Travel nursing is a great way to get paid to see the 50 states. Yet, timing is everything. Minneapolis in January can be bone-chilling, and Las Vegas in July can be sweltering. But hey, don’t sweat it! We’ve done your homework for you. We looked at the best cities for travel nurses and came up with the top places to work by the seasons. Read on to learn where you want to work next.
Top summer locations for travel nurses
Visiting Boston is like taking a step back in time for U.S. history. Daytime temperatures are in the 70s and 80s, and the nights are warm. What better place to celebrate Independence Day? The city offers a variety of cultural activities and museums. You can retrace the historic steps of the Freedom Trail, take in a Red Sox game at Fenway Park or listen to a Boston Pops concert. Or maybe escape for a few days to the beaches at Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard. Boston is home to hospitals like Tufts Medical Center, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Portland is one of the top cycling cities and an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. Some scenic attractions nearby include the Columbia River, Willamette Valley and the beautiful Oregon coastline. Summer is an excellent time to visit the Rose City because it’s drier and temperatures average in the 70s. Portland is also home to a delicious variety of food carts, Powell’s City of Books and a reasonable cost of living. You might even see Fred and Carrie filming an episode of “Portlandia.” Employment options include Kaiser Permanente, Oregon Health Sciences University Hospital and Providence St. Vincent Medical Center.
Love the great outdoors? Then you’ll fall in love with Alaska, where beautiful scenery and wildlife abound. Summer is the ideal time to visit the “Land of the Midnight Sun” because the days are long and the temperatures are mild. Anchorage is Alaska’s most populated city, but it’s not uncommon to run into a moose. During your stay, you can visit Denali State Park, historic Talkeetna or the fishing village of Seward. Or perhaps go salmon fishing, view glaciers and snap wildlife photos. Alaska is one of the top-paying states for nurses, with opportunities at Alaska Regional Hospital and Providence Alaska Medical Center.
San Diego has dubbed itself as “America’s Finest City,” and for good reason. Ranked by the Weather Channel as one of the best summer climates in the country, San Diego is a top spot for surf, sun and fun. San Diego is also a center for biotechnology research and a place where travel nurses are in demand. The cost of living is high, but pay rates are comparable. Attractions include the world-famous San Diego Zoo, La Jolla beaches and vibrant Gaslamp Quarter. Medical facilities include the University of California-San Diego Medical Center, Scripps Mercy Hospital and Sharp Memorial Hospital.
The winters may be chilly, but when summer rolls around, the people in Chi-Town know how to celebrate. Everywhere you look, people are outside enjoying the views of Lake Michigan and the warm nights. Conde Nast Traveler rated Chicago as one of the “Top Ten Cities in the United States.” Chicago is a walkable city where you can stroll Lake Shore Drive, shop along the Magnificent Mile or visit the Chicago Art Institute. Try the deep-dish pizza, a Chicago-style hot dog or taste a little bit of everything at the Taste of Chicago food festival. Some of the top employment options are the University of Chicago Medical Center, Cook County Hospital or Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
Top winter locations for travel nurses
If dancing is your thing, head south to Miami. Be it conga, rumba, samba or techno, Miami has it all. The Magic City is home to the largest dance event in the world, the Winter Music Conference. Miami is a melting pot of ethnicities and cuisines and miles of beaches. Top neighborhoods include South Beach, Little Havana and Bal Harbour. Visit the beautiful botanical gardens, go snorkeling at the Keys or tour the nearby Everglades. Medical facilities include the University of Miami Hospital, Miami Children’s Hospital and Jackson Memorial Hospital.
Lovely Honolulu on the island of Oahu is a good choice any time of year. Unfortunately, many nurses agree, so landing a gig here may be a bit competitive. The cost of living is high, but how can you put a price on paradise? Honolulu offers many options for snorkeling, surfing or sunbathing (with sunscreen, of course!). And Men’s Fitness magazine named Honolulu the “Fittest City in the U.S.” because of its year-round temperate climate. Healthcare facilities include Queen’s Medical Center, Leahi Hospital and the Kuakini Medical Center.
Music lovers rejoice! Austin is the “Live Music Capital of the World,” with more than 200 music venues. And the days are mild in the winter with highs in the 60s. It’s easy to cycle around Austin with more than 80 miles of bike lanes. Scenic Lady Bird Lake is a big draw, as is Austin’s barbecue and Tex-Mex cuisine. In March, thousands of people descend to the city for SXSW, one of the world’s largest music festivals. Employment options include Seton Medical Center, the University Medical Center Brackenridge and St. David’s Medical Center.
Many Midwesterners call Phoenix home during the winter because it has the most sunshine of any U.S. city. And there are plenty of opportunities to get outside. Phoenix has more than 50 miles of hiking, biking and horse trails, and more than 200 golf courses. Scenic Sedona and the Grand Canyon are only a few hours away. There’s a great need for nurses here with generous wages and a low cost of living. The Mayo Clinic has a location in Phoenix, as well as St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center and the Arizona Heart Institute.
The City by the Bay actually has a better climate during winter than the summer. Yes, San Francisco has a high cost of living, but it’s also the highest-paying city for RNs. Where else can you enjoy such a diverse melting pot with breathtaking views? Cross the Golden Gate Bridge, and you’re in Marin County. Drive a little farther, and you’ve reached the wine country in Napa Valley. Yosemite and Lake Tahoe are only a few hours away. San Francisco area hospitals include the University of California-San Francisco Medical Center, Stanford Hospital and Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital.