝗖𝗼𝘂𝗿𝘁𝗲𝘀𝘆:
𝗙𝗼𝗿 𝗮𝗻𝘆 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝗿𝗲𝗴𝗮𝗿𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗗𝗠𝗖𝗔,
𝗣𝗹𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗲 𝘀𝗲𝗻𝗱 𝘂𝘀 𝗮𝗻 𝗲𝗺𝗮𝗶𝗹 𝗮𝘁

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