What Makes AvantStay Different?

Welcome to AvantStay! We believe you deserve so much more than an ordinary short-term vacation rental experience. But what makes AvantStay different? We’re all about what you can dream. Every travel experience should be one-of-a-kind, delightful, and stress-free. We shine with our attention to detail, commitment to customer service, hotel-quality amenities, and upgrades and experiences that help ensure every stay with us is more memorable than the last. In choosing us, you’re not just choosing another short-term rental company—you’re choosing an elevated experience.

Homes Catered To Groups

AvantStay home catered to groups for vacation rental

We have homes of all types, but most of our homes are best experienced with friends and family. Large We have homes of all types, but most of our homes are best experienced with friends and family. Large dining areas, state-of-the-art kitchens, and yards great for gatherings make getting together with all your loved ones a breeze. Plus, plenty of bedrooms (many with their own bathrooms) means no one’s sleeping on the couch this time.

An Elevated Experience

AvantStay dedicated concierges on vacation rental

With luxurious upgrades and experiences available at the touch of a button, you can let your imagination run wild when it comes to trip activities. To start, our app gives you front-row access to services you would expect at a five-star hotel — in-room massages, mid-stay cleanings, and private transportation. But, when you stay with us, the sky’s the limit! From booking a private chef to prepare dinner for the family, to pre-stocking your fridge with groceries before you arrive, the AvantStay app makes it easier than ever to make your vacation dreams a reality.

Award-Winning Design

AvantStay's interior design is custom for every home

As travelers ourselves, we know how crucial the interior design of a home can be when planning the vacation of your dreams. We’ve actually built an in-house interior design team. And it’s not just any interior design team—they’ve actually won awards for it, including best design from Marriott Homes & Villas in 2021. We make sure our homes match the vibe of your trip, whether it be on the coast or in the woods, so you’re fully immersed in the magic of your vacation. 

Our homes are also decked out with amenities, so you’ll never be sitting around wondering what to do next. From cornhole to board games, from billiards to the hot tub, we believe fun comes in all shapes and sizes and is best experienced with your loved ones. The amenities for each home are different (our estates collection has some truly awe-inspiring ones), but we can promise that you will never be bored. 

Customer Service By Humans, For Humans

Firepit at AvantStay's Buena Vista property

Our dedicated area managers are here to make sure your experience is delightful. We also have team members available 24/7, so even if you need something in the middle of the night, we’re there to help. That way, you aren’t at the whim of the homeowner’s availability and you won’t get a computer trying to help you in a crisis. We want every aspect of your experience to be as relaxing as possible, because that’s why you go on vacation in the first place.

Happy Homeowners

Woman lounging at an AvantStay property

On top of the personal relationship we keep with our guests, we also take deep care and thoughtful steps to ensure our homeowners feel proud and reassured when their property is in our hands. 

We pride ourselves on:

  • Best-in-class in-field operations
  • Smart-home technology to keep our homes and guests safe
  • Complimentary updated interior design
  • A proprietary software platform that manages it all and keeps homeowners informed

We care for these homes as though they were our own (some are even employee-owned), and we continue to build and grow sustainably to build value for our homeowners. If you’re interested in partnering with us, you can learn more about our Vacation Rental Management

While most of our properties are homes designed for group travel as mentioned above, we also have cozier rentals and even boutique hotels, because sometimes you just want to get away without the crowd. Most importantly, we’re ever-growing to fit the needs of the modern-day traveler, meaning we’re adding new properties in new destinations all the time. 

So, where will you go next?

The Best Vacation Rentals with Arcade and Game Rooms

Vacations are perfect for relaxing, enjoying happy hours, reading a good thriller, and catching up with old friends… until you’ve gotta bring the kids. While they can be harder to entertain, the kids will absolutely love these vacation homes with arcade rooms so you can just do you. Whether you’re looking for a vacation rental with a hot tub, pool, sauna, or just a good TV, these homes are sure to check all the boxes on your dream vacation checklist (because who doesn’t have one of those).

inlet beach vacation home
Fin in Inlet Beach, FL

1. Fin – Inlet Beach, FL

Nostalgia is in, boring vacations are out. Bring the game to your vacay at Fin in Inlet Beach – the ideal stay for bringing out the friendly competition in your group. This home comes with an arcade, foosball, air hockey, and ping pong table to keep the kiddos entertained – and a pool and hot tub for your delightful decompression.

lake arrowhead vacation rental
Enchanted Forest in Lake Arrowhead, CA

2. Enchanted Forest – Lake Arrowhead, CA

Tucked away in the woods you’ll find Enchanted Forest. With a pool table, ping pong table, foosball, poker table, and six vintage arcade game systems, this game room came to impress. When you’re craving a moment with Mother Nature, head outside where you’ll find plenty of outdoor seating options and a front-row seat to the beauty that is Lake Arrowhead

Indio Escape in Coachella Valley

3. Indio Escape – Coachella Valley, CA

Indio Escape is a Coachella Valley home with a modern fire pit, pool, hot tub, and dining table perfect for those al fresco moments. It shines its brightest in the movie room, complete with a mini-arcade – so you get maximum game time. 

smoky mountains vacation rental home with an arcade room
Sugarland in The Smoky Mountains, TN

4. Sugarland – Smoky Mountains, TN

Sugarland is a Smoky Mountain stay with an entertainer’s dream of a deck. Keep the fun going inside with a car racing arcade game, pool table, home theater, and foosball. Chill out at night with a nice soak in the indoor pool. Make sure to get a good night’s rest, then head out on a hike through the Smokies in the AM.

destin vacation rental with arcade games
Monarch in Destin, F

5. Monarch – Destin, FL

Next stop, Destin. Monarch is a resort-level vacation home just a short walk from Henderson Park State Beach. Its bottom floor has a game room with a pool table, foosball, and a vintage Pac-Man arcade game. After some games well done, head outside to the outdoor kitchen and enjoy a swim in the luxury pool with its swim-up bar.

malibu vacation rental with a pool table
Cliffridge in Malibu, CA

6. Cliffridge – Malibu, CA

Come to Cliffridge for the views. This hillside Malibu stay features a pool table conveniently placed so you get panoramic views of the ocean while you show off your skills. Enjoy luxury amenities like the in-ground spa, fireplace, and for the gamers in your group: a Pac-Man arcade game.

destin vacation rental with a game room
Edgewater in Destin, FL

7. Edgewater – Destin, FL

We solemnly swear we saved the best for last. Edgewater is a Destin vacation home featuring an extra special Harry Potter-themed game room with foosball, Pac-Man, and plenty of board games. Outside you’ll find a hot tub, a private dock, a fire pit, and large sliding doors for incredible indoor/outdoor living.

8. Slice of Heaven – Temecula, CA

Slice of Heaven is a Temecula home with a game room equipped with a full-size pool table, arcade games like Pacman and NBA, a large 110″ screen with a projector, and a selfie photo station. The stunner home offers stunning views of Lake Skinner, rolling hills, and mesmerizing sunsets.

9. Ever After – Davenport, FL

Welcome to Ever After, a Davenport vacation home where pop culture meets paradise. The highlight of this home is the futuristic game room, equipped with foosball, air hockey, and a vibrant bar, perfect for group hangouts. A Star Wars theater on the second floor promises an immersive movie night experience. Outside, a private screened-in pool, covered patio, and access to community amenities like a pool, basketball court, and mini golf ensure endless entertainment for all guests.

