Does taking a vacation make you happy? Imagine how much more happy your travels could be if you visited “the happiest place in America”. Here’s a secret: you won’t find any over-sized mice when you get there.
According to the National Geographic book Thrive, by Dan Buettner, the happiest city in the United States has nothing to do with theme parks or major attractions. Where are you most likely to smile? San Luis Obispo, California on the Central Coast, according to Buettner.
The residents of San Luis Obispo received high marks in a 2008 one in the U.S. for overall emotional health and scored as “more likely to smile and experience joy and less likely to experience pain or depression.” What is everyone smiling about?
For one thing, there’s plenty of fresh air. San Luis Obispo offers more than 6,500 acres of protected open space for hiking, biking trails, and just generally enjoying the great outdoors. You’ll also find waterfalls, sea caves, and hillsides covered in wildflowers perfect for photographing. In addition to the nature scene, San Luis Obispo visitors can also enjoy the historic downtown and interesting local landmarks – like bubblegum alley, which is exactly what it sounds like.
To find this little slice of happiness, hit the 101 and drive about three hours north of Los Angeles.
Photo by MikeBaird on Flickr