From up-and-coming gems to tried-and-true escapes, these travel destinations have seen some serious vacation rental buzz in 2016. We’re turning the spotlight on rising stars like Guntersville and Page while also highlighting classic vacation spots that have received a boost thanks to big events like the National Park Service Centennial.
Some (like Holden Beach and Little Gasparilla Island) are kid-friendly locales with breathtaking scenery and laid-back attractions that make it easier to unplug and spend time as a family. Others (like the Shenandoah Valley and all six national parks on the list) are getaway spots great for outdoor enthusiasts, from casual day hikers to serious thrill-seekers. And a handful (like Knoxville, Waco and Kansas City) are vibrant urban areas that got downright awesome while you weren’t looking.
There’s no real pattern here—unless you count the resurgence of America’s national parks!—but all 25 destinations have one thing in common: a unique selection of TripAdvisor vacation rentals that will save you money, upgrade your experience and place you in the middle of all the action.
Click through the slideshow below to discover which rental destinations are trending this year, why their popularity is at a fever pitch, and where you should plan a trip in 2017—because whatever ‘adventure’ means to you, your next vacation should be one.
Alabama state parks are on track to mark their busiest year in half a decade, and Lake Guntersville Resort State Park (home to Alabama's largest lake) drew a crowd thanks to attractions like top-notch fishing tournaments and a zipline course. Check out all Guntersville vacation rentals!
As part of the National Park Service Centennial, the “Crown of the Continent” got some extra attention this year, but park attendance has been on the rise for some time; in 2016, Glacier broke its own visitation record for the third year in a row. With 25 incredible glaciers and 700 miles of hiking trails, it’s easy to see why. Check out all vacation rentals in Glacier National Park!
Once a hidden-gem vacation spot, this charming Arizona town is making a name for itself as the perfect base for exploring spectacular attractions like Antelope Canyon, Glen Canyon Dam and Horseshoe Bend on the Colorado River. Choose from a range of Page, AZ rentals including a Victorian mansion, a family-friendly cottage and a rustic bell tent.
As the most visited national park in 2015, it’s no surprise that Great Smoky Mountains was a popular destination during the National Park Service Centennial. In-the-know travelers who wanted to opt out of the Gatlinburg crowds found a welcome escape on the park’s less-trafficked North Carolina side. Check out all vacation rentals near Great Smoky Mountains National Park!
Sulphur may be best known for the Chickasaw Cultural Center (an impressive museum complex dedicated to the life and history of the Chickasaws), but the city is also attracting art lovers from around the globe with events like the Artesian Arts Festival. Check out all Sulphur vacation rentals!
The 200-mile-long Shenandoah Valley, which traces the western curve of the state, is home to vibrant spots like Luray, Harrisonburg and Lexington. There’s no shortage of Civil War history, beautiful scenery or craft beer (and the new Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail is an exciting way to experience the last two at the same time.) Check out all vacation rentals in Shenandoah Valley!
The tourist industry is blossoming around Hocking Hills State Park, which draws more than a million visitors each year. We’re guessing that has something to do with the free admission and dozens of popular trails, caves and waterfalls; recent upgrade projects are just icing on the cake. Book one of 140 local rentals on TripAdvisor.
Although Rocky Mountain is smaller than big-name spots like Yellowstone, it was the third most popular national park in America in 2015; this year, the area has seen a boost in travelers searching for a rental nearby. Chalk that up to 100 summits over 11,000 feet, 360 miles of trails, 147 lakes or just the stunning scenery. Check out all vacation rentals in Rocky Mountain National Park!
The National Park Service isn’t the only one celebrating the big 1-0-0 in 2016. The oldest national park east of the Mississippi enjoyed a moment in the spotlight this May when the ‘Today Show’ stopped by for a tour—and later in the summer, the co-founder of Burt’s Bees donated 113 acres of land to expand the park. Check out all vacation rentals in Acadia National Park!
Even if the name Neskowin doesn’t ring a bell, there’s still a good chance you’ve heard of the town’s iconic landmark: Proposal Rock. The destination is the kind of place you’ll want to keep to yourself, but can’t; this gem is too beautiful not to share. Check out all Neskowin vacation rentals!
