Politics aside, by at least one measure, Minnesota is a solid blue state. On a map of the country devised by Wallet Hub, with each state a certain shade depending upon how good it is for summer road trips, Minnesota is a satisfying deep blue. Iowa and Wisconsin are a wispy light blue. The Dakotas show up as a dull gray. That vibrant, solid hue is a good thing: Minnesota ranks third, after only Oregon and Nevada, when it comes to offering frugal-minded road travelers “the most fun for the least cost.”

Wallet Hub, a personal finance website, used 20 metrics to compare the 50 U.S. states for the ranking, including average gas prices, quality of roads and the number of attractions in the state.

Honestly, we didn’t fare so well in our attractions (21st out of 50) or the price of our three-star hotels (26th) or even the average price of gas (17th). But I’d argue that where we scored highest counts the most. Minnesota came in second for the least number of car accident fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled.

What’s a few extra bucks for a hotel, provided you arrive there safely?

I’ve spent many hours on Minnesota roadways, and I love rolling through the landscape here. It is a great place to drive, for the scenery out the window and the places where you turn off the engine, from Pipestone to Ely.

Of course, road trips often take us outside the state. Read the road trip story that starts on our cover for proof of that. If you are a far-ranging type and want to see where other states rank, log onto www.wallethub.com and scroll down to the “2015’s Best and World States for Summer Road Trips” link.

Read up, then grab the car keys.


Send questions or tips to travel editor Kerri Westenberg at travel@startribune.com, and follow her on Twitter @kerriwestenberg.