Homeowner tips for creating a standout vacation rental

Insights from 20 top homes of 2021
>

2021 was the year that travel returned. People were back at it—planning, dreaming, and going on their much-deserved vacations. We were curious which Vacasa vacation homes drew the most attention during this time. So like last year, we dug into our website data and found the most-favorited homes of 2021.

Want to know what makes a standout vacation rental? Learn from the vacation rentals that won the most hearts on our website this year.

Living room in a vacation home rental with floor to ceiling windows in Mason, WA.

1. Heaven at Wapato Point - Manson, WA

Tip: Offer oversized seating to fit large groups

These homeowners knew how to make their property—with a max. occupancy of 8—feel like it could fit twice as many guests. They intentionally chose oversized furnishings, but kept the total number of pieces to a minimum. With plenty of spacious, plush seating—both inside and outside on the large deck—the home is an ideal retreat for families or groups who want to enjoy time together without feeling cramped. A roomy hot tub completes the scene.

“This home served as the best backdrop at the end of the school day for the kids to go out and run around.” — guest Jesse B.

View this home >

Kayaks rest on the beach near the water in front of three story beach house

2. Horizon - Marathon, FL

Tip: Give every bedroom access to the outdoors

How can you top astounding Atlantic Ocean views? Make them incredibly easy to access and enjoy. In every bedroom, Horizon’s owners placed sliding glass doors that open to the oceanfront balcony. On top of that, they offer a second expansive balcony from the dining room, plus recently installed a new observation deck to take in even more scenery. When guests finally decide to head to the water, the homeowners provide complimentary kayaks and paddleboards.

“5 stars is simply not enough to describe how wonderful our experience was at this home in the Florida Keys.” — guest Emily S.

View this home >

Exposed wood beams and open layout with a blue coach and beautiful views in Chilmark, MA.

3. The Eliot Noyes - Chilmark, WA

Tip: Make even spacious rooms feel warm and intimate

The famed architect behind this Martha’s Vineyard home brilliantly made an airy open floor plan feel cozy. Built by Eliot Noyes, one of The Harvard Five architects hailing from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, this mid-century retreat keeps things warm yet spacious. You don’t have to be a modernist master to achieve that same effect. Just mimic some of the property’s homey details—wood paneling throughout, open shelving, floor-to-ceiling windows, and books galore.

Fun note: This remarkable home was once featured in Life Magazine.

“The beauty of the house and the art in it...just a wonderful place.” — guest Jason F.

View this home >

Outdoor hot tub of vacation home with views of Lake Michigan

4. Barefoot Beach House - Union Pier, MI

Tip: Create an outdoor oasis worth booking

These savvy homeowners didn’t expect their guests to just sit back and enjoy the Lake Michigan views all day (though they knew there would still be plenty of that). They wanted to create a waterfront oasis worth booking on its own. They decked out their multi-leveled outdoor terraces with natural rock surfaces, a waterslide, a 7-foot-tall waterfall, a pool, a spacious in-ground hot tub, and a surprise—a pond stocked with resident goldfish. This home is also one of the largest vacation rentals in the area, with two wings housing 4 bedrooms each.

“The home was very spacious, with many spots to gather, while still being warm and inviting.” — guest Meg

View this home >

Modern style vacation rental in Palm Springs, CA with floor to ceiling windows and desert views.

5. The Lookout - Palm Springs, CA

Tip: Decorate the indoors with outdoor elements

How do you make a desert vacation home’s interiors just as stunning as its majestic landscape? These homeowners had the answer—bring the outdoors in. Inside, guests will find numerous outdoor-inspired vacation home amenities, like a stone soaking tub, walnut cabinets, and plush, grass-textured pillows. The wall-to-wall windows and glass doors erase the line between indoors and out. So guests can bask in desert mountain views whether in the living room or outdoor cooking terrace.

One unique feature that guests will never forget—outdoor brick ruins (rumored to be from an abandoned casino project) that now house a billiards table and fireplace.

“Everything was absolutely perfect. From the large bedrooms and bathrooms, to the amazing backyard. It was truly a dream.” — guest Christopher S.

