When you’re first starting out as a vacation rental owner, there’s one big question: how much money can I expect to make? 

Short-term rental properties can give owners solid revenue returns, and are often more profitable than long-term rentals. But that additional income doesn’t come without costs. From taxes and insurance to cleaning and management fees, it’s important to factor a number of expenses into your income calculations to help paint an accurate picture of your home’s profit potential. 

That’s where our vacation rental income calculator comes in. Simply plug in your monthly revenue and expenses below, then sit back as our tool automatically churns out an annual income estimate — all factors considered. 

Not sure where to pull those numbers? Take a peek below our tool to understand your income and expense variables in more detail, and check out our bonus resources that can help you make confident estimates.

Your Income Variables Explained

The first step toward accurately estimating rental income? Defining each term properly. Here’s a quick-reference glossary of what each variable used in our calculator means.

Small blue icons of a sun and moon indicating nightly rate

Nightly Rate

Avg rate you expect to charge/night

Small blue calendar icon indicating nights booked

Nights Booked

Avg # of nights you expect to book/month

Small blue icon indicating mortgage


Monthly mortgage payment

small icon of a shower indicating utility fees


Monthly costs for heat/hot water, electricity/AC, WiFi & cable

small icon indicating taxes

Insurance & Property Taxes

Monthly costs for homeowners insurance, liability insurance, property protection plan + your state’s property tax rate

small money icon

Other Expenses

Monthly sum of HOA & maintenance costs + avg stocking/upgrading costs

small blue icon indicating management fees

Management Costs

Monthly % of income set aside for management/marketing fees (dependent on how you run your business)

Understanding Income and Expenses

Let’s be real: estimating an accurate income for your investment property can be confusing. Certain elements — like mortgage and utility payments — have fairly standard numbers you can enter into the calculator without much math. But others require more contextual consideration. So, let’s walk through each step of the process in more detail.

Step 1: Calculating Monthly Revenue

To accurately estimate nightly rate and expected nights booked, it’s important to understand the current market in your area.

The good news: we’ve analyzed tens of thousands of listings across North America to compile the most impactful performance metrics for you. From nightly rate and nights booked to average lengths of stay and prime booking windows throughout the year, all of the results can be found in our vacation rental market analyses library. Each provides a data-backed gauge of how direct competition performs — and, in turn, how much you might be able to to charge and book.

Once you pull the nightly rate and nights booked averages from those market analyses, plug them into the vacation rental income calculator above to start laying a solid foundation for estimating monthly income (and overall revenue).

Owners who work with Evolve get access to our team of revenue experts and exclusive revenue optimization strategies that are proven to outperform the market.

Step 2: Calculating Monthly Expenses 

From taxes to marketing fees, your expense estimate relies heavily on custom quotes and individual choices.

First, add up the monthly costs of your different types of insurance — like homeowners insurance, liability insurance, and a property protection plan.

Evolve owners are automatically covered for accidental damages via our risk protection programs.

Then comes property taxes. How they’re applied varies by state, so be aware of your particular municipal requirements. If you’re not sure, you can plug your rental property’s address into this complimentary tool to receive the right rate.

Once you have an estimate for both, combine the numbers and enter the sum into our short term rental calculator.

Next, input your monthly mortgage payment and utilities.

To incorporate other expenses, first combine monthly HOA and maintenance costs, cleaning fees, and the average expense of keeping your short-term rental inventoried and well-stocked for guests.

If you need to make furniture or decor upgrades, put a price to those overarching updates and divide by 12 before adding to your total monthly view of those additional expenses.

Finally, there are management costs to consider. These fees and how they work look different depending on how you choose to run your vacation rental business.

If you run a vacation rental without any help:

  1. Select the “I plan to manage my property on my own” option in our vacation rental income calculator
  2. Add up the varying percentage costs of the marketing fees for the marketplaces you plan to use (listed below)
  3. Move the marketing fee slider to match the sum of those percentage fees

If you use a property manager:

  1. Select the “I plan to hire a manager” option in our short term rental income calculator
  2. Slide the bar to account for an average 10-50% fee

If you work with Evolve (who lists your home on all the best vacation rental sites at no extra cost):

  1. Select the “I plan to hire a manger” option in our vacation rental income calculator
  2. Slide the bar to our industry-low 10% fee

Maximize Your Income Potential with Evolve

Between the steep fees of traditional property managers and the overwhelming responsibility of a DIY approach, it’s hard to strike a cost-benefit balance that guarantees your success. At least, it was until Evolve came into the picture.

For an industry-low management fee (that’s backed by our Risk-Free Guarantee), we’ll apply a proven-to-work marketing and booking strategy to your vacation rental, boosting your revenue potential while keeping costs (and stress levels) down.

Hop down to the form below to see if you qualify for our services and kickstart a conversation with one of our vacation rental pros.

Real estate is known for being a solid investment, and recent traveler trends highlight a clear opportunity to earn extra income by investing in vacation rentals. Plus, when we surveyed over 8,000 travelers, 82% said they plan to book a vacation rental for their 2023 adventures.

Experts also believe these traveler preferences are here to stay, making short-term rental investment a great play for long-term income.

Here are six major benefits of owning vacation rental property to underscore exactly why it’s a good investment.

In This Article:
Increased Income Potential
Varied Market Opportunity
Offsetting Owner Costs
Even More Revenue Opportunity
A Built-In Vacation 
Home Appreciation

1. Increased Income Potential

Not only is the vacation rental industry showing plenty of income potential, it’s also creating opportunity for what our experts consider a “high-reward profile.” 

Most investors look at cap rate — the ratio between a property’s net income and its market value — as a key measure of success, because it indicates return on investment. Our team says long-term rental cap rates can hover around an average 4-5% in metro markets (where investors are typically drawn), but short-term rental cap rates can frequently come in at 10% or higher.

This means your ceiling for profitability is significantly higher when investing in vacation rentals than it is with other property options — and that’s more money that could land in your pocket.

2. Varied Market Opportunity

While finding success in long-term rental generally requires a purchase near a major metro area, buyers can find vacation rental properties with profit potential in a wide variety of markets

And since travelers’ favorite locations are scattered from coast to coast, you’re spoiled with choices for vacation rental investment properties –– whether you’re looking for a beachfront property, lakeside rental, mountainous ski house, or cozy cabin.

Ready to explore your options? Our team helps investors find success in markets all across the country.

3. Offsetting Owner Costs

Creating solid revenue streams and growing your income property portfolio are the main investment goals for many second home owners. But there’s also massive value, particularly when it comes to investing for beginners, in offsetting owner expenses from the start.

From mortgage payments and utilities to insurance fees and maintenance costs, vacation rental income can cover monthly expenses and help your home pay for itself in a shorter time frame. Vacation rental owners are also eligible for certain tax deductions, which could help close the gap between income and expenses.

Bonus benefit: using a vacation rental management company with especially low fees (like Evolve) can help owners break even and start earning profit faster.

4. Even More Revenue Opportunity (with Five-Star Hospitality)

The best part about investing in vacation rental properties is that great guest feedback makes your home more lucrative over time. 

When rental properties hit new listing sites, they have to compete with established competitors for visibility and bookings. But the more five-star experiences you deliver (along with smart responses to any poor reviews), the more sites like Airbnb and Vrbo will show your property to browsing travelers — making it more likely to earn bookings. 

Best-in-class hospitality also makes it easier to raise daily rates (when the market allows for it), increasing your profit margins on any given stay as you establish the value of your vacation rental property. 

5. A Built-In Vacation

Unlike long-term rental investments, a vacation rental property is also a place where you can get away. It provides the luxury of carving out time to spend with family and friends, or to switch up your work-from-home space — without necessarily needing to spend money on accommodations each time you travel.

In other words, you earn rental income and boost revenue when you’re not there, but also save money when you’d like a change of scenery yourself.

6. Home Appreciation

As with all smart real estate investments, you can expect your vacation rental’s market value to appreciate over time. So, if and when you become ready to sell, you’d likely earn more than the previous owners did when you bought it. 

What’s more, when that time comes, Evolve has experts who can help you sell directly to buyers who are looking to invest in vacation rentals.

Take the Next Step Toward Investing in Vacation Rental 

Investing in vacation rentals might feel like a big undertaking, but Evolve is here to guide you at every stage of the journey — whether you’re just starting out or consider yourself an industry pro. Our experts can help you: 

And if you’re hoping to buy a rental with promise, our homes for sale page features properties that have already been vetted for profit potential.

No matter where you are or plan to buy, we’re here to help you reach your vacation rental goals.

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.

Bust Stress: Vacation Rentals with a Pool

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. 

Resort-style pool and hot tub at Goodyear, Arizona vacation rental

Private Swimmer’s Paradise in Goodyear, AZ

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.

Palatial Luxury Home In Homestead, FL

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.

Palm tree-lined pool at luxury vacation rental in Homestead, Florida
Lush background with in-ground pool at modern vacation rental in Austin, Texas

Modern Poolside Oasis In Austin, TX

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.

Explore All Homes With A Pool

Get Energized: Vacation Rentals With A Gym

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. 

Charming log cabin vacation rental surrounded by trees and nature trails in Sonoma County, California

Enchanting Log Cabin In Sonoma County, CA

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.

Private Forest Mansion In Acworth, GA

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.

Acworth, Georgia vacation rental with a pool

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. 

Explore All Homes

Find Quiet: Vacation Rentals with an Office

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.

Living room in an Erie, Colorado vacation rental that also has multiple offices

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.

Upscale Cabin In Show Low, AZ

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.

Spacious kitchen in Show Low, Arizona cabin vacation rental, a home that also has a lofted office

Honorable Mention: Work remotely from this vacation rental in Fairplay, CO, and enjoy a cozy, log cabin exterior with a clean, modern interior. 

Explore All Homes

Cozy Up: Vacation Rentals with a Fireplace

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.

Dreamy Dome House In Idyllwild, CA

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.

Cozy living room with wood-burning stove and guitar at the unique Dome House vacation rental in Idyllwild, California
Living room with stone fireplace and nature views at Incline Village, Nevada vacation rental

Spacious Modern Hideaway In Incline Village, NV

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.

Cabin In Breckenridge, CO

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. 

Rustic Breckenridge, Colorado cabin rental living room with large stone fireplace

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

Fuel Creativity: Vacation Rentals with a View

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.

Exterior view of Bay City, Oregon hilltop vacation rental with stilted decks and lush landscaping

Hilltop Haven In Bay City, OR

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

Lakeview Retreat In Albion, MI

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.

Deck overlooking a private dock and lake at an Albion, Michigan vacation rental
Deck overlooking the ocean from beachfront vacation rental in Topsail Beach, North Carolina

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

Explore All Homes


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.

“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.

They’re Marketplaces, We’re a Management Company

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 helps you start, manage, and grow a vacation rental business. That means we actively work 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 tens of thousands of properties listed on their sites, and we constantly implement cutting-edge strategies to make sure our owners’ homes are positioned for maximum traffic and bookings.

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 revenue optimization 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.

Our Homes Are Different, Too: Always Perfect for Vacation

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.

A Different Experience for Owners and Guests

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.

So We’re Not Airbnb or Vrbo, But We’re All Friends

Once you work with Evolve, you quickly discover the difference between our service and all of the others. Soon you’ll book — and earn — more for an industry-low fee that’s backed by an unmatched Risk-Free Guarantee.

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 how Evolve helps owners — from newcomers to industry veterans — maximize their listing exposure and passive income

Let’s face it: traveling without pets isn’t as fun as traveling with them. And as more families become fur moms and dads, the demand for pet-friendly vacations continues to rise. 

In fact, a recent survey revealed over 40% of U.S. dog owners brought their pet on vacation last year. The only question is, where should you go?  

The answer? One of these dog-friendly destinations. Trust us when we say both you and your four-legged friend will be in for a real treat.

Not sure where to stay? We’ve got you covered with pet-friendly vacation rentals across the country. 

In This Article:
Asheville, NC
Gatlinburg, TN
Breckenridge, CO
Fort Myers, FL
Branson, MO
Austin, TX
Atlanta, GA
Bend, OR
Provincetown, MA
San Diego, CA

1. Asheville, NC

Pet-friendly vacation rental with large yard in Asheville, NC

There’s nothing quite like taking an active adventure with your loyal companion, especially when it’s in a place where the views are unmatched — like in Asheville and the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains. This dog-lover’s sweet spot offers countless outdoor activities for you and your pup. Start your day with a stroll through the North Carolina Arboretum, beat the heat with a float down the French Broad River, or get your hearts pumping with a hike around Craggy Gardens. When it’s time to relax, share a picnic in the park while watching the Montford Park Players perform Shakespeare.

See pet-friendly Asheville homes

2. Gatlinburg, TN

A-frame cabin rental near Gatlinburg, TN

Tucked away in the Great Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg has  tons of opportunities to connect with nature while bonding with the ones you love most on a pet-friendly family vacation. Venture to Great Smoky Mountain National Park and hike the Gatlinburg Trail and Oconaluftee River Trail with your pup. Or grab your swimsuit, sunnies, and four-legged buddy and enjoy a relaxing float down the Little River. When it’s time to cut loose, Mills Dog Park has plenty of room to roam and two separate areas for different sized doggos.

A trip to Gatlinburg isn’t complete without experiencing Dollywood either, so it’s a good thing your pup can enjoy their own version of the theme park at Doggywood.

See pet-friendly Gatlinburg homes

3. Breckenridge, CO

Brightly-lit interior living space in a Breckenridge, CO vacation rental

Head to one of America’s favorite mountain towns for the pet-friendly vacation of a lifetime. There’s no shortage of exciting things to do, whether you want to ride the Breck Gondola (yes, fur-friends are allowed!), sip your worries away at the award-winning Breckenridge Distillery, or run wild at the Carter Dog Park

Plus, Denver is a short 1.5-hour drive away. There you can continue the dog-friendly fun with a day trip to Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Romeo’s K9 Tap, or Chautauqua Park. There’s even a 107-acre DOLA (Dog Off-Leash Area) at Cherry Creek State Park with water access for pups who love to get their paws wet.

See pet-friendly Breckenridge homes

4. Fort Myers, FL

Large breezeway living space in vacation rental home near pet-friendly Fort Myers, FL

If you’re in need of pet-friendly vacations in Florida (not to mention endless supplies of vitamin D), look no further than Fort Myers. It’s where you can enjoy a game of fetch on Fort Myers Beach, or head out on a guided boat tour to see local dolphins with your furry friend nearby. 

While you’re in the area, consider checking out nearby Fort Lauderdale. It’s only two hours away, and Snyder Dog Park and Coconuts are worth the road trip adventure.

See pet-friendly Fort Myers homes

5. Branson, MO

View of large decks in row of attached rental cabins in the pet-friendly vacation destination of Branson, MO

Not only a prime destination for gathering your favorite people, Branson also happens to be the perfect midwest location for a pet-friendly family vacation. With endless sources of entertainment, you and your four-legged companion may have trouble fitting it all in. Your can’t-miss activities: hitting the trails at Table Rock State Park, shopping at Don’t 4 Get About Me, and floating on the lake in a rented pontoon for some fun and sun. Need the perfect memento? Play doggy dress-up at Buster’s Old Time Photos for an adorable vintage photoshoot.

See pet-friendly Branson homes

6. Austin, TX

Rental home with balcony overlooking lush forest near Austin, TX

Known for its tasty food, live music, and intentional focus on easy living, Austin can deliver one of the best dog-friendly vacations. Take a walk around Lady Bird Lake, or soak in the city’s landscape at Auditorium Shores dog park while your treat-loving pal enjoys all the freedom to roam. 

When you’re ready to grab a bite to eat, you’ll find endless pet-friendly restaurants in Austin — local pub Austin Terrier, Yard Bar, and Moonshine Grill are top picks for humans and pooches alike.

