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 with our Property Protection Plus program.

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
Graphic showcasing market fees to list your home on Airbnb, Vrbo, and Booking.com

If you use a property manager:

  1. Select the “I plan to hire a manager” option in our vacation 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 that underscore exactly why vacation rentals are 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 for first-timers, 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. 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. 

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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. 

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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

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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

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.

The right vacation rental welcome book lets guests know how to treat your home, putting them on the path to leaving a five-star review that boosts your property’s performance and sets you apart from your neighboring competitors.  

According to our experts, these resources are so expected in today’s travel market that guests are more likely to feel frustrated if you don’t have a welcome book than to celebrate when you do. So, while your book may not be mentioned specifically in reviews, not having one can look like guests calling you more often with simple questions, complaining that they couldn’t get amenities to work, or feeling uncertain about house policies. And none of that leads to a good experience — for you or your guests.

That’s why we made a free, downloadable guest book template that makes it easy to provide travelers with all the info they need. Keep reading to learn what the essential components of an effective book are — and how each one supports your business.

Download Our Free Vacation Rental Welcome Book Template

In This Article:
What Is a Vacation Rental Welcome Book?
What to Include in a Vacation Rental Welcome Book
Create Your Vacation Rental Welcome Book

What Is a Vacation Rental Welcome Book?

To set the foundation for a great guest experience, think of your Airbnb welcome book as a guide to your property and area — from how to use the thermostat to where (and when) to go for the best coffee.

In short, the best welcome books:

Our free template makes creating a vacation rental welcome book quick and easy. It gives you a framework to fill in all the right details that hit on each of the above points in a way that can ultimately reward your business.

What to Include in a Vacation Rental Welcome Book

As you learn how to make a welcome book for Airbnb, Vrbo, and other top sites, be sure to include the right, relevant features that help guests enjoy your book, home, and neighborhood. That said, it’s important to keep everything focused and brief, so guests aren’t overwhelmed or intimidated with too much to read. Here’s what should go in your welcome book.

Personal Welcome Note

Your book functions as your personal greeting to guests, so you don’t have to be there to do it yourself. Whether you simply celebrate their arrival or tell them your rental’s backstory, stand out from the competition with a warm and unique welcome. You could even include highlights your guests may have missed during booking, like eco-friendly features or your favorite fun facts about the interior design

While this note should be at the very front of your guest book, you also want to include the property address and contact information for your local support person or team. These details need to go at the beginning in an easy-to-find spot, so critical info is never missed by your guests.

When you work with Evolve, you’re set up for a hospitality home run that always makes guests feel supported. We create an accurate, descriptive listing, tackle pre- and post-stay guest communications, and encourage post-stay reviews that build your reputation.

Table of Contents

Speaking of easy-to-find details, a well-designed table of contents makes your Airbnb welcome book feel organized and approachable. In addition to giving guests a preview of what the book is as soon as they open it, it also helps them find the information they care about or need most at any moment.

Remember: there’s no need to go into detail here. Simply outline your book and be clear about what each section provides for the guest.

Important Emergency Information

When traveling, guests don’t always have the resources they’d typically have at home. They’ll feel more at ease if they know you have their safety in mind.

In addition to the local support team contact information you provided earlier, give accurate details (including phone numbers) for your property’s: 

On the same page, we recommend putting your property address again so guests can easily access it without needing to flip through pages. You should also add a disclaimer to call 911 in case of emergency.

Property Policies

When guests book your home, they may encounter policies in your eye-catching listing, pre-stay emails, and even friendly text communications. But by the time they arrive, they may have missed or forgotten the details.

Reiterating your house policies and rules in your welcome book can help resolve common rental issues — or keep them from happening in the first place.

To help every stay go smoothly, be sure to outline your:

That’s why Evolve’s comprehensive revenue strategy takes them into account right alongside industry trends, daily rates, and more — all to put as much money in your pocket as possible.

How-To Instructions

Even if your property maintenance is up-to-date, learning how to use new systems and amenities can be complex. Providing helpful how-tos upfront can help avoid any feelings of frustration that could sour a guest’s overall experience.

We recommend including:

An in-home reference guide like this will help guests understand how to enjoy your home and leave it in good shape. Plus, you’re way less likely to find broken or misused items after they leave.

Nearby Activities and Attractions

Share your local insights or do some digging to unearth the best community hotspots. With your advice on hand, guests can take full advantage of the neighborhood, city, and surrounding area, which may even warrant a return visit.

Your highlights could include:

As you create your list, provide additional recommendations for vacation rental guests based on who may be visiting your home. This could include local to-dos for families if your home has a higher occupancy allowance, or four-legged destinations if your home is pet-friendly.

How to Get Around

Writing out transportation advice and guidance can be an extra perk for guests who don’t know how to get around a new-to-them destination.

Your insights could help them navigate local:

This is also a good place to provide a few brief directions to important locations, like the airport, so they know exactly where they’re going.

Create Your Vacation Rental Welcome Book

With a blank welcome book (and a lot of ideas), this task may feel intimidating. But our free Airbnb welcome book template can get you started with all the essentials already outlined. Download it below to get designed pages ready for your: 

We made it easy to fill in and print out — with templated examples to help guide your writing — so your guest book will be ready to enhance your hospitality in no time.

Beachside bliss is the heart of Myrtle Beach, where over 90 golf courses, 1,800 restaurants, and hundreds of stores, amusement parks, and live entertainment options hug 60 miles of pristine coastline. 

Also known as the Grand Strand, this popular beach town consistently sees a wave of tourists every summer. According to World Population Review, an estimated 14 million visitors pass through the idyllic boardwalks and sandy shores of Myrtle Beach each year.

It’s this family-friendly destination’s unique blend of thrills, sights, and relaxation that make it a beloved vacation spot to return to year after year — which, in turn, makes a Myrtle Beach investment property an ideal short-term rental. 

To help you understand the scope of investment opportunities within this in-demand market, we created a free downloadable vacation rental market analysis ideal for prospective buyers

Inside our free report you’ll find:

The findings in this analysis are based on Evolve’s Myrtle Beach market averages in the last year and provide a general baseline for performance potential. They’re designed to help inform smart buying decisions when choosing the right Myrtle Beach investment property. 

Download Our Complete Myrtle Beach Vacation Rental Investment Analysis

blue icon of a beach house with waves, an umbrella and stars

Why Myrtle Beach Is a Great Place to Own Vacation Rental Property

From the tiny, tight-knit town of Loris to the bustling boardwalk of The Beach, the 14 unique communities of Myrtle Beach offer their own attractions, atmosphere, perks, and properties, all with access to the sandy shores of the Atlantic and mild year-round temperatures. Add in the area’s relatively low cost of living, and it’s not surprising to see why U.S. News and World Report named Myrtle Beach the Fastest-Growing Place in the U.S. for 2021-2022. 

