West Virginia, Rhode Island most ‘underrated’ states to visit, survey declares

NEW YORK — Do you go to the same beach every summer vacation without considering perhaps it’s time to try out some new travel hot spots? It turns out most Americans tend to stick to old habits when it comes to traveling. A recent survey shows that three in four people are stuck in their ways and always go on vacation to the same kinds of places. 

Perhaps you should consider West Virginia. We’ll get to that later though.

The survey of 2,000 adults probing their willingness to step outside of their vacation comfort zone shows that people in the northeast are the least likely to stray from their favorite kinds of vacation destinationsStill, those who have revisited a vacation spot (68%) reveal that they prefer to incorporate new experiences and sights at these comfortable destinations (55%).

Some are willing to change up their whole vacation pattern, with 78 percent saying that they’re likely to take a chance on visiting an entirely new destination. And nearly three in four agree that those who aren’t willing to try somewhere new are missing out (73%) since vacations are a chance to do things outside of their comfort zone (74%).

Conducted by OnePoll for the West Virginia Department of Tourism for World Tourism Day, the survey finds that of the 62 percent of people who have visited somewhere they didn’t think they would enjoy, a whopping 89 percent ended up being pleasantly surprised. Similarly, two in three have chosen a vacation destination based on a recommendation from family or friends and have almost always ended up enjoying it (92%). This may be why 79 percent agree that it’s important not to judge a vacation spot before you’ve been there yourself.

Almost heaven, West Virginia

Respondents recalled some of the most unique spots they’ve visited on vacation like “a cute small town with big mountains surrounding it,” “the National Harbor” or “Blackwater Falls State Park, West Virginia.”

When it comes to the most “underrated” states they’d like to visit, West Virginia (37%), Rhode Island (31%) and Massachusetts (31%) came out on top.

“There are so many gems to see out there, especially in the underrated states,” says West Virginia Tourism secretary Chelsea Ruby, in a statement. “When travelers take a chance on visiting these areas and exploring sites like underrated national parks, charming mountain towns and cascading waterfalls, they may easily find what they’ve been searching for.”

According to the survey, the best vacation activities include spending some time relaxing (46%) or trying new food (42%). Northeastern respondents are the most likely to enjoy adventurous activities on vacation (36%), while midwesterners have a preference for making the most of their hotel/resort (41%).

Other respondents view vacations as an educational experience, with 37 percent saying they enjoy learning about the history/culture of a destination and another 32 percent agreeing they look forward to exploring lesser-known parts of the area. And to make sure they get the most out of their time, people are as likely to wake up early and go to bed late on vacation (78%).

Millennials (61%) lead the respondents who usually create a detailed itinerary (54%), but most confess that creating full-day plans can limit what you can do with your time. Additionally, a majority of those who make itineraries admitt that when they’ve strayed from it, they had a better time than they could have imagined (80%).

“Traveling isn’t always about sticking to a set schedule – whether you’re craving world-class outdoor adventures, undiscovered spots or relaxation in charming small towns, there’s an itinerary for all travelers alike,” Ruby said. “For a new experience, take a chance on the unexpected destination because you may end up being surprised at what you experience and see along the way.”