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Study: Atlanta’s great for summer staycations, but it’s no Tampa

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With swimming pools, tennis courts, and concert halls galore, Atlanta ranked seventh best in the country for a pseudo getaway

People stand in front of a tall glass window looking into a whale shark tank at the Georgia Aquarium.
A world-class local aquarium earns high marks in WalletHub’s metrics.
Wanderlust Atlanta

Good news for Atlantans too broke or lazy for a legitimate summer vacation this year: The Big Peach is a Top 10 national hotspot for oxymoronic local getaways.

Those are the findings of personal-finance website WalletHub, which crunched numbers for the 150 most populated cities in America for their list of 2017’s Best & Worst Cities for Staycations.

Atlanta landed at No. 7 on the list, between Las Vegas and Portland. That’s two notches below Tampa (No. 5) but higher than both San Francisco and New York.

How so? When it comes to concert halls, swimming pools, tennis courts, and spas per capita, we rule.

WalletHub’s analysts say only 35 percent of Americans plan to take a bona fide family vacation this year (merely one-third can afford it, unfortunately), which makes an exploration of regional attractions an alluring alternative, they say.

The study weighed “36 key indicators of a fun-filled yet wallet-friendly staycation,” in three primary fields: 1. Recreation; 2. Food and Entertainment; and 3. Rest and Relaxation.

Everything from bowling costs to house-cleaning services and prevalence of aquariums and zoos held weight. Here’s how Atlanta fared:

Staycationing in Atlanta (1=Best; 75=Avg.)

11th – Swimming Pools per Capita

6th – Tennis Courts per Capita

32nd – Public Golf Courses per Capita

13th – Zoos & Aquariums per Capita

13th – Museums per Capita

8th – Spas & Wellness Centers per Capita

18th – Nightlife Options per Capita

27th – Shopping Centers per Capita

7th – Theaters & Concert Halls per Capita

56th – Beer Gardens per Capita

35th – Cost of House-Cleaning Service


Interestingly, Atlanta’s total score held its own with traditional vacation meccas such as Orlando and Honolulu. Maybe Georgia’s record-breaking 105 million visitors last year were onto something.


Scroll around this interactive staycation map for a broader perspective:

Source: WalletHub