See pet-friendly Austin homes

7. Atlanta, GA

Home with fenced-in backyard in Atlanta, GA, perfect for a pet-friendly vacation

A hidden treasure for dog adventures, Atlanta is an up-and-coming hotspot that’s filling up with activities fit for the best pet-friendly vacations. Take a blissful stroll around Centennial Olympic Park — a true dog-lover’s dream in the heart of downtown. You can also experience Bark at the Park with the Atlanta Braves, or snag a bite to eat at Bold Monk Brewing Co (along with a slew of other dog-friendly patios in the area).

 See pet-friendly Atlanta homes

8. Bend, OR

Saloon vacation rental property with large yard near Bend, OR

A popular destination for dog-lovers and adventurers combined, Bend is home to dog-friendly vacation rentals along the Oregon coast. Once unpacked, you can enjoy a gorgeous hike along tree-lined mountain trails, then sip on a tasty craft brew at Lucky Labrador Brewing Co. while your trusty companion takes a nap on the porch.

If a more relaxed outdoor experience is what your pup needs, you can also enjoy one of many dog parks fit for your best buddy — or doggy paddle in the Deschutes River until it’s time for the next adventure.

See pet-friendly Bend homes

9. Provincetown, MA

Two-story pet-friendly vacation rental in Provincetown, MA

An escape to the east coast doesn’t get more fun than a trip to Provincetown. This dog-friendly destination is home to a variety of outdoor pup-tivities, including the award-winning Pilgrim Bark Park — a green space filled with local art, water fountains, and wagging tails. And if you’re looking for a quieter experience, it’s easy to pack some snacks and sail around Cape Cod Bay on a guided tour. 

With all this east coast hideaway has to offer, it’s really no surprise that Dog Fancy magazine once named Provincetown the most dog-friendly town in the United States.

See pet-friendly Provincetown homes

10. San Diego, CA

Modern living room in a San Diego, CA vacation rental that is great for pets

What could be more on-brand for your pet-friendly vacation than traveling to Dog Beach, America’s original pup-friendly shoreline? San Diego offers nearly perfect year-round weather, miles of open beach space for you and your pal to explore and, of course, all the eats and drinks your inner vacationer could wish for. Pack up the snacks (and dog treats!) before exploring Ocean Beach, Fiesta Island, and Del Mar.

See pet-friendly San Diego homes

Plan the Perfect Pet-Friendly Vacations with Evolve

If the best dog-friendly vacations are what you’re after, these destinations are sure to accommodate all of your human and canine needs. And no matter where your inner adventurer takes you and your furry friends next, you can rest easy knowing your comfort is the highest priority when you book with Evolve.

Find pet-friendly vacation rentals

There’s more travel inspiration where that came from, too. From the most unique vacation rentals you can stay in to the best star-gazing spots and desert destinations, we have plenty of ideas to help plan your next vacation.

From snowbirds escaping winter weather to city-dwellers seeking a break from everyday life, Palm Springs draws year-round crowds to its diverse range of attractions.

There’s no shortage of travel buzz for this desert destination, either: exploring the great outdoors, dancing to live music, and hitting world-class fairways are just a few reasons over 14 million travelers visit every year — making Palm Springs a hot market for real estate investors looking to turn a profit, too.

To help you understand what a Palm Springs investment property can offer, we created a free downloadable vacation rental market analysis. Inside you’ll find: 

The findings in this analysis are based on Evolve’s Palm Springs market averages in the last year and provide a general baseline for performance potential. They’re designed to help you make informed decisions when buying a vacation rental in Palm Springs.

Download Our Complete Palm Springs Vacation Rental Investment Analysis

Green icon of a house with shrubs and stars

Why Palm Springs Is a Great Place to Own Vacation Rental Property

With warm weather year-round and close proximity to Los Angeles and San Diego, the Palm Springs area provides a welcome escape for all kinds of travelers, giving vacation rental owners the opportunity for near-constant bookings. 

That said, Palm Springs does see one major high season each year. Demand hits its peak between winter and spring, as visitors from snowy corners of the country seek sunshine and festival-goers flock to Coachella. In summer, outdoor enthusiasts, weekend warriors, and families on school break swing through the area to enjoy the magic of this desert landscape, creating a smaller — but still worthwhile — travel surge for investors to capitalize on.

It’s also worth noting that travelers gravitate toward the privacy and freedom a vacation rental offers; the city says approximately 600,000 visitors choose non-hotel accommodations each year. Between the undeniable general demand and the particular value of vacation rentals, the right Palm Springs investment property can capture high occupancy and solid income. 

The median list price in Palm Springs proper hovers around $655,000. But you can also find more affordable — or even more lavish — properties in neighboring towns. Those in the affluent Rancho Mirage near $883,000, while prices in Indio and Palm Desert sit just under $514,000 and $562,000 respectively. And in Desert Hot Springs, a town on the edge of Joshua Tree National Park and only 20 minutes from Palm Springs, list prices are just under $379,000. This means investors can uncover options across a broad budget spectrum, all of which have the potential to drive major profit.

Green icon of a crystal ball with the words "profit prediction" in the middle with stars

How Much Money Can You Earn with a Palm Springs Vacation Rental?

Many travelers are seeking a home base for an annual getaway or weekend escape, so buying a vacation rental in Palm Springs could allow for repeat guests year after year. To maximize your earnings and gauge how valuable your home could be in the market, there are several factors to consider.

Property Size

Our real estate experts say properties with higher bedroom counts tend to book up faster and earn more for owners, since they cater to families and larger group getaways. 

One-, three-, and five-bedroom homes see the most nights booked throughout the year, with three-bedroom properties accounting for the most available local inventory. Five-bedroom homes also bring in the highest revenue overall, but they make up the smallest percentage of Palm Springs inventory. 

Splitting the difference gives investors the best of both worlds, with high rates, high occupancy, and solid inventory. Plus, Evolve’s top-performing home in the area is a three-bedroom investment property. 

Property Location

Our experts also say proximity to area attractions is key to capturing bookings. Look for homes close to downtown Palm Springs, in Indio for Coachella, or near Joshua Tree National Park to give travelers convenient commutes to top activities. Many coming to the area also want to frequent the endless fairways in Palm Desert, so homes near or on golf courses can be major money-makers, too.

Property Amenities

With such a high influx of annual visitors and a preference for private accommodations, having the right in-home amenities is what it takes to make sure visitors choose your home over others — and leave five-star reviews.

To earn the attention of larger groups and families, be sure to take advantage of your property’s size and up your capacity with sleeper sofas and bunk beds. Offer kid-friendly additions like cribs and games to make traveling with little ones (and keeping them happy) a breath of fresh air in the desert heat. You might consider taking your home’s appeal further by going pet-friendly — and driving more rental income as a result.

And to make the most of that beautiful (but hot!) Palm Springs weather, provide outdoor living spaces that help travelers slip into their surroundings comfortably. Guests look for a private patio with shaded areas, a pool for cooling down, and a grill for barbecuing with loved ones. Back inside, air conditioning is a must-have.

Download Our Full Palm Springs Area Vacation Rental Market Analysis

With outdoor adventure, endless shopping, and iconic festivals at a traveler’s doorstep, the Palm Springs area invites year-round tourism with limitless earning potential for vacation rental owners.

No matter your personal and financial goals, we’ve crunched the numbers to help you make the most of a Palm Springs investment property. Download our full Palm Springs Vacation Rental Market Analysis to find:

Evaluating your investment opportunities shouldn’t leave you feeling stranded in the desert. Use our report to guide your next steps toward buying a vacation rental in Palm Springs, and propel your income potential to new heights.

If there’s one thing every successful vacation rental owner needs to be, it’s adaptable. Industry trends are constantly changing, and your revenue optimization strategies must continually change with it to maximize rental income.

But with all the nuance of shifting market conditions, there are also actions owners can take with consistent profit-driving value — those you should repeatedly revisit to set yourself up for success in any vacation rental landscape.

And it’s more important than ever to make these moves now. An ongoing imbalance between supply and demand growth this last year has created a highly competitive traveler’s market, where winning bookings means leveling up every aspect of your business.

Oh, and make no mistake: there’s still plenty of revenue opportunity to grab across the U.S. — nearly $19.8 billion worth in 2024. It’s all a matter of how you strategize. So, here’s how to maximize vacation rental income this year and make the most of your performance potential.

In This Article:
Invest in Valuable Amenities and Upgrades 
Update Your Decor
Keep Your Listing Up to Date
Take Advantage of Your Property Size
Open Your Calendar for Bookings
Consider (and Re-Consider) Your Policies
Use Dynamic Pricing
Provide Exceptional Customer Service
Upsell Perks and Experiences
Encourage Positive Reviews

1. Invest in Valuable Amenities and Upgrades

When guests search for vacation rentals, they know what they want. Investing in the things that draw the most attention from travelers in your area puts your home in the running for more bookings — and boosts the value of one. This not only gives your rental a competitive edge, but also an opportunity to increase rates and drive more income.

There are even certain amenities that guests want to book no matter their destination. Data shows properties with hot tubs, for instance, tend to see 29% more bookings throughout the year nationwide than those without.

Other amenities have region-specific value — like outdoor gear in the South and pet-friendly adds out West — so zeroing in on what has the most impact locally is the next step in leveling up your investment opportunity.

To truly maximize your vacation rental income, the best time to upgrade amenities is in your market’s shoulder or off seasons. That’s when you’re likely to have more time between bookings, so you can make in-home changes without impacting the guest experience and you’ll be prepped in time for high-season volume.

That said, the sooner you invest in your home’s value, the sooner you can reap the rewards. So if you have the time and resources to install upgrades quickly — again, without disrupting the chance for your guests to give a five-star review — jump on your earliest opportunity.

2. Update Your Decor

How your vacation rental is furnished can also make a significant impact on your revenue potential. Once a guest locks in their must-have search criteria (like location, property size, and key amenities), they’re shopping visually. In fact, 75% of online shoppers rely on photos to inform their buying decisions. Great interior design helps your listing pop in search results and inspires travelers to book — and can drive higher rates.

Our design and furnishing partner provides expert staging support with profit-driving results, helping owners increase nightly revenue by 22% on average

When purchasing furniture and decor, create a cohesive style that keeps your potential guests top of mind. Neutral color palettes can appeal to a wide variety of bookers, but you could also consider what details might play well for travelers to your area. Cozy throw blankets and plush rugs can warm up mountain cabins, for instance, while airy, coastal accents might tie in well for a beachfront home. If family vacations are popular in your market, make your furniture and decorative touches kid-friendly, and consider designing fun play spaces or kids’ bedrooms.

You also always have the option to really lean into a theme, like a cult-classic movie or historical era. When you outfit your property to be a unique vacation rental, you can further distinguish yourself from local competitors and make your home the click-worthy destination in your area.       

Of course, you don’t just want your decor to look great — you want it to be great. Prioritize: 

3. Keep Your Listing Up to Date

While it’s always important to keep your rental as-advertised, it’s especially important when you invest in amenities or significant decor updates. Making sure your listing reflects new profit-driving perks can help you rank higher in guest searches and show up in more of them. Offering high-value adds and great design can also allow you to charge more per booking, which could translate to more vacation rental income.

And remember: once key search criteria is in, potential guests are drawn to your listing photography to help visualize their stay in your home. Having high-quality imagery to showcase your new hot tub or updated backyard space can take them from looker to booker.

Pro tip: The best way to guarantee your photography makes the right impact is to opt for professional images. Our data shows listings that have ’em can generate up to a 20% annual increase in earnings on average.

Showcasing new investments accurately should always be top of mind, too. No guest wants to get to a property that doesn’t match what they booked online, so your listing description should clarify any seasonal considerations for amenity usage, and your photos should never distort a space. When you miss that mark, you run the risk of negative reviews that can seriously damage your listing’s reputation and hurt your ability to maximize vacation rental income. A big part of growing your revenue is eliminating any potential to miss out on it.

Our experts custom craft and regularly refresh property listings so guests stop, look, and book on all the top sites — and we include professional photos to highlight your home’s must-book features.

4. Take Advantage of Your Property Size

Another way to maximize short-term rental income is by making room for more travelers. Increasing the number of sleep accommodations makes your property accessible to larger groups of guests — which can help cast a wider net for bookings and incrementally boost revenue.

If one of your bedrooms has a twin bed, for instance, consider swapping in a full or queen so the room can work just as well for pairs. Go a step further with adult-size bunk beds, or a sleeper sofa in your living area.

Just keep in mind: certain vacation rental markets put limits on the number of guests you can have in your home (or any given bedroom), so it’s important to double-check your local regulations before increasing capacity. You’ll also want to consider your bed to bath ratio. Guests need to be able to share bathrooms comfortably, so even if you could technically support 12 guests with added sleeping accommodations, you may run the risk of poor reviews — or miss out on bookings altogether — if those guests only have access to two bathrooms. Plus, too much strain on your plumbing could result in more frequent maintenance and repairs.

Once you strike the ideal balance, don’t forget to update your listing so you show up in relevant guest count searches. You’ll also want to review your home inventory to make sure it covers the number of guests you can now host, stocking up on things like bedding, bath towels, dinnerware, and cutlery.

5. Open Your Calendar for Bookings Across Top Sites

Opening as many dates as possible to potential guests is a key unlock in how to make more money on Airbnb, Vrbo, and other top sites. In such a competitive vacation rental landscape, blocking just three months of your calendar could result in 28% less annual revenue — and that loss grows as your blocks increase.

Even in your off-season, you want to be open to guest reservations. This is the time to win attention from travelers who come to enjoy your area without as many tourists and crowds.

Once you’ve unblocked more time for bookings, it’s critical to keep your calendar updated across platforms. Having accurate availability on every booking site helps you show up in relevant searches without risking double-booking penalties that can really hurt your bottom line. On Airbnb, for example, double-booking could mean you not only get hit with cancellation fees, but you might also lose the ability to re-book those dates and get dinged on your listing’s visibility.

Certain tools can help you manage this yourself. But to really maximize short-term rental revenue, it’s best to work with a management company like Evolve whose channel marketing strategy also gets you on high-traffic booking sites DIY owners can’t access (like Google Vacation Rental, Expedia, and Hopper Homes) — all while taking the day-to-day calendar maintenance off your plate.

6. Consider (and Re-Consider) Your Policies Based on Market Trends

It’s no secret that maximizing your vacation rental income requires you to pull a variety of strategic levers, and one of those is the policies you set — particularly since it’s best to look for ways to influence your performance outside of just changing your rates. 

That’s because as market trends shift, so do guest behaviors. Continually evaluating your policies to limit restrictions can appeal to more travelers, open up more days available to book, and bring in extra income.

If you have upcoming gaps, consider adjusting your length of stay requirements to accommodate next-day check-ins and fill those open spots. Explore a more flexible cancellation policy, too, to increase your property’s overall visibility — many guests search with “free cancellation” filters applied — and encourage confidence to book (an approach that can lead to 53% more revenue).

Market seasonality plays a role here, too. You might see different occupancy patterns — like how far in advance guests tend to book or how long they generally stay — depending on the time of year. Proactively adjust your length-of-stay and cancellation policies to match what travelers to your area look for seasonally.

Also, don’t forget that traveler trends vary across regions, so you’ll want to lean into what’s important for customers in your market. See if it’s a top destination for pet-friendly vacations, for example, by conducting a search for pet-approved properties near yours. You’ll get a sense of the earning opportunity you’d have when you allow furry friends, and can then consider adjusting your pet policy to boost bookings.

7. Use Dynamic Pricing

Market conditions can change daily, and your rates should pivot just as quickly.

That’s why a dynamic pricing strategy is best. It takes several factors into account (like seasonal trends and the calendar availability of rival listings in your area) to keep your home competitive. Unlike flat or stair step pricing — both more traditional approaches — you can raise rates when demand is high and encourage bookings at lower price points when things slow.

