hero image for blog Where Should I Buy A Vacation Home?

Where Should I Buy A Vacation Home?

Photo: Serene Mountain Retreat by Matthew Sichkaruk


Emily Primbs


Apr 2, 2024


Apr 7, 2024

Does this sound familiar? You've just come back from an epic ski vacation at one of the best ski towns for second homes, and you're day-dreaming about buying a vacation home slope-side so you don't have to worry about renting gear or booking a stay during the peak season.

Where you decide to buy a vacation home can have a lasting impact on your financial goals and determines if this second property becomes the memory-maker you're hoping for, or a financial flop.

From Palm Springs, CA on the west coast, to Tampa, FL on the east coast, each state has their popular destinations and hidden gems.

Take your cue from a place like Lake Anna, Virginia. Named the #1 place to buy a vacation home for two years in a row in Vacasa's latest report, that analyzed market data to determine the rate of return on investment. Guests looked for homes near the water, prioritizing homes that allowed dogs and boasted a hot tub. The town has rural charm, an abundance of water sports to choose from, and is nearby trails for hiking and biking.

If that sounds like many of the best mountain towns for second homes we've highlighted, you're right. Places like Eden, Utah or Bozeman, Montana share these qualities.

Different criteria like ROI or proximity to tourist attractions aside, where you decide to buy a vacation home is a largely personal decision.

Top 5 Things To Consider When Deciding Where To Buy A Vacation Home

Exactly where should I buy a vacation home, you wonder? Consider these main factors first and choose a vacation spot with confidence.

Ease Of Travel

A Winding Drive by Grant Porter

Wherever you decide to buy a vacation home should be relatively easy to reach. An exotic beach bungalow in the Bahamas may sound exciting, but if you live on the west coast and there are too many obstacles in your way, you'll find excuses not to go. Long distances to an airport or inconvenient flights are common hindrances that could impact your get-away plans.

Be clear on the purpose of your vacation home, about how often you'd like to use it personally, and make sure the vacation home is within a distance that makes that possible.

A decade ago, a large majority of second home owners planned to use their vacation home primarily as a getaway for their families. And according to the National Association of Realtors, more than half of all buyers still choose vacation homes within 50 miles of their primary residence. This makes those spontaneous weekends away more realistic, and allows you to keep a closer eye on the home.

Being just a short drive away means you can address issues quickly — a definite upside, especially if you plan on offering short-term rentals. But with so many property management options out there, more second home buyers are viewing their vacation home as a potential investment opportunity, a way to generate rental income, or offset second home costs.

It is easier now than ever before to buy a vacation home and maintain it from afar.

Desirability Of Location

Serene Mountain Retreat by Matthew Sichkaruk

The desirability of a location can impact the intrinsic and extrinsic value of your vacation home. If you have plans to offer short-term rentals, it can mean the difference between consistent bookings and a home that's gathering dust.

Location is often noted as the most important factor in blogs about vacation homes, investment properties, and in what to look for when buying a luxury home.

A trusted realtor that has experience with second home and luxury transactions can help you clarify your lifestyle, financial goals, and priorities to find the top areas that fit your needs.

In Northern Utah, the Mountain Luxury Team help clients explore the best neighborhoods for vacation homes, and look at the projected growth rates of the communities they're considering, as well as the health of the local economy.

Just remember that sometimes the most desirable vacation home locations come with additional care and maintenance needs.

Think of the beach home that is exposed to salt, humidity, and possibly strong winds daily. Locations like these may need additional property insurance and coverage due to the more common occurrence of coastal storms. Or the cabin in the mountains — surrounded by feet of snow in the winter, it becomes hard to access, and the pipes could freeze.

But don't let that intimidate you. Your realtor can help you find properties with milder weather, communities that offer weather-related services, or connect you with a professional property management company that can take care of all your vacation home maintenance needs.


Sunny Ski Day by Banff Sunshine Village

Above all, when deciding where to buy a vacation home, remember that it should cater to your preferences and needs, offer relaxation, and be near the activities you love.

