Best places to buy vacation rental property in the US in 2021

What are the best places to buy vacation rental property in the US in 2021?
In this article we analyze vacation rental data from the top 500 US markets by supply, to assess which earn the most per available night on our main OTAs.

Before investing, you should ensure that you know how to choose a high-performing vacation rental.

Best places to buy vacation rental property in the US 2021

We ranked the top 500 US vacation rental places by RevPAR – or revenue per available rental night – widely considered as the best gauge for rental performance. Below you can see the top 25 in a table that breaks down:

  • City
  • State
  • RevPAR

And so our top 3 performing markets by money made per available night, all over $380, are:

  • Malibu CA
  • Mountain Village CO
  • Captiva FL

In fact, every one of top 25 markets are non-urban.
8 ski and mountain resorts feature, as well as 11 'East coast' beach destinations, including 3 Floridian panhandle 'islands'. Hawaii also appears twice on our list of best places to buy vacation rental property in the US in 2021, but the state with most destinations in the top 25 is Colorado. (Check out a Florida-specific investment article from Vrolio)

Things to consider

Of course this list is a very broad average view and more specific factors should be considered before you invest.
Property prices will vary hugely from market to market and so returns are also higher relatively in some markets.

You can see in the table below the variation in property by state: there can be a 4 fold difference in price across our featured states, in addition to a variation in property size.

So the price and type of the property you are able to buy vary across markets, however, within the world of vacation rentals there is another set of rules to consider. The vacation rental data above is true of all inventory, and variations in performance will also be seen across different property types in different locations.

How vacation rental data can help select the best place to buy

Data-based decisions will underpin an effective investment strategy. It is important to keep up to date on booming markets, but the best performing vacation rental will look very different from location to location.

Our Smart Rental PRO dashboard tells us that in Big Sky, MT, 3 bed vacation rentals are most common, whilst Vail, CO has a higher concentration of 2 bed rentals.

Moreover, occupancy and ADR are not always in correlation with bedroom count, as they roughly are in Big Sky charts below.

You may find that a 3 bed apartment makes a greater return on investment (ROI) than a 4 bed house, and this will change by location, so you should evaluate each option in detail.

Data can tell you which property type and size perform best and which amenities attract guests. It can tell you which zip code pulls the highest ADR and occupancy, or which markets experience the most extreme seasonality.

Moreover, data visibility gives you an effective benchmark for your new vacation rental, including how to price and market.


Our clients have access to a ROI calculator, as well as granular Smart Rental data to help you invest, operate or optimize your vacation rentals. Start with the free version here: