It's been a long year, Austin. With 37% of the U.S. fully vaccinated and counting, it's time to start looking for the best places to enjoy that summer sun.
Wallethub makes your next vacation easier with a list of the best summer destinations in the U.S., but you might not even need to leave Austin to get your "Vaxxed Girl Summer" on.
Based on 42 key metrics, here are the five best summer travel destinations in the U.S. and where Austin ranked on that list.
1. Orlando, Florida
Disney World and its many amusement parks provide plenty of entertainment in Orlando. (Walt Disney World/Facebook)
With Disney World, an abundance of lakes and proximity to other Florida destinations, Orlando was ranked the No. 1 metro to travel to this summer. Orlando offered the most local attractions, the second-most attractions, and had the third-lowest local costs on the list.
Waikiki Beach is just one of many destinations in Honolulu.
Honolulu seems obvious; lush beaches are a must after spending a year mostly indoors and away from people. The city boasts the second-most attractions on the list and was ranked the safest city to travel to. Families, couples or friends looking for a good time can all enjoy a back-to-nature experience at the U.S.'s most tropical state capitol this summer.
New Orleans, Louisiana
The French Quarter gives European flair to the Cajun-infused city of New Orleans.
With its French and Spanish influence, visiting New Orleans can seem like getting a taste of Europe. Cajun food, Bourbon Street and the city's storied past offer plenty of destinations for the summer, and the city was also ranked the second-most safe in the survey.
For those that can't exactly travel, you can always have a "staycation" in Austin, whether that means booking an Airbnb, staying at a trendy hotel or planning a day of activities like you're new in town.
Austin, with its Hill Country outdoor attractions and "Live Music Capital of the World" reputation, came in at fourth on the list. It was the only Texas city in the top 10.
Favorites of the city include taking a dip in Barton Springs, paddleboarding on Lady Bird Lake, strolling through South Congress and enjoying a night out on Rainey Street. There's always the option of a short drive to visit nearby wineries and quaint Hill Country towns like Fredericksburg or Dripping Springs.
5. Atlanta, Georgia
The city with both Southern charm and cosmopolitan appeal has plenty of attractions, from its signature "chicken biscuit" to the world's largest indoor aquarium. With a rich history steeped in Black culture and the 20th-largest economy in the world, the metro is packed with destinations, including botanical gardens, a zoo and plenty of major league sports teams. The city, sometimes called the "Capital of Hip-Hop" and a hotbed for other music genres, has a lively nightlife scene and is dotted with great eats.
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- A local's guide to Austin, Texas - The Washington Post ›
Show your love for Tito's and for the community this year with a wide selection of not that ugly, uglyish, ugly, uglier, and ugliest holiday sweaters.
There's lots choose from, and plenty of accessories like scarves and socks, plus gear for your dog, too.
All of the items can be purchased online or at the Love, Tito’s Retail Store in Austin, TX. 100% of all net proceeds from online or in-store purchases go to one of the nonprofits we’ve teamed up with.
🗓 All weekend
Check out this highly anticipated art exhibition with illuminated art along Waller Creek. Tickets are free and the event includes food vendors, dazzling lights, live music, and hands-on activities
All weekend 6 p.m - 10 p.m | 📍Waterloo Park
This iconic holiday tradition lights up for the first time this holiday season starting this weekend! Reserve your spot for an enchanting light and sound performance, delicious hot cocoa, sweet treats, and some overall fun with your friends or family. The show runs till January 6th.
6 p.m and 9 p.m | 📍Mozart's Coffee Roasters - 3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703
This fitness event is free and open to the public. Get your morning started right with a "Fitness in the park" class for kickboxing! The class will be led by certified instructors and is a great way to get a cardio workout in while also honing your self-defense skills.
10 a.m - 11 a.m | 📍 Metz Park
Support local LBGTQ+ and female artists at this outdoor market with over 150 vendors. Get your holiday shopping out of the way at this event, with vendors for food trucks, handmade goods, raffles, hands on workshops and activities, and more.
Did someone say cheese?! If you're like me and always willing to get your hands on a bowl of mac and cheese, then this event is for you. Check out the Mac and Cheese festival happening this weekend to decide which vendor has. the best mac and cheese for yourself, and enjoy the bar with creative cocktails while you're at it. Tickets start at $45.
11 a.m - 3 p.m | 📍Lantana Place - 7415 Southwest Parkway