For vacation rental investors who are eager to enter a hot market, that makes Myrtle Beach an ideal place to be. 

While the beaches of Miami and Panama City are magnets for energetic college students, the smaller-town Southern hospitality of Myrtle Beach is more popular with East Coast families relaxing on their school breaks. According to our market analysis, Myrtle Beach has a long peak season — the surge starts building around spring break in April, and peaks during the summer vacation stretch from June through August when occupancy hits an annual high. 

But back-to-school season doesn’t mean your occupancy numbers are in trouble. Myrtle Beach continues to attract a variety of visitors thanks to its golf courses, performing arts, and restaurant scene. So no matter the time of year, there are opportunities to book many kinds of guests — especially if you know what they want in a vacation rental.

It’s also worth mentioning that, even with an influx of new residents and beachgoers, the real estate in Myrtle Beach is more affordable than many of its neighbors along the South Carolina coast. Zillow reports a median home value of just over $300,000 for the average home, with plenty of desirable beachfront properties available.

blue icon of a crystal ball with the words "profit prediction" in the center with stars

How Much Money Can You Earn with a Myrtle Beach Vacation Rental?

As travelers return year after year, investors in the area have the potential to earn a sizable income and secure repeat vacation rental guests. To maximize your earnings and gauge how valuable your home could be in this market, there are a number of factors to consider.

Property Size

Our real estate experts say popular Myrtle Beach investment properties have the space to accommodate 10 or more people, yet the market of available properties to purchase is dominated by one- and two-bedroom condos. 

The good news: guests are often drawn to convenience over size, so selecting a smaller home from available inventory can still be highly profitable with the right approach. We recommend looking for a beachfront property (or beach access within walking distance) with outdoor-centric amenities like a pool and hot tub. This way, your guests can easily get out of the house and enjoy the nearby activities that brought them to Myrtle Beach in the first place.

If you’re eager to find one of those larger homes — and willing to navigate more limited inventory — consider buying off the Myrtle Beach coast. While our vacation rental market analysis says four- to five-bedroom homes only make up a small portion of available properties, they have less competition within the market overall.

Property Location

When a top vacation destination has “beach” in the name, it’s an easy bet that the water is the biggest draw for tourists. The most-booked properties in Myrtle Beach have ocean-facing balconies or easy beach access, and are often located in the heart of the community. Use the shoreline as your guide to discover lucrative properties of all kinds.

Consider finding a location near the performing arts and restaurant hubs, too. This can help owners with more inland properties offset their distance from the water, and also provides great entertainment for guests visiting in the off season.

Property Amenities

Facing the ocean and being close to the sand is still the top priority, but bringing the ocean indoors with cheerful, beach-themed accents can also create a more memorable experience for your guests. You could start small with shell-shaped soaps, patterned towels, fun accent pillows, or an ocean-themed welcome basket. To go bigger, you could also add coastal-chic furniture, beach-friendly equipment, and spruced-up outdoor spaces. Many available properties are in older complexes and communities, so it’s up to you to add a fresh sense of flair that excites visitors of all ages.

With families at the top of your guest list, it’s also important to have amenities that suit their needs. Offering extra sleeping spaces, cribs, and bunks will keep everyone comfortable (along with central air conditioning), and simple touches like self check-in and a welcome book will put guests at ease.  

Bookings come naturally in the peak spring and summer seasons, but to earn at your highest income potential, you’ll have to stand out to travelers who are looking for more than just fun in the sun. Consider creating an inviting, upscale atmosphere that offers year-round entertainment (think entertainment system and game room) and gives local hotels some competition.

Download Our Full Myrtle Beach, SC Vacation Rental Market Investment Analysis 

From the busiest summer season to the quieter winter days, owners who provide the right accommodations to their vacation rental guests will find year-round success in the South’s charming seaside. Whether you’re looking to dip your toes in with a new investment property or take the plunge with your current home, download our free Myrtle Beach Area Vacation Rental Market Analysis today.

Inside there’s an array of helpful insights, including: 

You don’t need to channel your inner shark to make it to the top of the vacation rental food chain. Discover the details that make waves and use them to build a smarter, more lucrative investment.

Understanding how vacation rental seasonality can impact your home’s performance is a major step toward maximizing profits all year long. But it takes more than simply being aware of a market’s high and low seasons. 

Successful vacation rentals need to be knowledgeable about fluctuating supply and demand trends, and they need a dynamic seasonal pricing strategy that keeps you ahead of those trends to help capture bookings at the best rates. Those who do can earn up to 40% more annual revenue compared to more static rate-setting strategies. 

Here are simple yet effective ways to fill your calendar and generate higher earnings throughout the seasons.

Seasonality considerations are just one part of the custom revenue plans we build for owners who work with us. See how we can help you start, manage, and grow a dynamic vacation rental business today.

In This Article:

How Vacation Rental Seasonality Impacts Rates & Revenue

Tips to Boost Slow-Season Vacation Rental Earnings

Vacation Rental Occupancy Rates & Trends Across the U.S.

Master the Year with Evolve’s Seasonal Pricing Strategy

How Vacation Rental Seasonality Impacts Rates & Revenue

In most markets, vacation rental occupancy rates, booking windows, and revenue will vary depending on a variety of factors — one being whether or not guests are traveling during slow or peak rental season. Here’s what level of performance you can generally expect depending on the time of year.

Vacation Rental Slow Season Expectations

An Airbnb’s slow season tends to be the time of year when local weather is less-than-ideal for the area’s prime attractions (think summer in the Arizona desert or winter in a popular Minnesota lake town).

This usually causes periods of weaker guest demand, so there’s typically plenty of vacation rentals available for those who are interested in booking. With supply outweighing demand, that means owners have to be extra competitive in order to win bookings and see profits. Setting lower daily rates and flexible listing policies (like shorter length-of-stay requirements) can help entice travelers to choose your home over a competitor’s. Plus, offering amenities that guests really want can help your home be chosen in a sea of options.

Peak Rental Season Expectations

Your vacation rental’s busy season (or seasons) is your greatest opportunity to capitalize on earning potential. Increased guest demand can lead to more competition between travelers, so they’re usually more willing to book homes at higher daily rates. Since they’re expecting to spend more, you can likely charge more. 

Peak rental season also creates room to strategically adjust your listing policies. To encourage last-minute bookers to choose your home, for example, you could lower your minimum stay requirement and turn-day restriction. For travelers planning further ahead, you can give them confidence to book by offering a flexible cancellation policy (which data shows can lead to a 53% income jump).

With these considerations in mind, your seasonal pricing strategy should never be a set-it-and-forget-it concept. Market conditions can shift on a dime, and factors like your home’s reputation and tenure also contribute to a successful revenue strategy. To stay competitive and win bookings through the seasons, you or your management company should keep a constant pulse on all of these moving pieces and make daily shifts that lead to maximized earnings.

When you’re just starting out, our approach to pricing a new listing looks different to set owners up for long-term performance.

Tips to Boost Slow-Season Vacation Rental Earnings

When your vacation rental’s busy season comes to a close, it’s easy to fear all the profit-driving action is over. But our revenue experts say all you need to do is adapt your approach to capture shoulder and off-season bookings.

On top of making sure your vacation rental is appealing to guests at all times — like being super duper clean and fully-stocked with the best goods — you should also:

1. Use Dynamic Pricing to Adjust to Slower Demand

Keeping your seasonal pricing strategy flexible — aka dynamic — can help you strike the perfect balance between profitability and occupancy. During your vacation rental’s slow season, strategically setting rates lower than your competitors can help open up your home’s visibility to browsing guests — and capture bookings for dates when it might otherwise sit empty.

2. Offer Flexible Policies to Drum Up Guest Interest

Today’s travelers appreciate flexibility, so it bodes well when your policies act accordingly. Staying nimble with length-of-stay and cancellation policies can help convince travelers to book both in advance and as last-minute plans come together.

Another policy to consider: pets. Making your vacation rental fur-friendly could help your property appeal to more bookers and spark higher earnings.

3. Get Maximum Visibility Via Strong Channel Marketing

With so many rental properties available in today’s market, it’s absolutely crucial to list your home on all the top booking sites — a mass promotion effort also known as channel marketing — in order to get seen and booked. Other income-driving marketing tactics also help, like using professional photography and always asking for post-stay feedback to boost your online reputation.

4. Know When Popular Holidays & Local Events Are Happening

Many travelers plan trips around major holidays that align with school schedules, so take note of upcoming opportunities to make the most of increased demand. On top of popular holidays, stay in the loop on events in your local area — like major concerts, business functions, or sporting events — and decide whether or not historical attendance and associated vacation rental demand warrant any pivots to your daily rates and policies.

5. Give Guests a Reason to Stay at Your Property

On top of offering the most-booked amenities in your region, add thoughtful touches that can create a special guest experience. Spice up your interior design and provide a stand-out welcome gift. Give must-try local intel in your welcome book and offer use of fun gear like bike cruisers or paddleboards. These efforts contribute to that well-taken-care-of feel that leads to five-star reviews. And the more rave reviews your home has, the more likely it is to be booked, given average review score is one of the top five most important aspects travelers say they look at when considering a rental property.

Vacation Rental Occupancy Rates & Trends Across the U.S.

To fully understand vacation rental seasonality, it’s important to get up to speed on market specifics, as a smart revenue strategy accounts for your area’s travel trends. Plus, staying familiar with guest behaviors — like how far in advance they tend to book and how long they usually stay — can help inform decisions around daily rates and listing policies (which should change year-round).

Get a headstart and take a look at seasonality trends you might see across the U.S.

Please note: this market data reflects the range of average outcomes seen from September 2022-September 2023.

Beach Areas with Multiple Peak Seasons

While many beach house rentals tend to see their highest demand in the summer, some warm-weathered destinations draw snowbirds seeking a sunny escape in other seasons — which can make a beach house a strong investment. Here are trends you might see in hotspots with frequent seasonal demand.

Seasonal Beach Areas

More seasonal beach destinations may see greater variance in vacation rental occupancy rates, but you may also find nuances in guest booking behavior that can be leveraged to maximize your peak rental season’s performance. Here are trends you might see in sought-after seasonal beach destinations.

Eager for more beach house insights? Check out the best places to buy one right now.

Mountain Areas with Multiple Peak Seasons

Not all mountain markets rely exclusively on one major season to capture bookings. Instead, their activity offerings allow travelers to explore the outdoors through various weather patterns. Here are trends you might see in mountain destinations that draw in guests through multiple seasons.

Thinking of buying a cabin? Explore the best places to buy one right now, and remember to ask the right questions to make a smart vacation rental investment.

Seasonal Mountain Areas

Vacation rentals near ski resorts have long been a top destination for those hungry for fresh powder, making proximity to the slopes a huge draw. While peak rental season is unsurprisingly during colder months in these areas, these additional insights may guide you toward a broader profitability picture.

From New England to the Rocky Mountains, these are the best places to buy a ski property for eager investors.

Lake Areas

Lake area vacation rentals are known for family-friendly getaways, and our revenue experts say properties perform best when they’re close to shorelines and equipped with a comfortable outdoor space. Here are some examples of trends you might see in a top lake area destination.

Did you know? Winter is often the best time to buy a lake house, so you can be guest-ready by the time peak rental season hits. Make your search easier by exploring the best places to invest in a waterfront retreat.

Desert Areas

Desert destinations invite travelers to slip into relaxation mode and soak up the sunshine humidity-free. Our experts say these properties often see demand during winter, and homes with swimming pools help drive bookings. Here are other trends you might see when hosting guests in the desert.

Master the Year with Evolve’s Seasonal Pricing Strategy & More

Earning beyond peak rental season shouldn’t feel like one of life’s big mysteries. Evolve’s experts keep a constant eye on the always-changing market trends, so we can make quick pivots to our owners’ custom revenue strategies in response. And it works: Evolve owners earn up to 36% more revenue than the market average.

Our vacation rental services are designed to support at every stage of your journey, whether you’re just starting out or ready to expand your portfolio. With a low 10% management fee, no commitment required, and a 100% Risk-Free Guarantee in your corner, you can tap a team of experts to unlock your highest potential.

A lake house escape is the kind of getaway that never goes out of style — and it’s a vacation rental investment that you should consider right now.

Buying a lake house poses a massive income opportunity, and it’s no surprise why: from lazy summer days on the water to cozy nights snuggled around a fire pit, lake trips make for a truly relaxing vacation. Most travelers agree, with trips to waterfront vacation rentals coming in as the top vacation experience in 2022.

Before buying a lake house, though, it’s important to ask the right questions and familiarize yourself with the market. Here’s everything you need to know about making a smart and profitable lake property purchase.

In This Article:

Questions to Ask When Buying a Lake House

The Best Time to Buy a Lake House

Where to Buy a Lake House

How to Buy a Lake House

Questions to Ask When Buying a Lake House

Waterfront vacation rental with an emerald green lake peeking out from behind the home

Set yourself up for investment success by knowing what to ask when buying a lake house. The answers will guide your next steps on the road to putting in an offer. 

1. What Are My Investment Goals?

It might be most important to enjoy your lake home with loved ones while covering expenses like a mortgage and upkeep, or you may decide that earning revenue is your top priority.

Whatever goal you establish upfront, making sure benefits outweigh costs can help you better understand the pros and cons of buying a lake house. It’s also a good idea to gain a thorough understanding of the industry, especially if you’re new to vacation rental

Once you’ve worked out the bigger picture, keep in mind where you’re hoping to buy and that area’s cap rate (the key metric that sets expectations around return on investment), as these details factor into how easily you’ll achieve your goals.

2. How Much Does a Lake House Cost?

Lake home list prices fall on a broad spectrum, and largely depend on the market you want to buy in. On average, lake houses in top locations can cost anywhere from about $200,000 to $715,000. 

Proximity to the lakeshore is another factor here, but one with long-term trade-offs: our real estate experts say vacation rentals right on the water come at higher price points, but can often earn higher rates and occupancy percentages.

On the flip side, purchasing a home set back from the lake can lower your upfront investment — and you may even save on additional costs that lakefront homes tend to require (like flood insurance, and maintenance repairs for weather-related wear and tear).

Regardless of which direction you go, our team says you should amp up the interior design and prioritize the amenities guests book most to give lake-loving travelers a reason to book your home over another. 

3. What Type of Lake House Should I Buy?

The kind of lake house you buy doesn’t just come down to whether it’s lakefront or not. Think about the property type that’ll best suit your goals and markets of choice

For example, you might have the budget for a sprawling, luxury home with enough room for large families — or you may decide that a cozier cottage better fits the bill. Cabins are another popular option, as this type of lake house tends to further boost the mood and scenery travelers are looking for when booking a lake house vacation. (If that fits your vacation rental vision, check out the best places to buy one in today’s market.)

From rustic A-frames to modern townhomes, evaluate the benefits and downsides of different property types to figure out how their construction might factor into your investment.

Did you know? Constantly-changing market trends can also play a role in where your lakefront investment property’s profits sail.

4. How Accessible Is the Area?

It can be easy to keep your main focus on the actual lake house you’re searching for, but it’s also important to take a closer look at the body of water it has access to. 

If it offers sought-after recreational activities like power boating and water sports, find out where the closest marina or boat launch is to help you identify the most conveniently-located homes for sale. If you’re not right on the shore, it’s also helpful to note how easy it would be for guests to walk to the nearby lake. 

Next, consider the surrounding area. Travelers want vacation to feel easy, so having grocery stores, shops, and restaurants nearby is a plus. If the town is well-suited for families or guests with pets, figure out how close local attractions (like amusement parks or dog-friendly cafes) are to the property you’re interested in. And if you really want to “wow” future guests, be sure to include details for getting to your favorite local treasures in the welcome book you provide.

Lastly, it’s important to confirm whether a lake house has reliable cell phone service and the ability for high-speed internet. Most vacationers want to unplug without losing access to the outside world, and some may even plan to work remotely. (If you’ve decided you want your lake house to be more off-the-grid, though, the right marketing and bonus touches can still grab guests’ attention.)

5. Is There Year-Round Demand?

Peak months for lake house bookings are July and August, and while seasonality can impact occupancy in areas where summer is the only time for high demand, many lake properties have the potential to be profitable all year.

Our team recommends looking at regions with year-round activities to really maximize occupancy rates. A location with boating, hiking, leaf-peeping, and ice fishing, for instance, can capture the interest of different guests and result in more income. 

If that all-season draw isn’t available in the places you really want to buy a lake house, our team suggests aiming for an area with at least two high seasons. (This tends to be spring and summer, or summer and fall.)

Of course, one really strong season can still offset booking lulls. It’s all about aligning with market expectation, and using a dynamic revenue management strategy to make sure you’re always priced competitively. 

With the right pricing and policies in place, your lake house vacation rental could make a financial splash all year long.

The Best Time to Buy a Lake House

A-frame lake cabin with steps leading down to a long, narrow dock over the water

Winter months are the best time to buy a lake house, as our team says it leaves the most room in your timeline to make sure your property checks all the boxes for five-star guest stays before peak seasons hit. The home might require renovations or upgrades, new furnishings, or routine maintenance work, so you’ll need sufficient time to prepare before listing on top booking sites.

If your preparation starts too late — our team says to give yourself at least three months — you risk not getting in front of eager travelers in time for a wave of bookings. That means losing out to competitor listings who are ready and able to host guests, and missing the chance to earn money and trust-building five-star reviews. 

That said, the best time to buy a lake house for you will ultimately come down to your personal goals and timeline. If your dream lake property happens to hit the market as summer approaches, don’t feel like you need to hesitate — just make sure your revenue expectations for that year are accurately managed in light of purchase timing.

Where to Buy a Lake House

Deck chairs facing the waterfront from a lake house patio with mountain views and big blue skies

From rural hideaways to traditional all-American lake towns, there are tons of options available all across the country when figuring out where to buy. 

If you’re leaning toward an all-season rental, our experts recommend narrowing your search to areas that provide more than just lakeside fun. Buying a lake house on Table Rock Lake, for example, puts your guests in the middle of Branson, a popular Missouri destination full of fun things to do year-round. Other options include the Poconos in Pennsylvania, Lake Havasu City in Arizona, and Granbury in Texas. 

The question of where to buy a lake house also goes beyond the destination. As you explore homes in top markets, consider these other important features.

Our real estate experts have crunched the numbers and these are the best places to buy a lake house right now.

1. Photo-Worthy Views

Buying a lake house with unobstructed views not only offers great scenery and the feeling of more private space, but our team says it can also significantly increase the value of the home. Consider investing in floor-to-ceiling or picture windows to put that view front and center. (And if you decide to pursue short-term rental with Evolve, your property will be professionally photographed to make sure that wow factor isn’t missed).

2. Lake Access Luxuries

When buying a lakefront property, look for homes with docks and boat slips, or make sure it’d be possible to install these perks to maximize your home’s potential. Providing recreational amenities like kayaks and paddleboards also helps guests enjoy their vacation to the max.

3. Profit-Driving Amenities

Since peak season typically happens during summer months, updated outdoor spaces are major selling points for potential guests. Adding top-requested amenities like a gas grill, comfortable outdoor seating, and a wood-burning fire pit can help you win bookings. Investing in a private hot tub can also drive success — searches for homes with private hot tubs are some of the most popular among Evolve travelers.

4. Family-Friendly Perks

Our team says lake homes are often booked by families, so it’s important to have kid-friendly amenities available like cribs or entertainment systems. 

Be sure to lean into the area’s general “traveler profile” (the primary age range or group type most often visiting) as well. Some lake locations might also attract older crowds or young couples, and catering to those guests can help give your property a competitive edge.

How to Buy a Lake House

California lake house vacation rental deck surrounded by big pine trees

Even after learning the right questions to ask when buying a lake property and what to look for in a home, taking the next step can feel intimidating. Our team can help you:

  1. Define your personal and financial goals
  2. Understand the ins and outs of your favorite markets 
  3. Connect with local real estate agents for area-specific assistance

You can also browse our listings for sale — from rentals already managed by Evolve to homes vetted for their investment potential, the perfect property for your business goals could be waiting.

With waterfront getaways being a top trend for travelers, there’s no time to waste in making a lake house investment. Start a conversation with our team today for a tailored look at how we can help make buying a lake house nothing but smooth sailing.

Daytona Beach attracts tons of sunshine-lovers every year for its 23 miles of coastline. And they’re serious about their sand time: in a recent survey of out-of-state visitors, a whopping 93% of participants said they came just for the beach (locally dubbed the “World’s Most Famous”).

Add that to coastal cuisine, family fun, home-run history, and the annual Daytona 500 that hosts more than 100,000 people alone — it’s clear the area’s 9.9 million annual visitors checks out. That makes a real estate investment in Daytona Beach as appealing to buyers as the glistening Atlantic Ocean.

To help you understand the investment opportunity the Daytona Beach real estate market presents, we created a free, downloadable vacation rental market analysis.

Inside you’ll find:

The findings in this analysis are based on Evolve’s Daytona Beach market averages in the last year. They provide a general baseline for performance potential and they’re designed to help inform smart decisions when making a real estate investment in Daytona Beach, FL.

Download Our Complete Daytona Beach Vacation Rental Investment Analysis

Green icon of a beach house with waves, an umbrella, and stars

Why Daytona Beach Is a Great Place to Own Vacation Rental Property

Daytona Beach’s popularity may start with the beaches and year-round warm weather, but it doesn’t end there. Cue the Jackie Robinson Ballpark, the Smithsonian-affiliated Museum of Arts and Sciences, and the legendary Daytona International Speedway, and this Floridian oasis becomes a well-rounded destination for couples, families, and business travelers alike.

Not-so-coincidentally, vacation rental occupancy starts climbing in late winter, largely in thanks to the Daytona 500. Demand reaches its peak around spring break, and stays up through the summer for all those sun and relaxation chasers. Although travel slows in the cooler months, our data shows top properties still tend to see strong booking calendars until January.

For real estate investors in Daytona Beach, this can translate to a diverse population of multi-season travelers looking for the perfect place to stay — ones who are willing to spend for it. In 2021, Volusia County visitors spent $5.5 billion locally. So diving into the real estate waters could help you reel in some of that revenue for yourself.

If that’s what you’re looking for, Zillow’s median home value is on your side at just under $260,000. While beachfront properties will likely be pricier, the Daytona Beach real estate market generally offers more affordable options compared to other Florida hotspots like Miami, Tampa, or nearby Jacksonville.

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

How Much Money Can You Earn with a Daytona Beach Vacation Rental?

As travelers of all kinds discover the delights of Daytona Beach’s sunny sands, short-term rental owners have the opportunity to earn big. But before you dive into Daytona Beach real estate investment, consider these important factors.

Property Size

Two- and three-bedroom properties are currently tied for the most annual nights booked on average. This is great news for investors, given both options make up a large portion of the local inventory.

Plus, with one-bedroom homes following close behind in average nights booked, their much larger inventory pool could make a smaller home a very feasible real estate investment in Daytona Beach. While larger homes tend to make the most annual revenue, four- and five-bedroom homes make up a much smaller portion of available Daytona Beach inventory, meaning your property search could be a bit more limited.

Property Location

According to our real estate experts, travelers look to book homes right on the shoreline or within walking distance to the beach — so start your property search there to help secure a strong performance opportunity.

Our team also says condos do very well in Daytona Beach, especially when located on Atlantic Avenue with beach access. So while a standalone beach house investment could produce a high return on investment, a beachfront condo could also be profitable while offering access to the market at lower upfront costs.

Property Amenities

From the sunniest spring and summer days to the city’s quieter winter season, owners can stand out in Daytona Beach’s thriving travel market by investing in the amenities travelers look for.

Because the majority of top-performing rentals in Daytona are located on or near the water with an ocean view, consider adding popular beach amenities. Air conditioning and an updated outdoor space can also create the perfect environment for relaxing after a long day in the sun.

When rain and cooler temps keep people inside, your home can attract even more guests and earn five-star reviews with all-weather entertainment. Smart TVs, gaming consoles, and a pool table are great for turning up the fun — particularly for groups seeking family-friendly options.

When you’re ready to explore the market, make your search easier by starting with vetted homes for sale.

Download Our Full Daytona Beach, FL Vacation Rental Market Analysis

A world-famous beach, year-round warm weather, and a variety of popular events and activities add up to major travel demand in Daytona Beach — along with a promising real estate investment for buyers to explore.

Whether you’re fishing for an investment property purchase or hoping to reel in more revenue with your current home, our free Daytona Beach Vacation Rental Market Analysis has what you need. It’s full of important insights, including:

The right tools for real estate investment in Daytona Beach, FL can get you your day in the sun — while your guests spend theirs at the beach.

When we’re bombarded with a long list of to-dos and stress-ridden schedules, taking the time to unplug and get cozy can bring a huge wave of relief — especially with friends and family around. And these simple joys are what a hygge vacation is all about.

The historic (yet very trendy) Danish art of hygge (pronounced hoo-gah) is all about embracing a feeling of coziness and connection. And in order to live a hygge lifestyle, you need the right environment and scenery. These cozy cabin rentals put you in the right space and frame of mind. Their unique features and interiors give you the opportunity to reconnect with loved ones, enjoy the calming elements of nature, and really lean into the concept of hygge.

In This Article:
Cozy Cabin Rentals That Bring in the Outdoors

Cozy Cabin Rentals Offering a Fire-Burning Ambiance

Cozy Cabin Rentals with Soft, Light Interiors

Cozy Cabin Rentals That Bring in the Outdoors

Interior shot of a modern, white, cabin, living room and kitchen with double doors opening to the porch and trees in the backyard.

A big part of the hygge lifestyle is connecting with nature both indoors and out. Book any of these cozy mountain cabins to see just how delightful it is to relax in a rental that surrounds you with natural beauty.

1. Spacious Colorado Haven

Nature has a way of inviting you to slow down and put your devices away. You can relax more, breathe the fresh air, and soak in your surroundings — all  important parts of how to live a hygge lifestyle. This beautiful log cabin in Fairplay, CO has giant windows that peer into the forest, a spacious layout for relaxing with family, and a luxurious hot tub so you can soothe sore muscles while outside.

See More Fairplay Cabins

2. Remote Washington Retreat on the Naches River

Another place with just the right setup for indulging in quality time is this secluded, hygge cabin in Naches, WA. Large windows immerse you in lush forest and mountain views, and the natural materials used throughout the design bring the outside in. Add the snug seating, large dining table, outdoor hot tub, and foosball table — and your group may never want to leave.

See More Washington Cabins

3. Quaint, Secluded Log Cabin Near Yellowstone

Some of the most hygge homes are known for having a small footprint, as the lack of clutter and simple design encourages a feeling of stress-free contentment. And this cozy mountain cabin in Livingston, MT (just a short drive from Yellowstone National Park) is perfect for your two-person hygge escape. Thanks to massive windows that look out on the landscape, the serene space lets you watch wildlife and admire the surrounding peaks from inside.

See More Livingston Cabins

Cozy Cabin Rentals Offering a Fire-Burning Ambiance

Cabin living room with a roaring fire in a large stone fireplace, overlooking the mountains and water

Is there anything more cozy than a log-burning fireplace? Experience all of the warmth these vacation rentals have to offer in your pursuit of a more hygge lifestyle.

4. Rustic Fleetwood Log Cabin

The warm, charming layout of this secluded log cabin in Fleetwood, NC creates the perfect space for movie nights alongside the wood-burning fireplace. Large windows draw in refreshing, natural light, and there’s plenty of outdoor space for wildlife-watching (not to mention a hot tub). When you think “cozy,” imagine yourself curled up with a soft blanket in front of the fire and nothing but time to be present and enjoy the perfect hygge setup.

See More Fleetwood Cabins

5. Family-Friendly Sevierville Cabin

This gorgeous mountain home in Sevierville, TN offers a cozy cabin interior with warm wood, high ceilings, and to-die-for views of the Smoky Mountains. Spend your days soaking in the landscape from the screened-in hot tub (maybe after a leaf-peeping adventure or two), then cuddle next to the fireplace for a night of board games with the family.

See More Sevierville Cabins

Cozy Cabin Rentals with Soft, Light Interiors

Cozy, bright, cabin kitchen and living space, with wood beams and white walls

A hygge vacation should bring uplifting feelings of contentment. Book these soft-interiored homes and let the light brighten your mood each day.

6. Bright A-Frame in the Black Hills

A wide open, A-frame cabin with expansive windows makes this modern rental in Lead, SD the perfectly-illuminated retreat. Whether you’re sharing a meal around the huge dining table or cozying up around the outdoor fire pit, this home is all about connecting to yourself, your group, and your surroundings. It invites you to stay immersed in the sights and history of the Black Hills — from the warmth of the gas stove all the way up to the soft textures and stunning scenery of the loft.

See More Lead Cabins

7. Calming Indiana Cabin

There couldn’t be more charm found in this Bloomington, IN home that’s fit for a memorable family holiday. Pets are welcome in the cozy cabin rental, and you can watch the snow fall as you bake cookies or sip a warm mug of tea. The light interior makes it easy to settle in, and the enchanting bistro lights outside add a picturesque touch.

See More Bloomington Cabins

How to Hygge at Your Vacation Home

If you don’t want to wait for your hygge vacation to start living the hygge lifestyle, here are a few things to try from the comfort of your personal space.

“LIGHT” FLAMELESS CANDLES: Candles can make your home feel like a different world — and flameless options are an easy, safe way to keep the hygge aesthetic for hours. You can also achieve a similar effect with fairy lights.

BRING OUT SOFT TEXTURES: The physical feeling of something soft and comfortable lends itself to cozy conversations. Treat yourself to a handmade sweater or throw, since hygge celebrates items and pieces with a story behind them. 

DECORATE WITH PLANTS: Inviting the outside in is key to creating a hygge setting. One of the simplest ways to do this: plants. Succulents or Pothos will do the trick, and come winter you can always bring home a real tree. 

SET UP A “HYGGEKROG”: A hyggekrog is a small reading nook perfect for opening a new book. Remove all clutter, grab blankets, add a soft cushion, and make sure you’ve got a view. 

HOST A SMALL DINNER PARTY: Have two to four friends over for dinner and cook something new together. Choose a dish that takes a while to simmer to create a comforting fragrance.

ENGAGE WITHOUT TECHNOLOGY: Set your phones aside and dive into real conversations. Ask your family or friends questions, play a board game, read a book out loud, or try a winter craft together. 

Create Your Perfect Hygge Vacation with Evolve

When you book with Evolve, you can find the perfect hygge vacation home and know it’ll be professionally cleaned and ready for your arrival. Our Rest Easy Promise helps you stay in the moment and travel without surprises.


Check out our other travel blogs for inspiration on where to explore next. From tiny houses and unique vacation rentals to the best wine regions and U.S. destinations with an international feel, your dream trip is just a few clicks away.

With awe-inspiring views, small-town charm, and endless opportunities for outdoor adventure, it’s no wonder why lake houses are so popular among U.S. travelers. Nature enthusiasts can spend their days hiking tree-lined trails, adrenaline junkies can try their luck at exhilarating water sports, and leisure lovers are bound to feel at ease unwinding on a sunset cruise with a glass of Pinot in hand. 

Plus, in the wake of COVID-19, 61% of families say they would rather vacation in an outdoorsy destination than an urban one — and they all need a place to stay. This means that now more than ever, lake town vacation rentals can be a terrific investment.

With nearly 500,000 lakes scattered across the U.S., figuring out where to invest in a lake house can take time and effort. Luckily, the research is already done. From woodsy cabins in upstate New York to waterfront gems in the Midwest, here are the best places to buy a lake house right now.

Want support buying the just-right rental for your investment goals? Our team of real estate experts can help you identify markets, properties, and partners to open new doors with ease. Fill out this form to start a conversation today.

In This Article:
Finger Lakes, NY
Saranac Lake, NY
Traverse City, MI
Branson, MO
Pocono Lake, PA
Buckeye Lake, OH
Lake Anna, VA
Lake Winnipesaukee, NH
Lake of the Ozarks, MO
Brainerd Lakes, MN
Canyon Lake, TX
Flathead Lake, MT

How We Chose the Best Places to Buy a Lake House 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 also evaluated a vacation property’s potential to outperform market expectations with an Evolve partnership. Below, you’ll see The Evolve Difference showcasing how we helped some of our top lake house 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 Seneca Lake, NY with the sun glowing through wood pilings poking out of the water. Image text reads, “$31,434 median rental revenue. $202,257 median listing price. 10.9% example cap rate.”

New York’s Finger Lakes region is home to 11 pristine lakes located just south of Lake Ontario. A year-round destination for families looking to escape city hustle and bustle, the area offers a wide array of museums, attractions, wineries, and scenic state parks. This impressive draw for travelers translates to strong profit potential for investors, which is how top Evolve homes in the Finger Lakes pull in over $72,000 — more than double the median annual revenue.

This region is the most affordable on average in comparison to other best places to buy a lake house, making it easier to break into the market on a tighter budget. When investing in the Finger Lakes, our real estate experts recommend searching in Seneca Falls, Geneva, and Penn Yan for that perfect waterfront property — as water access is a key amenity in this part of the country. 

Just note: many towns in the Finger Lakes region have permitting and zoning restrictions, so familiarize yourself with the regulations in your chosen area and connect with local officials for a deeper understanding of how they apply.

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

2. Saranac Lake, NY

Photo of wilderness near Saranac Lake, NY with colorful fall leaves. Image text reads, "$29,151 median rental revenue. $264,598 median listing price. 7.7% example cap rate."

Tucked in the world-famous Adirondack Mountains, the charming village of Saranac Lake boasts scenic views, laid-back vibes, and plenty of things to do. From boating during the summer to leaf-peeping and mountain biking in the fall, a Saranac Lake vacation rental investment is ideal for those looking to maximize multi-season bookings. 

While lakefront homes can get more expensive than the area’s median listing price — and top-performers often offer direct lake access — owners don’t need to be right on the water to find success. Other high-earners are in close proximity to the historic downtown (or nestled in a wooded area for added privacy), and are pet-friendly

One thing all top-performing lake house rentals in this area have in common: they’re cabins. Keep this popular home type in mind when starting your search to grab the most attention from eager bookers.

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

Love the idea of a cabin investment? Check out the best places to buy this year to find the ideal market for your vacation rental success.

3. Traverse City, MI

Photo of a lake in Traverse City, MI with a grassy beach in the foreground and waves crashing on the shore in the background. Image text reads, “$40,191 median rental revenue. $424,731 median listing price. 6.6% example cap rate.”

Traverse City is a treasure on the shores of Lake Michigan. With famous cherry blossoms, vineyards, and woodlands around every turn, show-stopping views are not hard to come by. Speaking of views: it is possible to find a home with great sights of Lake Michigan, but the area is also dotted with many smaller lakes that offer equally awe-inspiring scenery.  

In fact, Evolve’s most successful homes in Traverse City tend to sit on Silver Lake, Long Lake, Island Lake, and Bass Lake. According to our experts, they also have direct lake access and frequently-booked amenities like private docks, hot tubs, and fire pits.

Even better: cap rate — which is the ratio between a property’s net income and its market value — has gone up since last year, meaning owners have potential to see an even stronger return on their investment. This is because median listing prices have remained relatively level while owners earned more annual income on average.

Traverse City tourism has also almost completely recovered since the COVID-19 era, so it’s no surprise there’s growing demand for vacation rentals in this area. Vacationers looking to expand their horizons beyond lake life will find ample opportunities for fun, from exploring the sweeping vistas and pillowy-soft sands of the Sleeping Bear Dunes to diving into Traverse City’s thriving arts scene.

The Evolve Difference: Our owners have earned up to $82,154 annually!

4. Branson, MO

Photo of a glowing yellow sunset on Table Rock Lake in Branson, MO with a sailboat floating in the foreground and silhouetted hills on the far shore. Image text reads, “$22,962 median rental revenue. $246,472 median listing price. 6.5% example cap rate.”

Nestled in the Ozark Mountains, the lively city of Branson is home to world-famous shows, theme parks, and family-friendly activities. It’s why Branson received a record-setting number of nearly 10 million visitors in 2021 — making it one of the highest-ranking tourist destinations in the country — and continues to pull in troves of vacationers.

While lakefront properties can be tricky to find here, and are often more expensive than the median listing price, our experts say snagging one can earn investors higher rates and annual income — which can help offset the upfront costs. High performers in this area also tend to be luxurious cabins with lake views or easy lake commutes. 

That said, the soothing waters of Table Rock Lake are one of many reasons why visitors choose Branson, so you don’t need to be right on its shores to find vacation rental success. Proximity to other major attractions like Dolly Parton’s Stampede and providing in-home comforts for the whole crew are great ways to stand out to guests.

In addition to standard permits and licensing, Branson does have zoning restrictions in certain downtown areas and along stretches of Table Rock Lake. Our team recommends connecting with local agents who specialize in vacation rental to confirm whether your neighborhoods of interest are zoned for operation.

5. Pocono Lake, PA

Photo of Pocono Lake, PA with a weathered dock jutting into the choppy blue waters, an early autumn forest on the distant shore. Image text reads, “$20,594 median rental revenue. $279,959 median listing price. 5.1% example cap rate.”

Pocono Lake is a quaint and peaceful area in the Pocono Mountains, best known for its spectacular landscapes and wide selection of exciting things to do. Nature meets adventure here for an endless supply of fun, from whitewater rafting in the summer to vibrant foliage and festivals in the fall. Plus, its close proximity to several major ski resorts makes Pocono Lake a solid choice for investors looking to secure year-round bookings. 

Vacation rentals in this area are frequently in high demand, yet the property purchase price remains reasonable compared to other best places to buy a lake house. Our experts say that top-performing Pocono Lake vacation rentals are either lakefront properties with private docks and beaches, or houses located within prestigious lake communities (like Arrowhead Lake Village) with a quick walk to the shoreline. It’s homes like these that have top Evolve owners bringing in more than double the median rental revenue.

HOA regulations can be a deterrent in the Pocono Lake area, however, so investors should work with a local agent who can help them navigate those rules and find a property with high-performing potential in this strong market.

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

Looking for a ski property to invest in? Check out the best places to buy across the U.S. for peak performance.

6. Buckeye Lake, OH

Photo of Buckeye Lake, OH with massive blue skies and clear still water. Image text reads, "$24,263 median rental revenue. $335,438 median listing price. 5.1% example cap rate."

Buckeye Lake is bursting with all the historic charm, outdoor attractions, and welcoming vibes visitors hope for in a lake stay. Thanks to its ideal location just 30 minutes from Columbus, Buckeye Lake draws in weekenders looking for a nearby getaway while also providing out-of-towners with a stellar day trip option during their vacation. 

Nature lovers are sure to get their fill with plenty of opportunities for boating, biking, hiking, fishing, and lakefront dining in this area. So it’s no surprise that Evolve homes drawing the most interest from guests are located within walking distance of the shoreline and provide easy access to the nearby state park

When looking at listings for sale, our real estate experts recommend searching for a spacious property in Millersport or Thornville to get the best bang for your buck. Just keep in mind home prices in these towns can get more expensive as you inch closer to the shoreline. So after you buy, you’ll want to make sure you offer the amenities midwestern travelers love to help boost your bottom line.

7. Lake Anna, VA

Photo of Lake Anna, VA with a sparse treeline overlooking rippling blue waters and a clear sky. Image text reads, “$26,942 median rental revenue. $396,138 median listing price. 4.8% example cap rate.”

With over 200 miles of shoreline and a convenient location just an hour and a half from Washington, D.C., Lake Anna is one of Virginia’s top destinations for water enthusiasts. But it’s an idyllic paradise that beckons all types of travelers thanks to its thrilling water sports, wineries, lakefront restaurants, outdoor markets, and historic attractions

When buying a Lake Anna investment property, our experts advise honing in on the cities of Bumpass, Mineral, and Louisa. Those with four to six bedrooms, large decks, boat docks, and spacious backyards tend to earn the most — and it doesn’t hurt to offer kayaks and a fire pit to entice guests to book your rental over someone else’s. 

While larger estates and luxe amenities typically come with a steeper upfront cost in Lake Anna, those who can swing the investment tend to see much higher results — that’s why top Evolve owners in the Lake Anna area are earning nearly three times the median revenue.

The Evolve Difference: Our owners have earned up to $72,099 annually!

8. Lake Winnipesaukee, NH

Photo of a soft golden sunset over Lake Winnipesaukee, NH with a dark mountain on the far shore casting a large shadow on the water. Image text reads, “$31,518 median rental revenue. $501,116 median listing price. 4.4% example cap rate.”

As New Hampshire’s largest lake, Lake Winnipesaukee is a popular year-round destination for tourists and locals looking to embrace its picturesque views, peaceful atmosphere, and a variety of outdoor activities. Vacationers can go hiking in the spring, swim in the summer, go leaf peeping in the fall, and ski at the nearby Gunstock Mountain Resort in the winter — all of which increase your odds of year-round bookings. 

While Lake Winnipesaukee spans 72 square miles, our experts recommend narrowing your search to Gilford, Laconia, and Wolfeboro. Many of the homes around the median listing price either sit right on the water or boast picture-perfect lake views, which can translate to higher demand and owner profits. 

That said, you’ll also find properties in Lake Winnipesaukee listed well into the millions. These tend to be larger estates with six to eight bedrooms and luxury perks like multi-boat docks. But hopeful buyers don’t need limitless pockets to guarantee vacation rental success in this area. It’s all about evaluating whether you can invest in profit-driving amenities like lake access and private docks within the realities of your budget.

It’s worth mentioning that your lake house vacation rental doesn’t have to sit right on the shoreline to do well in this area, either. Many successful homes are within at least a mile or so of popular lake access points like Weirs Beach, but you can also draw in guests with beautiful views of the mountains or woods and proximity to local skiing.

9. Lake of the Ozarks, MO

Photo of Lake of the Ozarks, MO with a huge hill of golden, sunny trees reflected in the water. Image text reads, “$22,103 median rental revenue. $349,382 median listing price. 4.4% example cap rate.”

Set in the heart of Missouri, Lake of the Ozarks is a premier vacation destination for families that boasts natural wonders, recreational activities, and entertainment venues. From sparkling lake vistas and sunny beaches to rolling hills and lush forests, Lake of the Ozarks offers jaw-dropping beauty everywhere you look. As if this didn’t add enough value to the area, Branson also sits just an hour away — perfect for an easy day trip. 

With over 40 towns and more shoreline than the coast of California — 1,100 miles, to be exact — our experts recommend investors concentrate their search on Osage Beach, Lake Ozark, Sunrise Beach, and Camdenton for maximum profit potential. 

Top Evolve owners earning more than double the median rental revenue here either sit on the lake, boast incredible lake views, and/or are located in or near popular resort communities like Margaritaville.

The Evolve Difference: Our owners have earned up to $55,622 annually!

10. Brainerd Lakes, MN

Photo of a canoe floating in a lake near Brainerd Lakes, MI with colorful fall leaves along the shore. Image text reads, "$31,340 median rental revenue. $513,074 median listing price. 4.3% example cap rate."

Located along the Mississippi River, the Brainerd Lakes area is a quintessential lake destination where small-town charm and adventure collide. Visitors can immerse themselves in the scenic beauty by hiking or biking through miles of trails, kicking back on a boat cruise, and sunbathing on one of the many public beaches. During summer, the Lakes Area Music Festival also brings in hundreds of artists for epic live shows. 

With a whopping 450 lakes in the Brainerd Lakes area, it’s not hard to find a waterfront property. However, our experts recommend focusing your search on Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, and Crosslake to increase potential for a strong return on your investment. 

High-performing vacation rentals sit primarily on those three lakefronts, and offer guests private beaches and fire pits along with indoor perks like fireplaces and saunas. As a result, some Evolve owners make nearly three times the median rental revenue.

The Evolve Difference: Our owners have earned up to $81,745 annually!

11. Canyon Lake, TX

Photo of Canyon Lake, TX with a rocky beach in the foreground and wooded hills in the distance. Image text reads, "$23,972 median rental revenue. $469,647 median listing price. 3.6% example cap rate."

With 80 miles of unspoiled shoreline and Caribbean-blue waters, Canyon Lake is a tranquil oasis in the heart of Texas Hill Country. Each year, tourists flock to the area to experience the best of the “Water Recreation Capital of Texas,” from boating and swimming at one of the nearby parks to discovering ancient fossils and dinosaur tracks at Canyon Gorge

Top-performing vacation rentals in Canyon Lake tend to be spacious properties with striking lake views or easy access to boat ramps. Family-friendly amenities like game rooms and luxe adds like hot tubs also draw traveler attention.

Before you invest here, it’s important to understand that vacation rental owners cannot operate within the Canyon Lake city limits. Instead, your lake house needs to be in the unincorporated county. Our experts recommend connecting with local officials before you buy to make sure the property you’re eyeing sits in the unincorporated part of Canyon Lake to avoid red tape.

 12. Flathead Lake, MT

Photo of a sunset over Flathead Lake, MT casting soft pink and purple light over the calm waters and distant mountains. Image text reads, “$30,925 median rental revenue. $710,817 median listing price. 3% example cap rate.”

Northwest Montana’s sprawling Flathead Lake covers over 200 square miles and plays host to an abundance of outdoor adventures for all types of vacationers — including sailing, swimming, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, and waterskiing. 

With tons of blissful shoreline, there are several towns in the Flathead Lake area where waterfront vacation rentals perform well, including Bigfork, Lakeside, and Somers. Evolve owners in these communities bring in more than double the median rental revenue with spacious homes and large decks overlooking sensational lake views.  

Because very little inventory across these three towns doesn’t sit lakefront, properties tend to be more expensive. That’s one reason why the median listing price is higher than other great places to buy a lake house. Investors on a budget can expand their search to the nearby town of Kalispell, where proximity to Flathead Lake drives similar demand. This can help you take advantage of lower list prices — without sacrificing income potential.

Plus, there’s great news for investors looking to move quickly on setting up shop: there’s no red tape in this area beyond a standard operating permit, so getting your vacation rental in front of potential bookers can be pretty seamless when working with the right management company.

The Evolve Difference: Our owners have earned up to $68,202 annually!

Buy Your Dream Lake House with Evolve

Investing in a lake house vacation rental is a big decision, but you don’t have to navigate your options alone. Whether you’re drawn to one of our tried-and-true hotspots or interested in the untapped potential of a lesser-known town, our seasoned team of experts can help you take the next step toward buying in one (or more!) of the best places to buy a lake house.

We have the data to contextualize your investment opportunities and define your income goals, preferred local real estate agents who specialize in vacation rental purchases, and cutting-edge management strategies to help make your lake 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 lake house for you, get in touch with our team today.