And if you're contemplating offering your vacation home as a short-term rental or boutique stay, these are rated as some of the most popular amenities that can help you stand out to guests:

  • Proximity to outdoor recreation like ski resorts, trails, rivers, lakes, and national parks
  • Private swimming pools, hot tubs, and saunas
  • Smart locks that allow for self-check in
  • Pet-friendly
  • Wi-fi
  • A fully equipped kitchen
  • Washer & dryer

You or potential guests will enjoy a vacation even more if the home has gear that make leisure activities easier. Keep bikes and snowshoes in the shed, have a rack with a few paddle boards and life jackets, and a stash of sand toys in the garage.

Store a collection of books and board games, and consider stocking a few classics like s'mores kits and hot chocolate in the pantry.

The Most Popular Types Of Vacation Homes

Single-family luxury home in the fall

Any type of home can be a vacation home. Of course there are single-family homes, cabins, cottages, condos, townhomes, and even the less common yurt, camper, or tiny home.

These are some of the most popular types of vacation homes and where they are often found, to help you further narrow down your search of where to buy a vacation home.

Single-Family Homes

A whopping 60% of vacationers prefer single-family home rentals. There is more privacy and space, especially for larger gatherings.

You can renovate to your hearts content, customizing the home just the way you'd like. Single-family homes often appreciate faster over time than other types vacation homes.

This type of vacation home often requires more upkeep, and may need a property management company to oversee maintenance or handle bookings. The purchase prices are typically higher. There are no community amenities either.


If you close your eyes and imagine a holiday in the mountains, a rustic cabin probably comes to mind. Not much beats the nostalgia of sitting around a campfire, gazing up at a star-lit sky, before heading in to a picturesque log cabin to curl up with a flannel blanket and a good book. It's not surprising that 31% of all vacationers prefer a cabin rental.

Often surrounded by an inspiring natural landscape, cabins tend to be more private and peaceful. With opportunities to see wildlife and explore, cabin vacations are ideal for unplugging and appreciating a slower pace of life and getting some fresh.

However, cabins may be more difficult to reach and a remote cabin may require extra maintenance. There might be fewer amenities with a cabin compared to a condo or townhome community, and there's potentially no wi-fi or cell service.


A condo in the right area will put you close to all the activities you enjoy. Purchase near a beloved ski resort or beach and you'll be spending more of your time shredding powder or snorkeling and less time driving. If you are interested in offering rentals, 27% of vacationers prefer a condo rental.

A vacation condo usually has some maintenance and upkeep covered by HOA fees, as well as security services — for a vacation home destination, this can give you peace of mind. They often include community amenities like pools, hot tubs and gyms.

Still, there is limited privacy in a condo that shares walls and common spaces with neighbors. Some communities have strict rules on renting your unit so be sure to talk with your agent for clarification.


The proximity to dining, shopping, and recreation activities is a benefit that many townhome communities have. While a smaller number of vacationers prefer a townhome rental — 15%, townhomes do typically offer more space than a condo, spanning multi-levels. That can be very appealing for larger groups or families.

Townhomes also require less maintenance than a single-family home, and can include communal amenities and services like pools, hot tubs, playgrounds, and lawn maintenance.

They do often share at walls with neighbors, which can compromise privacy and cause noise issues, and there is sometimes less flexibility for renovations.

Try Before You Buy

Perhaps you’ve fallen in love with an area over several vacations. Or maybe you fell fast for a destination you visited once. Those days spent exploring a new place, making memories, made a lasting impression on you.

But before you make a lasting purchase, consider renting in the area for an extended period of time. Try to stay for at least two weeks or longer to be sure you’d really enjoy a long vacation there. Visit during different seasons, especially if the area has severe weather at different times of the year and this home could be a part of retirement plan.

Thinking About Buying A Vacation Home In Ogden Valley?

Discover everything Huntsville, Eden, and Liberty, Utah have to offer. From world-class skiing at Powder Mountain and Snowbasin, to night skiing at the family mountain Nordic Valley, this area is recognized as a top outdoor recreation mecca in Utah. There is an abundance of water sport options at Pineview and Causey reservoirs, and an extensive network of hiking and mountain biking trails to traverse.

Book your stay with Mountain Luxury Lodging, boasting the largest vacation rental network of townhomes, condos and luxury homes in Ogden Valley, or explore the Northern Utah real estate market with the guidance of our experienced agents.

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