If you’re getting ready to travel again after a year of staying at home, a rental cabin, cottage or house is a great way to take the whole family to a fun destination without having to be cramped together in a hotel room. The benefits of renting a pleasant home-away-from-home are obvious to millions of vacationers across the country. No shared walls with other guests, no need to leave to get something to eat, no bored kids who have to be taken out to attractions, and more quality time together when you want it. Here are some great destinations with affordable and family-friendly rental accommodations.
This little mountain town punches way above its weight with attractions and things to do. The gateway town to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg is nestled in the mountains yet packed with rides, museums, games, restaurants, shops, arts and music, and mountaintop attractions that are usually accessible by lift right from the main strip. The foothills around the town contain hundreds of affordable cabins for rent, from cozy 1-bedrooms to multi-room monsters perfect for groups and reunions. Gatlinburg cabins offer kitchens and washer/dryer, along with game rooms, TVs and Wi-Fi, Jacuzzis, a hot tub on the deck, and the gorgeous Smoky Mountains all around. When the family wants to take adventures, there are scenic drives and nature excursions more than you can fit in one trip. That’s why people come back year after year.
Waynesville and Hendersonville, North Carolina
Across the line from Tennessee, the national park extends almost to Asheville, a popular getaway in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Waynesville, located just west of Asheville, is often overlooked, and has a small-town vibe that allows you to slow down, relax, and enjoy a vacation at your own pace. If you like playing golf, then you will love the golf at Lake Junaluska.
You can find affordable summer homes in this area that provide you with mountain views, large decks and even a hot tub. Nearby Hendersonville is another small town that’s less well known, but with its own vineyards and breweries. You can also find a spacious cabin at an affordable price, many with game rooms to keep the kids busy while the adults relax. Alternate between scenic drives or adventures in the mountains, and relaxing in a rocking chair or the hot tub. Fire up the grill and indulge your culinary skills with some BBQ.
Emerald Coast, Florida
Of the many beaches Florida has to offer, one of the less famous but equally captivating is in the northwest of the state, curving around the Gulf of Mexico. With sugar-white sand, an old-Florida ambience and beautiful waters, this stretch of coastline offers numerous beach towns and attractions as well as some pristine parklands just in from the coast. Kids love the countless attractions of the most popular spots such as Destin at the western end and Panama City Beach at the eastern end. In between are lovely little areas and favorite quiet locations such as Seaside, the setting for Jim Carrey’s Truman Show movie, offering gorgeous pastel-painted cottages as rental accommodations for the whole family, and with gourmet restaurants and food trucks and a private beach.
Unsurprisingly, the Emerald Coast has quietly become one of the most sought-after investments for rental properties, as Americans surge into buying second homes and rental properties for retirement, forming small companies to hold property. So your vacation could always turn into a project for the future if you find a place you’d love to come back to.
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Hilton Head is one of the most popular beaches in South Carolina. Whether a rental in Sea Pines, at the Shipyard, or closer to Shelter Cove, you have plenty of options at your disposal. With affordable condo and townhouse rentals, the area offers plenty of space to spread out. Hilton Head is also known for its dolphin-watching, tennis, golf, and of course delicious crabs.
For more beguilement, sign up to take a tour of Dafuskie Island, the paradise where time stopped long ago, where there are sand dollars everywhere. If you would like to relax, you can sunbathe on the porch of your rental while the kids enjoy the pool. There are plenty of fishing opportunities as well. And don’t forget to climb the lighthouse at Harbour Town.
Angel Fire, New Mexico
If you are looking to head out West, then be sure to check out Angel Fire in New Mexico. This town is much busier during the ski season, with great powder, but at the southernmost end of the Rocky Mountains range and in a milder climate. This is a great place to visit during the summer as well, when condos are available for reduced rates. There’s a wide variety of outdoor activities including four-wheeling, fishing and horseback riding. Check out the zipline excursions through the mountain topography. With a temperate climate and little humidity, the Angel Fire area is a comfortable place to stay outside all day. Thirsty work, though, so don’t forget to relax with a beer from a local brewery as well.