10 of the Most Underrated Travel Nursing Destinations
By Melissa Hagstrom, contributor
Although big cities like Los Angeles and New York will always offer plenty of excellent travel nurse assignments, sometimes it’s the under-the-radar locations that have nurses coming back for more.
From rural towns and midsize cities to locations that are off the beaten path, read on to discover some hidden gems and underrated cities for travel nursing that have so much to offer!
Discover travel nursing destinations in all 50 states.
10 underrated cities for travel nurse assignments
1. Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Situated on Florida’s southeastern coast, this hip town is known for its beaches, boating, trendy restaurants, boutiques and hotels. It also has an active arts community, a historic waterfront, and gondola rides on the canals that have helped earn the city’s “Venice of America” nickname. You’ll find a variety of travel nurse assignments in this fun locale; plus it’s only 25 miles from Miami.
2. Hillsboro, Oregon
As Oregon's fifth largest city with over 100,000 residents, travel nurses will find great opportunities in this Portland suburb. In fact, Hillsboro was once again named among the Best Places to Live in America, ranking No. 7 on Livability.com’s 2021 list. Known for its unique mixture of innovative high-tech companies, farmlands and gorgeous natural landscapes, Hillsboro offer the amenities of both city and country living.
3. Hackensack, New Jersey
Hackensack is “a unique and diverse city on the verge of a Renaissance,” according to the city’s website. It’s centrally located with an easy train or bus ride to NYC and it’s also home to a world-renowned medical center. Hackensack has a revitalized downtown featuring a variety of restaurants and shops, with nearby opportunities for high-end shopping, local craft breweries, eco tours, and more. Travel nurses can enjoy the town’s cultural and community events and deep history dating back to the 1600s.
4. Torrance, California
Located in the South Bay area on the outskirts of Los Angeles, Torrance gives travel nurses the feel of a city with the bonus of beautiful beaches lining the Pacific Ocean. Its location makes it easy to get to downtown LA, or over to Orange County or San Diego on a day off. Whether you prefer water sports, farmers markets, street fairs, breweries, museums and galleries, or touring nearby So Cal attractions, Torrance is an ideal location for travel nurse assignments.
5. Decatur, Georgia
Just northeast of Atlanta, Decatur is a bit of hidden gem, featuring a variety of perks for nurses seeking unique travel nursing destinations. Consider yourself a foodie? You’ll dine to your heart’s content in nationally recognized dining spots and fun eateries, while enjoying free outdoor concerts, arts events and festivals. Nurses can explore storefront boutiques and galleries set along tree-lined streets and pop into museums to take a step back in time.
6. Bellingham, Washington
Along the coast of Washington State near the Canadian border lies the beautiful town of Bellingham. Nature-loving nurses will be on cloud nine here with sweeping scenery from the Salish Sea to Mt. Baker and North Cascades National Park. Enjoy farm-to-table menus, craft brews, a vibrant arts scene and charming historical treasures. Feeling adventurous? Get out on the water, explore the trails, or take a ferry to Alaska from here!
7. Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
Dubbed “The Diamond City,” Wilkes-Barre is situated along the scenic Susquehanna River, and is known as an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. Travel nurses on assignment can enjoy kayaking, whitewater rafting, and an extensive system of hiking/biking trails. Nearby shopping areas, art galleries, four state parks and numerous ski areas add to the appeal.
8. Neptune, New Jersey
This coastal New Jersey town is home to a variety of travel nurse assignments in several specialties. Nurses looking for something different will be pleasantly surprised here, especially as they explore nearby beaches that rank among the best on the Jersey Shore. Neptune Township offers the feeling of a small town with the resources of larger cities nearby.
9. Tucson, Arizona
From the sprawling Catalina foothills to the charming University of Arizona campus and surrounding area, Tucson has so much to offer. Nurse travelers can enjoy a lively downtown, incredible dining, numerous parks and recreation areas, the Reid Park Zoo, and a variety of museums. The city is also home to several world-class medical facilities and hospitals. A quick drive to Phoenix provides nurses with a more metro feel.
10. Concord, New Hampshire
The state’s capital city of Concord has a rich history and a beautiful, suburban setting. Travel nurses can spend their days off exploring the many museums, parks and trails found in and around Concord. From arts centers and historic homes to wildlife sanctuaries and lively eateries, this New England city has a charm all its own.
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