States to See on Your Summer Road Trip and the Ones to Avoid from The 10 Best States to See on Your Summer Road Trip and the 10 to Avoid

The 10 Best States to See on Your Summer Road Trip and the 10 to Avoid

States to See on Your Summer Road Trip and the Ones to Avoid

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About 80 percent of families traveling this summer still plan to take road trips, a 10 percent increase since the previous year, according to AAA. One of the biggest factors in the success (or lack of success) on any given adventure lies in the location. Since the route you choose plays such a big role in your expedition, WalletHub gathered and calculated data on the states you should see on your summer road trip—and the ones you should avoid.

See: Oregon

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Oregon got the highest overall score because it’s safe, there are many recreational activities available, and it’s not expensive. More specifically, the state ranked third when it came to the most scenic byways. Make sure you stop by the Historic Oregon Trail if you are a history buff. As the harbinger of America’s westward expansion, the Oregon Trail was the pathway to the Pacific for fur traders, gold seekers, missionaries, and others.

See: Utah

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Don’t miss a chance to see some of America’s most astounding national parks when the weather is nice. Spend about a week driving through the desert to reach the high cliffs of Zion, Utah's first national park. While you’re at it, visit the Bryce Canyon and see how hoodoos and forests are mixed together. The parks are also great destinations for overnight camping. Natural Bridges National Monument is another "Dark Sky Parks,” one of four in the western world. The 13-site campground is open year-round on a first-come, first-served basis.

See: Washington

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Washington shares the top spot in the category of the highest percentage of total area designated as national parkland. Imagine the views! You will be treated to stunning panoramas, million acres of unprecedented natural variety, and fresh air everywhere you look. It’s no surprise that some of the parks in the state are the most visited throughout the year. The San Juan Islands are one of the world's best whale watching spots.

See: North Carolina

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The state has an abundance of scenic byways. Make your way along the part of the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. The road is one of the busiest in the country because of the breathtaking views of waterfalls, rivers, and mountains that it offers. The road is busting with colorful trees, forest canopy if you go in the summer, and meadows.

See: Louisiana

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Louisiana is ranked high on the list mainly because of the amount of activities people can engage in. Visiting New Orleans is, obviously, a must, and not just because it’s a food heaven. Take the Great River Road, which passes through a total of 10 states, especially if you have a fascination with the Mighty River. Drive along the Bayou Cruise, too. The name may give it away, but this road is famous for the low-laying windy bayous. The best way to get there is driving on Highway 31; the road is just west of New Orleans. The massive oaks and cypress trees along the way, where you can possibly encounter alligators (who can be just part of a scary experience in some national parks), make the trip a lot more exciting.

See: Texas

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The Big Bend Scenic Loop is enough to make you want to drive all week through the state. This is the best way to explore the rugged beauty of Texas – 250 miles along the border with Mexico. You can go rafting and kayaking along the way. Conservation fans can have a blast – more than 300 species of birds have been documented at Big Bend Ranch, more than any Texas state park, according to Texas Parks & Wildlife. Set a tent under the stars at the Madera Canyon and Grassy Banks campgrounds for quick river access to mixed desert scrub and riparian zones.

See: Nevada

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The state best known for its major attraction—Las Vegas—actually offers a whole lot more than gambling and drinking. Nevada ranked as the best state for camping when it comes to low price. 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.

See: Minnesota

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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 make 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.

See: California

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Beaches, caves, forests, national parks…anything you wish to see on the road you will find in the Golden State. The first road that comes to mind usually is the Big Sur. The rocky stretch of California’s central coast between Carmel and San Simeon is a stunning place to visit. Make it a part of a once in a lifetime road trip if you have an extra day. Explore the gorgeous rugged California coastline for an opportunity to camp among redwoods, relax in hot springs and taste some of the country’s finest wine. The Bixby Bridge, completed in 1932, is a favorite spot for photos.

See: Colorado

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With tons of breathtaking natural wonders, many attractions and a variety of terrain, a summer road trip through Colorado is a great choice. WalletHub ranked Colorado in the number 10 spot for its number of attractions, 25 scenic byways and reasonable gas prices. Pikes Peak Highway is among the most scenic in the country. Southwest Colorado’s Million Dollar Highway is, for much of its length, an idyllic, breathtakingly beautiful alpine road that connects Durango to Ouray via three 10,000-plus-foot mountain passes. 

Avoid: Connecticut

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Coming in at number one on the list of worst states for summer road trips is Connecticut. With very few scenic byways, high population density and costly camping and accommodation, Connecticut may not be a good spot to stop this summer, according to WalletHub’s metrics.

Avoid: Rhode Island

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Rhode Island may be among the greenest states in the country, but that doesn’t guarantee a memorable road trip. It actually ranks among the Top 5 states with the lowest percentage of total area designated as national parkland. Another factor that contributes to the state’s low ranking is the high price of camping.

Avoid: Mississippi

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Mississippi might be a state to avoid on your summer road trip, according to the data. A relatively high number of car accidents, few attractions and limited nightlife options put the state at number three on the worst list.  The state is also ranked as the most dangerous state, according to different data, owing to low road, workplace and community safety rank.

Avoid: Pennsylvania

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The Keystone State is places fourth in the “worst states to see in the summer during a road trip” because of high gas prices, low safety rank and fairly low score for activities. If you decide to go, however, get on Route 6 if you want access to state parks, forests and the Allegheny National Forest, along with the state’s own Grand Canyon.

Avoid: North Dakota

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The fourth least populous state in the U.S. is not a must-see on your summer road trip, according to WalletHub. 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.

Avoid: Delaware

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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 during your journey.

Avoid: Arkansas

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While road trip is not the best idea for adventures in the state because of safety concerns and not enough activities, staying in a cave is, if you can afford it. Exclusive, incredible and expensive – staying there will cost you about $1,600 per night. Nestled into a living cave, Beckham Creek Cave Lodge, is a 6,000 sq. ft. lodge with every modern amenity you can imagine, wrapped into a natural cave. The cave hotel is in the Ozark Mountains just minutes from the Buffalo National River.

Avoid: Kansas

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Kansas is not recommended for road trips because it doesn’t have many scenic byways to offer of spectacular views of nature, according to the data. There are not a lot of activities available; the state has also been ranked among the fattest in the country.

Avoid: New Jersey

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New Jersey is not considered very safe for travelers, according to WalletHub, which has ranked the Garden State 13 in terms of safety. Some small cities in the Garden State have very similar violent crime per resident ratios to Atlantic City and other populous places. If you decide to drive through the state, visit Ocean Grove to enjoy an elegant resort town with authentic Victorian architecture.

Avoid: Montana

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Safety is the biggest concern in Montana as well. In terms of costs and activities, the state ranks towards the middle. By far the most beautiful road in Montana is the Going-to-the-Sun Road. It may be an only 50-mile trip but not a single miles goes by without a scenic view. The road cuts the Glacier National Park in half and it’s a National Historic Landmark. You will see forests, lakes, deep ravines, and a variety of wildlife in one trip.

Avoid: Hawaii

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Hawaii is the state with the second most expensive gas in the U.S., according to the WalletHub data. It ranks third in the “most car thefts per capita, and it doesn’t have a lot of scenic byways. Driving along the Hana Highway, Hawaii’s most famous and treasured road, will be enough. You’ll see steep sea-cliffs and see flourishing mango trees. Stop along the way to soak in views that look like they are from the Jurassic Park movies –breathtaking waterfalls and lots of swimming holes.