The United States is the country for road trips, and summer is the season to enjoy them.
To help you figure out where to go, WalletHub analyzed the best states for a summer road trip — based on costs, safety, and activities.
Find out if your state is among the top 10, as well as our tips for saving money no matter which one you choose.
10 best states for a summer road trip
To figure out the best states for road trips, WalletHub analyzed the following:
- Costs, including gas, hotels, tolls, and car repairs.
- Safety, including population density, road quality, vehicle fatalities, and violent crimes.
- Activities, including attractions, national parkland, and scenic byways.
WalletHub then ranked all 50 states from best to worst; you can see the results by hovering over the map below.
Ready to head out on the road? Here are some summer road trip ideas for the top 10 states listed below.
I have to agree with WalletHub here: Driving along Oregon’s coast was one of my favorite road trips ever. If you like rocky beaches, you’ll have your pick of stunning places to camp.
Don’t miss: Sea Lion Caves, a series of caverns filled with (you guessed it) hundreds of sea lions.
With five national parks within its borders, this state is a must-visit for nature lovers. Its tourism board calls them “The Mighty 5” — and even offers suggested itineraries on its website.
Don’t miss: Zion, an incredible national park with hiking and climbing galore. But if you’re afraid of heights, avoid Angel’s Landing at all costs! Trust me, I speak from experience.
Great seafood, quaint islands, and whale watching? You’ve got it all when driving along Washington’s spectacular coast.
Don’t miss: La Push Beach. Yes, it was made famous by the “Twilight” series — but it’s seriously one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.
4. North Carolina
I always enjoy driving through North Carolina, especially during the fall. Because of its location, the leaves and warm weather stick around a lot longer than in the northeast.
Don’t miss: Hanging Rock State Park, a gorgeous park with opportunities for hiking and paddling.
Although it might be a tad hot in the summer, you can road trip through Louisiana deep into the fall and winter. History buffs will love driving through Plantation Country to learn about the state’s complex past.
Don’t miss: New Orleans, a waterfront city that needs no introduction. You’ll be able to enjoy fabulous music, tasty food, and a culture you won’t find anywhere else.
I once road-tripped through Texas. In August. Without air conditioning. Though I wouldn’t recommend that, I would highly recommend traveling through this massive state (and eating lots of BBQ on the way).
Don’t miss: Austin, the live music capital of the world. If you take a night out on the city’s famed Sixth Street, you’re bound to hear tunes everywhere you go.
Although you might only think of it as being home to Las Vegas, Nevada is filled with parks and wild-west ghost towns that make for a fantastic summer road trip.
Don’t miss: The Mount Rose Highway, a winding 24-mile road that travels from the stunning shores of Lake Tahoe to the quirky city of Reno.
If you’ve never been to Minnesota, you’re missing out. This affordable state has more than 227,000 acres of parkland and 1,030 miles of hiking trails — without the crowds of more touristy areas.
Don’t miss: The International Wolf Center, an organization dedicated to researching wolves and education the public about them. And yes, you’ll see wolves!
Is there any road trip more quintessential than Highway 1? Perhaps Route 66, but I’d argue the former is more beautiful.
Don’t miss: Big Sur, a spectacular region on the central coast. You can hike, you can eat — and best of all, you can just relax.
I lived in Colorado for three years, and it remains one of my favorite states. Although famous for its ski resorts, you’ll find many summer activities here, including hiking, mountain biking, and river rafting.
Don’t miss: Breckenridge, an adorable mountain town just a few hours west of Denver. In the summer, it has cool weather and tons of festivals.
5 ways to save money on road trips
Whichever state(s) you travel through on your summer road trip, saving a little extra money never hurts. Here are some tried-and-true tips, along with suggestions from your fellow road warriors.
1. Download a gas-comparison app
GasBuddy is the best. You simply open it up, click “gas near me,” and it pulls up prices of all the gas stations nearby. Saving a few cents a gallon over a long road trip is worth it.
fill water bottles at every stop, bring a cooler, try to eat mostly groceries. Also, if you see super cheap gas, TOP UP.
— Cait Flanders (@caitflanders) June 27, 2017
2. Obey traffic laws
OK, so you should follow the rules wherever you are.
