TripAdvisor asked more than 2,500 Americans their summer travel plans in its annual summer travel survey, revealing 66 percent plan to stay in America this summer. What do they plan to do on vacation? Shop, swim, sightsee, explore national parks, and participate in watersports and sightseeing tours.
So where is everyone heading this summer? Check out the top 10 summer 2014 travel destinations in America, based on TripAdvisor’s site search data.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Myrtle Beach is all at once a spring break destination, golfing destination, retirement community, and family vacation spot. Take in a foot-stomping show at the Carolina Opry, or cheer on your favorite knight at Medieval Times. Mingle with the fishermen of Springmaid Pier, then stop for ice cream along the boardwalk. Shop and dine at one of the area’s many outdoor entertainment complexes, or simply explore the many beaches of the Grand Strand – all with a personality of their own.
Whether you’re a high roller or a low-key lounger, Las Vegas has something to suit your vacation taste. Sample fare from top chefs and cornucopian buffets, try your luck at one of the world’s premier casinos, or take in a spectacular show. Just wandering the Strip is enough to to get your heart pumping. Once you’ve had enough of the razzle-dazzle, wave hello to the toothy sea life at the Mandalay Bay Shark Reef, hike Red Rock Canyon, or visit the Neon Museum, where old signs take on new life.
New York City
Conquering New York in one visit is impossible. Instead, hit the must-sees – the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, the Metropolitan Museum of Art – and then explore off the beaten path with visits to The Cloisters or one of the city’s libraries. Indulge in the bohemian shops of the West Village or the fine dining of the Upper West Side. The bustling marketplace inside of Grand Central Station gives you a literal taste of the best the city has to offer.
Destin is located on Florida’s Emerald Coast, which gets its name from its beautiful, clear green water. Beaches here have extremely fine, soft sand, so if you’re a beach-walker or your kids enjoy building sand castles, this could be a great destination for you.
Ocean City, Maryland
In Ocean City, Maryland’s only coastal community, the beach is the main attraction. Stroll the three-mile Boardwalk along the seafront while sampling salt water taffy and other old-fashioned treats. The summer season explodes with special concerts, beach bonfires and kids’ activities. Nature enthusiasts will love nearby Assateague Island, home to deer and wild ponies. Once a tiny fishing village, it now spans 10 miles, but anglers still flock to the area waters; it’s known as the White Marlin Capital of the World.
From the Magic Kingdom to magical spa treatments, Orlando sparkles with the promise of adventure. Spend a day exploring the world-famous Disney theme parks, giggling with the dolphins at SeaWorld, or screaming your head off on a Universal Studios roller coaster. For a less adrenaline-pumping afternoon, enjoy the quiet natural beauty of the Harry P. Leu Gardens, or enjoy a seaweed scrub at a luxury day spa. Savor fresh and local ingredients at one of Orlando’s James Beard-nominated restaurants.
Virginia Beach has all the elements of a classic seaside resort: gorgeous beaches, a lively boardwalk, plenty of restaurants and nightspots, and amusement rides sure to appeal to kids. Sports enthusiasts will find celebrated golf courses in Virginia Beach and the surrounding area, as well as sea kayaking and miles of hiking trails. Many believe Virginia Beach is at its best in the off-season, when the town is less crowded but the weather is still mild.
Every neighborhood in San Francisco has its own personality, from the hippie chic of the Upper Haight to the hipster grit of the Mission. The Marina district boasts trendy bistros and postcard-perfect views of the Golden Gate Bridge, while Noe Valley offers quaint and quiet boutiques. Wave hello to the sea lions at Pier 39, and sample local cheese and charcuterie at the Ferry Building. Sit in on a yoga session in Dolores Park or marvel at the Dutch Windmill across from Ocean Beach.
San Diego embodies laid-back California culture, complete with a Boardwalk, surfing communities, and outstanding Mexican food. Breathe in the fresh ocean air at Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, then gobble down a fresh fish taco at a La Jolla seafood joint. The naval aircrafts at the USS Midway Museum will have you standing at attention. A free Sunday concert at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion is the perfect way to unwind after a Saturday night bar-hop in the thumping Gaslamp Quarter.
Key West, Florida
Does time ever pass in the Florida Keys? Everyone and everything in Key West seems to go at its own pace, right down to the ice melting slooooowly in your margarita glass. Of course, it’s not all limes and leisure – Key West is known as the “Winter White House’’ because of its appeal to visiting U.S. presidents, and the island has been home to literary greats like Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams. The diving here is phenomenal, as is the kid-friendly Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center.
Top picks for things to do, free from the Globe.
Get the Globe's free newsletter, The Weekender, delivered to your inbox every week.