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The 5 Best, and Worst, States for a Summer Road Trip

New York Minnesota Texas Louisiana Maine Road Trips
by Olivia Harden Jun 28, 2022

Even with high gas prices, there’s something special about a summer road trip. And there are certainly plenty of options, from incredible scenic byways, to underrated road trips, to a road trip that’ll take you to every national park, to short but sweet treks that show you the best of the country.

If you want to narrow it down by state, the folks at the credit score report company WalletHub crunched some numbers to find the best, and worst, states for a summer road trip.

If you’re looking for slight detours worth it, California gas prices may be high, but the state has 66 scenic byways, the highest in the country (plus, of course, the famous PCH). If you’re looking to spend your time camping, WalletHub found that Mississippi has the lowest daily price for camping, at only $35.53. However, if you prefer staying in a hotel, Oklahoma has the lowest average price for a three-star hotel room at $50, whereas an average room in Oregon will run you $300, according to WalletHub.

While those are all stand-out statistics, it wasn’t enough to put any of those states into the top five best road trip states (or, for that matter, bottom five) by WalletHub’s standards. California landed at 30, Mississippi at 37, Oklahoma at 23, and Oregon at 44.

The five best states for summer road trips

1. New York
2. Minnesota
3. Texas
4. Louisiana
5. Maine

The five worst states for summer road trips

46. Arkansas
47. Montana
48. Delaware
49. Connecticut
50. Rhode Island

To find the best states for summer road trips, WalletHub compared three key factors with 32 metrics on a 100-point scale: cost, safety, and activities. The cost was divided into the average price of gas and car repairs, the lowest cost of three-star hotel rooms and camping, the number of vacation rentals per capita, and the cost of living. The quality of roads and bridges determined the safety category, along with the number of car accidents, car-related crime, and more. And finally, the activity score was based on how much there was to do, such as the number of scenic byways, national parks, amusement and theme parks, zoos and botanical gardens, shorelines, and more. Metrics marked with an asterisk (*) used the square root of the population to calculate the population size.

Is it a perfect metric? The people who have tried to road trip around Hawaii (number 40) may think differently than those in any of the states in the top five. But when you take in what’s most important to you on a road trip, you should have no problem creating the perfect itinerary.

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