US News & World Report Ranks Best Vacations

It’s time for summer vacation, and we’re pretty sure we could use a long week at the beach. Thanks to U.S. News & World Report, we now know the most statistically sound places to maximize our oh-so-precious vacation time, sorted by region.

The new rankings identify the top vacation spots based on a methodology that combines expert and consumer opinions. They reflect how strongly a destination is recommended by travel experts and U.S. News Travel website users.

According to the survey, Bali, Kauai and the Seychelles take the top awards for “Best Beaches” while Barcelona, Paris and Berlin rank on top for Best European Vacations. Within the U.S., Yellowstone, New York City and Washington, D.C., are the most coveted destinations.

In total, more than 200 destinations were considered in the current rankings, and this marks the first time the publication has ranked the “Best” list on a global scale.

[Flickr image of Kauai by Chuck 55]

US News Ranks Best Summer Vacation Spots

US News & World Report” has this week released their annual “best” list of vacation spots for your upcoming summer travels. We’re always game for a trip, and this magazine, known for its endless parade of lists, seems to consistently do one of the best jobs we’ve seen of matching trends with traditional data analysis.

“The summer vacation is an established American tradition,” said Chad Smolinski, Vice President of Rankings and Reviews at U.S. News & World Report. “Taking into account over 300,000 user votes and thousands of travel expert opinions, the U.S. News vacation rankings provide travel recommendations you can trust.”

For the category of “Best Summer Vacation,” Nice, Mykonos and Maui round out the top three. Maui also makes the top three for two other categories, including “Best Beaches in the USA” and “Best Family Beach Vacations in the USA”.

Budget cutting? Try Yellowstone, Santo Domingo or Lisbon, the top picks for “Cheap Summer Vacations” or perhaps Yosemite or the Grand Canyon, which, along with Yellowstone, make the list of “Affordable Family Vacation” spots.

Other expected destinations, including Orlando, Anaheim and Hawaii (Maui, the Big Island and Kauai) made the top three spots on the list.

[Flickr via sunsplash]

Photo of the Day (12.1.09)

Today’s Photo of the Day comes from Milwaukee based Flickr user koalaeatingtree. Taking great landscape shots is one thing, but capturing a perfectly timed moment in a beautiful location like this is remarkable.

The photo was taken in Naples, Florida – a city voted in 2009 as “one of the 10 pricey cities worth its high cost” by U.S News & World Report. For the techies out there, koalaeatingtree was able to capture the shot with a 30 second exposure on a 16mm lens.

Get out there! Chase storms, track down interesting people, and submit them to our Gadling Flickr Pool – we might just select it as our Photo of the Day!