Digital nomads, rejoice: Work and play no longer have to be separate. While you’re still remote, get some fresh air without using all of your vacation days. Switching up your routine a little can inspire new thinking and deepen your focus — all while you enjoy all the luxuries of vacation on your off-time.
Ready to get out of the house? Pick one of these places based on how you like to feel at work and change up the scenery.
Make your co-workers jealous by joining the company meeting poolside. Lounge in the sun while you knock projects off your list, then enjoy a crisp plunge in the water. Bonus: all of our homes are vetted in person, which means these pools are as good as they look.
Soak in the desert sun from this Goodyear home with a resort-style hot tub and pool combo. Work on your tan while you work from the sprawling patio, complete with a fully shaded outdoor area. The interior’s open layout and farmhouse furnishings are so beautiful that you’ll want to stay in and make meals at home — but when you’re ready to get out, grab ice cream at The Frozen Monkey and take a stroll around South Lake Park.
If you’re feeling fancy, this Florida short-term rental is like stepping into a palace you can call your own. Here, 6,500 square feet of space is yours — meaning you can find a new place to work remotely every day. Sit al fresco in the expansive outdoor cabana or lounge by the palm-tree lined pool worthy of a magazine shoot. On weekends, day trip to the Florida Keys or take it easy with a bottle of local wine from Schnebly Winery.
The moment you set your bag down, the cerulean waters of this backyard pool will invite you to take a dip. Catch up with your group beneath the pergola, then swim laps in this sophisticated marvel as the sun goes down. Enormous windows let the light in here and make it feel like you’re by the pool, even when you’re hard at work inside. When you need to get out, experience the big city feeling by taking a walk through downtown Austin.
Honorable Mentions: Enjoy views of your own private lake and private pool at this luxurious vacation rental in Norman, OK, visit this meticulously decorated home with its own mini golf putting green and awe-inspiring pool in the Coachella Valley, or swim by day, stream movies in the home theater by night from this Pigeon Forge vacation rental.
Exercise helps mental health and increases productivity — and companies are encouraging their teams to work out more than ever. These vacation rentals are perfect for a getaway that blends work-life balance, with a home gym to break up your day.
Redwoods and red wine are waiting for you in Sonoma County. This charming cabin is the place to go glamping in the woods while still keeping a wi-fi signal. Nature is your gym here in a home that’s surrounded by trails and a few minutes from the beach, but if you want a more traditional place to exercise, hit the cabin’s small home gym. After a long work week, hop in the car, soak in ocean views, and savor wines from famous vineyards.
Turn your workday into a fairytale at this welcoming Acworth mansion, complete with a pool and its own movie theater. Take your lunch break in the home gym, catch up on emails from the gazebo, and toast to the day by the outdoor fire pit once five o’clock hits. There are so many ways to clear your head — whether it’s playing billiards, or cooking a meal for your group and enjoying it in the sprawling dining areas.
Honorable Mentions: This budget-friendly vacation home in Glendale, AZ offers all the perks of a private resort, including a pool and a putting green. Or, go big and work remotely from this enormous vacation home sitting over the lake in Kaiser, MO. You can also sit out by your own private creek and access some of Colorado’s most pristine trails from this home amid the treetops in Evergreen, CO.
Evolve only rents homes with private entrances, which means that every place on our site is perfect for finding focus. But if you’re looking for a getaway where you can separate your 9-5 from your night of relaxation, these picks come with a home office and the bliss of complete quiet.
Enormous Retreat In Erie, CO
This vacation rental is made for remote work retreats with multiple offices, plenty of separate seating areas, and a boardroom-style table. Travel with friends and tackle the workday separately from your own private spaces, then reconnect over a game night in the living room. Wind down while strolling downtown Boulder (just a short drive away) with the Flatiron mountains as your backdrop.
Enjoy a life of luxury from this scenic cabin equipped with its own lofted office for working remotely. Catch up about the day around the outdoor fire pit or sip wine on the sprawling wood patio immersed in the forest. If you feel like getting outside, explore the easy Show Low Bluff Trail on foot or spend a leisurely day fishing at Fool Hollow Lake.
Honorable Mention: Work remotely from this vacation rental in Fairplay, CO, and enjoy a cozy, log cabin exterior with a clean, modern interior.
Good books are meant to be enjoyed next to a crackling fireplace. After a long day at the (virtual) office, sink into the couch at one of these places and find your cozy. All you need to bring is hot cider and groceries — each of our homes comes fully equipped with all the amenities you need to stay in for the night.
Hit the road and head to Idyllwild, which sits in California’s San Jacinto mountains. Pets are welcome at this airy dome house that’s a theater to thousands of night stars. Once you’ve closed up your laptop for the day, hit the trails at Mount San Jacinto State Park, then bring home a mountain pie to share from Idyllwild Pizza.
Rise to the sound of trees rustling out this bright property filled with natural light. Kick your feet up in the loft to get some focus, then spend happy hour in the hot tub before cooking up a feast in the gorgeous, modern kitchen. When you’re ready for fresh air, take an evening bike ride along Lake Tahoe, or just sit out and enjoy the lake.
Breckenridge is an outdoor paradise — and this enormous cabin that sleeps 14 is just the place to enjoy it. Take your calls from the quiet porch, indulge in a midday break to shoot some hoops in the in-home basketball court, and wind down by the fire after an evening of exploring the area’s sites. Window shop along Main Street and grab takeout, or find a hike like Hoosier Pass you can do as the sun goes down over the mountain.
Honorable Mentions: Sip a nightcap on a porch overlooking the creek at this vacation home in Frisco, CO, or soak your bones in the hot tub surrounded by trees in this Alto, New Mexico cabin.
EXPLORE ALL HOMES WITH A FIREPLACE
Get some new perspective on what you’re working on from one of these places with a view. Find yourself thinking in new ways as you walk along the beach or sit out on the lake, free to let your mind wander. Just be sure to bring a notepad with you as you roam these houses for the moment a great idea strikes.
If you’ve ever had the dream of looking out to the shoreline from a hot tub, this is just the place for you. This hilltop home in the Pacific Northwest is a destination for remote work, with several cozy seating areas, an unbelievable porch view looking over the coast, and a hot tub where you can dip and drink it all in. After work, take a scenic, slow drive along the Tillamook Bay and end the evening with scoops at the iconic Tillamook Creamery.
A lake with a private dock is yours at this calming escape in Albion, MI. This home is filled with windows so you never miss the view, even when you’re inside. There are so many places to work at this home on the golf course — whenever you need some fresh thinking, just pick a new room. The spacious kitchen opens right up into the living room, so you can share stories as you prepare the dinner to share. Days off can be spent on the course, dipping in the lake, or curling up next to a roaring fire while keeping the view.
Beachfront Home In Topsail Beach, NC
Creativity is often sparked by a long walk, and here, you can take that walk out on the beach. Sit out on one of the two decks facing the waves, then step out onto the sand when you need a break. Sunsets here look like a postcard, and you can enjoy them from a bright, cheerful house that is decorated to feel like vacation in every room. Spend the weekend grilling up porch on the outdoor barbecue and catching up your beach read in the pristine sand.
Honorable Mentions: Get out into the mountains at this Jefferson, CO cabin with a verdant view of the mountains and its own game room and treehouse. Or, book this cheerful beachfront home in New Smyrna Beach, FL with ocean access and take your morning coffee in the sand.
Enjoy the freedom to work remotely from a vacation rental anywhere, with all the comforts of home. Find your perfect place to get some fresh air and rest easy knowing that it’ll be professionally cleaned and ready for your arrival.
The dishwasher is full of dirty dishes. The beds are unmade and all linens need to be washed. The laundry detergent is close to empty. If you don’t use checklists to maintain your vacation rental, your guests are likely to encounter these kinds of problems when they first arrive.
With just a few checks in boxes, your guests are more likely to walk into a place that’s spotless — and your cleaning company knows exactly what they’re responsible for.
These tools make it easy to avoid human error, cleanliness complaints, and unwelcome surprises. Because we’ve applied the expertise we’ve picked up managing thousands of properties and created three free cleaning checklists we know will become a go-to resource for you.
As we all know, it’s natural to forget things from time to time. That’s why people in high-stakes careers, like surgeons and pilots, rely on checklists to make sure things go according to plan. As a vacation rental homeowner, checklists can help you create a great guest experience, avoid unpleasant phone calls or complaints, and get the reviews you deserve.
These cleaning checklists can also be used to help support your maintenance team. Clearly set expectations of your cleaning service by using the checklists to specify what areas of the home need the most attention. Then encourage your cleaning service to fully complete each checklist at the appropriate time (i.e. before guests arrive or after they leave). This will save you the hassle of worrying about what condition the vacation rental is in when your guests arrive.
Guests pay a fee for the professional cleaning services that happen between each stay. This means they’re expecting standards similar to a hotel: a spotless home, free of personal clutter, that looks just like the pictures they saw online.
We analyzed the most common cleaning snafus and created a list that will make sure they don’t happen. You can download your free cleaning checklist here.
While it’s important that things are clean at your vacation rental, ensuring you have the right supplies and setup for every guest is just as important. Have your local contact or someone from your maintenance team perform a pre-stay walkthrough of your property — you can even do it yourself if you’re in the area – on the day your guest is arriving.
This checklist will ensure that nothing has happened to the property between the guest’s check-in and the last cleaning.
Download the pre-stay checklist here.
Sometimes, guests leave things in less than ideal condition. Make sure that everything is back in order as soon guests leave using the post-stay checklist. If something is broken, determine when it was broken and swiftly receive reimbursement from your insurance.
A post-stay checklist includes many of the same things as the pre-stay list, but it also helps you note issues that have come up during the guest’s stay — before the next one arrives.
Your cleaning service can send you the finished checklist or hold on to it for their records. If you have a guest complaint about cleanliness, you’ll have proof that your cleaning service went through each task.
Download the post-stay checklist here.
Just like any small business, vacation rentals occasionally run into problems. But with these lists, you’ll be able to prevent cleaning issues, detect damage, and make sure your property lives up to the standards guests expect of your home.
When you have back-to-back reservations, use all three checklists to ensure your turnover process is seamless and minimize the potential that an issue will be overlooked in the quick turn.
Download our FREE templates below! This download includes all three checklists: pre-stay, post-stay, and cleaning.
Evolve believes that maintaining your vacation rental should be as easy as checking a few boxes.
That’s one reason we’re constantly blogging about the industry and offering free information, tips, and market reports to anyone who’s interested. We genuinely want every vacation rental homeowner to succeed.
In fact, we can charge an industry-low 10% booking fee because our success is tied to the property’s performance. We only succeed when you do. If that sounds like a pretty different approach, you’re right. Let’s chat and see if you qualify today.
So you’re thinking about hiring a property management company for your vacation rental.
Maybe you’ve got an extra home, you just purchased a new property, or you’re exploring ways to make some extra income. It could be your first time dealing with vacation rentals, or maybe you’ve been burned by property management companies before.
A question you might be wondering is — why shouldn’t I just do this myself?
While there are owners who handle management themselves, it can be incredibly time-consuming to promote your rental, field traveler inquiries, take quality photos, write and revise the listing, answer questions about your property, vet potential guests, juggle on-the-ground services like cleaning and maintenance, and follow up for reviews.
There’s a better way. Hiring the right vacation rental management company for your home can take the stress, endless tasks, extra time, and marketing responsibilities off your plate.
But before you hire a traditional or local property manager, make sure to ask these seven questions to know you’re getting everything you need.
