Yellowstone National Park (Image courtesy National Park Service)

Memorial Day weekend is quickly upon us and signals the unofficial beginning to the summer travel season. Those of you still wondering what to do this year might be interested in U.S. News Travel’s list of best summer vacations that was released recently.

Yellowstone National Park ranks high in several categories including “best family summer vacation” (USA of otherwise) and well as for “cheap summer vacation.”

Should a beach destination be your calling the list recommends Hawaii – The Big Island as “best beach in the USA” as well as one of the most relaxing. (Sorry, Hawaii is nowhere to be found on the “cheap” list.)

The rankings focused on three key characteristics folks look for when planning a vacation: affordability, quality, and being family-friendly. The methodology employed combines expert and consumer opinions and their recommendations along with those of U.S. News Travel Website users. The finalists were chosen from among more than 200 travel destinations.

Walt Disney is still all the rage as both Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California ranked as top family destinations.

Yosemite National Park (Image courtesy National Park Service)

Other affordable vacation spots include the Grand Canyon and Yosemite national parks. As for “most relaxing beach” destinations British Virgin Islands took that top spot with Kauai and Hawaii following respectively. Maui, by the way, rated highly as a “best beach in the USA” as well as second for “family beach vacation in the USA” and third for “best summer vacation” overall.

I have to agree that America’s National Parks are some of the best values as vacation destinations. Some of them are seasonal while others operate fully year-round. And since summer is usually the busiest time in the parks visitors need to pack patience along with the sunscreen and bug repellent.