As we swing into summer, families all over the country are planning where they want to spend their vacation, but, where should they go? After all, there are a variety of factors that go into making a destination 'fun' and what may be fun for one family, may not be all that great for another. For example, while California ranks #1 as the best state for entertainment options across the board, Alaska has the best access to National Parks.
Thankfully, WalletHub compared all 50 states using 26 metrics of 'fun' for two categories: "Entertainment & Recreation" and "Nightlife." From how much a movie ticket costs, and the availability of national parks to the most marinas per capita, WalletHub's survey is a great way for your family to plan their next vacation without breaking the bank.
If your definition of fun includes dining out at a nice restaurant; California, Florida, New York and Texas have you covered as they tied at #1 in WalletHub's survey in having the most eateries per capita. Dark horse candidate Illinois came in at #5 for dining out.
On the other hand, people planning on a vacation in Delaware, South Dakota, Wyoming, Alaska or North Dakota, will have to go a lot farther to find something to eat the survey found those states had the fewest restaurants per capita.
Looking to go see a movie? In no surprise, the home to Hollywood was tied for #1 in having the most movie theaters per capita with Texas and New York. On the other hand, it'll be a lot harder to catch the latest blockbuster if you're in Mississippi, Rhode Island, or Delaware.
On the other hand, if you're looking to get out into the Great Outdoors, you'll definitely want to stop by North Dakota or Wyoming. Those states spend the most on parks and recreational services. Hawaii comes in at #3 with Colorado and Illinois rounding out the top five.
Finally, if you prefer to get out and have a good time at a dance or nightclub, or maybe even get some drinks with friends, you might be surprised to find that Wisconsin is ranked as #2 for its nightlife in WalletHub's survey. Nevada, home to Las Vegas (and everything that happens there) was ranked #1 for finding a good place to dance and drink the night away.
States across the country are always looking for ways to attract more tourists. One strategy is for states to provide attractive tax incentives to bring professional sports teams and other types of entertainment to their state. However, those tax incentives aren't always successful according to Professor Phillip Lamy.
"In most cases, the average taxpayer benefits little from such schemes, which tend to benefit owners, real estate owners, and political coffers," said Lamy. "In fact, the average and below average tax-payer can’t even afford to pay the exorbitant prices for big league sports tickets. Instead they earn more traffic, more pollution, displacement, higher real estate costs, and the inability to fully participate as a fan in a local pro team. And the jobs sports franchises provide are mostly part-time and low wage."
With 11 states legalizing recreational marijuana, cannabis tourism has become a big draw for many states like California and Colorado. Professor Lamy says, those types of programs have garnered a huge amount of support in his home state of Vermont.
"Recreational marijuana has only been legal in Vermont since July 2018. The state has yet to figure out how to create a tax and regulated retail market. Therefore, our tourist industry has not been able to “legally” and fully capitalize on the marijuana market. But it will come. And the projections for the role of marijuana and cannabis oriented products, services, and entertainment in Vermont are significant," said Lamy.
Photos: Unsplash and WalletHub.