Best Place to Buy a Vacation Home: A Guide to 10 Seasonal Spots

Best Place to Buy a Vacation Home: A Guide to 10 Seasonal Spots

Find out the best place to buy a vacation home for every season in this ultimate guide. Explore 10 stunning destinations with different features and attractions.

Marcio VasconcelosMarcio Vasconcelos

Published on November 29, 2023

When looking to buy a vacation home to suit your tastes, you’ll want to consider the environment you’re looking for. For example, you can look for beach homes or for winter homes. Furthermore, you can buy a vacation home for yourself and family, or to rent out to others.

Whatever your reasons for buying a vacation home, we will cover the both of both worlds (beach and winter vacation homes) for you to choose from. Without further ado, the top 5 places of each category to buy vacation homes:

Top 5 best places to buy a beach vacation home

When considering buying a vacation home at the beach, besides the stunning views, you need to account for factors like property taxes, insurance costs (especially in hurricane-prone areas), and the potential for property management if you're planning to rent the property.

1. Lake Anna,Virginia

Lake Anna is the Commonwealth of Virginia  and it is known for being one of the largest freshwater inland reservoirs in the state, spanning over 13,000 acres. The lake has a "public side" and a "private side" (or "warm side"), which is separated by dikes. It is located approximately 72 miles from south of Washington, D.C., Louisa and Spotsylvania counties. 

Lake Anna is filled with natural beauty, french-style wineries, historical sites, golf courses, and hiking trails. With all these advantages, it is no wonder why this area occupies the number one spot in our ranking.

2. Hatteras Island, North Carolina

The longest island in the Outer Banks, stretching for about 50 miles, Hatteras Island is located off the North Carolina coast and it divides the Atlantic Ocean and Pamlico Sound.

Hatteras Island is composed of seven villages and one National Seashore; this area draws almost 3 million annual visitors.

Attractions and landmarks such as the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, and the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum are just a little taste of what you will find in this area. And for those who appreciate outdoor and water activities, here they will be delighted by the amount of options it offers. Tourism is the main income of the area, which makes a rental property in this area a potential good investment.

3. Navarre Beach, Florida

Navarre Beach
Image: Canva

If you are a beach lover you have heard about Navarre Beach and it’s a must if you enjoy pristine beaches. Located on Santa Rosa Island, this sought after location attracts almost two million annual tourists.

This area showcases a rich ecosystem, emerald waters and white, pristine sands that will make you fall in love. Besides being a famous destination, its beaches don’t get crowded like other nearby beaches.

Here, you will find a range of activities to engage in like fishing, kayaking, paddleboarding, biking and walking paths for those wanting to explore the area on land.

4. Palm Coast, Florida

Palm Coast, Florida is situated on the northeastern coast of Florida, between St. Augustine and Daytona Beach, in Flagler County. In this city of approximately 90,000 residents, you will find pristine beaches, wildlife preserves, museums, and a variety of outdoor activities for the entire family to enjoy. You will also find excellent dining and shopping options, as well as world-class golfing! 

5. Surf City, North Carolina

Surf City, North Carolina is a small town of approximately 4,000 residents located just north of Wilmington, NC. The town sits in two different counties, those being Onslow and Pender counties, on Topsail Island. The island is a long island, similar to a “key” running along the coast of North Carolina.  Part of the town is also on the mainland.

People here enjoy the peace and quiet of a small beach town, unburdened by the thousands of tourists that frequent more popular beachside cities. You’ll definitely want to take a closer look at homes here if you are looking for a more slow-paced, small, charming, and cozy environment.

Top 5 winter vacation homes

If you love snowy weather and all it can provide, a vacation home in such a place probably has crossed your mind. However, there are some factors to consider like maintenance of the place (especially in areas where it snows a lot), property taxes, and the possibility of hiring property management services if you decide to buy an investment property.

1. Wallowa Lake, Oregon

Wallowa Lake is found in the city of Joseph, Oregon. The lake itself has been used as an example in the study of geology, as it is a ribbon lake, meaning that it is long and deep, and that it was created by a glacier.

The lake, itself, is surrounded by scenic moraines. The waters are crystal clear, the mountains nearby rise high and jagged, and the surrounding landscape is filled with flora.  

There is a state park in the Wallowa Lake region, in addition to the Wallowa Lake Village, where there are homes for sale. Other natural attractions in this area include Eagle Cap Wilderness, Hells Canyon and Zumwalt Prairie. If you are someone who is looking for a visually stunning natural environment with loads of outdoor activities to enjoy, then Wallowa Lake is a good place to consider.

2. Poconos, Pennsylvania

Poconos mountains located in northeastern Pennsylvania attracts around 28 million winter lovers each year, and it happens for a lot of good reasons. It is composed of rolling mountain terrains, forests, lakes, and rivers and a humid continental climate. In the winter there is significant snowfall and mild to warm summers and in the fall the beauty can be seen in the changing of the foliage.

This marvelous climate, combined with the prime location, brings a variety of recreational activities and attractions such as hiking, skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, water sports, fishing, hunting, horseback riding, golfing, resorts, water parks, and spa facilities. In addition, there are casinos, historical sites, and cultural events throughout the year.

The economic landscape of the Poconos mountains is mainly tourism, which makes retail a good option to make an income. Besides, the mountains are close to major cities like New York city and Philadelphia which make this place more desirable.

3. Bear Lake, Utah

Bear Lake gained the fame of  “The Caribbean of the Rockies” due its insanely turquoise color waters. It is located in northeastern Utah and southeastern Idaho. Its temperature is composed of mild summer and cold, snowy winter.

Bear Lake’s natural beauty and diverse recreational opportunities have been calling the attention of many homebuyers. Its real estate market doesn’t disappoint, as it offers a range of properties, from luxury lakefront homes to modest cabins.

Being at Bear Lake makes it difficult to get bored. With so many recreational activities ranging from water sports when the climate is warmer to winter sports in the cold, there is never nothing to do!

There is also hiking, biking and some festivals, such as the “Raspberry Days”, which is a popular annual festival celebrating the local raspberry harvest. The area is also served with amenities such as restaurants, shops, groceries, clinics and hospitals, and schools.

4. South Fork, Colorado

South Fork
Image: Canva

I Know this section is about winter vacation homes, but South Fork, Colorado is a place that you can enjoy during all the four seasons. Located in San Luis Valley, between the San Juan Mountains and the Sangre de Cristo Range, it is a town in Rio Grande County, Colorado. Its climate is characterized as sub-alpine, with cold and snowy winters and mild summers. 

In South Fork, you will find modest cabins and luxury mountain vacation homes: everything to suit your taste! And the fact that it is a safe and tranquil area makes everything all the more worth it.

Besides boasting a tranquil environment, this area, which draws so many people during winter, is perfect for outdoor activities like skiing and snowboarding at Wolf Creek Ski Area.  There is also hiking and biking! And, of course, it is rich in natural attractions such as the Rio Grande National Forest, numerous rivers and streams, and hot springs.

5. Banner Elk, North Carolina

Banner Elk is located in Avery County, North Carolina. It is near Boone in the Blue Ridge Mountains of the North Carolina High Country. This town is famous for being the place to enjoy autumn and Christmas, since it boasts the perfect climate for both seasons.

In Banner Elk you will find extraordinary cuisine and enjoy a richness of culture and adventure opportunities. In a short drive of 15 minutes you can get to attractions like Grandfather Mountain, and the South’s two largest ski resorts: Beech Mountain and Sugar Mountain.

If you are looking for more things to do, this town is known for outdoor activities such as skiing, hiking, mountain biking, and fishing. There are also various events throughout the year, including the Woolly Worm Festival and various arts and crafts shows. We can forget about the Lees-McRae College, which offers cultural events, theater productions and among others community- engaging activities.

Banner Elk’s real estate offers properties ranging from rustic cabins, upscale homes, and condos, especially near ski resorts. With the help of one of our real estate agents, you will find a vacation home that meets your needs and budget.

People also ask

Is a vacation home considered an investment?

Buying a vacation home can be an investment. It will depend if you use it as a second home or an investment property. Mortgage requirements and tax treatments differ for second homes and investment properties, so you’ll need to decide how you plan to use the home in advance.

A second home is a home you buy to use as a vacation destiny for part of the year. On other hand, an investment property is a home you buy with the intention to earn a rental income from it.

More details about investment property

To be considered an investment property or as rental property it should be leased to tenants, and with that generate rental income. So, rather than you occupying the property, you must rent it.

What should I consider before buying a second home?

Your dream of a vacation home to relax can become stressful, so before making any decision it is important to weigh the pros and cons and consider the following:

  • Check if it’s the right moment to purchase according to your budget.
  • Consider the maintenance of the property.
  • Be prepared for more responsibility.
  • Consider your lifestyle.
  • Consider the location.
  • Work with our real estate agents.

That concludes our list of the top places to buy vacation homes.  If you continue your search, you will be sure to find other lists that include different areas. We have tried to select the best from these lists for you, but you still might find another town on another list that suits you better.

No matter which town you chose, you can always count on Homeshift Team to help you, as we have agents in all areas!

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