By Haddon Libby

With summer just days away, many of us are looking for places to go to escape the desert heat if only for a week or two.

Based on hotel and flight bookings, the top domestic destination for Americans to visit this summer is the Land of Mickey – Orlando, Florida.  Las Vegas comes in second followed by Honolulu, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, Maui, Boston, Denver and Fort Lauderdale. 

For those looking to get the best vacation for the dollar, Money Magazine recently released their Best in Travel List for 2017.  Their list compared quality, cost and value in judging 120 domestic and 230 foreign destinations.

Domestically, St. Augustine, Florida, the oldest city in Florida, came in as Money Magazine’s top U.S. vacation spot this year. 

Coming in second was Estes Park, Colorado.  In honor of the city’s centennial anniversary, this Colorado town has an active roster of free events scheduled for this summer in addition to their great hiking, biking and canoeing options.  When there, if you get hungry or thirsty, visit one of their 200 restaurants and 37 local breweries.

Third is Bar Harbor, Maine.  Despite the distinction of being in a state where the state bird is a mosquito, Bar Harbor play host to the states’ Acadia National Park.  With lobster, clams and scallops in abundance, you can even tempt your culinary tastes with Lobster Ice Cream at one ambitious local creamery.

Rounding out the top ten are Fort Worth, Albuquerque, Williamsburg, Las Vegas, Carmel-by-the-Sea, Gulf Shores (Alabama) and, surprisingly, Ann Arbor.

Travel site Escape Here published its list of worst places to visit and determined that Detroit was the worst city in the United States due to high crime rates and widespread blight.  St. Louis came in second due to crime rates where one in 53 people can expect to be the victim of a crime this year.

Other spots to avoid include Reno, Cleveland, Chicago, Camden (NJ), Memphis, New Haven (CT), Stockton and Oakland.

When we look beyond our domestic shores, the Land of Tequila and the Mezcal-drenched worm, Cancun, Mexico, is the top vacation spot for Americans. 

Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic comes in second followed by Los Cabos, Montego Bay, San Juan, Aruba, London, St. Thomas, Nassau and Paris.

When Money Magazine analyzed the places where you get the best vacation for the buck, they determined that Prague in the Czech Republic was the top destination due to a mix of modern and medieval architecture as well as its rich and vibrant food scene.

Paris came in second as falling exchange rates made this destination more affordable than in recent years.  With more than 200 museums and over 16,000 restaurants and a vibrant music scene, a visitor is never wanting for something to do in Paris.

The Greek island of Crete comes in third followed by Krakow (Poland) and Rome.  Other top ten destinations include Lisbon, Budapest, Barcelona, Berlin and Riga, Latvia. 

Outside of war zones like Syria, Escape Here ranked San Pedro Sula, Honduras as the worst place in the world for a vacation.  With a murder rate of 1.69 people per 1,000 and an active arms trafficking trade, San Pedro Sula is one destination to avoid.

It should be no surprise that Karachi, Pakistan is in second place on the list as this is the country that played host to Osama bin Laden for years.

Other places to avoid include the war torn cities of Kabul and Baghdad.  Surprisingly Acapulco came in fifth due to an active and violent drug trade.  Rounding out the bottom ten were Guatamala City, Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town, Ciudad Juarez and Caracas.

Haddon Libby is Managing Partner of Winslow Drake Investment Management and can be reached at 760.449.6349 or via