The classic summer road trip is one of the most romanticized trip concepts and the actual adventure tends to vary greatly. One of the biggest factors in the success (or lack of success) on any given road trip lies in the location. Since the route you choose plays such a big role in your trip, WalletHub gathered and calculated data on the states you should see on your summer road trip—and the ones you should avoid.
Taking a look at the attractions, national park units, road conditions, costs and weather (among other aspects), WalletHub put together a list of the best and worst states. From Delaware to Washington, take a look at the list and see how your state measures up.
Best known as the "Potato State," Idaho has more to do and see than most people realize. Home to more than a dozen state parks, several wildlife refuges and some of the best fishing in the country, Idaho is a top choice for summer road trips. Some of the main factors that put Idaho in the top 10 are low hotel rates, low rates of crime, the 31 scenic byways and incredible summer weather.
A favorite state for tourists on the east coast, North Carolina has a lot to offer. From coastline along the Atlantic Ocean to Mount Mitchell, the highest point in the east, and cities like Asheville, Charlotte and Raleigh that draw tourists from all over. North Carolina is a great state for road trips due to inexpensive lodging and camping, quality roads and an astounding number of scenic byways—54 in total.
An outdoor recreation hot spot in the west, Utah has been named one of the best states to live in and it’s a great one to see on your summer road trip. Coming in at number six on the list, Utah earned big points for it’s number of national park units, 39 scenic byways and its excellent summer weather.
This state is conveniently situated in the midwest, with its northern border on Lake Erie, and although it hasn't always been a big tourism state, there is more than ever to see and do. Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati are some of the cities that draw tourists, a factor that contributed to Ohio’s number five spot. Other factors that make Ohio a top summer road trip state are quality roads, 28 scenic byways and the sheer number of attractions.
Set in the pacific northwest, the state of Washington offers visitors a little bit of everything—from cities like Seattle to pristine wilderness like that in North Cascades National Park. The state landed the number four spot thanks to it’s variety of attractions, beautiful public lands, great nightlife options and 30 scenic byways.
With a nickname like the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” you know the drives in Minnesota will be scenic and that’s one of the factors that makes this state the third best for summer road trips. With a great balance of cities and natural land, Minnesota has 21 scenic byways, great roads and affordable camping.
The state best known for it’s major attraction—Las Vegas—actually offers a whole lot more than gambling and drinking. With natural wonders like Lake Tahoe, Death Valley National Park and Great Basin National Park, there’s much more than just Vegas. These natural sites, the cheapest camping in the country, tons of nightlife options and great weather helped boost Nevada to the number two spot.
The number one best state for your perfect summer road trip is Oregon and anyone who’s visited (especially by car) won’t be surprised. This wonderfully diverse state in the pacific northwest offers incredible landscapes, artful cities and tons to do. From the pacific coastline to high desert, the Cascade Range and dense forest, the landscape is anything but average and that’s one of the factors that put this state at number one. Plenty of attractions and 39 scenic byways make Oregon a top state for summer road trips.
This midwestern state is home to Badlands National Park and Mount Rushmore, but those attractions weren't enough to pull it out of the bottom five. According to the data, South Dakota is one of the states you might want to avoid on your road trip due to unreasonable hotel prices, relatively few attractions and only 5 scenic byways.
The small state of Delaware was named to WalletHub’s list of worst road trip states for its high population density, high hotel costs and small number of attractions. With only three scenic byways and the size of the state, Delaware might be a state to avoid on your road trip.
The fourth least populous state in the U.S. is not a must-see on your summer road trip, according to the data. With limited “fun and scenic” attractions, relatively few parks and less than great summer weather, you might not want to go out of your way to see North Dakota.