Line chart using market data to showcase the performance differences when using dynamic pricing instead of flat pricing or stair step pricing. Annotations note that daily pricing changes help maximize earnings when demand fluctuates, peak season calls for highest daily rates of the year, and rates lower to engage more bookings when there's less demand.

With these best practices in place, you’re way less likely to miss out on year-round earning opportunities. Compared to other rate-setting tactics, owners who make dynamic adjustments can earn up to 40% more annual revenue.

8. Provide Exceptional Customer Service

Guests aren’t just looking for the perfect listing — they also want five-star service throughout their vacation rental experience. From how you interact with them ahead of a stay to the in-home experience you provide, strong hospitality practices drive positive reviews, which greatly influence your property’s performance.  

Case in point: our data shows homes with an average rating of 4.5 stars or more can earn 12% more than their lower-rated counterparts. That’s because the vast majority of consumers read reviews before making a buying decision, so a listing with tons of great feedback will likely win their trust over one without. Many booking sites also prioritize listings with stronger ratings in their search results, which means homes with more stars tend to get in front of travelers most often.

To nail your customer service, make sure you communicate quickly and effectively when guests reach out with questions (whether they’re at the property yet or not). Keep your property fully stocked and squeaky clean for every stay. And provide a welcome book and thoughtful gift to help guests feel personally taken care of. Happy guests not only influence the decisions of future travelers, but are more likely to become repeat bookers themselves.

9. Upsell Perks and Experiences

After you have the hospitality basics down, you can boost satisfaction further — and generate more income in the process — when you consider certain added perks: 

Before finalizing the added services you’d like to offer (and any associated fees), make sure you cross-reference what different booking sites allow you to do and how. Vrbo, for instance, gives owners the opportunity to send up to five additional payment requests per booking, while Airbnb provides what’s called special offers.

10. Encourage Positive Reviews

Data shows 78% of travelers won’t leave reviews without solicitation — but 72% of consumers will when asked. This makes it incredibly important to reach out to your guests and proactively gather five-star feedback to maximize revenue.

A day or two after a guest departure, thank them for their stay and kindly request they leave a review. You can make the process even easier by sharing a direct link to the review page, so they don’t need to hunt it down.

And when feedback comes in, be sure to acknowledge them in a timely manner. Future travelers are more likely to book when they see guest comments don’t go neglected — so responding to them quickly can help create even more momentum for your property listing.

When you work with Evolve, we send review requests on your behalf and craft thoughtful, professional responses to their feedback.

And when feedback comes in, be sure to acknowledge them in a timely manner. Future travelers are more likely to book when they see guest comments don’t go neglected — so responding to them quickly can help create even more momentum for your property listing.

How to Grow Your Profit Potential Even More

If you haven’t already, there’s one more action owners can take to maximize vacation rental income — and that’s partnering with a management company like Evolve. When you team up with our professionals, you unlock access to expert tactics and proven revenue strategies that help level up your business while managing less.

With income-driving moves you can make and Evolve as your strategic partner, there’s nothing standing between you and your highest earning potential this year.

There’s a lot to get in order when turning a second home into a vacation rental for the first time

But let’s say you’ve done all the pre-work. The place is upgraded with key amenities, furnished to perfection, fully inventoried, and deep-cleaned. Now it’s ready to hit the internet and start accepting bookings.

The biggest question you need to answer is: where should I list my vacation rental?

It’s no secret that putting your home on a major listing site is a must for getting seen by travelers and maximizing your rental income. But with so many options, it can be overwhelming — not to mention time-consuming — to decide what’s best for you. 

Below is a short list of the absolute best short-term rental sites. You’ll get all the information you need, from the unique benefits each site offers to how much it costs to list.

In This Article 
Google Vacation Rental
Hopper Homes
Homes & Villas by Marriott Bonvoy™

Spoiler alert: Evolve lists your home on all the best vacation rental sites for owners as a built-in part of our services. Chat with us today to learn more.

1. Airbnb

In-image text reads, "Airbnb owner benefits are: constant tech upgrades, household name, and over 1 billion guest arrivals. Owner costs are 3% commission plus $0 subscription fee plus 0% processing fee."

A longtime giant in the vacation rental industry, Airbnb is a household name that gives owners access to more than 150 million users around the world. Our Distribution team says they tend to serve younger, tech-savvy travelers looking for more affordable accommodations.

How Does Airbnb Work for Owners?

Airbnb is truly a DIY, be-your-own-boss experience for owners. You can rent out anything from a single room in shared space to a private house or a totally unique vacation home.

This makes Airbnb a catch-all for nearly any type of accommodation. Signing up as a host takes seconds, and while you need to meet basic requirements to do so successfully (and establish a positive review rating to stay on the site), the rest is in your hands.

Owners are in charge of creating their listing, responding to guest inquiries, and managing reviews. Airbnb offers help via standard 24/7 support lines and a community forum. (You can post your property listing to the group for feedback, for instance.) But they also incentivize owners to create the best possible experiences for guests by reserving priority support resources for Superhosts. 

Behind the scenes, Airbnb is constantly evolving their interface, and they frequently launch new features to improve how the site runs for owners. (For example, there’s a “Today tab” for upcoming check-ins and a “Description starter” for listing help.) 

With over 4 million hosts across the globe and nearly 7 million homes to date, Airbnb is certainly one of the best vacation rental sites for owners. But if you’re new to vacation rental and hoping for more guidance around what it takes to build your business successfully, Airbnb’s hands-off approach is something to keep in mind.

How Much Does It Cost to List on Airbnb?

Airbnb charges a 3% commission on every booking you secure, though there are some circumstances that might increase this percentage. When a reservation is confirmed, Airbnb sends you a price breakdown email detailing the fees and taxes they collect, what your guests pay (including a variable service fee), and what money ultimately lands in your pocket.

2. Vrbo

In-image text reads, "Vrbo owner benefits are: longer guest stays, simple, user-friendly platform, and access to Expedia marketing and exposure. Owner costs are 5% booking fee option or $499 subscription fee option, plus 3% processing fee."

Founded in 1995 and the oldest player in the game, Vrbo has made a recent surge in vacation rental popularity with more than 48 million active monthly users, according to our Distribution team. They heavily market over 2 million listings around the world to families, encouraging group getaways that inspire connection.

How Does Vrbo Work for Owners?

Much like Airbnb, Vrbo gives owners fairly free rein to make their hosting experience what they want it to be. Unlike Airbnb, though, Vrbo doesn’t allow any accommodations in shared spaces. 

To get started, you need to answer a few quick questions about your home before plugging in account creation information. From there, you can build your listing and jump into the scene. 

Vrbo offers standard 24/7 support and helps guide owners toward different software you can integrate to manage all the brass tacks of your business. Vrbo also lives under the Expedia parent company, so owners get the marketing and exposure benefits that come with the influence of Expedia and their affiliates.

Our Distribution team says Vrbo is one of the best vacation rental sites for owners wanting a more simplistic and familiar interface. (This is also favored by their guests, who lean a bit older.) Stays tend to be longer than they are on Airbnb, which translates to less frequency in turnarounds (and potentially fewer cleaning and maintenance bills). 

How Much Does It Cost to List on Vrbo?

If Vrbo feels like a good fit, there are two base cost options. You can opt to pay a 5% service fee on every confirmed booking, or you can choose an annual subscription of $499.  Our Distribution team says the best route for you will come down to how quickly your revenue might hit a $499 fee threshold, as well as your personal preference around payment frequency.

Whichever option you choose, Vrbo also charges a 3% processing fee on total payment and taxes for their owners. You can find a Payout summary in your Vrbo account to see net income after a reservation is complete, which also accounts for the service fee guests pay. (Much like Airbnb, our Distribution team says that figure consistently varies based on a number of factors.)

3. Booking.com

In-image text reads, "Booking.com owner benefits are: no service fee for guests, most visited travel site in the world, and 66% of users return to book again. Owner costs are 15% average booking fee plus $0 subscription fee plus 0% processing fee."

An industry heavyweight offering vacation rentals and hotels — among other bookable travel needs like flights and car rentals — Booking.com has the broadest audience of all the best short-term rental sites, clocking over 100 million monthly users, our Distribution team says. 

How Does Booking.com Work for Owners?

Booking.com considers owners their partners, and it’s arguably the most direct-to-traveler channel. Like Airbnb and Vrbo, you fill out a quick profile to register, set your house rules, build a listing, and dive in. 

But with Booking.com, the prices you set are the prices your guests pay. There’s no service fee aspect to how Booking.com operates for consumers, 66% of whom come back.

Owners on Booking.com have access to the expected 24/7 support that all the best vacation rental listing sites provide, can chat with guests through their on-site portfolio, and can report any issues or request payment from guests if an incident occurs. 

Booking.com also offers its hosts a much wider range of commercial products than Airbnb or Vrbo (at a discount), helping maximize your marketing and booking abilities if managing your home as a DIYer.

One thing to be aware of: Booking.com owners do not have the freedom to review guest inquiries and potentially deny bookings. All reservations made through this marketplace are automatically confirmed, much like they would be for a hotel stay.

How Much Does It Cost to List on Booking.com?

Booking.com charges an average 15% fee on confirmed stays in the U.S., though it may vary slightly if you’re in a different country. Our Distribution team also notes that while there’s no standard processing fee for owners with Booking.com, there may be additional processing fees based on your bank or financial service.

4. Google Vacation Rental

In-image text reads, "Google owner benefits are: visibility in Google results, over 90% of search engine use, and broader, site-agnostic audience. Owner costs are not applicable — you need to partner with a property management company to pull into Google results."

A recently-launched feature, Google showcases vacation rental options on the first page of results when you make a relevant search. With Google’s near-monopoly on internet searches, having your property surface here has massive potential to attract eager travelers.

How Does Google Vacation Rental Work for Owners?

Google’s travel feature is not a DIY situation because it’s not technically a marketplace in the traditional sense. Owners must work with a management company that’s partnered with Google Vacation Rental (like Evolve) for inclusion; you cannot be featured through Airbnb, Vrbo, or Booking.com. 

It’s also important to note that while selecting a property management company with a Google partnership gives you access to a broader audience, it doesn’t mean you’ll automatically pop up in results. Your listing needs to be highly optimized for search terms that help Google identify it as the best content for your most qualified travelers, and professional photography is a must. (These are topics we go into detail about in our free e-book, The 6 Biggest Secrets to Earning Thousands More.)  

With that in mind, make sure the property management solutions you consider have professional photography standards and search engine optimization (SEO) experts monitoring your listing’s performance.

How Much Does It Cost to List on Google Vacation Rental?

Only good news here: since Google uses their search functionality to surface vacation rental listings rather than a dedicated platform, there’s no additional cost to owners who are featured. Instead, you need to find a property management company that can maximize your home’s potential.

5. Expedia

In-image text reads, "Expedia owner benefits are: top global travel portal in 2022, over 30 million monthly site visitors, and potential promotion across other Expedia Group brands. Owner costs are not applicable — you must work with a property management company already partnered with Expedia to guarantee promotion."

As one of the most recognizable online travel agencies in the world, Expedia makes it easy for travelers to book vacation rental and hotel stays — and even bundle accommodations alongside flight- and activity-based bookings. With over 30 million monthly site visitors, it’s one of the best short-term rental sites to get your property in front of a huge network of convenience-focused guests.

How Does Expedia Work for Owners?

Gaining access to Expedia’s growing customer base isn’t guaranteed on your own. Instead, owners must work with a management company (like Evolve) to secure a spot under Expedia’s “Stays” section, which promotes hotels and vacation rentals to ready-to-book guests.

Owners could also get some visibility on Expedia if they work directly with an Expedia Group subsidiary, like Vrbo. It’s important to note, though, that this only creates the potential to show up on Expedia’s site, given you must meet specific criteria. Instead, working with a pro company locks in guaranteed exposure for your listing on Expedia.com — and the possibility for promotion across additional well-known travel brands like Orbitz, Travelocity, Hotwire, Hotels.com, and more.

How Much Does It Cost to List on Expedia?

Because vacation rental owners cannot work directly with Expedia, the only cost you would need to account for is between you and your property management company. Make sure whoever you team up with has relationships in place to increase your listing’s exposure — and provides knowledgeable tips — that can help maximize your earning potential.

6. Hopper Homes

In-image text reads, "Hopper owner benefits are: most downloaded travel app in North America, over 100 million app users, and strategic social media presence. Owner costs are not applicable. To directly manage your listing on Hopper, you need to partner with a property manager."

Named the World’s Best Travel App in 2023, Hopper offers a fast-growing hub of top short-term rental inventory across the globe (known as Hopper Homes). 

How Does Hopper Homes Work for Owners?

Much like Google Vacation Rental, Hopper Homes is currently not directly available to owners. Instead, you need to partner with a property management company (like Evolve) to gain exposure to their 100 million users.

Hopper takes a unique marketing approach to gain those users: they heavily encourage people to download their app through social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram. Because of this, they grab the attention of mobile-first generations (like Millennials and Gen Z), putting an owner’s home in front of a customer demographic that has a high lifetime value. 

How Much Does It Cost to List on Hopper Homes?

This site isn’t entirely free marketing in the way Google Vacation Rental is, since Hopper collects a commission for listing. But that’s covered by a partnering property management company — so the only cost to owners is that management company’s standard fee. Given the access Hopper Homes can unlock, it’s important to work with someone who’s in touch with the latest marketing trends and can showcase your home on all the right vacation rental sites.

7. Homes & Villas by Marriott Bonvoy™

In-image text reads, "Homes & Villas by Marriott Bonvoy owner benefits are: trusted name in hospitality, access to over 170 million members, and high standards of guest service. Owner costs are not applicable. You can only be listed on Homes & Villas by working with a property management company and qualifying."

Marriott is already a massive name in travel, and now their trusted hospitality extends beyond traditional hotel accommodations with Homes & Villas by Marriott Bonvoy™. The booking potential for owners here is huge, since their curated collection of vacation rentals is promoted to millions of Marriott Bonvoy™ loyalty members.

How Does Homes & Villas by Marriott Bonvoy™ Work for Owners?

This is another platform that can’t be accessed by owners unless you’re working with a professional property management company that partners with Marriott Bonvoy™. 

That said, if your property management company does grant you listing access, your home can be seen by more than 170 million engaged Marriott Bonvoy™ members — an exclusive audience of frequent travelers dedicated to a brand they trust. Guests can earn and redeem their loyalty points when they book vacation rentals through Homes & Villas, which means they’re more likely to keep coming back.

All homes listed by Marriott Bonvoy™ must also meet the brand’s high standards for five-star service, so each home is hand-selected for the site based on quality and aesthetic. That makes it one of the best short-term rental sites to signal to travelers that your property is in premium condition — something that can continue to boost your reputation in the long run.     

How Much Does It Cost to List on Homes & Villas by Marriott Bonvoy™?

Just like Hopper Homes, owners listed on Homes & Villas by Marriott Bonvoy™ have costs covered by their property management company — and pay no out-of-pocket commission fees. Be sure to choose a property management company that works with the brand and knows how to help you hit the five-star standards you need to succeed.

How to Not Choose Between the Best Vacation Rental Sites for Owners

Whittling down where to list your vacation rental is often a necessary task for a DIYer — it’s just not realistic to juggle communications and bookings through all of them alone, nor is it cheap to cover the sum of their fees. 

But listing on just one site is not what’s best for your business. Getting on as many as you can means more marketing exposure, more bookings, and more revenue

In-image text reads, "Evolve owner benefits are: expert marketing and pricing strategies, visibility on all top marketplaces, and consistently earn more than competitors. Owner costs start at 10% management fee plus $0 subscription fee plus 0% processing fee."