Tennessee’s third-largest city celebrated its 225th birthday this year, and while you might know it for the University of Tennessee, Knoxville has stealthily become an in-vogue shooting destination for filmmakers. Search social media for #knoxrocks to discover what residents love most, from the vibrant downtown to the music scene. Check out all Knoxville vacation rentals!
This Emerald Coast town is known for its Old-Florida vibe and sugar-white sand, and in 2016, coastal expert Dr. Beach named it one of the most beautiful beaches in America. For a taste of the simple life, come here to swim, fish and bike, then retreat to your affordable beach house rental to watch the sunset at the end of the day.
The home of Dr. Pepper and Baylor University has seen a surge in tourism this year thanks to HGTV’s beloved “Fixer Upper” couple Chip and Joanna Gaines. Last October, the pair opened Magnolia Market at the Silos, a popular shop, garden and bakery that attracts thousands of visitors each week. Check out all Waco vacation rentals!
No building in Holden Beach can stand over 35 feet tall, and that city ordinance goes a long way in describing the small-town atmosphere here. The family-friendly spot, which sometimes sees visits from loggerhead turtles, boasts nearly a dozen miles of pristine coastline. Check out all Holden Beach vacation rentals!
Visit Big Bear Lake, and you’re in for an adventure. Exactly what you’ll be doing, however, depends on the season. Book a cozy cabin during the winter for prime skiing and snowboarding, or a lake house during warmer months for mountain biking, hiking and swimming. Check out all Big Bear Lake vacation rentals!
This year-round vacation spot is known for its mild winters and refreshing summers—plus memorable events like the Shaver Lake Open Water Polo Tournament and the High Sierra Regatta, held just down the road at Huntington Lake. Check out all Shaver Lake vacation rentals!
With its steep, red sandstone cliffs, Utah’s first national park is a truly extraordinary place. The destination has seen a record number of visitors this year, thanks to both the National Park Service celebration and Zion’s kid-friendly hikes. Check out all vacation rentals in Zion National Park!
Not to be confused with Gasparilla Island, this two-mile-long barrier island to the north is becoming popular with travelers seeking a peaceful haven. It’s where the locals go to avoid the commercial beach scene, and it’s a great place to disconnect—in part because it’s only accessible by private boat or water taxi. Check out all rentals on Little Gasparilla Island!
In May, KCMO hit two huge milestones with the grand opening of its brand-new streetcar starter line and the introduction of its Smart City initiative. While you weren’t looking, the city has grown into a thriving tech community jam-packed with excellent museums and live music, so it’s no surprise that rental interest is on the rise. Book a Kansas City rental here!
This Hill Country destination’s small-town charm, art scene and natural beauty have forged a knockout trifecta that draws visitors from all over the world. Don’t miss the underwater caves at Jacob’s Well, a hub for outdoor lovers and thrill-seekers. Book a Wimberley vacation rental here!
Dry weather around the state has made spots like Julian (elevation 4,426') a refreshing getaway for locals seeking to beat the heat. One of SoCal’s rare four-season destinations, the historic mining town is famous for its apple pastries. Check out all Julian, CA vacation rentals!
Boone is a breathtaking mountain town with top-notch backpacking, whitewater rafting and mountain biking, and this fall, a new pedestrian bridge opened to make a portion of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail more accessible for hikers. Book a cozy cabin rental to save money, enjoy extra living space and put the full kitchen to good use.
The creation of Yosemite effectively paved the way for the founding of the National Park Service, so it only makes sense that travelers have been extra interested in exploring iconic spots like Half Dome and Yosemite Falls this year. Book a rental in Yosemite National Park!
From the Sea Music Festival in June to the first Mystic River Oyster Festival in September—not to mention an exciting exhibition building opening at Mystic Seaport—this year has been a memorable one for the seaside city. Book a beautiful rental in Mystic, CT!
From hiking and history to art and live music, Jim Thorpe is a destination with plenty of character and charm. Located a short drive from the Lehigh Valley, it’s the perfect spot for a whitewater rafting trip or a leaf peeping adventure. Check out all Jim Thorpe vacation rentals!
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Percentages reflect the increase of traffic, measured in sessions, from 2015 to 2016 to TripAdvisor’s vacation rentals pages for each destination. Destinations needed at least 10,000 total sessions in 2016 to be included.