The 10 Best States for Summer Road Trips in 2024

Hitting the road is better in some states than in others.
The open road.
The open road. / Thomas Barwick/DigitalVision via Getty Images

With the rollout of the federal highway system in the 1950s came an evolution in a relatively recent American pastime: the family summer road trip. Families piled into cars—stereotypically, station wagons—and trekked across the country in search of roadside attractions, regional foods, and more.

Today, it’s a lot different. You may be more likely to pile into a hybrid than a wagon, and once-quaint attractions have become sprawling stadiums and amusement parks. Recently, Adam McCann of the financial advice site WalletHub examined which states are best-suited for hitting the road. The rankings are based on what McCann describes as “32 key metrics,” including expenses (hotel, gas, car repairs), activities (parks, historical sites, or shoreline), and safety. Here’s what was found:

  1. Texas
  2. Minnesota
  3. New York
  4. Louisiana
  5. Florida
  6. Ohio
  7. North Carolina
  8. Wyoming
  9. Maine
  10. Pennsylvania

What makes Texas deserving of the top spot? Per WalletHub, the state boasts an incredibly eclectic variety of attractions that can quickly fill up day after day of exploring. If you’re staying overnight, there’s even a surplus of affordable and well-reviewed hotel accommodations.

Texas is also sprawling: A road trip around the state's perimeter can encompass over 3000 miles, a trek that Fort Worth Magazine writer Brian Kendall recently experienced. Along the way, Kendall made stops at the Buddy Holly Center and the Rattlers and Reptiles Museum, plus caught the Marfa Lights.

Minnesota comes in at second place for its focus on parks and recreation, and excellent road safety profile. Travelers are usually impressed by the North Shore Scenic Byway, a road near Lake Superior featuring beautiful limestone cliffs. Meanwhile, New York slides into third place for its quantity of National Historic Landmarks. Travelers can aim to check out Niagara Falls, the Adirondacks, and the world-famous Howe Caverns.

In terms of states that didn’t fare so well in the rankings, WalletHub put Delaware in 50th place, but there’s still plenty to see and do in the state, including a 14.8-mile Amish Country bike route and plenty of waterfront dining.

If you do opt for a road trip, try to keep some safety considerations in mind. To be on the cautious side, make sure you have an emergency kit in your vehicle with a flashlight, first aid supplies, bottled water, a portable battery jumper, and a quick-fix tire repair kit that uses air and adhesive to patch holes.

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