Travelers still searching for an affordable Fourth of July getaway may want to head to Baltimore - if they can find a hotel room.
A new survey by online travel booking site Reservation Counter shows that among several East Coast metropolitan cities, Baltimore is not only less costly, but also a desirable Independence Day destination.
Pitted against New York City, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington D.C., Baltimore had the lowest percentage of rooms still available for the upcoming holiday travel weekend, according to the survey of more than 1,100 hotels conducted in mid-June.
"The word is getting out about Baltimore, that it's not just a stopping place between New York and Washington D.C.," says Greg Jarrard, marketing director at Reservation Counter. "History buffs who follow events surrounding the War for Independence and the Civil War know it’s a must-see."
Each city was measured by an "Affordability Index," based on criteria including the number of hotels queried, the number of rooms still available and the average price for those rooms.
According to the study, as of June 16 Baltimore had just 21 percent of hotel rooms still remaining and the lowest average room rate of $111.26, compared to Boston and New York room rate averages that exceeded $225 per night.
It comes as no surprise that rooms and festivities are more affordable in Charm City than in Beantown or Gotham, especially on a holiday weekend as busy as Fourth of July, but Baltimore appears to be growing in popularity as a vacation destination.
Esquire Magazine recently highlighted Baltimore in their series "Style Across America," praising its eclectic art scene, particularly at hotspots like Area 405 and Paper Moon.
A deluge of celebrations, most notably the "Star Spangled Banner 200" events, commemorating the 200th anniversary of Francis Scott Key’s musical paean to patriotism and the famed Battle of Baltimore, kick off this summer and continue through September.
"With the 200-year anniversary of the Battle of Baltimore and Francis Scott Key's writing of the national anthem, this is the year to plan a visit," Jarrard said. "And if you can save some money on your hotel room, that’s just the icing on the cake.”