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The best places to smoke a joint in every legal weed state

Updated July 12, 2021

Let’s start with a fairly important disclaimer: None of the states that have legalized cannabis so far allow “public consumption,” even in places you’d be perfectly within your rights to light up a tobacco cigarette—a policy that makes about as much sense as allowing firearms and banning water pistols, but there you have it.

What this means in a practical sense is you’ll have to proceed at your own risk if attempting to spark one up anywhere besides a private residence, a cannabis-friendly hotel, or a location or event specifically granted a license for on-site consumption.

Leafly’s guide to marijuana legalization

And so, with that bit of warning out of the way, let’s talk about the criteria that went into the daunting task of selecting the best place in every legal state to smoke a joint.

I’d love to tell you this is based on a massive national survey of cannabis enthusiasts or some kind of Big Data algorithm, but the truth is that this list is not only subjective, it’s highly subjective. Some of these recommendations are based on my own personal experiences, but most originated as suggestions from in-the-know local stoners I reached out to in each state, who in turn filled my inbox with their insider’s picks.

Hopefully this list will serve as a jumping off point for a spirited debate, as no doubt many readers will have their own ideas of where best to get blazed in their own home states. So kindly leave your best smoke spot in the comments and let’s start crowdsourcing this vitally important research project.


The Matanuska Glacier is the largest glacier accessible by automobile in the United States and was chosen by Alaska magazine as #2 of its “49 Places to Go in the 49th State.”

But odds are if you’re reading this, and the word “Matanuska” rings a bell, you’re probably thinking of a legendary cannabis varietal by the name of Matanuska Thunder Fuck.

According to Leafly, MTF (as it’s often abbreviated) “smells like hot chocolate with fruit, the latter of which can dominate the taste…[while] the effects tend to come on slowly and then give a strong body buzz.” All of which sounds to me like an ideal strain to smoke while standing on top of a massive ice flow that’s approximately 26 miles long and four miles wide. Matanuska Glacier is also less than a two hour ride from Anchorage, with plenty of scenic points to hit along the way.

Some dispensaries you’ll find along the way:


As noted above, this list is highly subjective. How could it not be, when we all have our own ideas about the ideal set and setting for getting stoned, and even the smallest state in the union (go ahead and legalize Rhode Island!) offers countless opportunities to get lit in a wide range of aesthetically pleasing surroundings?
But then again, sometimes the answer is as clear and present as a massive gaping hole in the ground.
Yes, that’s right, the Grand Canyon is not only an acknowledged natural wonder of the world, it’s also undeniably the best place in Arizona to smoke a joint. Provided you do so discreetly (it’s a National Park, which is a federal jurisdiction, and therefore cannabis is highly illegal within Park borders) and in an area with minimal fire danger. 

What happens if you get caught with cannabis in a national park?

Plan ahead to make the most of the experience, including booking a campsite in the park and giving yourself at least one full day to hike around and explore.
Of course, you could just drive up to the ridge, snap a stoned selfie, and hop back in the car. But when it comes to the Grand Canyon, you can’t really say you’ve been there till you’ve been there. So give it some time, and some smoke, and see if it gets spiritual.

One thing, thankfully, you won’t have to plan far in advance is where to score cannabis (and cannabis accessories). Because whatever direction you’re arriving from, all roads to the Grand Canyon are now lined with dispensaries.


Best place to smoke a joint: California

With all due respect to Southern California, which boasts plenty of amazing places to smoke a jay, the Golden State’s cannabis culture has always been rooted up north.

To get truly as high as possible (in attitude, not altitude) in California, you’ve got to drive north through wine country, all the way up to Weed Country, better known as the Emerald Triangle (Mendocino, Trinity, and Humboldt Counties), the state’s longtime remote and ruggedly beautiful haven for cannabis growers. Humboldt County in particular has made a global name for itself based on the quantity and quality of cannabis produced by its local farmers, and it’s also an incredible place to visit, as evidenced by Leafly’s official cannabis visitors guide.

To pick just one location in Humboldt is difficult, but let’s go with the picturesque coastal town of Trinidad, where you can park by the old lighthouse (since 1871) and walk down a path behind it to a secluded beach. Be sure to keep an eye out for migrating whales as you puff some of the local greenery and take in the beauty of this remote seascape.

Some dispensaries you’ll find along the way:


Best place to smoke a joint: Colorado

The first state to implement legal adult-use cannabis sales boasts many incredible opportunities to enjoy a Rocky Mountain high, including a plethora of public parks in the actual Rocky Mountains. You can also check out The Coffee Joint, Denver’s one-and-only (so far) “licensed social consumption club and coffee house,” which allows on-site vaping, dabbing (e-nails only) and edibles, though it remains a smoke-free facility.