We start by creating a professional listing in a search engine-friendly format that also comes with professional photography. Then, we put your listing on Airbnb, Vrbo, Booking.com, Google Vacation Rental, Expedia, Hopper Homes, and evolve.com — not to mention Homes & Villas by Marriott Bonvoy™ and a few other listing sites if your home qualifies — partnering with each to continuously adapt as the market does.

Here’s the great news: the fees typically imposed on DIY owners by listing sites are factored into our proven-to-work revenue optimization strategy, so you’ll reap the benefits without ever having to worry about those costs yourself. 

Of course, we also have experts who leverage our exclusive technology and in-house specialists who handle guest communications on your behalf — meaning Evolve works for you in a way an individual marketplace can’t, and it’s all done for an industry-low fee.

If you’re interested in learning more, hop down to the form below to see if you qualify for our services and kickstart a conversation with one of our vacation rental pros.

One of the many reasons travelers choose unique vacation rentals over a run-of-the-mill hotel chain: the built-in experiences they offer. After all, there’s a certain thrill attached to booking a cool, private home that allows you to fully tap into your best vacation self. 

Whether you want to bring the whole family or find a one-of-a-kind vacation rental for two, these unique homes will inspire a forever-talked-about adventure.

Don’t forget: you can favorite your top picks now for easy reference when planning your future vacations.

In This Article:
Renovated Fire Station
The “Balinese” Oasis
Castle of Joy
Circular Beach House 
Roller Rink Loon Lodge
Lakeside Cabin with Yurt
Converted Caboose Studio
The Pink-Packed Pad
Riverside Storage Container
A Disney Lover’s Dream Home
A Schoolhouse Studio
Cliffside Alaskan Escape
The Luxury Treehouse
Wild West Cottage 
Spanish-Style Studio with Garden
Ted Williams’ Former Home
The Medieval Mansion
Charming Mermaid Hideaway
A Nascar Fan’s Bucket List Home
Renovated Gas Station

1. Renovated Fire Station

Image of the dining room of a renovated fire station in Tulsa Oklahoma, vacation rental home

The furnishings of this historic, renovated fire station fully lean into the theme of its original space. Available to book in Tulsa, OK, every detail adds to the firehouse vibes inside — from the hanging helmets to the firetruck couch — while the home’s outdoor spaces are primed for yard games and activities. 

Cook up a good meal on the grill, hang on the private patio, or warm up by the fire pit before heading inside for the ultimate sleepover (there’s room to sleep six). With no steps needed to access this unique rental, it’s a home base fit for all.

Book your renovated fire station

Speaking of support: All of our homes are backed by our Rest Easy Promise that your one-of-a-kind vacation rental will be safe, clean, and ready for you and your loved ones’ arrival.

2. The “Balinese” Oasis

Tropical vacation property rental on Florida's eastern coast with palm trees, water access, and a hut for shade

Treat yourself to an international experience without needing to stamp your passport. This tropical sanctuary on Florida’s eastern coast is loaded with spa-like amenities (hello soaking tub, tiki huts, and waterfront hammocks), making it the perfect destination for honeymoons and girls’ trips alike. 

From nearby white-sand beaches to bottlenose dolphins splashing around a lagoon, there’s no shortage of memorable adventures right outside your door. This cool place to rent is sure to delight travelers of all types — and it never hurts to feel like you’ve traveled internationally while saving time and money.

Book your “Bali House” trip

3. Castle of Joy

Castle vacation rental with drawbridge and trees surrounding

Live your full-on renaissance fantasy when you stay in this epic castle, complete with a drawbridge and portcullis. When you first arrive, you’ll want to wander the 11 acres of beautiful terrain surrounding the grand stone fortress, then soak up the regal vibe of the luxurious decor inside. Of course, this home also takes you out of the dark ages and into modern comfort with a private hot tub on the terrace, where you’ll soak in great mountain views amidst your old-world surroundings. 

Whether you’re visiting to explore the stunning fall foliage in the Blue Ridge Mountains or opting for a home you hath not leave for days, this majestic home is a perfect choice.

Book your regal retreat

4. Circular Beach House

Circular vacation rental beach house in Flagler Beach, Florida

Situated mere steps from the sand, this circular beach rental on the Florida coast takes ocean views to another level with wrap-around balconies on every floor. The cabana-themed home sleeps 12 and comes with tons of ideal features for family and friends.

Get out and play with provided kayaks, bikes, beach toys, and more. Or, chill out and make memories in the private tiki bar, huge hot tub, and full-blown game room complete with jukebox tunes. Whether you soak up the sun or stay in the shade, it’s easy to float through the day in this cool vacation rental.

Book your circular beach house

If the thought of a seaside home sparks your wanderlust, see more beach vacation rentals available to book.

5. Roller Rink Loon Lodge

Roller rink inside The Loon Lodge vacation rental in Hatfield, Wisconsin

Discover an extraordinary getaway in this sprawling Hatfield cabin, where you’ll find an in-home roller rink, a full-sized bar with booth seating, a quality sound system to blast your favorite tunes, and room for up to 15 guests. Indoor entertainment continues with pool, foosball, and air hockey tables — AKA it’s the perfect family-friendly getaway!

When you’re craving a nature fix, pop off your skates and walk over to Lake Arbutus, where boating, fishing, and serene water views will greet you. Then return to your unique cabin rental and cozy up next to the fire pit under a starlit sky.

Book your roller rink Loon Lodge

Craving more unique cabin rentals? Check out our handpicked list of the coziest cabins that promise the ultimate Hygge experience.

6. Lakeside Cabin with Yurt

Interior shot from inside a yurt, looking out the window to a lakeside view in a vacation rental

Wake up to lake views like never before when you stay in this picturesque Minnesota cabin with a waterside yurt. The cabin’s gorgeous coffee bar and wrap-around deck are complemented by an outdoor fire pit, private docks (with slide!), and modern yurt that truly steals the show. 

When it’s time for daily breaks from swimming in the lake, cook together in your unique cabin rental’s fully-equipped kitchen or grill out on the patio for a meal to remember. Spend your evenings watching the sun fade over the water from the deck — or from the comfort of your yurt.  

Book your lakeside cabin & yurt

7. Converted Caboose Studio

Unique vacation rental home built in an old train car and caboose with outdoor benches and a vintage railroad crossing sign.

Conduct your perfect vacation inside this converted train car studio. The old-school caboose gives you (and one travel buddy) a queen bed, full bath, stocked kitchenette, free WiFi, and a Smart TV — all surrounded by modern decor that honors the car’s railroad history.

Perched just a few minutes from charming downtown Joplin, it’s easy to stroll, shop, sip, and savor. Bring your camera to explore Route 66 Mural Park, but leave room on the roll for pics back at your place. This is a railway getaway you’ll definitely want to remember.

Book your train car vacay

8. The Pink-Packed Pad

Pink themed living room in a Tulsa, Oklahoma vacation rental

Nestled in the heart of Tulsa, this vibrant, themed vacation rental boasts a full, sleek kitchen, a flood of cozy seating areas, and tons of natural lighting to amplify the colorful decor. With room for six, a private hot tub, and Tulsa’s top cultural attractions just a walk away, this playful, flamingo-forward hotspot makes for the perfect girls’ — or Barbie-themed — weekend.

Catch captivating performances at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center, discover local events at Expo Square, or try your luck at the nearby Osage Casino. After your adventures, return to the tropical charm of your retreat — where every corner invites relaxation and enjoyment.

Book your pink-packed pad

9. Riverside Shipping Container

Unique shipping container vacation rental near Branson, MO

If rich history, bold character, and wide-open spaces make your list of vacation must-haves, you won’t want to miss out on this shipping container home. Family-run since 1899, the 400 acres of organic farmland give you plenty of room to roam — along with direct access to the Spring River — while the modern living space is a perfect fit for four.

Pack your days with new experiences in nearby Branson, then come back home for incredible stargazing from the large deck. (You can also warm up by the fire pit during chillier seasons.)

Book your shipping container

10. A Disney Lover’s Dream Home

Family-friendly vacation rental near Disney in Orlando with arcade games and themed rooms

When it comes to family-friendly retreats, this themed vacation rental near Disney (it’s a mere 10 minutes away) stands out from the rest. With an action-packed game room, heart-warming references to your favorite characters, and space for 10, it’s the perfect accommodation for a multi-generational family adventure.

After a fun-filled day in Orlando, you can take a break from the crowds and dip in your private swimming pool. Or, challenge your companions to a competitive game of foosball in the air-conditioned arcade. Wherever your Disney vacation ideas lead you, when staying here you’re pretty much guaranteed to make lifelong memories with the ones you love most (and Mickey Mouse, of course).

Book your dream Disney home

11. A Schoolhouse Studio

Renovated schoolhouse vacation rental property near Kearneysville, WV

Entertain your inner history buff by making a renovated schoolhouse your vacation home base. Complete with quirky decor like old school desks and chalkboards — and nostalgic games like marbles and jacks — it’s an affordable vacation rental that’s certainly far from ordinary. 

And since every school session needs time for recess, it’s convenient that this West Virginia studio is just minutes from vineyards and hiking trails. The studious traveler can also grab a book and unwind by the gas fire pit in the private backyard, making this unique home a solid A+.

Book your schoolhouse studio

12. Cliffside Alaskan Escape

Luxurious vacation rental on top of a cliffside in Alaska overlooking the Alaska Range

With sprawling acreage and breathtaking natural surroundings, there’s nothing quite as unique as this dream-worthy villa. Sitting a little higher than other Alaska vacation rentals, it’s literally perched on the side of a cliff.

It takes going off the grid (while still enjoying ultra-modern amenities) to new heights, too. The luxurious villa has room for nine, a hot tub overlooking the Alaska Range, and 22 acres ready for exploration. Just imagine: after a day of glacier hiking, you take a bayside soak while eagles soar up above. Aren’t you feeling more relaxed already?

Book your cliffside escape

13. The Luxury Treehouse

Luxury treehouse vacation rental located Hilton Head Island, SC

Star in your own whimsical adventure when you stay in this fancy treehouse rental on Hilton Head Island. Fit for six guests, its light-filled interior and panoramic views offer a truly unique treehouse experience. Whether you’re inside cooking up a favorite meal or relaxing on the private deck, the airy architecture keeps you connected to nature throughout your stay.

You can also venture out to explore 12 miles of beaches, historic local hotspots, and a full range of good eats found in Hilton Head. Once you’re ready to unwind, your upscale treehouse is a welcoming retreat for watching the sun set over the marsh.

Book your luxury treehouse

14. Wild West Cottage

Western themed cottage in Phoenix, Arizona

Round up your best buds for a trip to the Wild West at this rustic Phoenix saloon, full of authentic charm. Start your day soaking up the desert scenery from your porch, then whip up a delicious meal in your fully-stocked kitchen. When you’re ready for a thrill, make a splash at nearby Lake Pleasant, take a hike on Black Mountain Trail, or check on your golf swing at Dove Valley Ranch. 

When the adrenaline fades, kick back in your cozy living room and fire up the SmartTV, break out a board game for some competitive fun, or get the outdoor firepit ready for evening enjoyment — just don’t forget the s’mores supplies.

 Book your Wild West cottage

15. Spanish-Style Studio with Garden

Exterior image of the backyard of a spanish style vacation rental home in Whittier, California

Spanish architecture meets California gardens in this charming studio with an enchanting outdoor area. Sip morning coffee under the orange tree before heading to nearby Disneyland, or wind down by the fire pit after a busy day exploring downtown Los Angeles.

If sandy toes are more your style, Long Beach and Mother Beach are both close by. After soaking up the sun and salty air, your cozy rental will welcome you with modern comforts (like a SmartTV and air conditioning) so you can relax with ease. 

Book your Spanish-style studio

16. Ted Williams’ Former Home

Famous Ted Williams statue in yard of unique Vermont vacation rental that used to be Ted Williams' home

It’s not everyday that you have the opportunity to claim a Red Sox Hall of Famer’s home as your own. Ted Williams and his Vogue model wife, Dolores, previously lived in this Vermont haven. Filled with memorabilia from his 19-year MLB career in Boston, it’s a baseball family’s dream getaway. You can even take a seat next to Williams himself (in statue form) while the whole crew roasts marshmallows by the fire. 

Of course, a trip to this unique vacation rental wouldn’t be complete without exploring nearby Killington Mountain or fishing in the Connecticut River. Once back home, make time to enjoy the expansive backyard with a few rounds of catch.

Book your Red Sox retreat

17. The Medieval Mansion

Castle vacation rental with suits of armor and other medieval decor located near Salt Lake City, UT

While the exterior of this unique home doesn’t look out of the ordinary, one step inside will transport you to the thirteenth century. Set just outside of Salt Lake City, it’s a vacation rental truly fit for kings and queens thanks to the castle- and dungeon-style decor. (There are even armor-clad knights guarding your living spaces to help you truly rest easy.)

After you unpack, take a stroll through the nearby botanical gardens or conquer the slopes of Park City. You can spend your nights playing themed board games, soaking in the jacuzzi, or snuggling up in the massive home theater. Braveheart, anyone?

Book your medieval mansion

Looking for another medieval adventure? Consider the Castle of Joy, a fantasy-like destination in North Carolina ideal for up to eight guests.

18. Charming Mermaid Hideaway

Photo of brightly-colored, mermaid-themed vacation rental backyard with an outdoor bar, set of chairs around a table, and a large leaning tree in Weeki Wachee, FL

Nestled along the Weeki Wachee River, this charming Florida oasis is the perfect place to relax under the sun and explore the vibrant local scene. Every space in this home bursts with color, from the aqua-hued driveway and striped exterior to the mermaid-adorned steps down to your private riverfront.

When you’re ready to adventure, hop in one of three complimentary kayaks and cruise alongside friendly manatees, or load up the kids and head over to Weeki Wachee Springs for underwater performances by local mermaids. When it’s time to refuel at the end of an action-packed day, the outdoor kitchen and bar area makes at-home meals a breeze.

Book your mermaid hideaway

19. A NASCAR Fan’s Bucket List Home

Vacation rental living room and kitchen area with floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, TX

Calling all NASCAR fans! This luxurious Fort Worth condo is the ideal place to watch your favorite drivers tear up the track. Fit for eight guests, this unique vacation rental features a 12-seat viewing area of Texas Motor Speedway with floor-to-ceiling windows.

When you’re not watching NASCAR or sun-bathing by the community pool, you can head into downtown Fort Worth to enjoy all the top things to do, or make a day trip to nearby Dallas. However you plan to kick back and relax, this one-of-a-kind home base puts you in the driver’s seat of an epic adventure.

Book your nascar dream house

20. Renovated Gas Station

Renovated Sinclair gas station vacation rental located in Schulenburg, TX

Formerly a full-service Sinclair, this gas station vacation home in Schulenburg, TX is bursting with personality. The functional ’50s jukebox and historic decor give blast-from-the-past energy, while the huge windows let in tons of natural light. And with a fenced-in backyard — not to mention a fire pit, grill, and backyard games — you’re guaranteed a getaway to be pumped about. 

Snap a few photos in front of the property’s mural before heading out for an afternoon of local wine tasting, or wind down from a day trip to Austin with stargazing on the rooftop deck. With loads of character and must-have amenities, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more unique place to rent.

Book your gas station getaway

Find Unique Vacation Rentals for You

If exciting and memorable experiences are what you’re after, these unique vacation rentals are sure to deliver. And no matter where your inner adventurer takes you next, you can rest easy knowing your comfort is the highest priority when you book with Evolve.

Find your unique home

Looking for more travel inspiration? From desert escapes and luxurious getaways to family road trip itineraries and wine regions worth exploring, we have plenty of ideas to help plan your next vacation.

Since the rise of remote working, there’s been an uptick in traveler demand for less crowded destinations where it’s easy to escape the daily grind. In fact, Vrbo reported earlier this year that more travelers than ever are searching for rustic getaways and looking to reconnect with nature. 

