Blake Walsh

US Staycation Index

  • Published 2023/02/01

The best staycation locations in the US

Staycations are an excellent opportunity to discover unique destinations closer to home, from city breaks taking in the best things to do in Pittsburgh to exploring the wilds of Yosemite National Park, and with the lasting impact of the COVID pandemic making more Americans consider vacationing in the US, staycations are booming.

Whether it’s worrying about the environmental impact of traveling abroad or how expensive trips abroad can be, there are plenty of reasons to consider a vacation at home this year, but which location can be crowned the best staycation destination?

The experts at Travel Lens have analyzed the most popular tourist destinations in The US to find the safest, most affordable, and best overall locations for a staycation.

The best staycation locations

travellens US Staycation Index 05 top 3

1. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina Staycation Score: 8.15/10

Nestled in the center of 60 miles of uninterrupted beaches, Myrtle Beach takes the top spot as The US’s best staycation location, scoring 8.15 out of 10. 20 million visitors a year are drawn to Myrtle Beach thanks to its reputation as the best location for golfers, playing host to over 90 golf courses!

Known affectionately as the seafood capital of South Carolina, visitors are spoilt for choice when it comes to its restaurants, with 194 per 10,000 people ranking second for the factor.

2. Orlando, Florida Staycation Score: 7.74/10

Home to a whopping 32 theme parks, including the world-famous Disney World and Universal Orlando, the city is the perfect staycation destination for family fun, scoring 7.74 out of 10. The city also has plenty of opportunities for a romantic getaway, as romantic hotels in Orlando offer couples luxurious accommodations at a very affordable price.

Orlando is also one of the hottest destinations, thanks to its tropical climate providing year-round beach weather. The city is also a very safe area to visit, with only two crimes committed per 100,000 people in 2021 in its home state of Florida.

3. Key West, Florida Staycation Score: 7.69/10

Up next is Key West, Florida. In the tropical heart of the Florida Keys, the city ranks third thanks to its high average temperature, at 77.3ºF it’s the hottest destination on our list. Key West also offers plenty of activities too, with 336 per 10,000 people. From relaxing on its beaches to action-packed day trips fishing, snorkeling, and exploring its rich history,

The locations with…

The cheapest stay – Page, Arizona ($74 per night)

travellens US Staycation Index 06 stay

Page takes the top spot when it comes to accommodation, with hotels in the small city in Northern Arizona costing just $74 a night at the weekend, making it perfect if you’re on a strict budget. The city also makes the perfect base to explore the best things to do in Page, like taking in the unique geology of Vermillion Cliffs National Park or the Rainbow Bridge National Monument.

The most restaurants – Stanley, Idaho (418 per 10,000 people)

travellens US Staycation Index 07 restaurant 1

Sampling local specialties you won’t find anywhere else is a highlight of vacations for lots of travelers, and you’ll be spoiled for choice in Stanley, Idaho. Thanks to its population of less than 300, the small town takes the top spot in its proportion of restaurants, with over 400 per 10,000 people.

The most attractions – Stanley, Idaho (1,065 per 10,000 people)

travellens US Staycation Index 08 attractions

Stanley, Idaho, has by far the highest proportion of attractions, with a whopping 1,065 per 10,000 people. The town is the perfect destination for exploring the outdoors, and some of the best things to do in Stanley are the hiking trails, horseback riding tours, and world-class fly fishing.

The hottest staycation location – Key West, Florida (Average temperature 77.3ºF)

travellens US Staycation Index 09 temp

If you’re looking to escape to a warmer climate for your staycation, Key West, Florida, is the ideal destination. The city has the hottest average temperature (77.3ºF). Although this is slightly misleading, thanks to its tropical climate, the area does experience significant rainfall and high humidity.

The safest staycation state – Florida (2 crimes per 10,000 people in 2021)

travellens US Staycation Index 010 safest

Feeling safe when traveling is always important, especially if you’re going somewhere you’ve never been before. Thankfully, Florida is the safest state when it comes to crime, so while you should always keep your wits about you when traveling, you’ll have extra peace of mind in The Sunshine State.

travellens US Staycation Index 011 table 1


Beginning with a list of US staycation destinations, we analyzed each one on the following factors. We then gave each staycation destination a normalized score of ten for each factor before taking an average across each of these scores to reach our final overall score out of ten.

The cheapest stay

According to Kayak, the average cost of a nightly hotel stay on a Friday or Saturday night is based on hotels selected by users in the last two weeks (as of 17/01/2023).

The most restaurants

The number of restaurants listed on Tripadvisor per 10,000 people.

The most attractions

The number of attractions listed on Tripadvisor is 10,000 people.

The hottest staycation location

The average temperature according to Climate Data.

The safest staycation state

The number of violent crimes in each state in 2021, according to Statista, per 100,000 people.

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