If arcade games aren’t your thing, hundreds of our vacation rentals come equipped with classic games like billiards, shuffleboard, ping pong, and more. Start exploring our destinations to find your perfect stay…

How To Start an Airbnb: The Ultimate Guide [How To Maximize Your Revenue in 2024]

Starting an Airbnb business can be a lucrative venture. According to Airbnb, the average income for US hosts recently rose to $13,800, an 85% increase from 2019. Not a bad chunk of change for an additional income stream. However, the money won’t be flooding in the moment you begin your new hosting gig; there are a lot of moving parts when managing a vacation rental, and the hosts that go above and beyond are the ones that outperform the rest. If you’re ready to take on the role of a vacation rental host, this guide will teach you how to start an Airbnb business and maximize your revenue. 

Getting started — Airbnb business basics

Before starting your Airbnb business, there are a few crucial boxes to check, from complying with local short-term rental laws to budgeting for taxes and Airbnb fees. 

Short-term rental permits 

Before you attempt to start an Airbnb business, make sure your local government allows short-term rentals. Every state, county, and city has its own short-term rental laws. These often change, so make sure you’re fully up-to-date and understand the current rules and regulations in place for your market. 

You’ll likely need a general business license or short-term rental permit. These ensure your vacation rental is compliant with zoning restrictions and meet the local health and safety requirements. You’ll also need to get permission from your landlord or homeowners association to rent your home on a short-term basis. 

Short-term rental taxes

The IRS will recognize your Airbnb venture as a legitimate business, so you’ll need to keep track of your income and expenses for your federal tax return. You’ll likely be able to deduct expenses from running your Airbnb business, including utilities, property repairs, cleaning services, and more. 

In most locations, Airbnb automatically collects and pays occupancy taxes on behalf of hosts. This isn’t the case in all jurisdictions, so check to see if your listing is eligible

Also, consider working with a tax professional to make sure you’re always in good standing with the IRS. 

Airbnb fees

While it’s free to list vacation rentals on Airbnb, most hosts pay a fee of 14-16% for each booking’s subtotal. This percentage can be higher depending on location, your cancellation policy, and if you’re an Airbnb Plus host. Keep the hosting fee in mind when setting your price. 

How to start an Airbnb — next steps 

Assuming you already have a home to rent on Airbnb, whether it’s your primary residence or an investment property, the following steps will help you kickstart your Airbnb business. 

Prepare and furnish your space

A well-stocked thoughtfully designed and furnished Airbnb not only creates a positive guest experience but leads to better reviews and increased bookings. Make sure you tackle the following before welcoming your first guests: 

Assemble a network of local support teams

From housekeeping to landscaping and maintenance, create a solid team of local contractors that you can trust to keep your Airbnb property in pristine condition. Build a strong relationship with these folks as they’ll be your right hand running a successful Airbnb business. Some team members to consider: 

  • Housekeepers
  • Repairman
  • Plumber
  • Electrician 
  • Landscapers
  • Accountant 
  • Property Manager

Strategically price your Airbnb 

Pricing your Airbnb property for market and seasonal trends is one of the trickiest parts of running a vacation rental. If traveler demand is high in your market, you could lose money by pricing your home too low. On the other hand, if your home is priced too high, you could lose potential bookings. Research your local market so you can accurately and competitively charge for bedroom count, amenities, views, proximity to local attractions, and other key features. 

Create and optimize your listing 

Your Airbnb listing is your first touchpoint with potential guests. Start with your title, description, and keywords. Your title should describe your vacation rental and leave potential guests compelled to click your listing. Then you can use your description to paint a picture of the guest experience at your home, including all the details that make your property unique.

When writing your headline and description, incorporate search engine optimization (SEO) strategies to further boost your reach. Research search terms (“keywords”) that are popular in your market and add those to your listing. Some examples include, “private beachfront home in Destin” or “dog-friendly Scottsdale vacation rental.” 

Don’t just list amenities—describe how guests can make their own memories at your home! Do you have a private hot tub perfect for relaxing after a long day of exploring? Or a patio with an ocean view paired well with morning coffee or evening cocktails? Use these in your Airbnb listing to encourage travelers to hit “Reserve.” 

In addition, splurge on a professional photographer to take high-resolution photos of your vacation rental that accurately reflect the space, amenities, views, and what guests can expect when they walk into your Airbnb. Photos help guests imagine themselves in your space and create their own stories. 

How to become a Superhost on Airbnb 

Airbnb hosts that go above and beyond to create an exceptional guest experience are given a Superhost badge and additional promotions to reach more guests. 

Every three months, Airbnb checks if you’ve met their requirements for the past year so you can earn or keep your Superhost status (no application needed!). To qualify for an Airbnb Superhost badge, you must:

  • Host at least 10 trips, or have 3 reservations that total at least 100 nights
  • Maintain a 90% response rate or higher
  • Maintain a 1% cancellation rate (1 cancellation per 100 reservations) or lower
  • Maintain a 4.8 overall rating

Partner with an expert vacation rental manager 

Running a successful Airbnb business can be expensive, tedious, and time-consuming. So, why not partner with an expert who can do all the work for you? 

AvantStay has been a top-rated Superhost for 22 consecutive quarters, so we know what it takes to take your home to the next level and maximize your revenue. We offer the first hands-off approach for vacation rental owners, using our proprietary tech suite to power bookings, operationalize in-field management, and activate an elevated guest experience. 

In addition, guests can use our app to request upgrades and experiences like mid-stay cleans, fridge stocking, arrange private chef-catered dinners, wine tastings, in-home spa treatments, transportation, and more. A pristine home paired with our personalized guest services drives higher satisfaction, more five-star reviews, and repeat visitors. 

If you’re interested in learning more about AvantStay’s best-in-class care and how we can maximize your revenue, our team is ready to help. Get started with our vacation rental management experts today!

6 Vacation Rental Cabin Interior Design Tips That Will Land You 5-Star Ratings

One of the simplest ways to optimize your vacation rental for more bookings and positive reviews is through interior design. Entice potential guests to click that “book now” button with a beautifully designed space that’s captured in stunning professional photos. Your vacation rental aesthetic should also be inspired by your surroundings. We put together these six tips to help you curate a rustic yet modern, cozy cabin interior design plan for more five-star ratings. 

1. Use modern furnishings

Kitchen in AvantStay rental cabin

Cabins are known for their rustic charm, but that doesn’t mean they have to be old and outdated. Give your cabin a modern edge by purchasing new furnishings and appliances. Choose furniture with clean lines and organic shapes and fabric; rely on accent pieces to sprinkle in some rustic flare (more on that next). To further elevate your cabin, install new appliances so your space is functional and comfortable for guests. 

2. Keep it cozy 

Give guests a cozy retreat to relax and unwind after a day of outdoor adventures. Layer on the textures to make your log cabin more inviting—think faux hide rugs, plush pillows, chunky knit blankets, and plaid or buffalo check prints. For a moodier feel, incorporate leather, dark woods, and rod iron elements in your cabin interior design plan. 

3. Embrace your surroundings 

Big Bear vacation rental home by AvantStay

Use natural elements and local flare in your cabin interior design to give your guests a taste of the great outdoors. Incorporate modern wood furniture, stone floors or walls, and rich greens and browns to mimic your surroundings tastefully. Or, create a statement with a fun wallpaper or gallery wall inspired by nature. 

