Comeback Travel Destinations 2021

Travel destination search volumes more than tripled in March and April 2021 compared to 2020. Most destinations have rebounded, reaching or exceeding pre-pandemic levels. Americans look to their “backyards” for relaxation, looking primarily for beach getaways and natural sites within driving distance of major urban areas.

The postponement of vacation is so last year. With people yearning for a well-deserved getaway, searches for travel destinations on Google increased 224% in March and April 2021 compared to the same time last year. While there are still many places around the world that are off-limits, there are many wonderful travel spots in our own backyard that are already welcoming visitors. Tourist interest peaked in sandy getaways like Cap May, New Jersey or Newport, RI, locations with online search peaks of over 450%.

The East Coast, in particular, has seen the fastest rebound in popularity, as it has most of the top 20 recovery destinations, many of which are within driving distance of major subways.

To see which destinations saw the biggest returns this spring compared to 2020, we took a look at online Google search volumes for 230 of the country’s most popular travel destinations. Not only have online searches for virtually every travel destination in the United States at least doubled from last year, but up to 80% of them have also reached or exceeded their pre-market levels. pandemic (see full data here).

Weekend getaways make a spectacular comeback in 2021

Revenge tripAnd pent-up urge to travel are already reshaping tourism in the near future following last year’s lockdown, which led to a 64% drop in vacation searches. But, as local restrictions gradually lifted, vacation seekers in March and April 2021 favored weekend getaways and destinations accessible by car – if only to test the waters to the real one. deal this summer.

East Coast vacation spots had the highest rebound percentages, as many Atlantic Coast states were among the first to lift the restrictions. Plus, it’s easier to cross state borders and experience a total change of scenery from the comfort of your own car. As a result, the destinations that have really caught the interest of Americans are in two of the country’s smallest and most densely populated states: New Jersey and Rhode Island.

Searches for Cape May, NJ, jumped 470% this spring, making it the # 1 return travel destination on our list. Perfect for quick beach getaways as well as extended vacations, America’s oldest resort still fascinates visitors to New Jersey and Philadelphia.

In second place is Newport, RI, another beach getaway spot less known for its swaying palm trees and more for being a great weekend destination for New England travelers, especially if they are love sailing. Interest in this oceanfront resort rose 458% in March and April. And while the greatest part of life anywhere in Rhode Island is that you’re never far from the beach, Newport is also known for its colonial past, Golden Age buildings, and beaches. soothing landscapes.

Check out the Top 20 return destinations for 2021:

Breezy Florida spots accounted for a quarter of the 20 biggest bounce destinations of 2021, along with Kissimmee, Destiny and Miami Beach benefiting from interest increases above 400%. In fact, a third of the destinations with the highest increases in search volumes are beach getaways. However, the ultimate natural havens also take their place by adding five entrees, including family favorites. Lake George, New York, Blue Ridge, Georgia and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee – where you come for the Smokies and stay for Dollywood.

Meanwhile, local policies and relaxed restrictions could be another factor influencing research in the spring months. For example, California still had restrictions and certain stay-at-home orders, while Florida and Georgia had already loosened theirs.

See changes in Google searches for all major travel destinations in the United States:

Top travel destinations that have made a comeback in 2021

The general interest in natural sites is returning

Mountain areas and natural sites saw the greatest increase in travel searches of any other type of destination – 288%. It shows that nothing beats nature walks or breathing the fresh mountain air to relax after the year we had.

The most coveted natural place is Lake George, New York, an example of natural splendor that received 393% more searches than last year. Here, the fresh southern Adirondack air and serene views make the trip to America’s Queen of Lakes an exquisite experience.

Top 2021 destinations

A close second is Pigeon Forge, Tennessee with an increase of 386%. Nature enthusiasts can’t seem to get enough of the Great Smoky Mountains as gateways Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, Tennessee have reclaimed their places on America’s bucket lists with over 220,000 searches online each.

Speaking of bucket lists, about 90 minutes from Atlanta is The blue crest and Hélène, Georgia, two destinations that will allow you to make the most of your first outing in a long time. These charming towns offer tons of outdoor activities and Instagrammable experiences, plus authentic cuisine ready to please any visitor.

