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Top US Travel Destinations of 2016

For the first time ever, J.D. Power released a list of the Top 50 United States Travel Destinations for business or leisure. This study was focused on understanding the many variables that contribute to satisfying trips.

Out of a possible 1,000 index points, the cities with the highest overall satisfaction scores for traveling were:

  1. Las Vegas, Nevada (827) ranked particularly well in travel/arrival, lodging, infrastructure, and cost and fees.​

  2. Austin, Texas (818) performed particularly well in the infrastructure and activities factors.

  3. Orlando, Florida; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Miami, Florida (tied with 814) Orlando and Miami performed particularly well in the infrastructure and entertainment categories. While New Orleans ranked high in food, lodging, and entertainment.

  4. New York, New York (805) scored high in travel/arrival, lodging, food and beverage, and activities.

  5. Columbus, Ohio (799) ranked high in the infrastructure, food and beverage, and cost and fees.

These cities represent a mix of tourist destinations, state capitals, and college towns known for music and football.


Travelers also rated their top destinations based on category.

Top Food and Beverage Cities

  • New Orleans

  • Oahu, Hawaii

  • New York

  • San Antonio

  • Las Vegas.

Cities with the Best Hotels

  • Las Vegas

  • New Orleans

  • Orlando

  • Miami

  • Fort Worth

Cities with the Best Entertainment

  • Orlando

  • Las Vegas

  • Anaheim

  • Oahu

  • New Orleans


The study also sought to understand the emotional bond that forms between travelers and the cities they visit. Respondents stated that they would be “greatly disappointed” if they could not return to Anaheim, Denver, and San Diego. When considering emotional attachment to destinations, travelers focused on things to do, dining options, and places to stay. Las Vegas and New Orleans ranked high in all three of these areas. Business travelers were more satisfied than vacationers (806 versus 795). They had better scores for cost and fees, frequently having trips paid for by employers. Finally, 95% of visitors feel safe traveling in the United States.

Not surprising, the data shows that a great travel experience is associated with a higher spending level. The average spending during travel days was $301 per day. Those who rated their travel experience most positively (an overall satisfaction rating of 10 out of 10) spent 24% more than those who had average experiences. On the other hand, those who rated their experiences as negative (an overall satisfaction rating of 5 or lower) spent 37% less than those who had positive experiences.


J.D. Power is known for gathering opinions on electronics, automotive, health care and other segments of society that consumers want to rate. Quantifying satisfaction for each destination depended on the relative importance of various factors, including: the overall performance of each destination, the strengths and weaknesses of the regions, and comparisons of the visitor experience.

The study measured customer experience based on six factors (1) activities, (2) cost and fees, (3) food and beverage, (4) infrastructure, (5) lodging, (6) and travel/arrival. Responses were gathered from more than 26,000 travelers between February and July 2016 who visited a U.S. metropolitan city between December 2015 and July 2016.


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