The Good, The Bad, and The Affordable: Ranking US Summer Destinations
If you're looking to leave home for summer vacation but don't want to break the bank, consider Sin City.
Not only does the Las Vegas metropolitan area boast an array of world-class attractions, it won't cost you a fortune to get there.
WalletHub, a social network geared toward personal finance, set out to determine the "most fun-filled and wallet-friendly" U.S. destinations for travelers this summer by examining more than a dozen metrics, including the cost and hassles of getting to a destination, in addition to the anticipated expenses upon arrival.
Keep in mind that WalletHub only examined the 80 most populated metropolitan areas in the U.S.
Here's a breakdown of the top 10 based on WalletHub's research:
1. Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, Nevada
2. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Florida
3. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, Georgia
4. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Arizona
5. Salt Lake City, Utah
6. Austin-Round Rock, Texas
7. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
8. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas
9. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, California
10. Albuquerque, New Mexico
Las Vegas was propelled to the top spot by its plethora of attractions. The destination ranked first in that category, beating out West Coast metropolises like San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and Los Angeles.
Second-place Orlando ranked better than Las Vegas in transportation costs, local costs and parks and recreation, but lost out in terms of attractions and weather conditions.
Like Orlando, Atlanta's abundance of parks and recreations helped carry it into the top five.
While Phoenix and Salt Lake City ranked toward the middle of the pack in terms of parks and recreations, cheap local costs (Phoenix ranked seventh) and excellent weather conditions (Salt Lake City ranked sixth) lifted them up in the overall rankings.
Top-ranked Texas destinations Austin and Dallas benefited from cheap transportation costs (fifth and fourth respectively) and affordable local costs.
Meanwhile, nearby Oklahoma City ranked second in local costs, pushing it into the top 10.
Despite hefty local costs, Los Angeles' top 10-ranked attractions and weather conditions helped lift it to the top of the list.
On the flip side, here's how the bottom 10 destinations shook out:
71. Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, Pennsylvania-New Jersey
72. North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida
73. Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, Connecticut
74. Albany-Schenectady-Troy, New York
75. Rochester, New York
76. Worcester, Massachusetts-Connecticut
77. Syracuse, New York
78. Providence-Warwick, Rhode Island-Massachusetts
79. New Haven-Milford, Connecticut
80. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Connecticut
The Northeast dominates the bottom-ranked destinations, with New York and New England showing up frequently.
As you would expect, all 10 destinations fared poorly across the five categories, with only two ranking better than 40th in at least one category.
Click here for a complete breakdown of all 80 destinations courtesy of WalletHub.
More by Patrick Clarke
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