The year was 2020. People across the globe transitioned into the work-from-home lifestyle. Some even took it a step further, taking their home on the road.
The year is now 2021, and if you haven’t taken work on the road, what are you waiting for? Zillow and Yelp recently released their “Digital Nomad Index,” a report ranking the top 10 destinations for digital nomads. Aspiring digital nomads and those already working from the road, take notes.
“These destinations boast a mix of outdoor adventure and city perks that are appealing to the many young professionals who have transitioned to the nomadic lifestyle due to their newfound ability to work from anywhere. They’re great for digital nomads, and offer a variety of highly-rated local businesses and activities these folks are looking for, like shared office spaces, furniture rental, hiking, RV repairs, paddle boarding, and more.”Yelp Trend Expert, Tara Lewis
We’ll break down these 10 top destinations, but first, what does it actually mean to be a digital nomad?
What is a digital nomad?
As described in this 2020 State of Independence research study, “Digital nomads are defined as people who choose to embrace a location-independent, technology-enabled lifestyle that allows them to travel and work remotely, anywhere in the Internet-connected world.”
While most remote workers typically stay in one place, digital nomads take their remote work with them as they travel from location to location. The number of digital nomads has grown this past year with 11 million Americans currently describing themselves as such.
Want to try it out? Well, without further ado, here are the best 10 locations to do so.
Destinations for digital nomads
1. Jacksonville, Florida
Jacksonville is known for its beautiful weather and scenery year-round. It’s also the most affordable for digital nomads in the state. Sitting along the Atlantic Ocean, the city serves as the perfect place to get work done and then escape to the beach.
What to do in Jacksonville
With the largest urban park system in the nation, Jacksonville is home to over 80,000 acres of parks. Check out Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve, Kingsley Plantation (the oldest plantation in Florida), and Castillo de San Marcos National Monument to explore the natural beauty and the deep history of the area.
For a beachfront adventure, grab your swimsuit and head to Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park.
2. Austin, Texas
The live music capital of the world, Austin comes in hot as the second-best destination for digital nomads. According to the index, it ranks highest on the list for having the greatest share of amenities desired by digital nomads, from ample coworking spaces to furniture rental options.
What to do in Austin
Paddle along Lady Bird Lake, watch the sunset at Mount Bonnell, grab a cocktail and listen to live music. Odds are, whatever you feel like doing, there’s a place for it in Austin. Known for great tacos and even better music, you’ll always stay fed and entertained.
3. Boise, Idaho
With the Rocky Mountains as the backdrop, Boise is the perfect outdoorsy place for work and play. And RVers can rejoice because this metro ranks among the top in categories like RV repair, parking, and trailer and RV dealers.
What to do in Boise
Hike through the Boise River Greenbelt, explore Kathryn Albertson Park, and grab a bite along Restaurant Row. With plenty of natural attractions not far from downtown, you can have the best of both worlds.
4. Nashville, Tennessee
For country music and hot chicken, Nashville is the place to be. This already popular destination has seen a rise in popularity among digital nomads this past year.
What to do in Nashville
When you’re in the “country music capital of the world,” the Grand Ole Opry is a must — as is the Johnny Cash museum. To break out of the bustling city, head to Radnor Lake State Park to hike, bike, and check out the Tennessee wildlife.
5. Charleston, South Carolina
With plenty of rental options, Charleston ranks in the top 5 destinations for digital nomads. With that, the city comes with immense amounts of charm and history.
What to do in Charleston
Stroll along the street of Southern-style mansions on Battery Street, soak up the sun at Folly Beach, and explore the beachfront town of Sullivan’s Island. This picturesque city is full of must-sees.
6. San Jose, California
A hub for technology companies, San Jose, though one of the priciest on the list, is a great place for the worker on the move. You’ll find authentic cuisine from all over the world, from India to Vietnam.
What to do in San Jose
First and foremost, explore the historic downtown, making sure to stop in The Tech Interactive, a Silicon Valley landmark. After that, head to the Winchester Mystery House and indulge in some tasty treats along Santana Row.
7. Fort Collins, Colorado
At the base of the Rocky Mountains, Fort Collins boasts natural beauty at every turn. And with craft breweries across the city, you’ll always have a good brew and even better view.
What to do in Fort Collins
When you make it to “Colorado’s craft beer capital,” your first stop should obviously be one of the more than 20 craft breweries in Fort Collins. For some incredible scenery, take a trip to Horsetooth Reservoir and Cache la Poudre River Canyon.
8. Asheville, North Carolina
Hidden in the Appalachian Mountains, Asheville is as peaceful as it is gorgeous. From its live bluegrass music to its Blue Ridge Parkway adventures, it’s no surprise that rental demand is on the rise in this city gem.
What to do in Asheville
Take in the breathtaking beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains, listening to Fleet Foxes as you drive along Blue Ridge Parkway (“America’s favorite drive”). From Biltmore Park and into the mountains, whether you want to get outside or grab a bite, there’s always something to do in this mountain town.
9. Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas, #9 on this list, ranks second in terms of affordability, which means you’ll have more money for the slot machines. But don’t waste it all on that; there’s so much more to explore!
What to do in Las Vegas
Wander along The Strip, get married by Elvis, see the Hoover Dam, and hike Red Rock Canyon. Nature and nightlife both thrive here.
10. Salt Lake City, Utah
Last but not least is Salt Lake City. This is a popular choice because of its accessibility to all things outdoors. Hike, bike, fish, and ski all within a 30-minute drive from the city.
What to do in Salt Lake City
Go fishing in the Great Salt Lake, ski at Park City, and picnic at Red Butte Garden. Like we said, any outdoor activity you can imagine is not far out of reach.
Work from the road
Take WFH to the next level as a digital nomad. RVing makes this easy with plenty of long-term RV rentals available for those who don’t have their own.
Here are some more resources to help you become the location-hopping digital nomad of your dreams: