Two of them are just about six hours south of Atlanta

With the realization they can now work from anywhere, many people are investing in vacation homes. When they need a change of pace — or change of view — those fortunate enough to afford a second home can hit the road without having to worry about reservations or COVID-19 protocals.

According to Travel + Leisure, small towns nationwide are seeing “an overwhelming surge in interest from out-of-towners looking to invest in a second home.”

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“Since the pandemic, we have seen a boom of interest in suburbs, secondary cities, and vacation markets in the U.S. and around the world,” Philip White, president and CEO of Sotheby’s International Realty, told T+L. “That trend has endured, and I envision buyers will continue to seek out locations that offer space, natural beauty, relaxed lifestyles and larger properties.”

White said many people are looking for properties near water, such as a lake or an ocean, and in communities that offer golf, skiing or other activities. With those criteria in mind, T+L recommends eight small towns throughout the country in which to buy a vacation home. Two of these towns are only about six hours south of Atlanta.

Caption
Seaside, Fla., was the filming location for the 1998 movie "The Truman Show."

Credit: Contributed by Steven Brooke

Seaside, Fla., was the filming location for the 1998 movie "The Truman Show."
Caption
Seaside, Fla., was the filming location for the 1998 movie "The Truman Show."

Credit: Contributed by Steven Brooke

Credit: Contributed by Steven Brooke

Seaside, Florida

If this charming town on the Emerald Coast looks familiar, it’s because “The Truman Show” was filmed here.

“Seaside offers a thriving town center with shopping and dining, all within walkable distance to homes, cottages and offices,” the city’s website states. Consisting of more than 300 homes, the community also offers an abundant assortment of restaurants, shops and galleries.”

Seaside’s real estate had the highest price per square foot in 2021 of all 30A communities — a 26-mile stretch of beaches — breaking records across the board.

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Caption
See ghosts, lighthouse, history, alligators on trip to St. Augustine

See ghosts, lighthouse, history, alligators on trip to St. Augustine
Caption
See ghosts, lighthouse, history, alligators on trip to St. Augustine

St. Augustine, Florida

The nation’s oldest city is a living museum with an “eclectic mix of architectural styles (French, Spanish, English, Gilded Age), vibrant arts community, and, of course, gorgeous beaches,” T+L wrote.

An Oregon-based international rental management company recently ranked the Northern Florida town second on its annual list of top vacation rental spots. According to the company, you can earn nearly $50,000 in annual rental income. A second home in St. Augustine could be used as a getaway or an investment.

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A little farther from home

If you’re looking for a vacation home a little farther from Atlanta, Travel + Leisure has six more recommendations:

Bend, Oregon: Three hours from Portland, this town has more than 300 miles of biking trails, climbing routes, and thousands of miles worth of skiing and snowboarding trails. The Deschutes River that runs through the town, for those looking for that water element.

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho: According to White, this lakeside town is not only one of the top relocation markets in the U.S., but also offers the highest value vacation homes.

Harbor Springs and Bay Harbor, Michigan: “The demand is incredibly high for those looking for a second home on the water, and both towns are prime destinations for vacationers and residents alike,” White said.

Grand Lake, Colorado: This community on the banks of Grand Lake experienced a 151% increase in sales during the first half of 2021.

Big Sky, Montana: This resort community has plenty to do year round, but it comes alive in winter. According to Rockethomes.com, the median listing home price for September 2021 rose almost 22%, to $1.4 million, since last year.

Wailea, Hawaii: “With five beaches, including the Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve, numerous snorkeling outports, hiking trails, world-class golf courses, and luxury resorts, buying a property in Wailea is an appealing investment,” T+L wrote. The average cost of homes has increased 55% over last year.

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