View this home >

Fireplace with bear decorations in a cabin in Pigeon Forge, TN.

6. Cuddly Bear Hideaway Cabin - Pigeon Forge, TN

Tip: Go all in with cabin coziness

Quaint in stature, but big on coziness, this log cabin knows how to attract guests. The owners start with the perfect name (every vacation rental needs a great name). Nothing conveys the ideal snuggle spot more than the mention of a plush bear. They deliver even more coziness with warm wood walls, rustic decor, a porch swing, and rocking chairs. The best features? Two ways to soak on a cold winter’s night—a luxurious soaking tub in the bathroom and a hot tub in the private screened patio.

“The bed was comfy, the gas fireplace added ambiance, and the hot tub was perfect in the cold mountain weather. We will be back.” — guest Jessica J.

View this home >

Adirondack chairs around an outdoor fire pit overlooking a lake with a dock in Marynardville, TN.

7. Ned’s Norris Nook - Marynardville, TN

Tip: Provide plenty of ways to enjoy the outdoors

These homeowners intentionally created an experience for both lounging and living it up on the lake. They built large, wraparound decks with plenty of seating and an outdoor dining table for alfresco dinners. Plus, they outfitted each master suite with its own screened porch to enjoy the lakefront scene in private. The separate outdoor firepit area is the natural spot to gather once the sun sets. Best part—they offer full use of their covered dock for guests with boats to enjoy Norris Lake.

“I loved everything about Ned’s Norris Nook! From the location to the countless amenities. It all came together and felt like a home away from home.” — guest Clifford B.

View this home >

Living room and kitchen of a vacation rental in Crystal Beach, TX.

8. Resting Beach Face - Crystal Beach, TX

Tip: Decorate your vacation rental like a model home

The owners of this Crystal Beach house were intentional with their vacation home decor, giving their oceanfront location some glamorous appeal. They adorned each room with tranquil ocean hues and patterns of ocean waves, starfish, and coral. They were also smart about maximizing their space. They offer two sets of full/twin bunk beds for young vacationers, plus multiple seating areas for the whole group to gather.

"With multiple stays under our belt, we can say that we love this place. It always feels like you're walking into a model home.” — guest Ross S.

View this home >

scottsdale vacation home desert oasis including infinity pool, hot tub, rooftop deck and fireplace

9. Desert Escape - Scottsdale, AZ

Tip: Create a private outdoor playground

Here, savvy owners treat their guests to a playful and sprawling outdoor desert experience. In addition to an infinity pool, a hot tub, and a rooftop deck, the homeowners installed an outdoor kitchen with a fireplace and an additional firepit. They also cater to families by offering putting greens, a mini disc golf course, and a cornhole set.

“The backyard is HUGE and there is ample room to spread out and enjoy. Our favorite part was the rooftop deck which allows a sunset view to the west as well as an amazing view east to the mountains.” — guest Marc A.

View this home >

vacation home over river in Northern California

10. Sierra Bridge House - Downieville, CA

Tip: Give guests views from every room in the house

This extraordinary home—straddling a Sierra mountain stream—is all about the views. Designed by architect Francis Joseph McCarthy, this show-stopping retreat gives beautiful views of pools, river foliage, and waterfalls from every room. The open living space gives groups plenty of room to roam and relax. Even the kitchen counter stretches to another room to allow guests to prepare their own breakfasts simultaneously without bumping elbows. When guests aren’t enjoying the 12 acres of nature that the house sits on, they can spend hours in the detached recreation room.

Fun fact: Sierra Bridge House has been featured in Sunset Magazine and many other publications.

“This house is so uniquely beautiful. You have to see it to believe it. I thought the photos were great, but it was even better in person!” — guest Cheryl M.

View this home >

10 more top home tips

Creating a standout vacation rental FAQ

To furnish your vacation home, first consider your goals. Is the home an investment, which you’ll rarely visit? Or, is it meant to be a second home where your family will vacation? Then, think about what ambience you’d like. You’ll want to design a cozy cabin much differently than a modern, high-end lakefront haven. Vacasa vacation home owners can take advantage of the Vacasa Interior Design program and get custom design created specifically for vacation rentals and their guests.

