Man spending summer vacations at home, he is cooling himself with electric fans and sitting on a deckchair

You don’t have to plan an expensive vacation full of travel woes like flights or never-ending car rides to have a relaxing week or weekend. Staycations are often overlooked and underrated but can be exactly what you need to refresh. Plus a 20-minute drive? Vastly superior to airport security or being asked “Are we there yet?” 250 times before you are out of the neighborhood. And chances are many of the things tourists do when visiting your city, you’ve never tried. Here in the Carolinas, we are lucky to have some fantastic cities, with lots to do. This is why I wasn’t surprised to find that a recent list of the top places for a staycation included a prominent South Carolina city.

This list was compiled by our friends at WalletHub. Their experts ranked 180 US cities on more than 40 metrics to determine once and for all the best cities for staycations. So perhaps you’re lucky enough to call this city home. It gets a lot of positive rankings on these types of lists. It’s also in some fantastic company. Of the top 10 cities, which you’ll find below, I’ve visited 6. So clearly people are traveling to them! Another is absolutely a bucket list destination for me. Two more are at the top of my intended cities to visit soon list. And the last, well that one did surprise me.

Keep reading to see the best place for a staycation in South Carolina, the full top 10 list, and where the other North and South Carolin cities ranked. Want to learn more about the methodology or see where another location ranked? Read the full WalletHub study here.

  • 1. Honolulu, HI

    Hawaii beach Honolulu city travel landscape of Waikiki beach and Diamond Head mountain peak at sunset, Oahu island, USA vacation.


    Total Score: 59.46

    Recreation: 1

    Food & Entertainment: 10

    Rest & Relaxation: 70

    Genuinely if you live in Hawaii where are you going to go for vacation? You’re already in one of the most beautiful places, that you probably take for granted. I guess you may want to visit Disney or another theme park? Perhaps some national parks or major cities like NYC? But when you live in one of the most sought after vacations spots, a staycation makes perfect sense!

  • 2. Orlando, FL

    Orlando downtown welcome sign with tropical scene


    Total Score: 58.22

    Recreation: 18

    Food & Entertainment: 1

    Rest & Relaxation: 38

    Boosted by Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando Resort Orlando is one of the biggest tourist cities in the country. While those are the largest parks, they are far from the only ones. If you can think of a family activity it’s somewhere in Orlando. You’re about an hour drive from the beach as well. There are even plenty of outdoor adventure activities in the area as well. You could spend your whole life in Orlando and probably not do everything, so why not take a staycation is you life here!

  • 3. Las Vegas, NV

    LAS VEGAS, USA - JULY 14 : World famous Vegas Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada as seen at night on July 14, 2016 in Las Vegas, USA


    Total Score: 57.63

    Recreation: 17

    Food & Entertainment: 2

    Rest & Relaxation: 27

    Similar to Orlando if you can dream it you can probably find it somewhere in Vegas. And I suspect if you call the gambling capital of the world home, you probably don’t spend much time on the strip. But that doesn’t mean it’s bad to live like a tourist in your own city. Perhaps book a room, check out a show, eat and drink til you can’t anymore, and perhaps win some money?

  • 4. Tampa, FL

    Tampa, Florida, USA downtown skyline.


    Total Score: 56.27

    Recreation: 30

    Food & Entertainment: 9

    Rest & Relaxation: 6

    Tampa is another bustling Florida city. You’re extremely close to some gorgeous gulf coast beaches, have Busch Gardens Tampa for some theme park fun, as well as sports teams, water activities, and fantastic dining.


  • 5. Salt Lake City, UT

    Winter daytime shot of Salt Lake City.  Featured is the temple from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints or the Mormons


    Total Score: 55.17

    Recreation: 8

    Food & Entertainment: 27

    Rest & Relaxation: 12

    Zoos, waterparks, the mountains, the Great Salt Lake, Olympic Venues, history, and more are just some of the things visitors come to Salt Lake City Utah to explore. If you’re lucky enough to call this gorgeous place home have you fully taken advantage of everything? I’m sure you can come up with something for a staycation!


  • 6. Charleston, SC

    Charleston, South Carolina, USA skyline over the Ashley River.

