Top 10 Vacation Home Cities in 2021

POV of person sitting on dock with their feet in front of them, relaxed, with a lantern, overlooking a large body of water and sky with clouds.

Vacation homes are a hot commodity right now, and sales of vacation homes have skyrocketed in recent months. With many people now granted the flexibility of working from anywhere, the appeal of owning a vacation property has grown. A report released by the National Association of Realtors shows that in 2020, sales of existing homes in counties with a higher share of vacation homes rose by 24% on average. That is more than double the 11% increase in counties that don’t have a high concentration of vacation homes. So where exactly are Americans investing in vacations? Here are some of the top vacation home cities in the US in 2021.

1. Palm Springs, California

Orange door on modern home in Palm Springs, California
Photo by Don Stouder, via Unsplash

Pools, palm trees, and elegant shopping… Palm Springs has a rich history, is the playground of Hollywood celebrities who want a getaway, and makes for a very posh and laidback vacation destination. There is never a shortage of things to do in this vibrant desert town, making it one of our top vacation home cities. People are flocking to this area for their second home to enjoy the art, design, fun nightlife, and nature. It’s the perfect place to relax in style and soak up some sun. With the median home price being around $460,000 and such a short drive from Los Angeles, it makes sense! 

2. Kissimmee, Florida

Man and woman watch fireworks above Disney's Boardwalk Resort
Photo by Matt Popovich, via Unsplash

With some of the best amusement parks just thirty minutes away, Kissimmee is a popular vacation home destination for families that know they’ll want to return again and again. When you’re not spending the day in Universal Studios or Walt Disney World, however, you can still have some old-fashioned family fun at Old Town Kissimmee. Popular with locals and tourists alike, you can enjoy great shopping, dining, and even take a turn in the bumper cars! Looking to enjoy some nature? Multiple lakes are nearby, too! The median home price in the area is around $260,000. 

3. Oscoda County, Michigan

Waterfall over mossy logs in Oscoda, Michigan
Photo by Ross Domke, via Unsplash

One of the hottest vacation home markets in 2021 is a place you’ve possibly never heard of before: Oscoda County, Michigan. Oscoda County is one of the least populated areas in Michigan, and it is only comprised of small, unincorporated civil townships. Home sales here rose by 54% in 2020 and the median sales price increased by 79%, according to the NAR’s report. Wondering why? The natural beauty of the area. If you’re looking to connect with nature and escape your everyday life, this is the perfect destination. The county, which is about four hours away from Detroit, includes the Huron-Manistee National Forests and Oscoda Beach Park. Not to mention the median home price is a low $107,000.

4. Lake Tahoe, California & Nevada

Beautiful large cabin in Lake Tahoe
Photo by Katie Musial, via Unspalsh

Lake Tahoe has been a top vacation destination for generations and remains ever-popular. Lake Tahoe is known for its beautiful scenery and boasts the second deepest lake in the United States. On the border of California and Nevada, you get the best of both states, and if you find a vacation home on the Nevada side you’ll save more on property taxes. Tahoe is popular year-round, whether it’s for the lake in the summer or skiing in the winter. Home prices vary greatly depending on proximity to the lake but the median home price is in the ballpark of $900,000.

5. Big Sky, Montana

View of misty mountains, snow, and pine trees in Big Sky, Montana
Photo by Jonathan Knepper, via Unsplash

Looking for the ultimate rural retreat? Big Sky, Montana, is a small-town resort community in the mountains that stretches nearly 6,000 acres. Big Sky draws guests year-round who come for the sights and stay for the adventure. During the winter, bring your gear and enjoy winter sports like skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling through the mountains. In the spring and summer months, vacationers enjoy rafting and canoeing and maybe some fishing and swimming with family. Not far away is the famous Yellowstone National Park, and there is also a lively downtown area where you can enjoy delicious eats and live music. It may seem like an unconventional choice for one of the top vacation home cities, but it’s been growing in popularity. The median home price is about $540,000. 

6. Cape Hatteras, North Carolina

Black and White striped lighthouse on the beach in Cape Hatteras, North Carolina
Photo by Pilens, via Envato

Picturesque ocean views and beaches that stretch for miles and miles: this is why Cape Hatteras has been calling vacationers to make their second home there. Part of the ever-popular Outer Banks region, Cape Hatteras is a small slice of land that juts into the Atlantic. Beat the heat of those East Coast sunny, hot summers by taking a dip in the cool water that is everywhere you look. Most homes in the area can easily have an unobstructed view of the sea, and there is plenty of beach space to enjoy (70 miles of beaches, as a matter of fact). If you’re called to the shore but don’t want to pay the premium for beach homes in California, then Cape Hatteras may be for you: the median home price is about $380,000. 

7. Pocono, Pennsylvania

Red traditional barn house surrounded by orange and red trees in The Poconos
Photo by Cameron Venti, via Unsplash

“Pocono” is the Lenape word for “stream between two mountains,” and that’s exactly what you’ll find in the breathtaking Poconos Mountains of Pennsylvania. Streams, rivers, lakes, valleys, and wooden areas span roughly 2,400 square miles in northeastern Pennsylvania and surround several charming, cozy small towns where locals and tourists alike can explore. The splendorous nature is the perfect place to relax, but if you find you’re missing the perks of city life, Philadelphia and New York City are both not too far away. The Poconos makes for a perfectly balanced vacation to spend part of your time retreating to the mountains and part of it enjoying city life. The median home price in this area is around $200,000.

8. Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Aerial view of cabin-lined street in the woods near a stream in Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Photo by Jessica Suetta, via Unsplash

Gatlinburg is home to only about 4,000 full-time residents, but every year it welcomes up to 12 million tourists. What makes this Tennessee town such a hot vacation destination and one of the top vacation home cities? It’s packed with fun things to do. Enjoy the scenic mountain valleys of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Take hikes, go camping, enjoy guided tours of the national park, go rafting on the river, and maybe enjoy a seasonal music festival while you’re there. The town also offers great boutiques for shopping, fun dining options, and lots of activities the whole family can enjoy. Median home prices are around $270,000. 

9. South Kauai, Hawaii

Green cliffs with misty clouds on the beach in Kauai with bright blue ocean water below
Photo by Jordan McQueen, via Unsplash

Who doesn’t want to vacation in Hawaii? While all of the islands of Hawaii are incredible, Kauai is truly paradise. Even though the islands have seen less tourism over the last year, it is still a top travel destination for vacationers, and owning a home on the Southside of Kauai provides a dream home you can return to over and over again. Mountain cliffs draped with greenery, waterfalls, rainforests, and beautiful sandy beaches, Kauai has jaw-dropping beauty. Whether you want to surf the waves or just take a calm dip in the water with your kids, the shores provide either experience. In South Kauai, the median home price is about $595,000.

10. Seaside, Oregon

Yellow Volkswagon bus parked on the coast in Seaside, Oregon
Photo by Nick Baker, via Unsplash

The best of both mountain and beach escape, Seaside, Oregon, is located an hour and a half northwest of Portland. Venture into the city for amazing food and culture, and come back to enjoy your evening in a cozy cottage with captivating views out of your window. Many homes are positioned along the beach or an estuary, providing unique and peaceful surroundings. Stroll the beach, fly a kite, and maybe try your hand at razor clamming. The town of Seaside itself is bursting with art, culture, delicious eateries, and lots of winding bike paths. Find a second home here near the median price of $400,000.

What do you think of these top vacation home cities? Do you prefer a mountain getaway or a beach getaway? Do you like to be near a city, or far from civilization? Are any of these vacation cities calling your name? Now is a great time to buy a vacation home, and we’d suggest checking out Palm Springs. If you’re interested, we now have an office in Palm Springs and we would love to help you find your new vacation home there. Give us a call today and we’ll find you a second home your family will love to visit, over and over again!

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