Best places to buy a vacation home in Florida

Deciding where to buy a vacation rental investment property means considering a variety of factors, but for most people, it’s all about location, location, location. For this and many other reasons, Florida is one of the top destinations where buyers look to invest in a vacation home. Few other places offer year-round temperatures in the 70s (or higher!), white-sand beaches, and access to some of the nation’s top attractions.

However, when buying a vacation home to be used as a short-term rental (STR) in Florida, it’s not all about warm ocean waters and proximity to Mickey Mouse. Factors including cap rate, median home sale price, and net operating income come into play, and navigating short-term rental regulations can be challenging.

To help guide buyers through the myriad vacation destinations in the Sunshine State, we’ve ranked the best places to buy a vacation home in Florida.

The best places to buy a vacation home in Florida, ranked

Rank

Market

Median sale price

1

Kissimmee

6.9%

$250,046

2

Port St. Joe

6.2%

$343,236

3

Navarre

6.1%

$382,392

4

Panama City Beach

5.6%

$289,757

5

Amelia Island

5.3%

$460,172

6

Pensacola Beach

5.1%

$455,883

7

Key West

5.1%

$652,530

8

Destin

4.7%

$476,332

9

Miramar Beach

4.6%

$415,886

10

Middle Keys

4.5%

$537,839

How we ranked our top Florida vacation rental investment markets

In this report, we rank vacation rental markets based on aggregate cap rate, the ratio of a property’s net operating income over its sale price.

To determine net operating income for this report, we first calculated gross rental income for each market. From there, we subtracted each market’s average operating costs—factoring in things like management fees and property tax rates. Finally, we divided those figures by the historical costs of buying a vacation rental to determine cap rates for each market.

Familiarizing yourself with cap rate will help you make a more informed choice when deciding where to buy a vacation home. If you already have your sights set on a specific property, check out our vacation rental income calculator to determine how much income your vacation rental property could generate when managed by Vacasa.

outdoor pool in Kissimmee, FL vacation rental home

1. Kissimmee

Kissimmee has ranked on several of our Best Places to Buy reports, and for good reason. Visitors to the Kissimmee area, which also encompasses nearby Davenport, have a plethora of activities at their fingertips. Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Studios Resort, and LEGOLAND are all a short jaunt away. But, if you’re not into the amusement park scene, fear not. Old Town Kissimmee is a place where time slows down as visitors stroll through 18 acres of beautiful brick streets flanked with tall trees. Those looking for a more adventurous experience have plenty of options as well: hiking, biking, canoeing, and kayaking are all central to Kissimmee’s offerings. Boasting a cap rate of 6.9% and median home prices in the $250,000 range, Kissimmee promises to deliver on both vacation rental revenue and memorable experiences for guests.

Explore Kissimmee vacation rentals and learn about buying a vacation home in Kissimmee.

Cap rate

6.9%

Median sale price

$250,046

STR market size

32,673

Market annual gross rental revenue

$36,960

vacation home on the beach in Port St. Joe

2. Port St. Joe

An area once ravaged by Hurricane Michael is making a major comeback and lands at the #2 spot on our Best Places to Buy a Vacation Home in Florida list. Visitors to Port St. Joe will revel in the charm of this small town, known for its welcoming residents, and find it easy to relax along its white-sand beaches. Cape San Blas Park’s wilderness area offers ample opportunities for swimming, snorkeling, and fishing, or if you’d prefer to sun yourself, take as much room as you’d like: 1,900 acres of sugary sand allow for sprawl. Then, step into one of the area’s rustic fish shacks for some fresh fare. Port St. Joe’s average home sale price may sit a little higher than those of surrounding areas, but so does its annual vacation rental revenue at just over $42,000 per year.

Explore Port St. Joe vacation rentals and learn about buying a vacation home in Port St. Joe.

Cap rate

6.2%

Median sale price

$343,236

STR market size

774

Market annual gross rental revenue

$42,513

row of beach houses in Navarre Beach, FL

3. Navarre

Located in the northwest corner of Florida, Navarre welcomes visitors to the area with 12 miles of white-sand shoreline punctuated by emerald waters. The main attraction of Navarre is best captured in just one word: relaxation. The area’s award-winning beaches are named among the nation’s best year after year, and it’s been noted that crossing the Navarre Beach Bridge feels like you’re journeying into absolute bliss. Start the morning off right with yoga atop a paddleboard in the bay. Then, take a turn at fishing along the longest fishing pier in Florida, which stretches more than 1,500 feet. If it’s a bum day for catch, you’re sure to be entertained by views of the area’s rolling dunes. The short-term rental market is a bit smaller in Navarre, driving the median sale price up to $382,000, but it’s worth every penny.

