Purchasing a beach house can be a great investment strategy because there are many benefits to owning short-term vacation rentals. They include higher income potential, a rapidly growing market, and access to unique markets. And beaches always attract guests. Unfortunately, knowing exactly where to invest in a beach vacation rental can be tricky. That’s why we’ve rounded up this list.
From Washington to Florida and Texas to Maine, here are some of the best beach towns to buy a rental property.
10 Beach Towns to Put on Your Shopping List
1. Gulf Shores, Alabama
Gulf Shores is a city along Alabama’s Gulf Coast, about an hour south of Mobile. It’s known for its white sand beaches, hiking trails, iconic pier, and golf courses. Tourists can walk the trails of Gulf State Park, visit the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, and wander the historic Fort Morgan. They can also go fishing and kayaking. Gulf Shores truly has activities for the whole family to enjoy. That’s why it’s known as an excellent place for a family vacation.
Gulf Shores has a strong vacation rental market with an average Airbnb occupancy rate of 94% during the peak summer season. Moreover, hosts generate an average rental income of $4,700 monthly from their Gulf Shores vacation homes.
Tip: Look for properties with a living room or other space to accommodate large groups and families.
2. St. Augustine, Florida
When most people think of Florida beaches, they typically think of spring break in Panama City Beach, sunbathing in Miami Beach, or day drinking in the Florida Keys. But Florida has a lot more beaches to offer. One of them is St. Augustine.
St. Augustine is located between Jacksonville and Daytona Beach on Florida’s northeast coast. It’s the oldest city in the United States and is known for its gorgeous Spanish colonial architecture. St. Augustine is the perfect destination for anyone who wants to experience a little history with their beach getaway. Its ideal location, history, beauty, and weather make it a great destination to unwind all year round.
St. Augustine also has a lot to offer real estate investors. According to AirDNA, St. Augustine has an average Airbnb occupancy rate of just over 50% during the off-season. Hosts earn an average of $3,700 a month in vacation rental income.
Tip: Look for an oceanfront home so you can capitalize on St. Augustine’s natural beauty.
3. Hale’iwa, Hawaii
Hale’iwa is located on the North Shore of O’ahu, the opposite side of Honolulu. It’s part of Hawaii’s Seven-Mile Miracle and is known as the “Surfing Capital of the World” because of its amazing surfing conditions. But Hale’iwa has more to offer tourists than a laidback vibe with great surf.
Hale’iwa is also a great place to snorkel, dive with sharks, and watch sea turtles. Tourists can also visit a macadamia nut farm, ride horseback, and hike the Ehukai Pillbox. With so many great activities, it’s no wonder Hale’iwa is a busy beach town all year.
Hale’iwa has an average Airbnb occupancy rate of 89% all year round, and Airbnb hosts can earn around $6,000 a month in vacation rental income. That’s not a bad return on investment for beach house rentals.
Tip: Beach homes with private beach access have the potential to generate even more income in Hale’iwa.
4. Bar Harbor, Maine
Bar Harbor is located on Mount Desert Island along Frenchman Bay in Acadia National Park. It’s about a 3-hour drive northeast of Portland, Maine, and worth it. Bar Harbor is a charming New England town known for its beauty, history, yachts, and lobster.
Tourists can hike Cadillac Mountain, sail around Frenchman Bay, wander Bar Harbor Town Pier, and take in the gorgeous ocean and mountain views of Agamont Park. They can unwind over a bowl of chowder at one of Bar Harbor’s many local seafood restaurants.
Bar Harbor also offers a lot of potential to earn a great return on investment for property owners. According to AirDNA, it has a 100% occupancy rate during peak season, and Airbnb hosts can earn an average of over $6,400 a month in income from their Bar Harbor beach house rentals.
Tip: Add a hot tub to your Bar Harbor vacation rental to help attract guests throughout the year.
5. Outer Banks, North Carolina
The Outer Banks is a chain of islands off North Carolina’s northern coast. They’re known for their 100+ miles of wide, open beachfront and the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. With ten unique small towns, the Outer Banks have something to offer everyone. Kitty Hawk is an excellent place for a family vacation. Rodanthe is perfect for a romantic getaway. Corolla is great for outdoor enthusiasts. And all of them are great places to invest in a beachfront vacation rental.
