So you’re about to embark on your first cross-country road trip: Bags are packed, and you’re putting the final touches on your itinerary. Of course, you’re going to hit the big landmarks, like the Grand Canyon and Mount Rushmore. Then there are the must-hit states like California and Texas. But how do you know which places to avoid? After all, 50 states is a lot, so at least some of them have to be duds, right?
To help you out, I reached out to a few very well-travelled people to find out, in terms of a memorable road trip, which states can suck it.
As a New Yorker, there’s no way New Jersey doesn’t end up first on this list. I can’t help it — that’s just something New Yorkers are raised to do, shit on New Jersey. It’s in our blood.
It isn’t just New Yorkers who have a problem with the Garden State, though. Eric Hannan, a Minnesotan who writes the travel blog Shore Looks Nice out of the RV that he and his family live in, says that all it has is, “Rude people, garbage on the side of the road and an interesting smell in the air.” It’s also one of those states that just have way better shit around it. Hannan adds that the cities in New York have way more to offer (of course) and that the country is more beautiful in Delaware and Pennsylvania.
Sorry, Jersey, there was just no way you weren’t going to be on this list.
Unfortunately, the Hawkeye state isn’t nearly as cool as the (least cool) Avenger it shares a name with. According to Hannan, there’s nothing much there and you’d be better off heading to his home state of Minnesota. SiriusXM host Godfrey, who has toured most U.S. states as a stand-up comic, tells me that Iowa is, “Just all fucking cornfields and it’s all flat, dude. There’s nothing!”
Rosemary Gleason, a well-travelled woman who’s been to more than 40 states, adds, “All I found in Iowa was construction on the highway, which only delayed my trip out of Iowa.
Okay, there’s Vegas, but that’s it, literally. (And also, come on, Vegas is fucking terrible.) “It’s just desert — it’s fucking horrible. It’s kind of pretty, a little, I guess, but it’s just desert, and it’s the same shit everywhere,” says Godfrey, adding that Nevada is, “Hot as fuck and just dust and tumbleweeds. I don’t even know how people live there.”
A travel agent I spoke to — and who has decided to remain anonymous for pretty obvious reasons — agrees, saying, “It’s just miles and miles of dreariness. Even Reno, which is just trying to be a mini Vegas, is very disappointing.”
Despite a pretty catchy broadway number, Oklahoma doesn’t have much to offer. Take it from American history professor and author of The President is Dead!, Louis Picone: “I’d skip Oklahoma. There’s not much going on there, including the fact that no presidents have been born or died there, and there isn’t much else nearby. Unless you’re trying to hit all 50 states, it’s a lot of effort for little return on investment.” Hannan agrees, “If you’ve seen one vast expanse of farmland in Oklahoma, you’ve seen 99 percent of the views of the state.”
The only other thing you may see, according to our anonymous travel agent, is an excess of oil rigs, which she says is, “not particularly attractive.” When I ask her if, in all her years of being a travel agent, anyone has ever booked a trip to see a landmark there, she replies with a succinct, “No.”
It’s hard to believe that historically-rich Virginia could ever appear on this list, but for some, it may be a little too historically rich. Godfrey remarks, “As a white person, you may not be thinking anything when you go down to Virginia, but as a black person, the history hits you in these places. I’ve read up so much that it’s impossible not to think about all of the horrible injustices that have happened there.” He adds that while he’s been to almost every Southern state, Virginia most of all is like, “Going back in time for a black man. There are confederate flags everywhere, and I start to wonder if the fountains are separated too. It’s scary shit. Plus, you think I’m going to visit some old plantation house? No.”
While the coast is nice in Maine, there isn’t anything else going on there. Matt Dorcas, a man who just returned from his own cross-country road trip, says, “As soon as you go inland it gets pretty lame, and honestly, if you’re going that far northeast, you might as well just go to Quebec City.” The travel agent — who hails from New England — agrees, saying, “Unless you’re on the coast, Maine can be really dreary and the winters are forever in Maine.”
“All Kansas has is that The Wizard of Oz is based there and that’s it,” says Matt. According to Hannah and Timothy, full-time RVer’s who share their story over at Rolling On A Whim, “Driving across Kansas is an exercise in staying awake because the flat landscape allows you to zone out, and there’s nothing to see besides farmer’s fields.”
Aside from it being rather dull, the desolation can lead to other issues, as Hannah and Tim share. “In our own drive across Kansas, we were in 103-degree heat, and we had two tire blowouts. The worst part is that civilization isn’t to be found along the interstate, so when something goes wrong, you can’t easily find help.”
Rosemary adds the final nail in the coffin: “The best thing about Kansas is Kansas City — and that’s in Missouri.”
So there you have it, our scientifically infallible list of the states that you can drive right on by during your summer road trip. We hope you’ve enjoyed it, and if you happen to be from one of those seven states, please feel free to tell us why we’re incredibly wrong (and giant assholes) in the comments section.