4. Let the view shine

Embrace the natural landscapes surrounding your cabin for the ultimate complement to your vacation rental’s interior design. Make the view the star of the show by decluttering your space, using neutral tones, and avoiding heavy window treatments. Also, create seating areas by windows or on the balcony or patio—the perfect backdrop for enjoying a warm beverage. 

5. Add experiential elements 

hot tub at AvantStay vacation rental home

Create an inviting space for guests to make their own memories by adding experiential elements and areas to gather. Who wouldn’t want to play board games by the fireplace after a long day outdoors? Large kitchen tables and living rooms with plenty of seating encourage guests to spend time together. Also, provide popular amenities like a foosball or pool table, outdoor fire pit, and hot tub for guests to enjoy.

6. Provide storage for outdoor gear

Bring the outdoors inside through your interior design, not muddy boots. Designate a mudroom space in your vacation rental where guests can keep their outdoor gear and wash up. Provide plenty of hooks, a shoe rack, and baskets for miscellaneous items. Also, be sure to have a runner by the door to limit dirt getting tracked in. Is your cabin in a ski market? Consider adding ski/snowboard racks or lockers so guests can store their bulky gear and equipment. 

Elevate your cabin interior design with AvantStay

Investing in your vacation rental’s interior design can help you attract more guests, earn higher ratings, and increase your revenue. Why not partner with a design expert who can elevate your vacation rental and save you time and money?

When you partner with AvantStay, you get full access to our award-winning vacation rental interior design and procurement services that instantly add value to your home. Our talented interior designers build a free, custom design strategy for your home that inspires both you and your guests to feel their most comfortable—creating lasting memories while saving you thousands. We help you procure high-quality, durable furniture and upscale amenities. We also take care of the professional photoshoot—for free! 

Design and capital improvements increase your home’s equity, maximizing your ROI. Let us do the heavy lifting and work with you to create the perfect cabin interior design plan. Get started with our vacation rental management experts today

10 Best Places to Visit in July in the USA

1. Sonoma, California – Sonoma County is a renowned wine region in California, known for its vineyards, wineries, and picturesque landscapes. In July, you can enjoy the Sonoma County Fair, featuring carnival rides, live music, agricultural exhibits, and delicious food. Don’t forget to sample some of the region’s exceptional wines while you’re there.

Where to Stay: Marquee

July is the perfect month for summer group getaways, and there are plenty of fantastic destinations to consider all across the USA. From beachside paradises to cultural hotspots, we’re rounded up ten amazing places to visit in July—plus events & festivals to enjoy and the top vacation rental accommodations for your stay. Let’s dive in!

2. San Diego, California – San Diego is a vibrant coastal city with beautiful beaches, lively neighborhoods, and a wealth of attractions. The San Diego County Fair is held in July, which features concerts, rides, and delicious fair food. The Big Bay Boom fireworks show on the 4th of July is another highlight, with fireworks launched from multiple locations around the bay.

Where to Stay: Jewel

3. Berkshires, Massachusetts – The Berkshires is a picturesque region in western Massachusetts known for its natural beauty, cultural institutions, and charming towns. In July, you can experience the Tanglewood Music Festival, a renowned summer concert series held in Lenox. Enjoy live performances by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and other acclaimed musicians in an outdoor setting.

Where to Stay: Robin’s Retreat

4. Isle of Palms, South Carolina – The Isle of Palms is a stunning barrier island near Charleston, South Carolina. With pristine beaches and a relaxed atmosphere, it’s an ideal place to unwind. In July, you can attend the Isle of Palms Beach Run, an annual 5K and 10K race. Additionally, you can celebrate Independence Day with a spectacular fireworks display on the beach.

Where to Stay: Palmetto

5. Temecula, California – Temecula is a charming city located in Southern California’s wine country. It’s known for its vineyards, wine tasting rooms, and beautiful landscapes. If visiting in July, you cannot miss the Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine Festival, featuring hot air balloon rides, wine tastings, live music, and food vendors.

Where to Stay: Le Grand Bleu

6. Newport Beach, California

Newport Beach is a picturesque coastal city in Southern California known for its stunning harbor, beautiful beaches, and upscale shopping. If you’re visiting during the holiday, the Newport Beach Independence Day on the Bay event is one you should attend. Experience live music, food trucks, and a dazzling fireworks display over the water.

Where to Stay: Sea Sight

7. Key West, Florida – Key West is an idyllic island city in the Florida Keys, known for its vibrant nightlife, historic sites, and colorful atmosphere. July is a wonderful time to visit because of the famous Key Lime Festival, a celebration of the tangy key lime pie that the island is known for. Enjoy pie-eating contests, cooking demonstrations, and live music during this lively event.

Where to Stay: Tropical Dreaming

8. 30A, Florida – 30A is a scenic coastal highway in Florida that stretches along the Gulf of Mexico, passing through charming beach communities. If visiting in July, you’ll want to attend the South Walton Fourth of July Parade, which features creative floats, live music, and family-friendly activities. The celebration culminates with a fireworks show at Alys Beach.

Where to Stay: Marlin

No matter where you choose to go in July, these destinations offer a wonderful combination of natural beauty, cultural experiences, and exciting events. Make sure to check the specific dates and details of the festivals or events mentioned to plan your trip accordingly.

8 Bedroom Vacation Rentals: The Ultimate Guide

In the world of travel, few experiences can match the sheer delight of being able to host your nearest and dearest under one roof. Whether it’s for a much-needed family reunion, a fantastic 50th birthday party, or an epic bachelorette, there’s something truly special about having an expansive vacation rental for your group. This is where our 8-bedroom vacation rentals come in—offering not just space, but the blueprint for hosting your ideal getaway.

Join us as we discover 8 of the best 8-bedroom vacation homes—complete with private pools, hot tubs, gorgeous yards, and plenty of space for everyone to spread out!

1. Ridge View – Smoky Mountains, TN

Come here for a stay with a gorgeous wooden pavilion, hot tub, and sprawling decks (yes, decks) for all your gathering needs. Inside, revel in the open living space, a sleek kitchen, and eight bedrooms, each with their very own bathroom! Just 15 minutes from Pigeon Forge and a short drive from Gatlinburg and Dollywood, Ridge View is your ultimate mountain escape.

2. River Rock – Breckenridge, CO

Introducing River Rock, your cozy group-friendly ski retreat nestled among the pine trees. Just a quick bus ride from Peak 8 and a short walk to Breckenridge’s Main Street, coming back to this welcoming haven is truly an ease (and delight). Enjoy the home’s stone-walled fireplace, spacious kitchen, game room/home theater, and multiple living areas for groups to spread out. After a day of adventure, unwind in the hot tub or sip a drink on the gazebo.

3. Destin Oasis – Destin, FL

Enjoy all the perks and space within this newly built Destin home, Destin Oasis, with a private pool, hot tub, game room, and a spacious outdoor living area. Inside, the open floor plan boasts a stylish living room with a large flat-screen TV, a beautifully appointed kitchen with modern appliances, and a generous dining space. To make things even better, beach gear rental credit is included for qualifying stays, making this the perfect stay for you and your XL crew!

