HUSAR: Tri-States offer plenty of "staycation" opportunities - Quincy Herald-Whig | Illinois & Missouri News, Sports

HUSAR: Tri-States offer plenty of "staycation" opportunities

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The email's in box had a vacation theme this week with some numbers tied to the summer season.

Travel's trending upward with consumers looking for an escape from the daily grind. More than 36 million people ventured at least 50 miles from home over Memorial Day weekend -- the traditional start of the summer travel season -- according to AAA, and 75 percent of Americans are planning a summer vacation this year, according to American Express.

But with travel costs continuing to rise, would-be vacationers are looking at options closer to home. What's known as a staycation is becoming more popular as people look for a getaway without going into debt.

With that in mind, WalletHub considered 20 of the most important factors -- from the number of public golf courses and swimming pools per capita to the cost of maid services --in ranking the 100 largest U.S. cities based on their staycation suitability.

Topping WalletHub's list are Buffalo, N.Y.; Minneapolis; Cincinnati; Pittsburgh and Portland, Ore. The highest-ranking city in the region is St. Louis at No. 13. It ranked 17th for recreation activities, fifth in food and entertainment, 14th in rest and relaxation and 90th in weather. Kansas City, Mo., ranked 35th (and also 90th in weather), while Chicago was 46th on the list (and 76th in summertime weather).

All three are great cities, with plenty to see and do, but the Tri-States offer plenty of staycation opportunities.

"We're seeing people making their travel plans a week or so in advance and oftentimes not taking a full week vacation to a farther destination but finding treasures in their own state or the Tri-States," said Holly Cain, executive director of the Quincy Area convention and Visitors Bureau. "Quincy's a natural hub, with Nauvoo so close, Hannibal so close, Burlington so close. It's a very affordable getaway with the whole family."

Options range from fishing and boating at Mark Twain Lake and looking for Lincoln in Carthage and Pittsfield to playing on the beach at Wakonda State Park, visiting the picturesque villages of Van Buren County, Iowa, and traveling the Great River Road.

"Real vacation involves a change of scenery for a variety of reasons: we unwind, relax and rejuvenate ourselves much better in a new environment that is different from our usual habitat. Learning, exploring and discovering is enriching and refreshing the mind and the body," Gabor Forgacs, an associate professor of hospitality and tourism management at Ryerson University, said in the email. "If we staycation, we should go to places and see sights even in our own city that we never visited before. That way we can gather new experiences, even if we sleep in our own bed every night."

The Gem City alone has plenty to see, Cain said, with attractions like the Kroc Center and Scottie's FunSpot.

Quincy has 10 museums, something Cain said many local residents don't realize, including sites dedicated to preserving agriculture and aerospace.

"Getting here is very easy with four-lane expressways, Amtrak service, air service," Cain said. "It is a destination."

And Cain said Quincy offers some things unavailable in larger metropolitan areas.

"I appreciate the free parking, the ease of getting place to place," she said. "Those are things I don't take for granted."

Click here for WalletHub's full report.

-- dhusar@whig.com/221-3379

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