How to furnish your vacation home like an interior designer >

Stage your vacation rental and get it photo-ready by first eliminating clutter and tucking away unsightly items in each room, such as TV wires and trash bins. Let in as much natural light as possible and turn on all lamps to illuminate your photos. Hide any personal items, such as family photos or personal collections. In the bedroom, smooth out any wrinkles and tuck in sheets. Finally, hire a housekeeper to professionally clean your home to make it spotless.

Get more tips to stage your vacation rental >

Stocking your vacation rental can feel like a seemingly endless task. There’s a lot to consider—from bedroom mirrors to coffee tables, cooking utensils to fluffy towels. Make the process easier by using our room-by-room checklists for your bedrooms, kitchen, bathroom, and living room. Or, download our ultimate vacation home inventory checklist so you’ll know exactly what to stock throughout your entire home.

Want more ways to design your vacation home for bigger profits? Check out our Vacasa Interior Design program for personalized interior design for your vacation home that aims to boost bookings all year round.

Let's get started

Talk to us

You've got questions. We've got answers.

Call 844-518-0967 to speak with a Homeowner Consultant, who can answer preliminary questions and see if we’d be a good fit for you.

If you'd like to move forward, we’ll put you in touch with our market expert in your neighborhood to explore the financial potential of your home, outline our management fee, and introduce your local team.

or

Get more info

Not ready to chat? We’ll email you more info to explore.

You might also like...

a living room of a modern condo
How to price your vacation rental
employees having a meeting
Vacation rental property management fees
a couple meeting with their tax professional
Guide to vacation rental taxes
A couple on a couch looking at a tablet
How to make money on a vacation rental property



Vacasa offers property management and other real estate services directly through Vacasa LLC and through Vacasa LLC's licensed subsidiaries. Click here for more information about Vacasa's licensed real estate brokerage/property manager in your state. Vacasa’s licensed real estate brokerages/property managers include: Vacasa Alabama LLC; Vacasa Arizona LLC; Vacasa Colorado LLC (Mark Graham); Vacasa Delaware LLC, 302-541-8999; Vacasa Florida LLC; Vacasa Louisiana LLC, Dana MacCord, Principal Broker, ph 504.252.0155 (Licensed in LA); Vacasa Michigan LLC, 947-800-5979; Vacasa Missouri LLC, Susan Scanlon, Designated Broker; Vacasa Nevada LLC; Vacasa New Hampshire LLC, P.O. Box 283, Conway NH 03818, Dave Grant, Broker of Record; Vacasa New Mexico LLC, 503-345-9399; Vacasa New York LLC, 888-433-0068, Susan E. Scanlon, Real Estate Broker; Vacasa North Carolina LLC; Vacasa Pennsylvania LLC; Vacasa Real Estate Corporation, California DRE #02105811, Joseph Czapkowicz, California DRE #01380722; Vacation Palm Springs Real Estate, Inc., California DRE #01523013, Joseph Czapkowicz, California DRE #01380722; Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Colorado, Daned Kirkham); Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Idaho, Oregon, and Utah); Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Maine, Michael McNaboe, Designated Broker); Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Texas, Debra Brock, Designated Broker); Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Washington, Robert Brush, Designated Broker); Vacasa Seasonals Inc., California DRE #02160171, Lisa Renee Stevens, California DRE #01485234; Vacasa South Carolina LLC; Vacasa South Dakota LLC; Vacasa Tennessee LLC; Vacasa Vacation Rentals of Hawaii LLC, 3350 Lower Honoapiilani Road, Suite 600, Lahaina, HI 96761; Vacasa Vacation Rentals of Montana LLC, Terah M Young, Licensed Property Manager; Vacasa Virginia LLC; Vacasa Wisconsin LLC; Vacasa Wyoming LLC. In Canada, this advertisement is provided by Vacasa Canada ULC, CPBC lic. number 75826, 172 Asher Rd. V1X 3H6 Kelowna, BC.