Best States for Van Lifers
Let’s say we’ve convinced you to try out the van life and you’re ready to embark on the best cross-country adventure ever. But where should you go? We put together a list of the best states for #VanLife so you don’t get stuck somewhere with the most expensive gas and groceries in the country (Hawaii).
So what makes a state great for van lifers? We wanted to find places that have cheap gas, good outdoor space, and inexpensive groceries. Plus, you need Wi-Fi hotspots to get online and work remotely.
Eight southern states came out in the top ten, and, surprisingly, no states from the west or northeast rank as the best for van life. Most of the best states for van life actually are situated in the southeast of the US.
Michigan and Missouri are the only two states not from the south to make it into our top ten.
What makes a van lifer’s paradise?
Texas. The second largest state in the US by population and area. Home of high-tech companies, agriculture, oil, and the traditional Texas cowboy.
But none of those have any bearing on whether the state is good for van lifers. What we love are Texas’s gas prices near $3.00 a gallon, inexpensive groceries, over 25,000 Wi-Fi hotspots, and gorgeous weather with the average temp hovering around 65ºF, making the state a van lifer’s paradise.
Now, Texas does have a larger-than average-population density (approximately 110 people per square mile, which is 22% higher than the US average), but then again, everything is bigger in Texas.
If you’re looking for a good place to start your #VanLife journey, you can’t go wrong with Texas.
The top 10 states for van life
- North Carolina
What do the top ten states have in common? For starters, warm weather, over 8,000 Wi-Fi hotspots, cheap gas, and inexpensive groceries. But let’s break down a few highlights: Texas offers over 25,000 hotspots along with cheap groceries and gas under $3.20 per gallon. Michigan has the cheapest groceries. Florida has temperatures averaging 71ºF yearly and over 175 state and national parks.
Wherever you choose to travel in our top ten, you can be confident knowing that you’ll get numerous Wi-Fi hotspots, cheap gas, affordable groceries, some of the best weather in the US, and a ton of great state and national parks to visit.
The bottom 10 states for van life
- New Hampshire
- Rhode Island
- North Dakota
On the other hand, the bottom 10 states for van life have some of the most expensive gas in the country (Hawaii), the highest grocery costs (Alaska and Hawaii), a low number of hotspots (Vermont and Maine), and some of the coldest weather (Alaska and Maine). They’re still great places to visit, but you may not want to park your van there for the long term.
Best US regions for van life
Maybe instead of visiting just one state you want to take your van across a whole region. Honestly, that’s what makes van life so great—you can explore broad areas super easily. So, what’s the best region for #VanLife? The US south.
You may have already guessed that already, since eight southern states rank in the top ten. The south has the cheapest gas in the US, the best weather, and the lowest outdoor consumer spending.
But if you’re looking to road trip across the whole country, what are the states you just can’t miss? Well, we divided them up by region.
- West: Arizona
- South: Texas
- Northeast: New Jersey and Pennsylvania
- Midwest: Michigan
In the west, Arizona has great weather and over 28 million acres of federally owned land. And we already know about Texas's hotspots, cheap groceries, and great gas prices in the south.
Surprisingly, New York isn’t our top northeast choice—that distinction goes to New Jersey and Pennsylvania, which spend the most money per capita on outdoor recreation. In the midwest, Michigan takes the cake with the lowest grocery cost in the nation.
Now you’re ready to start your life on the road.
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