LAFAYETTE, La. (KPEL News) - There are plenty of reasons to visit Lafayette, from the culture to the festivals to the food. While folks around here know this, every so often it's nice to see some national recognition for it.

And while we normally dread what the personal finance website WalletHub might say about Louisiana, this time there is great news for the Heart of Acadiana.

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WalletHub put together its list of Top Summer Destinations for 2024, and Lafayette landed in the Top 25, just beating out New Orleans, which came in at No. 26.

A lot of the Top 10 cities are not surprising. Orlando has Disney and Universal theme parks, Hawaii has some of the best beaches, and Austin is a bustling center of the arts, food, and more in Texas. And you have the nation's capital, as well.

1. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, GA
2. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
3. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL
4. Urban Honolulu, HI
5. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL
6. Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, TX
7. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD
8. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
9. El Paso, TX
10. Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN

But Lafayette coming in at No. 25 is pretty awesome, considering the competition on the list. New Orleans and Charleston, South Carolina, follow Lafayette at No. 26 and No. 27, respectively, which might surprise some folks.

But Lafayette does have a lot to offer travelers. We're at the center of Acadiana, not all that far from some great Louisiana beaches, and a cultural hub with a lot of history to celebrate. There's no reason for people not to come here.

Here's the remainder of the Top 25.

11. Salt Lake City, UT
12. New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA
13. Richmond, VA
14. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL
15. Springfield, MO
16. Knoxville, TN
17. Tulsa, OK
18. Oklahoma City, OK
19. San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX
20. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA
21. Raleigh-Cary, NC
22. Grand Rapids-Kentwood, MI
23. Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN
24. St. Louis, MO-IL
25. Lafayette, LA

What Makes Lafayette a Top Summer Destination?

So what is it that makes Lafayette so attractive as a summer destination? Cost plays a pretty big factor, according to WalletHub.

Lafayette is No. 3 in the country for local costs. You can travel to Lafayette and not spend anywhere close to what you might spend in other cities on the list, like Austin or Orlando (or New Orleans for that matter). We also don't rank terribly when it comes to travel costs to get here (No. 33) and our weather, while extremely hot at times, leaves us with beautiful days during the summer months.

LeeAnn B Stephan Photography
LeeAnn B Stephan Photography
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But, what specifically makes Lafayette a fantastic summer destination? It's full of fun things to do and has a unique culture. You can listen to live music, try tasty Cajun food, and join in on festivals. Plus, there are lots of outdoor activities nearby, like kayaking in the swamps or going for hikes in the parks.

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The people in Lafayette are really friendly, so you'll feel right at home. Whether you want to explore the local music scene, eat delicious food, or just relax, Lafayette has something for everyone. So, if you're looking for a fun summer getaway, consider visiting Lafayette.

Things to Do in Lafayette?

People born and raised around here are always quick to give their opinions on where you need to go, so we asked folks on social media where they thought the must-have experiences in Lafayette are. Here are their answers.

Things You MUST Experience When Visiting Lafayette, Louisiana

There is no shortage of things to do in Lafayette, Louisiana, and if you're a visitor to the city, you definitely need to experience all of these before you leave town. Here's our list of must-have experiences in our city.

Gallery Credit: Joe Cunningham