Top 20 Destinations for Vacation Rentals
See where other travelers are booking.
Already dreaming of your summer vacation? You're not alone. January and February are the most popular months to book travel, according to vacation rental site Home Away. “Vacation home demand tends to spike 75 percent from December,” says Melanie Fish, Home Away’s family travel expert.
It makes sense. People are sick of winter and want something to look forward to. Travelers searching through more than 100 million homes on the site are already planning their summer vacations. "We recommend looking for your vacation home at least three months in advance,” said Fish.
If you feel like you’re behind on your travel plans, get inspiration from the top destinations travelers are booking.
Emerald Coast CVB
Most Popular U.S. Destinations
Orange Beach, Alabama
South Walton Beach, Florida
What's a FastPass+?
There’s so much to do at Walt Disney World that you can’t do it all in one day. But you can make the most of your time by scheduling FastPass+ tickets for popular attractions to skip the long lines. Any guest with a park ticket can reserve free passes online or inside the park at FastPass+ kiosks. And if you book early enough, you can even select specific times you’d like to go to each ride. Your passes are loaded on a MagicBand so if you don't have one, the free ticket bracelet can be mailed to you before your trip. Insider Tip: You only get three passes a day but you can book a bonus pass with the free My Disney Experience app. Use our recommendations for each park and save precious park time with your family.
Magic Kingdom: Space MountainGrab a FastPass+ for this ride first. The Tomorrowland attraction is the most high-intensity coaster ride in the park, making it popular for adults and kids alike. If passes aren’t available, try using the single rider line to cut down on wait times. 960 1280
Magic Kingdom: Big Thunder Mountain RailroadAs thrilling as Space Mountain but without the scary riding in the dark part, Big Thunder Mountain is a great choice for your kid’s first coaster ride. But, again, the popularity makes for really long wait times, especially during peak vacation times. 960 1280
Worth the Line: Seven Dwarfs Mine TrainYou can’t skip every line in the Magic Kingdom so if you have to wait for something, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is the most fun. Kids (and adults, too) can play interactive video games with gems as you wander through the mine. 960 1280
Epcot: Test TrackThere’s a reason this one always has a line: It’s fast. At nearly 65 miles per hour, it’s one of the fastest Disney park rides ever built. And you can zip right to the action with a fast pass. If you’ve never been on this one, you may want to wait it out in the slow lane. There’s an interactive experience you’ll miss, like designing a car and seeing how your car would perform after the ride. 960 1280
Epcot: Soarin'With the ride's new revamp scheduled for summer 2016, guests will soar over the world, not just California as in the previous ride. That mega overhaul means mega lines of fans ready to see the new experience. Definitely schedule this pass before you even get to the park. 960 1280
Hollywood Studios: Tower of TerrorRides like this are polarizing for a family. Somes kids love thrill rides. And others might not be 40 in. tall yet. Book fast passes so the kids who aren’t riding don’t spend an hour of their precious park time waiting on siblings. 960 1280
Hollywood Studios: Rock 'N' Roller CoasterThis is another one like Tower of Terror. You have to be 48 in. tall, OK with fast drops and turns in the dark, plus the ride is presented by Aerosmith so it’s fun but loud. Really loud. If that doesn’t sound like everyone in your bunch, get passes for the rockers so they don’t keep the group waiting. 960 1280
Bonus: Star ToursWith the recent blockbuster film and revived Star Wars frenzy, this 3-D adventure is hot at Hollywood Studios. The ride has been revamped with more scenes and more characters. Storylines are randomized so you never know what combination you'll get. The mystery draws second and third-time riders every day. Cut down on your wait time at least once with a pass. 960 1280
Animal Kingdom: Expedition EverestStarting Memorial Day weekend, Animal Kingdom will stay open at night. And you can ride rides like this coaster in the dark. The extra time won’t dilute the lines too much, though; it’s still a super popular ride. Grab a pass as soon as you can. 960 1280
Animal Kingdom: Kilimanjaro SafariYes, even the safari will be open at night. In the dark. With lions. The nighttime safari allows guests to see new animals and animals featured in the daytime safari not active during the day. Both perspectives offer totally different experiences and chances to see animals so it’s worth doing the ride twice. Use a pass for day or night so you don’t wait in line twice. 960 1280
Animal Kingdom: Kali River RapidsYou’ll get soaked on this one. But during the hot Florida summer, it’s welcomed and a popular choice for guests beating the heat. Try to schedule a time early in the afternoon that will give your family time to dry out before the nighttime fireworks and shows. 960 1280
Bonus: Adventurer’s OutpostSure, you could wait to see Mickey and Minnie at the Magic Kingdom. Or you could book a pass to get autographs and have photos taken with them in safari gear. If you can, schedule this one during the hottest hour of the afternoon for a break from the sun. 960 1280
Walt Disney World Must-Dos 19 Photos
Crab IslandEnjoy fun in the sun on Crab Island, an underwater boating and party island located on the North side of the Destin bridge. From April to November, tourists will notice anywhere from 10 to 200 boats anchored in the bay. Locals anchor their boats to spend the day swimming, snorkeling, and playing football, Frisbee and volleyball. During the summer, there are boats selling burgers, shrimp, boiled peanuts, ice cream and much more. 960 1280
