The Best Podcasts to Represent Every US State (Plus DC)Reading Time: 9 minutes
Audio adventures from Alabama to Wyoming, and every state between.
America is a land of opportunity, of contradictions, of…podcasts. In fact, there’s at least one standout podcast for each of the 50 United States (and Washington, DC, too)—niche shows dedicated to everything from the Grand Canyon to the food at the Minnesota State Fair. Each one celebrates the voices and stories that make the United States so diverse. If you’re taking a cross-country road trip, you could blast state-specific podcasts the whole way. Here’s a list to get you started.
Alabama Astronaut: Alabama songwriter Abe Partridge takes us to the hills of Appalachia to introduce us to a genre of music that’s never been heard before and is completely undocumented. It’s the music of snake handlers, and it reveals a subculture so strange it’s no wonder these songs (they’re good! You can listen to the album) are secret. Abe talks to the people who drink poison and handle snakes to figure out what makes them put themselves in danger for faith, through music.
Iditapod: During the Iditarod Sled Dog Race, tune into Iditapod, where journalists from Alaska Public Media jump on the mic right from the sidelines to report on behind-the-scenes news, updates on the mushers (and the health—and fashion—of their dogs) and detailed race analysis that will make you feel like you’re bundled up and cheering on the racers, too. It’s exciting and gives you a real look at what it’s like to push your body and mind (and a bunch of dogs with huge personalities) through 1,000 miles of snow. (If you can make it.)
Behind the Scenery: Dams, hiking, backcountry, rangers: Behind the Scenery drops you (gently) into the Grand Canyon to learn about all of the elements and forces that make it one of the most beautiful places in the United States.
Ozark Whispers: Vincent Vangetti isn’t a real person (he’s a fictional journalist / paranormal investigator) but Eureka Springs, Arkansas is. And Ozark Whispers follows Vincent on his investigations into strange happenings in this Victorian mountain village nestled in the Ozarks. The writing, narration, and sound design are top-notch, and will allow your imagination to wander.
California Love: Part love letter, part memoir, California Love uses narrative storytelling and pop culture analysis to offer a strong sense of place. Season one was Walter Thompson-Hernández’s anthem to his generation growing up in Compton. On season two, ‘K-pop Dreaming,’ Vivian Yoon shares memories about her lifelong obsession with K-pop.
The Colorado Dream: The Colorado Dream shines a light on Coloradans who building better lives for themselves and their communities in The Centennial State, from focusing on a small metro Denver school district training tomorrow’s workforce, to sharing the story of one African immigrant who gives us an idea of what the Black immigrant experience is like in Aurora.
Patient Zero: True-crime meets infectious disease on Patient Zero, where host Taylor Quimby shares the short and frustrating history of Lyme disease, beginning in 1975 when children around Lyme, Connecticut were complaining of mysterious symptoms. It took two moms to snap into action and get the attention of the medical field.
The Saving Delaware History Podcast: Delaware is a place rich with US history, home of forts to plantations to a major transition point in the Underground Railroad. The Saving Delaware History Podcast is your guide to its people and places, using research from Delaware’s Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs.
Biscayne Tales: Welcome to Miami—a place full of natural wonders, fossil sites, burial grounds, and pirate lore. Discover it all on Biscayne Tales, which takes you through Miami’s oldest neighborhoods and historic hot spots to learn about the city’s past.
The Fall Line: True crime can often feel exploitative of family trauma, and it is famous for focusing on the stories of a certain kind of person. (Looking at you, privileged white women.) The Fall Line focuses on ethical, deep-dive coverage of missing people and unsolved homicides of people you’ve never heard of—and the reason why these cases have gone under the radar in the first place.
They Called Me, Hapa: ‘Hapa’ is a Hawai’ian word for someone of multiracial ancestry. In this short audio experience, the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center partnered with Salted Logic, an indigenous women-led media collective, to talk to eight students from Hawai’i about what that word means to them, by exploring Hawai’i’s language, identity, and culture.
The King Road Killings: In 2022, four University of Idaho students were stabbed to death in their off-campus house on King Road. The King Road Killings is your place for the latest breaking news and a look into the case against Bryan Kohberger, the criminology PhD student charged with the murders.
77 Flavors of Chicago: Chicago residents Sara Faddah and Dario Durham walk the streets of all 77 of Chicago’s historic neighborhoods, pointing out the history you can’t miss (but you might! If you didn’t have Sara and Dario as your guides.) Meet the people, learn about the places, and hear all about the food.