4. La Barrique – Temecula, CA

Welcome to La Barrique, where luxury meets serenity in the heart of Temecula’s vineyards and mountains. This stunning property offers a range of activities, from picnics on the lawn to poolside ping pong, beach volleyball, and even poolside yoga. As the sun sets over the mountains, gather around the firepit for marshmallow roasting or soak in the hot tub with a glass of local wine.

5. Starlight Estate – Coachella Valley, CA

Hey bachelorette groups—we’re looking at you. Starlight Estate in Coachella Valley boasts an exclusive indoor tennis court with air conditioning, ensuring endless fun regardless of the weather. When it’s time to cool off, a luxurious pool area with waterfalls and a jetted hot tub awaits. Dine with your “I Do Crew” with a view in the covered lounge area, sip cocktails at the bar and grilling area, or relax on the additional terrace. Let your crew’s desert adventure begin!

For even more vacation homes with private tennis courts, check out our blog here!

6. Bottlenose – Destin, FL

Discover Bottlenose, a serene 8-bedroom retreat just a short ten-minute stroll from Miramar Beach. This coastal haven offers an inviting backyard oasis with a pool, outdoor dining area, and a relaxing patio adorned with a hammock. Inside, you’ll find a tasteful sea-inspired design in the living area, dining space, and a well-appointed kitchen with a spacious island and barstool seating.

7. Smokey’s Paradise – Smoky Mountains, TN

This one’s for that family reunion we mentioned. Smokey’s Paradise (in the Smoky Mountains, of course) is a modern mansion with room for 22 guests. It offers family-fun features like an indoor pool, hot tub, and game room. The chef’s kitchen, equipped with double fridges and freezers, makes cooking a joy. Downstairs, the game room awaits with pool, shuffleboard, and foosball.

Ready to dive into vacation rentals with indoor pools? Check out our blog with more here!

8. Rendezvous – Destin, FL

Get ready for an incredible beach getaway at Rendezvous. This fabulous Destin beach house is all about style and comfort, perfect for large groups ISO sunny days and vacays. With coastal-inspired design in every room, you’ll find yourself in breezy spaces with comfy furnishings, soft linens, and that chic all-white look. Think mornings on the balcony, poolside days, game room fun, evenings in the hot tub, and catching the sunset from the rooftop with a cozy fire pit.

Experience the Best of Group Travel and Stay with AvantStay

If you’re searching for the perfect places to stay with a large group, our vacation rentals have just what you need. Spend the day indulging, then return to a peaceful home-away-from-home with all the amenities (and more) that you’re already used to. Comfortable bedrooms, spacious backyards with pools and spectacular views are just some of the things you’ll enjoy during your stay. We look forward to having you!

Want more tips for your next trip? See more of our blogs here:

An Itinerary of the Best Things To Do in Isle of Palms

Is there an Isle of Palms getaway in your future? We have your guide to the top things to do for your Isle of Palms itinerary! From enjoying time on the beach, kayaking, and other outdoor activities to sightseeing and exploring the history of the area, there are plenty of fun things to keep your group entertained. Check out our list of the best Isle of Palms attractions and things to do during your next beach vacation.

Spend the Day at Isle of Palms Beach 

The beach is a must during any Isle of Palms vacation. The Isle of Palms County Park features a public beach park with all of the amenities needed for relaxation and family fun. Head to this centrally located beach park on the island to stroll the boardwalks, take a swim in the warm Atlantic Ocean, and even join a game of sand volleyball! For those looking to sit back and relax with their beach read, umbrella and chair rentals are available to ensure a perfect setup for you and your family. You can even stay beachfront at an AvantStay vacation home like High Tide or Derby.

Source: Conde Naste Traveler

Whether you are an expert on the greens or a novice looking to practice your swing, you’ll enjoy a round of golf on the Wild Dunes Links Golf Course. The oceanfront, 18-hole golf course is one of the best in all of South Carolina and was designed by renowned architect, Tom Fazio. Book a tee time or lesson at this oceanfront golf course for a morning of outdoor fun during your Isle of Palms vacation!  

Source: Charleston & Resort Islands Golf

Reel in a Catch on a Fishing Charter 

Get out on the water with an Isle of Palms fishing charter. Trust a local captain to be your guide to navigate either inshore waterways or offshore waters and assist you in casting fishing lines to reel in prized catches of redfish, tarpon, spotter trout, flounder, and even the occasional shark! Experienced anglers or first-time fishermen will enjoy an expedition led by a knowledgeable local angler.

Source: Charleston Charter Fishing

See the Island by Kayak, Paddleboard, or Boat

And if you want to get out on the water without casting a fishing line, jump in a kayak or on a paddleboard. Watersports enthusiasts can find plenty of ways to explore Isle of Palms whether they are out on a kayaking expedition, paddleboarding, or experiencing a wildlife tour with Barrier Island Eco-Tours.

Source: Coastal Expeditions

Admire the Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse 

Known locally as the “Charleston Light,” Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse has been a staple of the South Carolina shoreline since 1962. Today, the lighthouse continues to shine nightly to guide passing ships while during the day the lighthouse is a popular sightseeing destination. The lighthouse is not open to the public, but the nearby beach access is a popular spot to pose for photos and to view the iconic structure. The nearby Sullivan’s Island Life Saving Station is a historic site that provides further architectural interest and charming grounds to explore.  

Source: Visit Historic Charleston

Explore Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park 

Experience the history of Charleston Harbor at Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historic Park. The park consists of a series of fortifications along Charleston Harbor and Sullivan’s Island. Fort Moultrie has a history stretching back to before the Revolutionary War when the forts were utilized as a quarantine station checking every passenger coming into the harbor including Africans who were enslaved. In 1776 the fort was attacked by the Royal Navy. Fort Sumter marks the location of the first shots of the Civil War on April 12th, 1861 and became a significant factor in the Siege of Charleston. Today, guests are able to visit these historical sites and learn the history from rangers of the park. 

Source: Fort Sumter Tours

Enjoy Oceanfront Cuisine 

IOP is a hub for delicious coastal and low country cuisine. Enjoy an ocean breeze and delicious seafood dishes at a local beachfront eatery. Coconut Joe’s Beach Grill which offers ocean views, casual beachside eats, and a rooftop bar. During peak season, live music can often be enjoyed at this popular beach grill. For a romantic setting with a menu filled with southern specialties, head to The Boathouse! Sit down to enjoy dishes such as raw oysters, surf & turf, and pan roasted scallops that can be paired with a seasonal cocktail or a glass of wine. Delight your taste buds during a stay in an Island of Palms vacation home like Crawdad or Orchard.  

Source: Coconut Joe’s Beach Grill

Stroll Through Charleston 

Known for its cuisine, history, nightlife, shopping, and more, Charleston sits a ~40-minute drive away from IOP, making it an ideal day trip during your vacation. Plan a day to head inland to explore Charleston’s landmarks like Rainbow Row, The Battery, Charleston City Market, King Street and so much more. Downtown Charleston is a hub for foodies, shopping, and stunning parks filled with oak trees. Take a walking tour to get the most out of your day in Charleston and really learn the history of this unique coastal city! 

Source: Our Escape Clause

Dance the Night Away at The Windjammer 

After the sun goes down, dance the night away at The Windjammer. A live music venue located on IOP’s Front Beach, The Windjammer invites visitors to enjoy performances from local bands, tribute bands, and more. The Windjammer also offers a menu of casual beach cuisine, so you can combine dancing with snacking on shrimp baskets. Check the event schedule to see what live performance you want to jam along with during your next beach vacation.

Source: Post and Courier

Experience the Best of Isle of Palms  

Ready to experience the beauty, history, and fun that awaits on Isle of Palms? Make your own itinerary of Isle of Palms must-dos to prepare for your beach vacation.  

High Tide by AvantStay

Top 12 Gifts for Vacation Rental Homeowners

Vacation rental amenities can turn a great guest experience into an unforgettable one. Happy guests leave positive reviews which drive more bookings, repeat guests, and ultimately more revenue.

If you know someone with a short-term vacation rental, or maybe you want to treat yourself, consider gifting them one of these vacation rental amenities to elevate the guest experience and maximize their home’s value. From birthdays to Mother’s or Father’s Day, check out our top 12 gift ideas for vacation rental homeowners.

Mega Four in a Row

vacation rental amenities like connect four and cornhole

$100 at Saks Fifth Avenue

The Mega Four in a Row set is perfect for poolside lounging or cozy family game nights by the fire. This stylish take on a popular classic comes with a hand-painted pine playing board and 42 wooden chips. Standing at 18.75 inches tall and 23.5 inches wide, the Mega Four in a Row set is larger than the original but can easily be moved around your short-term vacation rental for impromptu game sessions.

Mega Jumbling Tower

giant jenga game at a vacation rental

$120 at Saks Fifth Avenue

The Mega Jumbling Tower is another great addition for vacation rental backyard hangs. Fun for all ages, this natural timber stacker includes 45 gold and white hand-painted blocks. At the start of gameplay, the tower stands at two feet tall, so be sure to give your guests plenty of space for stacking and the inevitable tumbling.

Cornhole boards

AvantStay home backyard with vacation rental amenitites

$315 at Elakai

Add some friendly competition to any backyard barbecue with these mahogany cornhole boards. This two-by-four-foot regulation cornhole board set features a premium-grade plywood deck with a solid mahogany frame. These boards are lightweight and portable with built-in carrying handles, so guests can easily set up or move the game throughout the space.

Poker table

poker table with card game at a vacation rental

$1,800 at Pottery Barn

Raise the stakes of game nights at your short-term rental with a poker table. Guests will appreciate the rustic yet modern design of this mahogany table, doubling as a statement piece post-game. With built-in beverage holders and the option to complete the set with matching chairs, the only things missing are your deck of cards and poker chips.

Foosball table

AvantStay guests enjoying a game of foosball

$3,000 at CB2

Bring the arcade to your short-term vacation rental with a sleek, modern foosball table. At nearly five feet in length, this fast-paced game can easily fit in a dedicated game room, covered patio, or main living space. The table is made from burl wood and stainless steel and can accommodate two to four players at one time.

Shuffleboard table

AvantStay home living room with shuffle board table

$2,650 at Fairview Game Rooms

Shuffleboard is an old-time favorite and a great addition to your vacation rental amenities. At nine feet in length, this table is on the smaller end of shuffleboard tables so you don’t have to worry about it taking up too much space. There’s also a handy storage cabinet built into one of the pedestal legs to keep extra pucks and sand out of sight.

Multi-use ping pong table

ping pong table in AvantStay rental backyard

$2,000 at Wayfair

Maximize your short-term rental living space with a multi-use ping pong table. Guests can go from ping pong tournaments to dining al fresco in seconds with this convertible indoor/outdoor table by simply removing the steel net. When ping pong isn’t in play, this table can be used as a dining or conference table, comfortably seating 10 to 12 people.

Pool table

pool table in AvantStay home

$6,500 at West Elm

A pool table is an essential piece for any short-term rental game room. This pool table from West Elm is built-to-last and withstand guest use, crafted from solid wood, leather drop pockets, and spill-resistant felt. Complete with a rack and accessories kit, this table comes ready for pool sharks and rookie players alike.

Rolling patio cooler

AvantStay home patio with cooler and drinks

$250 at Permasteel

Give guests the option to move the fun from the pool to the ping pong table (and everywhere in between) with a rolling patio cooler. This stylish, steel cooler can hold 80 quarts, equivalent to 100 12-ounce cans plus ice. Your vacation rental guests won’t have to pause the party with this convenient cart, equipped with a bottle opener, cap catcher, and insulated basin that keeps drinks cold for up to 36 hours.

Around the Block bikes

bikes at AvantStay home backyard

$350 at Sixthreezero

Bikes are a great vacation rental amenity that gives guests the freedom to explore nearby attractions. The Around the Block bike by Sixthreezero is a low-maintenance bike built for comfort—perfect to have ready for guests who want to cruise to the beach, check out the local farmers’ market, and more. These bikes are available in multiple speeds and are ideal for casual to up-tempo rides.

Pedestal fire pit table

AvantStay home with fire pit

$1,800 at West Elm

From deserts to mountains to beaches, a fire pit is a must-have for any short-term vacation rental outdoor space. This luxurious centerpiece is perfect for outdoor lounging, wine nights by the fire, and family s’more sessions. The fiber-reinforced concrete frame is covered in a weather-resistant sealant to withstand all elements. Powered by propane, the fire pit will instantly warm up your space with a simple push-button spark ignition.


pop-a-shot basketball game vacation rental amenity
Source: CB2

$2,500 at CB2

If you’re looking for that wow factor for your short-term rental, look no further than this revamped arcade-classic basketball game. Featuring black genuine leather, brass backboard, and black nylon chording, this deluxe basketball game is so luxurious you won’t want to miss a shot—baskets or photo ops.

Unwrap a first-class guest experience

Furnishing a short-term rental and selecting the best vacation rental amenities for your guests can be hard work. Luckily, when you partner with AvantStay, you get access to our award-winning interior design and procurement services. Our designers review every home added to the portfolio and create memorable and inspiring designs that transform spaces and maximize value.

We help procure and install furniture and arrange bedrooms and common spaces to maximize occupancy. Our designers also curate experiential elements like those listed above so guests get the most out of their stay, driving positive reviews, more bookings, and increased revenue.

If you’re interested in learning more about our vacation rental management and design services, our team is ready to help. Get started today!

Snowbird Monthly Vacation Rentals: Top Destinations for Your Winter Escape

Step into the world of snowbird rentals for a cozy winter escape. Our guide reveals the best seasonal vacation homes and offers handy snowbird travel tips. Get ready for affordable snowbird getaways and a stress-free winter retreat.

Key West, FL

Key West’s unique charm and mild winter climate make it an ideal destination for snowbird monthly vacation rentals. With a laid-back atmosphere and a variety of cozy accommodations, this island paradise beckons snowbirds seeking a warm escape. Embrace the vibrant culture, water sports, and delightful dining options that make Key West a standout choice for extended stays.

Fort Lauderdale, FL

Fort Lauderdale’s sunny shores and cultural attractions offer a perfect blend for snowbird getaways. The city boasts a variety of monthly vacation rentals, from beachfront condos to upscale apartments, accommodating a range of preferences and budgets. Snowbirds can revel in the warm weather and explore the city’s artistic and recreational offerings while enjoying the comforts of their seasonal home.

Palm Springs, CA

Nestled in the California desert, Palm Springs is a haven for snowbird monthly vacation rentals. Its winter climate is second to none, and the region features a wide array of seasonal homes, perfect for a relaxing retreat. Snowbirds can enjoy stunning mountain vistas, golf courses, and explore the area’s mid-century modern architecture, creating an ideal backdrop for an extended winter stay.

Coachella Valley, CA

Adjacent to Palm Springs, Coachella Valley draws snowbirds with its proximity to the famed Coachella Music Festival, while also offering a peaceful desert lifestyle. Monthly rentals in this region provide the perfect balance between joining the festival excitement and enjoying the tranquil desert surroundings, making it a unique and appealing option for seasonal stays.

Destin, FL

Destin, along with the neighboring Emerald Coast/30A, is a prime destination for snowbird monthly vacation rentals. Its stunning white-sand beaches and emerald waters create a serene backdrop for extended stays. Snowbirds can find a variety of accommodations, from beachfront condos to cozy cottages, allowing them to fully embrace the Gulf Coast lifestyle and its plethora of water activities.

Joshua Tree, CA

Snowbirds looking for a unique desert experience will find Joshua Tree to be an enchanting choice for monthly vacation rentals. The region’s distinctive landscape, known for its striking rock formations and desert flora, provides an extraordinary backdrop for a peaceful winter retreat. With a range of cozy desert homes available for rent, snowbirds can explore the area’s national park, go stargazing, and soak in the artistic inspiration that this desert gem offers.

Maui, HI

Maui, one of Hawaii’s most popular islands, offers an enticing mix of natural beauty and luxury vacation rentals, making it an excellent choice for snowbirds. From upscale condos to beachfront villas, the island caters to various tastes and budgets. Snowbirds can savor the tropical paradise, indulge in water sports, and immerse themselves in Hawaiian culture, ensuring a memorable and comfortable winter stay.

Oahu, HI

Oahu, the heart of Hawaii, is a bustling yet picturesque island with a wide range of snowbird monthly vacation rentals. Snowbirds can enjoy the best of both worlds by exploring the vibrant city life of Honolulu and relaxing on the island’s serene beaches, all within easy reach of their extended stay accommodations. The island’s rich culture, diverse landscapes, and inviting atmosphere make Oahu an attractive destination for winter getaways.

San Diego, CA

With its year-round pleasant climate, San Diego is a top choice for snowbird rentals. The city boasts an array of comfortable monthly accommodations, including apartments, condos, and beachfront properties. Snowbirds can revel in the diverse neighborhoods, coastal beauty, cultural attractions, and an abundance of outdoor activities, ensuring a rewarding and rejuvenating winter escape.

Scottsdale, AZ

Scottsdale, in the heart of the Arizona desert, offers an oasis of warmth and luxury for snowbird monthly vacation rentals. The city’s winter climate is inviting, and it features numerous golf courses and upscale accommodations, making it a haven for those seeking a relaxing escape. Snowbirds can explore the city’s art scene, indulge in outdoor pursuits, and embrace the desert lifestyle while enjoying a comfortable and well-appointed seasonal home.

Where Is the Best Breakfast in Cannon Beach?

Start your day off right with a delicious breakfast! After all, it’s the most important meal of the day. Whether you enjoy a hearty meal that gives you tons of energy or you’re just looking for a great cup of coffee and pastry, you’ll be able to find it in Cannon Beach. Discover where to find the best breakfast in Cannon Beach! We’ve listed our picks for the best attractions, cafes, shops, and art galleries along the Oregon Coast! Planning your trip is easy when you use our free Vacation Guide.

The Best Breakfast in Cannon Beach: A Guide

Lazy Susan Cafe

Located in Coaster Square, the Lazy Susan Cafe is an area staple. This family-owned eatery is open six days a week and is known for serving up breakfast favorites like omelets, poached egg specials, and waffles. They even have yummy lunch items and desserts. We promise this restaurant’s great food, cozy atmosphere, and friendly waitstaff will have you coming back for more!

Pig ‘n Pancake

Pig ‘n Pancake is a casual, family-friendly eatery that overlooks downtown Cannon Beach. Here, diners can choose from 35 different breakfast options served all day long – including the owner’s famous homemade pancakes. From buttermilk and sourdough to French batter pancakes, these decadent creations are a must-try during your visit.

Source: Pig ‘n Pancake

Crêpe Neptune

You don’t have to travel all the way to France for an incredible crepe! Crêpe Neptune offers a variety of savory and sweet treats that are sure to satisfy your palate. (Not sure what to order? Try the classic Nutella crepes. They are to die for!) Gluten-free, dairy-free, and buckwheat batter is also available, so you can join in on the fun no matter what your dietary needs are.

Source: Crêpe Neptune

The Wayfarer

At the Wayfarer Restaurant and Lounge, guests can indulge in gourmet dishes that feature local produce and some of the freshest seafood available. This oceanfront eatery boasts unique breakfast items like Dungeness crabmeat benedict, buttermilk biscuits and gravy, and cinnamon French toast. Yum!

Sleepy Monk Coffee Roasters

With a myriad of roasts and blends to suit a variety of tastes, Sleepy Monk Coffee Roasters is our go-to for a fresh cup of joe. That’s why they’re also one of our favorite coffee shops on the Oregon Coast! All of their coffees are sourced internationally, certified organic, and roasted in small batches. It’s the perfect place to go after indulging in the best breakfast in Cannon Beach.

Source: Stumptown Blogger

Book Your Stay With AvantStay

You know what’s even better than enjoying the best breakfast in Cannon Beach? Staying in the most gorgeous accommodations in town! AvantStay has an amazing selection of top-notch properties in Cannon Beach, as well as in Manzanita, Rockaway Beach, and Arch Cape. No matter the reason for your visit or the time of year, you’ll find just what you need in our inventory of homes.
Take a look at our stunning rentals and book today! We look forward to having you.

7 Beautiful Airbnb Alternatives in Big Bear

If you’re looking for a healthy dose of fresh air, exercise, and rejuvenation, look no further than AvantStay Airbnbs in Big Bear, California. While Airbnb has long been the standard for booking vacation homes online, as alternative vacation rental options grow, comparison shopping has become more of the norm for travelers. 

Enter AvantStay: where guests can enjoy all the advantages of Airbnb and combine them with the elevated experience of staying in a luxury hotel. From award-winning interior designs and in-app upgrades to sprawling estates stocked with all the amenities and in-home entertainment you could ever dream of, our professionally managed properties are one-of-a-kind.

To further curate our collection of upscale vacation rentals, we’ve compiled a list of 7 beautiful homes in Big Bear to inspire your next Southern California getaway in the jewel of San Bernardino County. But why take our word for it? We’ll let our properties speak for themselves. 

1. Direct Lakefront Access

Shoreline Lakehouse by AvantStay. A large open deck with outdoor couches and furniture sits with a private dock on Big Bear Lake.

Wake up to a placid, reflective lake, the sounds of nature, and enjoy a cup of coffee on the private decks or curled up next to the fireplace at Shoreline Lakehouse. This five-bedroom cabin is the perfect getaway for your friends or family. 

2. Custom Docks

Water's Edge Estate by AvantStay. A deck with two chairs open up to Big Bear Lake.

Water’s Edge Estate is a luxury 6-bedroom, pet-friendly cabin that sits directly on Big Bear Lake with a large, custom dock for two boats and three jet skis. Its inviting floor plan and ideal location make this home a nature lover’s paradise for endless year-round activities. 

3. Modern Designs

Wolf's Den by AvantStay. A modernly designed large primary bedroom with a fluffy rug and a painting of a horse over the bed.

“Wow” is the only word that can describe not only the updated interior design of Wolf’s Den, but also the breathtaking views from this 3,000 square foot cabin. Sweeping windows, a large private deck, and just two minutes from Bear Mountain Ski Resort, this 14-person home is waiting for you.

4. Natural Beauty

Bernard by AvantStay. Home exterior with an outdoor hot tub, surrounded by pine trees.

Nestled among fragrant pine trees and oozing with charm and character, lies Bernard. Paired with cozy furnishings, a hot tub, and an outdoor grill, this cabin’s allure is matched only by its scenic surroundings.

5. Comfortable and Chic

Koda by AvantStay. A modernly designed cabin living room.

This isn’t your ordinary cabin in the woods. Koda’s touches of light wood, contemporary decor, and the inviting appeal of a stone fireplace give you the glamping feel with even better views.

6. Luxury Amenities

Heavenly Valley by AvantStay. A luxurious foyer with a winding staircase.

The summer retreat of Heavenly Valley is the perfect spot for a private AvantStay getaway. Located only two miles from the lake, just over half a mile from Snow Summit Ski Resort, and stocked with a game room, wet bar, and heated swimming pool, this home offers the perfect space for indoor and outdoor living with your friends and family.

7. Unobstructed Views

Lagunita Shores by AvantStay. A living room with window views open to Big Bear Lake.

One of the many reasons guests come to us when shopping around for the best vacation rental options includes our selection of unparalleled homes and chalets like Lagunita Shores. Enjoy over 100 feet of prime shoreline in this custom cabin with boundless views of Big Bear Lake. Your mountain dream home is only a reservation away.

Best Things to Do in Sullivan’s Island

If you’re seeking things to do on Sullivan’s Island, explore this guide for inspiration as you plan your next getaway. 

Sullivan’s Island is a 2.5-mile long island located near the entrance of the Charleston Harbor and near Isle of Palms and just minutes from Charleston, South Carolina.

This barrier island is a favorite destination for East Coast beach lovers. You’ll find that this small town is filled with a plethora of historic sites, civil war history, sightseeing attractions, and outdoor activities to enjoy.

Check out our list of the best things to do in Sullivan’s Island to add to your itinerary for the perfect getaway. 

Soak Up Sunshine Along the South Carolina Coast

Explore the beaches of The Barrier Islands just past the city limits of Charleston, South Carolina for a relaxing getaway filled with all these great beaches have to offer. You’ll find some of the most famous beaches like Sullivan’s Island, Folly, and Isle of Palms. You can’t go wrong with one of these beautiful beaches for your getaway. 

Sullivan’s Island Beach 

Wake up early and take a morning beach stroll to experience the spectacular sunrise on Sullivan’s Island beach. This beach is only about 20 minutes from downtown Charleston offering smooth white sand, calm waters perfect for plenty of fun activities and watersports including kayaking, charter fishing, kiteboarding, paddleboarding and more. 

Arrive early before the beach begins to get busy in the summer months as there’s limited parking available. Or, book a Sullivan’s Island vacation home to enjoy the beach within easy access of your home-away-from-home. 

Isle of Palms Beach

Located Northeast of Sullivan’s Island, this charming small beach community offers many water sports like surfing, kayaking, and fishing charters. Isle of Palms beach is perfect for families offering convenient amenities to guests like umbrellas, showers, and lifeguards. Stay just a block away from the beach at the Pelican vacation rental perfect for your next beach getaway. 

Folly Beach

Folly Beach is a popular beach spot for locals looking for a daytrip from Charleston. Come early to beat traffic and find a parking spot. Enjoy the day stretched out on the sand, surfing or take a sunrise stroll along the beach. Stay just minutes from the Folly Park at Live Oak or explore more vacation rentals in Sullivan’s Island to create the perfect getaway. 

Explore Sullivan’s Island by Bike

Sullivan’s Island has a 32 mile bike path connecting all three beaches to downtown Charleston making it an excellent way to explore. The path connects Isle of Palms with Folly Beach and goes through Sullivan’s Island, Old Mount Pleasant, and over the Ravenel Bridge. You can take an adventure over the Ravenel Bridge to Sullivan’s Island while staying in the biking lane. Summer in South Carolina can be quite hot. The best time to take this 2 hour bike trip will be during the fall, winter, or spring months.

Source: Canva

Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse

Standing at 140 feet, Sulivan’s Island Lighthouse is one of the last lighthouses to be built in the United States. While this black and white lighthouse is closed to the public, it is still fully operational and a great place to take a photo with friends or family on your vacation. 

Source: Canva

Sullivan’s Island Restaurants

Gather your friends and family and enjoy a fresh local meal while dining al fresco at one of Sullivan’s Island’s outdoor restaurants. Our favorites are Poe’s Tavern, named after Edgar Allen Poe, Home Team BBQ and The Obstinate Daughter. These restaurants are popular among foodies, so prepare for longer wait times or be sure to call ahead to reserve a table. 

Source: Canva

Enjoy the Best of Sullivan’s Island   

Ready to experience all of the history, fun, and beauty Sullivan’s Island has to offer? Create your list of fun things to do and see on Sullivan’s Island to prepare for your next getaway.

If you’re looking for other recommendations in the area, be sure to check out our other resources:

Browse Sullivan’s Island Vacation Rentals 

Best Things to Do in Charleston SC  

Best Restaurants in Charleston 

How to Spend 48 Hours in Sonoma

Nestled in the heart of California’s wine country, Sonoma County offers a delightful blend of scenic landscapes, world-class wineries, and culinary delights. Sonoma makes for the perfect weekend getaway, with plenty of things to do to fit into a 48-hour trip. In this guide, we’ll take you on a memorable journey through Sonoma, highlighting the best places to stay, wineries to visit, and where to savor delicious treats. Get ready to immerse yourself in the beauty and flavors of this captivating destination.

Where to Stay

For a comfortable and luxurious stay in Sonoma County, consider booking an AvantStay vacation rental in Santa Rosa. Santa Rosa is a great central location with easy access to the Sonoma wineries to the north and south, and to Napa Valley wineries to the east.

AvantStay offers an array of stunning properties that cater to different group sizes and preferences. Whether you’re traveling with family or friends, you’ll find spacious accommodations equipped with modern amenities and stylish interiors. Enjoy the convenience of a fully equipped kitchen, cozy living spaces, and beautiful outdoor areas to unwind after a day of exploration.

Estrella by AvantStay

Day 1
Kickstart your day with a delicious brunch at Sunflower Caffé in Downtown Sonoma. Known for its farm-to-table ethos, this charming eatery serves up mouthwatering dishes made with locally sourced ingredients. Indulge in their fluffy pancakes, savory omelets, or a hearty breakfast sandwich. This spot does not take reservations, so you can leisurely stroll to brunch without being held to a schedule.

Make your way to Benziger Family Winery, known for its sustainable farming practices and exceptional wines. Take a guided tour of the vineyards, learn about their biodynamic approach, and sample their diverse range of varietals. We recommend taking the tractor tour for a unique perspective of the vineyards. Tickets must be purchased in advance as they do tend to sell out.

Berziger Family Winery

After Benziger, head to their sister location, Imagery Winery, for an intimate wine-tasting experience. Enjoy their handcrafted wines, carefully produced in small batches, while taking in the serene vineyard views. This winery is family-friendly, offering an outdoor area with bocce ball and plenty of space for the kids to run around.

