Waterfront views, crisp fresh air, lush surroundings, and excellent rental potential await in these stunning locales.
A cabin tucked in the woods is the ultimate cozy getaway. Imagine swapping out noisy, honking cars for the soothing sounds of rustling leaves and babbling streams. Then, mix the earthy smell of wood and wildflowers. If this sounds like heaven to you, you're not alone. According to home rental company Evolve, cabins have seen a 37 percent jump in popularity since 2021, making this type of property an excellent investment. To help potential second homeowners, the company recently released a report on the best places to buy a cabin in the U.S.
"We look at destinations that benefit both investors and guests," Louis Olds, director of real estate at Evolve, told Travel + Leisure. "For investors, we identify locations that have attractive returns and robust guest demand. For guests, we take into consideration amenities, like a fireplace or hot tub, that can overlook the mountains or lakeshores as a perfect cozy escape in a secluded destination."
So, without further ado, here are 12 of the best places to buy a cabin in the U.S. and escape the stress of everyday life.
Known as the gateway to America's most popular national park, the Great Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg is a year-round playground for travelers seeking outdoor adventures. With miles of hiking trails winding through spectacular landscapes, picture-perfect mountain vistas, and access to family-friendly amenities and attractions, the destination draws vacationers from all over the country. So, no wonder cabins here are in high demand. Evolve estimates that homeowners can make, on average, $39,715 in yearly income, with some earning a whopping $105,000.
Hocking Hills, Ohio
While Hocking Hills may not be a household name, this stunning under-the-radar region southeast of Columbus, Ohio, is a nature lover's dream. As a result of Black Hand Sandstone weathering in the area, time has carved out beautiful caves, waterfalls, and canyons, making Hocking Hills an exciting hiking destination. Vacationers looking to unwind among lush forests and scenic views won't be disappointed. And potential homeowners have plenty of choices, too. Homes vary from small and cozy to sprawling multimillion-dollar log cabins. And if you decide to rent your second home, you could make close to $40,000 per year, according to Evolve.
Alaska conjures up images of unspoiled nature, where wildlife roams about unbothered. And this is precisely what you'll find in Fairbanks. The second-largest city in the state is located two hours from Denali National Park and Preserve, home to six million acres of untouched wilderness, including North America's tallest peak. To maximize your (and your potential renter's) experience, focus your search on classic log cabins with direct waterfront access (Chena River runs through the city) and amenities such as fire pits and game rooms.
Bryson City, North Carolina
As one of North Carolina's most charming small towns, with a downtown area lined with independent shops, restaurants, and breweries, Bryson City has plenty of character. Travelers flock here mainly for access to natural treasures like the Great Smoky Mountains and Appalachian Trail, plus all the outdoor activities and scenic views that come with them. Cabins here are a hot commodity, and with a median listing price below $250,000, the area is perfect for first-time investors or those looking for an affordable vacation home.
Eureka Springs, Arkansas
The downtown area of Eureka Springs, with its Victorian buildings and winding streets, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. But aside from its unique architecture, the town has a lot to offer nature lovers, too. Nestled between two rivers and in proximity to three lakes, this Ozarks town treats cabin residents and renters to an endless list of year-round water activities, mountain trails, and idyllic views galore. Evolve estimates yearly cap rates at 6.4 percent, which, paired with low median home values ($238,451), means you could earn almost $22,000 a year from your cabin in Eureka Springs.
Lake George, New York
The Adirondacks is a four-season playground for New Yorkers, providing visitors with a welcome respite from city life. Known as the "birthplace of the American vacation," Lake George has been the region's crown jewel and the go-to vacation spot for generations of Americans since at least the 1800s. Swimming, hiking, and water activities abound here, so investing in a secluded cabin is a no-brainer. An investment here is well worth it, especially compared to other popular mountain destinations near New York City. With a strong cap rate (six percent) and relatively affordable homes ($351,712), Lake George is the perfect destination to own a cabin.
Brainerd Lakes, Minnesota
With hundreds of lakes, rivers, and dense forests, it's no wonder Brainerd Lakes is known as "Minnesota's playground" and one of the best places to own a vacation home in the U.S. It's also emerging as a popular mountain biking destination, as well as a top spot for golf enthusiasts. Purchase a cabin here, and you could be waking up to idyllic mountain or lake views, cool breezes, and the sound of chirping birds. Plus, if you're in the market for an investment property, Evolve suggests focusing your search on lakefront cabins with docks, cozy fireplaces, and game rooms.
Blue Ridge, Georgia
This classic mountain town, about 90 miles north of Atlanta, offers access to more than 100,000 acres of woods, hundreds of miles of hiking trails, vineyards, and breathtaking views you'll never forget. The rolling hills outside Blue Ridge are dotted with farms, luxury lodges, and cabins, offering unique stays and opportunities for investment. To boost your profit potential, look for a cabin with large windows and beautiful vistas, and you could earn close to $30,000 in yearly income.
Asheville, North Carolina
Known as a top food destination with an excellent hospitality scene and historic architecture, Asheville frequently ranks among the best cities in the U.S. But this North Carolina city, tucked in the Blue Ridge Mountains, also draws vacationers seeking outdoor adventures, endless mountain views, and epic hiking. Understandably, Asheville's appeal with both types of travelers means even better rental potential for your cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Evolve's top tip for buying a house here is to look for proximity to the city's downtown area without compromising on privacy, amenities, and a beautiful natural setting.
Originally a summer vacation destination, Dover's lush mountains, scenic lakes, and ponds kept visitors content during the hot months until Mount Snow Resort was developed in the 1950s and the town became a favorite of winter sports fans, too. And with epic fall foliage, Dover is now the quintessential four-season destination in New England.
While cabins in the area don't have a high cap rate — 3.9 percent — you could still be making more than $25,000 a year if you decide to rent your property. To appeal to potential renters, make sure to offer proximity to Mount Snow, as well as a range of fun amenities such as a fire pit, game room, and fireplace.
One visit to Livingston is enough to convince you to move here full-time. The Montana town sits on the banks of the Yellowstone River and is surrounded by spectacular scenery. With Yellowstone National Park nearby, the town's lively art scene, family-run restaurants, and laid-back vibe cater to those seeking a blend of urban conveniences and natural beauty.
To make the most of your second home here, opt for a cabin with ample fishing opportunities, panoramic mountain views, and proximity to Yellowstone.
Grand Lake, Colorado
Who can say no to majestic lake views set against the towering peaks of the Rockies? As Colorado's largest natural body of water, Grand Lake is abuzz with activity during the summer months. But winter brings another layer of fun on the scenic shores of the lake. Known as the snowmobile capital of Colorado (you can even snowmobile on town roads), visitors can enjoy epic adventures when temperatures drop, too.
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