America’s Top Vacation-Home Spots
The two most-searched vacation ZIP codes in America are both in Cape May, NJ: Ocean City and North Wildwood. The top vacation areas also include Kissimmee, Marco Island, and Panama City Beach, all in Florida. In California, the most popular locations for a vacation home are Big Bear Lake and Lake Arrowhead near Los Angeles, and in the north, Truckee and South Lake Tahoe.
America’s Top 20 Vacation-Home ZIP Codes
|#||ZIP code||Neighborhood||County||Median price|
|1||Ocean City||Cape May, NJ|
|2||North Wildwood||Cape May, NJ|
|4||Ocean City||Worcester, MD|
|5||Marco Island||Collier, FL|
|6||Big Bear Lake||San Bernardino, CA|
|7||Lake Arrowhead||San Bernardino, CA|
|8||Panama City Beach||Bay, FL|
|10||Cherry Grove Beach||Horry, SC|
|11||Santa Rosa Beach||Walton, FL|
|12||Harvey Cedars||Ocean, NJ|
|13||Fort Morgan||Baldwin, AL|
|14||South Lake Tahoe||El Dorado, CA|
|16||East Hampton||Suffolk, NY|
|17||Palm Springs||Riverside, CA|
|18||South Padre Island||Cameron, TX|
Among the top 20 vacation ZIP codes, the most expensive are Nantucket and East Hampton, where the median asking price is well over a million. The least expensive are in the South: Gatlinburg, TN, at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and Cherry Grove Beach, near Myrtle Beach, SC.
Many vacation areas are bigger than a single ZIP code, so let’s also look at the top counties for vacation searches for a clearer sense of the most popular areas. Almost 5% of U.S. vacation-home searches are in Cape May county, NJ, with another 4% in Barnstable county, MA (Cape Cod). Check out the full list below: these top 10 counties account for more than one quarter (27%) of all U.S. vacation searches.
America’s Top 10 Vacation-Home Counties
|#||County||Main vacation areas in that county||Share of all U.S. vacation searches|
|1||Cape May, NJ||Cape May,|
|2||Barnstable, MA||Cape Cod|
|3||San Bernardino, CA||Arrowhead,|
|4||Suffolk, NY||The Hamptons, Montauk|
|5||Lee, FL||Fort Myers, Sanibel, Captiva|
|6||Horry, SC||Myrtle Beach|
|7||Collier, FL||Marco Island|
|8||Riverside, CA||Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage|
|9||Sussex, DE||Dewey Beach, Bethany Beach|
|10||Ocean, NJ||Harvey Cedars, Seaside Heights|
Vacation Close to Home – Or Go Far, Far Away?
The top vacation areas nationally are on or near the East or West Coast. Does that mean Texans and Midwesterners travel far or skip vacations altogether? No! The most popular vacation areas nationally are near the country’s biggest population centers, but every region has its own nearby favorites. This interactive map reveals which are the top counties and top ZIP codes for vacation searches for each of 25 large metro areas.
Let’s take a tour of favorite vacation areas in different regions of the country.
New Yorkers, for instance, tend to look farther east for vacation. More than one quarter (26%) of vacation searches by New Yorkers are to Suffolk County, which includes the Hamptons and Montauk. The most popular vacation ZIP code for New Yorkers is East Hampton, where homes list for a median price of $1.25M, as do homes in several other popular New York vacation ZIP codes. What about New Yorkers who aren’t going to drop a million on a second home? They look to Pennsylvania: two of the ten top vacation spots for New Yorkers, Pocono Lake and Bushkill, are in the Keystone State and have median home prices below $150,000.
What about Bostonians? They don’t like to leave their state – but if your state had Cape Cod, neither would you. Half of the vacation searches by people in the Boston metro area are for homes on Cape Cod.
Outside of the Northeast, people search farther for vacation homes. For example, just one of the top ten ZIP codes for vacation searches by Chicago residents is in Illinois, while the rest are in Michigan (Grand Beach, Union Pier), Wisconsin (Lake Geneva, Fontana, Wisconsin Dells), and Florida (Marco Island, Fort Myers Beach).