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Unveiling The Top 10 U.S. States For A Road Trip This Summer

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At a time when flight delays are soaring and getting your hands on good-value tickets seems borderline impossible, the best way to still get that fun, exciting summer holiday you’ve been dreaming about is to hop on a car and go on a classic, all-American road trip.

But all the freedom, spontaneity, and choices that make car travel so alluring this time of year can be a double-edged sword – which destination will actually be worth your time and money?

Sure, you can see where the road takes you, but with gas prices reaching new highs and time off work being finite, you’ll want to make sure you’ll get it right from the get-go.

Happy couple enjoying a road trip

The good news is that WalletHub already did all the research for you and came up with a list of potential choices.

The ranking, based on criteria like costs, scenery, and attractions, named these the 10 best U.S. states for a road trip this summer:

  1. Pennsylvania
  2. Maine
  3. Wyoming
  4. North Carolina
  5. Ohio
The Ohio Turnpike (Interstate 80)

And now for the creme de la creme:

5. Florida

You don’t need me convincing you to go to Florida this summer.

What with all the scenic, high-energy beaches and incredible attractions, chances are you’ve already thought about traveling to the sunshine state this season, so take this as a sign to finally go on that long-awaited road trip.

Scenic road in Port St. Lucie, Florida

Drive along Highway 30A, which connects some of the country’s most charming beach towns, and then plan some stops at major theme parks (Orlando is the obvious choice here) and hiking trails.

A road trip down the Overseas Highway to the Florida Keys is a must-experience, too.

The 113-mile stretch of road connects some of the dreamiest islands you’ve ever seen, offering the most breathtaking ocean views along the way. 

Overseas highway to Key West island, Florida Keys

4. Louisiana

Moving on to a far more underrated summer hub, Louisiana promises road-trippers a mix of fascinating history, amazing music, and even better cuisine.

While here you’ll want to go on a drive along the Great River Road through Louisiana’s historic plantations. 

These antebellum estates (think Oak Alley and Laura Plantation) offer tours that’ll take you through the state’s complex history and how it’s affected the lives of people who still live there today. 

Old Louisiana State Capitol building in Baton Rouge

On the other hand, those of you looking for something more nature-focused can’t go wrong with one of the many scenic drives along the Creole Nature Trail.

3. New York

Even though driving through New York City might sound like a nightmare, the rest of the state is actually a road-trippers' haven.

It boasts great infrastructure and clear signage and offers some of the best views in the entire country.

Some of my all-time favorite routes to drive on here include the Hudson Valley Scenic Byway, the Adirondack Northway (I-87), and anything in Finger Lakes Wine Country – suffice to say, this is the perfect destination for high-energy travelers who never want to get bored.

View of the Hudson River Valley from Trophy Point at West Point, New York State

2. Minnesota

With high scores in both safety and summer events, Minnesota nabs a well-deserved runner-up spot on today’s list.

Not only is the Midwestern state a treasure trove of places to see and things to do (Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Lake Superior, and BWCAW, in particular, are unmissable), but it’s also one of the best-value destinations you can find this summer, with the average 3-star hotel costing a little over $70 a night.

Downtown Minneapolis

If you’re looking for specific route recommendations, the Great River Road and the Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway would be my top picks.

1. Texas

Coming in at no. 1 is none other than Texas, a state known for its gorgeous landscapes, unbelievable cities, and now, amazing road trip opportunities. 

Field of Bluebonnets in Texas

Its 9,500+ miles of scenic byways will take you through more iconic attractions than you can count (amusement parks, museums, cultural centers, and botanical gardens are a dime a dozen here), fantastic restaurants, and plenty of amazing yet reasonably-priced accommodations.

If you’re struggling to come up with an itinerary, keep in mind that Austin, Hill Country, San Antonio, Big Bend National Park, and the Gulf Coast are (in my humble opinion) Texas’ most visit-worthy sites.

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