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The top affordable summer destinations in the U.S. for 2024

WalletHub shares this year's perfect getaways that won't break the bank

Erika Mailman
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Erika Mailman

Summer’s just a heartbeat away. If you’re stuck in your cubicle, or you’re a teacher showing movies for the next week or so, or maybe you’re a high-powered CEO getting off your private jet: you’re fantasizing about the beach or a tent pitched in the wilderness...or a visit to the big metropolis you’ve always dreamed of.

According to personal-finance website WalletHub, nearly 82 percent of Americans plan to take a trip this summer (hopefully the remaining 18 percent aren’t traveling this summer because they already took off in the winter!). And close to half of those who plan to travel will take more than one trip (42 percent). That’s a whole lot of us—whether it’s far-flung travel or just renting a weekend space an hour away. We personally love the day trip turned into an overnight trip. WalletHub studied 100 metro areas, using 41 metrics, to come up with its list of the perfect summer getaways, considering our budgets and hopes to have a great time without credit card trauma down the road. The metrics were details like the average price of a two-person meal, the city's tennis courts and beer gardens, and average gas prices: you get the idea. It’s a great way to get a quick look at how a city measures up to others around the country.

This summer, you will want to hit Atlanta, since it is the top scorer on this study. It did well in all categories, including not having many travel hassles and costs, having good weather and a fair amount of entertainment options, and doing well in terms of safety (having low numbers for property damage and violent crime). Take a walk on the BeltLine or visit the Coke museum, and enjoy the best of Georgia’s capital.

Second on the list is Washington, D.C. It scored first for safety and did well in the other categories. With parks, cherry blossoms, historical sites, and an incredible art museum, this city makes for an incredible destination. Did we mention that the Smithsonian museums are free and are open daily except for Dec. 25?

In third place is Orlando, Florida, which fulfills all the amusement park-meets-beach desires you’ve ever had. In fact, Orlando is No. 2 nationwide for best activities (the No. 1 spot is taken by urban Honolulu, which is fourth on this overall list).

Here is the full list of the top 20 summer travel destinations:

1. Atlanta, GA

2. Washington, DC

3. Orlando, FL

4. Honolulu, HI

5. Tampa, FL

6. Austin, TX

7. Philadelphia, PA

8. Chicago, IL

9. El Paso, TX

10. Cincinnati, OH

11. Salt Lake City, UT

12. New York, NY

13. Richmond, VA

14. Miami, FL

15. Springfield, MO

16. Knoxville, TN

17. Tulsa, OK

18. Oklahoma, OK

19. San Antonio,TX

20. Los Angeles, CA

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