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The 10 Hottest U.S. Destinations For Summer

  • Report Reveals Prices at Seasonal Hot Spots with a Guide to Highly-Rated Hotels, Restaurants and Experiences
  • More Americans Traveling this Summer
  • Memorial Day Among Least Expensive Weeks for a Summer Vacation

A new report highlights the top 10 domestic destinations for U.S. travelers this summer based on the greatest increase in seasonal hotel booking interest, including the average one-week vacation costs for hotels and airfare. The report helps travelers discover savings at popular summer travel destinations by identifying the least expensive summer week to visit with great value hotels, popular restaurants, and must-do experiences.

While the report highlights the most popular summer destinations, a recent TripAdvisor survey also found that summer travel is on the rise. TripAdvisor surveyed more than 3,300 U.S. travelers, revealing that 87 percent are planning a summer vacation, up six percent from last year. Of those respondents, 91 percent will travel domestically and the Northeast (27 percent) projects to be the most popular U.S. region for a summer trip. Almost half of Americans will plan a beach/ocean getaway (47 percent), while 38 percent are planning city trips.

“TripAdvisor crunched the numbers and found that travelers can save big on their summer vacation, even in the most popular summer spots, by knowing where to book and when to go,” said Brooke Ferencsik, senior director of communications for TripAdvisor. “It’s not too late to find outstanding summer travel deals and the report shows that the week of Memorial Day offers some of the lowest prices, up to 33 percent less than peak summer rates. At home or on vacation, TripAdvisor’s mobile app can help travelers find great recommendations for the best places to stay, eat and play, without breaking the bank.”

The 10 Hottest U.S. Destinations for Summer 2018
(Ranked by greatest increase in booking interest from spring to summer)

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1. Mackinac Island, Michigan
This charming island is a throwback to old-timey seaside leisure with the candy-colored facades of downtown shops. Mackinac is world-famous for its homemade fudge and travelers can work off sugar highs by exploring the limestone bluffs of Mackinac Island State Park.

  • Avg. Summer Nightly Hotel Rate: $347
  • Avg. Summer Domestic Round-trip Airfare: $476 (to Cherry Capital Airport/TVC)
  • Avg. Summer Week Expense Per Person: $2,905
  • Least Expensive Summer Week and Savings: June 4 (8% savings)
  • Fun Experience: Mackinaw City Sunset Cruise from $24 per person on TripAdvisor
  • Great Place to Eat with Family and Friends: Pink Pony

2. Bar Harbor, Maine
Mansions and majestic hotels serve as reminders of Bar Harbor’s past as a 19th century hotspot for high society. Today, travelers enjoy active vacations kayaking, bird- and whale-watching and enjoying the salty sea air and sandy beaches.

  • Avg. Summer Nightly Hotel Rate: $264
  • Avg. Summer Domestic Round-trip Airfare: $473 (to Bangor International Airport/BGR)
  • Avg. Summer Week Expense Per Person: $2,321
  • Least Expensive Summer Week and Savings: May 28 (26% savings)
  • Fun Experience: Explore Acadia National Park
  • Great Place to Eat with Family and Friends: Rose Eden Lobster

3. Block Island, Rhode Island
Just 12-miles south of mainland Rhode Island, travelers can take a ferry to bask in the slowed-down world of pristine seashore, wild dunes, and antique lighthouses. Summer “on the block” is pure old-school New England charm.

  • Avg. Summer Nightly Hotel Rate: $355
  • Avg. Summer Domestic Round-trip Airfare: $372 (to T. F. Green Airport/PVD)
  • Avg. Summer Week Expense Per Person: $2,857
  • Least Expensive Summer Week and Savings: June 11 (19% savings)
    • Best Value Hotel: Rose Farm Inn from $256 per night on TripAdvisor
  • Fun Experience: Explore Southeast Lighthouse
  • Great Place to Eat with Family and Friends: Kimberly’s

4. Lake George, New York
This 32-mile-long “Queen of American Lakes” is a family-friendly destination with myriad outdoor and recreational activities. Among the cleanest and clearest of major U.S. lakes, Lake George is as splendid today as when Thomas Jefferson described it as “the most beautiful water I ever saw.”

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  • Avg. Summer Nightly Hotel Rate: $225
  • Avg. Summer Domestic Round-trip Airfare: $383 (to Albany International Airport/ALB)
  • Avg. Summer Week Expense Per Person: $1,958
  • Least Expensive Summer Week and Savings: June 11 (30% savings)
  • Fun Experience: Lac du Saint Sacrement Islands Cruise from $26 per person on TripAdvisor
  • Great Place to Eat with Family and Friends: Caldwell House Restaurant

5. West Yellowstone, Montana
Since the early 1900s, West Yellowstone has provided a tourist-friendly gateway to the geysers of Yellowstone National Park and its resident bison, bears and elk. This Rocky Mountain enclave in southwestern Montana is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream with summer parades and rodeos.

