51 Best Places to Buy an Airbnb in 2022

So what's the best place to buy an Airbnb or VRBO property in 2022?

Real estate is all about location, location, location — and STRs are no different.

You could have the coolest house in the world — but if no one is looking for it, you won't make any money.

The Poconos

That's why it's critical to pick an attractive market for short-term rentals (STRs).

After researching 100s of potential markets, we are proud to present this list: The 51 Best Places to Buy an STR in 2022.

Our Methodology: How We Ranked the Best Markets for STRs

To create this list, we started by considering 100s of markets that are generally friendly to STRs. Then, we looked at the average illustrative home price for a suitable STR in that market. Finally, we looked at the revenue potential for such a property to calculate an illustrative gross yield. Based on this yield, we ranked the top results.

More on this methodology below.

What Makes an STR Market Attractive?

The first step to investing in airbnb properties is to select an attractive market. So what makes an STR market attractive? Here are several key factors:

  • STR-Friendliness. Certain jurisdictions impose regulations or restrictions on STRs. It's important to find one that is friendly to STR owners.
  • Seasonality. Some destinations are only popular in the summer (like certain beach towns) while others are only popular in the winter (like ski towns). Ideally, you'll find a market that people want to visit year-round.
  • Revenue Potential. You want a market that people are actively visiting. Like all businesses, STRs depend on supply & demand — more demand, more revenue for you. 
  • Market Pricing. While revenue is important, your ROI will be dependent on your revenue relative to your purchase price. As a rule of thumb — a gross yield of 10% should produce an adequate ROI while gross yields >15% are very attractive.

With these factors in mind, we narrowed the potential markets in the U.S. down to several hundred with potential.

Then, for each potential market, we calculated an "illustrative home price".

What's an "Illustrative Home Price"?

Most rankings of this sort will look at the "median home price" in a given market.

Unfortunately, this isn't a great measurement tool. In certain markets that cater to larger groups, 1-bed homes might not be successful STRs. Or in beach towns, a home that is miles away from the beach might not earn acceptable returns.

For this ranking, we considered properties in a given market that would make suitable STRs. From this, we determined an "Illustrative Home Price" — i.e., what you might expect to pay for a viable STR in that given market.

From this illustrative home price, we then calculated an "illustrative gross yield".

What's an "Illustrative Gross Yield"?

"Gross Yield" is our preferred method for quickly assessing an STR.

It's a "back of the envelope" calculation that will quickly give you a sense for the potential of a property as an STR.

Gross Yield can be calculated as the annual gross revenue potential from an STR property divided by the purchase price. 

Learning how to estimate gross revenue potential is key when learning how to invest in airbnb properties, and we discuss how to do so further in our article on that topic.

For this ranking, we considered the revenue potential of suitable STRs in a market, and then divided by the Illustrative Home Price to determine an Illustrative Gross Yield.

We then ranked these Illustrative Gross Yield figures to produce these rankings.

Now, without further ado, the best markets to buy an Airbnb or VRBO property.

The 51 Best Places to Buy an Airbnb/VRBO Investment Property in 2022

1.) The Poconos - Pennsylvania

East Coast Mountain Getaway

Illustrative Gross Yield: 21.3%

Illustrative Home Price: $250,000

Highly accessible from New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, the Pocono Mountains are among America's finest vacation destinations. The Poconos offer outdoor activities throughout the year, including river rafting, hiking, biking, skiing, and more. 

Image of the Poconos Mountains

The Poconos Mountains in East Pennsylvania are a major vacation destination for the East Coast's population centers (Credit: Alexander Day / Flickr).

2.) McGaheysville, VA

Washington D.C. Resort Getaway

Illustrative Gross Yield: 20.0%

Illustrative Home Price: $289,000

Just a short drive from D.C., McGaheysville is home to the Massanutten Resort, which offers a waterpark, ski slopes, two golf courses, dining, shopping, and more.

3.) Deerfield Beach, FL

Affordable South Florida Beach Town

Illustrative Gross Yield: 18.9%

Illustrative Home Price: $405,000

While Miami Beach and West Palm Beach get the most attention, there is a quieter town in between the two called Deerfield Beach. Here, you can find the amazing beaches that Florida is famous for, plus a great selection of restaurants — without the hustle & bustle of South Beach.