You’re looking for a manager who has a good feel for the local market. A great property manager will know the ins and outs of your location — high season, low season, competing rates, what types of property are most popular in the area, and how local regulations and trends are affecting vacation rentals. You can prep for your conversation with our market-by-market vacation rental performance reports.
Ask your potential manager questions about the local market and feel out their responses. If the vacation rental manager has reasonable answers to those questions, you’ve probably found a solid manager who spends a good amount of time thinking about how to help their clients succeed.
If they seem uncertain or their answers seem off, you may want to keep looking. Be particularly wary if you know about regulations in the area that they don’t; every manager should be fully aware of the status of local short-term rental regulations. And don’t base their experience on years in the business. There are quite a few longtime property managers out there who haven’t kept up with changes in the industry and don’t perform well as a result.
Many vacation rental property management fees range from 25-50% of your rental income. And, in some areas, the rates continue to rise.
Before hiring a local property manager, do the math to determine whether you can afford to pay that high of a fee and still meet your rental income goals.
Contracts are the biggest sticking point for owners who have wound up with a poor property manager. If you figure out in the first two months that the property manager isn’t doing their job well, but you’re locked in for a year-long contract, you’re going to be very unhappy for the remaining ten months of that year. You’ll also want to know the payment terms and timing. Some managers can take months to pay and, if you’re caught in an unfavorable contract, it can be a long time until you get paid.
If a management company requires a contract, ask whether there are any out clauses based on performance or poor service. For example, if the management company fails to clean the property three times in one year, or only gets you two bookings in six months, you should be able to leave their service without a penalty.
Above all, make sure any fees and agreements help you build a vacation rental business that prioritizes guest experience over short-term profit.
You’re hiring a vacation rental management company for the high level of services they provide. You’ll want to know exactly what services are included in their fee.
Specifically ask whether the fee covers marketing, photography, writing the listing, updating the listing, observing market trends, cleaning, maintenance, pre-stay walkthroughs, or in-person visits for any issues that arise during a guest’s stay.
You should also ask about any services that are not included in their fee – for example, some property management companies will charge an additional fee if one of their employees has to visit the property outside of business hours to address a problem the guest is having. Excellent guest support should not cost more.
Once you know what services the fee does and does not cover, ask yourself if you’re getting enough bang for your buck. If your management company covers everything from marketing to maintenance, the fee may be worthwhile. If it only covers cleaning and all other services are a la carte, you should probably keep shopping for a better deal.
This is an important one. Ask them how and where they’ll market your property.
Many vacation rental management companies prefer to market their clients’ properties only on their own website. These days, that’s not enough. You want to be on all the major websites with highly professional listings. No matter how popular a local manager’s site is, it’s never going to get the same amount of traffic as major online listing sites like Vrbo, HomeAway or Airbnb – which means you’ll be missing out on a lot of potential guests if you’re limited to one website. Make sure you understand their marketing plan.
Marketing is a big word that includes the photography of your rental, a high-converting property listing, framing your rental for current trends and the market, and how it is promoted.
A vacation rental manager’s 25-50% ought to cover the cost of marketing your property on at least one major listing site in addition to any marketing efforts they make to raise the profile of their own site. Listen for words like “appear high in the search results” or “search engine marketing” – these are good indicators your manager has put effort into raising and maintaining their website’s profile online.
Your manager should also actively solicit reviews from happy guests and follow up with guests who have already stayed at the property to see if they want to book again next year. Ask your vacation rental manager what they do to ensure repeat business and 5-star reviews to entice new guests to come and stay at your property.
Vacation rental managers aren’t awake around the clock, (which is just fine, because most guests aren’t either) but they should be available when people are likely to be making their travel plans: before work, after work, and on weekends.
If your manager is only available to make bookings from 9-5 on weekdays, the odds are very good you’ll be missing out on bookings from people who work standard office jobs at those hours. Believe it or not, the ideal response time for inquiries is 15 minutes, so the bar is pretty high for providing the kind of service that turns into bookings.
You should also ask if guests are able to book online and use a credit card. The vast majority of guests prefer to book online, and very few are willing to get on the phone or send a paper check in the mail. If your potential manager doesn’t offer any way for those guests to book online, you’ll again miss out on bookings.
After every stay, you should confirm that your guests left your property in good condition and that any accidental damage was documented and addressed. Be sure to ask your potential vacation rental manager how they handle issues like broken dishes or missing items after a guest’s stay.
You’re looking for a manager who performs a post-stay walkthrough after every guest leaves, takes photos of any damages for your records, and takes steps to bring the property back up to good condition for the next guests.
Your property manager isn’t expected to pay for damages out of pocket – that cost will come from the guest’s deposit or a damage protection program like Property Protection Plus (included as part of Evolve’s lightweight vacation rental management approach). However, your manager should notice the damage, report it, and speak to the guest about retaining their deposit to cover the damage if necessary.
Always ask to speak with a few existing clients prior to signing a contract. Previous and current owners can share details about working with the vacation rental managers and exactly what to expect from your arrangement.
If a manager is reluctant to give you references or isn’t enthusiastic about current clients speaking about their experience, that’s a sign this manager isn’t going to be a good fit for you. You should be able to hear or read success stories from customers who endorse the company.
On the other hand, if their current clients rave about this vacation rental manager and give you lots of insider tips they’ve learned since working with them on navigating the local market, full speed ahead! This manager may well be just the business partner you’re looking for.
The traditional models of vacation rental management are outdated. Doing it yourself is a LOT of work and, as we’ve covered, working with traditional property management companies means less control with fees that are hard to justify.
But there’s a better way. You don’t have to do it all yourself. And you don’t have to sign a contract with an overpriced property manager. Evolve is different.
Evolve’s lightweight management approach gives you total marketing, booking, and customer support, plus the power to choose your own “home team” to clean and monitor your property.
Basically, we drive more guests to your property for maximum income, while giving you more choices with fewer rules – all for an industry-low 10% booking fee.
We’ve helped 10,000+ homeowners earn more than $500 million in rental income. And we’d love to help you.
See if you qualify or call one of our Homeowner Consultants today at 877.881.7584 (and if you have more questions, take a quick look at this FAQ about Evolve).
One thing that every vacation rental owner wants is an idea of how much they can expect to make. So to help you escape the unknown — and crunch the numbers — we created a rental income calculator that will give you an estimate.
This is approximately what you’ll make before you pull out extra expenses. Income can vary based on seasonality and other factors, so be sure to use averages for your calculation.
NIGHTLY RATE: Here’s where you enter what you expect to charge on average, per night. Get an overview of the local market by checking out our Vacation Rental Performance Reports, or browse listing sites to see how much other owners in your area charge.
NIGHTS BOOKED: Use the average number of nights you think you’ll book per month.
MONTHLY REVENUE: This number is your extra income before things like taxes, utilities, and property management fees.
Just like any other income, the lower you can keep your expenses, the more money you’ll have in your pocket.
INSURANCE AND PROPERTY TAXES: Enter what you’ll spend on insurance, property taxes, and short-term insurance (optional, but highly recommended for peace of mind).
MORTGAGE PAYMENT: This is how much you pay for your vacation rental every month.
UTILITIES: Estimate how much you might pay for electricity, wifi, cable, AC, and heating every month. Be generous with the number.
OTHER EXPENSES: Toiletries and linens. Furniture and decorations. HOA and maintenance costs. There are a lot of little expenses — and hidden costs — you’ll want to factor in to build your budget.
Property managers take up to half of everything you earn (30-50% on every booking). Slide the property management fee bar to the right to estimate these fees if you plan to use a manager.
Even if you choose to manage your own property, it still costs a separate fee to list on every single online marketplace. Find your marketing cost by adding together the percentages of marketplaces you think you’ll use.
If you’re like most homeowners, this section will take the most money out of your vacation rental income potential. It will probably also seem a little overwhelming — but it doesn’t have to. Because Evolve handles the hardest parts of property management for you, including listing your home on all of the sites for free.
So go ahead: try crunching the numbers again with 10% in the property management slider, and zero marketing costs. That’s the Evolve difference.
You may not be able to change your mortgage payments or HOA fees, but you can make sure you’re earning as much rental income as possible with your vacation home when you choose Evolve.
See if your home qualifies today.
“Aren’t you just like Airbnb and Vrbo?”
We get that question a lot from people who haven’t worked with us yet. It’s easy to see why. We’re all in the same industry, short-term property rentals. You can find and book great properties on our website or on theirs. And the fact that every Evolve property appears on Airbnb, Vrbo, and other online marketplaces just adds a little more to the confusion.
So let’s clear things up and outline exactly how Evolve is NOT Airbnb, Vrbo, HomeAway, TripAdvisor, or any other online marketplace.
Airbnb, Vrbo, and similar websites are online “marketplaces” where guests find properties and homeowners find guests. Essentially, they act as a distribution channel for owners or property managers, attracting potential guests to their website but leaving the management of the properties and listings to the owners (or whoever is representing the property) themselves.
Evolve is a vacation rental management company. That means we actively manage our properties on behalf of our owners, ensuring maximum bookings and eliminating the stress of the traditional vacation rental process.
Here’s where it gets interesting. Evolve is a BIG customer of the online marketplaces. We have more than 11,000 properties listed on their sites, and we constantly take advantage of the latest strategies to ensure our owners’ properties are always positioned for maximum traffic and conversion.
Behind the scenes, we have teams of specialists working on the hardest parts of managing a vacation rental: marketing, booking, and customer service. Our teams do everything from creating search-topping property listings to dynamically setting rates to answering guest questions and asking for online reviews. We even hire professional photographers at no cost to owners to show each property in the best possible light.
As a result of our approach, Evolve properties outperform most others on the online marketplaces. So we don’t compete with Airbnb, Vrbo and the rest. We work with them–and everybody wins.
Unlike most marketplaces, we don’t offer home sharing, extended stays, campsites, trailers, or other mobile structures. Each Evolve property has its own entrance and kitchen (typically a house or condominium). A lot of Evolve guests appreciate having the comforts of home when they travel, and our properties reflect that.
We take even more guesswork out of vacation rental by making sure our properties meet our four core standards. We believe guests simply won’t have the experience they’re looking for unless the property they’ve booked is:
By focusing on properties ideally suited for vacationing and making sure each one lives up to our standards, we’re building a brand that guests can trust to have the time of their lives.
Since Airbnb, Vrbo, and the like don’t handle property management, homeowners have traditionally been forced to either hire a local company to do it or fend for themselves. Evolve is different.
We give homeowners performance-focused marketing and booking support, plus the flexibility to choose their own partner(s) to clean the property and greet guests. Evolve handles all guest inquiries, bookings, and pre-stay communications. We can also connect owners with hundreds of vetted partners nationwide that can handle cleaning and guests.
With Evolve’s help, every guest enjoys a booking experience that feels as professional as the world’s top hospitality brands. We handle all inquiries directly, resolve guest and owners questions, and communicate directly with cleaners to ensure the property is ready for every guest. Our unique approach makes vacation rental actually feel like vacation for owners and guests.
Once you work with Evolve, you quickly discover the difference between our service and all of the others. It starts with the way we charge owners nothing to join (plus an industry-low 10% management fee) and list properties on all the major online marketplaces––not just Evolve’s site. It continues with the way we market your listing and promptly handle every query, seven days a week. And it becomes clear in all the ways we make vacation rental easy for everyone.
Owners should be able to relax, trusting that their property is living up to its potential. And guests should be able to relax with an experience that feels like a big hospitality brand. That’s the Evolve difference.
Learn more about Evolve and how we can help you find success with Airbnb, Vrbo, and other online marketplaces.
Your Free Welcome Book Template is Here!