Explore Navarre vacation rentals and learn about buying a vacation home in Navarre.

Cap rate

6.1%

Median sale price

$382,392

STR market size

615

Market annual gross rental revenue

$45,325

patio of vacation condo facing the ocean with a pool

4. Panama City Beach

Fondly referred to as PCB, Panama City Beach is perfect for family and solo travelers alike. The area’s attractions and activities are plentiful and are set against the backdrop of the Panhandle’s gorgeous beaches. Visitors can spend an entire day strolling through the Shopping Pier Park Mall, which spans a whopping 900,000 square feet and includes more than 125 shops and restaurants. PCB is also one of Florida’s most family-friendly vacation destinations. Visitors of all ages can enjoy more than 27 miles of white sand, or pop into one of the area’s popular attractions—like Ripley’s Believe It or Not, where guests enter through a sunken ship, or the Gulf World Marine Park, where up-close-and-personal interactions with wildlife are encouraged. A spacious condo to kick back in after all the fun will cost around $300,000, but will return a healthy cap rate of 5.6%.

Explore Panama City Beach condos and learn about buying a vacation rental in Panama City Beach.

Cap rate

5.6%

Median sale price

$289,757

STR market size

6,730

Market annual gross rental revenue

$35,441

vacation home on Amelia Island, FL

5. Amelia Island

Located just off the northeast coast of Florida, Amelia Island is a barrier island that has become a favorite of Florida travelers for a variety of reasons. Golfers looking to take to the links can find courses of every skill level, while those looking to lounge can relax in one of the island’s transformational spas. The food and dining scene on Amelia Island is second to none and features tastes for all palates, from fresh hamachi sushi to Southern culinary staples. While all Florida destinations are family-friendly, Amelia Island might better serve guests seeking a peaceful retreat from the little ones in luxurious surroundings. Those looking to buy on Amelia Island will pay a little more, as the median home sale price hovers around $450,000.

Explore Amelia Island vacation rentals and learn about buying a vacation rental on Amelia Island.

Cap rate

5.3%

Median sale price

$460,172

STR market size

848

Market annual gross rental revenue

$46,872

Beach houses in Pensacola Beach, FL

6. Pensacola Beach

If you’ve ever seen those aerial images of long stretches of sand dotted with colorful umbrellas and lots of sunbathers, they were probably taken at Pensacola Beach. Located in the northwest corner of Florida, Pensacola Beach is a lively, activity-filled coastline that offers beachfront bars and restaurants, as well as live music as the sun goes down over the water. While guests to the area can find quieter stretches of sand if desired, the area is known for visitors harmoniously enjoying the area’s 343 days of sunshine and 72 degree average ocean temperatures. Be sure to take a stroll along the Footprints in the Sand Eco-Trail, where creatures like birds, fish, turtles, and crabs can be found along the shore’s edge. Wonderfully bright vacation homes and condos in the area will earn approximately $45,000 in annual vacation rental revenue.

Explore Pensacola Beach vacation rentals and learn about buying a vacation home on Pensacola Beach.

Cap rate

5.1%

Median sale price

$455,883

STR market size

1,354

Market annual gross rental revenue

$45,330

Key West vacation rental with outdoor pool and lounge chairs

7. Key West

Key West lies at the southernmost tip of the U.S. and is known for a variety of things critical (for many) to a fun vacation: sun-soaked beaches, a lively nightlife scene, historic sites, and great food. Guests to the area can take in their colorful surroundings all while relaxing in a town that feels like it took a step back in time. This is best experienced through a stroll on Duval Street: a one-mile stretch known as the heartbeat of Key West, with many restaurants, shops, world-famous pubs, and attractions. An insider tip to enjoying Duval: prepare to be waitlisted for some of the area’s most popular eateries. Once you’ve filled up, take nearly any form of transportation (sailboat, jet boat, kayak, paddleboard, or even parasail) to experience Key West’s idyllic waters. Key West’s average home sale price is the highest on our list at just over $650,000, but hopefully the $60,000 average vacation rental income will soften the blow.

