If you’re considering a road trip this summer, head to North Carolina. According to a recent WalletHub study of the Best States for Summer Road Trips, it’s one of the greatest.
To make this assessment, WalletHub and their panel of experts compared the 50 states across three key dimensions: Costs, safety and activities. They then evaluated those dimensions using 31 relevant metrics to determine which destinations are worth the hassle of packing the kids into the family minivan and hitting the road for a weeklong trip.
While Wyoming came in at the top of the list—and with Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton Park it’s easy to see why—there was plenty of representation for the Southern states.
If you are part of the 64 percent of families planning to take road trips this summer, consider a trip to North Carolina. It was the highest ranking Southern state on the list, coming in at number two. Not only does North Carolina have some of the most scenic byways of any state (necessary for a good road trip), but it also has plenty of interesting activities, which helped put it over the top of WalletHub’s study.
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There’s the beaches of the Outer Banks and Nags Head, the cultural wonder of the Biltmore Estate, the greenery of Pisgah National Forest and Grandfather Mountain, and museums, aquariums, zoos, and planetariums across the state. It also doesn’t hurt that a chunk of the Blue Ridge Parkway (“America’s favorite drive”!) runs through North Carolina or the fact that there’s incredible barbecue, that the state is dotted with welcoming small towns, or that Asheville was voted one the most hospitable town in the U.S.
If you’re from North Carolina, though, and want to explore some other states, Texas, Florida, and Louisiana were all in the top ten of WalletHub’s list and are absolutely road trip worthy.
Georgia ranked number two on the list when it came to low-cost camping. Florida has some of the highest percentage of land designated as national parkland. The South also dominated the list for lowest gas prices, which is important now that gas prices have spiked due to rising oil costs, and were 31% higher this Memorial Day than last year. Penny pinchers will want to fill up the tank in Mississippi, which has the lowest average gas prices. The South has some of the cheapest gas in the nation with Arkansas, Alabama, South Carolina, and Missouri rounding out the top five.
As for the least road trip worthy spot? Rhode Island, apparently. The Ocean State came in dead last in WalletHub’s study.