SURVEY SAYS: Favorite Vacation Spots

NewsDash readers share the best vacations they’ve ever had.

Last week, I asked NewsDash readers, “What types of places do you like to go on vacation?” I also asked them to share the best vacation they’ve ever had.


Beaches (74%) was the most favored type of place to go on vacation, followed by National parks, memorials or monuments (54%) and another country (52%). The mountains was a close No. 4, chosen by 48% of responding readers.


Other types of places ranked as follows:

  • Lakes – 34%;
  • Quirky, little-known attractions – 32%;
  • Amusement parks – 8%;
  • Family member’s homes – 6%;
  • Friend’s homes – 6%;
  • Campsites- 12%; and
  • Stay home – 14%.


The readers’ list of best vacations mirrored the rankings of favorite types of places to go, with many citing trips out of the country or to national parks. Also, it seemed a very popular way to travel was via a road trip.


Best vacations included:

  • Cruise to Key West, Cuba and Cozumel from Tampa, FL.
  • We did a family road trip to Mt. Rushmore, Badlands, Devil’s Tower, and Yellowstone. It was wonderful bonding time!
  • Tour of the Columbia River Gorge
  • Each year my husband and I do a warm weather get away and love it! However, I think the best vacation was when I surprised him with a trip to see his favorite baseball team. We saw 3 games at Fenway and had an amazing time!
  • South of France
  • I took my son and daughter-in-law to San Francisco in 2017. I created a travel binder with attraction choices in it so we could make the most of our time. Of course they laughed at me, but later realized it was a good idea when it rained and we had an indoor choice lined up. The best thing out of the trip was that 10 months later I had a granddaughter!! Not sure it was related…but I’m taking credit for it!!
  • At age 11, my family took a 3-week camping vacation, driving across the country to a family reunion. Saw Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, and more. 50+ years later, my siblings and I still talk about it.
  • So many places to pick from, but to have to pick a place would be Barcelona. So much to see from just walking around the streets or the beach. Or maybe Rome throwing coins in the fountain or eating pizza in the little cafe’. In the states a place called The Secret in Alabama.
  • My family goes to York Beach, ME, every year and I always look forward to that, but I loved touring Italy after my semester abroad in Scotland. I will probably never get the opportunity to backpack through Europe again!
  • Driving (alone) from San Francisco to San Diego down the PCH, stopping over in Pacific Grove, Cambria, L.A., and ending in Coronado Island. I had to pull over many times just to take photos of God’s beauty.
  • Hallstatt, Austria – a cute little town on the lake. We stayed in a B&B type place where we got to know the sweet older woman who owned the place. It was back in the college days so quite a while ago. I’m sure the adventure had as much to do with enjoying the time as the place did.
  • Boise, ID, was one of the best vacations I took. Rafting and tubing along the rivers; exploring ghost towns, hiking. Truly feeling disconnected from the hectic pace of everyday life.
  • Italy!!! Two years ago, my husband and I went for two glorious weeks, our first trip to Europe. He planned the entire trip and carefully laid out each day’s itinerary. We would do tours in the morning and early afternoon, leaving the rest of the day open so we could relax and have free time. It was amazing beyond words. We went to Rome, Tuscany, Florence, Venice, Bologna, Milan, and Capri. We toured the Vatican and saw the changing of the Swiss Guard. We tossed coins in the Trevi Fountain and walked the ancient grounds of the Colosseum and Roman Forum. We took a private wine tasting tour of the Chianti region in Tuscany. We saw Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper and Michelangelo’s Statue of David. We visited the Duomo of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Basilica San Marco in Venice, Duomo di Milano in Milan, and Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, all of which were breathtaking. We took a gondola ride in Venice and window-shopped in Milan. We went to restaurants that locals frequent and savored every delicious meal. We savored the awesome porterhouse Florentine steak which they only prepare rare. We enjoyed gelato every chance we got and sipped limoncello in Capri. We quenched our thirst with the coolest, freshest water you’ll ever taste from the fountains in Rome. A few years ago, we had an exchange student from Bologna, and we stayed with her family for a couple of days. We enjoyed her mother’s delicious meals, and she made my favorite blueberry tart. To say we loved visiting Italy is an understatement. And guess what? We’re going back this September.
  • First, road trip to Yellowstone National Park staying in cabins and resorts in the different sections of the park; hiking and exploring. Second, road trip down the Oregon and California coast line in a convertible Camaro; stopping at all the cheesy but nostalgic stops such as Sea Lion Caves, Trees of Mystery, Prehistoric Forest, the Redwood Forest and the Drive Thru Tees.
  • I’ve had so many great vacations, that it is hard to pick just one. I love dramatic, wild scenery as well as historical places, museums and cities. One of the more interesting places I have been was Ilulissat Greenland just a few days after the summer solstice. It was unseasonably warm and the sun never set. The ice fjiord and the views from our hotel room of huge ice bergs in Disko Bay were incredible.
  • Took a wine tour to Tuscany for a week
  • We love to cruise. There are so many activities to keep everyone entertained, they clean and cook so you have no responsibilities, and you get to visit all kinds of new places.
