Rhode Island: The Best State for Camping in the U.S.

Little Rhody Ranks High for Camping Fun

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends avoiding all non-essential international travel, creating a unique opportunity for travelers to look for vacation inspiration closer to home this summer.  Rhode Island is close to millions of East Coast travelers.

According to a recent study, camping is rated as the safest form of travel during the ongoing pandemic. It is also considered a more affordable option, often allowing travelers to stretch their vacation dollars further, and encourages a great deal of flexibility and creativity in planning the itinerary. This makes it a popular choice for families and adventure enthusiasts.

If you’re thinking about setting up camp this summer, travel insurance comparison site InsureMyTrip has provided some destination inspiration by ranking the best (and worst) U.S. states for your camping vacation.

Jay Leno's mansion in Newport RI.
Jay Leno’s mansion in Newport RI.

To do this, we compared the latest data available for nine deciding categories. These categories include the number of national parks, campsite quality, wildlife biodiversity, safety, and average annual rainfall.

Of the 50 states analyzed, Rhode Island is rated as the best U.S. state for a camping trip, scoring a strong 7.09 out of a possible 10 marks across the different data categories:

Top 10/Bottom 10 states for camping
Top 10 States Score /10 # Bottom 10 States Score/10
Rhode Island 7.09 1 Wyoming 3.81
Utah 6.85 2 Montana 4.14
Maryland 6.79 3 Nevada 4.35
New Hampshire 6.7 4 Indiana 4.5
New Mexico 6.64 5 Idaho 4.66
Minnesota 6.57 6 North Carolina 4.71
Colorado 6.52 7 California 4.78
South Carolina 6.49 8 Hawaii 4.91
Texas 6.38 9 Tennessee 4.91
Vermont 6.38 10 Mississippi 5.02

In addition to Rhode Island, Utah (6.85), Maryland (6.79), New Hampshire (6.7), and New Mexico (6.64) make up the rest of the top five best states for a camping vacation.

Rhode Island scored highly in five of the nine categories, including the number of national parks per square mile (8.9), campsite quality (8.24), and economical fuel prices (7.94).

However, the state received its highest scores for the low numbers of recorded accidents (10) and levels of criminal activity (10) in its national parks. In fact, it is one of only two states in the whole country to report this metric – Kansas is the only other state to do so.

Rhode Island is well known as one of the safest states in America, with a significantly lower-than-average crime rate which continues to fall – and is down over six percent in recent years.

Rhode Island has also been crowned the number one state for its natural environment, with above-average water and air quality.

Utah, in second place (6.85/10 overall), receives high scores for its quality of campsites (9.42), low average rainfall (9.50), and good internet access (9.93). Nevada is the only state to beat Utah when it comes to clear skies (10), and Colorado for its widespread internet access (10). It narrowly missed out on the top spot due to its mid-to-low scores for the number of national parks per square mile (0.86), forest coverage (3.73), and wildlife biodiversity (5.79).

Wyoming is ranked as the worst U.S. state for a camping trip (3.81/10), despite scoring well for its low levels of rainfall (9.37) and economical local fuel prices (7.89). The state did, however, have a high number of recorded accidents and criminal activity, over 9500 reports in total, which lead to a score of zero (0) in both instances.

newport RI
Newport Harbor from a helicopter.

Montana is ranked as the second-worst state for camping (4.14/10) due to its low scores in categories such as the number of national parks per square mile (0.17) and the number of recorded accidents (0.8). However, it did score well for the quality of its campsites (6.24), local fuel prices (7.37), and low levels of rainfall (8.93).

The third worst state for camping is Nevada, scoring poorly for its number of national parks per square mile (0.04) and forest coverage (1.61). It also has the country’s lowest score for campsite quality (0).

Another recent study ranked Nevada 46th out of the 50 U.S. states for its low healthy natural environment due to its high air pollution levels and poor quality drinking water. However, to help improve its current air pollution levels, Nevada’s governor recently announced plans to introduce stricter car pollution standards to help combat air pollution and emissions from cars.

Indiana (4.5) and Idaho (4.66) complete the bottom five worst U.S. states for a camping vacation.