4.) Big Bear Lake, CA

Alpine Getaway in SoCal

Illustrative Gross Yield: 18.6%

Illustrative Home Price: $325,000

On the banks of the serene Big Bear Lake you'll find a friendly village and an excellent ski resort. Big Bear is a little over an hour from downtown Los Angeles (depending on traffic) and much closer to San Bernardino.

Image of Big Bear Lake

Big Bear Lake in Southern California is a serene lake nearby an excellent ski resort (Credit: yournorthcounty.com).

5.) Stanton, KY

Top Rock Climbing Destination

Illustrative Gross Yield: 18.6%

Illustrative Home Price: $175,000

Stanton is a gateway to the Daniel Boone National Forest and the Red River Gorge Geological Area, which consistently ranks as one of the top rock climbing destinations in the U.S.

6.) Wisconsin Dells, WI

Waterpark Capital of the World

Illustrative Gross Yield: 18.6%

Illustrative Home Price: $239,900

Wisconsin Dells is home to several world-class waterparks, ski mountains, golf courses, and more. 

7.) Emerald Coast – Florida

The Best of Florida's Panhandle 

Illustrative Gross Yield: 17.8%

Illustrative Home Price: $425,000

Named for its clear, emerald-green water, the Emerald Coast is a prime vacation hot spot in Florida's Panhandle. Key destinations include Fort Walton Beach, Destin, Pensacola Beach, Panama City Beach, and more.

8.) Miami Beach, FL

Take your talents to South Beach

Illustrative Gross Yield: 17.5%

Illustrative Home Price: $350,000

Miami Beach needs no introduction. The pandemic and the "work-from-anywhere" trend has driven a lot of people to take up temporary residence in the area, which has also driven up housing prices. With that said, there are still plenty of opportunities to take advantage of the increased demand — BUT, be sure to research HOA rules and local regulations very carefully before taking the leap in this market.  

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9.) Terlingua, TX

Gateway to Big Bend 

Illustrative Gross Yield: 17.0%

Illustrative Home Price: $425,000

In Southwest Texas, Terlingua is a (very) small town that serves as a gateway to Big Bend National Park. The breathtaking mountain views and the clear desert sky seem to be drawing more and more visitors each year.

10.) Phoenix, AZ

Desert Hot Spot

Illustrative Gross Yield: 16.6%

Illustrative Home Price: $425,000

While metro areas can be tough markets for STRs (due to high home prices and tough regulations), Phoenix and the broader Valley of the Sun has a lot of potential. You might consider catering to multiple visitor types: snowbirds fleeing the cold winters up north and traveling professionals looking for temporary housing during the hot summers. 

11.) Cleveland, GA

Way down yonder on the Chattahoochee

Illustrative Gross Yield: 16.4%

Illustrative Home Price: $439,000

The Cleveland, GA area is home to the Chattahoochee River, a famous destination for water sports, while the surrounding countryside is known for its hiking, golf, and mountain biking.

12.) Palm Coast, FL

Quiet Florida Beach Town

Illustrative Gross Yield: 16.0%

Illustrative Home Price: $274,900

Nestled between St. Augustine and Daytona Beach, Palm Coast is a quiet community that flies under the radar for many investors. The area features pristine sand beaches and top notch golf courses. Additionally, Palm Coast is a great spot for eco-tourism, featuring several nature preserves such as the Princess Place Preserve and the River to Sea Preserve.

13.) Traverse City, MI

Northern Michigan Paradise

Illustrative Gross Yield: 15.8%

Illustrative Home Price: $290,000

Known as the "Cherry Capital of the World," Traverse City is perhaps even better known for its world-class restaurants & entertainment. And don't forget about the Old Mission Peninsula Wine Trail, along the famous 45th parallel.

14.) Tuscaloosa, AL

Roll Tide for STR Investors

Illustrative Gross Yield: 15.7%

Illustrative Home Price: $419,900

College towns can be an excellent market for STRs, given the visitors for football games, graduation, conferences, and more. Home to the Alabama Crimson Tide, Tuscaloosa is a great example of such a market. 

15.) Hot Springs, AR

The American Spa

Illustrative Gross Yield: 15.7%

Illustrative Home Price: $152,000

Known for its hiking, birding, and of course its famous bathhouses, Hot Springs National Park has been attracting visitors since the early 20th century. Cabins with high cash-on-cash return potential can be purchased in the area at relatively low prices — great for investors on a modest budget. 

