Miami ranked No. 8 and Fort Lauderdale was No. 19 on the list of most popular U.S. destinations for domestic and international travels, according to the Hotel Price Index.

Las Vegas took the top spot for U.S. travelers in the first half of 2009. New York City was second in popularity with U.S. travelers taking advantage of the city’s historically low hotel rates.

Six Florida cities – the most in any one state – were among the top 10 U.S. cities with the greatest drop in hotel rates. They were Miami (down 21%), West Palm Beach (down 19%), Fort Lauderdale (down 17%), Orlando (down 16%), Fort Myers (down 17%) and Naples (down 16%).

In the first half of the year, hotel prices nationwide dropped 17 percent, averaging $115 a night, down from $139 a night during the same period in 2008, according to the index.

The average room price per night in Florida in the first six months of the year was $116, down 14 percent from $138 in the same year-ago period. Prices were higher in Miami, at $140 a night in the first six months of the year, but still down from $176 a year earlier. The average price per room in West Palm Beach was $130, down from $160 last year.

The most expensive city was New York, at $183 a night, down 30 percent from $261 a year ago. The least expensive room rate was in Nevada, at $77 a night, down 29 percent from $108 last year.

Miami and Fort Lauderdale also ranked among the top 20destinations for international travelers, ranking fourth and 12th, respectively.