WalletHub Names 2023’s Best & Worst Cities for Staycations

With around 85% of Americans planning to travel this summer but inflation making trips costly, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2023’s Best & Worst Cities for Staycations.

Only one So Cal city made it into the top 10.

Best Cities for Staycations
1. Honolulu, HI
2. Orlando, FL
3. Las Vegas, NV
4. Tampa, FL
5. Salt Lake City, UT
6. Charleston, SC
7. Chicago, IL
8. San Diego, CA
9. Cincinnati, OH

WalletHub compared more than 180 cities across 42 key indicators of a fun-filled yet wallet-friendly staycation. Its data set ranges from parks per capita to restaurant-meal costs.

Best vs. Worst

  • Las Vegas has the most zoos & aquariums (per square root of population), 0.0138, which is 19.7 times more than in New York, the city with the fewest at 0.0007.
  • New York has the most parks (per square root of population), 1.4562, which is 21.2 times more than in North Las Vegas, Nevada, the city with the fewest at 0.0687.
  • Billings, Montana, has the lowest cost of house-cleaning services, $40, which is 5.6 times less expensive than in Juneau, Alaska, the city with the highest at $224.

Expert Commentary
What activities can families do locally without breaking the bank?

“Enjoying nature is one of the best things families can do affordably Depending on the season, a day at the coast or beach could be rejuvenating in Summer, kayaking and canoeing in Fall and Spring, and hiking in the cooler months are all good options. Pack a picnic to enjoy on these day trips. Ask if there is a local rate at museums and other attractions.”

— Stephen Pratt – Department Chair, Tourism, Events and Attractions, University of Central Florida

“There are several activities for singles, couples, or families to enjoy a staycation close to home. My top suggestion is enjoying nature; hiking and camping are two such examples of affordable activities. A second suggestion is being a tourist in your hometown or nearby city. Shopping, sightseeing, and museum hopping are examples of city tourism. A staycation may also contribute to introducing a new hobby, from taking dance lessons to signing up to learn a musical instrument or beginning painting.”
— Sotiris Hji-Avgoustis, Ph.D. – Professor, Ball State University

What is the best time of year to have a staycation?

When planning staycations, it is important to decide what you would like to do, and based on your location, the best time of year to engage in the plan. On Long Island, there are more people planning staycations during the summer. However, this is not to say that summer is the only season to make plans. It is common, especially for families, because children are off from school. Staycations on Long Island can occur at any time. This depends on what you would like to do. If you like winter sports, you can go snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, hiking, tour the many gold coast mansions, visit museums, and take in a show or concert at the many local theaters. It is really about making a list of your options, creating a budget, and moving forward with your plan.”
— Gail C. Lamberta, Ph.D. – Associate Dean, Community Development; Professor and Chair; Coordinator of Experiential Learning, St. Joseph’s University, New York

“Staycation-related leisure activities are available year-round. Spending a night at a hotel with a swimming pool will appeal to families with your children. Museums, aquariums, and zoos offer activities for the entire family year-round. Gliding, ziplining, and mini golfing are just a few activities to help you remain active.”
— Sotiris Hji-Avgoustis, Ph.D. – Professor, Ball State University

Are staycations becoming more popular amidst the inflation? 

“Economic conditions certainly drive increases in staycations. In the immediate post-pandemic era, there was a ton of pent-up demand for leisure travel. This has not yet peaked, so real vacations will continue to be relatively recession/inflation-proof. However, some will choose staycations over traditional vacations.”
— Ira L. Rosen, MA, CFEE – Associate Professor, Temple University

“Although travel and tourism have increased, staycations have become more popular, especially with challenges due to inflation. Many families are planning vacations away from home, and also one or more staycations. For some, a staycation is simply more affordable. Most people are surprised when they discover that there are many leisure experiences offered in their communities, and at an affordable price. That compounded by not having the cost of an overnight stay, and the general expenses of travel, has kept staycations a popular way to engage in healthy and desirable leisure experiences.”
— Gail C. Lamberta, Ph.D. – Associate Dean, Community Development; Professor and Chair; Coordinator of Experiential Learning, St. Joseph’s University, New York

To view the full report and your city’s rank, please visit:



Image Sources

  • Sign pointing toward San Diego: Shutterstock