But what if the Mile High City (5,280 feet) isn’t nearly high enough for you? Then consider heading to Telluride (8,750 feet), a former Victorian mining town set majestically into a box canyon surrounded by towering alpine forests. It’s now a popular ski resort in the winter and home to a plethora of festivals all summer celebrating everything from jazz, blues, bluegrass and chamber music, to wine, yoga, and perhaps the world’s premier mushroom fest.

Since opening in 1996, the Telluride gondola has been offering free rides from town up to Mountain Village and back—an eight mile, 13-minute journey that reaches a peak elevation of 10,540 feet with 365-degree views of the surrounding San Juan mountains. You can bring your skis, your mountain bike, even your doggie.

Locals refer to it lovingly to it as the “ganja-la.” Need we say more?

Some dispensaries you’ll find along the way:


Illinois provides lots of options for outdoor adventurers, including Shawnee National Forest.

Near Herod, IL, Shawnee National Forest features Garden of the Gods – a scenic wilderness with unique rock formations and trails that can be walked or enjoyed on horseback. Campgrounds are open all year round, so you and your buddies can sleep under the stars, picnic, or even head to the beach.

Always make sure you aren’t enjoying your cannabis near anyone under the age of 21. And remember not to smoke your weed in public – it’s against the law.

Cannabis in the great outdoors: Tips, tricks, and advice for hiking, backpacking, and more


Gulf Hagas is a massive (and truly gorgeous) gorge cut into the mountains of central Maine that’s often referred to as the Grand Canyon of the East.

Formed by the west branch of the Pleasant River, the gorge exposes up to 130 feet of slate as it cuts through the landscape in a rush of whitewater broken up by a series of stunning waterfalls. So get up early and indulge in a hearty breakfast followed by a serious wake-and-bake if you want to hike the entire Rim Trail, as it’s eight miles long and will take about eight hours to complete. Get the timing right for autumnal leaf-peeping season, and the surrounding foliage will take your breath away.


Best place to smoke a joint: Massachusetts

And now for something totally trippy, namely Singing Beach in Manchester-by-the-Sea (population 5,136), a gracefully curving three quarters mile stretch of classic New England coastline where shuffling your feet as you move across the sand produces a strange, squeaky “singing” sound that to this day is still not fully understood.

According to the brainiacs at Atlas Obscura:

“This phenomena is not able to be fully scientifically explained, but some believe that the sound is produced by shear, in which the surface of one sand grain rubs against the layer beneath it. The process is very delicate, as even the smallest amounts of pollution, dust, or organic matter on the sand can reduce friction enough to quell the sound. The best part of the beach for hearing singing sand is on the dry side above normal high tide lines.”

The sand also takes on an iridescent color at sunset, so time your joint smoking accordingly. Also, lower your expectations of what “singing” really means. Because, as Henry David Thoreau, famed naturalist, OG transcendentalist, and the author of Civil Disobedience, once noted:

“The sound (of the sand) was not at all musical nor was it loud…I thought it as much like the sound of waxing a table as anything.”

But hey Thoreau, have you ever tried walking across Singing Beach—on weed?

Some dispensaries you’ll find along the way:


Okay, I’ll be honest, Las Vegas is not really my idea of a good time. Yes, I do love the book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, but I also tend to agree with Hunter Thompson’s central metaphor that “Lost Wages” isn’t so much a great vacation spot as the clearest vision possible of the death of the American dream.

That said, not everybody wants to smoke a joint on a glacier or hike the rim of a gorge, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with preferring glitzy architecture and the never-ending clanging of slot machines. But where in that city built on vice can a humble cannabis smoker go to get high? I mean, Leafly published an entire article on this very cannabis conundrum.

I know what you’re thinking—what’s more Las Vegas than renting a party bus that will let you spark up in the back? Several such enterprises used to exist, but then “the man” scared them out of business. So I dunno, maybe just eat a bunch of edibles, wander The Strip tripping off all those neon lights, and then gorge yourself at the Bacchanal Buffet at Caesar’s Palace.

Some dispensaries you’ll find along the way:


Best place to smoke a joint: Oregon

The highest point in Oregon is also an incredible place to get high.

At 11,239 feet, the peak of Mount Hood is part of a one-million acre national park, located just 50 miles from Portland, with world-class hiking, hot springs, old growth forests, and an active volcano—though don’t get paranoid, geologists only give it a 5% chance of erupting in the next 30 years.