Trackside Podcast: Trackside is the top IndyCar podcast and hosts Kevin Lee and Curt Cavin are the best in the biz. Daily, they bring you wrap-ups of what you might have missed and previews for what’s to come. Kevin and Curt are a blast, have great banter, and really know their stuff.
The Iowa Podcast: If you really want to know what’s happening in Iowa, listen to the people. The Iowa Podcast is a podcast for Iowans, by Iowans, in Iowa. Justin Brady talks to film makers, business owners, and every day people to give you a peek into the zeitgeist of the state. Out-of-towners are welcome.
Hidden Kansas: From exotic animal farms to haunted mansions and underground tunnels, there are many fascinating corners of Kansas to explore. Hidden Kansas uses beautiful storytelling to shine a light on the state’s gems that will make you feel at home, home on the range.
Midnight in Kentucky: Here’s a great podcast that reveals all the strange things happening in Kentucky, from the occult and cryptids to creepy pasta and demonology, always asking the question: Is the truth really out there? (In the Bluegrass State?) The focus is on smaller towns, not just the big cities.
Floodlines: What happened with the levees broke on TKTK in New Orleans? Floodlines is the story of the hubris, the incompetence, and the wrath of mother nature and is filled with personal stories of the people who were impacted. Hosted by Vann R. Newkirk II, Floodlines’ beautiful storytelling and powerful reporting earned it a 2021 Peabody Award.
Salts & Water: From the swashbuckling fishmonger of Portland to the maritime spirit of Searsport, Salts & Water is a six-part series by award-winning producer Rob Rosenthal about Coastal Maine and the people who work and play there.
Your Maryland: Ric Cottom presents quirky, interesting, and little-known stories about Maryland. Your Maryland will send you down a rabbit hole of accused witches, fires, treasure chests, heroes, and scoundrels.
Remarkable Providences: Remarkable Providences dives deep into the Salem Witch Trials and the climate of purity and resentment that generated one of the most enduring—and misunderstood—American myths. Hosted by Kate Devorak, a former Salem tour guide and current Salem nerd.
Intersections: Detroit: Experience Detroit through the diverse voices of its people. featuring personal, poetic stories and original music by Detroit musicians.
No Place Like Home: An audio documentary about a pair of Dorothy’s ruby slippers, which were stolen from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota in 2005. This caper story is worthy of the big-screen, and might even rival The Wizard of Oz. .
Witnessed: Devil in the Ditch: Journalist Larrison Campbell returns to her Mississippi hometown to reexamine the murder of her grandmother, Presh, and the relative that some people think killed her. It’s about a family and community broken open by scandal.
Missouri Woods & Water: Avid sportsmen Nate Thomas, Micah Winstead and Andrew Homfeld have a passion for the Missouri outdoors, and cover summer coyotes, hunting gear, conservation, and more, through interviews with specialists from the Department of Conservation.
Fireline: Fires are natural, essential, and beautiful. They’re also catastrophic and terrifying. Fireline shares stories and news about the experience and perspectives of firefighters and land managers in an attempt to understand the history of fire management and the complications involving fire today.
Heartland Darkland: A mix of casual conversation and deep dives into murders, mystery, the missing, and the paranormal all happening in America’s Heartland. Heartland Darkland does a great job shining a light on the stories of diverse victims.
Vital Vegas: Long, insightful deep dives into Sin City’s most fascinating news, stories, and rumors. Host Scott Roeben’s network of sources is unparalleled—he’s entertaining and shows real passion for Vegas.
Something Wild: From sugar mapling to bird songs, explore the science that New Hampshire residents see and hear in their own backyards. It feels like a fun and nerdy nature walk that you can enjoy with the whole family.
New Jersey Is the World: Comedian Chris Gethard, host of Beautiful / Anonymous, loves New Jersey. He interviews his New Jersey friends and shares weird secrets and stories to make sure you love it, too.
I Love New Mexico Bunny Terry wrote the I Love New Mexico blog for 13 years and now brings her love for New Mexico to her same-named podcast, where she shares stories with New Mexicans, where to get the best green chile cheeseburger, and how to find the well-stocked thrift store or raft the wildest stretch of river.
