Double O Arch-National Park Service photo

Double O Arch-National Park Service photo

Pack up the suitcases, snacks, maps and cameras. It’s time for a family summer road trip. But, hold up a minute. Some states are more road-trip friendly than others. Before you head out on the highway, check out the 10 best states for a road trip this summer.

The findings come from WalletHub’s 2016 Best & Worst States for Summer Road Trips. The report compared all 50 states against 21 “relevant” metrics. These included such all-important items as average gas prices to road quality and number of scenic attractions. The overall mandate, says WalletHub, is to provide travelers with a listing of states offering “fun and frugality” this summer.

Crater Lake in Summer-National Park Service photo

Crater Lake in Summer-National Park Service photo

Oregon – Here are a few of the many must-visit spots in the state of Oregon: Mount Hood, Crater Lake National Park, Oregon Caves National Monument, Lava River Cave, Shanghai Tunnels, Smith Rock State Park, Willamette Falls, Siskyou Summit, Vista House and more.

No wonder Oregon ranks #2 for fun and scenic attractions. The state also ranks #5 in road conditions and safety, while it gets a 40th spot for driving and lodging costs.

Island Peaks-Red Rock Canyon-National Park Service/Lisa Lynch

Island Peaks-Red Rock Canyon-National Park Service/Lisa Lynch

Nevada – From the excitement and non-stop action of the Las Vegas Strip to outdoor recreation at Lake Tahoe, Hoover Dam, Great Basin National Park, Red Rock Canyon, Lake Mead and Mount Charleston, Nevada is one of the top-rated states for a summer road trip.

Nevada comes in at #3 spot for fun and scenic attractions, #10 for driving and lodging costs, and 29th for road conditions and safety.

Delicate Arch-National Park Service-Neal Herbert

Delicate Arch-National Park Service-Neal Herbert

Utah – If the family is up for adventure, Utah has some of the most spectacular national parks to visit. These include Canyonlands, Arches, Bryce Canyon, Zion and Capitol Reef. There’s also Lake Powell, Deer Creek Dam and Reservoir, Brigham Canyon Open Pit Copper Mine, Valley of the Gods, Temple Square, and a lot more.

Utah sits solidly in 7th place for fun and scenic attractions, 8th for road conditions and safety, and 17th for driving and lodging costs.

Blue Ridge Parkway-National Park Service

Blue Ridge Parkway-National Park Service

North Carolina – From mountains and coastal retreats to vineyards for adults and theme parks for the kids, the state of North Carolina has much to offer for a summer road trip. Located in three regions, the Atlantic Coastal Plain, the Piedmont, and the Appalachian Mountain, North Carolina has such must-see sights as the Blue Ridge Parkway, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Pisgah National Forest, Cape Fear, Wright Brothers National Memorial, the Biltmore Estate and more.

The state ranks 6th for fun and scenic attractions, 13th for driving and lodging costs, and 25th for road conditions and safety.

Steps on Circle Trail-Pipestone National Monument-National Park Service

Steps on Circle Trail-Pipestone National Monument-National Park Service

Minnesota – Located in the upper Midwest, Minnesota offers families year-round fun. For a summer road trip, be sure to make time in the schedule to visit such attractions as Lake Minnetonka, Lake Pepin, Pipestone National Monument, Split Rock Lighthouse, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, and Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox.

Minnesota ranks 2nd in terms of road conditions and safety, 20th for fun and scenic attractions, and 27th for driving and lodging costs.

Mount Rainier from Indian Henrys Hunting Grounds-National Park Service

Mount Rainier from Indian Henrys Hunting Grounds-National Park Service

Washington – From the Space Needle in Seattle to the Grand Coulee Dam, North Cascades National Park, Olympic National Park, Multnomah Falls, Mount Rainier National Park, Columbia River Gorge, Pioneer Pass, Deception Pass and Snoqualmie Falls, Washington state offers families endless opportunities for fun and excitement this summer.

It’s so rich in things to do that it comes in at #4 spot for fun and scenic attractions. Washington is also 12th in terms of road conditions and safety, while driving and lodging costs put the state in 42nd place.

Craters of the Moon-Volcanic Cones-Dave Clark-National Park Service

Craters of the Moon-Volcanic Cones-Dave Clark-National Park Service

Idaho – Located in the Northwestern region of the U.S., Idaho is the 14th largest state and the 7th least populous of all 50 states. It’s also home to some top-rated tourist attractions, including the Old Idaho Penitentiary, Craters of the Moon National Monument, Shoshone Falls, Hells Canyon, Priest Lake and Nez Perce National Forest, among others.

Idaho slots in at #12 for fun and scenic attractions, 16th for road conditions and safety, and 20th for driving and lodging costs.

Hiking Trail-Telluride-Colorado Tourism Office-Matt Inden-Miles

Hiking Trail-Telluride-Colorado Tourism Office-Matt Inden-Miles

Colorado – Pikes Peak, Rocky Mountain National Park, Garden of the Gods, Mesa Verde National Park, San Juan Mountains, Glenwood Canyon, Mount Elbert, Manitou Cliff Dwellings – these are just a few of the many attractions in the Rocky Mountain state of Colorado.

The state deserves its 15th place for fun and scenic attractions, and ranks 20th in terms of road conditions and safety, and 21st for driving and lodging costs.

Plantation-Photo-NewOrleansOnline.com

Plantation-Photo-NewOrleansOnline.com

Louisiana – Family fun knows no bounds in the Southern state of Louisiana. Whether it’s a seaplane tour, a horseback trek down Tammany Trace, an eco-tour in Cameron Parish, crabbing off the coast, tubing, charter fishing or just hanging out the French Quarter, relaxing at Lake Pontchartrain or discovering the bayous, there’s lots to entertain everyone in the family.

Louisiana ranks 2nd in terms of best driving and lodging costs, 14th for fun and scenic attractions, and 43 in terms of road conditions and safety.

Stowe-Waterbury-Photo by Karen Pike

Stowe-Waterbury-Photo by Karen Pike

Vermont – The New England state of Vermont comes in first in terms of road conditions and safety, 29th for fun and scenic attractions, and 39th for driving and lodging costs. The state’s total score of 51.92 places it solidly in the #10 spot for best state for a summer road trip.

What’s there to see in Vermont? Destinations include Lake Champlain, Mount Mansfield, Stowe, Manchester, Killington Peak, the Vermont State Court House, Montpelier and more. Check out the many pristine state parks and tourism sites for a great family vacation.

 

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