  • Siena, Italy – Great food, wine and gelato. Friendly and helpful people. Tours of the piazza and surrounding countryside.
  • Trip to Europe. We flew there with only a car rental booked. We drove through Germany, Austria, Italy, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Holland & back to Germany all in 2 weeks. It was great being on our own schedule without any timelines. Enjoyed many restaurants & sites. Best trip ever.
  • Hawaii by far!
  • Two full weeks of traveling Colorado and Utah. Mountains, Canyonlands, etc. Beautiful views, cliff dwellings, caught in a sand storm. Childhood dream, finally fulfilled.
  • Costa Rica
  • East Coast vacation – fall foliage tour. We were in 20 states and drove over 4,000 miles. Beautiful trip!
  • Vancouver Island; took a week and drove around it. Very relaxing, everyone was so friendly, just a very peaceful week.
  • My husband and I took a vacation to Alaska. One of the highlights was a plane ride we took to Ruth Glacier near Denali. The plane landed on skis. Hard to describe how beautiful. Another great part, no cell phone coverage!!!!!
  • Typically, we go to the beach, which is wonderful. However, this year we are going on a cruise to Alaska, which I’m anticipating will be one of my top vacations!
  • The best vacation I have ever had is the one where I am not working! They’ve all been great but if forced to choose, I would have to say my cross-country journey across America using the southern route from PA to California. It really was life changing for me on so many levels. This is an amazing country. My cat loved it too! He got so that he could recognize when there was something beautiful we were remarking on and he would go to the car window to look too.
  • The best vacation is when the phone and laptop are turned off, and the person you’re with is turned on 🙂
  • Mackinaw Island at age 8 with my mom, dad and brother. Amazed by the sights, sounds, water, history!
  • We lived in Italy for nearly 3 years and I only worked part time, Rome, Naples, Capri, Sorrento, and so much more was just a short drive or train ride away. It felt like every day was a vacation.
  • Cape Cod – warm sand spreading for miles – able to spread out and have your own section to swim
  • A long weekend trip to Florence, Italy
  • The best vacation I’ve ever had was last May when my husband and I renewed our wedding vows on the beach in Aruba. Our sons, granddaughter, my parents and friends came down to share the event and a great time was had by all.
  • The most memorable one was a month-long motorcycle trip from Iowa to Alaska with 3 other couples. (4000 miles one way). It was a great way to see our beautiful country (and Western Canada). The scenery, wildlife, flowers, etc., were all beautiful.
  • We flew to San Francisco from the Philadelphia area, spending a few days in that area with friends, then traveling up to Napa, north through the redwood forest, then on to Oregon to stay with family for a few days, visiting Crater Lake and the Portland Zoo, then on to Mt. St. Helen for a few days, then to Seattle for two days with family. The total trip was about 2 1/2 weeks and we were able to see so many things you don’t when you just fly somewhere.
  • Top 3 – Rented a beach house with the husband and dog in Kitty Hawk; California trip with the husband – Wine Country, San Francisco, Pebble Beach; rented a cabin with the husband and dog in the Great Smokey Mountains! All fantastic getaways with plenty of options to unwind, unplug, and uninteract with people! 🙂
  • Almost a month in Europe for my honeymoon
  • A Baltic cruise which traveled to the Scandinavian countries and St. Petersburg, Russia. Not only were the countries fascinating, but we were upgraded to a suite (complimentary)!
  • It’s probably an early trip to Disney World as a kid, though I’ve been often as an adult, and it’s pretty good then, too. But my knees hurt more than they used to… Of course my trip to Italy many years ago was great, too.
  • I have 2 top contenders – Hawaii and Switzerland
  • Tough call, I’ve vacationed on beaches from Maine to Aruba, and a dozen or so beaches in between! I’d say St. John, where I was married on the beach, at dawn, with our feet in the ocean.
  • Roughly two weeks in London with kids at just the right age — 14 and 11 — to enjoy it without complaining (much)
  • 2-weeks of RV camping within Yellowstone National Park. No cell phones, no computers, only nature. After a 16-hour day of driving home, our daughter (age 10 at the time) jumped out of the truck and asked “How soon can we go back?!?!” That says it all!
  • Trip to Yellowstone with the family. It is such a wonder filled place!
  • Hmmmm…I think all of mine have been good because I’M ON VACATION. None of them stand out!
  • Stayed in hotel in mountains in northern Tuscany. Went on day hikes with group, ate at restaurant for breakfast & dinner. Beautiful!
  • My best vacation spot is Maine. It brings me back to a place I visited as a kid and it also has had an impact on my son. He is now 20 and still looks forward to it every year. It has become a family tradition.
  • Driving from Ohio to Mount Rushmore. Stopping along the way in Springfield, Illinois to see Lincoln’s tomb and President library. Then on to Nebraska to see historical sites and home, and into North Dakota to visit historical monuments. Took 2 full weeks and it was full of new knowledge, old findings, and plenty of leisure time!
  • In verbatim comments, readers pointed out the importance of down time and lamented that people take too few vacations. A couple of readers emphasized that the people you’re with can make a vacation just as great as where you go. Several advised readers to not wait until retirement to travel. Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said: “Life is too short not to enjoy time off from work. Make those memories now.”
  • A big thank you to all who participated in the survey!



