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The Worst U.S. City for Summer Travel Has Glorious Beaches



When you think of the perfect summer travel destination, there are probably visions of brightly striped umbrellas, bright blue waters, white sand beaches, and maybe some sort of citrusy drink to sip on. Or maybe it’s a city with bustling sidewalk cafes, tons of museums, and award-winning restaurants. But, according to a recent Forbes Advisor study, the aesthetic of the destination is only one component of what really makes a good travel destination. The study evaluated the 50 most populated cities in the US to determine which were the worst for summer travel.

To evaluate which US cities were the worst (and the best), Forbes Advisor analyzed each city in three categories: city experience, air travel experience, and driving experience, with a total of 16 metrics to score each. For city experience, which was the most heavily weighted category, nine factors were weighed. Those factors were:

  • Crime rate
  • Median hotel price during the summer travel season
  • Median cost of tours and activities
  • Average price of a two-person meal
  • Average number of extreme temperature days in June, July and August
  • Number of tourist attractions with four or more stars on Tripadvisor
  • Number of restaurants with four or more stars on Tripadvisor
  • Walk Score
  • Transit Score

So how did major American cities fare? Well, Jacksonville, Florida came in number one as the worst summer travel destination. In the worst perfect grade ever, Jacksonville scored a 100 out of 100 for being a terrible summer vacation destination. The city, which is on the northern east coast of Florida, is known for its stretch of beautiful beaches dotted with cute vacation homes, restaurants, and boardwalks. But it is also the worst scoring for walkability, third lowest for public transportation, second highest for disrupted flights, eighth highest crime rate, and eighth for fewest restaurants with four or more stars on Tripadvisor.

Here are the top five worst cities for summer vacation, based on the above factors.
1. Jacksonville, Florida
2. Colorado Springs, Colorado
3. Fresno, California
4. Memphis, Tennessee
5. Albuquerque, New Mexico

So, where should you plan on going instead? According to the Forbes Advisor ranking, these are the best US destinations to visit this summer:
1. Minneapolis, Minnesota
2. Long Beach, California
3. Washington, D.C.
4. Seattle, Washington
5. Omaha, Nebraska

These cities all had the best combination of city experience, air travel experience, and drivability experience—meaning typical summer travel headaches like canceled flights and jam-packed roadways are least likely to be encountered, and good restaurants and walkable neighborhoods will be easy to find.

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