Personal Finance

Here are the top 10 cities for summer staycations

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Key Points
  • With long-haul leisure travel plans shelved, many Americans will "staycation" at or close to home this summer.
  • WalletHub ranked 180 U.S. cities for the most "fun-filled yet wallet-friendly" staycation potential.
  • Plano, Texas, tops the list, and one city in Hawaii — of all places — comes in last. Top cities are in states without mandatory coronavirus quarantines in place.

Canceled that flight to Cancun or that cruise out of Miami to the Caribbean?

You're not alone. In light of the Covid-19 pandemic and worries over health and safety, many Americans will opt to "staycation" this year and holiday at home or nearby.

"We're seeing a trend overall [that] people are booking trips closer to home, maybe going to a beach house a couple of hours away," Cheryl Golden, director of e-commerce at InsureMyTrip.com, recently told CNBC. "Then, when people get more comfortable, they'll continue to go farther and farther away from home, starting with domestic [destinations]."

In fact, a recent survey from personal finance website WalletHub found that 94 million Americans have canceled or plan to cancel their travel plans due to the coronavirus.

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Looking to track which cities across the U.S. offered the best conditions for those close-in summer vacations, WalletHub compiled a new 2020's Best & Worst Cities for Staycations report.

The site compared more than 180 American cities across 15 key metrics measuring what it called "a fun-filled yet wallet-friendly staycation." Indicators measured  ranged from number of parks per capita to average home square-footage and type of weather in the summer.

"One of the things the top 10 staycation spots have in common is a large number of parks per capita," said WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez, adding that most of the cities are in states with no mandatory quarantine still in place. "This aspect is important, as the report is focused mostly on outdoors recreation."

The top 10 cities are also among the most affordable, Gonzalez noted.

A family enjoys an al fresco meal at the Legacy West cultural and entertainment district in Plano, Texas, WalletHub's No. 1 city for staycations in 2020.
Visit Plano

Here are the 10 cities that topped WalletHub's list of best staycation spots:

  1. Plano, Texas
  2. Boise, Idaho
  3. Tampa, Florida
  4. Charleston, South Carolina
  5. Lincoln, Nebraska
  6. Fort Smith, Arkansas
  7. Scottsdale, Arizona
  8. Grand Prairie, Texas
  9. Austin, Texas
  10. Orlando, Florida

Other cities didn't do as well, ending up in the bottom 10.

Seven California cities — Chula Vista, Fremont, Oakland, Oceanside, Oxnard, San Jose and Stockton — and two in Rhode Island, Providence and Warwick, trailed all the others, apart from last-place finisher Pearl City, Hawaii.

To see where your city lands on WalletHub's full list, the metrics used and the methodology, click here.