What makes this summit truly so special, however, is a ski/snowboarding season that lasts all year. That’s right, North America’s only “endless winter” can be found at a spot on the southwestern face of the mountain known as Timberline.

Home to a decidedly herb-friendly community of ski-bums and skateboarders, there’s also plenty of local cannabis culture to soak up.

Some dispensaries you’ll find along the way:

Oregon marijuana laws


Best place to smoke a joint: Vermont

Located at the crossroads of scenic Route 100 and Interstate 89, Waterbury, Vermont is like the Platonic ideal of a quintessentially quaint little New England town. Plus, within fifteen miles you can mountain bike on the breathtaking Stowe recreation path, explore a real life ghost town in Little River State Park, fish for trout, perch, bass and salmon in the Winooski River, go swimming in the local reservoir, or trek out to Vermont’s highest peak at Stowe Mountain Resort.

But more, much more than this, Waterbury is where you can visit the Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory. Time your visit for a Saturday, and in addition to the regular 30-minute tour of the facility, you can sign up for the Flavor Fanatic Experience, which promises dedicated cream heads the opportunity to “assist in whipping up a batch of ice cream, before retiring to the Scoop Shop for a scoop of one of your tried-and-true favorite flavors.”

Don’t forget to pay your respects at the Flavor Graveyard, where dearly departed fan favorites like Oatmeal Cookie Chunk, Brownie Batter and Sweet Cream Cinnamon are fondly remembered by those with a sweet tooth and red eyes.

Some dispensaries you’ll find along the way:


The state of Washington covers over 71,000 square miles and is home to just over 7 million people—a full 60% of whom live in the greater Seattle metropolitan area. Do the math and that means there’s tons of remote places to get away from it all and spend some quality time with Mary Jane, including obvious landmarks like Mount Rainier, Olympic National Forest, and the Cascades. Ascend Seattle’s iconic Space Needle before walking over to the truly tripped out Chihuly art glass museum (but save the joint for before or after your visit—lighting up at such popular destinations is not recommended).

Why not take a ferry ride out to Orcas Island, the largest of the San Juan Islands located in the northwest corner of the state? Getting there is truly half the fun as the open air decks of the ferry offer incredible views, with the occasional whale sighting as a free bonus.

Again, sparking up on the ferry is not recommended, but make sure to pack your joint and waterproof matches in one of these “stormproof” fire-starting kits (available from Washington’s own REI) so you can puff away in peace while making your own self-guided kayak tour of the island. A three-hour trip departing from Smuggler’s Villa will take you down the North Coast to Point Doughty State Park (accessible only by non-motorized sea vessels), where you can land on the beach and take a nature hike, before kayaking back accompanied by porpoises, seals, eagles, possibly even an orca, and the salty sea air.

Some dispensaries you’ll find along the way:

Washington, DC

Okay, Washington, DC is technically not a state. And this option is not really available to the vast majority of people. But did you know that Willie Nelson once smoked a joint on the roof of the White House?

Go ahead, try to top that. No wait, don’t, because pulling a stunt like blazing up at the Lincoln Memorial can land you in federal hot water. So instead, let’s head to one of the capital’s lesser known attractions, one with plenty of room to have a sneaky smoke.

Nestled into the west bank of the Anacostia River in Southeast DC and recognized by the National Registry of Historical Places, Congressional Cemetery originally opened for business as the Washington Parish Burial Ground in 1807, and currently houses the earthly remains of 55,000 former human beings, including many of the prominent citizens who helped transform this one-time two-bit backwater town from a fetid, mosquito-infested swampland into a world-class cesspool of corruption.

Sometime between then and now the place fell into disfavor and disrepair, but once you get past the barbed wire, turns out it’s a real neat place to take in some sightseeing that’s most definitely off the beaten track. Creepy mausoleums, a chapel on a hill with stained glass windows, massive oak trees, a 9/11 commemorative totem pole, a veteran from every American war, a former US Attorney General who ran for president against Andrew Jackson on an anti-Mason platform and had his skull mysteriously stolen from his grave in 2003 (later mysteriously returned)—the Congressional Cemetery has got it all, including more than a few out-of-the-way smoke spots!

Some dispensaries you’ll find along the way:

David Bienenstock's Bio Image
David Bienenstock

Veteran cannabis journalist David Bienenstock is the author of "How to Smoke Pot (Properly): A Highbrow Guide to Getting High" (2016 - Penguin/Random House), and the co-host and co-creator of the podcast "Great Moments in Weed History with Abdullah and Bean." Follow him on Twitter @pot_handbook.

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