Notably, the only national park on the list is If we, Utah’s very first national park that continues to captivate us. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s right next to it Springdale, one of the most beautiful small towns you will ever have the opportunity to visit.

Discover the country’s natural sites that have made the biggest comeback in our research history:

No longer eager to dip our toes in the sand

Travel searches may have plunged during the quarantine, but beach destinations more than make up for it now with an overall increase of 277% in search volumes.

Cap May, New Jersey shines brightly with the biggest increase in interest, while Florida shines with four entries that have captured the interest of vacation seekers. In addition to Destiny (up 434%) and its sugar-white sand beaches, the Sunshine State also has three other beach getaway spots that sparked our travel bug: Miami Beach (417%), Panama City Beach (400%) and Clear water (382%).

Top destinations 2021

It may come as a surprise to some, but Mid-Atlantic vacation seekers understand why the third most popular beach getaway in the United States is Maryland. Ocean city (422%). Saltwater taffy aside, Ocean City draws a wide variety of visitors walking its three-mile promenade.

Here are the Top 10 American beach destinations making a comeback in 2021:

Small towns are the best choice for a healing route

Scenic areas of less than 60,000 people recorded some of the smallest search declines last year. Now, small town getaways are seeing some of the biggest increases in online searches, as people searched for them 279% more than in spring 2020.

Newport, RI and its soothing breeze broke the 450% mark in March-April. It is followed by Galena, Illinois (367%), a favorite weekend getaway for Chicagoans that offers water sports, outdoor activities and full entertainment in Northwest Illinois.

Top Destinations in the United States 2021

Family favorite Wisconsin Dells (351%) is the third most popular small town on our lists to visit, for its abundance of indoor and outdoor water parks within driving distance of Chicago. Right on his tail is Lake Placid, New York (347%), which sits on scenic Mirror Lake, followed by the all-time favorite vacation spot in the Midwest Branson, Missouri (333%), the most googled small town with over 205,000 searches.

Discover the small towns with the greatest increase in online searches:

Sun Belt Cities America’s Most Googled Destinations in Spring 2021

When we look at the number of travel-related searches in March and April of this year, major cities in the Sun Belt make up the majority of the list.

Orlando, FL leads the way with nearly 502,900 searches in two months, almost 300% more than last year. Attractions like Universal Orlando Resort and Walt Disney World are now reduce restrictions, which will likely cause that number to skyrocket this summer. Miami is next, followed by Nashville, Tennessee and Las Vegas, Nevada with nearly half a million searches and increases of over 250% each.

Top 2021 destinations

Among all the major cities is Myrtle Beach, SC, a veteran of tourist preferences. Even last year, the resort managed to get some of the highest search rates despite a drastic drop in travel interest. And, despite the fact that it ranks 8e When it comes to actual searches, Myrtle Beach and its 60 mile coastline actually saw the biggest increase in popularity online – 342%.

Here are the 10 most googled destinations in March and April 2021 in the United States:

With travel searches reaching new heights, it’s interesting to see which destinations will serve as our first post-pandemic travel havens. From attractions that bring out your inner child to scenic areas where you can forget the past year and expect a healthier future, the United States has more than enough for everyone.


  • This study was prepared by RENTCafé, a national apartment search website that makes it easy for renters to find apartments and houses for rent across the United States.
  • The research was based on a list of keyword combinations related to over 900 popular travel destinations in the United States, compiled from Google Travel recommendations. Online search volumes represent historical keyword planner data. For online differences of interest, we compared searches in March-April 2019, 2020 and 2021.
  • The 20 most interesting destinations were selected from a final list of 230 popular vacation spots that have been the subject of more than 5,000 average monthly searches in the last 12 months.

Fair use and redistribution

We encourage and freely grant you permission to reuse, host, or republish the research, graphics, and images featured in this article. In doing so, we ask that you credit our research by linking to or this page, so that your readers can learn more about this project, the research behind it and its methodology. For more detailed and personalized data, please contact us at [email protected].

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