Best waterfront vacation destinations in 2020

Published August 2020

Unobscured views of pristine blue waters, and a shoreline soaked in sunshine—the less crowded, the better. If that sounds like an idyllic setting to you, you’re certainly not alone.

According to a new survey conducted this month that gathered more than 1,800 responses from travelers, a whopping 75% want to vacation near a large body of water—whether lake, river, or ocean. And the most sought-after type of vacation rental? Unsurprisingly, over half are seeking a waterfront vacation home.

So, Vacasa’s travel experts rounded up nine vacation destinations from east to west where you can fish, swim, and boat the day away in relative solitude. If you’re dreaming of the ultimate beachfront, lakefront, or riverfront vacation spot, read on.

outdoor furniture with views of the Sound in Eastsound, WA

Eastsound, WA

Top beachfront Vacasa home: Orcas Beach Cottage

Tucked above Fishing Bay on Orcas Island, you’ll find Eastsound. A walkable coastal village, Eastsound is set on the waterfront with dazzling views from every angle. When you’re done swimming for the day, check out the many locally owned boutiques and restaurants, then stroll to the museum to learn all you can about historic Eastsound.

Browse all waterfront vacation rentals in Eastsound.

Riverfront vacation rental with dock in Sunriver, OR

Sunriver, OR

Top riverfront Vacasa home: Sunriver Deschutes Riverfront Lodge

High-desert Sunriver is widely considered to be a gateway to the best of Pacific Northwest outdoor adventure. Hike through the Deschutes National Forest, then rent a kayak and brave Deschutes River. If you’d prefer to vacation at a slower speed, stick to lazing on your private dock with an ice-cold beverage in hand.

Browse all waterfront vacation rentals in Sunriver.

deck overlooking ocean in Fort Bragg, CA

Fort Bragg, CA

Top oceanfront Vacasa home: Le Faux

A sleepy town along the Northern California coastline, Fort Bragg is surrounded by towering redwoods and craggy cliffs overlooking turbulent ocean waves. It’s the perfect place to read—or write—a mystery novel and traverse the beach. It’s as pet-friendly as destinations come, so bring Fido along!

Browse all waterfront vacation rentals in Fort Bragg.

lakefront vacation home in coeur dalene, id

Coeur d'Alene, ID

Top lakefront Vacasa home: Coeur d'Alene Elegance On The Lake

Lake Coeur d'Alene is a natural choice for many in the region, with its peaceful, 75-degree waters. Bordered by mountain ranges with scenic, winding trails, Lake Coeur d'Alene is over 26 miles long, so you’re sure to find an unoccupied corner that promises privacy and endless summer fun.

Browse all waterfront vacation rentals in Coeur d’Alene.

sevierville, tn waterfront vacation cabin with dock

Sevierville, TN

Top lakefront Vacasa home: Majestic Lakefront Lodge

Set in east Tennessee near the Great Smoky Mountains, Sevierville has hundreds of forest trails and some seriously jaw-dropping waterfalls. Retreat to the secluded shores of Douglas Lake, where you can fish for largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, and even catfish, or boat across the sparkling blue waters.

Browse all waterfront vacation rentals in Sevierville.

view of water from minocqua, wi vacation rental

Minocqua, WI

Top lakefront Vacasa home: The Lodge on Booth Lake

Families love the northwoods town of Minocqua for its abundance of outdoor activities and natural beauty. The local destination marketing organization even dubbed it “Nature's Original Water Park,” and for good reason. While there are many bodies of water to choose from, Booth Lake may be your best choice if you’re looking to escape crowds.

Browse all waterfront vacation rentals in Minocqua.

aerial view of anna maria island, fl

Anna Maria Island, FL

Top oceanfront Vacasa home: Once Upon a Time…

An island town bursting with old Florida charm, laid-back Anna Maria Island sits between the Gulf of Mexico and peninsular Florida. Walk miles of white sandy (and dog-friendly!) beaches along warm, turquoise ocean waters to find the perfect spot to lay your towel down for an afternoon full of sunshine.

Browse all waterfront vacation rentals on Anna Maria Island.

Upper deck of vacation rental overlooking water in Mineral, VA

Mineral, VA

Top lakefront Vacasa home: Dragonfly Cove

A stunning village near major hotspots in the region—like Richmond, Fredericksburg, and Charlottesville—Mineral offers privacy and solitude at the water’s edge. For quick access to unbeatable water activities, stay close to Lake Anna, one of the largest freshwater inland reservoirs in the state.

Browse all waterfront vacation rentals in Mineral.

Fire pit outside of North Hero, VT vacation rental

North and South Hero, VT

Top lakefront Vacasa home: North Hero Neverland

This might seem like an obvious one, but the beauty of Lake Champlain is always worth mentioning. Home to hundreds of shipwrecks and loads of bass, vacationing along Lake Champlain is far from an average experience. While you cool off in the water, take some time to learn about the fascinating history of Lake Champlain.

Browse all waterfront vacation rentals in North and South Hero.