Sure, your property listing covers a lot of info about your home — but guests will still have some questions when they arrive. Like, which local coffee shop has the best ambiance? What’s that one trick to getting the dishwasher started? How should they handle check-out?
Your welcome book is the perfect place to answer common questions, and it’s also one of the most searched for vacation rental amenities. By providing essential info up front, you can free guests from encountering snags during their stay.
We think that putting together this important resource should feel easy — which is why we made you a free welcome book template. All you have to do is download it and plug in your home’s info!
Welcome books have a big impact on your guests’ experience. Here are some reasons to block off a few minutes and fill in this template.
Welcome books help others navigate your rental property and treat it the right way.
Guests want to know how to watch a movie at night or adjust the temperature in your house. Giving them a resource on how to get comfortable living in your rental is sure to make their vacation stress-free for both of you.
Welcome books provide local highlights and a sense of your personality.
The reason many guests book vacation rental properties is to immerse themselves in the location. Recommending restaurants, coffee shops, stores, and more can turn a good trip into the best trip ever. Lead your guests to the most delicious slice in town — or teach them how to avoid crowds at a local attraction — and they’ll want to book with you again in the future.
Welcome books show guests that you care.
Your advice on how to make the most of your property gives guests the friendly engagement they’re looking for. It also protects their personal space and privacy by providing valuable information without requiring personal interaction.
Welcome books help you get great reviews.
Your guests are likely to reward your thoughtfulness in their reviews. Even better, you or your guest contact may get fewer questions during their stay, and you’ll be sending new customers to your favorite local shops and restaurants, ensuring they thrive!
Sounds pretty great, right? But where should you start?
From a friendly “hello” letter to your home’s policies, these are the sections you’ll need to put together the most useful welcome book.
Guests who choose vacation rental are looking for a unique home with a real person behind it. Writing a note to personally welcome them to your property is another way to separate yourself from a hotel — and reinforce their decision to stay with you.
Make sure your welcome book provides at least one name, telephone number, and email for a local contact near your property. This person can be you, a local property manager, or even a neighbor — but they should be easily reachable, and available to come to the home on short notice. Nobody wants unanswered guest complaints to derail a pleasant stay.
You’ll also want to include contact details and addresses for the following emergency resources, just in case:
Remember, guests don’t have all of the resources they’d typically have at home. They’ll feel more at ease if they know you have their safety in mind.
Even if you send your policies in a pre-stay email, (Evolve does!) it’s still important to reiterate them at the property. Including policies in your welcome book can help you resolve common vacation rental issues and complaints because guests will have a difficult time arguing that they weren’t aware of the rules.
You should include all of the following information in your welcome book:
An in-home reference guide will help remind guests how best to enjoy your home and leave it in good shape for the next guests. Another perk of including your policies: you’re way less likely to find broken or misused items after a stay!
When your guests can’t figure out simple things like how to turn on the hot tub, they can get frustrated and wind up taking out that frustration in their review of your property. Even if every appliance works perfectly, spending valuable relaxation time figuring out how to use it is no one’s idea of a fun vacation.
Include helpful instructions for your:
This is also a good place to note any quirks of your property. For example, if the Wifi works very well all over the house, but not in the family room downstairs, make sure your guests know that. If they aren’t expecting an issue, they’ll be annoyed by it, but with a little forewarning, they’ll feel like they know exactly what they can expect, and it’s less likely to trouble them.
You know all of the insights you’ve collected about your neighborhood? Now’s the time to share your expertise — because everyone loves a good recommendation from a local! Try to suggest activities that would appeal to a range of guest types, such as family-friendly museums or romantic places for a dinner out.
Be sure to give addresses and phone numbers for each of your recommendations. Adding the amount of time it takes to get to the destination is a great idea, too. Include at least a suggestion or two in each of the following categories:
And share places where you personally enjoy going. This isn’t to say you can’t include popular attractions you haven’t visited in person. Just let your guests know that you haven’t tried them yourself, but you’ve heard good things and you hope they’ll tell you how they liked them! You can then use the guest feedback to gauge whether that activity merits a mention in your Welcome Book.
Help guests explore your area by creating a section devoted to local transit. Be sure to include contact info, directions, schedules and any other details that guests might find helpful, like:
Here’s the good news: we’ve already created one for you.To make things easier for you and your guests we created a free downloadable template. Enter your email in the form below to get your free, customizable copy. Then, type your information into our template, print the completed welcome book, and display it in an obvious area of your rental property, such as the kitchen counter. And if you’re looking to start booking more nights on your vacation rental, we can help with that, too.
Vacation rentals can be lucrative investments. They offer rental income in the short term and build equity in the long term. It’s an exciting proposition attracting more investors, especially as travelers embrace vacation rentals as their preferred accommodations.
For the third year in a row, we’re happy to share our list of the ten best places to buy a vacation rental. Our experience working with over 10,000 vacation rental properties across the United States has given us insight into more than 500 markets and how they perform.
This year, we’re including our estimated capitalization rate (cap rate) to help with rankings. Cap rate compares the net rental income generated per year against the purchase price of the property. It’s a good indicator of a property’s earning power and a reliable way to determine where you might get a better return on your investment.
To calculate our cap rates, we started by looking at the median annual rental revenue for Evolve properties in 500+ markets. We also applied yearly expenses of 30% to reflect the costs associated with operating a vacation rental. We then divided that by the median home price on Zillow for properties in each market.
If you’re looking to purchase a vacation rental property, make sure you take a closer look at these areas. Your numbers may differ based on operating costs, property values, and other factors, but this list helps shine a light on promising locations for investors.
A new addition to our list, Maggie Valley is in the Smoky Mountains area outside of Asheville, North Carolina.
It tops our list with a strong cap rate of 17.5%. Driven by low real estate costs with a median price of $155,500 and a median income of $38,949 per year, the Maggie Valley area presents an appealing investment option.
Proximity to the region’s famed mountain range is the primary tourism draw in this area. And the natural resources provide year-round activities, with hiking in the summer, leaf peeping in the autumn, and skiing in the winter.
If you’re looking at this area for a potential investment, shop around for a property that has a nice outdoor area where guests can enjoy the surrounding mountain views. Our data also shows that homes with hot tubs, fire pits, and decks typically perform better than average.
Consistently a top vacation destination for American and international travelers, Florida is an obvious frontrunner for short-term rentals. The warm weather allows for year-round tourism and lower real estate costs leave plenty of room to generate a sizable rental income.
But with so many beach towns, where is the best place to buy in Florida?
St. Augustine rises above the rest in our research with a cap rate of 17%. The median home price is $209,100 and you can earn an estimated median revenue of $50,989 in this area.
That’s an attractive rate of return, and it has the potential to increase further when you have top amenities like a private pool, hot tub, and proximity to the beach.
Rich in history, outdoor recreation, and prime beach access, St. Augustine offers great vacation rental potential for investors.
Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville have been proving their weight in gold for years. These family-friendly vacation rental destinations have a high demand for accommodations ten months out of the year and they provide a steady source of rental income.
With relatively low housing prices and few restrictions for short-term rentals, it’s no surprise that this area has become a top destination for vacation rental investors. Cabins are the preferred type of housing for regional visitors, and we found that the median home price ranges from $162,000 to $202,300 across Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg.
While the area is generally affordable, you might run into prices as high as $800,000 for larger (five bedrooms+) and more luxurious properties. Essential amenities for the Gatlinburg area are hot tubs, mountain views, and game rooms.
While the median for rental revenue is around $42,751, we do see six-figure revenue potential for larger properties in the area. If your rental is in good shape, with a desirable location and popular amenities, you stand a high chance of earning even more.
An hour down the coast from Galveston, this Texas town is known for beautiful beaches and a laid-back community. With few tourist traps or boardwalk shops, most Surfside Beach visitors spend their evenings cooking family dinners at home rather than hitting the town. That makes fully equipped vacation rentals all the more successful in this area.
We found the median home price for Surfside Beach was $136,500, which is a bargain compared to the stilted homes in the Galveston area that range from $200,000 to $400,000.
A median revenue of $29,321 gives this lesser-known area on the Gulf Coast an impressive cap rate of 15%.
If this coastal Texas town checks all the boxes for you, look for a property that offers ocean views and proximity to the beach. Fortunately, Seaside Beach is situated on a narrow tract of land, so beachfront real estate is not too hard to come by.
The Pocono Mountain region has been drawing tourists to its lakes and ski resorts for more than 100 years. With a strong demand for accommodations and a large inventory of real estate at affordable prices, it’s easy to see why this region is one of our top five places to buy a vacation rental.
The median home price in the Poconos ranges from $118,300 on the low end to $144,300 on the high end. With a property that has an open calendar, the median rental income you can expect to generate ranges from $25,058 all the way up to $40,278 per year.
We found that results vary from town to town, but we see the strongest returns with properties in Tunkhannock Township, Tannersville, and Pocono Lake.
Large lakefront properties that can accommodate a group perform best in this market. It’s also a good idea to look for houses that are updated or that you can renovate after purchasing. This traditional market has many outdated properties, and you can beat out the competition and charge a higher nightly rate with a home that has modern kitchens, bathrooms, and furnishings.
Situated in the Brainerd Lakes area north of the Twin Cities, vacation rentals in the Pequot Lakes area are hugely popular in summer months. Even better, they get bookings during the slow winter season for holidays and weekend retreats.
This market provides advantages to buyers in the Midwest because it’s a great investment opportunity where you can make strong returns, but it’s also close to home. That makes regular maintenance easier and offers the added benefit of having a second home for your personal use when you don’t have guests in residence.
While the median home price is $204,600 for properties in this area, larger homes that sleep eight or more people tend to see the best success. So it pays to invest in a larger property if you have the budget.
Something to consider with an investment in the Pequot Lakes area or a similar market is that rentals here tend to have a shorter season. With cold winter months, you face some pressure to hit your revenue goals during the high season, which requires smart pricing and aggressive marketing strategies.
Spanning two hundred miles across the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains, the Shenandoah Valley is an outdoor oasis. Visitors enjoy exploring National Parks and Forests, outdoor sports (skiing, fishing, golfing, canoeing and more) and a segment of the famed Appalachian Trail.
With an area that large, home prices and rental income will obviously vary. Still, the median home price in the markets that made our list is $227,500, earning $37,763 per year in estimated annual revenue.
To increase your income potential, look closely at the four-season resort areas of Massanutten and Wintergreen. They can expand your booking season via snow sports in the winter and water parks during the peak summer booking window.
Profit-driving amenities include hot tubs, a deck with a view (and a grill), and game tables like billiards and foosball. If you’re looking to invest in this area, the closer a property is to Massanutten Resort or Shenandoah National Park, the better.
With theme parks, specialty museums, shopping, and hundreds of shows per year, there’s no shortage of things to do in Branson. This Ozark getaway is a family-friendly vacation spot that has caught the eye of investors who want reliable returns and a lower price point.
The median home price hovers around $145,000, making this an affordable place to buy a vacation home. Our data revealed that rentals in Branson generate $24,062 in rental revenue per year at the median for a 11.6% cap rate.
The tourism season spans from March to December, so you have the opportunity to book ten months out of the year and reach an impressive occupancy.
Another benefit of investing in this area is that there are few regulations standing in the way of vacation rentals. Some areas west of Branson may come with restrictions, but the area is generally friendly toward short-term rentals.
The vacation rental inventory is a mix of condos, cabins, and homes. So no matter your budget, you can find something in this market that will perform well. Amenities that can help you succeed include proximity to popular attractions (the Shows District, Table Rock Lake, and Silver Dollar City), decks, and lake or mountain views.
