CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – A study and ranking by WalletHub has placed West Virginia among the 10 worst states for summer road trips.
According to the ranking, West Virginia has among the fewest road trip activities in the country and is mid-level in other categories. In the three main categories, West Virginia was ranked 45th for activities, 22nd for cost and 21st for safety.
Another recent WalletHub study that said West Virginia had the nation’s worst economy sparked controversy, and West Virginia Governor Jim Justice called the study “political garbage.”
The road trip study seems to have some biases as well, specifically in the activities category, which used the following criteria:
- Share of Total Area Designated as National Parkland
- National Parks Recreation Visitors per Capita
- Zoos and Botanical Gardens per Capita
- Amusement & Theme Parks per Capita
- Fairs and Festivals per Capita over Summer Time
- Number of Attractions (Note: Nightlife options excluded)
- Nightlife Options per Capita
- Number and length of Scenic Byways (Triple weight)
- Historical Sites per Capita
- Miles of Shoreline
- Idealness of Summer Weather
- Accommodation & Food Services Establishments per Capita
- State & Local Direct General Expenditures on Parks & Recreation per Capita
If you’re looking for a heavy-traffic drive with exciting nightlife and city-worthy attractions along the way, West Virginia might not be the place for you. But several criteria for a good West Virginia road trip were not even mentioned in the WalletHub study.
Categories like shorelines and National Parkland barely apply to West Virginia as it has no coast and only one National Park—New River Gorge National Park & Preserve. However, West Virginia does have 35 unique State Parks, more than 61,000 acres of state forest land, 16 National Historic Landmarks and six Scenic Byways.
After West Virginia was designated as one of the Best Places to Go by Condé Nast Traveler back in December 2021, Gov. Justice said the following.
“West Virginia is the diamond in the rough that everyone missed. I can’t wait for visitors from across the globe to see the beauty and majesty that we know as Almost Heaven, West Virginia.”
West Virginia’s government has also been working to improve tourism within the state. Over the past few months, several driving routes have been designated by the state, including the Seneca Skyway and the West Virginia Waterfall Trail. Back in March, Gov. Justice also announced a new West Virginia Vacation Guide series, the first of its kind in the country.
According to WalletHub’s ranking, the best states for road trips were New York, Minnesota and Texas, and the distinction of state with the best activities was given to California. The worst states were Rhode Island, Connecticut and Delaware. Because some major factors in the ranking were based on National Park acreage and Scenic Byway miles, these states were seemingly disadvantaged due to their smaller size.