The 10 Best States for Summer Road Trips, According to Data
Your next memorable family vacation doesn't have to involve going to the airport.
There's never a wrong time of year to take a vacation. But when it comes to planning an unforgettable road trip, there's something about the summer that makes it feel that much more perfect. Maybe you're finally trying to get in some of those famous national parks you've always wanted to visit. Perhaps you're just trying to avoid the delays and cancellations that seem to be plaguing airports lately. Or maybe you simply appreciate the feeling of having the windows down on an open road while you move towards your next destination. Whatever your reasoning may be, it's essential to do your research and plan your route before you head off. And according to some new data, some states are much more suited to road-tripping than others.
To get a better idea of which places make for the perfect car voyages, personal finance website WalletHub collected data from all 50 states across 32 key metrics, including the number of scenic byways and famous sites, as well as road conditions and average gas prices. They then graded each on a 100-point scale—with 100 points being a perfect score—and determined each state's weighted average across all metrics to determine the rankings. Read on to see which states make for the best summer road trips, according to data from WalletHub.
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Total score: 52.44
As it's the home to the majority of Yellowstone National Park, it may not come as a surprise that Wyoming earns high marks for being the second least expensive state in which to camp. It also ranks high in safety, coming in 12th overall nationwide.
Total score: 52.93
Florida is a land of extremes when it comes to the data collected in this survey. The Sunshine State manages to rank very last where safety is concerned. But it scores highly in other areas, tying for first place with four other states in total area designated as national parkland and ranking second in the activities category.
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Total score: 53.06
Idaho gets its highest marks for safety, coming third overall in the category—despite being the state with the fourth-highest rate of car thefts per capita. It also ranks 20th in the activities category.
Total score: 54.20
Anyone looking for non-stop natural beauty may want to consider taking their road trip through North Carolina. The state ranks fourth overall in having the most scenic byways and is eighth in the U.S. in the activities category. Perhaps the fact the state is home to much of the Blue Ridge Parkway—which was the National Park System's most visited site in 2021 with a headcount of 15.9 million, according to the National Park Service—factors into its high ranking, too.
Total score: 54.83
Even though it's something you're hoping to avoid on any road trip, Ohio ranks top in the nation for the lowest average cost for car repairs, according to WalletHub's data. Besides that, it's still ranked at an impressive 12th overall in the costs category and 16th in activities.
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Total score: 55.77
Fresh lobster rolls, anyone? Maine takes the top prize when it comes to safety rankings in the U.S. However, it's worth noting that the state still manages to rank second overall in terms of car theft rates per capita.
Total score: 56.01
Louisiana may be one of your best bets if you're looking to save some money. According to the rankings, Louisiana is second in the nation in terms of low costs. And it also has a high position in the activities category, ranking in the tenth overall spot.
Total score: 56.63
The second biggest state doesn't disappoint when it comes to planning a road trip. Despite a relatively poor showing in the safety rankings at No. 38 overall, Texas ranks fourth in the nation for the activities and is only 18th in costs.
Total score: 57.56
It may be known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes, but from the looks of these key road trip data points, things aren't too shabby on land in Minnesota, either. Minnesota ranks impressively high in both the cost and safety categories, coming in eighth and fifth overall, respectively.
Total score: 58.05
Whether you're road-tripping to the Big Apple or taking in the natural scenery up in the Adirondacks, New York probably has what you're looking for when hitting the road this summer. The Empire State ranks seventh overall in the safety category and third overall in activities, helping to make it the top-rated state for a driving vacation.