- Associated Press - Sunday, July 6, 2014

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama’s wet heat and sprawling layout make it one of the worst states in the nation for a summer road trip, according to a new study.

The report by financial advisory site WalletHub ranked Alabama No. 45 overall, mainly because of the weather here. It scored badly for the number of sunny days between July and August, and even worse for the amount of summer storms.

“It seems like you guys get quite a lot of rain compared to other states in those months,” WalletHub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou said.

Alabama also ranked sixth worst in traffic conditions, not because of the number of people on the roads but because of how long people have to drive on everyday commutes.

“People seem to be driving longer distances on a per capita basis than almost any other state,” Papadimitriou said. “That’s kind of a negative because that means even people who live there may have to travel long distances to just to get a gallon of milk.”

Those factors sent the state down the list despite the fact that Alabama led the nation in the price of three-star hotels and was second in gas prices and road conditions.

It landed around the middle of the pack for the number of scenic attractions, boosted by its state park system, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.

Alabama Department of Tourism spokesman Brian Jones said there are two ways of looking at each of the negatives in the WalletHub report.

“The main reason we have that (summer rain) is because we are a Gulf Coast state,” Jones said. “That means we have the mountains in north Alabama and we have the beaches. It’s hot, but if you like the beaches or you like the lakes, we’ve got plenty of ways to spend hot summer days.”

He said the long driving distances also mean that Alabama has plenty of outdoor resources.

“If you’re out fishing in the middle of Lake Guntersville you can’t get a gallon of milk too easily, but that’s probably not why you’re there,” he said.

AAA Alabama spokesman Clay Ingram said the long average travel distance is because of a culture built around small-town living.

“People are willing to make that drive to live in that small-town environment,” Ingram said.

The tourism department has put together a list of state road trip destinations designed for weekend getaways, with personal stories and suggested itineraries at alabama.travel.

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