Need ideas for road-trip destinations? WalletHub's 2015 list of the Best States for Summer Road Trips points the way. The personal finance social network compiled its annual report based on 20 different factors in three equally weighted categories: driving and lodging costs, road conditions and safety, and fun and scenic attractions.
The report's authors pulled data from sources like the U.S. Census Bureau, the FBI, the National Highway Safety Administration, and more, in addition to their own in-house research. The states that made the top 10 represent a wide swath of regions around the country – proving that, no matter where you're planning to go in the U.S., you're not far from a drive-worthy destination.
Without further ado, here's the rundown of the top states for road trips.
1 | Oregon
With its waterfalls, forests of Douglas firs, and scenic routes through the Willamette Valley, it's no surprise that the Beaver State tied for third place (with Utah) for "Most Scenic Byways." This lush land ranks No. 3 overall for fun and attractions, and No. 4 for road safety, but a trip here may cost a pretty penny: It holds the 32nd spot for driving and lodging costs.
2 | Nevada
The Silver State's home to the sparkling Las Vegas Strip, Red Rock Canyon, and half of the Hoover Dam, making it one of the most sought-after getaways to get to by car. It's also the champ of cheap camping, holding WalletHub's top spot for most affordable tent accommodations.
3 | Minnesota
National scenic byways like the Minnesota River Valley, Historic Bluff Country, and Gunflint Trail keep motorists coming back to this green, lake-dotted state. Though it's middle-of-the road for travel costs and attractions (ranking at 22 and 19, respectively), it has the safest road conditions in the country. The Minnesota State Fair, Aug. 27 through Sept. 7, is a great excuse to visit; check out some of the insane eats debuting this year.
4 | Washington
Diverse terrain, from cityscape to rainforest and mountains to coastline, keeps things interesting in the Evergreen State. This corner of the Pacific Northwest holds the premier spot for fun and scenic attractions, and weighs in at No. 9 for safety and road conditions.
5 | Ohio
Another place with a stunning and varied landscape, the Buckeye State encompasses parts of Appalachia and Lake Erie. It scored an enviable 6th and 7th place in road conditions and safety and fun and scenic attractions, respectively. Want to see what its capital has in store? Check out our guide to Columbus (and don't forget to visit the Country Living Fair, Sept. 18-20!).
6 | Utah
Head to this desert state for a buoyant dip in the Great Salt Lake or a serene hike in one of its many national parks. It comes in at a not-too-shabby 2nd place for road conditions and safety, and ranks at 17 for fun and scenic attractions.
7 | Wyoming
With Yellowstone National Park within its borders, the Cowboy State's a classic American road trip destination. It nabbed 4th place for the most affordable driving and lodging, and took the 8th spot for road conditions and safety.
8 | Colorado
The highest points in the Rocky Mountains are accessible via Colorado's stunning byways (Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park, for example) – reason enough to visit the Centennial State. It also ranks within the top half for three WalletHub categories.
9 | North Carolina
The only state on the Atlantic Coast to make the top 10, the Tar Heel State features both beaches and Appalachian mountain trails. It scored 14th place for fun and scenic attractions, as well as having low driving and lodging costs.
10 | Idaho
With the Rocky Mountains in its perimeter and massive swaths of land dedicated to national forests, the Gem State naturally placed highly for fun and scenic attractions. It also holds decent rankings for road safety and travel costs.