You love being a nurse, and you’re interested in being a travel nurse.
Or maybe you’ve been travel nursing for some time now. Either way, you want to know where the best travel nurse destinations are.
The beautiful thing about travel nursing is the endless opportunity to explore the country — but where should you go?
This guide answers those questions and more as we help you discover the best destinations and the top cities for travel nurses.
Table of Contents
- What Makes a Destination a “Top City” for Travel Nurses?
- The 20 Best Places To Travel Nurse in the United States by Region
- Top 9 Cities for Travel Nurses in the Western United States
- 5 Best Places To Travel Nurse in the Eastern United States
- 3 Top Cities for Travel Nurses in the Central United States
- The 3 Best Places To Travel Nurse Outside of the Contiguous United States
- Factors That May Influence the City You Choose for Your Next Travel Assignment
- Trusted Nurse Staffing: Helping You Select the Top Cities for Travel Nursing Assignments
What Makes a Destination a “Top City” for Travel Nurses?
With all the benefits that being a travel nurse offers, it can be an easy decision to become one. The hard part — where to go.
Travel nurse locations and jobs are available across the country, but the assignments available will depend on current staffing needs.
Once you determine what places are currently available, you can begin researching each city, determining if it will be a good fit for your interests and goals. Once you know what you’re looking for in an ideal destination, the search becomes a little easier.
But what makes a destination a top city for travel nurses?
Some of the top destinations have these five things in common:
- Licensing requirements
- Pay rates
- Cost of living
- Transportation options
The 20 Best Places To Travel Nurse in the United States by Region
Top 9 Cities for Travel Nurses in the Western United States
#1: San Diego, California
Maybe you’re interested in the quintessential California beach living — picture it: waves perfect for surfing, shops up and down town bordering the beach, hip bars.
Or you’re more interested in the quality of life and relaxed atmosphere that San Diego provides. Either way, it’s at the top of your destination list, making the cut for one of the top cities for travel nurses.
Travel nurses love visiting local attractions like:
- San Diego Zoo
- Balboa Park
- Petco Park
- USS Midway Museum; and
- Little Italy Mercato Farmers’ Market
But it’s more than just for the sites and scenes. San Diego has much to offer those focused on their nursing careers!
With around 30 hospitals in the city alone, there’s no shortage of nursing contracts available. While traffic can be an issue in the area, travel nurses have many options on getting to-and-from work.
Whether in the carpool lane with a coworker, riding the bus, or driving the freeway, you can count on a beautiful drive through the area.
California travel nurses make an average of $1,538 a week, which is higher than the national average. The additional benefit of picking up a nursing contract in San Diego? California requires (by law) facilities to keep appropriate nurse-to-patient ratios.
Instead of feeling run-down and overworked while providing minimal care to your patients, California’s law helps nurses ensure they are providing proper care.
#2: Seattle, Washington
Another destination with low patient ratios and above-average pay is Seattle, Washington. Travel nurses in the area make an average of $1,549 per week.
But the pay isn’t the only thing bringing travel nurses to the area. Although Washington isn’t a part of the NLC, it brings its own benefits. Seattle is home to over 15 hospitals, so you’re bound to find a contract that meets your needs.
What else makes Seattle a top city for travel nurses?
It could be the food — as Pike’s Place Market is a foodie’s paradise. Or it may have to do with the endless outdoor adventures. Lake Washington, Mount Rainier, and Alki Beach are just a few hotspots our travel nurses visit regularly.
Great pay, great food, and superb views. What isn’t to love about this travel nursing destination?
#3: Denver, Colorado
Outdoor enthusiasts, Denver is calling. In reality, some might say Denver, Colorado, offers it all.
Travel nurses on assignment in Denver can enjoy:
- Sporting events galore (Check out the Broncos, Nuggets, or the Rockies.)
- The Red Rocks Amphitheater (It’s one of the most famous music venues in the world.)
