Best Spots in California to Invest in a Vacation Home


If ever there was a state in the country that’s riddled with amazing vacation homes, California is certainly it. But when it comes to purchasing a vacation property for investment purposes, you’ve really got to look at the dollars and cents, along with all the amenities that each location has to offer. In many areas, the tight housing inventory and sky-high prices can make investing in a vacation home extremely challenging.

Investing in a vacation property can be hugely profitable through vacation rentals and future sales to those looking for a place to retire in. If you’re looking for somewhere to invest, consider the following places in the Golden State that are more affordable than many of the more popular beach towns, yet still offer breathtaking scenery and a fabulous lifestyle. 

Big Bear Lake

With a median home sale price in Big Bear Lake currently at $299,400, affordability really isn’t an issue here. Considering the fact that home values have increased 7.5% over the past year, that means there is real potential for gains in equity through appreciation. In fact, it’s estimated that prices of homes in the area will rise anther 6.2% over the next year.

Big Bear Lake is located in the San Bernardino mountains, offering visitors snow sports in the winter season and all the summer activities one loves to partake in during the warmer months of the year. There are many vacation homes to choose from in Big Bear Lake, whether it’s a quaint cabin in the mountains or a large family home for the whole brood to enjoy. One of the biggest draws of Big Bear Lake is the benefit of living in comfort and getting to and from the lake quickly and easily.

Lake Tahoe

Easily one of the most popular lakes to vacation at in California, Lake Tahoe offers plenty of recreational opportunities for residents and visitors alike. The pristine turquoise waters of the lake are laid against a stunning backdrop of greenery that provides one of the most breathtaking views in the state. After enjoying the day at the lake, there are plenty of amenities to take advantage of in the city, including restaurants, shows, and events.

The median home price in Lake Tahoe is $392,700, which has gone up 9.2% over the past year and is predicted to increase another 5.6% over the next year. This price point is still a highly affordable while providing the possibility of any rental income covering the cost of homeownership.

Huntington Lake

Located in Fresno, Huntington Lake is a popular lake vacation spot for anyone looking for a quiet and relaxing holiday without the smog and noise of the big city. Couples, families, and retirees alike enjoy the lake and its stunning surroundings. Visitors and residents can enjoy everything that lake life brings, including swimming, boating, and even sailing. In fact, the Fresno Yacht Club hosts many sailboat races that enthusiasts can participate in. During the colder months of the winter, there are plenty of snow sports to enjoy that the landscape is seemingly designed for. After participating in outdoor activity all day, a stroll into nearby Lakeshore offers shops, eateries, and plenty of amenities to take enjoy.

The median home price in Huntington Lake hovers around the $432,700 mark, which offers some wiggle room to make a profit after peak season rental income comes in.

Morro Bay

For something a lot closer to the ocean, there are still areas in California that are affordable enough to leave some room for profit potential. Located in San Luis Obispo County, Morro Bay is a traditional waterfront city in the Central Valley. The median home price in Morro Bay is $578,600, which is up 3.1% over the past year and expected to increase 2.5% over the next year.

Morro Bay features one of the state’s biggest remaining coastal wetlands and offers beach-front scenery and activities to enjoy. Although the climate is somewhat cooler than your typical L.A. beach, it still has all the tourist amenities and attractions that allow for an enjoyable vacation.

Pismo Beach

While more expensive than Morro Bay with a median home price of $772,300, Pismo Beach is in a warmer beach zone at the southern tip of the Central Coast. There are tons of tourist activities and amazing restaurants that the sophisticated vacationer would expect.

Located about halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco along Pacific Coast, Pismo Beach offers long white beaches for strolling, sunbathing, swimming, or simply to enjoy the incredible views. There are even spots on the beach for surfing, body boarding, ATVing, and horseback riding! There’s also an award-winning boardwalk right next to the Pismo Beach pier for plenty of shopping opportunities and spots to grab a bite to eat.

For those who are interested in investing in one of the many vacation properties in California, there are still a few affordable options available. These particular areas offer just about all the vacation amenities tourists would expect with real estate that still make it possible to turn a profit through rental income, or at least for long-term wealth building. There are many real estate agencies out there that can help organize seasonal rentals, find tenants, collect rent, supervise cleaning between rentals, and deal with basic maintenance to make the investment both profitable and convenient.