“Who’s the best?”
“Who’s ranked #1?”
“Is he even as good as Michael Jordan?”
America is obsessed with winning and being on top. The pinnacle, the peak, the creme de la creme. Why should it be any different with our vacation rental destinations? There are millions of properties for rent in hundreds of thousands of locations throughout the 50 states. Log cabins, high rise apartments, beach bungalows – heck even a castle can be rented for your nightly or weekly pleasure. But WHERE in the country is the top ranked collection of rentals? Where should I visit in each state so I am guaranteed I’m staying in a top-of-the-line vacation rental that meets my every whim and need?
We looked at the past 18 months of vacation rental reviews and the average score (1-5) for all our destinations in the USA, and we’ve singled out the top rated location in each state (min. 20 reviews). Here’s the list of winners and a bit about why they deserve your attention.
Alabama: Dauphin Island (4.38 avg rating)
Why it’s popular: The beauty of the Alabama gulf coast doesn’t need assistance to be noticed, not to mention Fort Gaines as a prime historical spot.
Alaska: Fairbanks (4.92 avg rating)
Why it’s popular: Heaven for those who love the outdoors – Fairbanks is the start of many scenic drives or hikes. Pan for gold like the frontiersman of old, or patiently wait for the Northern Lights to appear.
Arizona: Grand Canyon National Park (4.89 avg rating)
Why it’s popular: You know why you’re visiting – don’t play coy. The Bright Angel and South Kaibab Trails offer stunning views, but if hiking’s not your cup of tea, rent a bicycle or take a scenic drive through the park.
Arkansas: Eureka Springs (4.79 avg rating)
Why it’s popular: Come for the natural beauty of the Ozarks, stay for the 67-foot statue of Christ on top of Magnetic Mountain!
California: Oxnard (5.00 avg rating)
Why it’s popular: Known as “California’s Strawberry Coast”, Oxnard is the perfect mix of culture, fine dining, and serene beach bliss.
Colorado: Colorado Springs (4.94 avg rating)
Why it’s popular: You’ll find a delightful mix of Western charms in Colorado Springs, located 60 miles south of Denver and on the Eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains. Visit the Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak for breathtaking views of the area.
Connecticut: Falls Village (5.00 avg rating)
Why it’s popular: Stroll the historic district of Falls Village, CT for examples of Greek, Italian, and Queen Anne architecture.
Delaware: Fenwick Island (4.77 avg rating)
Why it’s popular: Spend sun up to sun down playing outdoors on tranquil beaches, gentle hikes and biking trails. Small town charm comes to a hidden gem of Delaware beaches.
Florida: Dunedin (5.00 avg rating)
Why it’s popular: Another location that offers small town charm but big city amenities – explore a top-notch state park (Honeymoon Island) or catch a Toronto Blue Jays spring training game. Minutes to major cities such as Clearwater, Tampa and St. Petersburg.
Georgia: Darien (5.00 avg rating)
Why it’s popular: Fifty miles south of Savannah you’ll find lovely Darien, Georgia’s second oldest city. Fort King George might be one of the most historic sites in the South, and the locally caught seafood makes a few nights out to dinner very worthwhile.
Hawaii: Kapolei (4.91 avg rating)
Why it’s popular: Originally built on sugar cane and palm tree plantations, the affluent area of Kapolei features the classic Hawaiian beauty, as well as pristine golf courses, warm water lagoons and secret coves to explore.
Idaho: Coeur d’Alene (4.60 avg rating)
Why it’s popular: The star of the show is the sparkling Coeur d’Alene Lake where visitors can jet ski, swim, lounge on the sand, or kayak. This French-sounding town in Northern Idaho is decidedly all-American and full of entertainment for any type of traveler.
Illinois: Carbondale (4.92 avg rating)
Why it’s popular: Shawnee National Forest and Giant City State Park are major attractions in the area, but you can also study or explore the Southern Illinois campus.
Indiana: Michigan City (4.67 avg rating)
Why it’s popular: Situated along Lake Michigan, the largest freshwater area in the US, Michigan City has lighthouses to explore, parks to relax in, a casino, and even a zoo.
Iowa: Nashua (4.89 avg rating)
Why it’s popular: In between Mason City and Waterloo/Cedar Falls you’ll find little Nashua – where small town values and charm reign supreme. Quaint cabins dot Cedar Lake and are perfect for a weekend trip.
Kansas: Kansas City (4.86 avg rating)
Why it’s popular: On the state line of Kansas and Missouri you’ll find Kansas City – visit for the BBQ that will knock your socks off, and the proud sports tradition that serves as the heartbeat of the area with the local MLS soccer team, minor league baseball, NASCAR and more.
Kentucky: Louisville (4.78 avg rating)
Why it’s popular: The heart of Bluegrass country and the home of the Kentucky Derby not only offers top-notch worldwide events, but also charming historic neighborhoods and a buzzing downtown.
Louisiana: New Orleans (4.79 avg rating)
Why it’s popular: The melting pot of the south with Creole, French, African, and Gulf Coast culture combining to form one memorable symphony. Come for Mardi Gras and the French Quarter, but don’t forget the historical sites and underground jazz or blues clubs just waiting to be discovered.