To give you an idea, here’s a look at Nags Head. It has an average Airbnb occupancy rate of 93% during peak season, and hosts generate an average of $5,500 a month in rental income.
Tip: Beachfront rentals have the potential to earn the most passive income in Outer Banks.
6. Lincoln City, Oregon
Lincoln City is located on the central Oregon Coast, about 58 miles west of Salem. It’s also about 80 miles south of the better-known Cannon Beach. But Lincoln Beach is a true Oregon Coast gem. It offers tourists 7 miles of sand and surf, more than any other beach in Oregon, and was recently voted one of the best beaches in the United States.
Beachcombing, flying kites, searching for seashells, kayaking, paddle boarding, whale watching, and hiking are just some of the many activities tourists can do in Lincoln City.
Lincoln City also offers a lot for real estate investors. According to AirDNA, Lincoln City has an average occupancy rate of 75%, and Airbnb hosts generate an average of $4,400 a month in rental income.
Tip: Like Bar Harbor, Lincoln City can be cold in the winter. Add a hot tub to your beach vacation rental to help attract guests all year round.
7. Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston is in the heart of South Carolina’s Lowcountry, an area rich in natural beauty and beaches. The city is known for its southern charm, rich history, gorgeous architecture, parks, beaches, seafood, and bar scene. Charleston is an excellent destination for anyone who wants to enjoy the beach but likes the convenience of a big city.
Charleston has a robust short-term vacation rental market. According to AirDNA, Charleston’s Airbnb occupancy rate ranges from 52% in January to 90% in June. Hosts generate an average of just over $5,000 a month in rental income. That’s not a bad return on investment.
Tip: Consider a condominium with ocean views and WiFi in Charleston to help attract younger guests.
8. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Myrtle Beach is in the heart of South Carolina’s Grand Strand, a 60-mile arc of beach along the Atlantic Coast. It’s conveniently located 95 miles north of Charleston, SC, and 78 miles south of Wilmington, NC. Myrtle Beach is known for its wide, open beachfront and numerous activities that draw millions of tourists annually.
North Myrtle Beach and Surfside Beach are among the most popular neighborhoods for beach vacation rentals. North Myrtle Beach is home to award-winning golf courses, and Surfside Beach is a great place for a family vacation.
Like Charleston, Myrtle Beach offers real estate investors a robust vacation rental market. According to AirDNA, Charleston has an Airbnb occupancy rate that ranges from 35% in December to 97% in July. Hosts generate an average of nearly $3,000 a month in rental income.
Tip: Like Gulf Shores, consider properties with space to accommodate large groups or families.
9. Galveston, Texas
Galveston is an island city on the Gulf Coast of Texas, about 50 miles southeast of Houston. It’s known for its beaches, Moody Gardens, Schlitterbahn Waterpark, Galveston Island State Park, and gorgeous pier. Like Gulf Shores, Galveston has activities for the whole family and is a great family vacation destination.
With an 87% occupancy rate in peak season and an average of $3,600 in rental income monthly, Galveston offers a lot of potential for real estate investors.
Tip: Make sure your beach vacation rental has a washer and dryer to appeal to families.
10. Port Townsend, Washington
Port Townsend is a city on the Quimper Peninsula of Washington State, about 55 miles north of Seattle. It’s known for having over 300 Victorian-style homes and miles of beachfront. Port Townsend also borders the Salish Sea and is just a short drive to the Olympic National Park.
Port Townsend is an excellent place for anyone who loves the water or outdoor activities. Tourists can sail around the Salish Sea, kayak Port Townsend Bay, or hike in the national park. They can also visit the Port Townsend winery or shop in the historic downtown area.
Port Townsend also has a lot to offer investors. According to AirDNA, the small city has an 88% average occupancy rate from December through August. What’s more, Airbnb hosts earn an average of $3,100 monthly in rental income from the Port Townsend beach vacation homes.
Tip: A hot tub and WiFi can help attract guests looking for a weekend getaway from Seattle.
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