  • Avg. Summer Nightly Hotel Rate: $331
  • Avg. Summer Domestic Round-trip Airfare: $419 (to Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport/BZN)
  • Avg. Summer Week Expense Per Person: $2,736
  • Least Expensive Summer Week and Savings: August 27 (9% savings)
  • Fun Experience: 2 Hour Rafting on the Yellowstone River from $47 per person on TripAdvisor
  • Great Place to Eat with Family and Friends: Cafe Madriz

6. Ocean City, Maryland
The beach and three-mile Boardwalk is the main attraction at Maryland’s iconic beach destination. The seafront is full of salt-water taffy, special concerts, beach bonfires and kids’ activities. Once a tiny fishing village, it’s now known as the White Marlin Capital of the World.

  • Avg. Summer Nightly Hotel Rate: $281
  • Avg. Summer Domestic Round-trip Airfare: $302 (to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport/DCA)
  • Avg. Summer Week Expense Per Person: $2,269
  • Least Expensive Summer Week and Savings: May 28 (24% savings)
  • Fun Experience: Explore Ocean City Boardwalk
  • Great Place to Eat with Family and Friends: Cafe Mirage

7. Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts
This tiny island south of Cape Cod remains one of the most popular and picturesque destinations in New England. Travelers love stately Greek revival houses, seaside villages, “beach town” feel and true retreats. No need to bring a car – visitors can explore the island on a bicycle, scooter or public bus.

8. Anchorage, Alaska
Set amid the coastal Chugach Mountains, Anchorage averages 65 degrees in summer, making conditions ideal for sightseeing or taking on uniquely Alaskan opportunities like arctic biking or touring the fjords of Prince William Sound.

  • Avg. Summer Nightly Hotel Rate: $331
  • Avg. Summer Domestic Round-trip Airfare: $600 (to Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport/ANC)
  • Avg. Summer Week Expense Per Person: $2,917
  • Least Expensive Summer Week and Savings: August 27 (9% savings)
    • Best Value Hotel: Hotel Alyeska from $214 per night on TripAdvisor
  • Fun Experience: Anchorage Trolley Tour from $20 per person on TripAdvisor
  • Great Place to Eat with Family and Friends: Jack Sprat Restaurant

9. Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Summer in Jackson Hole is made for energetic travelers. There’s plenty of opportunity for whitewater rafting, golfing, horseback riding, kayaking, hang gliding, hot air ballooning, and stagecoach rides. For climbers, hikers and nature lovers, the nearby Grand Teton National Park is an absolute nirvana.

  • Avg. Summer Nightly Hotel Rate: $481
  • Avg. Summer Domestic Round-trip Airfare: $533 (to Jackson Hole Airport/JAC)
  • Avg. Summer Week Expense Per Person: $3,900
  • Least Expensive Summer Week and Savings: May 28 (20% savings)
    • Best Value Hotel: Hotel Jackson from $381 per night on TripAdvisor
  • Fun Experience: Grand Teton Wildlife Safari in Open-Air Vehicle from $109 per person on TripAdvisor
  • Great Place to Eat with Family and Friends: Bin 22

10. Nantucket, Massachusetts
Windswept beaches, sand dunes, blinking lighthouses and a charming pace of life await on this 50-square mile island. The world’s former top whaling port is now designated a National Historic District. Seaside cottages, old whaling captains’ mansions and historic harbors contain quaint inns, boutique stores, chowder shacks and upscale dining delights.

  • Avg. Summer Nightly Hotel Rate: $664
  • Avg. Summer Domestic Round-trip Airfare: $224 (to Logan International Airport/BOS)
  • Avg. Summer Week Expense Per Person: $4,872
  • Least Expensive Summer Week and Savings: May 28 (31% savings)
    • Best Value Hotel: 21 Broad Hotel from $319 per night on TripAdvisor
  • Fun Experience: Whaling Museum
  • Great Place to Eat with Family and Friends: The Nautilus

For travelers planning to book a trip to these popular destinations, or any others this summer, there are still deals to be had. TripAdvisor recently issued its best time to book hotels for this summer report revealing that it’s typically within a month of a summer trip when travelers can save up to 40 percent compared to peak rates. For domestic U.S. flights, TripAdvisor Flights data similarly shows that booking three to four weeks out from a summer trip is when travelers can often find the lowest prices and can save up to 58% compared to peak summer airfare.

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About Hanna Heller

Hanna is the entertainment and lifestyle editor for CDN. Fan of great movies, legendary music, outdoor activities and cool stuff in general, her opinions, as expressed in her articles, are her own and not necessarily shared by anyone .. anywhere .. ever. Follow Hanna on Twitter: @Hanna_CDN
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