5 Beautiful, Underrated Spots to Buy a Vacation Home

Buying a vacation home is more affordable than you think.

Do you dream of owning a vacation home for you and your loved ones to enjoy? And perhaps even earn some additional income by renting it out when you’re not there? Lucky for you, the U.S. is home to dozens of often overlooked affordable vacation spots. It’s all about location, location, location, as it’s said so often in real estate, and there are many vacation spots that combine good location with affordability.

GOBankingRates conducted a study identifying the best places to buy a vacation home for under $200,000 based on AirDNA’s 2018 vacation rental report, which includes gross rental profit for one year, and home and rent prices from Zillow. From that study’s list of 20 cities, five were singled out as offering both the most underrated, beautiful and affordable cities.

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Corpus Christi

Corpus Christi Texas beach with pier at sunset
©Shutterstock.com
  • Median home value: $148,500
  • Median rent: $1,364
  • 1-year gross profit from renting: $31,552

Corpus Christi has a variety of outlets that vacationers will love. According to TurnKey Vacation Rentals, the downtown area has plenty of entertainment and nightlife. Northwest Corpus Christi is ideal for birdwatchers, and south Corpus Christi has access to beautiful flower gardens and beaches.

Corpus Christi has several beaches to choose from, as well as scenic offshore islands like Mustang Island and Padre Island. And the white sands of Whitecap Beach south of the city offers a relaxing setting.

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Daytona Beach

Daytona Beach, Florida, USA beachfront skyline.
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
  • Median home value: $142,000
  • Median rent: $1,200
  • 1-year gross profit from renting: $29,493

You can find affordable vacation homes even on Florida’s Atlantic coast. Daytona Beach is a city on the northern half of Florida’s Atlantic coast, south of Jacksonville and northeast of Orlando. It’s perhaps best known for the Daytona International Speedway, where every February the Daytona 500 NASCAR race is held.

The city offers 23 miles of white sandy beaches, as well as the Daytona Beach Boardwalk and Pier. Besides amusement rides and arcades, the boardwalk also features the Daytona Beach Bandshell that stages free summer concerts and other events.

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Fort Walton Beach

Fort Walton Beach Florida with vacation homes
©Shutterstock.com
  • Median home value: $184,800
  • Median rent: $1,226
  • 1-year gross profit from renting: $44,384

There are plenty of beaches in Florida to go round, and Fort Walton Beach on Florida’s Gulf Coast is a great one. According to TripAdvisor, the town is home to two public golf courses, The Oaks and The Pines, as well as a championship course at Regatta Bay. Short or boat fishing is excellent as the Gulf offers big game fishing.

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Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach South Carolina at dusk
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  • Median home value: $147,400
  • Median rent: $1,107
  • 1-year gross profit from renting: $27,116

Myrtle Beach is a vacation city on South Carolina’s Atlantic coast, situated on the Grand Strand, a 60-mile string of beaches. The Grand Strand offers plenty to do, as does the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk. Residents can enjoy the arcades and restaurants, as well as the old-fashioned Family Kingdom amusement park and the SkyWheel, one of the country’s tallest Ferris wheels.

Detroit

Detroit city skyline along the Detroit River at sunset.
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images
  • Median home value: $158,400
  • Median rent: $1,200
  • 1-year gross profit from renting: $29,443

OK, so Detroit might not be top of mind when you think of “beautiful cities,” but hear us out. Detroit offers great affordability as well as unique features thanks to its location between Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair. The Detroit River, which connects the two, features an active riverfront that has been developed and expanded by the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy. And many of Detroit’s former industrial parts have been redesigned into beautiful lofts.

What’s great about these five cities is that their gross profits are among the highest out of the study’s top 20 cities. Fort Walton Beach is No. 1, Corpus Christi is No. 3, Daytona Beach is No. 4, Detroit is No. 5 and Myrtle Beach is No. 7 in terms of the highest gross profit.

Keep reading to see 20 beautiful places to buy a home for under $300,000.

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