Demand for Beach Vacations Over July 4 ‘Stronger Than Ever,’ Vrbo Data Shows

Travelers are heading to the Gulf Shores in Alabama, The Hamptons in New York, and the Outer Banks in North Carolina.

Americans looking to get away for July 4 are overwhelmingly booking relaxing, toes-in-the-sand-type destinations, according to data from home booking site Vrbo shared with Travel + Leisure.

Travelers who booked a stay on the site for the holiday weekend mostly picked beachy locales in the South, followed by those on the East Coast, according to Vrbo, with the Florida Panhandle coming in as the top booked destination.

“We typically see families trying to get out of town for the 4th of July, but this year’s list of top destinations reveals that the desire to soak up the sun and fresh air at a beach... is stronger than ever,” Melanie Fish, a Vrbo travel expert, told T+L in an email. “As summer heats up, families are using it as an opportunity to get a much-needed change of scenery.”

A Vrbo listing in The Hamptons
Courtesy of Vrbo

The Gulf Shores in Alabama came in as the second most popular holiday weekend spot, with the Hamptons in New York, which saw demand grow twice as much as any other destination, coming in third. The Hamptons started reopening in time for Memorial Day with some popular Montauk resorts welcoming guests after New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo OK’d state and local beaches to reopen.

Fish noted the Outer Banks in North Carolina, which came in at No. 7 on the list, is also seeing a large spike in searches. The area, recently featured on a Netflix show, is known for its herds of wild horses.

A Vrbo listing in Hilton Head, S.C.
A Vrbo listing in Hilton Head, S.C. Courtesy of Vrbo

In general, Fish said 95 percent of demand for summer travel is for non-urban destinations.

Vacation home rentals are becoming a popular choice for travelers hitting the road in a post-COVID-19 world, experts have shared with T+L. To that end, bookings for Labor Day on sites like Airbnb and Vrbo are actually comparable to last year for the same time period, according to Guesty, a property management platform.

These are the top 10 destinations for July 4th, according to Vrbo’s booking data.

  1. Florida Panhandle, Fla.
  2. Gulf Shores, Ala.
  3. The Hamptons, N.Y.
  4. Hilton Head, S.C.
  5. San Diego, Calif.
  6. Myrtle Beach, S.C.
  7. Outer Banks, N.C.
  8. Gatlinburg, Tenn.
  9. Cape Cod, Mass.
  10. Charleston, S.C.
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