Best and Worst States for a Summer Road Trips

Road tripping through the United States is a tradition as old as cars themselves.

Americans adore taking road trips through the desert landscapes of the American Southwest, the pine tree lined roads of Georgia, and touring landmarks like Mount Rushmore.

Touring Virginia at Gloucester. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Touring Virginia at Gloucester. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Summer is the perfect time to hit the open road: School’s out, the weather’s warm, and the possibilities are endless. The only dilemmas? Deciding on a destination and somehow affording everything you want to pack into your itinerary.

Fuel prices might be one thing to be concerned about. They’ve recently spiked due to rising crude costs, and were 31 percent higher on Memorial Day than last year. On top of that, you’ll need to consider campgrounds, activities, and food. All of these and more contribute to the more than $718 billion spend on leisure travel each year.

Touring Utah at Bryce Canyon National Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Touring Utah at Bryce Canyon National Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

None of the expense and hassle, however, seems to discourage Americans from traveling. In fact, 64 percent of families traveling this summer still plan to take road trips by car or in an RV, according to AAA.

But there are a few states that are better than others when it comes to road trips, according to Wallethub, thanks to their lower gas prices, attractions, and safety.

WalletHub compared all 50 states based on 31 metrics across three dimensions—cost, safety, and activities offered—to find “the most fun, scenic, and wallet-friendly road trip destinations.”

Touring Arizona at Lynx Lake near Prescott. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Touring Arizona at Lynx Lake near Prescott. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

According to the study, the best state to road trip in this summer is Wyoming, which came in as the number one most affordable state to travel to, the 19th for safety, and the 22nd for activities.

In its survey of the Best States for Summer Road Trips, WalletHub determined that the Top Ten states are as follows:

  1. Wyoming
  2. North Carolina
  3. Minnesota
  4. Texas
  5. Florida
  6. Louisiana
  7. Washington
  8. New York
  9. Utah
  10. Colorado
ouring Colorado on the road to Mesa Verde National Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Touring Colorado on the road to Mesa Verde National Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

As for the worst state for a road trip this summer, that distinction goes to Rhode Island, which scored 48th for cost, 6th for safety, and 49th for activities. The other states in the bottom 10 are Alabama, Kansas, Alaska, Kentucky, Indiana, New Mexico, Hawaii, Delaware, and Connecticut.

Wallethub also determined which states are best for a few key summer activities.

Key Stats: Best and Worst

California and North Carolina have the highest number of scenic byways, 66, which is 22 times higher than in Delaware, the state with the lowest at three.

Touring Idaho on the Snake River at Twin Falls. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Touring Idaho on the Snake River at Twin Falls. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Five states share the honor of having the highest percent of total area designated as national parkland: Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Utah, and Hawaii. Illinois has the lowest percent of total area designated as national parkland, followed by Rhode Island, Iowa, Kansas, and Oklahoma.

Mississippi has the lowest average gas prices, followed by Arkansas, Alabama, South Carolina, and Missouri. Hawaii has the highest average gas prices followed by California, Washington, Alaska, and Nevada.

Touring Montana at Helena. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Touring Montana at Helena. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Wyoming has the lowest daily price for camping, $32, which is 2.1 times lower than in Connecticut, the state with the highest at $68. Other states with low camping costs include Georgia (#2), Alabama (3rd), New Hampshire (4th), and Arkansas (5th).

California is the most popular choice for the best state to drive in (11 percent), followed by Texas (10 percent), Florida (6 percent), North Carolina (6 percent), and Oregon (4 percent).

Vermont has the lowest number of car thefts per 1,000 residents, 0.45, which is 12.5 times lower than in New Mexico, the state with the highest at 5.64.

Touring New Hampshire at Wolfeboro. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Touring New Hampshire at Wolfeboro. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Of course, getting out on the open road wherever you want to go is more important than any ranking.

For a little help with planning, see our RV essentials that everyone should have for every road trip.

Worth Pondering…

Let’s Go RVing! Moss is starting to grow on my non-rolling stone! It is definitely time to get back in the RV and out on the open road.

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