Summer vacation is within reach. In many American cities, the winters are bitterly, spring is sweet, but the summers are oh so gorgeous. Since the supply of hotels is the same no matter what season it is, prices go up to meet the increased demand. And in summer, that demand can be pretty hefty outside of places like, say, Scottsdale and Palm Springs.
So, which American cities are going to be the most expensive if you want to book a hotel this summer? In which cities do hotel prices skyrocket during the summer and plummet in the winter? Hipmunk, a cool travel booking site, took a look at its historical hotel data and figured these questions out.
Summer Vacation: Most Expensive U.S. Cities
This summer, the most expensive city in America to book a hotel room is easily Sonoma, California. There, the average booking rate is $417 a night. In close proximity to some 400 wineries, and perennially hot in the summer, Sonoma is an immensely popular vacation destination. The Northern California hotspot has a limited number of hotels and most of those are in the tony tier of hospitality. This in the Sonoma summer, prices skyrocket.
Runners up? Napa Valley, California ($338 per night) and Santa Barbara, California ($311 per night) — both of which also are peppered with some of America’s finest wineries.
Summer Vacation on a Budget
In some cities, terms of price attraction are completely reversed: the hotels are actually much cheaper in the summer than they are in the winter. Typically, these are either ski destinations that have no snow in the summer, or vacation destinations that have nice weather in the winter and are uncomfortably hot during the summer.
Topping the list of cities with the biggest summer hotel savings is Scottsdale, Arizona (64 percent less that winter rates) and Miami (58 percent less than winter rates), but their average summer highs are 103 and 89 degrees, respectively. Rounding out the top three is the popular winter ski destination of Breckenridge, Colorado, which boasts a mild summer high of 70 degrees (56 percent less than winter rates).
Summer Vacation: Cities with Seasonal Pricing
Many popular summer vacation destinations are known for their beaches, water parks, and other aquatic activities. When the weather cools down many summer attractions close for the winter causing hotels to lower their prices due to an expected decrease in demand. If you book a hotel in these cities in the wintertime, you’ll get a great price, but will have a smaller selection of activities from which to choose. By summer, the prices will be much higher and the full selection of attractions will be back in full swing.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina is the city with the highest premium: $95 during the winter, and $228 during the summer. Ocean City, Maryland and Newport, Rhode Island — both coastal towns with a huge tourist influx in the summer, but not much demand in the winter — complete the top three, with spikes of 130 percent and 101 percent respectively.
Summer Vacation in Off-Peak Deal Destinations
So, how does a travel
er get the best deal on a hotel? One of the best ways to save money on a trip is to visit a vacation destination in a slightly off-peak season. That might mean visiting a ski resort in early spring, a winery in late fall, or a beach town just before the summer rush starts. Here’s a Hipmunk cheat sheet that lists costs by season.