Who doesn’t love the thought of a vacation home at the beach, a place to get away for weekend respites or long summer stretches? It’s even better to buy a home in a spot that other people will love to visit, too, and want to rent when you’re not using your place.
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But just where should you look to find the best place both for your sojourns from home and to bring in oodles of cash to help pay the mortgage?
For that answer, GOBankingRates turned to rankings provided by Vacasa to highlight the top 10 places to buy a beach house in 2022. Vacasa, which helps travelers find vacation rental properties, based its rankings on median home sales prices, the average annual gross rental revenue and the cap rate, which is the yearly rate of return on investment.
- Cap Rate: 5.8%
- Median Home Sales Price: $725,000
- Average Annual Gross Rental Revenue: $58,496
Lahaina, on the west coast of Maui, has the highest median home sales price on the list at more than $700,000, but consider the number of tourists who will find your location appealing. Lahaina once was a whaling village, and 55 acres of the community are designated as historic districts. Still, Lahaina is a contemporary spot for visitors to enjoy the water as well as shops, restaurants and galleries.
Hatteras Island, North Carolina
- Cap Rate: 6.4%
- Median Home Sales Price: $482,447
- Average Annual Gross Rental Revenue: $45,968
Hatteras Island, on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, is made up of seven villages, two lighthouses and the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. It’s the latter, established in 1937 to preserve the barrier island, that has kept the island small and unspoiled. Pristine for fun along the shore, including fishing and surfing, Hatteras Island has seen its share of shipwrecks, making it part of the region known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic.
Port St. Joe, Florida
- Cap Rate: 6.1%
- Median Home Sales Price: $360,721
- Average Annual Gross Rental Revenue: $39,688
The first city on the list with a median home sales price of less than $400,000, Port St. Joe bills itself as a “small town with a big heart.” Port St. Joe is small, indeed, with just 3,357 residents at the 2020 census, but the Gulf Coast city offers big things to do: beaches, a marina, parks and a walkable downtown of shops and restaurants.
New Buffalo, Michigan
- Cap Rate: 6.6%
- Median Home Sales Price: $569,873
- Average Annual Gross Rental Revenue: $58,544
The first northern tier locale on the list, New Buffalo lies north of the Michigan-Indiana border and is about a 90-minute drive from Chicago, making it a haven for vacationers from the nation’s third-largest city. New Buffalo has 10 public beaches along its 16 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, with many of them offering access for wheelchairs and other mobility devices. Go fishing or sailing before a night at the Four Winds Casino.
(Image is of the shore of Lake Michigan.)
Rockaway Beach, Oregon
- Cap Rate: 6.1%
- Median Home Sales Price: $384,152
- Average Annual Gross Rental Revenue: $48,030
One of five spots on the list with median home prices below $400,000, Rockaway Beach sits on the Pacific Coast, about 90 miles west of Portland. It’s where the mountains meet the sea, with seven miles of beach, the Twin Rocks — a lava formation millions of years in the making — and coastal beauty the trademarks of the region. Visitors say that if you look at the 88-foot-tall Twin Rocks long enough, you’ll see images of the Loch Ness Monster, a sea dragon or a Native American princess.
(Image is of beach houses on Oregon coast.)
Navarre Beach, Florida
- Cap Rate: 6.6%
- Median Home Sales Price: $382,392
- Average Annual Gross Rental Revenue: $43,202
Want the ultimate relaxing vacation? Head to Navarre Beach on Florida’s panhandle, where 12 miles of white-sand shoreline between the Gulf Islands National Seashore and Navarre Beach Marine Park await. Spend your time there enjoying warm-weather activities by day — swimming, surfing and biking — then enjoy the catch of the day or a microbrew at some of the area’s restaurants and bars.
Daytona Beach, Florida
- Cap Rate: 6.5%
- Median Home Sales Price: $247,960
- Average Annual Gross Rental Revenue: $31,913
Rev your engines and head to Daytona Beach, site of the least expensive vacation properties on the list. Well-known as the home of Daytona International Speedway and the Daytona 500, the city has 23 miles of Atlantic shoreline that includes some white-sand beaches that, yes, you can drive on. Stroll the Daytona Beach Boardwalk and Pier to enjoy shopping, dining, music and a classic arcade.
- Cap Rate: 6.4%
- Median Home Sales Price: $340,559
- Average Annual Gross Rental Revenue: $43,981
Visitors to Galveston Island, a barrier reef island, can enjoy 32 miles of Gulf Coast beaches, but Galveston offers much more than sand and sea. With temperatures that average 81 degrees in the summer and 57 degrees in the winter, visitors can tour museums, historic sites and the Moody Gardens all year. Fun fact: Galveston is known for its large concentration of well-preserved Victorian architecture.
Corolla, North Carolina
- Cap Rate: 9.5%
- Median Home Sales Price: $608,953
- Average Annual Gross Rental Revenue: $77,971
Corolla is at the northern end of North Carolina’s Outer Banks, known for its upscale dining and unique shopping. With much of the community built in the 1990s and later, Corolla boasts modern amenities to go with local treasures such as the Currituck Beach Lighthouse and the Corolla wild horses, which are Wild Spanish Mustangs that have roamed the area since the 1500s.
Gulf Shores, Alabama
- Cap Rate: 10.2%
- Median Home Sales Price: $402,905
- Average Annual Gross Rental Revenue: $56,198
Nestled on Alabama’s Gulf Coast, Gulf Shores sits amid 32 miles of beachfront celebrated for its white quartz sand and clear blue-green waters. Once your day at the beach is done, there’s plenty to do in the Gulf Shores area, from festivals, fishing and ferry rides to nightlife or family fun along the wharf.
Methodology: For this piece, GOBankingRates used statistics provided by Vacasa to highlight the top 10 places to buy a beach house in 2022. All data was collected and is up to date as of April 14, 2022.