The Top 10 U.S. Summer Travel Destinations, According To TripAdvisor

Here in the Northern Hemisphere, the weather is warming up. High schoolers are posting their prom pics. College seniors are freaking out about what they’re going to do next. And many of us are dreaming about summer travel. A high majority, actually: A recent TripAdvisor survey of 3,300 U.S. travelers found that 87 percent are planning a summer vacation, a number that’s up six percent from last year.

So, summer vacation. Whether you’re planning an international journey or just want to spend a long weekend on a nearby lake, it’s very likely that you’re going to go away sometime in the next few months. But while some people have their summer trips planned months in advance, others amongst us are less great on the planning front. With Memorial Day — the unofficial start to the summer season — fast approaching, I’m willing to bet that more than a few of you are starting to scramble for solid summer plans.

"TripAdvisor found that travelers can save big on their summer vacation by knowing where to book and when to go," Brooke Ferencsik, senior director of communications from TripAdvisor, tells Bustle. "Travelers can find very special and unique experiences, while saving between eight and 26 percent by booking at the right time. TripAdvisor’s 2018 Summer Vacation Value Report helps travelers discover savings at summer travel destinations by identifying the least expensive summer week to visit with great value hotels, popular restaurants and must-do experiences."

So fear not, procrastinators! You can still get those good summer travel deals! In fact, a previous TripAdvisor report found that the best travel deals to be had are by those travelers who book within a month of traveling. And if you’re planning on traveling domestically — which 91 percent of the respondents to the TripAdvisor survey are — there are some really great options out there for you. Here are the 10 hottest U.S. destinations for summer 2018, according to their increase in booking interest on TripAdvisor from spring to summer.

1Mackinac Island, Michigan

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Mackinac Island is known for its old-timey seaside town vibe, complete with homemade fudge and horse drawn carriages.

  • Average summer nightly hotel rate: $347
  • Average summer domestic round-trip airfare: $476 (to Cherry Capital Airport/TVC)
  • Average summer week expense per person: $2,905
  • Least expensive summer week and savings: June 4 (8 percent savings)
  • Fun experience: Mackinaw City Sunset Cruise from $24 per person on TripAdvisor
  • Great place to eat with family and friends: Pink Pony

2Bar Harbor, Maine

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Back in the 19th century, Bar Harbor was the place to see and be seen if you were part of high society. These days, it's a beautiful spot for anyone who likes spending time on the ocean or in the mountains, with the added pleasure of those beautiful 19th century buildings. (Fun fact: My grandparents have been vacationing up there for 40 years and I always describe it as "how you imagine summer camp will look." Also, you'll eat the best lobster of your life.)

  • Average summer nightly hotel rate: $264
  • Average summer domestic round-trip airfare: $473 (to Bangor International Airport/BGR)
  • Average summer week expense per person: $2,321
  • Least expensive summer week and savings: May 28 (26 percent savings)
  • Best value hotel: Bar Harbor Grand Hotel from $182 per night on TripAdvisor
  • Fun experience: Explore Acadia National Park
  • Great place to eat with family and friends: Rose Eden Lobster

3Block Island, Rhode Island

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Who doesn't dream of an island where you can get away from it all?? Block Island is that spot. Take a ferry 12 miles south of mainland Rhode Island and enjoy beautiful seashore, dunes, and antique lighthouses.

  • Average summer nightly hotel rate: $355
  • Average summer domestic round-trip airfare: $372 (to T. F. Green Airport/PVD)
  • Average summer week expense per person: $2,857
  • Least expensive summer week and savings: June 11 (19 percent 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

4Lake George, New York

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Lake George is one of the cleanest and clearest of the major U.S. lakes and it's a great option for families looking to spend some time outdoors. It's also the home of the Great Escape, a theme park that has been drawing kids and families for generations.

  • Average summer nightly hotel rate: $225
  • Average summer domestic round-trip airfare: $383 (to Albany International Airport/ALB)
  • Average summer week expense per person: $1,958
  • Least expensive summer week and savings: June 11 (30% savings)
  • Best value hotel: Tea Island Resort from $115 per night on TripAdvisor
  • 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

5West Yellowstone, Montana

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Ready for a little wild west? You can't do better than West Yellowstone, Montana. Head out to check out the famous geysers, bison, bears, and elk of Yellowstone park and get a little rodeo in while you're at it!

  • Average summer nightly hotel rate: $331
  • Average summer domestic round-trip airfare: $419 (to Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport/BZN)
  • Average summer week expense per person: $2,736
  • Least expensive summer week and savings: August 27 (9% savings)
  • Best value hotel: Yellowstone Park Hotel from $275 per night on TripAdvisor
  • Fun experience: 2 Hour Rafting on the Yellowstone Riverfrom $47 per person on TripAdvisor
  • Great place to eat with family and friends: Cafe Madriz

6Ocean City, Maryland

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Once a small fishing village, this beach and three-mile boardwalk is a must-see destination in Maryland. Make sure you pick up some salt-water taffy from the boardwalk and hit up a beach bonfire at night.

  • Average summer nightly hotel rate: $281
  • Average summer domestic round-trip airfare: $302 (to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport/DCA)
  • Average summer week expense per person: $2,269
  • Least expensive summer week and savings: May 28 (24% savings)
  • Best value hotel: Dunes Manor Hotel & Suites from $158 per night on TripAdvisor
  • Fun experience: Explore Ocean City Boardwalk
  • Great place to eat with family and friends: Cafe Mirage

7Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

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Martha's Vineyard is famous for a reason. The slower pace of life on this super accessible island south of Cape Cod is the perfect way to unwind this summer.

8Anchorage, Alaska

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A great option for people looking to escape the summer heat, Anchorage, Alaska, averages 65 degrees in the summer. Check out the stunning landscapes, including the Chugach Mountains and the fjords of Prince William Sound.

  • Average summer nightly hotel rate: $331
  • Average summer domestic round-trip airfare: $600 (to Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport/ANC)
  • Average 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

9Jackson Hole, Wyoming

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The town of Jackson Hole is cute and western, with top rated restaurants and adorable shops. And if you're into outdoorsy stuff, you can't beat the location for whitewater rafting, golfing, horseback riding, kayaking, hang gliding, hot air ballooning, and stagecoach riding.

  • Average summer nightly hotel rate: $481
  • Average summer domestic round-trip airfare: $533 (to Jackson Hole Airport/JAC)
  • Average 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

10Nantucket, Massachusetts

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Another island, Nantucket is a classic New England getaway, complete with the beaches, dunes, and lighthouses you'd expect. It's also packed full of history: Nantucket used to the be world's top whaling port!

  • Average summer nightly hotel rate: $664
  • Average summer domestic round-trip airfare: $224 (to Logan International Airport/BOS)
  • Average 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

Wherever you go this summer, be sure to relax, take a load off, and enjoy!