For the third year in a row, Myrtle Beach makes our top-ten list. The seaside town is known for its 60-mile stretch of beaches, as well as theme parks, museums, and shopping. It’s also home to festivals, bike rallies, car shows and other events that draw crowds and drive up demand for accommodations.
Yet, Myrtle Beach is a budget-friendly place to invest. Condos frequently sell for under $100,000, and Zillow data shows the median home price is around $144,700.
If you buy in this market, beach proximity is important. However, unlike Surfside Beach, you don’t have to be on the water to be successful. Rental properties within one or two miles of the beach will also book and perform well.
When you’re buying a condo in a resort or community, be careful with association fees and restrictions. Higher fees typically get you nice facilities, upkeep, pools, and other amenities that are attractive to guests, but you may pay a lot for those add-ons.
Hot Springs, Arkansas is named for Hot Springs National Park, a treasured natural feature that draws visitors for its mineral-rich water.
A prime benefit of investing in this market is that your money stretches here. The median home price is $148,800 and generates a healthy $24,425 per year at the median for estimated annual revenue. That leaves plenty of flexibility to pocket the income or pay off your investment quickly.
For the best returns in this market, look for properties close to downtown Hot Springs or on Lake Hamilton. In our experience, waterfront homes tend to achieve higher occupancy rates and command better nightly rates than properties farther from the action.
Lake views, updated interiors, and dock access are additional amenities that can improve your performance in Hot Springs.
As always, the answer depends on your budget, your revenue goals, and your personal preferences.
You might want to purchase in a proven market like Gatlinburg or Poconos even if that means stiffer competition to get bookings. Or, you might want to buy in an area that isn’t as saturated, like Hot Springs or Surfside Beach, where you get more for your money.
We always encourage investors to think about where they’d like to visit. One of the key benefits you get from a vacation rental is that you get a second home for yourself. Where would you want to stay?
This list is a great place to start your consideration process, but it’s by no means definitive. There are many popular destinations that didn’t make our list. Think of this as a snapshot of the markets that you might want to explore if you’re looking to get the biggest return on your investment.
If you want more information, Evolve is constantly updating resources like these to help you better understand the vacation rental market:
If you’ve already chosen a property and need to get your vacation rental off the ground, let us help.
With Evolve, you get everything you need to start a successful vacation rental: professional photos, a custom listing, competitive rates, vacation rental expertise, and full-time teams to support you.
There are no upfront costs and you pay just a low 10% fee per booking. Learn more about our services and contact us to see if your home qualifies.
Have you ever thought about investing in a vacation home to use a short-term rental? We asked Daniela Andreevska at Mashvisor to share some insight on why real estate investors are wise to consider this avenue as they get started with their first real estate investments.
Looking for the best way to make money outside your 9-to-5 job? How about real estate investing?
It can be intimidating to dive headfirst into the world of real estate investment, but buying a vacation rental home is one avenue that’s gaining a lot of popularity. We think it might just be the best way to enter the real estate business and become a property investor.
There are many benefits to buying a vacation rental and we have put together a list of the top reasons that we think you should consider this as your first step in real estate investment.
If you’re a first-time real estate investor, you are probably considering all the options and thinking about what’s best for you.
Buying a vacation rental home has one clear advantage: It can serve dual purposes. You can use it as a second home and spend your own vacations there with your family, and then rent it out to guests the rest of the year.
Buying an investment property for the sole purpose of renting it out long-term does not give you this option.
One of the major advantages of real estate investing in general, and investing in rental properties in particular, is the fact that you gain a source of steady income.
How? Through rental income.
The idea is that you will be renting out your second home to guests when you aren’t using it. You’ll be making money without having to necessarily buy an “investment” property. After all, your vacation home is your second home. It just happens to make money on the side.
When you buy a vacation home and use it as a short-term rental, the money you make from bookings actually helps you pay the mortgage and other expenses (property tax, insurance, maintenance, and repairs) for the place where you spend your vacations.
In addition to making money in the short run, a vacation rental home also makes money – potentially a lot of it – in the long term.
A second home is a real estate property, and real estate generally appreciates in value over time. When you are ready to sell your vacation rental property, you can usually sell it at a higher price and cash in on the profit. The best part is that you don’t have to do anything to enjoy this benefit. Natural real estate appreciation will take care of it.
If you want to make even more money when selling your property, you can make modifications and improvements to push up the market value of your vacation rental (known as forced appreciation).
Similar to your primary home or an investment property, a second home also provides tax deductions. These apply to mortgage payments, property tax, rental income, insurance premium, utilities, and other rental expenses.
However, the situation with a vacation rental can get somewhat complicated depending on the number of days you live in your property and the number of days you rent it out to guests. So, if you decide to buy a vacation rental, we recommend that you work with a professional accountant and/or a real estate attorney to assure that you are taking maximum advantage of tax deductions without breaking any tax laws.
Investing in vacation rental exposes you to lower risk than other types of real estate investment. First, vacation homes are in top tourist destinations, so you can attract lots of guests, reach high occupancy rates, and charge a high nightly rate.
The combined effect is high rental income. And rental income is how investors make money from their rental properties.
One way to reduce your risk even further is to choose a location and a property that works as either a traditional, long-term rental or as a short-term rental. If you find that you have a low occupancy rate, low rental income, and negative cash flow, you have the option to switch strategies and become a traditional landlord.
And in the worst case scenario, if a long-term rental strategy also fails to bring you a positive cash flow, you still have a second home to use with your family. This will save you the cost of renting hotels or other people’s vacation homes until your property has appreciated enough in value to sell it. After all, if your vacation rental is located in a popular destination, appreciation should not take more than a few years to kick in.
No matter how many real estate books you read or how many real estate classes you attend, you will not become an expert real estate investor until you actually buy an income property and start managing it.
Buying a vacation rental home provides you with an easy entry into the world of real estate investment because it’s often less stressful than other real estate investment strategies, such as becoming a full-time landlord, fix-and-flip, wholesaling, etc.
While some people take on vacation rental management as a full-time job, you don’t have to do this in order to start making money in real estate. It’s feasible to make owning a vacation rental a part-time job that doesn’t take up too much of your time, especially if you use a vacation rental management service.
Management is a major concern for inexperienced investors, and it can potentially turn into a real nightmare for first-time vacation rental owners. Imagine having to clean your property, change the sheets, wash the towels, and refill the toiletries between each guest – sometimes multiple times a week – all the while working your 9-to-5 job.
Most owners don’t have time for that. Instead of handling it themselves, they’re hiring property managers or vacation rental management services to take over those time-consuming duties. Then they are free to oversee the aspects of vacation rental management they want, like talking to guests, making recommendations, and collecting rental income.
Investing in a vacation rental home is an easy entry point to real estate investment that provides endless opportunities to learn and carries lower risk than other options. But if you are a beginner real estate investor, you might be wondering how to go about the whole process of buying a vacation home as an investment property.
Here’s a list of the main factors you need to consider as you look for vacation rental properties:
Experts say that “location, location, and location” are the three most important factors in a successful real estate investment, and they are not mistaken. When buying a vacation rental home, choose places where other travelers – besides you and your family and friends – would enjoy. To check out some of the best places to buy a vacation home to start investing in real estate in 2018 based on data from Mashvisor, click here.
Regulations on short-term rentals have been tightening in many places around the U.S., so once you’ve chosen a location for buying your second home, make sure you will be allowed to use the property as a short-term rental and make sure you won’t be taxed too heavily for it.
Before buying your income property, conduct some real estate market analysis to make sure you’re not overpaying for your second home. Real estate comps are the only way to assure you can get positive cash flow from renting out your vacation home on a short-term basis.
Compare the rental property you’re considering buying with other vacation rentals around the area to see how you can stay competitive while making money in real estate. Predictive analytics can also help.
Mashvisor’s rental income calculator allows you to conduct all the necessary analyses you need in order to make the best real estate investment decisions quickly and easily.
More people are buying vacation rentals as their first real estate investments because it’s a sound financial decision. The demand for vacation rentals is at an all-time high and continues to grow. There’s low risk, because at the end of the day, you have a second home where you can vacation for free. And with new cost-effective vacation rental management systems, you have access to the help you maximize the return on your investment.
Daniela Andreevska is the Content Marketing Director at Mashvisor. Mashvisor helps real estate investors quickly find traditional and Airbnb investment properties.
Mollie and Jim Platt are successful vacation rental owners in the historic coastal district of Morehead City, NC. The high-season calendar is packed with bookings at their quaint Mermaid Cottage. They’re making thousands of dollars in vacation rental income every year.
You wouldn’t know it, but not long ago, the Platts were vacation rental newbies. They’d never before taken on the responsibility of managing a short-term rental property, and were worried about whether their business venture would succeed or fail.
The Platts are not alone. Hundreds of investors and second-home owners enter the vacation rental industry every day. Running a second home or investment property like a business is a tall task for first-timers. That’s why we asked the Platts—and other now-seasoned owners like them—to reveal what they wish they knew when they were just getting their rental properties off the ground. Here, find our comprehensive list of strategic tips for first-time vacation rental owners. You’ll reduce stress levels while maximizing returns. It’s a win-win.
You’re off to a great start…because you’re here, reading this right now!
From setting rates and figuring out which listing sites are best to staying in the know on state and local regulations, there’s a wealth of knowledge first-time vacation rental owners must absorb to be successful.
“When I first started in the business back in 2005, there wasn’t as much information about vacation rental readily-available. I would read everything I could get my hands on and study other rentals in my area,” said Karen Hopkins, owner of eight short-term rentals in Branson, Missouri.
Karen paved the way to profitability by doing her homework. She was committed to avoiding first-time mistakes by leveraging hospitality recommendations from experienced sources. Today, Karen’s properties get hundreds of bookings a year.
Luckily, owners no longer have to look as hard as Karen did in 2005. A simple Google search pulls up a ton of valuable info for first-timers. Our personal suggestion? The Evolve blog is a great place to start. Check out some of our key resources here:
Pour over these articles, be a sponge, and use this knowledge to empower your next steps in vacation rental success.
When you’re just getting started with vacation rental, it’s tempting to cut corners in an effort to maximize your returns. This often takes two common forms:
Frugality might seem like a responsible driving principal, but it forces owners to work tirelessly to generate rental income results. Ultimately, investing in your vacation rental upfront and releasing the reins of absolute control mean a simpler path to success—and more money in your pocket in the long run.
You might be thinking, “Okay. I’m on board. But what exactly will that entail?” Here’s the short of it: upgrade your vacation rental with simple luxuries, and onboard services that can take your business venture to the next level. Our next two tips will help you navigate these recommendations in more detail.
When decorating your vacation rental, it’s important to create a comfortable and convenient space for any guest to enjoy. To achieve this goal, start with a base canvas of classic, crisp lines and color palettes. Exercise design discretion and prioritize neutrality to appeal to a wide array of tastes.
“I should have skipped the cheap colored linens, the themed heavy comforters, and the mountain of coordinating throw pillows,” said Tyann Marcink, a professional vacation rental photographer and the owner of eight rentals in Missouri. “I should have gone straight to commercial white linens with extra pillowcases and the triple sheet method of making the bed.”
Similarly, make an investment in new, high-quality furniture when you first open your rental’s doors. The scuffed living room set you’ve had for years might be perfectly comfortable for you and your family, but it looks like wear and tear to guests.
“At first, we used the outdoor furniture we had instead of shelling out for new chairs, and our guests noticed,” said John Lisanick, the owner of My Sweet Escape, a cottage in Virginia’s Northern Neck. “We corrected that right away and added ample deck chairs and cozy cushions.”
And while choice furniture and unbusy prints are sure to suit a variety of design tastes, guests have also selected their vacation destinations intentionally. “I would add more decorations sooner than I did,” explained Al Williamson, a successful property owner and the expert behind the Leading Landlord Blog.
Incorporate subtle accents that evoke the feel of the area to position your vacation rental as an idyllic extension of the destination. Ski condos outfitted with mountain touches and beach houses with coastal decorations tend to get more bookings than those with no nod to the charm of the locale.
The final step in capturing understated luxury? Keep each room well-stocked with simple amenities.
Offer spices in the pantry, toiletries in every bathroom, and throw blankets in living spaces. Your guests should have the comforts of home at their fingertips for that kick-back-and-relax feel. “It’s surprising how much of a difference the right amenities and local decor can make to your success,” said Karen Hopkins.
“Then,” added Al, “I’d quickly get a professional photographer in so I could show off how great the place looks. This would have shortened the time it took me to recoup my initial startup investment.”
It only took a few months for Mollie and Jim’s Mermaid Cottage to see wild success. Their secret? They did not attempt to own every aspect of their vacation rental endeavor.
“We studied the pros and cons of going with Evolve and it was a no-brainer! I am happy to let Evolve handle the business aspects of running a vacation rental. It frees us up so we can spend more time bringing 5-star, above-and-beyond customer service to our guests.”
By outsourcing their rental marketing and management, the Platts achieved a polished professionalism right out of the gate—and avoided setbacks that often accompany inexperience.
For Karen Hopkins, this lesson was learned the hard way. “I thought I needed to do everything myself to preserve as much of the revenue as possible. When in actuality, after I made the switch to using Evolve, my revenue increased by far more than my fees. ”
“Plus,” she noted during our conversation, “it left me with more time to take care of all the other parts of the business so we could continue to grow.”
After hiring a vacation rental management service to help, homeowners often realize that their revenue results can significantly outweigh the rental income they’d give up in the process. And, like Karen, they see a return on investment faster, while doing a lot less work.
All too often, vacation rental owners make mistakes when establishing daily rates for guests.
Some apply a flat rate to an entire calendar year, only to find their listings struggling when peak season ends and competition dwindles. Others price too high year-round, and consistently lose out to cheaper rentals nearby.
For owners who come out of the gate with the lowest prices on the market, occupancy soars—but when returns are tallied, they’ve ultimately undercut themselves, and miss out on revenue they should’ve had in hand.
There are a number of pricing strategies worth consideration when you’re first starting out in vacation rental. The key across every option is to pay attention to market data, seasonal fluctuation, and your direct competition. Be sure to measure your home against others with equivalent amenities and conveniences. And stay away from applying personal value to certain luxuries. Just because you’d pay $100 extra per night for a 3-car garage doesn’t mean your guests will see it that way.
Bottom line: a dynamic pricing strategy is crucial for achieving solid net occupancy and making top dollar on every booking. At Evolve, we’ve developed an exclusive algorithm, called SmartRates, to analyze billions of ever-changing data points. We track overall demand, seasonality, similar properties, and current trends.
As a result, our owners are outperforming their competition with record-breaking success; they earn 24% more compared to those using traditional pricing methods.
With the right resources and strategies under your belt, you’re sure to leave mistakes at the door—and join the ranks of our most successful vacation rental owners.
Evolve’s fresh approach to vacation rental management gives you total marketing, booking, and customer support across all websites like Airbnb, Vrbo, and Booking.com.
We’ll connect you with trusted cleaning and support partners, and you can decide who to work with to create the Home Team of your dreams.
It’s our job to drive more guests to your property for maximum income, so you can focus on providing an incredible guest experience—all for an industry-low 10% management fee.
We’ve helped 14,000+ homeowners earn more than $1 billion in rental income. And we’d love to help you.
See if you qualify or call one of our Vacation Rental Advisors today at 877.881.7584.
There is a beautiful comfort to winter. We set our stresses aside to build snowmen in the yard, sing around the piano, unwrap thoughtful treasures, and make rich new memories. The season for holiday travel is upon us, and this year, we’re celebrating the Danish art of coziness, otherwise known as hygge (pronounced hoo-gah).
Hygge is a feeling of coziness and connection — but in order to achieve that feeling, you need the right scenery. Read on to learn the key elements to achieving hygge by way of our unique home rentals and explore ideas for your winter vacation.
Nature has a way of reminding us of our inner worlds, welcoming us to slow down and put our devices away. We’re able to relax more, breathe in the fresh air, and delight in our surroundings — an integral part of hygge living. This retreat in Saxapahaw, North Carolina is a wonderful example of a cozy home, with giant windows that peer into the forest and a rustic, crafted design.
Another place that has just the right setup for indulging in quality time together is this luxury getaway in Winthrop, Washington, which immerses you in 360-degree mountain and river views. With plenty of snug seating nooks, a wood interior that brings the outside in (a big part of hygge design, according to HGTV), and an open layout, you can keep the conversation and the cocoa flowing.
Honorable Mention: This Montana cabin rental lets you watch wildlife from your window, just a short drive from Yellowstone. Massive windows look out into the landscape, and it’s perfect for two guests. Some of the most hygge places are known for being small (and if you own a small home, The Spruce has some hygge style tips here).
Thoughtful lighting contributes to evenings filled with soft laughter, movie nights tucked under blankets, and meals that linger. When a fireplace is crackling, our mood lifts and we feel at peace. This cozy A-frame cabin nestled in the Colorado mountains has a wood-burning fireplace and a dinner table looking straight into the scenery. Part of the magic of hygge is working on something together, like throwing logs over the fire as a soup simmers on the stove.
This Gatlinburg mountain home also comes with the fireplace of holiday dreams, circled by plush leather furniture arranged for conversation. While sprawling in size, this place offers many places to come together and bond. Spend winter days relishing the views from a hot tub, then dive into a game of pool together at night inside the warmth of the wood interior.
Hygge homes tend to feature white furnishings, soft textures, and modern open layouts that invite conversation (Apartment Therapy describes the style as having an uplifting ambience). Take this upscale Topton, North Carolina home, for example. It feels completely free of clutter, sets you right over a serene lake, and is draped in sheepskin and blankets. Make new traditions by the fire here while the aroma of nutmeg and mulling cider fills the house.
This Bloomington, Indiana home is all charm and it is fit for a memorable small family holiday. Bring your pet along and watch the snow fall as you bake cookies, humming along to your favorite holiday classics. The light interior makes it easy to settle in, and enchanting bistro lights dotting the outside of the home add holiday charm.
Not traveling? No problem. Here are a few ways to try out some hygge ideas right from home this season.
“LIGHT” FLAMELESS CANDLES: When it comes to hygge, lighting is everything. Candles can make your home feel like a different world — and flameless candles are an easy, safe way to keep the aesthetic for hours. You can also achieve a similar effect with fairy lights, as referenced in this article from Buzzfeed.
BRING OUT SOFT TEXTURES: Hygge is all about texture. The physical feeling of something soft and comfortable lends itself to cozy experiences and conversations. Treat yourself to a new sweater or a hand-knit throw. Bonus points if it’s handmade or a family heirloom, since hygge celebrates items and pieces with a story behind them.
DECORATE WITH PLANTS: Inviting the outside in is a key element to a hygge setting, and one of the simplest ways to do this is with plants. Houseplants like succulents or Pothos will do the trick, but it’s also the perfect season to bring home a real tree.
SET UP A “HYGGEKROG”: You read that right. A hyggekrog is a small reading nook perfect for unfolding a new book, ideally near a window. Remove all clutter, round up the blankets, add a soft cushion, and make sure you’ve got a view.
HOST A SMALL DINNER PARTY: Have two to four friends over for dinner and cook something new together. Be sure to choose a stew or something that takes a while to simmer and creates a lovely fragrance.
ENGAGE, WITHOUT TECHNOLOGY: Set your phones aside and dive into real conversations. Ask your family or friends questions about their lives, play a board game, read a book out loud and discuss the plot, or try out a winter craft together.
Want even more tips on how to make your own home cozier? Check out this how-to article on how to master the concept of hygge from Dwell. And if you’re looking for a destination that’s cozy in itself, you’ll want to read our travel guide to the most charming small towns in America.
Find the perfect cozy rental for your holiday travel — knowing that it’ll be professionally cleaned and ready for your arrival. Our Rest Easy Promise helps you stay in the moment together and lets you travel without surprises (except for what you’ve gifted each other).
Be sure to check out The Little Book of Hygge for more ideas on how to celebrate the season.
There’s a reason that Winter Park has been named Colorado’s Top Adventure Town by Elevation Outdoors. It draws crowds to its alfresco scene year-round, home to world-class skiing, mountain biking, fishing and hiking. There’s truly an adventure for everyone in “Colorado’s Playground.”
In winter months, you can plow through fluffy powder at Winter Park Ski Resort and sled your heart out at Fraser Tubing Hill. When the cold departs, biking and hiking trails — along with photo-worthy wildflower fields — reveal themselves from beneath the blanket of melting snow.
For a truly elevated Winter Park visit, book a vacation rental steps away from the chairlifts or tucked away in an aspen forest. Coziness is key for enjoying the ultimate Rocky Mountain retreat.
Winter Park Resort and its sister mountain, Mary Jane Mountain, serve as the town’s mainstay anchors, dominating the skyline as you descend into Fraser Valley. From smooth groomers to steep black diamonds, the mountains’ diverse terrain offers ski slopes designed for both the novice and seasoned skier alike.
Even more adventure can be found at Winter Park’s Railyard Terrain Park, home to a number of jumps, jibs, and rails perfect for both skiing and snowboarding. New to snow sports? Winter Park features a remarkable ski school available for both kids and adults, so you can shake off those first-time nerves and get to practicing your turns.
From downhill mountain biking to adventurous snowmobiling, Winter Park has a plethora of outdoor experiences in store for you, no matter the time of year. Visiting during the heart of winter? Include a dog-sledding trip with Dog Sled Rides of Winter Park and a snowmobiling excursion (guided or unguided) with Grand Adventures in your trip itinerary. For more laidback winter days, head to the hills of Fraser Tubing Hill or Coca Cola Tubing Hill at Winter Park for adrenaline-fueled descents down steep, snowy lanes, quickly followed by a hot cocoa in the warming station.
Those who prefer warm weather to the cold will love Winter Park’s vast hiking trails that wind deep into the Rocky Mountains. Berthoud Pass and the James Peak Wilderness are two of the most popular high-elevation trails, but for more recommendations (plus important safety information) you can check out Hiking In Winter Park.
Mountain bikers can keep the good times rolling on the trails of Trestle Bike Park. Grab a lift ticket, rent a bike, and take a class if needed before diving head first down the 40 miles of gravity-fed dirt.
There are those who come to ski and those who come to après ski — thankfully, Winter Park offers the best of both worlds. Prop up your skis (and your feet) for evening refreshments on Main Street. Hernando’s Pizza Pub, Deno’s Mountain Bistro and The Ditch on 40 are classic haunts for after-skiing eats and drinks, while Tabernash Tavern (just up the road) treats your palate to international culinary entrees and an extensive wine list.
Thirsty? We thought so. Grab a cold brew at one of Winter Park’s many breweries like Hideaway Park Brewery and Big Trout Brewing Company. Or, lift your spirits at Idlewild, offering everything from locally made whiskey and gin to rum and vodka.
While Winter Park features a lifetime of adventure, don’t miss out on the rest of Grand County’s spectacular sights. Within Grand County, Colorado, you’ll find several quaint mountain towns and a myriad of outdoor destinations.
A quick drive up Highway 40 brings you to Granby, home to family-owned Granby Ranch. Here, the skiing is beginner-friendly, the panoramic views are unparalleled, and summer nights never seem to end.
