Orlando Is No. 1 In 'Staycation' Rankings: Wallethub Report

Orlando residents who want a nice vacation don’t have to travel far – at all. The city has been ranked No. 1 for “staycations” in a survey released by WalletHub, a personal-finance website.

The report includes the 150 most populous metropolitan areas in the U.S., which were judged on 36 qualities. Orlando topped its per-capita lists for amusement parks, public golf courses, paintball fields, arcades, zoos and aquariums, shopping centers, ice-cream shops, spas, theaters and “prevalence of affordable restaurants with 4.5+ stars.”

Orlando leads the report’s broader category of “Food & Entertainment,” which includes nightlife options, restaurant-meal costs, boat tours, beer gardens and other attributes.

Our lowest category: walking trails per capital, where Orlando stumbles in at No. 101.

Orlando ranks 23rd in swimming pools per capita, a category topped by the up-north cities of Philadelphia, Cleveland, Chicago, Cincinnati and Washington, D.C. (Orlando also ranks 23rd in basketball hoops per capita.)

Right behind the City Beautiful in the overall staycation rankings were Chicago, San Diego, Seattle and Tampa. The next highest Florida city was Fort Lauderdale at No. 19.

Four of WalletHub’s bottom five for staycations were California cites: Chula Vista, Oxnard, Santa Ana and Fremont. Yonkers, N.Y., ranked 149. Hialeah, the lowest-ranked Florida metro, was 144th.

To help you decide whether to leave home or bring vacation to your front door, WalletHub’s number crunchers compared the 150 largest cities based on 36 key indicators of a fun-filled yet wallet-friendly staycation. Read on for the full ranking, our methodology and useful staycationing tips from experts.

Main Findings

Source: WalletHub

Methodology

In order to determine the best staycation spots, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 150 most populated U.S. cities across three key dimensions: 1) Recreation, 2) Food & Entertainment and 3) Rest & Relaxation.

We evaluated those dimensions using 36 relevant metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the most favorable conditions for staycationers. For metrics marked with an asterisk (*), the square root of the population was used to calculate the “Number of Residents” in order to avoid overcompensating for minor differences across cities.

We then calculated the total score for each city based on its weighted average across all metrics and used the resulting scores to construct our final ranking.

Recreation – Total Points: 33.33

  • Public Golf Courses per Capita*: Full Weight (~2.67 Points)
  • Tennis Courts per Capita*: Full Weight (~2.67 Points)
  • Swimming Pools per Capita*: Full Weight (~2.67 Points)
  • Basketball Hoops per Capita*: Full Weight (~2.67 Points)
  • Baseball Diamonds per Capita*: Full Weight (~2.67 Points)
  • Parks per Capita*: Full Weight (~2.67 Points)
  • Hiking Trails per Capita*: Full Weight (~2.67 Points)
  • Running Trails per Capita*: Full Weight (~2.67 Points)
  • Walking Trails per Capita*: Full Weight (~2.67 Points)
  • Shopping Centers per Capita: Full Weight (~2.67 Points)
  • Water Parks per Capita*: Full Weight (~2.67 Points)
  • Boat Tours & Water Sports per Capita*: Full Weight (~2.67 Points)
  • Miles of Bicycle Lanes, Paths & Routes per Square Mile: Half Weight (~1.33 Points)

Food & Entertainment – Total Points: 33.33

  • Movie Costs: Full Weight (~1.96 Points)
  • Bowling Costs: Full Weight (~1.96 Points)
  • Average Price of Party Ticket: Full Weight (~1.96 Points)
  • Nightlife Options per Capita*: Full Weight (~1.96 Points)
  • Museums per Capita*: Full Weight (~1.96 Points)
  • Zoos & Aquariums per Capita*: Full Weight (~1.96 Points)
  • Paintball Fields per Capita*: Full Weight (~1.96 Points)
  • Arcades per Capita*: Full Weight (~1.96 Points)
  • Amusement Parks per Capita*: Full Weight (~1.96 Points)
  • Theaters & Concert Halls per Capita*: Full Weight (~1.96 Points)
  • Coffee & Tea Shops per Capita*: Full Weight (~1.96 Points)
  • Ice Cream & Frozen Yogurt Shops per Capita*: Full Weight (~1.96 Points)
  • Beer Gardens per Capita*: Full Weight (~1.96 Points)
  • Restaurants per Capita*: Full Weight (~1.96 Points)
  • Restaurant-Meal Costs: Full Weight (~1.96 Points)
  • Prevalence of Affordable Restaurants with 4.5+ Stars: Full Weight (~1.96 Points)
  • Diversity of Restaurants: Full Weight (~1.96 Points)

Rest & Relaxation – Total Points: 33.33

  • Cost of House-Cleaning Service: Full Weight (~5.56 Points)
  • Spas & Wellness Centers per Capita*: Full Weight (~5.56 Points)
  • Massage Costs: Full Weight (~5.56 Points)
  • Beauty-Salon Costs: Full Weight (~5.56 Points)
  • Public Beaches per Capita*: Full Weight (~5.56 Points)
  • Idealness of Summer Weather: Full Weight (~5.56 Points)
    Note: This metric is based on WalletHub’s Cities with the Best & Worst Weather ranking.

 

Sources: Data used to create this ranking were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, Council for Community and Economic Research, Golf.com, Under Armour, Eventbrite, Numbeo.com, Thumbtack, Trust for Public Land, Alliance for Biking & Walking, TripAdvisor, Yelp, ImproveNet and WalletHub research.