The sun is shining, the weather is warm and after more than a year of staying at home, people are ready to travel. We are, however, still in a pandemic, and that has to be considered when looking at the safest bets for your summer vacation.

Key findings:

  • New Mexico, Rhode Island and Hawaii are the safest states for summer travel.
  • Ohio, Georgia and California ranked last on our list of safest states for summer travel.
  • Oklahoma, Illinois and Texas were the safest when considered on driving factors alone.
  • Vermont, Rhode Island and Hawaii ranked highest on COVID-19 and health factors alone.

To find the safest states for summer travel, we evaluated each state based on six different health and safety factors. COVID-19 case rates, vaccination rates and the number of accidents, speeding tickets and DUIs were all considered. In the end, our analysts found that New Mexico is the safest state for summer travel.

Safest states for summer travel
Overall rank State Vaccination rank COVID-19 case rank COVID-19 death rank Speeding rank Accident rank DUI rank
1 New Mexico 7 14 12 1 8 36
2 Rhode Island 4 6 7 6 50 15
3 Hawaii 8 8 3 47 6 22
4 Oklahoma 40 11 22 13 4 14
5 Montana 30 9 8 8 10 43
6 Vermont 3 2 2 42 29 30
7 Maine 1 19 10 17 40 25
8 Kansas 28 13 16 33 15 11
9 West Virginia 38 22 15 4 5 32
10 Connecticut 2 20 23 21 41 13
11 Nebraska 19 5 6 5 38 47
12 New Hampshire 26 10 14 25 31 19
13 South Dakota 17 1 5 38 17 48
14 Mississippi 50 15 18 27 2 20
15 Delaware 21 18 9 48 32 9
16 Nevada 34 23 21 18 14 27
17 Alaska 25 3 13 28 23 46
18 Alabama 49 21 26 26 18 2
19 Idaho 42 12 11 16 24 40
20 Massachusetts 5 36 35 19 48 4
21 Arizona 35 35 30 12 11 26
22 Iowa 16 17 17 23 34 42
23 Arkansas 47 16 20 36 7 24
24 Illinois 27 45 45 22 9 5
25 Missouri 39 26 37 43 3 6
26 Kentucky 29 27 40 7 12 41
27 Maryland 9 25 33 32 49 8
28 North Dakota 32 7 4 46 19 49
29 Michigan 23 47 50 9 1 29
30 Minnesota 11 39 31 24 13 45
31 Wyoming 43 4 1 40 25 50
32 Oregon 20 33 28 29 35 21
33 Texas 36 49 47 10 20 7
34 Florida 31 50 49 3 36 1
35 New Jersey 6 29 42 34 43 18
36 North Carolina 33 42 38 20 16 23
37 Utah 45 24 19 2 46 37
38 Pennsylvania 18 46 46 14 21 34
39 Indiana 37 37 32 11 28 35
40 New York 10 48 44 49 22 10
41 Wisconsin 12 31 24 45 27 44
42 Tennessee 44 32 27 41 26 17
43 Virginia 14 30 39 31 42 31
44 South Carolina 41 34 29 35 47 3
45 Louisiana 46 28 25 44 33 16
46 Colorado 13 43 36 37 30 38
47 Washington 15 41 34 39 39 33
48 Ohio 24 40 43 15 44 39
49 Georgia 48 38 41 30 45 12
50 California 22 44 48 50 37 28

While more and more people are getting vaccinated every day, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic was a major factor in our evaluation. When measured on health factors alone, we found that Vermont is the safest place for summer travel.

Health rankings
Overall health rank State COVID-19 case rate COVID-19 death rate Vaccination rate
1 Vermont 2 2 3
2 Rhode Island 6 7 4
3 Hawaii 8 3 8
4 South Dakota 1 5 17
5 (tie) Maine 19 10 1
5 (tie) Nebraska 5 6 19
7 New Mexico 14 12 7
8 Alaska 3 13 25
9 North Dakota 7 4 32
10 Connecticut 20 23 2

Airline travel is starting to make a comeback, but more people will be driving to that summer getaway. After looking at each state’s number of accidents, speeding tickets and DUIs, we found that Oklahoma is the safest place for that long road trip.

Safest driving states
Overall health rank State Accident rank Speeding rank DUI rank
1 Oklahoma 4 13 14
2 Illinois 9 22 5
3 Texas 20 10 7
4 Michigan 1 9 29
5 Florida 36 3 1
6 West Virginia 5 4 32
7 New Mexico 8 1 36
8 Alabama 18 26 2
9 (tie) Mississippi 2 27 20
9 (tie) Arizona 11 12 26

According to the U.S. Travel Association, Americans are expected to spend 20% more on summer travel this year than they did in 2020. That’s nowhere near pre-pandemic levels, but there will be a lot more people out on the road or at the beach. Despite a rising number of vaccinations and declining COVID-19 case and death rates, the coronavirus is still very much here. We felt the ongoing pandemic needed to be a major factor in our evaluation of the safest states for summer vacation.

Methodology

QuoteWizard analyzed six safety metrics, adults with two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, accidents, speeding, DUIs and COVID-19 cases and deaths. Each metric was ranked on a 1-50 scale, with an ascending score representing the least safe to safest conditions for specific state travel. We then determined each state’s safety ranking by averaging across all metric scores to calculate its overall ranking and used the resulting scores to rank-order each state.

Adult COVID-19 vaccination rates: QuoteWizard analyzed CDC data on adults who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Our ranking is based on states that had the lowest to highest percentages of vaccinated adults as of May 20, 2021.

Dangerous driving states: These rankings are compiled from QuoteWizard’s annual best and worst driver study. Each state's driver quality ranking is based on the rate of accidents, speeding tickets and DUIs.

COVID-19 case and death rates: We looked at CDC data on United States COVID-19 Cases and Deaths by State per 100K in the last seven days from all 50 states.