Maine: Southwest Harbor (4.92 avg rating)
Why it’s popular: A stone’s throw from New England’s famous Acadia National Park, staying in Southwest Harbor provides close access to the thousands of acres of trails and scenic views. Travel to nearby Bar Harbor for a lovely dinner and relaxing stroll after a day on the mountain.
Maryland: Baltimore (4.97 avg rating)
Why it’s popular: An incredible waterfront district as well as a seafood menu that is worth the trip alone, Baltimore features plenty to offer for visitors – not to mention historic Camden Yards where the Baltimore Orioles play.
Massachusetts: Nantucket (4.96 avg rating)
Why it’s popular: This New England summer retreat is a haven for the wealthy – leave your car at home and walk or bike around the entire island while living in luxury in your vacation rental. Pristine beaches, fine dining, and other high-end entertainment await you on cozy Nantucket.
Michigan: Munising (4.88 avg rating)
Why it’s popular: The Munising area boasts the gateway to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Hiawatha National Forest, Grand Island Recreation Area, numerous waterfalls, and a host of other natural wonders, all in close proximity.
Minnesota: Minneapolis (4.50 avg rating)
Why it’s popular: The Great Lakes charm meets big city living in Minneapolis – with 22 lakes in the city limits as well as professional sports, skyscrapers, museums, art galleries and more. A true year-round destination, Minneapolis makes for a top midwest getaway during the heat of summer and of course, the beauty of winter.
Mississippi: Clarksdale (4.86 avg rating)
Why it’s popular: Clarksdale Mississippi is the birthplace of the Blues and location of the famous Crossroads intersection of Highway 61 and 49. Visit the many music-themed museums and historic sites in Clarksdale.
Missouri: St. Louis (4.86 avg rating)
Why it’s popular: The big “must-see” in St. Louis is the Gateway Arch, while other important sites include the Museum of Westward Expansion, the St. Louis Cathedral and the Anheuser-Busch factory tour. Catch a Cardinals game with the kids or visit the city zoo.
Montana: Livingston (4.94 avg rating)
Why it’s popular: Livingston is the original gateway to Yellowstone National Park, visit here to be wowed by the natural beauty of America – the best example being Old Faithful. Enjoy the old west atmosphere of the area with ranching, horse back riding, panning for gold, and more.
Nebraska: Omaha (4.89 avg rating)
Why it’s popular: Climb aboard history at The Durham Museum, explore 100 acres at Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha’s Botanical Center and discover priceless works of art at the Joslyn Art Museum. Explore the Old Market, Omaha’s historic entertainment district, where boutiques, antique stores and restaurants line cobblestone streets.
Nevada: Henderson (4.73 avg rating)
Why it’s popular: South of glitzy Las Vegas and west of the powerful Hoover Dam you’ll find Henderson, Nevada. Eight championship golf courses, flawless weather, bird watching, casinos, hiking and museums are all major draws for travelers.
New Hampshire: Bartlett (4.71 avg rating)
Why it’s popular: You’ll find Bartlett nestled in the heart of the White Mountain range in New Hampshire. Take a hiking day tour of a nearby mountain, ski at Attitash, or take the kids to Story Land when you’re visiting.
New Jersey: Vernon (4.81 avg rating)
Why it’s popular: More than 40% of Vernon’s 70 square miles is preserved open space and the township is criss-crossed by both federal and state parks as well as a 20-mile stretch of the Appalachian Trail. The convergence of skiers and snowboarders during the winter months gives way to hikers, golfers, mountain bikers, kayakers, campers, picnickers as the weather heats up.
New Mexico: Abiquiu (4.97 avg rating)
Why it’s popular: North of Santa Fe you’ll find Abiquiu, home for decades to famous painter Georgia O’Keefe and a featured filming location of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Abiquiu is a great stop over for travelers between Texas & Colorado and many artists use the Abiquiu landscape as inspiration for their next piece.
New York: Windham (4.96 avg rating)
Why it’s popular: Windham is a popular getaway for NYC metro travelers during the winter as Windham Mountain offers dozens of trails and plenty of apres ski to take the edge off.
North Carolina: Fairview (4.95 avg rating)
Why it’s popular: Located near quaint Asheville, Fairview provides easy access to the bustling city and top notch cabins to rent for your next vacation.
North Dakota: Bismarck (5.00 avg rating)
Why it’s popular: Named one of America’s safest cities to live in, Bismarck offers ways to play outdoors alongside the Missouri River, as well as a nice slice of North Dakota heritage with museums and galleries.
Ohio: Cleveland (4.78 avg rating)
Why it’s popular: A big city experience without the big city price, lakeside situated Cleveland features 3 professional sports teams, outdoor music venues, a growing presence on the convention circuit and hip eateries and bars.
Oklahoma: Broken Bow (4.57 avg rating)
Why it’s popular: In addition to being home of Broken Bow Lake, the city is a gateway for tourists visiting Beavers Bend Resort Park, Hochatown State Park, and Cedar Creek Golf Course at Beavers Bend. Hunters also visit the region, which bills itself as the “deer capital of the world.”