Image of a hot spring in Hot Spring Arkansas

Hot Spring National Park has been attracting visitors for over a century.

16.) Crystal River, FL

The Heart of Old Florida

Illustrative Gross Yield: 14.7%

Illustrative Home Price: $230,000

In the heart of "Old Florida," Crystal River is home to several spring-fed rivers, top notch golf courses, fine dining, and hundreds of manatees (it's actually the "Manatee Capital of the World)! Crystal River is also a reasonable 1.5 hours from Orlando, Tampa, Gainesville, or St. Pete's.

17.) Blue Ridge Mountains – Georgia

Blue Ridge Mountain Paradise

Illustrative Gross Yield: 13.8%

Illustrative Home Price: $1,300,000

Towns like Ellijay in North Georgia offer breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. This area is a big draw for large groups, so investors should seek to invest in cabins with 5-6+ bedrooms that can sleep several families. 

18.) Chimney Rock, NC

Western NC Views

Illustrative Gross Yield: 13.6%

Illustrative Home Price: $500,000

Chimney Rock State Park (close to Asheville) features some of the best views available in Western NC along its many hiking trails. 

19.) Hilton Head, SC

Low Country Vacation Hot Spot

Illustrative Gross Yield: 13.3%

Illustrative Home Price: $550,000

In the South Carolina low country, Hilton Head is a top destination for vacationers due to its beaches, nature preserves, and world-class golf courses. Investors should focus on larger homes with a lot of bedrooms that are fairly close to the beach.

Hilton Head Island is a great place to invest in Airbnb and VRBO rental properties.

Hard to beat a sunset on Hilton Head.

20.) Lake Havasu City, AZ

Affordable Snowbird Destination

Illustrative Gross Yield: 13.0%

Illustrative Home Price: $429,900

Known for its desert hiking trails and water sports, Lake Havasu City is increasingly becoming a getaway for Californians and snowbirds from further north.  

21.) Indian Lake – Ohio

Lake Life in Ohio

Illustrative Gross Yield: 12.9%

Illustrative Home Price: $420,000

Indian Lake in Ohio is a summertime destination for boating, fishing, beachgoing, and hiking. This leisurely lake community is about an hour from Columbus and Dayton. 

22.) Broken Bow, OK

Outdoorsy Retreat in Southeast OK

Illustrative Gross Yield: 12.8%

Illustrative Home Price: $675,000

The Broken Bow / Hochatown area in Southeast Oklahoma is home to Beavers Bend State Park and the Broken Bow Lake. Log cabin retreats with 4-6+ bedrooms typically offer the best ROI potential.

Broken Bow, Oklahoma is an attractive market for Airbnb and VRBO investing.

The natural beauty of Broken Bow Lake in southeast Oklahoma.

23.) Canyon Lake, TX

Texas Hill Country Destination

Illustrative Gross Yield: 12.5%

Illustrative Home Price: $485,000

Located in the Texas Hill Country between Austin and San Antonio, Canyon Lake is a growing destination for watersports enthusiasts.

24.) Cocoa Beach, FL

Quintessential Beach Town

Illustrative Gross Yield: 12.4%

Illustrative Home Price: $595,000

Cocoa Beach is a great option for families looking for a beach vacation. It has a generally family-friendly atmosphere, plus Kennedy Space Center is a great place to take the kids.

25.) Black Hills – South Dakota

Home to Mount Rushmore 

Illustrative Gross Yield: 12.3%

Illustrative Home Price: $410,000

The Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota — near the towns of Keystone, Crazy Horse, Custer, Hill City, etc. — are home to Mount Rushmore. In addition, visitors are drawn to historic Deadwood and the Custer State Park.

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26.) Lake Galena – Illinois

Boating Getaway in Northwest IL

Illustrative Gross Yield: 12.3%

Illustrative Home Price: $314,500

A couple hours from Chicago's western suburbs, Lake Galena is a popular destination for fishing and boating. Oh, and don't forget about the wineries, distilleries, and breweries in the area.