Explore Key West vacation rentals and learn about buying a vacation home in Key West.

Cap rate

5.1%

Median sale price

$652,530

STR market size

1,254

Market annual gross rental revenue

$59,323

Destin vacation rental with outdoor pool

8. Destin

Visitors to the “world’s luckiest fishing village” will find a lot more here than just the daily catch. While you’ll find many people chartering a boat out to test their luck, others can be found beneath the water via snorkel or scuba, checking out the plethora of sea creatures. Schools of colorful fish, sea turtles, and nurse sharks can be expected, and a humpback whale may make an appearance for the fortunate. Destin also is home to some of the best shopping and dining anywhere in Florida, so be sure to make time for some retail therapy in the sunny downtown district. Destin offers some world-class vacation homes due to its flexible regulations, so among the 4,000+ short-term rentals in the area, buyers are sure to find something to suit their needs.

Explore Destin vacation rentals and learn about buying a vacation home in Destin.

Cap rate

4.7%

Median sale price

$476,332

STR market size

4,072

Market annual gross rental revenue

$44,199

Miramar Beach, FL vacation rental with a large outdoor pool

9. Miramar Beach

This South Walton neighborhood is another classic Florida charmer. One might argue that the best way to enjoy a Miramar Beach vacation is simply to kick back and soak up the sun. The soft sand and warm water of Florida's Emerald Coast awaits guests at their doorstep, and there are plenty of options in the area for fishing, boating, and other water activities. Emerald Bay Golf Club offers peaceful fairways graced by ocean breezes, and homes in the area often provide access to tennis and swimming pools, too. Shoppers can peruse the popular Silver Sands outlets for bargains or spend the day at Spa Sandestin finding their zen. The ninth-ranked market on our Best Places to Buy a Vacation Home in Florida list yields a stable 4.6% cap rate.

Explore Miramar Beach vacation rentals and learn about buying a vacation home in Miramar Beach.

Cap rate

4.6%

Median sale price

$415,886

STR market size

3,993

Market annual gross rental revenue

$39,618

water fountains flowing into a pool

10. Middle Keys

Rounding out our top Florida markets is the Middle Keys. For those who are unfamiliar, the Middle Keys are, you guessed it, right in the middle of the Florida Keys. And this area is a sight to see, with waterways and famous bridges, like the Seven Mile Bridge, between islands. While there are countless places to explore among Conch Key, Duck Key, Grassy Key, and Marathon, guests would be remiss to pass on Sombrero Reef, a pure paradise for snorkelers. After a long day on the water, enjoy fresh seafood and a cold drink while staring out at the pristine shore. Our final Best Place to Buy a Vacation Home in Florida will bring in just over $47,000 in annual gross vacation rental revenue.

Explore Middle Keys vacation rentals and learn about buying a vacation home in the Middle Keys.

Cap rate

4.5%

Median sale price

$537,839

STR market size

944

Market annual gross rental revenue

$47,004



Vacasa offers property management and other real estate services directly through Vacasa LLC and through Vacasa LLC's licensed subsidiaries. Click here for more information about Vacasa's licensed real estate brokerage/property manager in your state. Vacasa’s licensed real estate brokerages/property managers include: Vacasa Alabama LLC; Vacasa Arizona LLC; Vacasa Florida LLC; Vacasa Louisiana L.L.C. (licensed in Louisiana); Vacasa Michigan LLC, 947-800-5979; Vacasa Nevada LLC; Vacasa New Hampshire LLC, P.O. Box 283, Conway NH 03818, Dave Grant, Broker of Record; Vacasa New Mexico LLC, 503-345-9399; Vacasa New York LLC, 888-433-0068, Susan E. Scanlon, Real Estate Broker; Vacasa North Carolina LLC; Vacasa Pennsylvania LLC; Vacasa Real Estate Corporation, California DRE #02105811, Joseph Czapkowicz, California DRE #01380722; Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Idaho, Oregon, and Utah); Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Tennessee, 615-671-9916); Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Washington, Robert Brush, Designated Broker); Vacasa South Carolina LLC; Vacasa Tennessee LLC; Vacasa Vacation Rentals of Hawaii LLC, 3350 Lower Honoapiilani Road, Suite 600, Lahaina, HI 96761; Vacasa Vacation Rentals of Montana LLC, Patrice Tompkins, Licensed Property Manager; Vacasa Virginia LLC; Vacasa Wisconsin LLC.