The valley transforms into an oasis as you make your way north into Grand Lake, an idyllic destination for hiking, paddle-boarding, and boat tours. Additionally, the area is known as the ‘Western Gateway’ to Rocky Mountain National Park, which is truly a sight to behold.
Farther west, discover the Rocky Mountain spa paradise of Hot Sulphur Springs. This small mountain town features Gold Medal Waters for fly fishing, along with 23 thermal pools that line the Colorado River. Rejuvenate sore quads in the natural hot springs before making your way back to your Winter Park vacation rental.
From its snow-covered mountains to its small, ski-town charm, Winter Park has all of your mountain-retreat desires covered. For more details on visiting the area and discovering something you love, order the visitors guide here: Get your free Winter Park Visitors Guide
The moment you book your vacation, you should start looking forward to your trip — not worrying about the little details. When you choose Evolve for your Winter Park vacation rental, you can feel confident that the home you book will live up to our standards.
Every Evolve vacation rental you book comes with a team of hospitality experts, and we’re here to help make your stay more comfortable 24/7. To help you feel even more confident, we created The Rest Easy Promise: if a stay doesn’t match our standards, we’ll make it right.
Find Winter Park vacation rentals you can count on.
The U.S. has an estimated 15 million skiers, who every year flock to the mountains in droves.
For prospective vacation rental owners searching for homes in popular ski towns, the draw of busy winter months is quite enticing. Many are looking to purchase a property before the slopes get lively, and stand to achieve impressive returns with the right investment.
And the interest from potential buyers often goes beyond investment value. Not only are they able to offset their mortgage by renting out their ski vacation home, but they fall in love with the idea of having a second home in a great ski destination because they, too, can enjoy visiting whenever they please.
So, what’s the catch? There are a number of often-overlooked factors to consider on the journey to vacation rental property perfection. Ski seasonality, limited inventory, and competitive list prices frequently deter homeowners from making the ROI they expect.
But fear not. Whether you’re looking for the honest truth about classic markets or hoping to get the most bang for your buck in a lesser-known ski area, we’ve compiled the ultimate guide to sorting through your ski rental options. We’ll start with your absolute best investment opportunities, and then provide our top recommendations for those interested in making iconic hotspot dreams a reality.
The selections below are based on a combination of proprietary and public data. We analyzed rental performance data in ski towns across the country to uncover the locales in which bookings lead to higher median value. We used Zillow’s median listing prices for homes in each area and, to help calculate cap rate, estimated the annual expenses of running a rental at 30% of total revenue. While every individual owner’s situation will be different, this information should help focus your search and contextualize every option.
Here are the best places to buy ski vacation property across the country—suited to an array of homeowner goals.
Prospective ski rental owners who believe maximized ROI comes first and foremost can find great value in unexpected places.
Try Snowshoe, WV for an out-of-the-box take on the ski rental. Here, list prices are incredibly low, yet properties are conveniently located close to the foot of Snowshoe mountain, and see a considerable return on investment for vacation rental owners. Skiing and natural beauty make this diamond in the rough a valuable, largely-untapped opportunity for our owners.
Massanutten, VA also poses unique ski town value to potential buyers. Built around a quaint ski resort, this destination draws tourists for snow sports at large, but also offers visitors year-round recreational activities like a waterpark, golf range, and ample shopping. Massanutten is a great option for those seeking to expand their view of what a ski rental can be. It also neighbors McGaheysville, a Virginia town you might remember from our 2020 best places to buy a vacation rental.
If you were playing a game of word association and someone said “ski town,” you might instantly think of Aspen, Tahoe, Vail, or Stowe. While these idyllic destinations are often top of mind, they offer limited inventory at steep prices. It’s also important to note that California markets, in general, are highly regulated and present more difficult obstacles for property investment.
For buyers seeking that classic feel but hoping for easier entry into the market, we recommend diverting your attention to ski towns like Breckenridge and Winter Park, CO. Still quite iconic, and you’ll find more inventory to acquire at lower price points. With proximity to Denver and the opportunity for year-round sightseeing, these ski towns will also help you achieve consistent occupancy rates—even when the high season comes to a close.
*The Evolve Difference: Winter Park owners make $1,800 more in annual median rental revenue with Evolve.
If you’re hoping to invest in a ski rental property at a lower financial threshold, but want to stay closer to that classic feel, not to worry. These ski towns, while less of a departure from our iconic hotspots than Snowshoe and Massanutten, still afford owners easy purchase, solid ROI, and measurable overall value—making them strategic alternatives.
Satisfy skiers drawn to Vermont’s iconic Stowe by investing instead in Southern Vermont’s Killington. Prospective homeowners can find shockingly cheap townhouses that still sit close to the ski mountains, and get a much higher return on investment than they would farther north. The charm and quintessential value of Vermont ski season, of course, remains paramount for visitors.
Give your guests the Summit County, CO experience without the hefty price tag by purchasing a property in Alma or Fairplay, CO. You’ll get a lot more bang for your buck and see high net occupancy without paying top dollar for the Summit County zip code.
*The Evolve Difference: Alma owners make $12,000 more in annual median rental revenue with Evolve.
Eschew Park City, UT listings in favor of Salt Lake City properties. It’s not in the challenging and expensive Park City area, but is an easy drive over to the slopes for your ski-savvy guests. Even better? SLC properties have high summer occupancy rates as well, so you can rest easy knowing your ski rental returns will take you right into warmer weather. For income-focused buyers, SLC isn’t first on the list, but with less market competition and year-round occupancy, it remains the best option for Utah ski rental investors.
*The Evolve Difference: Salt Lake City owners make $2,300 more in annual median rental revenue with Evolve.
While some of our recommended ski towns boast more upside than others, it’s important to remember that Evolve owners frequently outperform the market expectations. As seen above, owners in Winter Park, for instance, make $1,800 more each year with Evolve than the market median suggests, while Alma owners see a whopping $12,000 more in annual vacation rental returns. That’s the Evolve difference.
How does Evolve pull it off? Our exclusive pricing algorithm sets competitive rates year-round that earn 24% more than traditional pricing methods. We give your property distinct visibility on top sites like Airbnb and Vrbo by applying professional marketing expertise. And we’re committed to the guest experience by enforcing the highest industry standards and providing 24/7 support. Great reviews mean even more bookings.
If you’ve surveyed our recommended ski towns for rental properties and are ready to take the next step, learn more about our real estate services. We have the data to contextualize your investment opportunities and define your objectives, preferred real estate agents who specialize in vacation rental purchases, and, of course, that arsenal of management tools to help you reach your personal and financial goals.
With so many great options across the country, there’s no better time to dive into your search. Once you’ve zeroed in on the perfect home, we can help you take it to the next level, too.
Click here to start the conversation about purchasing a ski rental.
Traverse City, Michigan treats you to an unbeatable Up North experience filled with fresh tart cherries, wine tastings, an eclectic arts scene, and adventures on Lake Michigan. Home to the annual National Cherry Festival and known as the “Cherry Capital of the World,” Grand Traverse County and the five surrounding counties account for over 40% of the tart cherry crop in the United States. While you’re here, peruse boutique shops for locally crafted goods, venture through the Old Mission Peninsula, and share countless hours of family-friendly entertainment.
Whether you’re seeking a downtown hub or a secluded escape in the small towns of Northern Michigan, we know that you’ll find your dream vacation rental by booking with us. Even better, we’ve fully researched the area so you can make the most of your vacation. Book now and start getting excited for your escape with these ideas.
Formed by glacial activity from thousands of years back, the Sleeping Bear Dunes host endless opportunities for outdoor recreation, no matter the season. You can trek through a scenic network of hiking trails, picnic, sightsee, snowshoe, cross-country ski, and much more.
The highlight of the National Park is the famed Dune Climb. If you’re looking to spend a full day on this rare landscape, you can hike roughly 3-4 hours through the dunes all the way to Lake Michigan. Celebrate your journey by spending the remainder of your afternoon lounging on the serene beach.
If you’re seeking a less strenuous activity, pack the car and head out on the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. Make a pit-stop at a visitor center so you can learn more about the park’s history and ecology during your travels.
The Grand Traverse Bay waters are calling, whether you’re an experienced mariner or a first-time sailer. Seek out rental options from kayaks to sailboats, jet skis, and more on either the West Arm or East Arm. Popular options include Sail & Power Boat Rental or TC Watersports.
Take a break from the wake and discover some waterfront family fun at either Clinch Park or Traverse City State Park. Both parks boast beautiful beaches, facilities, views looking out toward the peninsulas, and TART Trail access.
Kick back and enjoy the perks of being a passenger by booking yacht charters, day-long cruises, or an hour cruise with the sunset. The Tall Ship Sailing Company offers a variety of voyages so you can select the right adventure for your crew.
The family-owned King Orchards is home to some of the highest quality harvests in the area. Stop here for cherry picking experiences, fresh fruit for sale, baked goods, and more.
Looking to bring some cherry-infused products home as souvenirs? Cherry Republic has a sister location in the heart of Traverse City with the flagship store resting in Glen Arbor and features free samples, handmade gift boxes, and a wide selection of other products.
Fall wine tours are a favorite among Traverse City tourists, but you can enjoy world-class wine tasting throughout the year. Sip your way along the Old Mission Wine Trail or head a little further to the Leelanau Peninsula wineries.
Don’t worry if wine isn’t your beverage of choice. You’ll also find several types of beer tours in town, including kayak trips, bike rides, bus drives, and more. What better way to cap off your day than with some decadent ice cream? Both MOOmers and Bardon’s Wonder Freeze are must-try stops during your stay.
Foodies will feel right at home with restaurants featuring all kinds of cuisine: Mexican, Italian, American, Chinese, barbecue, and more. Start your day with a fine roast at one of the city’s coffee shops then prepare for an afternoon of three-course meals.
Front Street lies just a few blocks from the Bay’s coast (with Boardman River running alongside) creating the perfect setting for some retail therapy. Pop in and out of the town’s small businesses or visit either the Grand Traverse Commons and Grand Traverse Mall for some bargain hunting.
Founded by Michael Moore in 2005, the Traverse City Film Festival is an annual, charitable event designed to preserve the cinema art form. The organization also includes an offshoot perfect for fans of laughs: the Traverse City Winter Comedy Arts Festival. Additionally, the Film Festival owns and operates the State Theatre and Bijou By the Bay.
Learn about the history of performing arts at the City Opera House or stop by the Dennos Museum Center to witness fine-art exhibits, including one-of-a-kind Inuit Art. Downtown Traverse City hosts live music and other events throughout the year, so check the calendar and plan accordingly.
Grand Traverse Resort is a perfect spot for relaxation. Book the right spa treatment for you or make a tee time for a round of 18 holes.
Your Traverse City adventures don’t end here. There’s plenty more to experience in this unique corner of the country — whatever your reason for visiting. Download the free Traverse City Visitors Guide and curate a getaway tailor-made for you.
The moment you book your vacation, you should start looking forward to your trip — not worrying about the little details. When you choose Evolve for your Traverse City vacation rental, you can feel confident that the home you book will live up to our standards.
Every Evolve vacation rental you book comes with a team of hospitality experts, and we’re here to help make your stay more comfortable 24/7. To help you feel even more confident, we created The Rest Easy Promise: if a stay doesn’t match our standards, we’ll make it right. Find Traverse City vacation rentals you can count on.
Cape Cod, Massachusetts — famous for its beautiful beaches, maritime culture, and unique heritage ― ranks among the world’s most desirable summer vacation destinations. The Cape offers something for everyone, from culinary adventures to a variety of art galleries, preserved lands, romantic sites, and family activities. Fill your next East Coast vacation with days spent relaxing by the sea, riding along scenic bike trails, and sharing tasty treats from a local ice cream shop.
