10. Barnstable Town, Massachusetts • Median Home Price: $759,950
Cape Cod, which is part of the Barnstable Town metro area, is known for its quaint villages, seafood shacks, and lighthouses — as well as its bays and ocean beaches with white sand. Located about a 90-minute drive from Boston, Cape Cod is also home to ferries departing for Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.
9. Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin • Median Home Price: $162,450
North of the Wisconsin Dells and west of Green Bay and Door County, Wisconsin Rapids sits in the middle of the state. The small town is home to some of the largest cranberry marshes in the country — stretching for 50 miles. As you might expect, the area has a system of trails that connects local parks.
8. Branson, Missouri • Median Home Price: $256,200
Branson has been called the Live Music Capital Of The World because it has more than 50 theaters for all types of acts. Outside of town, the big draw is that Branson is adjacent to Table Rock Lake — which has more than 700 miles of shoreline.
7. Edwards, Colorado • Median Home Price: $534,500
Considering that Edwards is just outside Beaver Creek Resort in the Rocky Mountains, it isn’t surprising that the area receives around 184 inches of snow each winter. There’s more to Edwards than skiing, however. Mild summers in the mountains make for fantastic hiking and biking.
Never heard of Kapaa? This paradise sits on the east side of the Hawaiian island of Kauai. While the area has a shopping hub, it’s the warm weather, beautiful scenery, and terrific beaches that draw crowds. Nounou Mountain offers fantastic hiking while bike riders will love the eight-mile-long Kapaa bike path.
It can be argued that Hudson offers the best of both worlds. While the small, outdoorsy town is in the famed Catskill Mountains, it is only a two-hour drive away from New York City. The downtown area is known for its boutiques and antique shops, while the area outside Hudson is perfect for hikers and mountain bikers.
4. Ruston, Louisiana • Median Home Price: $242,000
Northern Louisiana has been nicknamed Sportsman’s Paradise because it offers so many opportunities for fishing, hiking, and hunting around its numerous bayous. Seated in the middle of that area, Ruston is also home to Louisiana Tech and its sprawling campus.
3. Brainerd, Minnesota • Median Home Price: $329,900
Minnesota is known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes, and the area around Brainerd — about two hours north of Minneapolis — is no different. Indeed, there are more than 500 lakes located within a 25-mile radius. The area around Brainerd is known for its swimming, boating, and fishing.
2. Sturgis, Michigan • Median Home Price: $187,900
Stop what you’re thinking. This is Sturgis, Michigan, not the Sturgis known for the annual motorcycle rally (which is in South Dakota). This Sturgis is about halfway between Chicago and Detroit in southern Michigan. With scores of lakes nearby, it’s no surprise that the most popular vacation homes here are lake houses. Be sure to check out all of our Michigan content to read about our writers’ experiences in the area.
1. Marion, North Carolina • Median Home Price: $344,500
When you think of a town on the outskirts of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina, you probably think of Asheville. The nearby town of Marion, however, is more affordable — and considerably less crowded. The most popular vacation homes here are cabins in the woods.