When the summer season kicks off across America, there’s only one thing that’s better than hitting the beach or a barbecue. Yes, that’s right – I’m talking about a road trip. The summer and road trips go together like roller coasters and cotton candy, and the United States has a number of sights that are perfect for a jaunt on the highway with your nearest and dearest. Here we bring you the best -and the worst - states to pick for the road trip of a season based on a bevy of sources.
The Pacific Northwest state ranks high across the board with recent reports, and it’s not hard to see why. Oregon is chock full of scenic highways & natural landmarks, beginning with the majestic Mount Hood in the Columbia River Gorge. Another key site to check out are the famed Haystack Rocks which are just up from the waters off of Cannon Beach. Of course hitting Portland is also chockablock full of cool things to see and do like the Voodoo Doughnut and the Portland Art Museum.
Utah is a prime road trip destination due to its multitude of national parks which are easily accessible by car. One of the most magnificent sights lies in the 18 miles of sandstone structures within the Arches National Park northwest of Moab. Another cool place to check out is the Four Corners area - both a geographical wonder connecting the border points of Utah, New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado and a revered site of the Navajo Nation.
Washington State is definitely one of those places made for cruising. The U.S. 101 highway leads road-trippers on a journey around Olympia National Park, which is home to a stretch of picturesque beaches as well as the Hoh Rain Forest. You can also head on down to Seattle for a plethora of places to check in the bustling city like the Pike Place Market and the historic Pioneer Square.
The Tarheel State is one of America’s most expansive states to get around by road, thanks to a series of highways and freeways linking all of its major cities like Charlotte and Asheville. You’ll find an abundance of things to build a road trip around. If you’re itching to get into beach life Carolina-style, the Outer Banks and Topsail Island are perfect places to enjoy it.
When you think of Louisiana, it’s only natural to first think of the party metropolis of New Orleans as a road trip destination with sights like the two century-old Old Absinthe House and the French Quarter for starters. But the state has a slew of other captivating destinations to reach by road like the Melrose Plantation in Natchitoches. And in the capital of Baton Rouge, there’s a ton of activities that pull folks in off the highways. Another plus? Louisiana is a foodie’s dream, with certain truck stops also being home to a range of cuisines, including some great Vietnamese food outside of Hanoi in Metairie.
The trouble with Connecticut for some lies in one major fact – there’s not much that screams “road trip”. The scenery as you drive through can be a tad nondescript, and outside of the Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods casinos, there's not much to compel your road trip crew to stop anywhere else here on the way to where they really want to go.
While there are those who do hit the highway to Rhode Island to hang out in Newport and possibly catch a glimpse of celebs like Taylor Swift, or to hit the beach, outside of that there isn't much else. The interior areas of Rhode Island with the exception of Providence pretty much fall into the same suburban pattern which makes it nice to drive through but not to stop.
Admittedly, Mississippi has some of the lowest gas prices in the country. The trouble is there isn’t much for road-trippers to roam about to see. And unfortunately, The Hospitality State hasn't been rated particularly highly from those who have visited there in the past. Add the staggering heat and humidity one can experience down there during the summer and its plain to see why road-trippers steer clear of this state.
While Pennsylvania has two major points of interest in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh - that’s really about it for the Keystone State in terms of wanting to do road trips around there. And no, the Poconos doesn’t really count. Another major factor for Pennsylvania being among the worst states for road trips lies in their dismal rankingon the condition of their highways nationwide.
North Dakota has gotten a reputation for being the least-visited state in the entire country. A major part of that lies in its geographical location, and another factor is the lack of attractions that make you want to pack up your car and head there. One other issue is safety– the state has seen a jump in car accidents initiated by those who drive under the influence this year.
Heading to Portland? Check out the video below.