Father and daughter sitting by their pool of their vacation home.

10 Best Places To Buy A Vacation Home In 2022

Victoria Araj9-minute read

September 13, 2022

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With remote work increasing by 87% from pre-pandemic levels, it’s no surprise more Americans are looking to invest in vacation homes to enjoy while working from home. Median sales prices in vacation towns increased by 20% from December 2020 to 2021.1

Your ideal slice of heaven may be a quaint cottage on a crystal-blue lake or a lavish mountain house in ski country. If you’re looking to purchase a vacation home yourself, we’ve made your research easy with our comprehensive study on the best places to buy.

We analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey using five-year estimates from 2020,2 the most recent year available. We looked at estimates of housing units in every city with more than 10,000 residents that were categorized for seasonal, recreational or occasional use.

We then took a sample of 150 cities with the highest percentage of seasonal housing units. We looked at median house price,3 cost of living,4 vacancy rates by region5 and state capital flows by volume and income equity6 in these cities to gather our estimates of the best places to buy a vacation home.

To learn more about how we ranked the best places to buy a vacation home in 2022, jump to the methodology section. You can also check out this study on the cheapest states to buy a house if you’re interested in buying a less expensive second home. 

Key Findings

  • Rexburg, Idaho is the best place to buy a vacation home in 2022.
  • 40% of the top 10 places to buy a vacation home are in Idaho.

Table Of Contents

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1. Rexburg, Idaho

Rexburg Idaho infographic.Rexburg Idaho infographic.

Population: 29,064

Median house price: $310,000

Rexburg, Idaho, is first on the list of best spots to buy a vacation home, and for good reason. With a low cost of living and a high amount of seasonal housing, it makes sense why it sits on top. Enjoy scenic views on the Cress Creek Nature Trail or walk through the fascinating Legacy Flight Museum.

For good eats, check out the Rexburg Farmers Market in the summertime or enjoy the best barbecue in Rexburg at The Hickory. With countless outdoor activities, dining options and historic sites, what’s not to like about Rexburg? Plus, it has a lower cost of living than the national average – bonus!

2. Hailey, Idaho

Hailey Idaho infographic.

Population: 23,798

Median house price: $385,000

Hailey, Idaho, is the perfect place for those looking to escape the city and enjoy a bit of peace and solitude. Settled in Sawtooth National Forest and east of the Big Wood River, there are many opportunities for nature lovers. There’s no limit on hiking, skiing and kayaking options in Hailey.

The views surrounding Hailey are quite picturesque and idyllic – perfect for relaxing summer nights on the porch or winter days snowshoeing through the terrain. Hailey has a low cost of living and a low regional vacancy rate.

3. Prineville, Oregon

Prineville Oregon infographic.

Population: 10,429

Median house price: $269,500

Interested in the Pacific Northwest? You may find your vacation home in a Central Oregon town: Prineville. Founded in 1870, Central Oregon’s oldest city is filled with year-round activities, from plenty of craft breweries to the Ochoco National Forest. Its endearing downtown has lots of great dining options and small stores for shopping.

With a low median house price and a lower number of seasonal homes, there’s an opportunity to invest in a vacation home investment property or two before prices rise.

4. Sandpoint, Idaho

Sandpoint Idaho infographic.

Population: 44,688

Median house price: $595,000

Located in Alpine country, Sandpoint, Idaho, is home to the Idaho Panhandle National Forests. Looking for beachside relaxation? You can spend your days on the sandy beaches of Lake Pend Oreille.

If you’re keen on outdoor adventuring, try out the Gold Hill Trail or the Mineral Point Interpretive Trail that wrap around Lake Pend Oreille. If you enjoy a bit of skiing, Schweitzer mountain resort is just a short drive north. Sandpoint has a lower cost of living than the national average and 5,562 seasonal homes, making it the perfect place for a vacation getaway.

5. Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

Coeur d'Alene Idaho infographic.

Population: 51,491

Median house price: $599,991

Rounding out our list of Idaho destinations is Coeur d’Alene. It provides year-round activities for the whole family to enjoy, including mountain skiing, golfing and plenty of water sports. This quaint northern town has a high number of seasonal homes, sitting at 5,885 – a great sign for those looking to invest in a well-known location. Plus, the cost of living sits below the national average at 99.4.

It’s also become a popular hub for celebrities, with movie stars like Matthew McConaughey and George Clooney owning vacation homes there. Coeur d’Alene is an ideal choice for those looking to invest somewhere they can enjoy every season of the year. 

6. Sheridan, Wyoming

Sheridan Wyoming infographic.

Population: 17,938

Median house price: $324,500

Known as Wyoming’s Emerald City, Sheridan represents the “New West” like no other. You’ll find no shortage of hospitality and history as you tour countless historical sites like the Sheridan Inn and the Brinton Museum.

For outdoor recreation, you can explore Bighorn National Forest nearby, which includes the beautiful Sibley Lake. Sheridan is also a popular spot for live music and large events, like Don King Days, where you can watch old-style bronc riding and steer roping. With a lower cost of living and moderate population size, Sheridan is perfect for families looking for a second home away from the city.

7. Cañon City, Colorado

Canon City Colorado infographic.

Population: 16,369

Median house price: $313,500

If you’re looking for a place in the Rocky Mountains region, you may fall in love with Cañon City, Colorado. The city is central to many amazing landscapes and outdoor activities to enjoy – plus, it has a rich history to dive into. One of its most popular attractions is the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park, with gondolas and ziplines for the adrenaline junkie in you. 

There are also countless wineries and outdoor beer gardens to enjoy. When you need some downtime, you can walk through the Museum of Colorado Prisons, a unique and immersive experience. With a cost of living sitting just at the national average and a low regional vacancy rate, you can count on Cañon City to be a great vacation home pick. 

8. Marinette, Wisconsin

Marinette Wisconsin infographic.

Population: 10,566

Median house price: $138,000

Located in northeastern Wisconsin is the sweet little town of Marinette. There’s something for everyone there, but especially for outdoor enthusiasts. Marinette is most known for its gorgeous waterfalls, with 14 of them in Marinette County. Dave’s Falls is the most popular of them all due to its accessibility and beauty.

Located on the Menominee River, Marinette is also a well-liked spot for freshwater fishing. Other than the natural beauty, there are also wineries and small craft breweries to enjoy. With a low cost of living and low median house price of $138,000, Marinette is perfect for any outdoor adventure.

9. Bemidji, Minnesota

Bemidji Minnesota infographic.

Population: 15,277

Median house price:  $175,000

If you’re looking for a vacation destination that offers an abundance of outdoor recreational activities, check out Bemidji, Minnesota. This charming small town is well known for its pristine beauty and unique Native American and Scandinavian history. You may even recognize the name Bemidji as the location of the Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox statues.

Hike through Lake Bemidji State Park’s 1,600 acres of pine forest and trails or try out another outdoor activity, like kayaking, boating or – in the winter – cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. With a very low cost of living in comparison to the national average and a lower median house price, Bemidji is an ideal spot for nature lovers. 

10. Fergus Falls, Minnesota

Fergus Falls Minnesota infographic.

Population: 13,754

Median house price: $179,933

Calling all avid fishermen – Fergus Falls, Minnesota, is the place to be. Residing right next to Maplewood State Park, there are eight lakes to choose from, including the popular Otter Tail Lake and Pebble Lake. If you need a break from fly-fishing all day, there are plenty of shopping and dining options in downtown Fergus Falls.

For those who enjoy the outdoors, the area is full of biking and hiking trails – plus the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center for those interested in learning more about the town’s unique ecosystems. With a cost of living drastically lower than the national average and a high number of seasonal homes, Fergus Falls is sure to make you fall in love with the Midwest. 

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Best Places To Buy A Vacation Home

Below are the top 20 best places to buy a vacation home in 2022.

Rank

City

Cost Of Living Index

Vacancy Rate By Region

State Percentile Volume For Overall Investment Per Household

 

 

State Percentile Income Equity For Overall Investment Per Household

1

Rexburg, Idaho

99.4

4%

66

88

2

Hailey, Idaho

99.4

4%

66

88

3

Prineville, Oregon

125.2

4%

74

82

4

Sandpoint, Idaho

99.4

4%

66

88

5

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

99.4

4%

66

88

6

Sheridan, Wyoming

93.9

4%

48

60

7

Cañon City, Colorado

102.4

4%

96

26

8

Marinette, Wisconsin

89.9

6.5%

40

68

9

Bemidji, Minnesota

97.2

6.5%

58

84

10

Fergus Falls, Minnesota

97.2

6.5%

58

84

11

Willmar, Minnesota

97.2

6.5%

58

84

12

Brainerd, Minnesota

97.2

6.5%

58

84

13

Grand Rapids, Minnesota

97.2

6.5%

58

84

14

Astoria, Oregon

125.2

4%

74

82

15

Helena, Montana

104.4

4%

46

94

16

Duluth, Minnesota

95.5

6.5%

58

84

17

Fort Collins, Colorado

102.4

4%

96

26

18

Aberdeen, Washington

113.9

4%

92

20

19

Alexandria, Minnesota

97.2

6.5%

58

84

20

Bend, Oregon

125.2

4%

74

82

Vacation Home Buying FAQ

Keep reading to learn more about the benefits and drawbacks of vacation home investments.

Is a second home a good investment option? 

A second home can definitely be a great investment opportunity if you’re looking to invest in real estate rather than the stock market. Not only is there the potential to make money off your investment property by making it a rental part time, but you can also receive tax breaks for property tax and mortgage interest. These tax deductions will depend on how you plan to use your second home.

What are things to consider when buying a vacation home?

Owning a vacation home can be a great investment, but there are some things you should keep in mind before making a purchase. Here are a few factors to consider before buying a vacation home

  • Large financial investment: Real estate in popular vacation destinations usually sits on the higher end of the price range. Discuss your budget with your real estate agent and what you’re realistically willing to put down for a home. Owning two homes can also mean doubling the cost of almost everything – including utilities, home insurance, mortgages, homeowners association fees and property taxes.

  • Property maintenance: Whether you plan for your vacation property to be a family home or rental, you’ll need to properly maintain the home when you’re not using it. If you plan for a third party to take care of the maintenance, make sure to include it in your budget when looking at potential homes.

  • Real estate value: Real estate values vary depending on location and the state of the market. Discuss with your real estate agent whether it’s a good time to invest in your desired location.

  • Reliability: A vacation home offers the reliability you may want when planning your vacation trips. Instead of dealing with various travel expenses, you’ll only need to pay for transportation to get yourself to your piece of paradise.

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Methodology

We analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey using five-year estimates from 2020, the most recent year available. We looked at estimates of housing units in every city with more than 10,000 residents that were categorized for seasonal, recreational or occasional use.

We then took a sample of 150 cities with the highest percentage of seasonal housing units. We looked at cost of living, vacancy rates by region and state capital flows by volume and income equity in these cities to gather our estimates of the best places to buy a vacation home.

Here are the factors we considered when weighing our rankings:

  • Vacancy rates – 25%
  • Percentile volume for overall investment per household – 20%
  • Percentile income equity for overall investment per household – 20%
  • Median house price – 20%
  • Cost of living – 15% 

Sources:

1Washington Post

2U.S. Census

3Rocket Homes

4MERIC

5U.S. Census - Statista

6Urban Institute

Get approved to buy a second home.

Apply online with Rocket Mortgage®.

Victoria Araj

Victoria Araj is a Section Editor for Rocket Mortgage and held roles in mortgage banking, public relations and more in her 15+ years with the company. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism with an emphasis in political science from Michigan State University, and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Michigan.