HarborWalk VillageVisit Destin’s HarborWalk Village, where you can find waterfront shopping, water sports, boat pontoon and jet ski rentals, world class fishing, dolphin cruises, bars and clubs, weekly fireworks, seasonal festivals, live entertainment and a variety of restaurants to so suit the most discriminating foodie’s taste. 960 1280
Emerald Grande at HarborWalk VillageLooking for a place to stay? Check in at the family-friendly Emerald Grande at HarborWalk Village. The hotel has a Crew Club for kids. It provides a variety of fun activities, including scavenger hunts, pirate parties, face painting and movie nights. For adults, enjoy a relaxing spa treatment. The hotel has an outdoor pool, well-equipped fitness center and free Wi-Fi. 960 1280
Fishing in DestinLocated in the Florida Panhandle, Destin traces its history back to 1845, when Captain Leonard Destin settled in Northwest Florida. He pioneered the fishing industry. Today, this fishing town -- known as “world’s the luckiest fishing village” -- is a hot spot for trolling, jetty fishing and deep sea fishing. Charter fishing is very popular; so we suggest you book your family fishing adventure before visiting the Emerald Coast. 960 1280
Destin CommonsOn you mark, get set, shop! Destin has numerous places for you to shop until you drop. Start your shopper’s retreat at one of these shopping malls: Destin Commons (pictured), Santa Rosa Mall, Sunsations Plaza, Shoreline Village Mall, The Boardwalk Okaloosa Island, Emerald Coast Centre or Shoreline Village Mall. 960 1280
Kelly Plantation Golf CourseDestin’s Kelly Plantation Golf Club, located along the Choctawhatchee Bay, has 18 holes built on the former site of a turpentine plantation owned by Mattie and Coleman Kelly. American pro golfer Fred Couples and Gene Bates, an Australian cyclist who owns the Bates Golf Design Group, designed the Kelly Plantation Golf Course. Rated 4.5 stars by Golf Digest the Golf Course has more the 7,000 yards of large contoured greens surrounded by Magnolias and Palmettos. 960 1280
Dolphin CruisesGo dolphin watching on the Sea Blaster, a 73-foot passenger boat that carries up to 119 passengers -- the Gulf’s largest speedboat. Sea Blaster offers snorkeling and dolphin cruises. Boogie Water Sports, Olin Marler’s Charter and Southern Star are other choices to book your fun dolphin watching excursion. 960 1280
Regatta Bay Golf and Country ClubRegatta Bay Golf and Country Club is a golfer’s paradise. The 6,894-yard, par-72 offers an extraordinary golf experience for players of all skill levels was named one of Golf Digest’s “Top Places to Play in North America” and one of the Top 15 courses in Florida. Enjoy the state-of-the-art Parview GPS system on the golf carts; chilled apples on the 1st and 10th tees; and cool off with mango-scented iced towels. And with this picturesque scenery, this golf club makes it a perfect place for a destination wedding. 960 1280
Gulfarium Marine Adventure ParkGet up close and personal with dolphins, otters, stingrays, sea lions, seals and turtles at Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park. Open since 1955, the Park has attracted millions of visitors. For outdoor enthusiasts, we also recommend visiting Big Kahuna’s Water & Adventure Park, Gator Beach, Emerald Coast Dirt & Vert and Sasquatch Zoo. 960 1280
Fort Walton BeachWe suggest you head to Fort Walton Beach if you’re looking for a little rest, relaxation and sun bathing. This city is a year-round fishing and beach resort community, and 1000s of people flock to Fort Walton Beach and the Emerald Coast for spring break and during the summer -- its busiest time of the year. 960 1280
Destin West RV ResortDestin attracts thousands of campers, and some of those avid campers have RVs. If you’re on the road, make a pit stop at the Destin West RV Resort, a luxury RV park on the coast of Okaloosa Island’s Choctawhatchee Bay. The Resort provides complimentary cable and Wi-Fi, and it’s located near laundry facilities, the beach and a miniature golf course. Playground RV Park, Henderson Beach State Park and Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park are other ideal places to go for campers. 960 1280
Destin Vacation Guide 15 Photos
Fish said beyond Home Away’s traditional, popular destinations it’s surprising to see the up and coming spots. “We’ve pinpointed areas that are in high demand,” she said. These are destinations that have skyrocketed in search for thousands of travelers booking vacation homes in just the past year.
Trending U.S. Destinations
Sautee Nacoochee and Cleveland, Georgia
Bay Area, California
Haven’t heard of some of these spots? That’s because they’re more rural. Families are opting for places close to nature. “The common thread I see with up and coming spots is that they’re very outdoorsy,” Fish said. “The destination with the most growth, Hurricane, Utah, is close to Zion National Park. People want the best of both worlds. They want adventure but want to come home to a hot shower and home furnishings and relax.”
And Waco, Texas doesn’t surprise us at Travel Channel. Our sister network HGTV airs the hit show Fixer Upper, which is based in Waco. Home Away agrees that fans are making the pilgrimage to Texas to visit popular Chip and Jo sites.
Thinking of an international vacation? These are the top five, most popular destinations for booking home rentals.
Most Popular International Destinations
Precos Pensisko, Mexico
Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
And for the new, hip spots, Fish said these are the top five trending international destinations. It’s clear Canada is king for home vacation rentals. Fish said that’s not surprising as 61 percent of Home Away travelers drive for vacation.
Trending International Destinations
Ontario, Canada Province
Black Forest, Germany
Short Beach, Nova Scotia, Canada
Kootenay, British Columbia, Canada
Are you booking any of these spots this year? Share your vacation photos with #LiveTravelChannel.