We never get enough of them!

Vacations are necessary to re-energize you. I recommend two weeks for ultimate relaxation!

I’m an organizer but not a crazy stick-to-the-schedule organizer. I just like to have options available so we’re not sitting in a hotel room trying to figure out what to do. This makes it less stressful for me and more enjoyable for everyone else when I’m not stressed.

More, more, more!

Must be over a week – the first to wind down and the second to really enjoy!!

I love to travel, but now that I have 2 toddlers, we don’t go anywhere. I advise all young people to travel anywhere and everywhere any time they get the chance.

I think everyone should make sure they take them regularly – don’t wait for retirement to plan time off. I’ve know too many people who never make it.

Vacations are more appreciated the older I get. When I was younger there were about cramming as much into each day as possible. I came home from vacation exhausted. Now while I still love making memories, I take time to enjoy the things in real time too.

Don’t ever skip a vacation because you are too busy working. And don’t work while you are on vacation. Life is too short for bad vacations.

I have never been one who likes to relax on vacation. I want to see and explore new places, meet new people and have adventures.

Vacations! You end up working twice as hard before you go and after you come back so it doesn’t feel like much of a break.

Life is too short not to enjoy time off from work. Make those memories now.

I suggest going to as many islands as you can in your 20’s, 30’s & 40’s. Once we exhausted as many as we could we started going on longer laid back trips such as Europe & Canada

I just love to take them. Anywhere, anytime and as often as possible. What more is there to say?

Love to take grandkids for a few days to just about anywhere with a few things to do. Hotel with a pool is a must! Everyone should kick back and relax now and then.

A necessary and required part of life! 🙂

The best ones are where you truly refresh yourself, either by totally unplugging and relaxing, or by getting a lot of projects completed that you normally don’t have time or energy for.

I believe in traveling before I get too old. We have made the choice to live in a small house and manage our expenses closely. This give us the budget to travel. We think the tiny house craze is stupid, but a small house has advantages!

I like the kind of vacation where I don’t feel like I need another vacation before going back to work.

I love spending time in cities and visiting historical sites and museums.

Love the vacation but not the extra time spent preparing to be out of the office and catching up when I return.

Started going to Aruba several years ago; loved it so much we bought a house there and will retire there in about eight years!

All vacations are wonderful breaks, even a staycation! I also like international travel, and hope to do more of that in retirement!

I wish I could go somewhere different every year, but we had a few years when the kids were young visiting family in other states or doing a staycation.

Even if it is a staycation or a last minute trip…everyone needs a little downtime and time away…make sure you take that time out for you and/or your family…sometimes it works out as a health benefit too! 🙂

Any time away from work is a vacation

More people should take more vacations. Our country’s extreme work ethic leads to burnout in too many cases.

As much as I like being on vacation and doing the things I had planned, one of the best feelings is just that first hour or two, when you’re on your way, before you’ve even arrived at your destination – anticipation is wonderful!

When I think about my best vacations, I found it is not necessarily where I went but who I was with. My favorite vacations including the 2 listed above are always with my kids and extended family. It is the fun of experiencing different things with those you love that make a vacation so memorable.

The level of enjoyment is strongly tied to the company you keep.

We haven’t been on a “real” vacation since that trip and our daughter is now 26. 🙁

Like to go to different places in the U.S. – checking off the national park list!

As they say, “A bad day of ___________ is better than a good day at work!”

I can’t really define best, but the most relaxing tends to be revisiting our favorites and doing something new is the most fun and exciting.

I love them! Don’t need to be fancy, but I like to experience new places.

People don’t relax enough on vacations anymore. It’s all about go, go, go.