So it makes sense to consider investing in a cabin rental. Often tucked in woodsy, tranquil areas with plenty of access to outdoor adventure, cabins give savvy real estate investors a strong opportunity to capture guest interest and earn passive income. 

From mountain towns near ski slopes to charming lakefronts, there are many prime spots across the country where cabins earn major attention. Here are the best places to buy a cabin vacation rental for maximum profit potential.

Take a more tailored approach to buying the perfect rental by connecting with our experts. We can help identify markets, properties, and partners to boost your success.

In This Article:
Hocking Hills, OH
Saranac Lake, NY
Branson, MO
Boyne City, MI
Sevierville, TN
Boone, NC
Broken Bow, OK
Breezy Point, MN
Rapid City, SD
Ruidoso, NM
Hayward, WI
Pocono Lake, PA

How We Chose the Best Places to Buy a Cabin

Our data is based on a combination of proprietary and public data, but the three key metrics we took into account include:

Alongside these metrics, we evaluated a cabin’s potential to outperform market expectations with an Evolve partnership. Below, you’ll see The Evolve Difference highlighting how we helped some of our top vacation rental owners maximize income and significantly beat the market’s projected revenue.

Please note: all data projections reflect ideal-state scenarios. Variables like owner-blocked calendars and extenuating circumstances (like natural disasters) are not factored into these calculations.

1. Hocking Hills, OH

Photo of a rocky outcropping surrounded by rolling hills covered in colorful autumn trees in Hocking Hills, OH, the best place to buy a cabin. Image text reads, "$42,751 median rental revenue. $349,260 median listing price. 8.6% example cap rate."

Nestled in rural Southeastern Ohio, the Hocking Hills region is home to breathtaking cliffs, sprawling caves, and cascading waterfalls. As a haven for nature enthusiasts, it’s unsurprising that Hocking Hills is also the best place to buy a cabin. 

The area’s cap rate — your annual net operating income divided by a property’s market value — dipped slightly in the last year due to increased list prices, but an incremental rise in revenue shows plenty of promise for investors. Our experts recommend focusing your search on the peaceful towns of Hamden, Amanda, and Logan. All of these have comparable profit potential, though it’s worth noting that Evolve’s top-performing cabins in the area sit in Logan

What’s more: Those top-performing cabins earn more than double the median rental revenue. They capitalize on the rustic, relaxing feel guests want by offering plenty of outdoor space, proximity to state parks, and must-book amenities like hot tubs.

Image text reads, "The Evolve Difference: Our owners have earned up to $97,100 annually!"

Discover more locations with strong profit potential — cabin-centric or not — with the best places to buy a vacation rental across the U.S. right now.

2. Saranac Lake, NY

Photo of autumn trees reflected on the calm waters of Saranac Lake, NY, one of the best places to buy a cabin on a lake. Image text reads, "$29,151 median rental revenue. $264,598 median listing price. 7.7% example cap rate."

The quaint village of Saranac Lake sits in the Adirondack Mountains and offers an irresistible blend of scenic beauty and peaceful ambiance.

If this Northeast town sounds familiar, it’s probably because Saranac Lake boasts plenty of year-round appeal for investors to capitalize on — from epic fall foliage and winter tubing at Mt. Pisgah to summertime boating on the lake (part of why the area  made our list of best places to buy a lake house, too). Its charm also extends into the vibrant downtown area, where opportunities for shopping, art, and dining are abundant. 

The highest earning Saranac Lake cabins are woodsy, private, and close to downtown. They often provide direct lake access — with many sitting right on the shoreline. Keep in mind, though, that lakefront properties are typically more expensive than the median in this market. The great news: if waterfront properties take you out of your budget, you can still find success with real estate a little farther from the waves if you invest in other attractive amenities, like spacious decks and pet-friendliness.

Image text reads, "The Evolve Difference: Our owners have earned up to $43,291 annually!"

Dreaming of a lake house investment? Check out our helpful guide on everything you need to know before taking the plunge.

3. Branson, MO

Aerial photo of Branson, MO and its lush forested surroundings with rivers running through the trees. Image text reads, "$22,962 median rental revenue. $246,472 median listing price. 6.5% example cap rate."

Branson is a family-friendly destination in the Ozark Mountains with a wide array of things to do. Visitors can get their adrenaline pumping at Silver Dollar City, embrace awe-inspiring views at Top of the Rock, explore the famous Entertainment District, or indulge in water sports at Table Rock Lake

Cabins earning the most provide easy lake commutes or views while still sitting close to other top attractions. And while landing a true lakefront property can earn investors higher rates, they tend to be more expensive and harder to find — so it’s all making the most of your budget and aligning with your business goals.

In addition to standard permits and licensing, Branson has some zoning restrictions to be aware of — both in the downtown areas and on parts of Table Rock Lake. Our experts recommend tapping local experts to make sure the neighborhoods you’re interested in buying in are zoned for short-term rental before making an offer.

Image text reads, "The Evolve Difference: Our owners have earned up to $54,903 annually!"

We can connect you with trusted, local real estate agents who specialize in vacation rental — and can get your rental journey off on the right foot.

4. Boyne City, MI

Photo of a harbor in Boyne City, MI with boats docked on the shore by a small lighthouse. Image text reads, "$33,724 median rental revenue. $383,845 median listing price. 6.2% example cap rate," showcasing this area as one of the best places to buy a cabin.

Boyne City’s proximity to the famous Boyne Mountain Resort makes it a great place for a ski property investment, but it’s also a summer hotspot for families and large groups visiting Lake Charlevoix. Ample charm, an award-winning Main Street district, and cabin popularity all further the area’s multi-season draw and make Boyne City one of the best places to buy a cabin.

When looking at data over the last year, median rental revenue dipped while list prices climbed, bringing the overall cap rate down. That said, Evolve cabin owners equipped with expert management strategies are still taking home incomes well above the average — with many more than tripling market revenue. 

These high-earning cabins sit close to Boyne Mountain Resort and provide enough space for eight to 12 guests. Outdoor amenities like fire pits and hot tubs are also great ways to maximize multi-season booking opportunities and get the most bang for your buck.

Image text reads, "The Evolve Difference: Our owners have earned up to $107,389 annually!"

5. Sevierville, TN

Aerial photo of Sevierville, TN surrounded by rolling green hills covered in trees, one of the best places to buy a cabin in the woods. Image text reads, "$42,751 median rental revenue. $483,309 median listing price. 6.2% example cap rate."

Considered the “Gateway to the Smokies,” Sevierville serves as the perfect home base for an outdoorsy vacation. Staying here gives travelers easy access to Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Dollywood, and Douglas Lake (a top fishing spot). Sevierville also boasts a spa, waterpark, golf course, and a lively downtown scene, making it an ideal destination for guests of all ages. 

Travelers come to Sevierville to explore the outdoors, but they also look for cozy cabin rentals where they can unwind after an exhilarating day in the mountains. Evolve cabins that perform best offer family-friendly amenities like game rooms, plus hot tubs, saunas, and fire pits — all of which help some Evolve owners bring in more than double the median revenue as a result.

It’s worth noting that nearby Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge have comparable market potential — so it’s worth expanding your cabin search to include all three towns and increase your odds of finding your dream investment.

Image text reads, "The Evolve Difference: Our owners have earned up to $94,113 annually!"

6. Boone, NC

Photo of rolling forest-covered hills glowing in sunset light in Boone, NC, one of the best places to buy a cabin. Image text reads, "$37,628 median rental revenue. $423,825 median listing price. 6.2% example cap rate."

With close proximity to three major ski resorts — Beech Mountain, Sugar Mountain, and Appalachian Ski MountainBoone grabs plenty of demand from wintersport lovers. But don’t be fooled: this scenic town in the Blue Ridge Mountains is a hit during warm-weather months, too.

With picture-perfect drives down the Blue Ridge Parkway, show-stopping hikes up Grandfather Mountain, a dynamic downtown area, and a handful of local breweries, Boone is an idyllic year-round destination for all types of travelers. 

And of course, as one of the best places to buy a cabin, this home type is the strongest earner among Evolve vacation rental owners. Cabins pocketing nearly twice the median rental revenue in Boone are rustic in style and within 10 miles of a ski resort. Beyond aesthetic and proximity, they also have hot tubs, expansive decks for taking in mountain views, and private backyards with on-site hiking trails.

Image text reads, "The Evolve Difference: Our owners have earned up to $80,062 annually!"

7. Broken Bow, OK

Photo of a distant boat house surrounded by trees reflected on calm lake waters near Broken Bow, OK. Image text reads, "$38,605 median rental revenue. $456,065 median listing price. 5.9% example cap rate."

Broken Bow is a charming town in the heart of Oklahoma with breweries, a casino, and many locally-owned restaurants and shops. While the downtown area offers plenty to do, nearby Beavers Bend State Park and Broken Bow Lake set the tone for nature-loving vacationers, too.  

Investors looking for a continuous flow of bookings in this market can look at purchasing a smaller property, as those with one to two bedrooms tend to grab the most nights booked on average. However, Evolve properties earning the most annual revenue in this area (all of which are cabins) are quite spacious, offering travelers four to six bedrooms and room for up to 20 guests. 

High-performing properties also lean into luxury by providing well-equipped chef’s kitchens, extra-large hot tubs, complimentary toiletries, and pool tables or shuffleboard. So even if you’re unable to go big with a Broken Bow footprint, make sure to add in these amenities as key ways to boost your property’s booking value. 

There’s more great news for new owners looking to enter the market, too: Broken Bow doesn’t have any short-term rental regulations in place right now, minimizing the red tape needing to be cut through before getting started.

Image text reads, "The Evolve Difference: Our owners have earned up to $72,020 annually!

8. Breezy Point, MN

Photo of a canoe sitting in the reeds of a large, foggy lake surrounded by woods in Breezy Point, MN, one of the best places to buy a cabin on a lake. Image text reads, "$30,803 median rental revenue. $382,207 median listing price. 5.6% example cap rate."

Tucked in the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” the vibrant town of Breezy Point carries a magnetic allure for travelers year-round. From golfing and boating on Pelican Lake in the summer to ice fishing and skiing at Breezy Point Resort in the winter, those in search of fresh air will find plenty to do no matter when they visit. 

Evolve owners making nearly triple the median rental revenue in this area have two-bedroom cabins with space for up to eight guests. Maximizing the space of a smaller home like this makes it possible for investors in the area to boost profits without necessarily breaking the bank. 

And because Breezy Point visitors come for the variety of outdoor activities, owners can lean into this demand by looking for rental properties that offer on-site hiking or aren’t far from the trails. From there, providing other fitting perks like fire pits and wood-burning stoves can help warm them up to the idea of leaving a five-star review, boosting your odds of repeat bookers and attracting the attention of future guests.  

While Breezy Point has fairly standard short-term rental requirements, they do require an annual well water test. There’s also a vacation rental cap of 60, but their last count put total rentals at 37 — making now the time to grab your stake in the market. If you’re looking to widen your search beyond Breezy Point without losing the value of the area, our experts recommend checking out nearby Pequot Lakes and Crosslake.

Image text reads, "The Evolve Difference: Our owners have earned up to $85,966 annually!

9. Rapid City, SD

Photo of green fields at the base of dense alpine woods and distant mountains near Rapid City, SD, one of the best places to buy a cabin. Image text reads, "$31,328 median rental revenue. $403,586 median listing price. 5.4% example cap rate."

Recently named one of the best small towns to visit in the U.S., Rapid City also earns its stripes as one of the best places to buy a cabin with its charming Black Hills backdrop. While best known for its proximity to Mount Rushmore, Rapid City has far more to offer: fantastic local restaurants, state parks, a drive-thru zoo, museums, and a walkable downtown area where you can explore the City of Presidents.

Top-performing cabins in Rapid City offer easy proximity to Black Hills National Forest, Mount Rushmore, and Canyon Lake Park. Our experts say the best places to buy a cabin are on the outskirts of the city. Look for private, wooded properties with large decks, breathtaking mountain views, and on-site hiking trails, as Evolve owners outperforming the area’s median income have at least two — but often all three — of the above. 

To expand your cabin search, eager investors can also look in nearby Hill City, where guests could get even closer to the area’s top nature sights.

Image text reads, "The Evolve Difference: Our owners have earned up to $81,652 annually!"

10. Ruidoso, NM

Image of golden autumn trees in front of distant mountains in Ruidoso, NM, one of the best places to buy a cabin. Image text reads, "$27,885 median rental revenue. $362,411 median listing price. 5.4% example cap rate."

Ruidoso sits in the Sierra Blanca Mountains and embraces outdoor adventure in every season. During warmer months, Lincoln National Forest and White Sands National Monument make for idyllic hikes. When the winter chill sets in, visitors are invited to hit the slopes at Ski Apache Resort or go tubing at Winter Park Recreational Area

Ruidoso also offers a vibrant arts scene, eclectic shops and local eateries, a collection of casinos, and rich Wild West history. With so much to do beyond the outdoorsy, travelers of all kinds flock to this mountain town — boosting your booking potential. 

And — no surprise here — they’re choosing cabins. Those earning the most lean into Ruidoso’s natural beauty by offering wraparound decks, hot tubs, and show-stopping views of the Sierra Blanca Mountains.

Image text reads, "The Evolve Difference: Our owners have earned up to $67,771 annually!

11. Hayward, WI

Photo of a sunset casting warm yellow light across lake waters in Hayward, WI, one of the best places to buy a cabin. Image text reads, "$25,874 median rental revenue. $334,015 median listing price. 5.4% example cap rate."

Hayward is an adventurer’s playground with plenty of opportunities for fishing, water sports, ATV riding, and hiking. With a casino, the world’s largest fishing museum, and a bustling downtown area, there’s something for everyone in this midwestern gem. 

Hayward is conveniently located near a vast collection of lakes, like Lake Hayward (which features a public beach) and Lake Chippewa (a popular choice for swimming), so it’s no surprise that top-performing cabins in this market are often waterfront. They boast private docks or boat slips, along with rustic features like exposed wood interiors and majestic stone fireplaces. It’s worth noting, of course, that lakefront homes in Hayward tend to be more expensive — so while you could earn more revenue in the long run, be prepared to potentially face steeper upfront costs. 

To own a vacation rental in Hayward, investors will need a few licenses and permits to operate what they call a “Tourist Rooming House” on state and county levels. Remember, it’s best to work with professionals who can help you navigate these requirements.

Image text reads, "The Evolve Difference: Our owners have earned up to $53,332 annually!"

12. Pocono Lake, PA

Aerial photo of Pocono Lake, PA surrounded by dense wooded hills, one of the best places to buy a cabin in the woods. Image text reads, "$20,594 median rental revenue. $279,959 median listing price. 5.1% example cap rate."

Set in the heart of the Pocono Mountains, Pocono Lake is a peaceful town best known for its mesmerizing landscapes and proximity to major ski resorts. Because there are numerous ways to get out in nature — like whitewater rafting, leaf peeping, or hitting the slopes — the potential for multi-season bookings hops up. 

Pocono Lake is also home to a collection of prominent lake communities (like Arrowhead Lake Village), each boasting luxurious perks like members-only beaches, pools, community centers, and watersport equipment rentals. And while high-earning cabins can be found in one of these communities, they don’t need to be.  

So, investors should weigh the pros and cons carefully. Lake communities offer premium amenities, but may carry higher purchase costs. On the other hand, properties outside of a community might be better suited to your budget — but  you’ll need to invest separately in added perks to compete for top dollar bookings in this market

According to our experts, HOAs in this area can also be a deterrent, so it’s essential to work with a local agent to understand how they factor in when exploring your purchasing options.

Image text reads, "The Evolve Difference: Our owners have earned up to $42,851 annually!"

Buy the Perfect Cabin Rental with Evolve

Buying a cabin vacation rental is a major decision, but you don’t have to navigate the process solo. Whether you’re drawn to a lakefront gem or a rustic mountain escape, our skilled real estate experts can help you take the next step.

We have the data to inform your investment opportunities and define your income goals, preferred local real estate agents with expertise in vacation rental purchases, and helpful management tools to make your cabin property a success.

For additional research, here are some resources to help you better understand the potential of vacation rental investment:

Now that you’re ready to talk about an investment in one of the best places to buy a cabin, reach out to our team today.

To decide if buying a cabin is a good investment, consider what makes cabin getaways so special: roaring fires, lakefront views, and rustic charm. They’re an escape unlike any other, offering something condos or houses don’t always provide: an experiential feel.

These unique characteristics make cabins especially lucrative for vacation rental, and there’s never been a better time to buy. 

Not only have Evolve cabin rentals seen a 37% increase in booking value since mid-2021, but many of the hottest markets in the U.S. distinguish themselves as the best places to buy a cabin specifically.

In This Article:
Questions to Ask When Buying a Cabin
Types of Cabins to Buy
When to Buy a Cabin
Where to Buy a Cabin
How to Buy a Cabin

Questions to Ask When Buying a Cabin

Exterior view of a modern log cabin with massive windows reflecting the towering green pines surrounding it.

While they have incredible income potential, these are the pros and cons of owning a cabin to keep in mind before jumping into an investment.

1. Will my income offset costs?

Highly sought-after vacation destinations can offer impressive returns on investment, but you first need to consider whether the costs tied to your annual revenue are worth it. Our real estate experts say it’s best to look for markets with lower list prices, ample inventory, and worthwhile cap rates. Then, use our vacation rental income calculator to properly estimate profit margins with all expenses factored in. 

2. When will demand peak in this area?

Great news: the vast majority of cabin rental markets have dual-seasonality. If you’re purchasing in the Poconos, PA or Broken Bow, OK, for instance, you’ll see both summer and winter travel demand — with interest running into the shoulder seasons, too. (Fall foliage can bring in a lot of leaf-peeping travelers.) 

The exception is a few select ski towns with little summer presence (though it’s worth noting that most of the best places to buy a ski property do carry multi-season value). Buying a cabin in winter-heavy markets can still be a good investment though, so long as you prepare for your vacation rental to have lower occupancy once the slopes close.

To help you zero in on the busiest time(s) of year for a variety of cabin-friendly areas, browse our Vacation Rental Market Analyses. Then, connect with our real estate team to get a more tailored look at your investment options.

3. What upfront costs will this property require?

Cabins have a lot of rustic character, but with that comes the risk of extra maintenance before your new home is rentable. Our real estate experts encourage thorough inspections before investing in a cabin to make sure the wood, insulation, bug infestations (inevitable in woodsier areas), and other elements can be properly assessed.

4. How accessible is this cabin?

While the idea of owning a remote cabin might sound like a vacationer’s dream, guests won’t book the home if the roads are impossible to navigate. Same goes for a mountain home if a heavy snow falls but plows can’t make it to your property. Our real estate experts say it’s key to choose a home that’s easily accessible to both guests and vetted service partners at a moment’s notice.

Types of Cabins to Buy

Exterior view of "The Hygge Hideaway" in Prescott, AZ with angular architecture, a barrel sauna, and fire pit.

The first consideration when choosing a cabin type is the market you’re most interested in. A-frame cabins, for instance, are more common in northern areas like the Poconos, Catskills, and New England mountains, whereas more classic log cabins are found farther south in the Smoky and Blue Ridge Mountain ranges.

The second factor is price point. If you can afford a large family-style cabin, our real estate experts say that’s the type of cabin to buy every time. Doing so opens up the opportunity for traveling groups, and you’re likely to see greater returns from must-book amenities these larger luxury homes tend to offer. (That said, even one-room log cabins have the potential to make impressive annual revenue if you furnish and market the home to elevate its rustic charm.)

Here’s a quick look at the appeal of some popular types of cabins to buy and how they might affect your bottom line.

1. Log Cabins

Quaint and rustic, classic log cabins typically attract outdoorsy travelers. They also tend to be more energy-efficient, since the thick log exterior traps heat and keeps the home toastier after nightfall. Log cabins are generally more rare, too, so scoring one as a vacation rental owner can translate to extra earning potential.

2. A-Frame Cabins

The stunning architectural impact and massive windows that let in loads of natural light are the biggest draws for travelers booking A-frame cabins. The downside: that distinct, sloping roof often means there’s a lack of conventional storage space. You’ll need to be creative in how you keep your cabin stocked, making sure all essential vacation rental supplies are easily accessible without cluttering the clean lines of each room.

3. Family Cabins

With sprawling floor plans, family-sized cabins give groups the ability to enjoy each other’s company with enough room to spread out. Most are equipped with luxe, family-friendly amenities (think: hot tubs, fire pits, entertainment systems, and easy-to-enjoy outdoor spaces), meaning you can typically charge more per night. Just remember the upkeep for a larger cabin can also increase your expenses.

4. One-Room Remote Cabins

Perfect for traveling couples or solo getaways, one-room cabins foster a simple, unfussy experience. These cabins can also be a good investment because they tend to have significantly lower maintenance costs, as a lack of luxury amenities can all be considered part of that getting-off-the-grid ambiance.

When to Buy a Cabin

Exterior view of a newly renovated A-frame log cabin in Duck Creek Village, UT surrounded by trees covered in snow.

The best time to buy depends on the market. In ski towns, it’s good to have your vacation rental up and running (and winterized) before peak season. For summer-heavy markets, capturing that warm-weather travel increase with spring readiness is key. Of course, for cabins with dual-seasonality, there are multiple opportunities to capitalize on rising booking trends. 

That said, current vacation rental owners planning to sell know when those peak seasons happen, too — meaning most won’t put their homes on the market in the lead up to busy months. 

That’s why our real estate team recommends looking for cabins to buy in the off months, just after a market’s high season dies down. This is when you’ll find the most inventory available, along with lower list prices. 

Plus, properly furnishing and marketing a vacation rental can take a few months, so an off-season purchase gives you more runway to perfectly prepare for the five-star guest experiences that maximize income.

Where to Buy a Cabin

Exterior view of a 3-bedroom, 1-bath cabin in Coeur d'Alene, ID with a spacious deck with multiple tables and umbrellas overlooking a serene lake — the ideal space for morning coffee or evening relaxation.

Another key consideration that will determine if a cabin is a good investment: location, location, location!  

If a mountain home sparks your interest, the Smoky Mountains are an established favorite among cabin-seekers, with stunning scenery and multi-season appeal. Be sure to consider towns like Gatlinburg, TN and Boone, NC when exploring your options in the region. 

For more of a hidden-gem investment, look to emerging markets. Rapid City, SD was recently named one of the best small towns to visit in the U.S., and Hocking Hills, OH is gaining ground as an outdoor adventurer’s paradise.

Lake cabins see a ton of success in destinations like Saranac Lake, NY or Branson, MO. The Midwest is also swimming with prime locations, including Hayward, WI, Boyne City, MI, and Breezy Point, MN.

Regardless of the specific market you land on, our real estate experts recommend keeping these other essentials in mind when shopping for your ideal cabin investment:

1. Breathtaking Views

Unsurprisingly, the best-performing cabin rentals offer memorable nature views, whether it’s a lake, a landscape of trees, or stunning mountain scenery. A cabin with a vista is always a good investment, because a wow-worthy view never goes out of style.

2. Easy Access to the Local Area

This means proximity to ski slopes or snowshoe trails for mountain cabins, or swimming and boat rentals for lakefront rentals. While you can set higher rates with a waterfront or slopeside property, you’ll likely see lower list prices a couple miles from seasonal attractions. Our team can help you weigh revenue against expenses to choose a home with great earning potential and a faster recoup of your investment.

3. Desirable Amenities

If the market you’re eyeing has winter interest, travelers often look for homes with fireplaces and expert snow removal. If there’s summer demand, they want great outdoor space, a grill, and even an outdoor shower. Guests also favor different amenities when booking a lakefront cabin versus a mountain cabin, so make enhancements that embrace your home’s unique perks (like a private dock and kayaks, or a place to drop wet ski gear). And, of course, key amenities like easy parking and WiFi are valuable for any cabin.

How to Buy a Cabin

Exterior view of the "Aces Wild" vacation rental in Broken Bow, OK with a firepit surrounded by chairs in the foreground and a slide and swingset amongst the trees

When it’s officially time to search cabins for sale, finding the perfect one can be a minefield to navigate on your own. Our real estate experts take the guesswork and heavy lifting out of the equation by helping you:

  1. Define your personal and financial goals
  2. Understand the nuances and earning potential of any market 
  3. Connect with preferred real estate agents in the area for expert local assistance
  4. Manage your new property to maximize income and stay ahead of the competition

Of course, if you want proof of performance upfront, our listings for sale page features cabins and other types of properties that already have a proven track record of vacation rental success with Evolve.

Frankly, there’s never been a better time to invest in a cabin. We’ve helped thousands of owners maximize their earning potential — and we’d love to help you. See if you qualify and let your adventure in cabin rentals begin!

Every year, skiers and snowboarders flock to the slopes for unforgettable alpine adventures. 

After a long day in the powder, today’s outdoor enthusiasts are looking for more than just a place to crash. Being able to hang gear, gather for a home-cooked meal, or sink into a private hot tub can take their getaway to the next level. That makes a vacation rental ideal for travelers — and ski property a savvy investment for buyers. 

Even better: Many of the best places to buy a ski property have become year-round destinations, with charming downtown areas and all-season fun. So, maximizing revenue in a ski market is all about striking the right balance. You want a location with proximity to great skiing, affordable prices, and activities that attract warm-weather visitors. 

That’s exactly what this list offers. Tighten your boots, grab your gloves, and check out the best ski towns for a rental property investment right now.

Want a more tailored approach to buying the perfect rental? Our team can help identify markets, properties, and partners to lift your success. Fill out this form to start a conversation today.

In This Article:
The Poconos, PA
Shenandoah Valley, VA
Laughlintown, PA
Vernon Township, NJ
Wilmington, VT
Idaho Springs, CO
Boone, NC
Boyne City, MI
Ruidoso, NM
Maggie Valley, NC
Brian Head, UT
Pagosa Springs, CO

How We Chose the Best Places to Buy a Ski Property

Our data is based on a combination of proprietary and public data, but the three key metrics we took into account are:

In addition to these metrics, we evaluated a vacation property’s potential to outperform market expectations with an Evolve partnership. Below, you’ll see The Evolve Difference highlighting how we helped some of our top vacation rental owners maximize income and significantly beat the market’s projected revenue.

Please note: all data projections reflect ideal-state scenarios. Variables like owner-blocked calendars and extenuating circumstances (like natural disasters) are not factored into these calculations.

1. The Poconos, PA

Photo of a ski hill near the Poconos mountains in Pennsylvania during winter. Image text reads, "$37,172 median rental revenue. $253,864 median listing price. 10.2% example cap rate."

With a wide range of ski areas like Jack Frost Ski Resort, Big Boulder Mountain, and Camelback Ski Resort, visitors are spoiled for choice when seeking the perfect run in the Poconos. And beyond the winter season, the Poconos still showcase plenty of appeal. Leaf-peepers come to see vibrant fall foliage and summer vacationers book lakeside escapes. Investors can tap into this year-round allure to create a haven for travelers of all kinds. 

With a median listing price of $253,864, the Poconos area earns extra points for having some of the most affordable ski towns to buy a home. Our real estate experts say Albrightsville, Tobyhanna, Long Pond, Lake Harmony, and Pocono Lake are all worth exploring for success. 

Top-performing properties in these areas provide easy proximity to multi-season fun — from ski resorts to hiking trails to lake access. This market is also particularly popular among families, which is why larger five-bedroom homes tend to earn the most on average. That said, smaller rentals do quite well when they offer family-friendly amenities, ski-in/ski-out access, and luxe additions like hot tubs.

Our real estate experts do note that permitting requirements can vary between different counties and towns in the Poconos market. As you explore your favorite locations, it’s important to work with local experts who can work out those details for you.

We can connect you with local, licensed real estate agents who specialize in short-term rental — and can help you navigate the ins and outs of permitting and other requirements.

2. Shenandoah Valley, VA

Photo of Shenandoah Valley in Virginia at sunrise during winter with snow on the ground. Image text reads, "$39,126 median rental revenue. $319,608 median listing price. 8.6% example cap rate."

Known for its stunning natural beauty and booming ski scene, the Shenandoah Valley offers a stellar combination of outdoor recreation and rural charm. During the winter months, travelers come from all over to visit Massanutten Resort, a 6,000-acre resort area with a ski and adventure park, dining venues, shopping, and a day spa. Throughout the rest of the year, outdoorsy types come to hike the Appalachian Trail in Shenandoah National Park.

Over the last year, the Shenandoah Valley has seen a consistent cap rate (your annual net operating income divided by a property’s market value), indicating ongoing performance strength investors can capitalize on. To really make the most of this market’s opportunity, our experts recommend narrowing your search to McGaheysville, Massanutten, and Elkton for the most promising profit potential. Plus, these towns are all located in a county with rental-friendly regulations.

Evolve owners pulling in more than double the median rental revenue are all located within minutes of a ski resort (usually Massanutten) and often boast slope views. They also tend to cater to families, so consider looking for a larger home that can host a crowd — and include perks like ping-pong tables, arcade games, and spaces to drop ski gear (like a mudroom).

Image text reads, "The Evolve Difference: Our owners have earned up to $89,440 annually!

3. Laughlintown, PA

Photo of a forest covered in fresh snow in Laughlintown, Pennsylvania. Image text reads, "$31,905 median rental revenue. $267,381 median listing price. 8.4% example cap rate."

Nestled in the heart of western Pennsylvania, Laughlintown is an up-and-coming ski town to buy investment property in. Unlike the Poconos — which offer a great retreat to East Coasters — this peaceful locale catches the eye of Pittsburgh and Midwest travelers.    

Laughlintown sits near Laurel Mountain Ski Resort, known for having the steepest double diamond slope in the state. But its proximity to other attractions like Linn Run State Park, Idlewild Amusement Park, and the historic town of Ligonier boost multi-season booking opportunities, too.

Interested investors can look at Laughlintown proper or its Laurel Mountain borough, where many of the strongest performing homes are located. If buying options are limited, our experts say expanding your search to include nearby Ligonier is worthwhile. And no matter where your investment home is located in the area, game rooms, home theaters, or pools are typically available in the vacation rentals earning top dollar — so these are important amenities to consider for five-star value.

Offering the amenities guests search for most can significantly boost your vacation rental performance. Check out which ones are worthy of your investment in different regions across the U.S.

4. Vernon Township, NJ

Photo of a ski resort near Vernon Township in New Jersey during summer with green trees. Image text reads, "$35,371 median rental revenue. $325,430 median listing price. 7.6% example cap rate."

Around an hour’s drive from New York City, Vernon Township grabs interest from local weekenders and out-of-towners looking for a Big Apple day trip. Adrenaline junkies are in good hands with Mountain Creek Ski Resort, a four-season destination with skiing, ziplining, several dining venues, and a waterpark.

Visitors can also find plenty to do outside of the resort. There are events like the Vernon Lights Festival and Great Pumpkin Festival at Heaven Hills Farm, plus dreamy nature excursions in Wawayanda State Park and Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge. This translates to a strong opportunity for consistent bookings year-round.

Top-performing Evolve owners earning nearly triple Vernon Township’s market median are largely within the Mountain Creek Ski Resort or offer ultra-easy access to the resort via shuttle services.

Image text reads, "The Evolve Difference: Our owners have earned up to $96,976 annually!

Itching to explore more locations with all-season booking demand? Check out all the best places to buy a vacation rental across the U.S. right now.

5. Wilmington, VT

Photo of a ski resort near Wilmington, Vermont during winter on a blue bird day. Image text reads, "$33,289 median rental revenue. $342,678 median listing price. 6.8% example cap rate."

Head to Wilmington for a quintessential New England experience with easy access to Mount Snow, a renowned mountain resort where skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels can find premier terrain. 

Beyond the iconic draw of Mount Snow, Wilmington is one of the best places to buy a ski property because it takes on a charming identity of its own. The streets are dotted with quaint shops, cozy restaurants, and a welcoming community vibe. There’s also plenty of hiking, biking, and scenic landscapes to explore in the warmer seasons, so it’s possible to earn bookings from backcountry enthusiasts all year long.

High-earning Wilmington vacation rentals are within ten miles of Mount Snow and Timber Creek Cross Country Ski Area, and tend to be larger properties with four to five bedrooms. Many of them are also pet-friendly, catering to vacationers looking to bring furry friends along. 

If you’re hoping to expand your property search beyond Wilmington, our experts recommend turning to Dover — another town at the base of Mount Snow with strong performance potential.

Image text reads, "The Evolve Difference: Our owners have earned up to $89,353 annually!

6. Idaho Springs, CO

Photo of the Rocky Mountains during winter near Idaho Springs, Colorado. Image text reads, "$51,059 median rental revenue. $571,371 median listing price. 6.3% example cap rate."

Tucked in the Rocky Mountains, consider Idaho Springs the gateway to a variety of world-class ski resorts — including Loveland, Winter Park, Arapahoe Basin, Copper Mountain, and Echo Mountain Ski Resort. This historic Colorado locale gives investors the unique opportunity to grab travelers who want to hit big-name slopes without the high daily rates and tourist congestion that come with being in the center of a major ski town. 

Of course, ski proximity isn’t the only perk of an Idaho Springs vacation rental investment. The area has a variety of warm-weather to-dos for nature lovers, a bustling downtown with local restaurants, shops, and breweries, and it’s only about 45 minutes by car from Denver.

According to our experts, Idaho Springs has seen cap rate rise in the last year thanks to a substantial increase in median rental revenue, which reflects growing demand owners can harness with a strong purchase and strategic revenue optimization. And while home prices are on the rise in this area, smaller homes with one to two bedrooms are commonly the top profit drivers (particularly when they have mountain views and hot tubs). These tend to fall well below the median listing price, creating room to slide into this market at lower upfront costs while outpacing income averages — further boosting your cap rate potential. 

Like last year, there are short-term rental restrictions and permitting requirements at play in this area. It’s a good idea to partner with real estate experts who can help confirm you’re meeting regulations before diving into a purchase.

Invest in a property already vetted for vacation rental potential with these homes for sale. Each is handpicked for their potential to perform well in their respective markets — putting you ahead of the game from the jump.

7. Boone, NC

Photo of a winter scene with snow on a pine tree near Boone, North Carolina. Image text reads, "$37,628 median rental revenue. $423,825 median listing price. 6.2% example cap rate."

You’ll find Boone in the Blue Ridge Mountains, centrally located within easy driving distance of three major ski resorts: Sugar Mountain, Beech Mountain, and Appalachian Ski Mountain. When visitors aren’t on the slopes, they can enjoy scenic Blue Ridge Parkway drives, hike up the iconic Grandfather Mountain, pan for gems at Foggy Mountain Gem Mine, and hop between local breweries and distilleries.

With crisp, snowy winters and lush summers, Boone compels outdoor adventurers across seasons. Plus, downtown Boone boasts a vibrant music and arts scene with tons of year-round events that bring in a steady stream of visitors. 

Evolve owners earning nearly double the median rental revenue have properties in Boone that are within ten miles of one of the area’s top three ski resorts. They also make good use of the outdoors with hot tubs, large decks, private backyard spaces, and/or on-site hiking trails. Many of these top-performing homes are also classic log cabins that allow pets — an amenity guests often look for in the South

Image text reads, "The Evolve Difference: Our owners have earned up to $80,062 annually!

Interested in the idea of a cabin investment? Check out the best places to buy one from coast to coast.

8. Boyne City, MI

Photo of a chairlift on top of a hill near Boyne City, Michigan during the off season. Image text reads, "$33,724 median rental revenue. $383,845 median listing price. 6.2% example cap rate."

The only Midwestern contender of all the best places to buy a ski property, Boyne City blends winter sports with an inviting small-town atmosphere and a wide range of outdoor activities, like snowshoeing and ice fishing. It’s located near the pristine shores of Lake Charlevoix and offers easy access to the world-renowned Boyne Mountain Resort, grabbing demand from families and large groups in both the winter and summer months.

List prices in this area have increased while median rental revenue dipped in the last year, bringing down the overall cap rate. With that said, Evolve owners equipped with expert rental management strategies are still blowing income averages out of the water — and, in many cases, are actually performing even better than they did last year. 

The secret: most of our high-earners are cabins that sit close to Boyne Mountain Resort. They also tend to be more spacious, allowing for eight to twelve guests, and feature fantastic multi-season perks like fire pits and hot tubs. Since families are one of the area’s primary audiences, kid-friendly amenities (think: DVD players, children’s toys, and game rooms) are another important detail to feature.

Image text reads, "The Evolve Difference: Our owners have earned up to $107,389 annually!

9. Ruidoso, NM

Aerial image of snow-capped mountains in Ruidoso, New Mexico during winter. Image text reads, "$27,885 median rental revenue. $362,411 median listing price. 5.4% example cap rate."

Ruidoso’s alpine charm, arts, vibrant culinary scene, and Wild West history makes it a shoe-in for vacationers of all kinds — but it’s particularly attractive to outdoor adventurers. 

Guests can enjoy downhill fun at Ski Apache Resort and snow tube at Winter Park Recreational Area in the winter. When the snow melts, they can hike the Sierra Blanca Mountains or visit the region’s most popular landmarks (like White Sands National Monument and Lincoln National Forest) — which extends booking potential from nature lovers across seasons.

It tracks, then, that the homes performing best in Ruidoso tend to have wraparound decks, stunning mountain views, and hot tubs. Consider your proximity to Ski Apache Resort and local sightseeing must-dos, too; providing an easy guest commute to the most popular attractions will give your property a marketing edge.

10. Maggie Valley, NC

Photo of a winter scene with snow covered trees and thick fog near Maggie Valley, North Carolina. Image text reads, "$31,323 median rental revenue. $419,009 median listing price. 5.2% example cap rate."

In the heart of the Smoky Mountains, Maggie Valley is a paradise for winter sports, hiking, biking, golf, and ample scenic beauty. This charming mountain town offers easy access to the beloved Cataloochee Ski Area and Tube World. Plus, it’s conveniently set right in between Bryson City and Asheville — two other popular North Carolina enclaves with plenty of day trip appeal. 

You’d be hard-pressed to find a home that doesn’t look out over the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Maggie Valley area, so it’s no surprise that high-earning vacation rentals all boast awe-inspiring views. 

Beyond that, Evolve owners taking home more than double the median revenue are located within 10 miles of Cataloochee Ski Area and offer luxe touches like fire pits, saunas, and game rooms. They’re also often traditional log cabins that cater to multi-generational groups by offering safety for young children and accessibility for the elderly.

Image text reads, "The Evolve Difference: Our owners have earned up to $67,456 annually!

11. Brian Head, UT

Photo from the top of a trail looking down at a ski resort in Brian Head, Utah covered in snow. Image text reads, "$22,228 median rental revenue. $324,689 median listing price. 4.8% example cap rate."

Often referred to as the “highest resort town in America,” Brian Head sits at 9,800-foot elevation in the Dixie National Forest. Brian Head Resort makes the area a wonderful destination for avid skiers, while hikers can use it as an easy base camp for visits to two popular national parks: Zion and Bryce Canyon. This translates to strong potential for all-season bookings from outdoor enthusiasts.

Some Evolve owners earn more than triple the area’s market median revenue with properties that are within a mile of Brian Head Resort — and many even sit right at the base of a chair lift for premium access to the slopes. They also tend to be larger homes with four to five bedrooms and are predominantly cabins, leaning into the rustic charm of exposed logs, fireplaces, and woodsy furnishings.

Owners just need a standard permit and license to operate here, which is another reason this market ranks as one of the best ski towns for a rental property investment. It’s worth noting the local government requires annual snow removal services for safety — a best practice for winterizing a vacation rental that all owners in snowy areas should add to their routine maintenance checklist.

Image text reads, "The Evolve Difference: Our owners have earned up to $79,296 annually!

12. Pagosa Springs, CO

Aerial photo of Pagosa Springs, Colorado with the sun hitting the tops of mountains during winter. Image text reads, "$32,134 median rental revenue. $539,099 median listing price. 4.2% example cap rate."

Pagosa Springs is located in the rugged San Juan Mountains roughly twenty miles from Wolf Creek Ski Area — a popular destination with an awesome array of trails for any skill level and the “most snow in Colorado.” This laid-back ski town is free of the long lines and hectic crowds you’ll often find in classics like Breckenridge and Vail, making it a uniquely peaceful Colorado getaway for guests. 

Plus, Pagosa Springs has fantastic hot springs, along with a lake, river, and golf course visitors can take advantage of in warmer months. For investors, this means that a property here can capture interest from skiers looking to avoid the stress of crowded tourist areas, as well as those eager to make a return trip in non-snowy seasons. 

With this in mind, it’s unsurprising that top-performing homes in this area cater to multi-season activities. They’re often close to a local body of water and within thirty miles of Wolf Creek Ski Area. They also have three to five bedrooms and outdoor perks like hot tubs or on-site hiking trails. 

According to our experts, operational vacation rentals must have a local contact who lives within 60 miles of Pagosa Springs. There are also zoning and occupancy requirements owners must abide by, so it’s important to work with a professional to make sure your property purchase and rental setup are in compliance.

Need help finding a local contact? Our experts connect savvy vacation rental investors with service partners to keep properties running smoothly all year long.

Buy the Perfect Ski Property with Evolve

Investing in a short-term rental property is a major decision, but you don’t have to navigate the process on your own. Whether you’re drawn to a cozy cabin in the Poconos or a slopeside gem in one of the best ski resorts to buy property (like Vernon Township’s Mountain Creek), our seasoned real estate experts can help you take the next step.

We have the data to inform your investment opportunities and define your income goals, preferred local real estate agents with expertise in vacation rental purchases, and helpful management tools to make your ski property a success once you’re ready to kickstart your business.

For additional research, here are some resources to help you better understand the potential of vacation rental investment:

Now that you’re ready to talk about an investment in one of the best places to buy a ski property, reach out to our team today.

The travel industry is ever-evolving, but one trend has taken firm hold in recent years: travelers want accommodations that feel like a home away from home. It’s why vacation rentals are seeing higher-than-ever demand — to the tune of 450 million users worldwide

That rise in demand is also why investors are looking to tap into its potential, making the industry as a whole more competitive. But vacation rental owners can still see impressive returns with careful evaluation of the best vacation rental markets across the country.

Our real estate experts did just that, crunching the numbers to help focus your search for maximum profit potential. From East Coast gems to character-rich towns in the South, these are the 12 best places to buy a vacation rental right now.

Want help buying the perfect vacation rental for your investment goals? Our team can help identify markets, properties, and partners to blaze your trail to success. Fill out this form to start a conversation today.

In This Article:
Finger Lakes, NY
Holland, MI
Hocking Hills, OH
Palo Pinto, TX
Wisconsin Dells, WI
Savannah, GA
Michigan City, IN
Vernon Township, NJ
Dover, VT
Sevierville, TN
Waldport, OR
Fairbanks, AK

How We Chose the Best Places to Buy a Vacation Rental Investment Property

Our data is based on a combination of proprietary and public data, but the three key metrics we took into account are:

In addition to these metrics, we evaluated a vacation property’s potential to outperform market expectations with an Evolve partnership. Below, you’ll see The Evolve Difference highlighting how we helped some of our top vacation rental owners maximize income and significantly beat the market’s projected revenue.

Please note: all data projections reflect ideal-state scenarios. Variables like owner-blocked calendars and extenuating circumstances (like natural disasters) are not factored into these calculations.

1. Finger Lakes, NY

Photo of a sunset over Finger Lakes, NY, with light peeking through the dock piling. Image text reads, "$31,434 median rental revenue. $202,257 median listing price. 10.9% example cap rate."

Nestled in upstate New York just south of Lake Ontario, the Finger Lakes are made of 11 picturesque bodies of water — so it’s no wonder why the area is one of the best places to buy a lake house, too. 

Beyond must-have lake time, travelers can sip their way down wine trails, explore the famous Watkins Glen State Park, and satisfy their inner adrenaline junkie at Seabreeze Amusement Park. This promise of adventure in any season — coupled with close proximity to New York and Toronto — often translates to strong profit potential. 

Unsurprisingly, properties with easy water access tend to do well in the region. But you can further maximize your Finger Lakes returns by tuning into other property details, too. Some Evolve owners earn more than double the median annual revenue with additional perks like kid-friendly amenities and furnished decks or patios. 

It’s important to note, however, that many towns in the Finger Lakes region have permitting and zoning restrictions. Our experts recommend familiarizing yourself with the regulations in your chosen area and connecting with local officials for a more comprehensive understanding of how they apply before you buy.

Image text reads, "The Evolve Difference: Our owners have earned up to $72,625 annually!"

Love the idea of a lake house investment? From the questions you should ask to the best time to buy, here’s everything you need to know.

2. Holland, MI

Photo of a windmill against a bright blue sky, with a tree covered in cherry blossoms in the foreground. Image text reads, "$44,577 median rental revenue. $355,544 median listing price. 8.8% example cap rate."

Set on the shores of Lake Macatawa, Holland is a vibrant town where history and hospitality collide to create a charming small-town experience. It holds a timeless blend of culture, cuisine, and adventure, and guests can explore cobblestone streets lined with specialty shops, restaurants, and breweries. 

More famous than that, though, is Holland’s iconic Big Red Lighthouse and annual tulip festival — a beloved event that brings swarms of visitors each year. An aptly-named town, it’s also teeming with Dutch heritage, from Victorian architecture to delicacies like metworst

Top-performing vacation rentals here are kid-friendly, tend to have three bedrooms (perfect for families), and boast waterfront views. These types of properties have been known to bring in more than $83,000 annually for some Evolve owners — more than twice the market’s median revenue.

Investors should keep in mind that they (or a local contact) must be available 24/7 and live within 35 miles of their vacation rental property, as stipulated by the local government.

Image text reads, "The Evolve Difference: Our owners have earned up to $83,722 annually!"

Need a helping hand? Our experts connect business-savvy owners with local service partners to keep rentals running smoothly year-round.

3. Hocking Hills, OH

Photo of Hocking Hills with a rocky outcrop sticking out through colorful autumn trees. Image text reads, "$42,751 median rental revenue. $349,260 median listing price. 8.6% example cap rate."

With massive caves, rushing waterfalls, and staggering cliffs, the scenic region of Hocking Hills is a nature lover’s playground. This rural area in Southeastern Ohio is popular among travelers seeking a peaceful cabin getaway — making it a great place to buy a cabin, too. 

It’s no surprise, then, that homes outperforming Hocking Hills’ median rental revenue are cabins. But they also offer amenities like hot tubs, plenty of backyard space, and proximity to Hocking Hills State Park for easy adventuring. 

Our real estate experts recommend setting your sights on towns like Hamden, Amanda, and Logan to maximize profits. To simplify the selection process, local agents who specialize in vacation rental can help identify the exact area (and property!) that best suits your goals.

Image text reads, "The Evolve Difference: Our owners have earned up to $97,100 annually!"

Cozying up to a cabin investment? Brush up on what makes a cabin purchase profitable — along with when, where, and how to buy.

4. Palo Pinto, TX

Photo of a riverbank in Palo Pinto with red canoes in the foreground, a grassy shore across the water, and a forested hill in the distance. Image text reads, "$47,855 median rental revenue. $405,909 median listing price. 8.3% example cap rate."

Named for the nearby mountain range, Palo Pinto is a quaint rural community in Northern Texas with something fun to do for every type of traveler — including hiking, fossil hunting, or even getting spooked on a ghost tour.  

There’s even Palo Pinto State Park, the newest addition to Texas’ state park roster that’s expected to bring roughly 100,000 visitors to the area each year — most of whom need somewhere to stay. That gives interested investors a strong opportunity for bookings. 

Our experts say homes that rake in the highest earnings tend to offer a way for guests to embrace the outdoors while cooling off in the Texas heat. So look for properties that have pools, boat docks, or private beach access. From there, invest in amenities that will encourage a five-star review. Something as small as including recommended hiking trails in your welcome book can go a long way.

Image text reads, "The Evolve Difference: Our owners have earned up to $71,007 annually!"

5. Wisconsin Dells, WI

Photo of a massive, golden rocky cliff along the water of the Wisconsin Dells. Image text reads, "$36,104 median rental revenue. $307,846 median listing price. 8.2% example cap rate."

Wisconsin Dells is home to a variety of scenic attractions, outdoor activities, annual festivals, and family-friendly fun. It snagged the top spot on our list of best places to buy a vacation rental last year, and continues to be a fantastic location for investment. 

That said, listing prices are on the rise in the area while demand — though strong — remains relatively flat. This means cap rate (your annual net operating income divided by a property’s market value) has come down in the last 12 months. 

Of course, with a combination of competitive amenities and an expert revenue approach, investors can far outperform the market average here. Top-performing Evolve homes in the “Waterpark Capital of the World” often have three to six bedrooms to accommodate families. Smaller properties beat the average, too, when they offer water access.

Image text reads, "The Evolve Difference: Our owners have earned up to $112,367 annually!"

6. Savannah, GA

Photo of a tree-lined road in Savannah, GA, the branches meeting in the middle to create an arch. Image text reads, "$41,795 median rental revenue. $355,901 median listing price. 8.2% example cap rate."

Another returner to our best places to buy list, Savannah continues to be a solid market for real estate investors. Listing prices have increased in the last year, but so have occupancy and average daily rates — which our experts say indicates a rise in travel demand that owners can harness for maximum profit potential. And with plenty of available homes for sale, you’ll have options to suit a variety of budgets. 

As for location, Savannah’s Historic District is a major draw for travelers — where cobblestone streets are lined with Spanish moss, shaded parks, riverfront dining, and museums. Homes of all sizes can do well when located near downtown hotspots like Forsyth Park or City Market

The city offers epic nightlife, too, which is why big group celebrations like bachelorette parties are also ultra-common here. If you want to accommodate those guests, our experts recommend looking for a larger property (think five bedrooms). 

Quick note: vacation rentals in Savannah are subject to permitting and zoning restrictions, so it’s important for investors to connect with local agents who specialize in vacation rentals to make sure they understand their options ahead of a purchase.

Image text reads, "The Evolve Difference: Our owners have earned up to $72,804 annually!"

Jumpstart — or grow — your business with more ease when you explore homes for sale our experts already vetted for vacation rental potential.

7. Michigan City, IN

Photo of a rainbow sunset over the water in Michigan City, IN, with a shining lighthouse in the foreground. Image text reads, "$30,181 median rental revenue. $259,986 median listing price. 8.1% example cap rate."

Tucked along the shoreline of Lake Michigan, Michigan City welcomes millions of tourists each year who are eager to indulge in natural beauty, family-friendly attractions, waterfront activities, and popular events. Combine the demand for the city’s Great Lakes Grand Prix every summer, Festival of Lights each winter, and close proximity to Indian Dunes (a beachside national park) — and it’s easy to see the potential for multi-season bookings. 

Michigan City is also very vacation rental-friendly in regulation, making it simpler for investors to find success in the area. Case in point: many Evolve owners are earning more than triple the median annual revenue here. 

Standout rentals all boast some type of water access (whether it’s a private beach or access to a private/community pool) and tend to offer amenities that appeal to families, like a tricked-out game room and beach toys.

Image text reads, "The Evolve Difference: Our owners have earned up to $96,232 annually!"

8. Vernon Township, NJ

Photo of a wooden walking path winding through a golden field in Vernon Township, NJ, with orange autumn trees in the foreground. Image text reads, "$35,371 median rental revenue. $325,430 median listing price. 7.6% example cap rate."

Vernon Township is located about an hour’s drive from New York City, grabbing the interest of city-dwelling weekenders while also offering an easy Big Apple day trip for vacationers farther from home. 

But don’t be fooled: this Sussex County gem offers plenty of attractions all on its own, with Mountain Creek Ski Resort, a waterpark, and seven championship golf courses. Outdoor enthusiasts also visit from all over to explore Wawayanda State Park, Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge, and a blissful 20-mile stretch of the Appalachian Trail. 

Known to have a number of highly-acclaimed B&Bs in operation, Vernon Township is already an established vacation destination among tourists seeking homier stays. This means short-term rental investors who take the right management approach could provide a strong alternative to crowded inns. In fact, top-performing Evolve owners in Vernon Township are taking home nearly $97,000 annually.

Image text reads, "The Evolve Difference: Our owners have earned up to $96,976 annually!"

9. Dover, VT

Wide shot photo of a lake in Dover, VT, with hills covered in red autumn trees jutting into the water. Image text reads, "$34,647 median rental revenue. $361,013 median listing price. 6.7% example cap rate."

Once again, Dover ranks on our list of best places to buy a vacation rental for its scenic beauty and abundance of year-round activities. Visitors leaf-peep in the fall, snowboard in the winter, and mountain bike in the summer — making this quaint Vermont town a terrific spot for consistent bookings and revenue.

Since last year, the cap rate has jumped from about 3.9% to 6.7%, boosting the opportunity for investors to maximize ROI. Our experts are seeing increased demand drive higher occupancy, daily rates, and revenue in this market — while median listing price has come down. And though the market has seen overall growth in revenue potential, top Evolve owners are still beating the average with over $84,000 a year.

These high-achieving homes are typically spacious (five to seven bedrooms) and located within a few miles of Mount Snow). Keep in mind that larger properties tend to come with steeper price tags, so it’s a matter of weighing your personal income and expense factors to make the best investment for you.

Image text reads, "The Evolve Difference: Our owners have earned up to $84,022 annually!"

If a ski property investment sounds right for you, there’s snow time like the present. Browse the best places to buy to find your ideal market.

10. Sevierville, TN

Wide shot photo of the town of Sevierville, TN, surrounded by green rolling hills. Image text reads, "$42,751 median rental revenue. $483,309 median listing price. 6.2% example cap rate."

Often referred to as the “Gateway to the Smokies,” Sevierville (alongside neighboring Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge) is an ideal home base for a nature-lover’s vacation. But beyond proximity to Great Smoky Mountain National Park, the area gives visitors access to a variety of other fun activities. Dollywood, Douglas Lake, and Soaky Mountain Waterpark make for a well-rounded family getaway, while the area’s vibrant shopping scene, local golf course, and spas encourage adult relaxation.

Our experts say Sevierville, Gatlinburg, and Pigeon Forge all see comparable market potential, so interested Sevierville investors can expand their property search to include all three towns — increasing the chance to find a dream vacation rental.

Since travelers come to this area for the mountain vibes, cabin investments are high earners here. Family-friendly amenities (like game rooms) and luxe touches (like hot tubs, saunas, and fire pits) also contribute to Evolve owners making more than double the median rental revenue.

Image text reads, "The Evolve Difference: Our owners have earned up to $94,113 annually!"

11. Waldport, OR

Photo of the shoreline in Waldport, OR with a bridge in the distance crossing the water. Image text reads, "$44,358 median rental revenue. $549,575 median listing price. 5.6% example cap rate."

Overlooking Alsea Bay, the coastal town of Waldport is best known for its stunning scenery, a diverse array of wildlife, and outdoor recreation. From water activities like fishing and boating to land adventures like hiking and golfing, Waldport offers the best of both worlds.

While the median listing price is highest on our list of best places to buy a vacation rental, buyers will quickly find Waldport to be an affordable alternative to West Coast neighbors in California, Washington, and Hawaii

Plus, savvy owners can offset upfront costs with earning potential far beyond the market average when they operate strategically. Top-performers in Waldport bring in over $100,000 more than the median rental revenue with oceanfront or bayfront locations that offer epic water views. They also tend to be a bit cozier — many have just two bedrooms. 

And according to our real estate experts, 30% of bookings in the Western U.S. included pets, which is why the top-dollar earners here are also often pet-friendly. Catering to this traveler mindset is another great way to maximize your income.

Image text reads, "The Evolve Difference: Our owners have earned up to $161,172 annually!"

12. Fairbanks, AK

Aerial photo of the city of Fairbanks, AK with mountains in the distance and the yellow glow of sunset. Image text reads, "$26,267 median rental revenue. $343,237 median listing price. 5.4% example cap rate."

Between its awe-inspiring mountain ranges, crystal-clear bodies of water, and world-famous views of the Northern Lights, Fairbanks is a natural wonderland. While the “Golden Heart of Alaska” serves as a base camp for travelers visiting Denali National Park and the North Pole (no, not that one), there’s also plenty to do without leaving town. Visitors can check out a thriving local arts scene, for example, and experience popular Alaskan attractions like Pioneer Park.

Tourism in Alaska continues to grow, with a record number of hotel bookings in 2022. That makes now a great time to get in on the action by providing tourists with a strong alternative to current Fairbanks lodging options. 

Waterfront vacation rentals perform the best here, whether it’s a property overlooking a lake or a river. Other key factors to look for are proximity to Pioneer Park and a convenient commute downtown. It’s homes like these that have top Evolve owners earning nearly triple the median annual revenue.

Image text reads, "The Evolve Difference: Our owners have earned up to $76,594 annually!"

Buy the Perfect Vacation Rental with Evolve

Investing in a short-term rental property is a big decision, but you don’t have to navigate the process alone. Whether you’re drawn to a waterfront home on the West Coast or a cozy cabin in the South, our seasoned team of experts can help you take the next step toward buying in one of the best places to buy a vacation rental.

We have the data to inform your investment opportunities and define your income goals, preferred local real estate agents with expertise in vacation rental purchases, and helpful management tools to make your vacation house a success once you’re ready to kickstart your business.

For additional research, here are some resources to help you better understand the potential of vacation rental investment:

Now that you’re ready to talk about buying the best vacation rental for you, reach out to our team today.

The charming mountain town of Big Bear offers a little something for everyone. 

Home to two ski resorts with thrilling alpine terrain and can’t-miss lake activities like paddle sports, boating, and jet skiing, it’s fit for outdoor lovers and families alike. And with A-frame cabins, rustic boutiques, and a friendly downtown atmosphere in The Village, this welcoming California hideaway invites travelers to slow down and relax. 

This blend of laid-back, small-town feel and year-round access to outdoor recreation is why roughly 7 million visitors flock here annually. It’s also why a Big Bear investment property is such an appealing opportunity for interested buyers

To help you understand the earning potential in this top vacation rental market, we created a free, downloadable vacation rental market analysis. Inside, you’ll find:

The findings in this analysis are based on Evolve’s Big Bear market averages in the last year and provide a general baseline for performance potential.  If you’re wondering if buying a cabin in Big Bear is a good investment, this information is designed to help inform smart buying decisions when searching for the right Big Bear investment property.

Download Our Complete Big Bear Vacation Rental Investment Analysis

Blue icon of a cabin with mountains and stars

Why Big Bear Is a Great Place to Own Vacation Rental Property

Big Bear’s calming presence serves as a constant reminder to get out and explore nature. Year after year, weekenders hit the trails in San Bernardino National Forest, glide down the slopes at Big Bear Mountain Resort, and go fishing on Big Bear Lake. That’s part of what makes the area one of the best places to buy a lake house or a ski property, as investors can earn year-round Big Bear rental income in either scenario.

Vacation rental owners here can expect high demand during two seasons. Occupancy rates rise during the winter holidays and remain strong until the ski season ends in March. Then, demand picks back up in early summer before peaking in July — when city dwellers look to beat the heat and escape the urban bustle with a mountain and lake retreat.

The median home value around Big Bear Lake currently hovers at $597,000, which is higher than the national average. However, when you look at the actual city of Big Bear — just east of the lake — prices drop to around $409,000. This means there’s ample opportunity to find an investment property within your price range and still maximize your profits.

But keep in mind: the city requires specific licenses for short-term rentals. While this is not uncommon in the vacation rental industry, investors may have more red tape to get through when entering the market. Be informed prior to buying a Big Bear investment property, and tap local real estate professionals who can help you move through the process more seamlessly.

Blue icon of a crystal ball with the words "Profit Prediction" inside with stars

How Much Money Can You Earn with a Big Bear Vacation Rental?

As a highly sought-after California hotspot, the Big Bear vacation rental market presents strong revenue potential for buyers. In order to gauge just how much Big Bear rental income you could expect, there are a number of important factors to consider:

Property Size

There are plenty of reasons to think big when searching for your perfect Big Bear investment property. According to our data, five-bedroom homes earn the most revenue on average (and Evolve’s top revenue-earner last year had six bedrooms). This is likely because they cater well to large groups of friends and multi-generational families. Give travelers the gift of space and boost your Big Bear rental income potential by finding as much room as possible.

Of course, larger homes come with higher price tags. So if you’re looking for a lower upfront cost, you’re also in luck. A two-bedroom property was our top performer last year for the most nights booked. Plus, two-bedrooms have the most available inventory across both Big Bear Lake and Big Bear City. This gives investors more room to play within their budgets without sacrificing returns.

Property Location

Our real estate experts say lakefront cabins are prime purchases if you can swing it (and that’s true for lots of our top places to buy a cabin). Not only are these homes often the most scenic, but they generally provide easy access to Big Bear Village, popular hiking trails, and the Snow Summit base.

However, our experts note a Big Bear investment property away from the water can be just as valuable (and in some cases, earn faster returns on investment). That’s because prices are lower, but proximity to local attractions remains a huge draw — especially if you buy close to Bear Mountain Ski Resort or near the three local bus routes with shuttle services to the slopes. Wherever you zero in on homes for sale, consider these kinds of conveniences that might turn a looker into a booker.

Property Amenities

While a Big Bear getaway is sure to be filled with exciting adventures, you’ll want to outfit your vacation rental with all the top amenities and provide that home-away-from-home feel. To accentuate the area’s charm and double-down on comfort, go the extra mile by upping your interior design efforts, too.

Since Big Bear visitors are often looking to connect with nature, create outdoor spaces that allow your guests to revel in the scenery and spend more time outside. Grills, fire pits, and hammocks are great additions to any property. Spacious decks are especially valuable for homes that overlook the lake or mountains. And a hot tub can be a great investment, giving guests the chance to soothe achy muscles after a day of hiking or skiing.

When your guests do head out for an adventure, it’s likely they’ll have some gear. So make sure your home has space to easily store skiing, hiking, and fishing gear. A mudroom or other finished space with built-in shelves and hooks can help the whole group stay organized. Plus, this added space makes it easy to de-layer and unload when they return.

Download Our Full Big Bear, CA Vacation Rental Market Analysis

Big Bear’s cozy mountain town charm, stunning lakefront, and variety of year-round outdoor activities draw in visitors year after year. And this major travel demand presents a strong opportunity for vacation rental investment. 

To get a more detailed look at how you can perform with a Big Bear property investment, download our free Big Bear Vacation Rental Market Analysis today. Inside, you’ll find tons of helpful insights like:

With our report, you can steer clear of ending up head over skis on your Big Bear investment property and start your rental journey with confidence.