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.

Deanne Revel

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.

Crab Island

Emerald Coast CVB

 Most Popular U.S. Destinations

Orange Beach, Alabama

South Walton Beach, Florida

Vacation Ideas for These Spots

Magic Bands for Fast Pass+
What's a FastPass+?

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.

 

960 1280

Kent Phillips  

Magic Kingdom: Space Mountain

Magic Kingdom: Space Mountain

Grab 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: Splash Mountain

Magic Kingdom: Splash Mountain

If you’re going to the park in the summer, definitely grab FastPasses for the whole family. It’s a great way to cool off in the Florida sun but everyone else has the same idea, making the line very long. 960 1280

Garth Vaughan  

Magic Kingdom: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Magic Kingdom: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

As 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

  

Bonus: Princess Fairytale Hall

Bonus: Princess Fairytale Hall

If you’ve got your My Disney Experience app handy, you can book a bonus FastPass+ ticket. We recommend Princess Fairytale Hall where popular characters like Frozen’s Anna and Elsa can push wait times to an hour or longer. 960 1280

Ali Nasser  

Worth the Line: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Worth the Line: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

You 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

Matt Stroshane  

Worth the Line: Peter Pan's Flight

Worth the Line: Peter Pan's Flight

This queue features a tour through the Darlings' home and interactive moments with Tinkerbell in Wendy, John and Michael’s play room. 960 1280

Mariah Wild  

Epcot: Test Track

Epcot: Test Track

There’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

Kent Phillips  

Epcot: Soarin'

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

Disney Parks Public Relations: 407-566-6397  

Epcot: New Frozen Ever After Ride

Epcot: New Frozen Ever After Ride

RIP, Maelstrom ride. But hello to a new Norway pavilion and an expansion into the world of Frozen for summer 2016. Do we even need to say why you’ll want a pass? It’s Frozen. Be prepared for crowds. 960 1280

  

Bonus: The Seas With Nemo

Bonus: The Seas With Nemo

On the height chart, this ride is OK even for the little ones, making it extremely popular for large family groups. 960 1280

  

Hollywood Studios: Tower of Terror

Hollywood Studios: Tower of Terror

Rides 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 Coaster

Hollywood Studios: Rock 'N' Roller Coaster

This 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

  

Hollywood Studios: Toy Story Mania

Hollywood Studios: Toy Story Mania

This interactive ride has, without a doubt, the longest wait time in the park, at two hours plus in peak times. But it’s so much fun. Grab passes for the family as soon as you can. 960 1280

  

Bonus: Star Tours

Bonus: Star Tours

With 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 Everest

Animal Kingdom: Expedition Everest

Starting 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 Safari

Animal Kingdom: Kilimanjaro Safari

Yes, 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 Rapids

Animal Kingdom: Kali River Rapids

You’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

David Roark  

Bonus: Adventurer’s Outpost

Bonus: Adventurer’s Outpost

Sure, 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

Kent Phillips  

Fort Walton Beach
Crab Island

Crab Island

Enjoy 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

Emerald Coast CVB  

HarborWalk Village

HarborWalk Village

Visit 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

Danita Delimont / Getty Images  

Emerald Grande at HarborWalk Village

Emerald Grande at HarborWalk Village

Looking 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

Oyster.com  

Fishing in Destin

Fishing in Destin

Located 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

Emerald Coast CVB  

Destin Commons

Destin Commons

On 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

Emerald Coast CVB  

Okaloosa Island Pier

Okaloosa Island Pier

Watch the sun set or fish from the pier of Okaloosa Island, where locals and tourists also flock to the island for the white-sand beaches. 960 1280

Emerald Coast CVB  

Sterling Shores Resort

Sterling Shores Resort

The rooms at Sterling Shores -- some with a Gulf view -- are bright and airy, and there are two pools at the resort. Sterling Shores offers special events for kids, and it also has small movie theater. 960 1280

Oyster.com  

Kelly Plantation Golf Course

Kelly Plantation Golf Course

Destin’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

Emerald Coast CVB  

Dolphin Cruises

Dolphin Cruises

Go 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

troutkarmarv, Flickr  

Regatta Bay Golf and Country Club

Regatta Bay Golf and Country Club

Regatta 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

Emerald Coast CVB  

Courtyard Sandestin

Courtyard Sandestin

The rooms at the Courtyard Sandestin are spacious with flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges and free Wi-Fi. The hotel has a lobby bar, mini market, big outdoor pool and a fitness center. 960 1280

Oyster.com  

Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park

Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park

Get 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

Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park  

Fort Walton Beach

Fort Walton Beach

We 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

Seriously Photographic, Flickr  

Destin West RV Resort

Destin West RV Resort

Destin 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 West RV Resort  

Destin Harbor

Destin Harbor

Destin was ranked as one of the Top 10 Places to Live and Boat by Boating magazine. The city may be known for its various outdoor activities, but it’s also a popular spot for a destination wedding. 960 1280

Emerald CVB  

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

Hurricane, Utah

Sautee Nacoochee and Cleveland, Georgia

Bay Area, California

Waco, Texas

Utica, Illinois

Baylor University, Texas

Lauren Simpson

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.

El Arco in Cabo San Lucas

 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.

Deanne Revel

 Trending International Destinations

Ontario, Canada Province

Black Forest, Germany

Moscow, Russia

Short Beach, Nova Scotia, Canada

Kootenay, British Columbia, Canada

Are you booking any of these spots this year? Share your vacation photos with #LiveTravelChannel.

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