Top 10 Summer Vacation Travel Destinations for Americans in 2013

If you haven’t already, it’s time to look ahead and get those summer vacation plans in place.  Each year, the travel site Orbitz conducts a survey to gauging American family traveling preferences.  The results of the Orbitz survey suggest over 75% of American families plan on taking a summer vacation this year.  Want to know the #1 choice in the top 10 summer vacation spots?  Surprise, surprise, it’s Orlando, Florida (up from #3 in 2012).  Las Vegas, Nevada and Cancun, Mexico round out the top 3 vacation destinations.  Continue reading for the entire list and more details from the Orbitz Travel Survey.

Orbitz Summer Travel Infographic

Orbitz Summer Travel Insider Index’s top ten destinations were ranked based on all air bookings made on for upcoming travel between June 1 and August 31, 2013.  42% of survey respondents indicated they’re looking to take a beach vacation, and 43% planned on spending $1500-$2500 on their vacation (32% were looking to spend less than $1500).  The top 10 summer vacation destinations for 2013 (and their 2012 rankings) according to Orbitz bookings can be found in the table below.  Click here for the complete results of the Orbitz Summer Travel Insider Index.

Orbitz Summer Travel Insider Index

2013 Rank Destination 2012 Rank
1 Orlando, FL 3
2 Las Vegas, NV 1
3 Cancun, MX 10
4 Seattle, WA 5
5 Los Angeles, CA 4
6 Honolulu, HI na
7 New York, NY 2
8 San Francisco, CA 6
9 Maui, HI na
10 Denver, CO 7


It probably comes as no surprise that Orlando, Florida topped the list with all the new additions to its area theme parks such as, New Fantasyland at Walt Disney World, Transformers: The Ride – 3D at Universal Orlando Resort, and Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin at SeaWorld Orlando.  Also, 9 out of the top 10 destinations were based in the United States (although two were outside the continental U.S. in Hawaii).  However, for the third year of the survey, Cancun, Mexico was the only international destination ranked in the top 10.

Whale Shark, Cancun, Mexico

Photo credit Cancun Convention and Visitors Bureau


Summer is a popular time to visit the Mexican region, as hundreds of whale sharks flock to Cancun’s turquoise waters from mid-May to mid-September to feed on the abundant supply of plankton.  Sea turtle nesting season brings hundreds of turtles to Cancun’s beaches to lay eggs for the next generation.  In just 43 years, Cancun has grown from a sleepy fishing village into a world-class city, famous for its beaches, entertainment, and Mayan culture.

Cancun’s just 43 years old?  Seems like another world-class resort is in its early 40’s too – Walt Disney World celebrates its 42nd birthday this year.  Looks like there might be a bit of a rivalry between these top tourist destinations, and any competition for the Orlando, FL attractions will ultimately be good for making the tourist dollar go farther.

2013 Walt Disney World Marathon

Photo by Debra Peterson


Where are you planning on heading for your 2013 summer vacation?  Do you plan on visiting the beach, taking a cruise, heading to a theme park, a city, or something entirely different?  Please leave a comment below and share your plans.   For more family travel news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on twitter and “like” our facebook page too.

About Dave Parfitt

Married, father of two girls, and living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I'm a runner with a PhD in neuroscience and a passion for travel.