Find your dream seaside escape by booking the perfect vacation rental for you. Then, be sure to add the following ideas to your itinerary.
Founded by President John F. Kennedy and stretching 43,607 acres to the tip of Cape Cod, the National Seashore boasts some of the area’s best beaches. Spend laid-back days by the Atlantic Ocean visiting popular hot spots like Nauset Beach and Race Point Beach, or finding your own hidden gems in between.
Take a break from the sand and venture through Cape Cod’s vast network of hiking trails. Make sure to look around during your hike — the area is filled with breathtaking scenery including lighthouses, salt marshes, estuaries, freshwater ponds, and more.
Due to the seashore’s distinct environment and wide stretches of wildlife preserves, you’re likely to spot animals in their natural habitat. The park also includes several sites for fishing and hunting, so look into a license before an outdoorsy retreat.
Cape Cod is home to breathtaking Sand Dunes, and there’s no better way to witness this phenomenon than with Art’s Dune Tours. The family-owned business offers one-hour trips throughout the day and curated experiences like sunset rides, group celebrations, and more.
If you’re interested in whale watching, there are two choices for a memorable voyage: Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruises and the Dolphin Fleet of Providence. From April through October, a variety of whales migrate to the area to feed on schools of fish and small animals. Both boats guarantee whale sightings while ensuring the safety of their passengers and the whales.
Of course, no trip to Cape Cod is complete without touring the islands. Martha’s Vineyard hosts guided walking and other services to see its coastal landscape, beach colony roots, and gothic structures. Meanwhile, Nantucket provides ample opportunities to stroll its famous cobblestone streets and admire the shingled cottages. Choose the right experience for you and book a day trip across the Sound.
Break away from the crowd and create memories with some outdoor recreation. From strolling paved pathways to setting sail on the Bay, you’ll find the right rental shop to suit any adventure.
Cape Cod is known for its cycle-friendly atmosphere and seemingly endless bike paths. Plus, the Lower Cape’s surrounding ecosystems are best experienced by riding the Cape Cod Rail Trail. Head to the Dennis Cycle Center, find the ideal bicycle for you, then hop directly onto the trail and traverse 22 miles of stunning terrain.
Whether you wish to water ski, jet ski, or kayak, the sea is calling. There are two premier options for rentals on the Cape: Dennis Parasail and Jet Ski and Cape Cod Parasail and Jet Ski. Both shops provide professional parasailing trips plus a variety of rental options.
Cape Cod’s roots date back to the beginning of the American colonies. Built to commemorate the first landing of the pilgrims in Provincetown Harbor (and the tallest completely granite structure in the United States) the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum is a must-see for history buffs.
Visit the oldest town on the Cape and tour the Sandwich Glass Museum, where you’ll observe professional glass blowing, a local trade dating back to the 19th century. Between towns like Yarmouth, Orleans, Wellfleet, and many others, there’s no shortage of historic buildings, live music, and annual events.
If you’re an avid foodie, you’ll find the Cape’s cuisine doesn’t disappoint with fresh seafood, cozy coffee shops, ice cream parlors, breweries, and more. However, wineries are the area’s trademark. Taste award winning wines at establishments like Truro Vineyards and First Crush Winery.
Focused on curating educational outdoor exhibits for all ages, the Heritage Museum and Gardens covers 100 acres filled with plant life, bug life, and architectural features. Learn more about the outdoors at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History or opt for first-hand encounters in Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge and Nickerson State Park.
You won’t have to worry about keeping the kids busy on a rainy day. New discoveries await at the Cape Cod Children’s Museum or the Whydah Pirate Museum. Your group can also enjoy live performances at the Cape Playhouse, where actors like Bette Davis and Humphrey Bogart made their first appearances.
Cap off your adventures by exploring sea life research at either the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary or Woods Hole Oceanographic institute. The Cape Cod Maritime Museum, a non-profit organization designed to preserve the area’s seafaring background, is another great choice for all nautical enthusiasts.
With so many items to cross off the bucket list during your Cape Cod journey, you’ll want to ensure nothing gets missed. Download the free Cape Cod Travel Guide and start planning today.
The moment you book your vacation, you should start looking forward to your trip — not worrying about the little details. When you choose Evolve for your Cape Cod vacation rental, you can feel confident that the home you book will live up to our standards.
Every Evolve vacation rental you book comes with a team of hospitality experts, and we’re here to help make your stay more comfortable 24/7. To help you feel even more confident, we created The Rest Easy Promise: if a stay doesn’t match our standards, we’ll make it right. Find Cape Cod vacation rentals you can count on.
Galveston, TX is a gulf-front haven for relaxing time at the beach and family-friendly amusements. Whether you’re seeking a sandy shore, a day at a waterpark, or shopping and dining in a quaint, historic downtown setting, this vacation destination has something that will delight the whole family.
Once you’ve found your home base in a Galveston vacation rental, you’ll be set to explore this gem in the Lone Star State. Here are some top attractions you won’t want to miss.
Known for stretching miles of sandy shores, Galveston is the perfect place for a beach trip. Grab a beach blanket, some sunscreen, and a good book for a day spent lounging near the Gulf of Mexico. Walk or jog the longest sidewalk in the United States, the Galveston Seawall, which runs parallel to the beach and boasts murals, shops, restaurants, and gorgeous views.
For more outdoor activities, spend the day at Galveston Island State Park. Explore the park while you cast a fishing line, mountain bike, bird watch, or even journey down a paddling trail in a kayak or on a stand-up paddleboard.
Family fun awaits at the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier. Complete with thrilling attractions like the Iron Shark Rollercoaster, Texas Star Flyer, and the Cyclone, the pier is the perfect place to take a break from the beach. You won’t want to miss climbing aboard the Galaxy Ferris Wheel to view Galveston from new heights. Coasters aren’t the only activity to be found on the pier — you can also challenge a friend to play an arcade game, hop in the thrilling 5D Theater Rides, or pick up a souvenir from the Pelican’s Bag gift shop.
When you’re feeling hungry, head to Fish Tales to dig into some delicious seafood dishes and test your movie trivia knowledge while you’re at it. Top off the day by grabbing an ice cream cone at Sweet Scoops and watching the sunset.
Explore the depths of the sea and the canopy of the rainforest at Moody Gardens.
Inside the Aquarium Pyramid, find a 1.5-million-gallon tank filled with underwater marvels from stingrays, sharks, and schools of fish. Feeling adventurous? Book a Penguin and Seal experience to go behind the scenes with a biologist to learn more about a penguin’s diet, art skills (yes, art skills!), and even meet a seal.
Once you’ve fully explored ocean life, head to the Rainforest Pyramid. Listen to the sounds of birds that are native to the rainforests of Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Catch sight of beautiful plants and other awe-inspiring creatures from sloths, monkeys, and river otters.
Outside, make a splash at Moody Garden’s waterpark, Palm Beach. Whether you want to float around the lazy river, lounge in a cabana, or ride down a waterslide, Palm Beach is a perfect hangout spot for the whole family. Other thrills can be found on the Zipline and Ropes Course or by spending the afternoon with a ride on the replica 1880s Colonel Paddlewheel Boat.
Step into the 4D Special FX Theater to experience a nature documentary or even a blockbuster film on the big screen with special added effects — or head into the Discovery Museum to stroll through the exhibits. Need even more fun? Book a tee time on the Moody Gardens Golf Course for a day hitting the links and enjoying the Lone Star State sunshine.
Beat the heat with a trip to Schlitterbahn Waterpark. With waterslides that are perfect for thrill-seekers, a lazy river ideal for a relaxing float, a swim-up bar where you can cool down with a tropical drink, and a wave pool that invites the whole family to jump in, this Galveston attraction is the perfect way to spend a hot summer day in the Lone Star State.
Gather your courage to ride down the Cliffhanger waterslide, learn to surf on the Boogie Bahn, or grab an inner tube to travel through the twists, turns, and tunnels of the Dragon Blaster. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing time lounging poolside or a thrilling adventure on the water rides, this amusement park is sure to make for a remarkable summer day.
End the day exploring Galveston’s Historic Downtown district. Take a stroll down the “Wall Street of the South,” also known as The Strand, where you can find gift shops, boutiques, antique stores, and local eateries. For waterfront views, head to Pier 21 for gulf-front dining options, rooftop bars, or even board a Dolphin Tour.
For beautiful Victorian-Era architecture, visit Postoffice Street. Along with being home to stunning, 19th-century architecture, Postoffice Street is also a hub for Galveston’s art scene where you’ll find art galleries, local pubs, and even catch a show at the Grand 1894 Opera House.
Galveston is home to beautiful beaches, family-friendly attractions, and a charming historic downtown area. You’re sure to have a trip filled with fun and excitement that will satisfy the whole family. For more information on the amusements and natural beauty of Galveston, request a visitors guide here: Request Information
Ruidoso is an all-season adventure town perfect for family vacations or late-night entertainment. Between Labor Day and Memorial Day, this southern area in the Rocky Mountains is an outdoor oasis. Travelers can soak up the southwestern sun with horseback riding and national park tours or, come winter, hit the town’s ski resorts. Indoor fun awaits too, with world-class casinos and Broadway shows, plus multiple museums preserving the area’s vibrant history. The wild and western village of Ruidoso is a year-round vacation destination for guests of all ages and interests to visit time and time again.
Once you’ve booked a vacation rental in Ruidoso (like one of our Ruidoso cabins), you’re halfway there. Next, it’s time to fill a checklist with must-see sites and must-do activities. Here are some of our local favorites.
Lincoln County is perfectly situated between the Sacramento and Sierra Blanca Mountains, making it every outdoor lover’s dream. The public lands which make up the national forest are rich in wildlife, mountain views, and hiking trails, so you can embark on an unforgettable adventure in any season.
Spend a day — or a few — taking on the slopes at the southernmost major ski area in the nation. The peaks of the Ski Apache mountain resort reach over 12,000 feet, promising plenty of fresh powder days for experienced skiers and snowboarders. If you’re just learning, then you’re in luck, because the ski resort offers group and private lessons for future shredders of all ages.
Anglers won’t want to miss a pit-stop at Grindstone Lake, Alto Lake, or any of Ruidoso’s famed rainbow trout fishing spots. Kick back and cast your line while admiring an awe-inspiring mountain backdrop, or hop on a paddleboat and cruise across the water.
Time stands still and the Wild West lives on at the Lincoln Historic Site. This well-preserved museum is made up of 16 adobe-style structures that, together, tell the vivid story of New Mexico’s most noted legend: Billy the Kid. A majority of these sites, as well as the nearby Fort Stanton, date back to the 1800s when cowboys roamed the land. The 19th-century landmarks invite your family to step into the shoes of the outlaws that once made the West so wild.
Follow in the legend of famed sheriffs and gunfighters when you stroll the streets of this historic monument. The Lincoln County War is well-remembered in the area, but no character is more commemorated than Billy the Kid. His legacy lives on throughout Ruidoso, with hot spots like the Billy the Kid Museum and the scenic Billy the Kid Trail paying tribute to his memory.
Cowboy culture comes alive in the southwest, and Ruidoso puts you in the heart of it. Stop by the corral at Grindstone Stables, one of the oldest stables in the Ruidoso area, for horseback riding excursions. Ranging from one-hour guided tours to carriage rides through the canyon, Grindstone has itineraries to fit every age and skill level.