27.) Cedar Creek Reservoir – Texas

Lake Life in Texas

Illustrative Gross Yield: 12.2%

Illustrative Home Price: $210,000

About an hour from Dallas, the Cedar Creek Reservoir is a great place for Dallasites to unwind. The surrounding towns — including Gun Barrel City, Mabank, and Payne Springs — offer bars, restaurant, and entertainment.

28.) Penn Yan, NY

Finger Lakes Charm

Illustrative Gross Yield: 12.2%

Illustrative Home Price: $450,000

Penn Yan is a charming small town in the Finger Lakes region of New York. The Finger Lakes are widely known for their wineries and beautiful scenery, and Penn Yan is no exception.

29.) Killington, VT

Ski Town in the Green Mountains

Illustrative Gross Yield: 12.0%

Illustrative Home Price: $229,000

In Vermont's Green Mountains, the Killington Ski Resort is among the most popular ski mountains in New England. For investors, condos in the area can be successful (though be sure to find one with an STR-friendly HOA).

30.) Athens, NY

Historical Hudson Valley

Illustrative Gross Yield: 12.0%

Illustrative Home Price: $379,000

Athens is a quaint retreat in the Catskills Mountains and the Hudson Valley. Cabins in the area overlooking the Hudson River seem to perform the best for STR investors.

31.) Hocking Hills – Ohio

Natural Beauty in Ohio

Illustrative Gross Yield: 11.9%

Illustrative Home Price: $799,900

Hocking Hills State Park – near Logan, OH – is famous for its miles of hiking trails punctuated by waterfalls, rock formations, and caverns. Large cabins with room for big groups have the potential for nice ROIs.

Hocking Hills State Park new Logan, Ohio is a great place for Airbnb investment cabins.

Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio is known for its excellent hiking and scenic views. Pictured above is the Upper Old Man's Cave Falls.

32.) Cape Coral, FL

Florida Gulf Coast

Illustrative Gross Yield: 11.7%

Illustrative Home Price: $399,000

Neighbor to Fort Myers, Cape Coral is great for everything Florida's gulf coast has to offer. 

33.) Island Park ID

Go West, Young Man

Illustrative Gross Yield: 11.4%

Illustrative Home Price: $599,000

On the Idaho side of Yellowstone National park, Island Park is the quintessential American West. In the summer, there are plenty of opportunities for fishing, horseback riding, or mountain biking, while the winters are great for skiing, snowshoeing, or snowmobiling.

34.) Branson, MO

Family Vacation Destination in the Ozarks

Illustrative Gross Yield: 11.4%

Illustrative Home Price: $325,000

Branson draws visitors for all sorts of reasons — live entertainment, amusement parks, shopping, outdoor activities — you name it. Homes can still be found for reasonable prices, leading to potentially attractive returns.

35.) Great Smoky Mountains – Tennessee

The #1 Vacation Rental Market in the U.S. [?]

Illustrative Gross Yield: 11.4%

Illustrative Home Price: $879,000

Great Smoky Mountains National Park — near Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville — has been called the #1 vacation rental market in the U.S. Undoubtedly, its popularity has exploded in recent years. As a result, home prices and competition among STRs have also increased. Even so, there are still pockets of opportunity for prospective investors.

36.) Palm Springs, CA

Desert Paradise in California

Illustrative Gross Yield: 11.4%

Illustrative Home Price: $999,000

The fresh air and clear skies of Palm Springs are unmistakable. Palm Springs is a top-tier and top-priced vacation rental market. 

Palm Springs California is an excellent place for luxury VRBO rental investments.

The clear skies, crisp air, and world-class golf are all popular draws for Palm Springs (Credit: Carol M. Highsmith via Wikimedia Commons).

37.) Wells, NY

Lake Town in the Adirondacks

Illustrative Gross Yield: 11.4%

Illustrative Home Price: $270,000

On Lake Algonquin in the Adirondack Mountains, Wells is a quaint little town that makes for a great, quiet getaway.

38.) St. Petersburg, FL

Florida Gulf Coast Gem

Illustrative Gross Yield: 11.2%

Illustrative Home Price: $319,999

St. Pete and its surrounding areas offer the beaches you'd expect from a Florida beach town plus the entertainment and culture you can only find in a larger metro.

39.) Flagstaff, AZ

Four Seasons of Outdoor Activities

Illustrative Gross Yield: 11.1%

Illustrative Home Price: $490,000

While Arizona is perhaps more closely associated with the hot desert climate of Phoenix and Tucson, the high country around Flagstaff is great for outdoor activity all four seasons.