Undiscarded: A ticket stub, a display cake, a stuffed alligator: They may seem like mundane objects, but they tell fascinating stories about New York City. Undiscarded shares those stories, object by object.
Down the Road on the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina: Musician, folklorist, and storyteller Laura Boosinger shares the stories of bluegrass and old-time music in North Carolina, highlighting performers, and traditions across the state’s mountain and foothills counties.
State Historical Society of North Dakota: This now-defunct podcast shone a spotlight on North Dakota days gone by, covering historic sites, exhibits, events, and heritage of North Dakota through interpretive tours and interviews with curators, archaeologists, and other history professionals.
Who Cares About the Rock Hall?: Cleveland rocks. And on Who Cares About the Rock Hall? Joe Kwaczala tries to get his friend and Kristen Studard to care about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as much as he does. Filled with information and fun conversation.
Blindspot: Host KalaLea takes you back in time to the Greenwood District in 1921, known then as the nation’s ‘Black Wall Street,’ which was destroyed by a mob of white supremacists on May 31 of that year. Hear stories of survivors, descendants, and inheritors of its legacy. It’s a museum for your ears.
The Offbeat Oregon History Podcast: Cults! Serial killers! An exploding whale! Hear about Oregon’s craziest true stories—the ones that weren’t in your textbooks.
Addressing Gettysburg: Hear the unfiltered story of Gettysburg through compelling narrative episodes—plus, tune in for informative ‘Ask a Gettysburg Guide’ segments and more.
Crime Town: Tune in to season one, which opened wide the gritty crime culture of Providence, Rhode Island, where organized crime ruled over every aspect of public life. Crime Town boasts fantastic reporting and production.
Carolina Crimes: Two South Carolina natives take on some of the most horrifying crimes, and at the same time, offer diverse lessons on the historical and cultural aspects of the Palmetto state. You get to learn about more than just the crimes, but the areas they occurred in.
History 605: State Historian Ben Jones invites guests to talk about their books, museum exhibits and artifacts, and historic sites in the region. It’s an open book about South Dakota’s history and the people of the past.
The Grand Ole Opry: Pull up to this weekly country music concert, which showcases the legends and contemporary chart-toppers performing country, bluegrass, folk, gospel, and more. It’s a portal into the past.
White Hats: The history of the Texas Rangers (Los Diablos Tejanos) and how they became such enduring Texan symbols. Lauded for being American superheroes and despised for the violence they visited upon Mexicans and Mexican Americans, their story is heavy, complicated, and endlessly fascinating.
Deliver Us from Ervil: Journalist Jesse Hyde tells the story of Ervil LeBaron, the leader of a polygamous Mormon fundamentalist group who ordered the killings of many of his opponents, using his faith to justify the murders. It’s a true-crime story rooted in faith and history.
Rumble Strip: A Peabody Award-winning show that features conversations with Vermont residents from journalist Erica Heilman. Erica’s ability to talk—and listen—to her subjects about everyday issues of her Vermont neighbors makes every story unique and unforgettable.
Odd Virginia: Strange and close encounters come to life on Odd Virginia, the show that makes you feel like you’re sitting around a campfire.
DIRT: An Audio Drama: A strange letter. An impossible sender. Secrets hidden in the ground. This audio drama, set in present-day Washington State, is about one man’s journey to unlock a family mystery, and how he gets more than he ever bargained for.
Sidedoor: Visit the Smithsonian without budging from your seat. Host Lizzie Peabody takes you on a guided tour of the museum’s relics with the help of biologists, artists, historians, archaeologists, zookeepers and astrophysicists, who offer insight into American history via the objects you might find inside the museum corridors.
Inside Appalachia: Listening to ‘Inside Appalachia’ is like flipping through a culture magazine that introduces you to a variety of stories about West Virginia’s history, food, music, culture, and people. Episodes are educational and beautifully made. This show reminds us not to take an inch of West Virginia for granted.
Beer, Cheese & Murder: The Beer, Cheese & Murder Gals deliver batches of fresh Wisconsin news stories that make you want to say ‘Oh, my nerves!’ From grisly murders to more lighthearted news stories, this show offers colorful stories with a lot of fun from the hosts.
The Modern West: Melodie Edwards offers thoughtful and honest insight into Wyoming’s western corner of the world, from its problematic history to its modern day struggles. It’s slow-paced and beautifully made, tackling modernization, social responsibility, and the revisionist American west through the local lens of a local.
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