Planning out your assignment locations for 2023? With so many cool travel nurse destinations to choose from, it can be hard to narrow down your picks for the year.
To determine the best states to travel nurse, we considered a combination of factors including cost of living, inflation rates, and demand for nurses.
We ranked states on a score system, with cost of living on a scale of 1-10 (10 being highest cost of living), inflation scores rated out of 100 (with 100 being no negative inflation effects at all), and where travel nurses are most needed measured by the difference between supply and demand for nurses expected by 2030.
From these calculations, we were able to come up with a list of destinations where you’re bound to flourish in as a healthcare traveler. Here are the 10 best places for travel nurses in 2023.
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- Cost of living score: 6.92
- Inflation score: 72.1/100
- Demand: 2.2% demand projected to be met in 2030
While the Massachusetts cost of living is on the higher side, this state also has one of the best inflation ratings and highest demand for healthcare workers.
As one of the original colonies of America, the Bay State is full of historical attractions to explore. But the state isn’t stuck in the past, there are also trendy cities and beautiful beaches to discover. Here are some of the top things to do in Massachusetts:
- Visit Martha’s Vineyard, an island in the Cape Cod area with gorgeous lighthouses, Victorian-style cottages called “gingerbread houses,” and breathtaking views of the sunset from all vantage points.
- Wander the Freedom Trail, a three-mile trail in Boston that takes you along a tour of historical sites like colonial streets, graveyards, and iconic monuments and locations like Faneuil Hall.
- Go whale watching at Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, where dolphins, seals, and around 50 humpbacks return each summer.
- View the largest collection of Norman Rockwell’s art in the world at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge.
- Relive the American Revolution at Battle Green in Lexington, where it’s believed the first shots of the Revolution were fired in 1775.
- Cost of living score: 4.36
- Inflation score: 71.5/100
- Demand: 28.5% demand projected to be met in 2030
The Pine Tree State is a great place for travel nurses to work in, as it hasn’t been hit hard by inflation and the cost of living is pretty middle-of-the-road. While Maine is one of the states least affected by the staffing shortage, they’re still in need of travelers.
With so many incredible activities in Maine, it’s no wonder the state is called Vacationland. From beautiful coasts to delicious lobster, Maine has a lot to offer visitors. Here are some of the top things to do in Maine:
- Venture to Acadia National Park, one of the top 10 most-visited national parks with almost 160 miles of hiking trails, carriage roads for horseback riding, and tons of perfect areas to stargaze.
- Travel to Portland Head Light, the longest-standing lighthouse in Maine, built over 200 years ago, with a rich history of guiding sailors to shore.
- Wander the Old Port District in Portland, which maintains a cozy, historical feel with cobblestone streets, fishing piers and markets, and an array of local shops and restaurants.
- Take in the beauty of the largest botanical gardens in New England at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, 300-plus acres of fantastical exhibits, a butterfly house, bee habitat, and numerous diverse gardens.
- Spend a day in Kennebunkport, a small coastal town where you can sail, explore Dock Square’s local shops, and grab an authentic lobster roll.
- Cost of living score: 5.47
- Inflation score: 74.2/100
- Demand: 5.4% demand projected to be met in 2030
The cost of living in New Hampshire is higher, however, their lack of sales tax and higher wages help level the field. Plus, the demand is relatively high, so finding an assignment in the state won’t be difficult.
Don’t be fooled by the small size of this state, as it’s filled with exciting events and things to see. The Granite State has much to boast about, from its Lake Region to the White Mountains in the northern part of the state. Here are some of the top things to do in New Hampshire:
- Ride on Lake Winnipesaukee’s S. Mailboat Sophie C, the oldest floating post office in the U.S. that delivers mail to the lake’s island residents during the summer. Send postcards straight from the boat or simply watch the mail carrier deliver mail via docks and shores.
- Admire the ice slides, tunnels, Mystic Forest Light Walk, Winter Fairy Forest, and more at Ice Castles, a perfect spot for a winter assignment as it's filled with ice sculptures every winter in North Woodstock.
- Cruise along the Kancamagus Highway and wind past waterfalls, gorges, and of course, a magical view of the changing leaves in the fall.
