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Summer Vacation Index: 2016 best US travel destinations named

Jun 07, 2016

DALLAS, TX - At this time of year, as days get longer and temperatures get warmer, Travelocity data shows that interest in summer destinations rises as people start dreaming of a "fun in the sun" summer getaway. But what makes for a perfect summer vacation? A recent survey of 1,025 Americans conducted by Wakefield Research shows that the top four most-wanted attractions in a summer vacation destination includes beaches, national or state parks, amusement and theme parks and historical city landmarks.

However, even the most attraction-rich destination might not make for an optimal summer destination if high temperatures and humidity make outdoor activities uncomfortable, if days of rain are likely to ruin the best-laid holiday plans, or if high prices put a destination out of reach.

"We wanted to look at data to help travelers find the best summer vacation destinations. That's why we created the Travelocity Summer Vacation Index," said Alan Cunningham, director of marketing analytics for Travelocity. "Our team analyzed which of the 50 largest cities in the U.S. can deliver the most important factors for a good summer vacation - availability of the most-wanted attractions, probability of good weather and affordability of lodging for the summer months ā€“ and we were pleased to see that both traditionally popular and lesser-known summer destinations made the list."

Travelocity Summer Vacation Index Total Score

1 - Los Angeles 7.26
2 - San Diego 6.6
3 - Las Vegas (Tie) 6.435
3 - Phoenix (Tie) 6.435
5 - Oakland, Calif. 6.27
6 - Fresno, Calif. 5.94
7 - Portland, Ore. 5.775
8 - Jacksonville, Fla. 5.61
9 - Seattle (Tie) 5.445
9 - Denver (Tie) 5.445
9 - Tucson, Ariz. (Tie) 5.445

The Top Three

#1 Los Angeles

With beaches located within the city limits, nearby national parks and major amusement parks in close proximity, Los Angeles trounced the competition with an Attraction Score of 8, while comfortable temperatures, low humidity and virtually no rainfall in the summer months allowed LA to ace the Weather Score with a perfect 10. Only above average hotel prices kept LA from taking first place across all of Travelocity's categories.

#2 San Diego

San Diego came in just behind LA with a slightly lower Attraction Score owing to less choice in nearby amusement parks and fewer local historical landmarks. But for travelers looking for a smaller city with slightly warmer weather, San Diego might be just the ticket for a perfect summer vacation.

#3 Las Vegas / Phoenix (Tie)

Unlike LA and San Diego, Las Vegas scores a zero for beaches, but amusement parks and national parks within close proximity give it a respectable Attraction Score, while virtually no chance of rain in the summer combined with a "dry heat" puts its Weather Score near the top of the list. But where Las Vegas really shines is in its affordability. With a Hotel Price Score of 7, Vegas makes for one of the most price-friendly summer destinations.

Another desert location, Phoenix, ties Las Vegas at #3 with an identical Attraction Score, and while Phoenix's even higher temperatures knocks down its Weather Score, its exceptionally low summertime lodging costs boosts its Hotel Price Score to among the best in the country.

Surprise Contenders

#6 Fresno, California

A California city making the top 10 may not be a surprise, but a California city that is 150 miles from the nearest beach making the list might. However, with temperate, rain free summers, affordable lodging and a nearby national park, Fresno could be a pleasant surprise for summer vacationers as well as their wallets.

#7 Portland, Oregon / #9 Seattle (Tie)

When people think of the Pacific Northwest, they often think of natural beauty, mountain vistas and rain. Lots of rain. But in reality, the summer months are remarkably rain-free in the two largest northwestern U.S. cities. And with mild temperatures throughout the summer, both of these cities scored highly in the Weather Score category. Furthermore, while a plethora of nearby attractions were high points for both Seattle and Portland, Seattle was the second-highest ranked city in the entire index. Only comparably expensive lodging costs kept these two northwest cities from making it into the top 5.

#9 Denver (Tie)

Its proximity to some of the world's best skiing makes Denver an obvious choice for winter vacations - but fewer people might place it as a destination for a summer getaway. However, Denver was a solid performer across all of Travelocity's scoring categories. While the Mile High City is far from any beaches, the nearby Rocky Mountain National Park and nearly 300 National Landmarks within the city limits boosts Denver's Attraction Score. Denver's elevation means dry and comfortable weather, and combined with a reasonably affordable average hotel price, Denver proves to be a great choice for a summer vacation.

Summer Vacation Index: 2016 best US travel destinations named

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