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The best US cities for a staycation

ETIAS.com has scored each U.S. city based on a series of metrics to reveal the best destinations for a staycation in America, based on the average price of a meal, pint of beer, hotel per night, transport, and day trips, as well as revealing the most Googled locations.

Choosing where to staycation can be a difficult choice, whether you’re after a city break, a relaxing beachside vacation, or an adventure-packed weekend in the mountains, how do you know if you’re choosing the best location? ETIAS.com has analyzed a series of metrics, assigning each place a score out of 100, to discover the best U.S. cities for a staycation, as well as using Google Search Volume Data to reveal the most-searched-for hotspots. You can view the full findings here. 

With international travel coming to a halt in 2020 due to the global pandemic, many people have had to put a pause on their usual vacations and spend more time in their home country. Luckily, in the U.S. there’s a wealth of vacation destinations to explore. Whether you’re embarking on a road trip, driving to another city, or flying a short flight to experience a weather change – you can enjoy a range of different vacations without ever leaving the country.

With what may seem like an endless choice of destinations, ETIAS.com has done all of the research for you. By looking at metrics including the average price of a meal, pint of beer, hotel per night, transport, and day trips, we can reveal the best locations for a staycation. 

Top ten best U.S cities for a staycation
The U.S. has so much to offer from the incredible natural attractions such as the Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls to The Statue of Liberty, there is something for everyone to explore. 

Rank

Location

Score

/100

Avg. ($) price of a meal

Avg. ($) price of a  beer

Avg. price ($) of a one-way ticket (local transport)

Avg. price ($) for a three-star hotel

No. of hotels

Number of day trips under $50

1

Omaha, Nebraska

77.3

12

4

1.38

88

42

10

2

Houston, Texas

74.5

15

6

1.25

85

200

1

3

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

70.8

10

4

2

83

82

2

4

Fresno, California

69.4

12

4

1.25

92

53

1

5

Tulsa, Oklahoma

68.8

10

3.5

1.75

88

45

2

6

El Paso, Texas

66.8

10

2.68

1.5

93

40

1

7

Indianapolis, Indiana

66.6

12

4

1.75

91

68

0

8

San Antonio, Texas

66.2

14

4

1.5

93

117

0

9

Austin, Texas

66.0

15

4

1.4

87

103

0

10

Fort Worth, Texas

64.1

12

3.5

2

85

47

0

Omaha, Nebraska, ranks as the best U.S. city for a staycation with an overall score of 77/100. As the biggest city in Nebraska, there’s plenty of exploring to do in Omaha with 10 different day trips under $50. Why not visit the Henry Doorly Zoo, which is home to the world’s largest indoor desert, world’s largest glazed geodesic dome, and North America’s largest indoor rainforest.  

Texas makes up half of the top list of the best U.S. cities for a staycation
Texas is the second-largest state in the U.S. and is home to many attractions and adventures, as well as being geographically diverse from offering up cities and coastal beaches, to mountains and deserts. With such a wide range of vacation experiences, it’s no surprise that cities in Texas make up half of the locations in the top 10 list of the best places for a staycation in the U.S. 

The cities in Texas that make up 50% of the top 10 list include Houston, El Paso, San Antonio, Austin, and Fort Worth, making Texas the perfect destination for staycationers looking to embark on a road trip. 

The top five most Googled states
When it comes to destinations for a staycation, where do we research the most? Using Google search volume data ETIAS.com has analyzed which U.S. states are the most-searched-for when looking for a vacation in our home country.

Rank

Location

U.S. Average Monthly Search Volume

1

Arizona

2400

2

Florida

720

3

Texas

480

4

California

390

5

Colorado

320

Jayne Forrester, Director of International Development at ETIAS.com comments: “Alongside many things this year, how we vacation has had to change after the travel and tourism industry was halted due to the global pandemic. A shift from international travel to domestic has been seen globally, but specifically in the U.S. as staycations have become a welcomed alternative. 

“Not only have the locations we visit changed, but also how we reach these destinations, as 72% of American’s had planned to travel to their destination by car this past summer, marking the return of the great American road trip. This is a great alternative to traveling by plane, especially when visiting states with many of the top staycation destinations, such as Texas. 

“As we continue to adjust to new measures around travel and consider the safest decisions on where to vacation in the future, those who live in the U.S. are lucky to have a vast selection of destinations to choose from without having to leave the country. While we want to help you narrow down your list and help tick off some of your dream destinations, it’s great to also see the interest in visiting different states for your chosen staycations."

 

Rank

Location

Score

/100

Avg. ($) price of a meal

Avg. ($) price of a  beer

Avg. price ($) of a one-way ticket (local transport)

Avg. price ($) for a three-star hotel

No. of hotels

Number of day trips under $50

1

Omaha, Nebraska

77.3

12

4

1.38

88

42

10

2

Houston, Texas

74.5

15

6

1.25

85

200

1

3

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

70.8

10

4

2

83

82

2

4

Fresno, California

69.4

12

4

1.25

92

53

1

5

Tulsa, Oklahoma

68.8

10

3.5

1.75

88

45

2

6

El Paso, Texas

66.8

10

2.68

1.5

93

40

1

7

Indianapolis, Indiana

66.6

12

4

1.75

91

68

0

8

San Antonio, Texas

66.2

14

4

1.5

93

117

0

9

Austin, Texas

66.0

15

4

1.4

87

103

0

10

Fort Worth, Texas

64.1

12

3.5

2

85

47

0

 

Co-Founder & Chief Editor - TravelDailyNews Media Network | Website | + Posts

Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales.

She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.

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