- Hang out in Downtown Portsmouth where you can take a stroll in the Market Square and pop into local shops, or visit one of the many beautiful parks or museums in the area.
- Relax on Hampton Beach where you can find boardwalk arcades, fresh seafood, and even a sand sculpting festival over Labor Day weekend.
- Cost of living score: 8.05
- Inflation score: 57.2/100
- Demand: -11.5% demand projected to be met in 2030
The demand for healthcare workers is high in California, and the pay rates for assignments in the state reflect that demand. Just be prepared for those high earnings to be balanced out by the higher cost of living and inflation rates in the state.
You’d have to take multiple assignments in California to even scratch the surface of the endless attractions in The Golden State. Explore California’s top cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco or spend time relaxing on the beach, in the mountains, or vineyards. Here are some of the top things to do in California:
- Embrace your inner child at any of California’s theme parks including Disneyland Park, Universal Studios Hollywood, or SeaWorld San Diego.
- Venture out to Yosemite with sites like Glacier Point, Half Dome, Mist Trail, and Tunnel View Outlook to keep you plenty busy in the great outdoors.
- Cross the iconic Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco for scenic views and bayside trails that lead to secluded beaches.
- Take a trip to Sequoia National Park to see the only place in the world with giant sequoias and redwoods.
- Experience wine country in Napa, Sonoma, or any of the other 10 wine regions in California.
- Cost of living score: 6.22
- Inflation score: 64.1/100
- Demand: -22.5% demand projected to be met in 2030
Similar to California, the demand for travel nurses and the cost of living in Alaska is high. Yet, the state hasn’t been majorly affected by inflation.
There’s absolutely nothing like the breathtaking beauty of nature in Alaska. No matter if you’re exploring the mountains, glaciers, or fjords, there are gorgeous sights to take in just about everywhere. Here are some of the top things to do in Alaska:
- Go on a hunt to view the Northern Lights in Fairbanks – visitors who spend three nights in Fairbanks have a 90% chance of seeing them!
- Take a glacier tour by kayak, raft, plane, ATV, hike, or ice climb! No matter what mode of transportation you choose, you’re bound to see incredible wildlife and unique ice structures.
- Hop on a train on the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad where you can pass by gorges, waterfalls, forests, and glaciers as you travel up the mountainside.
- Shop the Anchorage Market with local vendors offering food, art, clothing, florals, and more from May to September.
- Learn about some of Alaska’s history at Kennicott Ghost Town, an abandoned area that once was a busy town when people flocked to it for copper mining.
- Cost of living score: 2.82
- Inflation score: 57.9/100
- Demand: 44.69% demand projected to be met in 2030
While the state is feeling a bit of the effects of inflation, low housing costs and a general low cost of living helps New Mexico be a great destination for travel nurses. Demand for healthcare workers is also on the lower end, but there are still lots of job opportunities for travelers.
Art and archaeology lovers will love New Mexico! The cultural roots and strong art community make the state a memorable visit. Here are some of the top things to do in New Mexico:
- Drop by the Georgia O’Keefe Museum where you can view over 1,000 drawings, sculptures, and paintings by the famous Southwestern artist as well as other notable artists from the region.
- Survey the ivory dunes at White Sands National Park where you can sled or hike through the sand.
- Marvel at the life-size dinosaur skeletons, planetarium, and naturalist center housed at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science.
- Cool off at Santa Rosa Blue Hole, a great place to cliff jump, dive, or swim in crystal clear and cool waters.
- Get the best views of Albuquerque and the Sandia Mountains from the Sandia Peak Ski & Tramway, an attraction that takes you nearly three miles up Sandia Peak.
- Cost of living score: 6.05
- Inflation score: 72.1/100
- Demand: 8.8% demand projected to be met in 2030
Connecticut doesn’t have the lowest cost of living, but they’re faring well when it comes to inflation. Plus, there is no shortage of jobs available for travel nurses in this Northeastern state.
Known for its fall foliage and year-round outdoor activities, Connecticut is packed with awesome travel adventures. Here are some of the top things to do in Connecticut:
- Spend time in the countryside on the Connecticut Wine Trail, where you can taste award-winning wines, experience fine dining, and participate in farm activities like apple picking and Christmas tree cutting.
