The great thing about being a traveling nurse boils down to one key component - it's about the travel! For those of us who love moving around and seeing the world, travel nursing is the profession of our dreams. There are many travel destinations available, based on weather, activities, cost of living, and salary. Therefore, I have gathered a list of my "Top Ten" destinations that nurses choose, based on the number of travelers who inquire about each location every month. Are you a travel RN scouting a new assignment? Then I'd like to suggest the following ten "Hot Spots":
HAWAII - It's no shock that Hawaii generates over 500 travel nursing inquiries per month. The wide range of outdoor activities from snow-capped mountains to snow-white sandy beaches elevates Hawaii to one of those meccas where you can build a snowman or a sand castle all in one day. Nurses tell me that you'll discover virtually every type of outdoor activity imaginable - hiking trails that wind through erupting volcanoes, secret beaches, and lush green ranchlands. Many travelers also hunt, mountain bike, go rafting, and golf on some of the world's most extravagant courses.
ALASKA - Travel nurses are intrigued by the possibilities of Alaska's rugged mystery. Alaska is a huge wilderness with beautiful scenery, and travel nursing assignments offer plenty of time to see and do everything you want, whether in winter's darkness under northern lights, or the glorious spring and summer where it's light most of the time. Outdoor enthusiasts enjoy Alaska for its' wildlife, spectacular natural landscape, and fishing expeditions where the fish really are as big as the stories about which they're told. Countless day cruises and sightseeing expeditions abound, as well as opportunities to hike, kayak, canoe, ski- Need we say more?
MONTANA - Whether photographer, adventurer, or both, Montana is truly a state that beckons with open arms. River trips, fishing and camping, history, snowy mountain ranges, and waterfalls are what you'll encounter, along with plenty of open space to explore. Assignments in Montana appeal to those travel nurses who just need some time to break away from their city grind to enjoy marching to the beat of an entirely different drummer. The Big Sky Country boasts some of America's most famous mountains, canyons, river valleys, forests, grassy plains, badlands, and caverns, and many travelers find it just irresistible enough to keep coming back.
MAINE - Maine's splendor has inspired artists like Georgia O'Keefe and three generations of the Wyeth family, since the mid-nineteenth century. Travel nurses can't resist at least one adventure in this charming getaway. Whether you embark on outdoor adventures like skiing and snowmobiling, or if you prefer the cozy ambience of antiquing through charming villages or just strolling or riding horseback on miles of sandy beaches in the smell of salt air, Maine is legendary and offers some wonderful travel nursing experiences. Its' unique culture is outdoorsy and quaint, and of course you get to enjoy lobster as the locals do - fresh from the ocean!
CALIFORNIA - Warm weather and world-famous beaches make California a favorite choice for traveling nurses. Nine-hundred miles of coastline gives nurses in all locations the chance to spend many hours near the waves; and for nature lovers, California is home to many wildlife parks, remote wilderness areas, and safe-havens for endangered animals. If you're an excitement junkie, you can scout out a wide selection of theme parks; and no matter what your taste in music, concerts abound in every type of venue. Historic sites and museums invite, as do five-star restaurants and clubs in which to see and be seen. The shopping is unparalleled, whether it's trendy Melrose Place, La Jolla, or the strand in Venice Beach; and of course it's home to Hollywood, and, yes, movie stars. Whether northern, southern, or coastal locations, traveling nurses return to California time and again.
WASHINGTON - The Evergreen State boasts the gorgeous Pacific Ocean, the Cascade Mountains, desert experiences, rain forests, towering volcanoes, glaciers, and lush wine country. Washington State rates high on the list of many nurse travelers. Must-sees are the Space Needle and Coulee Dam. The culture here is incredibly diverse; sophisticated, outdoorsy, and loaded with resorts, history, parks, museums, and botanical gardens. Whether touring downtown Seattle for cozy antique and book stores, exploring ancient Indian grounds, or hiking and biking mountains or trails, Washington holds a strong allure for many nurse travelers.
SOUTH CAROLINA - Endless adventure, excitement, fun and exploration represent why South Carolina is always a favorite destination for travel nurses. America's oldest landscaped gardens frame mansions rife with historical heritage, in addition to pristine beaches and legendary marshy wetlands. For all you golfers, with over 330 golf courses, there's always a new place to swing your clubs. But what fascinates many traveling nurses is the rich heritage in which South Carolina has paved the roads of culture, art, and folklore in our past. You can visit several historical areas and discovery centers of American history, including the American Revolution and the Civil War.
COLORADO - World-class winter skiing and summer music festivals in the mountains are just two reasons that nurses love traveling to Colorado. Boasting four spectacular seasons, Colorado is where travel nurses get to explore the state's 18 million acres of state and national parks, forests, and monuments for biking, hiking, fishing, mountain climbing, and kayaking, to name a few. Colorado has many cultural treasures, including ancient Native American sites and dinosaur fossil exhibits, historic ghost towns, and even award-winning vineyards in Grand Junction. And for those who enjoy city life, amid all this natural beauty lie wonderful metropolitan areas like Denver and Boulder, full of shopping, performing arts, and professional sports.
TENNESSEE - From energetic nights of blues on Beale Street, to gorgeous rolling acres of Tennessee Walker horse country, to peaceful Smoky Mountain sunsets, Tennessee is a vacation that offers many world-renowned attractions. Nurse travelers who visit Tennessee will find that they're within a day's drive of 75-percent of the U.S. population via quality interstates and highways. Attractions in Tennessee include the Jack Daniels' distillery, Elvis's Graceland, the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, and lots of southern hospitality. And don't forget the crown jewel of the southern Appalachians, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
ARIZONA - If you adore the outdoors, then the Grand Canyon State might just be for you. The nurses who go there just rave about Arizona's landscape which takes in tall mountain ranges, swift rivers, grasslands, sand dunes, and cactus forests all set against a beautiful sky that glows pink in the sunset. The traveler nurses who enjoy history will find plenty of it here, including Old West reformations, Native American nations, and Spanish-influenced areas all in one state. Arizona is also home to the nation's greatest golf courses, resorts, spas, cabins, and ranches.
As you can see, limitless possibilities exist for those nurses who want travel, fun, and adventure to be part of their daily lives. If you're a nurse who travels and it's time for you to move on to a new location, try one of these top travel nursing destinations and see what new experiences lie ahead.