The 25 best places to buy a vacation home in the US, ranked

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Towns in the Great Smoky Mountains are favourites for vacation homes. Manduley/Shutterstock

A vacation home not only serves as a perfect getaway, but as a great investment – especially if you buy one in the right place.

Property management company Vacasa recently released their 2019 report on the top places to buy a vacation home. To determine its rankings, Vacasa looked at home sales data in vacation destinations across the US and overlaid it with actual performance data for thousands of vacation rental properties.

Turns out, the mountains and the beach are battling it out for top spots. Vacation home buyers are loving both the Great Smoky Mountains and Florida beaches – but they’re also buying everywhere from Oregon and Hawaii to Vermont.

Read more: Rich millennials are buying vacation homes before starter homes. There are 3 things you should consider before buying one, says a financial expert.

Below, see the top places in the US to buy a vacation home, ranked in order of increasing average investment property returns.


25. Destin, Florida, is located along the state’s Emerald Coast on a peninsula separating Choctawhatchee Bay from the Gulf of Mexico.

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Median sale price: $US484,154

Average nightly rate: $US324

Total annual guests: 16,526


24. Cocoa Beach, Florida, is located along the state’s Space Coast and is near several state parks.

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Median sale price: $US370,406

Average nightly rate: $US298

Total annual guests: 2,012


23. Waikoloa, Hawaii, on the state’s Big Island, is home to several luxury resorts and a few golf courses.

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Median sale price: $US575,422

Average nightly rate: $US336

Total annual guests: 2,359


22. Seaside, Oregon, located an hour and a half northwest of Portland, has plenty of cottages and condos on the beach, in town, or along an estuary.

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Median sale price: $US373,258

Average nightly rate: $US245

Total annual guests: 18,859


21. Ellijay, Georgia, an hour and a half north of Atlanta, is known as the state’s Mountain Biking Capital — and it’s home to plenty of log cabins.

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Median sale price: $US230,418

Average nightly rate: $US212

Total annual guests: 4,489


20. Rhododendron, Oregon, in the Cascade Mountains, isn’t far from Mt. Hood and five ski resorts.

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Median sale price: $US315,744

Average nightly rate: $US208

Total annual guests: 8,330


19. Harbour Springs, Michigan, situated along Lake Michigan’s shores, is a summertime hot spot.

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Median sale price: $US256,303

Average nightly rate: $US344

Total annual guests: 891


18. Orange Beach, Alabama, located along the Gulf of Mexico, has beachfront condos and attracts water-sports enthusiasts.

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Median sale price: $US475,026

Average nightly rate: $US276

Total annual guests: 12,181


17. Scottsdale, Arizona, located just outside of Phoenix in the heart of the state, has desert-style homes near prime hiking spot Pinnacle Peak.

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Median sale price: $US513,301

Average nightly rate: $US360

Total annual guests: 18,863


16. Kihei, Hawaii, is the most populous town in South Maui and offers plenty of water activities.

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Median sale price: $US708,161

Average nightly rate: $US375

Total annual guests: 2,580


15. Marathon, Florida, one of the most popular vacation spots in the Florida Keys, is known for its fishing, seafood, and coral reefs.

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Median sale price: $US614,779

Average nightly rate: $US400

Total annual guests: 1,743


14. Warren, Vermont, encompasses Sugarbush Resort, one of New England’s largest ski resorts.

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Median sale price: $US262,003

Average nightly rate: $US303

Total annual guests: 5,088


13. Panama City Beach, Florida, located in the state’s panhandle, stretches along the Gulf Coast for 27 miles.

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Median sale price: $US347,430

Average nightly rate: $US243

Total annual guests: 63,855


12. Gulf Shores, Alabama, located right at the state’s southern tip, is filled with stilted condo buildings.

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Median sale price: $US345,135

Average nightly rate: $US268

Total annual guests: 23,278


11. Blue Ridge, Georgia, in the mountains of the northern part of the state, boasts the Toccoa River — perfect for tubing and kayaking.

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Median sale price: $US257,892

Average nightly rate: $US225

Total annual guests: 6,022


10. Big Sky, Montana, is a small-town resort community in the mountains that stretches across 5,800 acres.

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Median sale price: $US585,000

Average nightly rate: $US453

Total annual guests: 12,219


9. Fort Bragg, California, located in the northern part of the state on the Mendocino Coast, sits between the Pacific Ocean and Jackson State Forest.

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Median sale price: $US449,211

Average nightly rate: $US300

Total annual guests: 8,673


8. Key West, Florida, is a small island featuring Cuban-style homes and no shortage of attractions, from historical sites to good restaurants and outdoor activities.

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Median sale price: $US763,109

Average nightly rate: $US527

Total annual guests: 49,070


7. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is a popular Southeast vacation rental destination along the Atlantic Coast.

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Median sale price: $US213,950

Average nightly rate: $US209

Total annual guests: 5,968


6. Dauphin, Island, Alabama, is an affordable and tiny island with plenty of adventurous activities and bird watching.

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Median sale price: $US345,281

Average nightly rate: $US269

Total annual guests: 8,205


5. Kissimmee, Florida, just over half an hour south of Orlando, is in close proximity to outdoor shopping malls and world-famous amusement parks, like Disney World.

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Median sale price: $US264,863

Average nightly rate: $US239

Total annual guests: 6,609


4. Whittier, North Carolina, is a small town in the Smoky Mountains near the Tuckasegee River with numerous whitewater rafting tours.

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Median sale price: $US171,261

Average nightly rate: $US174

Total annual guests: 1,169


3. Davenport, Florida, situated in between Tampa and Orlando, is located amid a network of lakes.

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Median sale price: $US255,390

Average nightly rate: $US217

Total annual guests: 7,806


2. Killington, Vermont, located in the central part of the state, has world-class skiing and snowboarding.

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Median sale price: $US208,828

Average nightly rate: $US432

Total annual guests: 9,378


1. Sevierville, Tennessee, just north of Pigeon Forge, is located in the Smoky Mountains near Dolly Parton’s Dollywood. The city also has underground caverns.

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Median sale price: $US239,976

Average nightly rate: $US274

Total annual guests: 30,381