- Denver Botanic Gardens; and
- A little bit of everything Denver has to at RiNo
Getting around in Denver is easy with affordable public transportation options. Travel nurses can use the light rail system, rent a motorized scooter or bike, or catch the bus. It’s the perfect location for travel nurses that like to stay active, even on their way to work.
Colorado is also a part of the NLC, making it easy for travel nurses with multi-state licenses to start working as quickly as they arrive in the area. And travel nurses can expect an average salary of $1,433 per week working in the area.
#4: Phoenix, Arizona
The state of Arizona has a lot to offer travel nurses.
Here, you’ll find mountain ranges, palm trees, lakes, rivers, and painted sunsets — all in a single state.
One of the best cities to live in Arizona is Phoenix, the state’s capital city. Phoenix’s economy is thriving, offers many amenities, and the nightlife is alive and well.
Check out just a few of the many things to do in or around Phoenix:
- Desert Botanical Garden
- Camelback Mountain
- Phoenix Art Museum
- The Grand Canyon
This guide breaks these down and many more of the top things to do and see.
Professionally, what can you expect from this destination? Arizona is part of the NLC, so getting started on assignments is pretty painless for travel nurses with multi-state licenses.
#5: Portland, Oregon
Maybe you’re a travel nurse looking for a home-away-from-home where you can leave a positive mark on the environment. Portland is for you — it’s considered one of the world’s most environmentally conscious cities.
Breathe in the fresh air and take in all that Portland has to offer.
Enjoy the many parks, charming towns, and laid-back lifestyle of the Pacific Northwest while working at some of the best healthcare facilities in the area.
#6: Salem, Oregon
If you’re a travel nurse who loves the outdoors, then Salem is for you.
The mountains, the coast, or larger cities like Eugene and Portland are all about an hour away.
You can experience hiking trips to Mount Hood or day trips to Bend on your days off.
A few of the top things to check out include:
- Riverfront City Park
- Enchanted Forest
- Elsinore Theatre
- Willamette Heritage Center; and
- Cascades Gateway Park
In addition, Salem is known for its great coffee shops — a must for a travel nurse.
#7: Boulder, Colorado
Boulder, Colorado, has often topped lists of the happiest cities in America.
Boulder offers breathtaking scenery, amazing weather, a thriving food scene, a Hallmark-worthy downtown, and enough outdoor activities to keep any travel nurse busy on off days.
A huge perk for a travel nurse is that you can rely on public transportation.
Just a few things to do during your assignment include:
- Check out live music at the historic Boulder Theatre
- Visit The Flatirons
- Check out the Boulder History Museum
- Browse the Boulder County Farmers Market; and
- Hike through Eldorado Canyon State Park
As mentioned before, Colorado is part of the NLC, so those nurses with multi-state licenses should have no problem getting started at a healthcare facility in Boulder.
#8: Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity, and of course — Hollywood.
L.A. is one of the most famous cities in the world, and any travel nurse would have a hard time running out of things to do during an assignment.
You can eat your heart out, do some star gazing, explore the ample parks, or just be a beach bum on your days off.
Make sure to add these must-dos to your travel list:
- Drive around the Palos Verdes Peninsula
- Have tacos at Grand Central Market
- Bike the Strand
- Take in a drive-in movie
- Visit Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive; and
- Walk the Santa Monica Pier
#9: Las Vegas, Nevada
Travel nurses craving a faster pace and more lively night scene may want to consider a travel-nursing assignment in Sin City.
Not interested in the vibes the strip of Vegas offers?
Travel nurses love checking out the sites nearby, including:
- Red Rock National Park
- The Mob Museum
- The Grand Canyon; and
- Hoover Dam
Aside from always having something to do — such as shows, restaurants, and historic sites galore — Vegas is a top spot for those nurses who want to make a difference in the community.
Vegas struggles to keep up with the demand for nurses, so finding a position in the area certainly isn’t a struggle for many travel nurses. The average salary ranges from $1,218 to $1,779 per week in Las Vegas.
5 Best Places To Travel Nurse in the Eastern United States
#1: New York City, New York
The Big Apple. The City That Never Sleeps. Gotham.
