Nothing says summer like a good road trip. Just you, your friends and family, a map and the open road. But where to go?
Luckily, WalletHub has done the hard work for you, researching prices, attractions and even crime rates to rank all 50 states in order of how road trip-friendly they are. So rather than throwing darts at a map, you can use this list to plan out your perfect summer adventure and budget so you can cross as many states off your list as possible. ARE WE THERE YET?
The Best Of The West:
It’s not surprising that most of WalletHub’s top 10 road trip states are out west, since its rankings incorporated scenic byways and the amount of national parkland. Oregon was first on the list. Neighboring Washington was third and California came in ninth. While all three were some of the more expensive states to visit, they were also the top three in terms of activities.
Further in-depth research on Google Maps reveals that these three states are all in a row, which means you could theoretically hit them all up in one Pacific Coast trip.
A little further inland, Utah was ranked second thanks to its combination of affordability, safety and activities. Nevada was also ranked lucky No. 7 (VEGAS, WHOO), and Colorado was ranked tenth.
The Rest Of The Best:
The only east coast state to rank in the top 10 was North Carolina, which came in fourth and scored well on affordability and activities, with WalletHub taking special note of its scenic byways.
Louisiana and Texas were ranked fifth and sixth, respectively, and scored well on both affordability and activities. Minnesota was ranked eighth, buoyed by its top safety ranking.
Traveling On A Budget:
Hoping to get the most bang for your buck? Wyoming (ranked 16th overall) and Georgia (ranked 13th overall) were rated as the two most affordable road trip destinations, including cheap camping fees.
South Carolina had the cheapest gas prices and scored well in the activities category, but its overall ranking (22nd) was hurt by its last-place safety score. But neighboring North Carolina was tied for the most scenic byways, so maybe just fill up the tank in South Carolina before making your way up north for the beautiful drives.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Hawaii (40th overall) was ranked as the least-affordable state to road trip to. Which, when you consider the fact that you can’t actually drive there, makes sense. But hey, I hear the plane tickets are getting cheaper.
The Great Outdoors:
If your ideal road trip involves less sleeping under the neon motel signs and more sleeping under the stars, Alaska (21st overall), Arizona (11th overall) and Florida (12th overall) were the top-ranked states in terms of percentage of national parksland.
And after Nevada and Wyoming, Nebraska (19th overall) had the third-most affordable camping grounds.
If safety is a primary concern for you, or you are traveling with young children, maybe a New England trip might be your best bet? Maine (14th overall), New Hampshire (27th overall) and Vermont (23rd overall) all scored in the top five for safety, though their overall rankings were brought down a bit by the higher costs of traveling there.
All three also have very low car-theft rates, which is an overlooked statistic when you think about the fact that it is very hard to have a road trip if you no longer have a car.
Most of the bottom five states in the total rankings had one thing in common. Apparently, there’s not much to do in North Dakota (46th), Mississippi (48th), Rhode Island (49th) and Connecticut (50th), which all had low scores in the activity category. The other state in the bottom five, Pennsylvania (47th), suffered because of the high cost, safety concerns and middling activity score.