Stay a While

Where Houston lands on the list of America's best cities for a staycation

Houston's place on the list of America's best cities for a staycation

Houston park with skyline
Enjoy some R&R. Sky Noir Photography by Bill Dickinson/Getty Images

Memorial Day looks ... a little different this year. Many of us aren't traveling yet, or if we are, it's not to far-flung locales. So it's the perfect time to resurrect the idea of a staycation — or at least try to convince yourself this three-day weekend is different and more fun than the current stay-at-home recommendations.

Personal finance site WalletHub did just that by comparing more than 180 cities across 15 key metrics, evaluating things like parks per capita, average home square footage, and the best summer weather, to determine the very best spots for staycationing.

And guess who lands at No. 1? The North Texas suburb of Plano, with an overall score of 66.88.

It earned a No. 18 ranking for recreation (which also includes hike and bike trails and the city's Walk Score) and No. 2 for "rest and relaxation" (not just weather and big homes, but also the share of homes with a swimming pool and lots greater than 1,000 square feet). The latter category also takes into consideration the average price of pizza, burgers, beer, and wine — a few R&R musts.

One other DFW suburb shows up in the top 10: Grand Prairie, at No. 8. Garland lands at No. 19, while Arlington is a bit further down at No. 26, followed by Irving at No. 27.

The area's biggest cities don't fare quite as well, with Dallas receiving No. 36 and Fort Worth No. 42. Cowtown does nab a spot in the top five for lowest price of pizza and a burger, so at least that's one tasty feather in its sun-shielding cap.

Austin makes a strong showing at No. 9 overall, thanks largely in part to its eighth-place finish for recreation (it ties with four other cities for most running trails per capita). 

Houston lands at No. 25, and San Antonio is down at No. 78, with a handful of other Texas cities appearing at different spots throughout the list: Laredo (No. 30), Amarillo (No. 31), Corpus Christie (No. 35), Brownsville (No. 44), Lubbock (No. 57), and El Paso (No. 80).

According to WalletHub, the least desirable city for a staycation is Pearl City, Hawaii, on the island of O'ahu. Even though it receives a ranking of 162 for rest and relaxation and 182 for recreation, something about "worst place to be" and "Hawaii" just doesn't add up.