As summer heats up, so, too, does everyone’s travel plans. From coast to coast, travelers are embarking on family-friendly vacations, couples getaways, multi-generational trips, and much more. And, after two long years of the coronavirus pandemic, it feels good to be jet-setting.
To help with travel plans, personal finance website WalletHub recently released its 2022 Best Summer Travel Destinations—a list of metro areas around the country that have the top ratings for such indicators as budget-friendliness, number of activities, weather, and number of COVID-19 cases (also known as the ideal places to vacation).
Here, we take a look at the top 10 spots in the U.S. that are perfect to travel to this summer, according to WalletHub’s data. And for more vacation ideas, check out The 10 Best National Parks That Need to Be on Your Bucket List.
Coming in at number 10 on WalletHub’s list, San Antonio won’t disappoint summer travelers thanks to all of its history and culture. You can begin exploring the city’s historical missions at The Alamo before making your way to the other missions in the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.
Next, take a barge tour on the river along San Antonio’s famous Riverwalk, and afterward, enjoy a meal at one of the many restaurants along the water. Families will love the variety of rides at Six Flags Fiesta Texas and the animal encounters at SeaWorld & Aquatica San Antonio.
Per the WalletHub report, Cincinnati has the second-lowest travel costs and fewest travel hassles, making it an attractive choice for many Americans. A great starting point is one of the many walking tours that touch on the city’s history. Families will have a blast at Kings Island, the Newport Aquarium, the Cincinnati Zoo, and the Hauck Botanical Gardens.
You can also dig into the team’s history at the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum before catching the team in action. A fun, free activity is checking out the ArtWorks Public Art and Murals throughout Downtown Cincy.
Having the third-lowest travel costs and fewest travel hassles per WalletHub, Minneapolis provides a summer destination filled with entertainment. For example, at the Mall of America, you can shop until you drop. Afterward, you can ride the rides at Nickelodeon Universe, the indoor amusement park.
Outside, you can hit the city’s many biking and hiking trails, or tour the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden or Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. If they’re in town during your visit, watching the Minnesota Twins or Minnesota United FC play is a not-to-miss activity.
Ranking No. 2 for the most activities, Honolulu contains so much history, art and culture, and outdoor recreation, it will be hard to do it all. For example, The Bishop Museum, the Honolulu Museum of Art, and the Iolani Palace give art lovers an opportunity to see some of the most notable collections in the world. Of course, Pearl Harbor is a not-to-miss stop to pay homage to those who died fighting for their country. Oh, and Honolulu’s food scene will have you returning again and again.
Although Los Angeles landed in the No. 6 spot, given the city ranked No. 2 in WalletHub’s report for most attractions, you won’t find a shortage of things to do. Entertainment junkies can attend one of the numerous TV tapings or tour the famous movie studios.
Fans of the outdoors can head to the beach or explore the area’s miles of hiking trails, and sports fans can catch their favorite teams in action with rugby, baseball, soccer, and more taking the field.
Taking the No. 5 spot overall, Salt Lake City was also the No. 5 city for the lowest travel costs and fewest travel hassles, according to WalletHub. Surrounded by the Great Salt Lake and Wasatch Range of mountains, outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty of hiking and biking trails as well as fishing, rafting, and kayaking.
Other outdoor attractions include the Red Butte Garden, Utah’s Hogle Zoo, and the Gilgal Sculpture Garden.
With a thriving music scene, Austin has a ton to offer in terms of entertainment. But when the stage is silent, you’ll find plenty to keep you occupied. For instance, you can set out on one of the city’s many biking trails or hike along some of the urban trails within the city limits.
A fun summer activity is swimming in one of the spring-fed natural pools, like Barton Springs or the Deep Eddy Pools. For those interested in the area’s past and present, you can sign up for one of the guided walking tours that take participants through downtown, highlighting many notable citizens and historical sites.
Ranking No. 3 overall and the second safest destination in the WalletHub report, Tampa is often known as the home to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. But, while this amusement park is a major attraction, it’s not the only experience Tampa offers. Visitors also can add ZooTampa, The Florida Aquarium, and the Glazer Children’s Museum to their itinerary.
Outdoor activities range from meeting the manatees to fishing to checking out the University of South Florida Botanical Gardens.
Steeped in history, Washington, D.C., overflows with sites and attractions at every turn, many of which are free to the public. Visitors can spend an entire day touring the many monuments and memorials at and around the National Mall, plus several more days exploring the Smithsonian Museums.
When planning visits to such attractions as the White House and Washington Monument, it’s important to get advanced tickets online… they go fast.
Orlando not only took the overall top spot in the WalletHub study, but also ranked No. 1 for the most activities. Obviously, theme parks from Disney, Universal, and others remain a big draw, but Orlando also offers many opportunities for outdoor recreation including kayaking, hiking, fishing, and more.
The city also offers a wealth of art and cultural attractions, many of which are free, including the Lake Nona Sculpture Garden, CityArts (a collection of art galleries), and the Wells’Built Museum of African American History and Culture.
For more travel ideas and tips, check out The Best Tourist Attraction in Every State.