Travel Updated November 28, 2023

By Moira K. McGhee, Contributor

The Ultimate Guide for Adventure-Seeking Travel Nurses

5 Ideal Locations and Key Considerations

With the demand for skilled nurses persisting across the nation, travel nurses find themselves in a unique position to explore exciting locations while advancing their careers. This comprehensive guide combines two essential blogs, highlighting five captivating locations for adventurous travel nurses and presenting crucial factors to ponder when deciding on the next travel nursing destination.

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Top 5 Locations for Adventurous Travel Nurses

1. California's Central Coast

On the beach or in the woods, California’s central coast offers unbelievable outdoor adventures for travel nurses in both environments. California has the highest employment rate for nurses in the country and 350 miles of beautiful, sun-drenched beaches perfect for watching local sea life and water activities. Surfing nurses love the ample ocean waves, and kayakers and stand-up paddle boarders enjoy the calm coves. RNs who enjoy hiking relish pleasant trails in the canyons shaded by tall coastal redwoods at Limekiln State Park in Big Sur.

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2. Santa Barbara Region

Focus on a smaller region of California's central coast in gorgeous Santa Barbara, where traveling nurses find endless opportunities to get outside year-round. Go rock climbing or hike along golden ridgelines with amazing scenic vistas. Set sail to go whale watching, or take a soothing kayak ride from Stearns Wharf to the Harbor. Across the Santa Barbara Channel is the Channel Island Marine Preserve, one of the most unique national parks worldwide. Get up close and personal with the local marine life during a day of snorkeling or scuba diving. With more than 300 days of sunshine annually, Santa Barbara’s climate is perfect for enjoying the great outdoors while exploring new opportunities in your nursing career.

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3. Flagstaff, Arizona

Flagstaff is well known for outdoor recreation, and it's dubbed the Gateway to the Grand Canyon, one of the most visited national parks in the country. Explore the pueblos at Walnut Canyon National Monument, just 10 miles from downtown Flagstaff, or visit the San Francisco Peaks where you can walk along lava flows at Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument. Traverse the waters of Lake Mary on a kiteboard or kayak, or soar the skies above Mt. Elden from a hang glider or paraglider. Bicycling is a big hit with routes all around Flagstaff that cater to cyclists looking for routes that let you go the distance or reach new elevations. Wintertime enthusiasts gear up for even more outdoor fun with skiing, snowshoeing and snowboarding on Mt. Humphreys.

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4. Alexandria, Virginia

Virginia features majestic mountains, beautiful beaches and colorful canyons, and Alexandria offers tons of outdoor adventures for travel nurses who want a little bit of everything. Located along the Potomac River, Alexandria boasts 940 acres of parks and recreation centers and the ever-popular Mount Vernon trail that ends at George Washington’s former home. Take a canoe or kayak out on the Potomac and paddle through Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve, where you can also take a hike, ride a bike and view local wildlife. Explore the last remaining riverine lighthouse in Virginia just south of Old Town Alexandria at Jones Point Park, or grab your fishing pole and cast your line for catfish and rock bass from one of two fishing piers.

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5. Salt Lake City, Utah

Year-round activities in the great outdoors are abundant in Salt Lake City where travel nurses can soak up nature deep in the forests or seek solitude at 13,000 feet in the mountains, buttes and plateaus of this amazing location. Hiking, biking and skiing are common pursuits, or you can embrace something more daring like thrilling river rafting trips, wilderness trout expeditions or ATV back country adventures. Explore the area's canyons and try a little rockhounding, or break out your binoculars for some of the best bird watching around with millions of migrating shorebirds stopping by the Great Salt Lake region each year.

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Factors to Consider Before Choosing Your Next Travel Nursing Location:

1. Local Transportation Options:

Evaluate driving conditions, public transportation accessibility, and walking safety.

2. Crime Rates:

Prioritize safety by researching overall crime rates and specific crime types in potential locations.

3. Climate:

Tailor your experience by selecting a climate that aligns with your preferences and comfort.

4. Cost of Living:

Consider living costs, including food, clothing, transportation, taxes, and healthcare expenses.

5. Parks, the Arts, and Cultural Attractions:

Explore the cultural offerings of potential locations, adding a unique dimension to your overall experience.

Conclusion:

As a travel nurse, the freedom to move and explore new places is a unique aspect of your career. This guide not only introduces five fantastic locations for outdoor-loving travel nurses but also provides valuable insights into the factors to consider when choosing your next assignment. By combining the thrill of adventure with informed decision-making, you can ensure a fulfilling and enriching experience in both your professional and personal journey.

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