New research reveals the most popular vacation destinations in the United States.  And they may not be the places you’d assume.

The study, conducted by vacation experts Family Destinations Guide, examined Google search data to discover which major U.S. city each state wants to spend their summer vacation. This was based on the annual search volume for vacation-related terms across each state. 

The Bellagio fountains in Las Vegas
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What is the most popular vacation destination in the US?

The research revealed that Las Vegas takes the crown as the most popular vacation in America. Las Vegas is the most searched-for vacation in six states, including California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, South Dakota, and Utah.

Across the country, Americans search for words associated with Las Vegas vacations an average of 1.9 million annually. This high number of searches places the Nevada city firmly in the top spot. It’s clear that Las Vegas is the most popular vacation destination.

I can see why, I have been nine times and I can’t wait to go back! I absolutely love Las Vegas. There is so much to see and do that you are never bored or wondering what to do next. Your options are endless.  

The Venetian is a popular tourist spot in Las Vegas, US

If you aren’t a fan of gambling, you might not think that Vegas has much for you, but that’s where you’d be wrong! Exploring the strip and casinos is just a small part of what Vegas has to offer. The shows are world-class and the restaurants are incredible.

For the more adventurous, head off the strip to check out nearby Red Rocks, the Hoover Dam, and The Grand Canyon. That’s right, you can see The Grand Canyon from Las Vegas. I flew from Las Vegas to The Grand Canyon, then took a helicopter ride over the canyon to see it from above. It was an incredible experience and I highly recommend it.

Grand Canyon

Editor’s Pick – Visit The Grand Canyon from Las Vegas 🚁

New York City ranks as the second most popular city where Americans want to spend their vacation. As one of the most famous cities in the world, many Americans and international tourists visit New York City to take in the city’s iconic sights.

It is the most searched-for vacation in five states overall, including: Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and South Carolina.

I’ve visited New York twice so far and I’ve had mixed feelings about it. The first time, I didn’t enjoy myself, but I had a blast the second time. I suppose I’m due to a tie-breaker visit. Stay tuned… 😉

Searches for vacation-related terms to New York City receive a combined annual average of 1.4 million searches across America. Seems that people really like the Big Apple. I enjoyed visiting Carrie Bradshaw’s brownstone during my last visit. It’s always fun visiting a place you’ve seen on TV hundreds of times.

Carrie Bradshaw's brownstone in NYC

Miami takes third place

The study placed Miami as the third most popular vacation destination in the country. With tropical weather all year round and stretches of sandy beaches to enjoy, it is no surprise that searches related to vacationing in Miami receive a combined total of 1,039,120 million searches annually.  

I had planned a trip to Miami and was almost there when I had to rush home to escape Hurricane Ian. I was very disappointed, but I’ll be back! It was a great trip overall with many visits to some of Florida’s beach bars on the Gulf Coast before rushing home.

San Diego is in fourth place

Ranking in fourth place is San Diego. With some of the best beaches and parks in the country, the Californian city ranked highly due to Americans searching for San Diego vacations a combined average total of 1,026,800 times annually. Search terms included ‘San Diego vacations’ and ‘Airbnb San Diego’. 

Balboa Park is a top tourist spot in the United States

San Diego was a city I had a blast exploring. Their delightfully warm weather year-round makes it an ideal vacation destination for Canadians. I spent the better part of one day exploring Balboa Park, pictured above.

San Diego is full of activities for those who want more adventure in their vacations. You can kayak sea caves, go on a whale-watching tour, go hiking or kiteboarding. For those travelling with little ones, the San Diego Zoo is a great way to spend an afternoon.

Chicago is number five

The study revealed that Chicago ranks as the fifth most popular vacation destination in America. With its bold architecture and impressive skyline, Chicago is the perfect city for a short break. It receives an average of 958,220 searches annually for vacation-related terms.

I haven’t visited Chicago yet, unless you count spending the night at an airport hotel after missing a flight which I don’t. It is definitely on my list of US cities to explore in the future.

The top 10 most popular vacation destinations in America are rounded out by Nashville ranking in sixth place, Orlando in seventh, followed by New Orleans, San Francisco, and Boston in eighth, ninth, and tenth, respectively. 

The Grand Canyon is a favourite tourist spot in the United States

A spokesperson for Family Destinations Guide commented on the study: “With summer just around the corner, it is the perfect time for Americans to start planning their summer vacations and this research provides a valuable guide into where each state wants to vacation to the most this summer.  

Known as the Entertainment Capital of the World, Las Vegas is famous for its casinos, nightlife, and world-class shows, so it comes as no wonder that so many Americans search for vacations to Las Vegas to blow off some steam.

Vegas visitors are spoiled for choice for things to do, from strolling The Strip to exploring the nearby natural wonders of the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam.” 

Conclusion – The most popular vacation spots in the United States

To recap, here are the top ten most popular vacation destinations in the United States:

  1. Las Vegas
  2. New York
  3. Miami
  4. San Diego
  5. Chicago
  6. Nashville
  7. Orlando
  8. New Orleans
  9. San Francisco
  10. Boston

I have visited 6 of these cities so far. Not bad for a Canadian, éh? How many have you been to?

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