Whatever you call it, New York City is known as a great destination for experiences, nightlife, and history.
For a travel nurse, New York could be an experience of a lifetime.
With things like …
- Attending Broadway shows
- Strolling through Central Park
- Standing in Times Square
- Boating to the Statue of Liberty; and
- Taking walking food tours
… you can truly experience it all in New York.
Looking for things to do? Check out this list of 25 things to do in New York City.
#2: Orlando, Florida
Central Florida contains over 349 hospitals, with some being some of the top medical research facilities in the country — the University of Central Florida medical school is an example.
No matter your specialty, travel nurses have a wide variety of opportunities in the Sunshine State.
Aside from career opportunities, there are numerous reasons Orlando ranks in the top 100 places to live in the country.
From its booming economy to its unlimited sites, it’s no wonder Orlando makes the cut for the top cities for travel nurses!
Travel nurses can enjoy:
- Visiting Disney World
- Swimming with dolphins
- Exploring Lake Eola Park; and
- Sipping drinks at M Lounge
Plus, with so much to do and so many sites to see, Orlando, Florida, may be the perfect place to start travel nursing with a friend! Make memories, share experiences, and build your resumes together.
#3: Boston, Massachusetts
Boston is home to some of the most prestigious hospitals and universities, including:
- Boston Medical Center
- Massachusetts General Hospital; and
- Brigham and Women’s Hospital
This makes Boston a wonderful place for nurses looking to make higher salaries, enhance their resumes, and gain experience with some of the top physicians.
Boston’s welcoming atmosphere instantly makes it feel like home to many travel nurses. While the city has a high population, it is still reasonably compact and completely walkable, making it ideal for those looking to get to and from work easily.
The historic sites of the city may also be the reason so many travel nurses enjoy contracts in the area, like:
- Boston Massacre Memorial
- Central Burying Ground; and
- The Paul Revere House
Red Sox fans — and baseball fans alike — get excited! Fenway Park is one of the many favorite parts of this travel nursing destination.
#4: Richmond, Virginia
If you’re a travel nurse who loves history, then Richmond, Virginia, might be the assignment you’re looking for.
Richmond is known for its rich history, the local cuisine, and the amazing city views from the James River. It’s been rated as one of the 100 best places to live.
Richmond offers so much to see and experience such as:
- Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
- American Civil War Museum
- Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
- RVA Trolley
- The Edgar Allan Poe Museum
- Richmond food tour; and
- James River
#5: Atlanta, Georgia
Southern charm, hospitality, and above average nursing salaries — it’s no surprise why Atlanta is one of the top cities on the East Coast for travel nurses.
Atlanta travel nursing assignments offer nurses the chance to explore an array of activities, including visiting:
- The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site
- Centennial Olympic Park
- Fox Theatre; and
- Piedmont Park
Atlanta’s unique public transportation system, MARTA, makes it easy for travel nurses to get to and from work or activities via the transit rail system.
3 Top Cities for Travel Nurses in the Central United States
#1: Dallas, Texas
Everything is bigger in Texas.
And that’s true for the city of Dallas. The Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex is made of 10 major cities and 13 counties — the largest metropolitan area in the southern United States.
The number of people moving into the area may be a pro or a con for you. Either way, Dallas is booming.
There’s always something for a travel nurse to do in Dallas, such as …
- The AT&T Performing Arts Center for theater, opera, or dance
- Live music venues such as Adair’s Saloon or The Bomb Factory
- The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden; or
- The Dallas Arts District
… just to get you started.
#2: Omaha, Nebraska
“Flyover Country” isn’t the first destination many travel nurses think of as they create their list of dream destinations, but it certainly has its perks.
With a population of around 475,000 and home to over 100 hospitals, Nebraska provides travel nurses with various opportunities to meet their career goals.
Nebraska is also a member of the NLC, so multi-state license holders can breathe easy knowing they have one less thing to check off their to-do lists when arriving.
One of the biggest perks of heading to Omaha for your next assignments is the state’s low cost of living, with housing costs below the national average.
Travel nurses can enjoy the state’s most populous city by:
- Taking trips to the historic Old Market
- Visiting the Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium
- Hiking Fontenelle Forest; or
- Being in two places at one time by visiting the Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge
#3: Kansas City, Missouri
One of the biggest perks of working as a travel nurse in Kansas City, Missouri, is the lower housing expenses, easy-going feel, and endless career opportunities.
Often referred to as an “urban-meets-suburban” town, Kansas city isn’t lacking in attractions. From world-class barbeque to jazz music players — there’s a bit of charm everywhere you go.
Travel nurses can take in the sites, enjoy all four seasons, and help a community dealing with nursing shortages regularly.
The 3 Best Places To Travel Nurse Outside of the Contiguous United States
#1: Maui, Hawaii
Who doesn’t have traveling to Hawaii on their bucket list?
For many travel nurses, working in Maui, Hawaii, is a dream come true.
The breathtaking beaches, the mountains, the people, the culture, beauty is everywhere in Maui.
Living in Maui means everything to do is about being outdoors and connecting with nature. Why not? It’s warm all year long.
Here are a seven popular ideas to get your Maui bucket list started:
- Attend a luau
- Go whale watching
- Swim with sea turtles
- See the Seven Sacred Pools
- Tour a pineapple farm
- See a blowhole
- Bicycle down a volcano (Yes, that’s a thing)
#2: Anchorage, Alaska
Alaskan travel assignments are for nurses who love adventure.
You can hike volcanoes, see the Northern Lights, watch the salmon run, or take a helicopter tour over glaciers.
But Alaska’s not all wilderness — Anchorage offers arts, entertainment, galleries, restaurants, and nightlife.
A few things to get your visit started are:
- Find moose
- See glaciers
- Learn about Alaska Native cultures
- Try dog sledding
- View the Northern Lights; and
- Watch the Bore Tide
#3: Honolulu, Hawaii
Like many other locations, Honolulu is experiencing a shortage of nurses, so travel nurses have no problems finding assignments in Honolulu.
Many travelers dream of visiting the Aloha State. And for travel nurses, it is a dream come true. Although it doesn’t make the cut for financial reasons — as the cost of living is quite high — the quality of life travel nurses experience far outweighs the issue.
Aside from the surfing, beaches, historic landmarks, culture, and tropical climate, what makes Honolulu one of the best places for travel nurses to accept an assignment?
Although not having a car may limit what travel nurses can do in their free time, public transportation makes it easy to travel in Honolulu.
Take the time during your travel nursing career to enjoy the culture, history, and wholesome lifestyle Hawaii provides.
Factors That May Influence the City You Choose for Your Next Travel Assignment
The best thing about being a travel nurse is the experience of travel.
However, you can’t just throw a dart at a map or hop on a plane to Hawaii without first considering a few factors.
You may love the adventure the destination offers, but if the cost of living is too high for the pay offered, you won’t be able to afford to go on adventures. Be sure to learn how to budget appropriately.
If you are hoping to rely on public transportation, but you arrive to find out that what’s offered is several years away from efficiency — you’re going to begin your several months there already stressed.
Consider these top 4 factors:
- Pay and cost of living
- Distance from family
- Local transportation options
- Crime rates
If you’re working with a reliable nurse staffing agency, like Trusted Nurse Staffing, they should walk you through these factors and help you make the right decision for your travel nurse assignment.
Trusted Nurse Staffing: Helping You Select the Top Cities for Travel Nursing Assignments
At Trusted Nurse Staffing, we appreciate our nurses. We make it a priority to make you feel welcomed, and we want you to be successful.
When you become a travel nurse with us, you’ll enjoy perks like:
- The highest pay rates
- The best benefits packages in the industry
- A welcome box with lots of great swag; and
- Access to your recruiter 24/7
When you’re ready to start your new adventure, we’d love to help you discover the best places to travel nurse.
Fill out your free online profile now. We can’t wait to connect with you.