More Americans are taking two- or three-day short-stay vacations — likely an outgrowth of flexible time-off policies and prioritization of experiences with people over material goods, or families taking advantage of time off from school and extracurricular activities. But you don’t need to fly to your next destination. Hop in the car for one of America’s favorite pastimes, the road trip, to the top five short-stay destinations. In fact, these places are all less than 300 miles away from the top origin markets where guests were traveling from.
Known as Missouri’s Gateway to the West sitting on the west side of the Mississippi River, the Gateway Arch frames the city soaring above the skyline. Visitors can take a 630-foot ride to the top of the stainless steel monument for a great view of the city, and stop by the Museum at the Gateway Arch to learn about the history of the area, including the starting point of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
St. Louis is famous for its historic breweries, including the Anheuser-Busch Brewery plus many local breweries. Anheuser-Busch also displays its name on one of the top tourist attractions in St. Louis, Busch Stadium, where visitors can watch 11-time World Series champions, the St. Louis Cardinals. Other popular family-friendly attractions in St. Louis include Missouri Botanical Garden, City Museum (an all-ages indoor playground with caves, slides, climbing and an aquarium) and Forest Park, one of the largest US urban parks with trails for walking and biking.
With so many things to do, travelers are flocking to the Gateway City with traveler demand up 75% year-over-year.
McCurtain County (Broken Bow), Oklahoma
Broken Bow is a small city great for outdoor activities like swimming, fishing, canoeing, ziplining and hiking. Take the family away from the screens and into nature at local parks: Beavers Bend State Park, Broken Bow Lake and Hochatown State Park. When you’re tired of exploring outside, enjoy indoor activities like the Hochatown Petting Zoo, roller skating at the Broken Bow Skateway or Rocket Roller Rink and movies at the McCurtain County Cinema.
More adventure-seeking families are visiting Broken Bow, with a 50% year-over-year increase in traveler demand.
Newton County, Ark.
Newton County is part of the Ozark Mountain Region, popular for its outdoor activities. It’s a popular destination for fall foliage, outdoor activities and escaping the hustle and bustle for a quiet nature escape. Enjoy dark sky viewings at Buffalo National River or conquer the tallest mountain in Arkansas, Mount Magazine, and explore a living underground cave, Blanchard Springs Cavern in the Ozark National Forest.
After a long day of exploring the outdoors, kick back and relax in the comfort of your own vacation home. Traveler demand in Newton County increased 50% year-over-year for Vrbo travelers.
Grays Harbor County, Wash.
Grays Harbor County is along the coast of the Pacific Northwest with many beach towns like Westport, one of Vrbo’s top up-and-coming destinations in 2020. It’s a beautiful spot for a family beach trip in the summer or year-round. Take the family clamming and whale watching in the winter or kite flying on the beach in the spring. One of the top attractions in the area is the Westport Light State Park for hiking and beautiful beaches with tall dune grasses. You can’t miss Washington’s tallest lighthouse, Grays Harbor Lighthouse, where you can climb 135 steps to the top.
Across North Bay, you’ll find Ocean Shores and Ocean City — both great destinations for a family trip. Ocean Shores’ beaches are some of the best in the state, and you can visit Ocean City State Park for birding, beach exploration and clam digging. Another point of attraction is Damon Point that juts out into Gray Harbor and is great for hiking and viewing wildlife.
The unique beach destination has seen traveler demand increase 45% year-over-year.
Ruidoso, New Mexico
Ruidoso is a year-round destination for swimming and hiking in the summer, or visiting the Inn of the Mountain Gods for skiing and snowboarding in the winter. You’ll also find great trails and waterfalls in the nearby Lincoln National Forest. Enjoy activities like ziplining and mountain biking at Ski Apache resort and paddleboarding and playing on a floating water park at Grindstone Lake.
A popular attraction nearby is Fort Stanton, a military fort turned Historic Site surrounded by the Lincoln National Forest. If you visit, be sure to stop by the Fort Stanton Snowy River Cave National Conservation Area, the longest cave in New Mexico and the 10th-longest cave in the US.
More outdoor loving families are vacationing in Ruidoso with a 30% year-over-year increase in traveler demand.
For the full 2020 Vrbo Trend Report and methodology, visit: https://www.vrbo.com/l/trend-report.