40.) Manistee, MI

Lake Michigan Getaway

Illustrative Gross Yield: 10.9%

Illustrative Home Price: $179,900

On the shores of Lake Michigan, the quiet town of Manistee is a great vacation destination for families from Grand Rapids, Detroit, and Chicago. The nearby Arcadia Overlook has some of the best views available in all of Michigan.

41.) Islamorada, FL

Florida Keys Fishing Capital

Illustrative Gross Yield: 10.9%

Illustrative Home Price: $859,900

Located in the upper keys, Islamorada is among the most inviting keys as well as the "Sport Fishing Capital of the World".

42.) St. Augustine, FL

Historic Florida

Illustrative Gross Yield: 10.7%

Illustrative Home Price: $899,000

St. Augustine is rich in history, commonly called the oldest city in the U.S. In addition to numerous historic landmarks and museums, the area features pristine beaches, excellent golf courses, and even plenty of nightlife options.

43.) Glacier National Park – Montana

Breathtaking Vistas in the West

Illustrative Gross Yield: 10.7%

Illustrative Home Price: $439,000

The glacier carved peaks and valleys of Glacier National Park in northwestern Montana offer some of the most scenic views in the entire country.

Glacier Montana is a popular place for Airbnb and VRBO renters.

Glacier National Park — need we say more? (Credit: ParkQuest.net)

44.) Topsail Island – North Carolina

Pristine Beaches in North Carolina

Illustrative Gross Yield: 10.7%

Illustrative Home Price: $965,000

Topsail Island — home to Topsail Beach and Surf City — is known for its beautiful beaches and small town charm.

45.) Charleston Islands – South Carolina

Palmetto-Studded Sea Islands

Illustrative Gross Yield: 10.6%

Illustrative Home Price: $549,000

The islands surrounding Charleston, including Isle of Palms, Folly Beach, and Kiawah Island, offer some of the best beaches in South Carolina. 

46.) The Berkshires – Massachusetts

Includes Ashfield, Pittsfield, Lenox, and other quaint towns in the mountains.

Illustrative Gross Yield: 10.5%

Illustrative Home Price: $339,000

In western Massachusetts, the Berkshires are a popular vacation destination known for their natural beauty in all four seasons.

47.) Breckenridge, CO

World Class Skiing in Colorado

Illustrative Gross Yield: 10.4%

Illustrative Home Price: $799,900

While Aspen might be the top ski destination for the rich & famous, Breckenridge has a more laid-back atmosphere while still offering a world-class ski experience (and more affordable home prices).

48.) Bethany Beach, DE

Boardwalk and Beach

Illustrative Gross Yield: 10.2%

Illustrative Home Price: $895,000

The small town of Bethany Beach on Delaware's Atlantic shore is famous for its boardwalk, and of course, its beach. 

49.) Packwood, WA

Gateway to Mt. Rainier

Illustrative Gross Yield: 10.1%

Illustrative Home Price: $450,000

Just a couple hours from Tacoma and Seattle, Packwood is an excellent gateway to the Mount Rainier National Park and its wealth of natural beauty.

50.) Gulf Shores, AL

Family Beach Vacation

Illustrative Gross Yield: 9.9%

Illustrative Home Price: $725,000

Gulf Shores, Alabama has been a major destination for large families (and large groups of families) for decades, and it's easy to see why. Large homes with a lot of bedrooms (and good locations close to the beach) tend to perform the best for STR investors.

51.) Outer Banks – North Carolina

Go-To Vacation Destination

Illustrative Gross Yield: 9.9%

Illustrative Home Price: $725,000

Similar to many other. Towns on Hatteras Island, including Rodanthe, Salvo, and Avon, seem to offer some of the best potential for high returns.

Honorable Mention

And here are several other markets worth checking out (in no particular order):

  • Galveston, TX
  • Harbor Springs, MI
  • South Padre Island, TX
  • Port Aransas, TX
  • Ocean City, MD
  • Tahoe, CA
  • Tybee Island, GA
  • Breckenridge, CO
  • Garfield, AR
  • Big Sky, MT
  • Truckee, CA
  • Whitefish, MT
  • Anna Maria Island, FL

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