H-town is a tourist magnet

Houston arrives on list of nation's top summer destinations

Houston arrives on list of nation's top summer destinations

Discovery Green Houston aerial
Houston ranks high on the list. Photo by Katya Horner

Low flight costs and other reasonable travel expenses make Houston one of the country’s best destinations for a summer getaway, according to a new study from WalletHub.

WalletHub, a personal finance website, compared 40 key indicators of budget-friendliness and fun-friendliness in 100 U.S. metro areas to come up with its list. Overall, Houston ranked tenth.

The Bayou City scored standout marks for lowest travel costs and fewest travel hassles (No. 7), and low local costs (No. 9). Houston received approximately 17.5 million visitors in 2015 (the most recent data available), according to data from Visit Houston. 

DFW ranked seventh on the list. DFW came in at No. 1 for the cost of the cheapest flight, No. 3 for lowest travel costs and fewest travel hassles, No. 14 for the low cost of a three-star hotel, and No. 15 for low local expenses.

Nearly 49 million people visit DFW each year, according to Visit Dallas, the local convention and visitors bureau. The region is the state’s No. 1 tourist destination.

“Everything is bigger in Texas,” according to Recreation.gov, “and that includes Texas’ top visitor and leisure destination. Whether you crave world-class food and arts or the Wild West, you’ll find it all in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.”

On WalletHub’s list, Dallas-Fort Worth wasn’t the top summer travel destination in Texas, though. That honor went to Austin.

Austin ranked third, behind Washington, D.C., at No. 1 and Orlando, Florida, at No. 2. Austin grabbed the highest marks for most attractions (No. 13), most activities (No. 18), and lowest travel costs and fewest travel hassles (No. 19).

While DFW earned higher grades in several categories than Austin did, it posted significantly lower grades in other categories (such as safety at No. 37 and weather at No. 41) that dragged down its overall score.

 San Antonio earned 17th place among the 100 metro areas, with the best scores collected for low local costs (No. 6) and most attractions (No. 18).