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The Best States for Summer Road Trips (Are We There Yet?)

An estimated 85 percent of Americans are planning summer getaways; 90 percent will be by car. 

| BY Donald Liebenson

Summertime; and the drivin’s easy.

An improving economy and lower gas prices (compared to last year) are driving people back to the road for that uniquely American ritual, the summer road trip. An estimated 85 percent of Americans are planning summer getaways; 90 percent will be by car. To help travelers get the most mileage out of their vacation budget, WalletHub has released a ranking of the best states for more frugal summer road trips.

The survey compared all 50 states examined three basic criteria: driving and lodging costs, road conditions and safety, and fun and scenic attractions. So get out your maps or set your GPS. The top 10 best states for summer road trips are:


  • Nevada
  • Minnesota
  • Washington
  • Ohio
  • Utah
  • Wyoming
  • Colorado
  • North Carolina
  • Idaho

The 10 states of which summer road trippers might want to steer clear, according to WalletHub, are:

  • New Jersey
  • Michigan
  • Rhode Island
  • Arkansas
  • Oklahoma
  • South Dakota
  • Mississippi
  • Delaware
  • North Dakota
  • Connecticut

Fun stats from the survey:

  • California has 22 times more scenic byways than Connecticut (and eight times the car thefts per 100,000 residents than Vermont)
  • The price of camping in Connecticut is double the price of camping in Nevada
  • Nevada has six times more nightlife options per 100,000 residents than New Jersey
  • The price of a three-star hotel room in Hawaii is three-times more expensive than in Arizona

Beyond squabbles over selection of in-car entertainment, seat location, and “are we there yet” queries, experts advise drivers to keep their eyes and minds on the road. “Even if you do everything you should to prepare yourself and your vehicle for summer travel, you still need to drive vigilantly and watch out for dangerous situations on the road caused by other drivers and their vehicles,” cautioned Martin Pietrucha, Director of the Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute. “Most importantly, you don’t want to be the other guy.”


Another travel recommendation is to be connected to gasbuddy.com, which pinpoints the least expensive gas on your route.

About the Author

Donald Liebenson


Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.  

A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.