10 Best Places in Florida to Buy a Vacation Home

Because the best investments come with high returns on sunshine.

Best Vacation Rental Investment Florida Panama City Beach
Photo: Arpad Benedek/Getty Images

If there's a common wish on every beach lover's bucket list, it's to own a vacation home by the shore. But aside from the obvious benefit of providing a breezy escape from reality, a beach house can also be a lucrative asset–particularly if you invest in one in Florida.

According to a report from Rented.com, the land of sunshine and white sand holds more profitable vacation rental markets than any other state in the country, with 15 Floridian cities poised to earn homeowners more bang for their buck. And if what you're looking for is the maximum return on your beach house investment, you should look no further than the Gulf Coast city of Pensacola, which beat out all other coastal towns when it came to the highest return on investment (ROI).

Drone Aerial Beach View of Panama City Beach, Florida, USA during Spring Break.
Getty Images

The 2021 annual report from the property management site, which analyzes trends in housing costs and tourism to forecast a destination's rental success, ranked the 100 best places to buy a vacation property. Of the top 25, six are located in Florida, with Daytona Beach also in the top 10, at number five.

To determine a market's rental potential, Rented.com looked at factors including real estate prices, property taxes, and average maintenance costs, as well as rental and occupancy rates, rental property demand, and any legal regulations that might make renting short-term on platforms like Airbnb difficult. Coupled with pandemic-related factors such as travel restrictions and limited inventory, urban markets are cited as less desirable locations for vacation properties. And vacationers are also seeking drive-to destinations.

"The Gulf Coast is still experiencing some of its best numbers due to its drivability for residents in the southeast," reads the report. "This area is also ripe for opportunities to invest, as asset prices have not risen nearly as fast as those in other markets."

As a vacation capital, Florida is an obvious choice for a rental property investment. And with hundreds of miles of attractive shoreline peppered with small- to medium-sized beach towns, occupancy rates tend to be high year-round while competition can be low. Throw in the fact that you can score an oceanside home for less than $300k in some cities, and, really, there's no reason not to buy a beachfront escape in Florida as soon as possible.

Agreed? Check out these 10 Florida destinations with the highest projected ROI for rental property owners, and get the full list of the 100 destinations here.

  1. Pensacola: Median Listing Price: $299k | Estimated Rental Income: $38,000
  2. Daytona Beach: Median Listing Price: $274k | Estimated Rental Income: $32,000
  3. Navarre: Median Listing Price: $439k | Estimated Rental Income: $43,000
  4. Clearwater: Median Listing Price: $350k | Estimated Rental Income: $21,000
  5. Panama City Beach: Median Listing Price: $500k | Estimated Rental Income: $32,000
  6. Jacksonville: Median Listing Price: $300k | Estimated Rental Income: $20,500
  7. Sarasota: Median Listing Price: $563k | Estimated Rental Income: $32,000
  8. Siesta Key: Median Listing Price: $1.3 million | Estimated Rental Income: $56,000
  9. Tampa: Median Listing Price: $405k | Estimated Rental Income: $27,000
  10. Santa Rosa Beach: Median Listing Price: $950k | Estimated Rental Income: $52,000
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