- Glimpse the life of a submarine crew at the Submarine Force Library & Museum where you can step aboard the USS Nautilus, the first nuclear-powered submarine.
- Interact with wildlife like sea lions, beluga whales, jellyfish, stingrays, and more at the Mystic Aquarium.
- Head to the Connecticut River Museum for artwork and interactive exhibits featuring the history and wildlife that belongs to the river.
- Browse the huge collection of themed PEZ dispensers, learn about the candy’s history, and watch how the product is packaged at the PEZ Visitor Center.
- Cost of living score: 3.37
- Inflation score: 64.7/100
- Demand: 23.2% demand projected to be met in 2030
The Gem State scores well on all three counts, meaning a travel nurse assignment in this Pacific Northwest state is a perfect idea.
With over 30 state parks, scenic routes, and famous hot springs, there are plenty of adventures in Idaho. Here are some of the top things to do in Idaho:
- Hike at one of the most iconic waterfalls in Idaho, Shoshone Falls, with trails leading to various viewpoints throughout the park.
- Stroll along the River Walk in Idaho Falls, a walkway that covers five miles on both sides of the Snake River and is lined with art installations.
- Check an item off your bucket list at Yellowstone National Park where the western edge of the Yellowstone Mountains and the western slope of the Tetons can be found in Idaho.
- Go back in time to 1872 when you visit the Old Idaho Penitentiary State Historic Site, Idaho’s oldest prison that now provides guided tours through the grounds and teaches about the history of the complex and its former inmates.
- Unwind at Lava Hot Springs, a paradise of natural springs heated by underground lava as well as numerous pools.
- Cost of living score: 3.82
- Inflation score: 58.5/100
- Demand: 14.7% demand projected to be met in 2030
Even though the state is feeling some effects of inflation, its relatively low cost of living and high demand for healthcare travelers helps balance the state out to make it a worthwhile destination.
Lovers of the outdoors will never be bored in Colorado. The Centennial State is an ideal destination for adventurous travelers, and it has plenty to offer in terms of natural attractions. Here are some of the top things to do in Connecticut:
- Check out 147 lakes, 355 miles of trails, and tons of wildlife at Rocky Mountain National Park.
- Roam Larimer Square to experience some Denver nightlife, with some of the city’s best breweries and bars in the district.
- Ski at Aspen Snowmass, one of the country's largest ski resorts with 150 miles of trails varying in difficulty levels.
- Catch a concert at Red Rocks Amphitheatre where the bleacher style seats are built into a cliff, which reportedly give the venue great acoustics, as well as a great view!
- Embark on an adventure with tours of the towering rock formations at Garden of the Gods via Jeep, Segway, trolley, bike, or private rock climbing tours.
- Cost of living score: 2.8
- Inflation score: 55.1/100
- Demand: 13.9% demand projected to be met in 2030
Low cost of living and high demand in North Carolina makes it a great place to take a travel nurse assignment in 2023!
Can’t decide between the mountains or the beach? Luckily, North Carolina is great for both! Here are some of the top things to do in North Carolina:
- Drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway, a 469-mile long drive that can take you to Shenandoah National Park, the Great Smoky Mountains, Craggy Gardens, Mount Mitchell, and numerous waterfalls.
- Be immersed in the history of NASCAR with racing simulators, an interactive Pit Crew Challenge, and countless fun exhibits at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
- Appreciate a diverse array of flora and fauna at North Carolina Arboretum, with more than 65 acres of beautiful gardens, a renowned collection of bonsai trees, 10-plus miles of scenic hiking trails, and numerous other indoor and outdoor art exhibitions.
- Lounge on 100-plus miles of beaches at the Outer Banks, a string of barrier islands off the coast that has something different for everyone at each beach from surfing to four-wheeling.
- View the most biodiverse group of wildlife and plants, hike on more than 850 trails, and see some of the tallest peaks in the eastern U.S. at the Great Smoky Mountains.
When you’re ready to plan your next travel nurse assignment, Fusion Marketplace has you covered. Search our job board by state to find the perfect job for you. Your next great adventure is only a click away!