But it’s especially important on road trips, according to Jamie Cattanach, because you won’t be able to defend yourself in court!
Don’t get a ticket across state lines. Expensive and no way to fight them in court!
— Jamie Cattanach (@jamiecattanach) June 27, 2017
3. Look for free events
Instead of forking out for tickets to museums or theme parks, check online for free happenings in your destination.
Thanks to late summer sunsets, many cities have events — such as food festivals, outdoor movie nights, and live music — nearly every night of the week.
I limit myself to only 2-3 avocado toast meals while roadtripping. Of course, you can eat as much avocado toast if you arent a millennial
— NEINFEETOFSMOKE (@9FEETOFSMOKE) June 27, 2017
4. Bring a tent and sleeping bag
Let’s face it: Roadside motels can make for some fun stories, but they’re often not worth the price of admission.
Spend time on peaceful country roads — and not massive interstates — by camping. Not only will you save big bucks on accommodation, you’ll also get to see locations you might’ve missed otherwise.
Avoid RV parks at all cost. State parks are much prettier and much cheaper.
— Carson Vaughan (@carsonvaughan) June 27, 2017
5. Pack snacks
Although it might not seem like a big deal to stop at a convenience store or fast-food joint every few hours, those little costs add up. Not to mention, eating like that will have you feeling icky in no time.
Instead, stop at grocery stores to fill your cooler with healthy snacks like carrots and hummus, apples and natural peanut butter, and rice cakes or tortilla chips.
Also, eat from a cooler but for the love of GOD do not put a block of cheese in the bottom of one with loose ice in it. Ew ew ew ew ew
— Jamie Cattanach (@jamiecattanach) June 27, 2017
Feeling ready for that summer road trip? (I sure am.)
Download some podcasts, fill up your tank, and get on your way!
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 8 lenders of 2020!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.20% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.99% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 1.99% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.89% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of December 13, 2019, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 12/13/2019. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.
© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
2 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
3 Important Disclosures for Figure.
Figure’s Student Refinance Loan is a private loan. If you refinance federal loans, you forfeit certain flexible repayment options associated with those loans. If you expect to incur financial hardship that would impact your ability to repay, you should consider federal consolidation alternatives.
4 Important Disclosures for College Ave.
College Ave Disclosures
College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.
1College Ave Refi Education loans are not currently available to residents of Maine.
2All rates shown include autopay discount. The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as a valid bank account is designated for required monthly payments. Variable rates may increase after consummation.
3$5,000 is the minimum requirement to refinance. The maximum loan amount is $300,000 for those with medical, dental, pharmacy or veterinary doctorate degrees, and $150,000 for all other undergraduate or graduate degrees.
4This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a refi borrower with a Full Principal & Interest Repayment and a 10-year repayment term, has a $40,000 loan and a 5.5% Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $434.11 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $52,092.61. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.
Information advertised valid as of 1/1/2020. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.
5 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Mortgage lending is not offered in Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association.
ANNUAL PERCENTAGE RATE (“APR”)
There are no origination fees or prepayment penalties associated with the loan. Lender may assess a late fee if any part of a payment is not received within 15 days of the payment due date. Any late fee assessed shall not exceed 5% of the late payment or $28, whichever is less. A borrower may be charged $20 for any payment (including a check or an electronic payment) that is returned unpaid due to non-sufficient funds (NSF) or a closed account.
For bachelor’s degrees and higher, up to 100% of outstanding private and federal student loans (minimum $5,000) are eligible for refinancing. If you are refinancing greater than $300,000 in student loan debt, Lender may refinance the loans into 2 or more new loans.
ELIGIBILITY & ELIGIBLE LOANS
Borrower, and Co-signer if applicable, must be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident with a valid I-551 card (which must show a minimum of 10 years between “Resident Since” date and “Card Expires” date or has no expiration date); state that they are of at least borrowing age in the state of residence at the time of application; and meet Lender underwriting criteria (including, for example, employment, debt-to-income, disposable income, and credit history requirements).
Graduates may refinance any unsubsidized or subsidized Federal or private student loan that was used exclusively for qualified higher education expenses (as defined in 26 USC Section 221) at an accredited U.S. undergraduate or graduate school. Any federal loans refinanced with Lender are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment.
