Are you daydreaming about your next travel nursing assignment? Maybe you’re about to end your current contract and need fresh ideas for the next leg of your journey. According to an analysis of the current travel nursing job market, the following ten cities ranked highest in availability, generous pay, and desirability of location.
Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles, California remains one of the most sought-after locations for travel nurses. The city offers travel nursing crisis contracts that regularly pay above the national average. There are multiple reputable hospital systems such as Kaiser Permanente, University of Southern California (USC) Keck, and others in need of experienced travel nurses. Plus, the lifestyle of near-perfect weather year-round, easy access to beaches and nature, and a lively food and night-life scene are more than enough incentives to land your next contract in Los Angeles.
Seattle is home to the iconic Space Needle with panoramic views of the city and bay, as well as the foodie-favorite Pike Place Market. The city is also known for its misty gray weather, eclectic art scene, and proximity to hiking havens such as Mt. Rainier and Mt. Saint Helens. Nursing specialties such as medical-surgical, ICU, and telemetry remain in high demand in the region, making this location an ideal fit for any travel nurse.
As a tropical oasis lying upon a dormant volcano, Honolulu stands as a strong contender for one of the most desirable places for travel nurses. This city is the largest of the islands, as well as the capital. Staying on the island offers easy access to picturesque white sands, lush green hikes, and the opportunity to pick up surfing as a new hobby. If you’re a fan of tropical flavors, fresh seafood, and a leisurely pace of life after your shift is over, Hawaii could be your next travel nursing destination.
St. Louis, Missouri
As the second largest city in Missouri and home of the blues music scene, St. Louis has a lot to offer travel nurses who are looking for a rich midwestern experience. The city has eccentric museums like the World Chess Hall of Fame and plenty of outdoor activities like fishing on the Mississippi River. For travel nurses in search of a relatively low cost-of-living without the congestion of other major cities, St. Louis could be the perfect low-key stop.
The “Windy City” lies on the shore of Lake Michigan and embodies everything that a bustling metropolitan hub should be. Chicago is known for its infamous “Chicago-style” hotdogs, cheesy deep-dish pizza, sweeping architecture, vibrant art and music scene, outdoor adventuring along the lake, and access to multiple sports teams. For travel nurses who are ready for a true urban experience, Chicago is an essential choice to explore the best of the Midwest.
Austin is one of the fastest-growing cities in the US and has proven to be an attractive option for travel nurses. As the state capital of Texas, it is a three-hour drive to other major cities such as Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio. Austin is also known for its fresh paleo food scene, live-outdoor concerts, and proximity to recreational activities at its multiple lakes and parks. For travel nurses looking for a mix of light urban sprawl with a small-town feel, Austin is a prime location.
Ready to enjoy the best of South Florida? Miami is known to be an entirely different world from its Floridian counterparts. Travel nurses regularly flock to Miami for it’s temperate climate, warm waters, funky art scene, and vibrant nightlife. Miami also represents a host of world-class sports teams and is only a short drive away from the Florida Keys, a string of tropical islands off the coast with opportunities for scuba diving, boating, snorkeling and fishing. Another benefit of a travel nursing contract in Miami is there is no state income tax, which means more take-home pay for you in the long run.
As one of the largest cities in the south and home to one of the busiest international airports in the United States, Atlanta combines the best of southern hospitality with an eclectic city vibe. Travel nurses can get their fix of hearty southern fare while enjoying interesting experiences like the Trap Museum or a Braves game. The Beltline, a pedestrian-only trail that runs through the middle of the city, is a fixture of trendy shops, restaurants, and casual nightlife frequented by locals and tourists alike.
New York City, New York
New York City is an icon on its own merit. A range of high-paying contracts are offered all year long, which continues to make it a popular location for travel nurses. New York City is also filled with a diverse selection of culinary delights, a brimming nightlife, and famous attractions like Times Square, the Broadway Theater, and Central Park. There is something for everyone, no matter what your taste is. However, you can expect to be traveling on foot and utilizing public transportation often.
As an underrated gem of the south, Richmond offers a tight-knit, unfussy small-town experience. Home to a major university, Richmond is also within a two-hour drive to Washington, D.C. and Charlottesville, which boasts ripe vineyards and peaceful forest getaways. Travel nurses can also experience the growing slow-food movement in Richmond and enjoy organic, locally butchered meats and craft cocktails. Richmond is an ideal option for nurses who are looking for a simpler pace of living.
Whether you’re at the end of your contract or looking to find your first travel nursing job, Health Carousel Travel Nursing has something for everyone. Connect with a recruiter and plan the next step of your travel nursing journey today.
Midge Lee is a registered nurse with six years of experience in burn, trauma, emergency medicine, and intensive care. She has also dabbled in travel nursing and home health. Midge enjoys writing about a range of topics—from self-care and wellness to hospital haikus.