Exploring on horseback is a popular pastime in Ruidoso, and the town offers several horseback riding options so you can change up the scenery. Find some of Lincoln County’s best horse trails at Inn of the Mountain Gods, a multi-purpose resort with fun for the whole family, or stop by Bonita Stables for an intimate and authentic equestrian experience.
Just one hour outside of Ruidoso’s city limits lies one of New Mexico’s most popular destinations: White Sands National Park. This sprawling natural wonderland features 275 square miles of white gypsum sand dunes that are sure to make your jaw drop. The pristine park offers more than just an out-of-this-world landscape, but also plenty of outdoor activity and educational opportunities in every season.
The desert phenomenon is a hot spot for family fun, with hiking, sand sledding, and scenic drives waiting around every turn. Any kiddos in your crew will love participating in Junior Ranger programs, while nature fanatics will be first in line for walks and talks with Park Rangers.
You’ll find entertainment at all hours of the day in the village of Ruidoso. If gambling is your game, the Billy the Kid Casino has got you covered with over 300 slots machines and high-stakes horse racing ready to take your bets at the Ruidoso Downs Race Track. A trip to Ruidoso isn’t complete without stopping by the Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort, a gaming, golfing, and dining hub known for being one of New Mexico’s most thrilling casinos, settled on the Mescalero Apache reservation.
Broadway-caliber shows are a must-see at the Spencer Theater of Performing Arts, a state-of-the-art performance hall offering upscale entertainment on a scenic mesa overlook. Check the venue’s schedule to make sure you can catch one of their outstanding cultural performances, whether it be world-class theater and dance or a symphony with incredible acoustics. After the show, stop by Midtown Ruidoso to peruse local restaurants, live music, and buzzing brew pubs and wineries. Be sure to bring a piece of the Wild West home with you by popping into one of the many gift shops in town.
Whether you’re looking for outdoor activities, arts and culture, or family-friendly fun, Ruidoso provides the perfect destination for an action-packed vacation. For more information regarding attractions in the Ruidoso area and upcoming local events, download your free Ruidoso travel guide here: Get your free Ruidoso Visitors Guide
The moment you book your vacation, you should start looking forward to your trip — not worrying about the little details. When you choose Evolve for your Ruidoso vacation rental, you can feel confident that the home you book will live up to our standards.
Every Evolve vacation rental you book comes with a team of hospitality experts, and we’re here to help make your stay more comfortable 24/7. To help you feel even more confident, we created The Rest Easy Promise: if a stay doesn’t match our standards, we’ll make it right.
Find Ruidoso vacation rentals you can count on.
Staggering mountain peaks, rushing rivers, and crystal-clear reservoirs — this is only a glimpse of what you’ll experience on a trip to Summit County. The all-season adventure base resides high in the Rocky Mountain peaks, where travelers can enjoy Colorado’s 300 days of sun and rich mountain town culture. With access to world-class ski resorts, famed mountain biking trails, and the scenic Blue River right at your fingertips, your itinerary will be packed full of high-altitude excursions, no matter the time of year.
Booking a Summit County vacation rental is the first step to planning your vacation. We’ve taken care of the second step (doing the research) so you can skip right ahead to step three: having an unforgettable stay. Read on for a list of our favorite Rocky Mountain sights and all the must-see stops we suggest along the way.
Whether you’re crushing black diamonds or signing up for your first lesson, you’ll find a mountain that matches your style here in Summit County. This ski and snowboard haven is home to a high density of top-rated mountain resorts, all offering a unique experience for riders at any level.
Copper Mountain is Summit County’s largest ski resort, and it’s the perfect place to spend powder days with the whole family. Reach new heights with Breckenridge Ski Resort’s above-the-treetop slopes that are sure to challenge even the strongest skiers. First-time riders will feel right at home at Keystone Mountain Resort, where long green runs and expert instructors will have you cruising in no time. If you’re seeking more of a local experience, Arapahoe Basin is your spot to shred.
With so many world-class resorts to choose from, it can be tough to pick just one. Go the local’s route and purchase an Epic Pass for unlimited access to Breckenridge and Keystone, or sign up for the Ikon Pass and take your pick between Copper and A-Basin.
Dillon Reservoir is one of Summit County’s most popular summertime destinations and a scenic place to spend a day on the water. Bask in breathtaking mountain views from every inch of the lake’s 26-mile shoreline, thanks to the towering high peaks that surround this alpine oasis.
Choose your fun by renting a watercraft of your choice from the Frisco Bay Marina or Dillon Marina. From solo kayak trips or paddleboard ventures, to sailboat and pontoon excursions with friends, you can enjoy it all with a stunning Rocky Mountain backdrop. Take your boat day one step further by renting some gear and fishing for trout.
This recreation area also provides plenty of space for family-friendly fun on land. Bike or hike the paved path along the lakeshore, pack a picnic to enjoy at the scenic Sapphire Point overlook, or try your hand at the disc golf course — one of many in the area.
The area is bordered by two beautiful national forests — White River and Arapahoe & Roosevelt — so there’s never a shortage of trails to explore. You’ll find hikes that range from idyllic strolls through the woods to uphill climbs to mountain peaks, including six 14ers. These famed trails, each reaching over 14,000 feet in elevation, are a Coloradan rite of passage fit for the most experienced adventurers.
If you’re a thrill-seeker, Colorado has got you covered. Summit County is a mountain bike mecca filled with biking trails and adventure parks that are sure to match your speed. The Frisco Bike Park has courses to suit every skill level, while the Keystone Bike Park features award-winning trails that are often boasted as being the best in the state.
For the perfect combination of all-seasons and all-ages fun, check out the Frisco Adventure Park. Here you can hone your skills at the bike and skate park, perfect your toss on the disc golf course, or spend an afternoon tubing and Nordic skiing with the kids.
If outdoor recreation is what brings folks to Summit County, then the charming mountain towns are what make them stay. This Rocky Mountain region is made up of several small towns — Breckenridge, Keystone, Frisco, Silverthorne, and Dillon — and each brings something unique to the scene.
Some must-see sites include Main Street Breckenridge’s quaint shops and restaurants, fine dining at the historic Keystone Ranch, and Silverthorne’s top-rated rafting trips on the Blue River. For local events and seasonal specials (like the incredible Dillon Ice Castles), be sure to check out what’s happening in the Summit Daily.
If you’re looking for the best way to get around, or simply need a lift after taste testing spirits at the Breckenridge Distillery, the Summit Stage is your go-to ride. This free shuttle operates year-round and provides a hassle-free way to get the most out of your stay.
From mountain-town culture to thrilling outdoor activities, Summit County is a destination for everyone in the family, regardless of interest or skill level. For more information regarding Summit County sites and attractions — and to stay up-to-date on all the upcoming local events — download your free Summit County travel guide here: Get your free Summit County Visitors Guide
The moment you book your vacation, you should start looking forward to your trip — not worrying about the little details. When you choose Evolve for your Summit County vacation rental, you can feel confident that the home you book will live up to our standards.
Every Evolve vacation rental you book comes with a team of hospitality experts, and we’re here to help make your stay more comfortable 24/7. To help you feel even more confident, we created The Rest Easy Promise: if a stay doesn’t match our standards, we’ll make it right.
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Right now, it’s a little tricky to travel internationally — but you don’t need to miss out on the splendor of European cities, sweeping mountain vistas, and food to write home about. We’ve rounded up the most beautiful places to visit in the U.S. that will make you think you’re abroad, without the ten-hour flight.
Before a day of sightseeing, please make sure to check that the mentioned attractions are currently open.
Vail holds a certain magic in any season — and wandering its streets, you might mistake it for an enchanted German village. Come winter, mountains capped with snow are a background to the warm glow of restaurants, shops, and lounges made for sipping mulled wine. After taking on renowned slopes or spending a day hiking, you can savor fondue in the romantic ambiance of Almresi or nosh on German sausage at Prosit. Before heading back to your vacation rental, take a leisurely stroll along Gore Creek and marvel at the Bavarian-style buildings.
WHERE TO STAY: Your perfect vacation rental in Vail, CO is here. Evolve offers comfortable places for your group, whether you’re traveling solo or on a family adventure.
If your daydreams take you to rolling vineyards where you can drink in the sun, head to California’s wine country. You’ll think you’re in Tuscany as you study the notes of famous glasses, befriend local winemakers, and relish the solitude of complete quiet as the day winds down. Hop in the car with a loaded picnic basket and tour the wineries of Napa, Sonoma, and Santa Rosa and enjoy life at a slower pace, knowing the ocean is just a short drive away.
WHERE TO STAY: Find a home just north of San Francisco where the best days of your year are waiting. Each place comes with 24/7 support from our team.
St. Augustine was founded by a Spanish general, and today, the oldest city in the U.S. still celebrates its historic roots. Grab an afternoon bite from the Spanish Bakery and Cafe, then adventure out to a stone masonry fort at Castillo de San Marcos that tells the story of the city. For a taste of Barcelona, grab a table at Sangrias for tapas, then soak sun along the white sands of St. Augustine’s beaches. Afternoon shopping, museums, and snacks perfect for bringing back to your vacation home can be found on St. George Street, the historic heart of the city.
WHERE TO STAY: Explore homes in your price range that we promise will be 100% ready for your arrival. Evolve makes vacation rental a day at the beach (especially when you’re in St. Augustine).
Iceland is loved for natural wonders like hot springs, waterfalls, and verdant vistas — and so is the Pacific Northwest. Just outside of Portland, the Oneonta Gorge closely resembles Iceland with steep falls that tumble against moss-covered rock. Closer to Seattle, you might catch a rainbow at the base of Snoqualmie Falls, which is a close double for Iceland’s Gulfoss. Feel yourself fall into deep relaxation as you take a dip into the soothing waters of one of these local hot springs.
WHERE TO STAY: Whether you pick a place near Portland or head out to the Greater Seattle area, days spent in these Pacific Northwest vacation homes are nothing short of magnificent.
Ouray, CO is proud of its likeness to Switzerland. Drive to a lookout point over the town and you’ll be greeted by a sign for “The Switzerland of America” (it’s a great photo opportunity). This Colorado wonder is home to lush mountains, plummeting waterfalls, and a quaint, but lively, downtown area. One view that particularly evokes Switzerland is Box Canyon Falls, just a short drive from the town center. Take a dip in Ouray’s hot springs to really bask in the scenery or drive the unforgettable San Juan Skyway.
WHERE TO STAY: Relax in the Swiss-like views from an Evolve home in Ouray, CO. All of our properties are professionally cleaned to help you rest easy.
You’ll be immersed in the French influence of this city as soon as you set eyes on the vibrant architecture, which blends French and Caribbean styles. Get that classic European feel by picking up hot beignets and coffee from the French Market, an open-air shopping center. For a luxurious dining experience, reserve a table at the intimate N7 Nola, a French restaurant with Japanese influence founded by two filmmakers, or eat French food in the French Quarter at Meauxbar.
WHERE TO STAY: Put on some brass band music and explore these vacation rentals that are equipped with everything you need for cozy evenings.
If the coastal towns of England are on your bucket list, Cape Cod, Massachusetts is calling your name. Buy a cup of English tea at Beth’s Bakery, go lighthouse spotting along the coast, and kick back with a pint at a local pub like O’Shea’s Old Inne. When you’re ready to zone out, head to Cape Cod National Seashore — or any one of the awe-inspiring beaches in this town — and listen to the waves crash.
WHERE TO STAY: Experience the charm of the East Coast from an Evolve home in Cape Cod. Book it now and change your plans up to 48 hours before check-in.
Escape to some of the best places in the U.S. that feel like going abroad — and rest easy when you stay with Evolve. Your vacation rental near world-class culture and natural wonders will always be professionally cleaned and ready for your arrival.