    Sean Pavone

    Total Score: 54.21

    Recreation: 27

    Food & Entertainment: 18

    Rest & Relaxation: 15

    Did you guess Charleston? It makes perfect sense. Visitors often flock to the historic downtown of Charleston to take in the world-class restaurants, history, gorgeous southern architecture, and overall charm of the city. Book a nice hotel room, grab a drink a rooftop bar, perhaps take a tour, and take in all your city has to offer!


  • 7. Chicago, IL

    Chicago skyline aerial drone view from above, lake Michigan and city of Chicago downtown skyscrapers cityscape, Illinois, USA


    Total Score: 53.97

    Recreation: 9

    Food & Entertainment: 19

    Rest & Relaxation: 31

    If you call Chicago home you may not have partaken in the quintessential tourist activities. Have you taken a bean selfie? Taken a boat tour? Grab a slice of deep-dish pizza, book that downtown hotel room, and maybe visit some museums. There is so much Chicago has to offer that most residents often overlook.


  • 8. San Diego, CA

    Overview from hillsides of San Diego Skyline on the edge of San Diego Bay with all it's boats anchored in the water.

    Patricia Elaine Thomas

    Total Score: 53.72

    Recreation: 11

    Food & Entertainment: 29

    Rest & Relaxation: 19

    San Diego is one of my favorite cities to visit, from exploring downtown and the Gaslamp Quarter, to time on Coronado Island or nearby La Jolla. How often do residents visit the Zoo and Wildlife Park, take in a Padres game, perhaps spend the night at Coronado? There’s so much to do why leave when you live in this southern California city?

  • 9. Cincinnati, OH

    Cincinnati downtown overview early in the night


    Total Score: 53.67

    Recreation: 6

    Food & Entertainment: 7

    Rest & Relaxation: 74

    Sorry Cincinnati residents this one surprised me and made me do some research. Outside of gorgeous Joe Burrow and the Bengals, I don’t know much about the city. A quick Google search directed me to the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens, Cincinnati Art Museum, and Findlay Market. So you’ll have to tell me if its a good place for a staycation, and should I plan a visit as well?


  • 10. New Orleans, LA

    NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - AUGUST 25: Bourbon Street sign with pubs and bars and neon lights  in the French Quarter, New Orleans on August 25, 2015.


    Total Score: 52.93

    Recreation: 14

    Food & Entertainment: 14

    Rest & Relaxation: 45

    New Orleans is certainly near the top of my list of cities I want to visit next. I also know a few people who called it home for portions of their lives and love it. Chances are residents avoid Bourbon Street and haven’t taken the history tours this southern city offers. So book a walking distance hotel and have a hurricane or two while listening to some music.


  • Where The Rest of North and South Carolina Ranked

  • 25. Columbia, SC

    Columbia, South Carolina, USA


    Total Score: 47.44

    Recreation: 173

    Food & Entertainment: 25

    Rest & Relaxation: 10

  • 82. Charlotte, NC

    Drone Aerial of Downtown Charlotte, North Carolina, NC, USA Skyline.


    Total Score: 40.76

    Recreation: 94

    Food & Entertainment: 50

    Rest & Relaxation: 80


  • 95. Fayetteville, NC

    The turnabout on Hay Street passes by a historic location in Fayetteville NC


    Total Score: 39.28

    Recreation: 180

    Food & Entertainment: 123

    Rest & Relaxation: 25


  • 105. Raleigh, NC

    A perfect colorful downtown skyline of Raleigh North Carolina.

    Mark Howard

    Total Score: 38.11

    Recreation: 92

    Food & Entertainment: 56

    Rest & Relaxation: 141


  • 117. Winston-Salem, NC

    Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA Downtown Skyline.


    Total Score: 37.34

    Recreation: 142

    Food & Entertainment: 99

    Rest & Relaxation: 75


  • 130. Greensboro, NC

    Greensboro, North Carolina, USA downtown skyline.


    Total Score: 36.58

    Recreation: 110

    Food & Entertainment: 77

    Rest & Relaxation: 143


  • 140. Durham, NC

    Durham, North Carolina, USA downtown skyline.


    Total Score: 35.56

    Recreation: 136

    Food & Entertainment: 49

    Rest & Relaxation: 148


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