7 Affordable Places to Buy a Vacation Home

A person stands on the balcony of their vacation home with a cup of coffee, looking out across the view.

© Justin Pumfrey - The Image Bank / Getty Images

Vacation homes remain a popular pandemic trend. More Americans have been warming up to the idea of being untethered from jobs with remote work and experiencing a growing desire for a family getaway home or potential rental revenue stream. Vacation homes remain in demand.

But home prices have skyrocketed. Are more buyers becoming priced out of the second-home market? The number of vacation-home sales has fallen 15% so far this year compared to last year, according to realtor.com®. But that may be more from dwindling for-sale options than an indication of lessening demand.

Realtor.com®’s research team recently identified some vacation markets that offer affordability. However, the markets may not have the familiar names of Cape Cod or Lake Tahoe, they say.

“We’ve seen rising demand for homes in vacation destinations within a three-hour drive of major metro areas, especially in mountain and waterfront areas where people can be outdoors and there’s less [population] density,” Daned Kirkham, senior director of real estate at the vocational rental management firm Vacasa, told realtor.com®. “Even as urban markets have seen tourism return, the popularity of the off-the-beaten-path getaways hasn’t wavered.”

The median sales price for a vacation home was $429,000 in February. But in some markets, buyers are finding prices that cost much less but still offer a vacation getaway. Here are some of the most affordable towns in the U.S. for a vacation home, according to realtor.com®:

1. Branson, Mo.

  • Median second-home purchase price: $299,000

2. East Stroudsburg, Pa.

  • Median second-home purchase price: $299,500

3. Whitewater, Wis.

  • Median second-home purchase price: $314,000

4. Myrtle Beach, S.C.

  • Median second-home purchase price: $341,000

5. Cullowhee, N.C.

  • Median second-home purchase price: $365,750

6. The Villages, Fla.

  • Median second-home purchase price: $378,690

7. Lake Havasu City, Ariz.

  • Median second-home purchase price: $383,210

View the full list and more about each town at realtor.com®.