There were "12.6 million visitors to and within South Dakota" during 2020 according to statistics gathered by the South Dakota Department of Tourism. Granted, those numbers were down quite a bit from the year before, but, you know, pandemic and all...

So you can see that there are plenty of people hitting the road to and around our state. But in terms of overall "Road Trip Worthiness", where does South Dakota stand?

Let me put it this way. Better than what a lot of people consider beautiful states, like-  Montana, Alaska, and yes, Hawaii. Worse than Colorado, Nebraska, and believe it or not - - North Dakota! South Dakota came in 32nd.

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WalletHub has put together a list of Best & Worst States for Summer Road Trips. In setting out to do this study, they compared all the states in terms of scenic beauty, number of fun activities, and "wallet-friendliness".

Within the scenic and fun activities categories, they considered access to and number of scenic byways, historical sites, miles of shoreline, summer weather, number of fairs & festivals, zoos, & botanical gardens, and amount of national parkland.

To determine the impact on your checking account, they explored gas prices, car repair expenses, the cost of camping, hotels, and vacation rentals.

Safety was another important element in this study, so they examined the quality of roads and bridges in each state, traffic laws, number of uninsured drivers, traffic fatalities, and number of car thefts.

The states which ranked high had the right combo of all these elements.

Five Best Road Trip States:

  1. New York
  2. Texas
  3. Louisiana
  4. Maine
  5. North Carolina

The bottom dwellers did not.

Five Worst Road Trip States:

  1. Arkansas
  2. Hawaii
  3. Connecticut
  4. Delaware
  5. Rhode Island

The lesson here is...geez, I don't know! Maybe, "To each their own" or some other suitable philosophy.

To see the complete study go to WalletHub.

Sources: WalletHub and the South Dakota Department of Tourism

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