All loans must be in grace or repayment status and cannot be in default. Borrower must have graduated or be enrolled in good standing in the final term preceding graduation from an accredited Title IV U.S. school and must be employed, or have an eligible offer of employment. Parents looking to refinance loans taken out on behalf of a child should refer to https://www.laurelroad.com/refinance-student-loans/refinance-parent-plus-loans/ for applicable terms and conditions.
For Associates Degrees: Only associates degrees earned in one of the following are eligible for refinancing: Cardiovascular Technologist (CVT); Dental Hygiene; Diagnostic Medical Sonography; EMT/Paramedics; Nuclear Technician; Nursing; Occupational Therapy Assistant; Pharmacy Technician; Physical Therapy Assistant; Radiation Therapy; Radiologic/MRI Technologist; Respiratory Therapy; or Surgical Technologist. To refinance an Associates degree, a borrower must also either be currently enrolled and in the final term of an associate degree program at a Title IV eligible school with an offer of employment in the same field in which they will receive an eligible associate degree OR have graduated from a school that is Title IV eligible with an eligible associate and have been employed, for a minimum of 12 months, in the same field of study of the associate degree earned.
The interest rate you are offered will depend on your credit profile, income, and total debt payments as well as your choice of fixed or variable and choice of term. For applicants who are currently medical or dental residents, your rate offer may also vary depending on whether you have secured employment for after residency.
The repayment of any refinanced student loan will commence (1) immediately after disbursement by us, or (2) after any grace or in-school deferment period, existing prior to refinancing and/or consolidation with us, has expired.
POSTPONING OR REDUCING PAYMENTS
After loan disbursement, if a borrower documents a qualifying economic hardship, we may agree in our discretion to allow for full or partial forbearance of payments for one or more 3-month time periods (not to exceed 12 months in the aggregate during the term of your loan), provided that we receive acceptable documentation (including updating documentation) of the nature and expected duration of the borrower’s economic hardship.
We may agree under certain circumstances to allow a borrower to make $100/month payments for a period of time immediately after loan disbursement if the borrower is employed full-time as an intern, resident, or similar postgraduate trainee at the time of loan disbursement. These payments may not be enough to cover all of the interest that accrues on the loan. Unpaid accrued interest will be added to your loan and monthly payments of principal and interest will begin when the post-graduate training program ends.
We may agree under certain circumstances to allow postponement (deferral) of monthly payments of principal and interest for a period of time immediately following loan disbursement (not to exceed 6 months after the borrower’s graduation with an eligible degree), if the borrower is an eligible student in the borrower’s final term at the time of loan disbursement or graduated less than 6 months before loan disbursement, and has accepted an offer of (or has already begun) full-time employment.
If Lender agrees (in its sole discretion) to postpone or reduce any monthly payment(s) for a period of time, interest on the loan will continue to accrue for each day principal is owed. Although the borrower might not be required to make payments during such a period, the borrower may continue to make payments during such a period. Making payments, or paying some of the interest, will reduce the total amount that will be required to be paid over the life of the loan. Interest not paid during any period when Lender has agreed to postpone or reduce any monthly payment will be added to the principal balance through capitalization (compounding) at the end of such a period, one month before the borrower is required to resume making regular monthly payments.
KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.
This information is current as of November 8, 2019 and is subject to change.
6 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.
Splash Financial Disclosures
Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers.
7 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 1.76% effective November 10, 2019.
8 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
Subject to floor rate and may require the automatic payments be made from a checking or savings account with the lender. The rate reduction will be removed and the rate will be increased by 0.25% upon any cancellation or failed collection attempt of the automatic payment and will be suspended during any period of deferment or forbearance. As a result, during the forbearance or suspension period, and/or if the automatic payment is canceled, any increase will take the form of higher payments. The lowest advertised variable APR is only available for loan terms of 5 years and is reserved for applicants with FICO scores of at least 810.
As of 12/019/2019 student loan refinancing rates range from 1.90% to 8.59% Variable APR with AutoPay and 3.49% to 7.75% Fixed APR with AutoPay.
|1.99% – 6.89%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.31% – 7.36%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.06% – 6.81%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.62% – 6.12%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.99% – 6.65%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.99% – 7.06%6||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.85% – 6.13%7||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.90% – 8.59%8||Undergrad & Graduate|