Best Place to Buy Florida Vacation Homes: Gulf Coast

Purchasing a vacation home in Florida — aka our vacation capital that attracts both Americans and international visitors — is a great way to start or expand your vacation rental business. Florida is known as the Sunshine State, a slice of paradise where warm temperatures, gorgeous beaches, and ocean fun call us to get away for a while. So…where is the best place to buy a vacation home in Florida? None other than the Gulf Coast of the Florida Panhandle! 

Along this 200-mile strip of beachfront bliss, you’ll find all kinds of beach towns offering a variety of vacation experiences for your short-term rental guests. Along the Gulf of Mexico — aka the shimmering Emerald Coast — find white-sand beaches, family-friendly attractions, seasonal beachfront events, local seafood joints, water activities like snorkeling, parasailing, and boating, and miles of shoreline and sun that attract new and repeat visitors of all ages to the area year-round. 

Why Invest in Northwest Florida

If you’re looking for an easy and lucrative location to dip your toes in the vacation rental industry, Northwest Florida is a fantastic place. 

  • Only $300-450K sale price for a decent beach rental
  • More affordable living costs than South Florida
  • Less crowded beaches, shops, eateries & attractions 
  • Airports within 30 minutes of your vacation rental
  • Within driving distance of the Southern and Eastern U.S. 
  • Snowbird paradise — extended occupancy at your investment property!
  • $40-120K in potential annual revenue based on location, amenities, demand, etc.

Check out our top Gulf Coast beach towns to start your search for the best place to buy YOUR vacation home in Florida, be it a beach house or a high-rise condo. 

Okaloosa Island — Fun for the Whole Family

Pour in the vacation rental income when you opt to buy a Florida vacation home in Okaloosa Island! Along with beautiful beaches, this upbeat area along the Emerald Coast features top attractions, including a beachside aquarium with dolphin shows, a popular fishing pier, and The Boardwalk where shops and eateries boast ocean views. Fort Walton is also nearby, with a charming downtown area, museum, food trucks, and fun events. 

Destin — Classic Resorts & Water Sports

Arguably one of the best places to purchase a Florida vacation rental, Destin offers that classic beach vacation charm plus top-notch extras your guests are sure to appreciate. Properties within the Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort feature access to The Village of Baytowne Wharf, 4 golf courses, luxury swimming pools, shopping, dining, water recreation, tennis courts, and special events — adding to the area’s appeal and real estate value!

Browse our Destin vacation rentals.

Panama City Beach — Spring Break Hit

Known for attracting younger travelers during spring break as well as families and couples for summer and holidays, Panama City Beach is a great beachside town for your vacation rental investment. Entertainment options abound and include family-friendly attractions, a hopping nightlife with clubs and saloons, shopping and dining at Pier Park, seasonal events, and fishing charters.

Browse our Panama City Beach rentals.

30A — Convenient to Destin & PCB

A growing community nestled between Destin and PCB is a 24-mile strip of beach towns in 30A — a promising area to invest in that’s convenient for multiple styles of vacations. There are many beachfront vacation homes and vacation rentals within walking distance of the beach. This calmer stretch of sugar-sand beaches offers mom-and-pop cafes, Grayton Beach State Park (home to a rare coastal dune lake), local artworks at Gulf Place, and live music. 

Navarre — Peaceful Beach Escape

Want to invest in a serene beach house with fewer crowds and laid-back vibes? Navarre is the place for your next property investment. Pristine and pet-friendly beaches, protected shorelines without tall buildings disrupting the beauty of the natural environment, and a peaceful atmosphere no matter the time of day await. Your guests will enjoy the sand between their toes, the restful lull of lapping waves, and a chance to reconnect with nature. Gulf Breeze Zoo is also nearby!

Perdido Key — Waterway Getaway

Welcome your guests to a luxurious atmosphere when you opt for a Perdido Key beach rental. Buy a resort condo within walking distance of the beach or start your search for a beautiful canalside home on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway! Invite your guests to dock boats, jet skis, and other watercraft right at your rental property. Plus, the area offers top-notch seafood, well-maintained beaches, and a short drive to the Flora-Bama Lounge.

Browse our Perdido Key vacation rentals.

Pensacola — Comfortable Homey Vibes

An attractive tourist destination, Pensacola is an excellent place to buy a beach single-family home on the Florida Panhandle. From a budget-friendly condo to a luxury vacation rental, Pensacola has a variety of options. The temperature is mild compared to other areas, drawing in snowbirds and retirees. There’s water fun, amusement parks, live entertainment, shops, and sunset gazing at the beach. Combined with our must-have beach rental amenities, get ready to watch the revenue flow!

Things to Keep in Mind

While mulling over our top places to buy a vacation rental in Florida, keep the following in mind.

  1. What type of vacationers do you want? Let your realtor know! They are the best judge of the current real estate market: who’s buying and who’s vacationing.
  1. How much are you willing to spend, pre-renovations? Knowing your budget will help you filter for realistic home prices and get the best return on investment.
  1. Where do YOU want to visit when you vacation on the Florida Panhandle? Your vacation home doesn’t have to be just for guests!

Please note it’s important to conduct your due diligence, consider current market conditions, and consult with a local real estate agent and financial advisors before making any investment decisions.

Full-Service Property Management with Florida CFY

Northwest Florida is a phenomenal vacation destination for your next (or very first) real estate investment on the Gulf Coast! When the purchase process for your vacation property is complete, maximize your revenue strategy with a property management company that offers 23+ years of experience: Florida CFY.

What We Offer

  • Custom homeowner contracts — up to a 90/10 split!
  • Exclusive Florida CFY Advantage Plan to help with post-purchase concerns
  • Assigned owner representative for easy communication
  • Swift onboarding — with complimentary professional photos & custom SEO-driven description
  • Listing with channel partners (including VRBO and Airbnb)
  • 24/7 call center for guest care
  • ID and credit card verification for all reservations through Guest Ranger
  • Skilled maintenance crews & inspectors
  • Quality housekeeping service & seasonal deep cleans
  • In-house marketing team to reign in bookings
  • And much more!

Browse our homeowner resources for more information to help you start and maintain a successful vacation rental business.