The Garden State likes to tout itself as a "shore" destination for summer fun, but how traversable is New Jersey for those who just want to get in the car, roll the windows down, and explore the state?

Not so much, according to personal finance website WalletHub's 2022 compiling of the Best & Worst States for Summer Road Trips, which ranks New Jersey 45th overall.

WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez said the list was based on some 32 metrics that measured how fun, scenic, and wallet-friendly each state might be for summer visitors.

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What the website found was that New Jersey mostly missed the mark by those parameters, particularly with regard to cost.

To begin with, New Jersey gas prices remain above the national average, and then once a traveler gets to their destination, lodging isn't cheap either.

"Even if you're camping, the cost of camping, to rent a lot, is expensive," Gonzalez said. "Vacation rentals are a lot of money. Cost of living, not cheap. So cost is really what got New Jersey here."

Can New Jersey improve its ranking?

While affordability might be able to be addressed in future summers, Gonzalez said, the record inflation of the first half of 2022 won't help matters over the next few months.

Another factor New Jersey can't change is its size, and other, smaller Northeast states suffered the same fate in the rankings: Delaware, Connecticut, and Rhode Island came in as the bottom three states.

However, New Jersey took the dead-last spot in terms of number of attractions, while to get to any of them, drivers must navigate a Gordian knot of highways and byways that are not always the smoothest ride.

"It's not necessarily a regional thing, it really is zoning in on activities, things to do, I think just how big a state is," Gonzalez said. "Right nearby, New York is actually No. 1. Similar cost, but so many things to do, and as far as safety goes, a lot of actually good roads."

Where else is the state lacking?

And just weeks after a troubling report on the state of New Jersey's state parks, Gonzalez said the amount of national parkland to roam, or lack thereof, is also a drawback.

"New Jersey doesn't have too many of those things for people to come and explore, and that's another area where it could have done a little bit better," she said.

While New Jersey and New York were at opposite ends of the rankings, Pennsylvania fell somewhere in the middle, at 17th overall.

Patrick Lavery is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at patrick.lavery@townsquaremedia.com

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From amusement rides to all the boardwalk food and lots of water fun, Seaside Heights and neighboring Seaside Park have endured as a family friendly spot for all ages.

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These are the best hiking spots in New Jersey

A trip to New Jersey doesn't have to be all about the beach. Our state has some incredible trails, waterfalls, and lakes to enjoy.

From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to the hidden gems of New Jersey, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is such a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it's a great workout.

Before you go out on the trails and explore some of our listeners' suggestions, I have some tips on hiking etiquette from the American Hiking Society.

If you are going downhill and run into an uphill hiker, step to the side and give the uphill hiker space. A hiker going uphill has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.

Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless they are marked as an official trail, steer clear of them. By going off-trail you may cause damage to the ecosystems around the trail, the plants, and wildlife that live there.

You also do not want to disturb the wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.

Bicyclists should yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also yield to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you will encounter on the trails in New Jersey.
If you are thinking of bringing your dog on your hike, they should be leashed, and make sure to clean up all pet waste.

Lastly, be mindful of the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it's probably best to save your hike for another day.

I asked our listeners for their suggestions of the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions: