10 great places to buy a vacation home

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Jen Lyons

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The old real estate adage “location, location, location” is never more true than when you’re deciding where to buy a vacation home. Your second home location should be a place where you can enjoy the activities, scenery and weather you love. While everyone’s preferences are different, here are 10 great vacation home locations. One of them could end up being your second home paradise.

1. Palm Springs

Why should you buy a second home in Palm Springs? There’s something special about the California desert town, known for its Mid-Century Modern architecture, sweeping views of the mountains that surround the Coachella Valley and thriving arts community. Palm Springs attracts people wanting to escape cold-weather climates, and it’s easy to see why. From November to April, temperatures are reliably in the 70s and 80s. Things start heating up in May and stay hot through October. Palm Springs is an ideal location for those who like it hot — but a house with a pool is a must all 12 months of the year. The city is also located within driving distance of Los Angeles, San Diego and Disneyland, making it easy to add day trips to your Palm Springs getaway.Median home price: $775,000
Palm Springs vacation home

2. Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe attracts outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. Whether you love to ski, hike, boat or simply sit back and take in breathtaking alpine views, Lake Tahoe is a dream vacation home location, with many home buyers looking to the area for investment properties. The lake itself straddles the California-Nevada border, with multiple small towns making up the greater Lake Tahoe area. From the mountain estates of Incline Village to the world-class skiing of Olympic Valley to family-friendly South Lake Tahoe, this mountain getaway has a place for everyone. Warm weather brings umbrella-packing beach goers to the lake while the winter season attracts skiers seeking the fresh powder.  However, if you want to avoid the crowds and get the big deals on lodging, the best times to visit Tahoe are between March and May and September and November. Median home price: $767,000
Lake Tahoe vacation home with a view

3. Napa Valley

Calling all wine lovers! California’s Wine Country may just end up being your home away from home. America’s most famous wine region, Napa Valley, is home to nearly 500 wineries, making it an oenophile's dream. The region’s Mediterranean climate makes it an ideal year-round destination, with August to October and March to May being the best times to visit for perfect weather and al fresco wine tastings. Of course, there are also plenty of non-wine related activities: You can sample world-class cuisine, cycle the Napa Valley Vine Trail, take a hot air balloon to see views of vineyards and valleys, check out local art festivals or tee off on championship golf courses. Median home price: $1,000,000
Napa Valley vacation home

4. Newport Beach

Southern California is simply brimming with sunny beach towns, and each one is a great vacation home destination. What sets Newport Beach in Orange County apart is its luxurious feel. This coastal enclave of 87,000 residents boasts more than 400 restaurants, the upscale Fashion Island outdoor mall and the largest recreational harbor on the West Coast (in case boating and yachting are your thing). Families can also enjoy many kid-friendly activities in Newport Beach, including outdoor playgrounds, electric boat rentals and nature preserves. Did we mention that Newport Beach enjoys 277 sunny days a year?Median home price: $3,700,000
Newport Beach vacation home

5. Malibu

Channel your inner Hollywood celebrity in Malibu, a popular getaway for the rich and famous. Malibu offers 27 miles of coastline along the famed Pacific Coast Highway. Surfing, sunbathing and beachcombing are obviously popular ways to spend your day, but you’ll also find plenty of ways to soak up the sun in the surrounding Santa Monica Mountains. Hiking, horseback riding and nature walks are popular with locals and visitors. For those who want something a little less physical, hit up the Malibu Farmers Market, plan a visit to the historic Getty Villa or taste wine at an amazing mountaintop estate. If California vibes, stunning beaches and outdoor activities call to you, consider making Malibu your second homeMedian home price: $4,800,000
Malibu vacation home

6. Vail

If you’re more interested in snow than sand, Vail might be your ideal second home location. While Colorado’s Rocky Mountains offer some 30 different ski areas, Vail Ski Resort is the largest, with 5,317 skiable acres. You’ll find three charming Bavarian-style villages at the base of the mountain, plus second home properties including condominiums and single-family lodges throughout the area. What’s more, once you’ve conquered the resort’s 195 ski runs (is that even possible?), Beaver Creek is just a short drive away, and you can be in Breckenridge in about an hour. If you’re more of a summer person than a winter person, you’ll find many warm weather attractions in Vail — among the varied options are mountain golf, outdoor concerts, whitewater rafting and even guided hikes with a llama. Median home price: $1,900,000
Vail vacation home

7. Park City

Once a silver mining town and today a world-class mountain getaway that plays host to the famous Sundance Film Festival, Utah’s Park City is brimming with things to do. In the winter months, Park City residents can ski 7,300 lift-served acres of alpine terrain, explore the forest on a cross-country ski trail, snowshoe through natural scenery, or even take a dog sled tour. When the weather warms up, Park City offers adrenaline-inducing mountain biking trails, fun-filled festivals, thrilling water sports, and wonderful dining and nightlife. Median home price: $1,700,000
Park City vacation home

8. West Palm Beach

There’s a reason many residents of the Northeast flock to Florida in the winter. West Palm Beach offers the perfect year-round combination of beautiful beaches and exciting entertainment and activities. West Palm Beach is home to SunFest, Florida’s largest waterfront music festival. The city’s four distinct retail and entertainment districts feature casual bars, vibrant nightclubs and great shopping. For the artistically inclined, the town has a dynamic performing arts center and a wonderful art museum. Oh, and balmy temperatures fluctuate between a low of 75 degrees in January to a high of 90 in July and August. Median home price: $375,000
West Palm Beach vacation home

9. Maui 

Over 3 million people visit the Hawaiian island of Maui each year, so if you’re among them, why not make it official? The Valley Isle offers many types of vacation homes: resort-style condominiums, golf course properties and waterfront villas. When you feel like playing tourist, there’s plenty to do on a trip to Maui, including a volcanic park hike, catamaran snorkeling tours, breathtaking scenic drives, whale watching, golfing and evening luaus. When you want to escape the crowds, there are plenty of stretches of idyllic beach. With temperatures that rarely fluctuate outside of the 70s to 90s range, there’s almost never a bad time to visit the island.Median home price: $1,100,000
Maui vacation home

10. Hilton Head Island

Is there any place quite as charming as Hilton Head Island? With a laid-back feel and welcoming vibe, there’s plenty to love about Lowcountry living. This South Carolina escape boasts a mild, subtropical climate year-round and award-winning beaches along with many can’t-miss activities. The island is known as a great destination for families, thanks to activities like bike-riding, fishingand kayaking. And although the island is only 69 square miles, it’s packed with an incredible 33 golf courses. Is it time to tee off yet?Median home price: $669,000
Hilton Head Island vacation home

Find your Pacaso home in the right location

Whether Palm Springs is your passion or Park City is perfect, you can find a great vacation home with Pacaso. Browse our listings, and see how you can enjoy all the benefits of owning a second home in a sought-after location, without the hassles of traditional second home ownership and property management.

Methodology

To curate the destinations in this article, we selected perennially popular second home real estate markets with consistent home buyer demand, plenty of activities to choose from, and a diverse array of climates and environments. The medium home price for each destination was compiled using data from Realtor.com in May 2022.

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