Many Americans spend their winters dreaming of warmer summer months. But for some, vacation home bases may be an all-year-long reality. Recent Census Bureau data shows that nearly almost 4% of homes in the U.S. are dedicated solely for vacation purposes. But of course, these homes are concentrated in specific parts of the country.
Florida is by far the most common state for Americans to have vacation homes, whether used for personal or rental purposes. Seven of the top 10 most popular cities for vacation homes are found in the Sunshine State, a huge bonus for the state’s economy.
Data from Airbnb shows that vacation rental homes generated over $371 million in tourist taxes in Florida in 2022. “Many vacation homeowners may also be investing in the local economy by renting out their properties to tourists, which can create jobs and stimulate growth,” realtor Phil Greely told Today’s Homeowner.
In this study, Today’s Homeowner determined the most popular spots for vacation homes. We compared 179 cities across the U.S. (all with populations of 65,000 or more) and ranked them according to the share of homes dedicated for vacation purposes, including seasonal, recreational, or occasional use. For more details on our sources, check out the Methodology section below.
- In six large cities, more than one in 10 homes are vacation homes. Florida’s Miami Beach has the highest concentration of vacation homes by far, with nearly a third of homes dedicated for seasonal, recreational, or occasional use.
- Six cities in the Florida Bay area rank in our top 10. They include Miami Beach, Pompano Beach, Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale, Boynton Beach, and West Palm Beach. Fort Lauderdale is the largest city on the list, with a population of roughly 181,700 and 12.0% of homes serving as vacation spots for their owners.
- Outside of Florida, cities in Arizona and California round out the top 10 vacation hotspots. Two cities surrounding Phoenix — Scottsdale and Mesa — are vacation home hotspots, along with Newport Beach in California.
1. Miami Beach, FL
Roughly one-third of homes in Miami Beach, Florida, are dedicated for seasonal, recreational, or occasional use. This is by far the highest concentration of vacation homes across all cities we considered. The share of vacation homes in the next highest-ranking city (Pompano Beach) is less than half that, at 16.4%.
- Number of vacation homes: 13,533
- Total number of homes: 40,788
- Share of vacation homes: 33.2%
2. Pompano Beach, FL
Just north of Fort Lauderdale and sometimes called the “Heart of Florida’s Gold Coast,” Pompano Beach ranks second for the city with the most vacation homes. Roughly 7,900 homes in Pompano Beach are dedicated for vacation use, making up more than 16% of all homes in the area.
- Number of vacation homes: 7,944
- Total number of homes: 48,363
- Share of vacation homes: 16.4%
3. Hollywood, FL
It might not be the first Hollywood you think of when you hear the name, but Florida’s Hollywood draws in plenty of tourists and is home to roughly 7,400 vacation homes, according to recent Census Bureau data. Relative to the nearly 61,600 homes in the city, vacation homes make up 12% of the housing market. This city may be popular because it’s home to the Hollywood Beach Boardwalk, known as one of the best boardwalks in America.
- Number of vacation homes: 7,408
- Total number of homes: 61,598
- Share of vacation homes: 12.0%
4. Fort Lauderdale, FL
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is the third-largest city in our top 10, following the two top-ten ranking Arizona cities (Scottsdale and Mesa). With nearly 181,700 people, there are a total of 83,000 homes in this coastal city. And of those, 12% (9,948) are dedicated vacation homes.
The high concentration of vacation homes in Fort Lauderdale may come as no surprise, given the many restaurants and bars in the area. Visitors spend the day by the ocean and the nights out enjoying the city.
- Number of vacation homes: 9,948
- Total number of homes: 83,021
- Share of vacation homes: 12.0%
5. Scottsdale, AZ
In 2021, roughly one in nine homes in Scottsdale, Arizona, were vacation homes. Interestingly, this figure marks a slight decline from five years earlier. In 2016, vacation homes made up closer to one in eight homes in the city (12.8%, to be exact). Scottsdale is a popular destination due to its year-round warm weather, social scene and nationally-renowned golf courses.
- Number of vacation homes: 13,662
- Total number of homes: 119,122
- Share of vacation homes: 11.5%
6. Boynton Beach, FL
Sometimes referred to as the “Gateway of the Gulfstream,” Boynton Beach is home to roughly 3,500 dedicated vacation houses. This makes up about 10.4% of the total housing stock in Boynton, the sixth-highest percentage in our study.
- Number of vacation homes: 3,454
- Total number of homes: 33,201
- Share of vacation homes: 10.4%
7. West Palm Beach, FL
Neighboring Palm Beach and the Lake Worth Lagoon, West Palm Beach is a popular vacation hotspot. Recent Census Bureau data shows that 9.9% of homes in the area are second homes primarily for seasonal, recreational, or occasional use. Specifically, there are 4,994 vacation homes relative to the city’s 50,409 homes.
- Number of vacation homes: 4,994
- Total number of homes: 50,409
- Share of vacation homes: 9.9%
8. Lakeland, FL
Unlike the six other Florida cities in our top 10, Lakeland is in central Florida, east of Tampa. Though not on the coast, Lakeland is still known for its popular vacation culture, boasting a large historic and antiques district and hosting many festivals throughout the year.
Lakeland has roughly 45,500 homes. Of those, almost 3,100 are dedicated vacation homes. The share of vacation homes is 6.7%, nearly three percentage points higher than the national average.
- Number of vacation homes: 3,062
- Total number of homes: 45,548
- Share of vacation homes: 6.7%
9. Mesa, AZ
Just east of Phoenix, Mesa is home to more than half a million people. Across the roughly 199,100 homes in the city, nearly 7% are vacation homes. Like in Scottsdale, the 2021 share of vacation homes marks a decline from five years previously (6.7% in 2021 vs. 11.5% in 2016).
- Number of vacation homes: 13,269
- Total number of homes: 199,112
- Share of vacation homes: 6.7%
10. Newport Beach, CA
Newport Beach, California, rounds out our list of the top 10 cities with the most vacation homes. Newport Beach is well known for its boat-filled harbor, and popular beaches include Wedge and Corona del Mar State. According to recent Census Bureau data, 6.5% of homes in Newport Beach are dedicated for vacationing.
- Number of vacation homes: 2,553
- Total number of homes: 39,131
- Share of vacation homes: 6.5%
Data for this study comes from the Census Bureau’s 1-year 2021 American Community Survey. We considered cities with populations of 65,000 or more, and looked at all those with complete data on the number of homes dedicated for seasonal, recreational, or occasional use. This left us with a total of 179 cities.
Cities were ranked according to their share of vacation homes, or the number of vacation homes divided by the total number of homes. We’d like to note that some cities may appear tied, but this is due to rounding.