The Best (and Worst) States for Summer Road Trips

iStock
iStock

As we shared recently, the great American road trip is making a comeback, but some parts of the country are more suitable for hitting the open road than others. If you're interested in taking a road trip this summer but are stuck on figuring out the destination, WalletHub has got you covered: The financial advisory website analyzed factors like road conditions, gas prices, and concentration of activities to give you this map of the best states to explore by car.

Wyoming—home to the iconic road trip destination Yellowstone National Park—ranked No. 1 overall with a total score of 58.75 out of 100. It's followed by North Carolina in the No. 2 slot, Minnesota at No. 3, and Texas at No. 4. Coming in the last four slots are the three smallest states in America—Rhode Island, Delaware, and Connecticut—and Hawaii, a state that's obviously difficult to reach by car.

But you shouldn't only look at the overall score if you're planning a road trip route: Some states that did poorly in one category excelled in others. California for example, came in 12th place overall, and ranked first when it came to activities and 41st in cost. So if you have an unlimited budget and want to fit as many fun stops into your vacation as possible, taking a trip up the West Coast may be the way to go. On the other end of the spectrum, Mississippi is a good place to travel if you're conscious of spending, ranking second in costs, but leaves a lot to be desired in terms of the quality of your trip, coming in 38th place for safety and 44th for activities.

Choosing the stops for your summer road trip is just the first step of the planning process. Once you have that covered, don't forget to pack these essentials.

Every State’s Favorite Place to Spend Spring Break, Mapped

DisobeyArt, iStock via Getty Images
DisobeyArt, iStock via Getty Images

Spring break falls in March 2020 in many parts of the U.S., and if you still don't know where to go this year, check out the popular travel plans of people in your home state for some inspiration.

This map Travelocity put together using its own customer data shows the most disproportionately popular spring break destinations for residents of all 50 states and Washington, D.C. It should come as no surprise that Florida cities dominate the map. Orlando was the top springtime vacation spot of 10 states, including Texas, Georgia, and Massachusetts. Miami, Tampa, and Pensacola also appear on the list.

But not everyone craves warm weather this time of year. As college students flood their state, Florida natives flee north to Chicago. And some states farther north prefer vacation spots that are decidedly not tropical. In Idaho, spring-breakers are heading to Seattle, and in West Virginia, they're booking trips to Buffalo—neither of which are cities that come to mind when you think of margaritas and bikinis. You can find the preferences of your home state in the map below.

Map of top spring break destinations.
Travelocity

Spring break may seem like a modern phenomenon, but people have been using the arrival of the season as an excuse for debauchery since ancient Roman times. You can read more about the history of spring break here.

Here's How Daylight Saving Time Affects Your Part of the Country

Andy Woodruff
Andy Woodruff

Daylight saving time was created to benefit Americans, but not every part of the country is affected equally. Within the Eastern time zone, for instance, the sun rises a whole 40 minutes earlier in New York City than it does in Detroit. To illustrate how daylight saving time impacts sunrise and sunset times around the county, cartographer Andy Woodruff published a series of helpful maps on his website.

Below, the map on the left depicts how many days of reasonable sunrise time—defined as 7 a.m. or earlier—each part of the country is getting. The regions in the yellow sections have the most days with early sunrises and the darker parts have the fewest. On the right, the second map shows how many sunsets past 5 p.m. we’re getting each year, which appear to be a lot more abundant


Next, he visualized what these sunrise and sunset times would look like if daylight saving were abolished completely, something many people have been pushing for years. While our sunset times remain pretty much the same, the mornings start to look a lot sunnier for people all over the country, especially in places like West Texas.


And for those of you who were curious, here’s what America would look like if daylight saving time were in effect year-round. While mornings would look miserable pretty much everywhere, there’d at least be plenty of sunshine to enjoy once we got off work.


You can tinker with an interactive version of the daylight saving map on Woodruff’s blog.

All images courtesy of Andy Woodruff.

This article originally ran in 2015.

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