Oregon: McMinnville (4.85 avg rating)
Why it’s popular: Located in the Yamhill County wine region of Oregon’s lush Willamette Valley, McMinnville is a charming community. Sprinkled throughout downtown McMinnville are restored, turn-of-the-century buildings reinvented as restaurants, wine bars, antiques stores and unique shops. Stroll along the tree-lined streets or relax in a city park to enjoy this cozy community in Willamette Valley wine country.
Pennsylvania: Gettysburg (4.91 avg rating)
Why it’s popular: Visiting Gettysburg sends visitors back to the age of the Civil War when in 1863, 50,000 American lives were lost on its hallowed grounds. See the historic sites in the area and be charmed by the old downtown where some buildings, inns, taverns have stood for centuries.
Rhode Island: Narragansett (4.90 avg rating)
Why it’s popular: Make your way to Narragansett if you’re interested in crashing waves, hot sun, and friendly locals. With a tour of their famous brewery, and a dinner in the quaint downtown, you can make a day or a night of it. Mostly though, bring your swimsuit, sunglasses, and hit the beach. Bonus points if you take the ferry to nearby Block Island for more exploration.
South Carolina: Beaufort (4.80 avg rating)
Why it’s popular: The lovely five-mile expanse of sand at Hunting Island State Park is the top draw not only for Beaufort, but also the entire state. Set on a wildlife-rich semi-tropical barrier island with a fishing pier and camping, the family-friendly beach yields a bounty of seashells and offers warm summer swimming.
South Dakota: Rapid City (4.91 avg rating)
Why it’s popular: Arguably the most famous sculpture in the country is the major draw for Rapid City – Mount Rushmore. Beyond the presidential facade, you can also visit the soon-to-be-completed Crazy Horse Memorial, the scenic Black Hills, and many caverns available for exploration.
Tennessee: Tellico Plains (4.86 avg rating)
Why it’s popular: Near Knoxville and Gatlinburg you’ll find Tellico Plains, situated within the beautiful Smoky Mountains and at the gates of the Cherokee National Forest – offering dozens of cabins ready to rent for your next weekend hiking trip. The surrounding rolling farmlands and weathered barns paint a picturesque landscape, with layers of mountain ridges and peaks as a backdrop. Outdoor recreational opportunities are plentiful, with hiking, camping, picnicking, swimming, bicycling, boating, fishing, hunting, sight-seeing and more.
Texas: Bandera (4.91 avg rating)
Why it’s popular: If you’re a cowboy, or have grand designs about faking it for a week or so, you should head to Bandera. Bandera’s title, “Cowboy Capital of the World” originated when it became a staging area for the great cattle drives of the past and still operates a number of Dude Ranches to this day. Located in the beloved Texas Hill Country less than an hour from San Antonio, Bandera embodies ‘old west’ traditions with wild honkytonks, horseback riding, trail rides, chuckwagons, rodeos and idyllic cabins to stay in.
Utah: Kanab (4.93 avg rating)
Why it’s popular: Kanab is surrounded by a variety of western geologic scenery ranging from coral pink cliffs and sand dunes, volcanic craters and lava flows to deep canyons, majestic mountains and plains. Kanab is considered a popular hub location for visits to Zion, Bryce and Grand Canyon National Parks. The city of Kanab, county seat of Kane County, is often called ‘Little Hollywood’ because of its film-making history over the years.
Vermont: Stowe (4.68 avg rating)
Why it’s popular: There are plenty of outdoor activities available in Stowe, but chances are you’re visiting to hit the slopes at Stowe Mountain. On your off time you can visit the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream factory or the Trapp Family Lodge.
Virginia: Lynchburg (4.93 avg rating)
Why it’s popular: Lynchburg is full of Civil War history as the site of Appomattox Court House, where Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant. At the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Lynchburg offers much in the way of outdoor activities and beautiful scenery.
Washington: Coupeville (4.97 avg rating)
Why it’s popular: This quiet waterfront farming community—the heart of Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve on Whidbey Island—offers magnificent views and tranquility that inspires in-state and out-of-state travelers, not to mention hundreds of artists, to visit every year.
West Virginia: Snowshoe (4.30 avg rating)
Why it’s popular: A top notch winter getaway, Snowshoe features a world-class Tubing Park & Snowshoe Mountain, the area’s most popular spot for skiing and snowboarding. It offers an almost 5,000-foot elevation with over 60 slopes and trails.
Wisconsin: Sister Bay (4.95 avg rating)
Why it’s popular: An adorable waterfront village, Sister Bay allows Wisconsin residents, and all travelers, a relaxing time away from it all with clean beaches, delectable eating establishments, and a sense of community that makes you feel welcomed.
Wyoming: Wilson (4.47 avg rating)
Why it’s popular: Wilson is a small community located between Jackson, WY and Idaho State Line. The Teton Pass is just up the mountain from Wilson, which makes it a great meeting location for the endless recreation on the pass.