Imagery Winery

End your evening by heading back to the Santa Rosa area for dinner at La Rosa Tequileria & Grille. This vibrant restaurant offers a fusion of Mexican and Latin American flavors. Enjoy dishes like their flavorful carne asada, fresh ceviche, or their famous street tacos. Pair your meal with one of their impressive tequila or mezcal selections.

Save room for dessert and hop across the street to Noble Folk for a delightful ice cream experience. This artisanal ice cream parlor offers a range of unique flavors made with locally sourced ingredients. From classic options to inventive creations like lavender honey and salted caramel, there’s something to satisfy every palate. For the indecisive, opt for a flight of ice cream and choose up to 6 different flavors.

Ice cream flight at Noble Folk

Day 2

Start your morning off right with brunch at Bird & The Bottle. This Santa Rosa spot blends an surprising array of flavors. Asian, American South, East Coast, Jewish and other cuisines have been combined to create an unforgettable menu. Enjoy everything from matzo ball soup to Korean BBQ chicken.

Next on the agenda are another two wineries you won’t want to miss.

Embark on a sensory journey at Jordan Vineyard & Winery, renowned for its elegant wines and stunning chateau-style architecture. Take a guided tour of the vineyards, explore their underground wine cellar, and indulge in a wine and food pairing experience. The Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon is a true standout.

Conclude your winery visits at St. Francis Winery & Vineyards, a picturesque estate offering an array of exceptional wines. Enjoy a seated tasting experience in their tasting room or outdoor terrace, where you can sample their highly acclaimed Zinfandel and Chardonnay.

For a delicious dining experience, spend the evening at The Girl & The Fig in Sonoma. This renowned restaurant focuses on French-inspired cuisine with a California twist. The menu showcases seasonal and locally sourced ingredients, creating dishes bursting with flavor. Try their signature fig and arugula salad, followed by their delectable roasted chicken or grilled fish. End your meal with their decadent lavender crème brulée.

the girl & the fig

Ready to plan your stay in Sonoma? Check out all of AvantStay’s group-friendly vacation rentals here.

What to Do and Where to Stay: 10 Best Bachelorette Stays in Nashville

So it’s planning time for your last rodeo, huh? You came to the right place. No matter what your I Do Crew has in mind for your big weekend, we’ve got you covered in this guide of the best places to stay and where to play during your Nash bach party. Let’s go, girls. 

What to Do During Your Nashville Bachelorette Party

Source: Honky Tonk Party Express

Bachelorette Party Cruise 

If you’ve been to Nashville before, you’ve definitely seen one of those party-mobiles making their way around town. Before you put on your coordinated outfits, bachelorette sashes, and cowboy hats, we recommend checking out and booking with the Honky Tonk Party Express—where you’re guaranteed two hours of riding around, control over the aux cord, coolers, ice, and a VIP bartender. 

Source: River Queen Voyages

Booze Cruise with River Queen Voyages

Take things one step further and hit the open seas (or in this case, the river). Check out River Queen Voyages for a super easy-to-book booze cruise where you and your I Do Crew will have the time of your life, waterside. Choose from either a public or private cruise and enjoy a 90-min downtown cruise on a boat with Bluetooth, views, and room for 16 people. 

Source: The Tennessean

Bar Hopping on Broadway

Broadway is the place to be in Nashville. Whatever bar(s) you end up at on this street, you’re almost guaranteed to run into other bachelorette parties. The more the merrier, right? While you’re here, we recommend checking out these bars: Tootsies for honky tonk vibes, Legends Corner if you love a good dive bar, White Limozeen for a rooftop party with skyline views, and The Stage on Broadway for live music. 

Source: Nashville Underground

Ride a Mechanical Bull

You said you wanted alast rodeo, so you’re gonna get a last rodeo. Head to one of many bars on the bustling street of Broadway and see how you do with a mechanical bull ride. Our favorite place for bevvies and bulls is Nashville Underground

Disclaimer: though we think you’ll kill it, we don’t accept any responsibility for what happens to you and the girls on the bull post-tequila shots.

Source: Drip Hydration

Recover with Drip IV

Alright, let’s be honest. After activities like these, you and the girlies are going to be massively dehydrated the morning after. That’s where our add-on services come in handy. Once you’ve booked with AvantStay, head to our app where you can easily add on Drip IVs for all the ladies, within the comfort of your own (vacation) home. You can thank us later. 

Where to Stay in Nashville During Your Bachelorette

It wouldn’t be a proper hoedown throwdown without a place just as chic as your crew. AvantStay offers premier stays perfect for the party that’s getting down, down south.

121 Hotel

We’re kicking off this round-up with one of our favorite hotels (ever). Offering the ultimate in flexibility, The 121 Hotel in Midtown Nashville allows you to reserve an individual room or suite, the penthouse, a full floor (with living area and full kitchen), or the entire hotel for you and all the bride’s babes. Kick back and relax in this hotel’s chic interiors before you pregame the night away on the rooftop.


For the bride to be that grew up idolizing Ina Garten, McGraw is another Midtown home located by Centennial Park. It comes with a proper chef’s kitchen and experiential amenities, like putt-putt and shuffleboard. If you happen to have to send some last minute emails (been there) this home’s office provides the perfect place to catch up before you change your Slack status to “OOO.”

Chesney & Rhett

Whether it is your first rodeo or not, you deserve to do Nashville right. Stay at our home, Chesney & Rhett, for modern Nashville interiors, a new record player with all the hits, and plenty of room for a bach party of up to 20. Keep the music going at the nearby The Listening Room Cafe where you’ll experience some of the best drinks and best live tunes of your trip. 


Nashville looks good on you––but you’d look even better in Bourbon. When you’re spending your days experiencing all the music, dining, and entertainment in one of the most lively cities in the country, you need a clean, curated space to return to so you can do it all again tomorrow. This four-bedroom home just outside Downtown Nashville features chic, modern design that will leave you feeling refreshed and inspired.

Dottie, Loretta & Lambert

It’s your bride’s last ride, and you better make it count! Turn up at our 3-unit buyout, Dottie, Lorette & Lambert, with room for up to 36 guests. With beds this comfy and decor this cute, we guarantee you’ll find yourself well rested enough to end up at one of those late night Nashville honky tonks screaming “One more song!” Yeehaw, ladies.

Apart from its seamless group travel experience and a plentiful selection of luxury in-app upgrades, AvantStay vacation homes are in primo bachelorette locations—even more than what we just covered in this article. Click here to see all our destinations and we’ll see you girls soon!

13 Things to Do in Port Aransas

Welcome to Port Aransas! If you’re yearning for sun, sand, and endless fun, Port Aransas is the perfect vacation destination for you. This delightful coastal town offers a wide range of exciting activities and hidden gems waiting to be explored. In this ultimate guide, we’ll highlight the top 13 things you absolutely can’t miss. Here’s an important tip while you’re planning your travels: staying at a vacation home is the ideal way to experience Port Aransas, especially if you’re traveling with a group. Fortunately, AvantStay offers a fantastic selection of vacation homes that cater to your needs.

1. Beach Activities

Let’s kick off our journey with the main attraction: the beaches! Get ready to soak up the sun, build sandcastles, and take refreshing dips in the crystal-clear waters. Port Aransas boasts pristine stretches of sandy paradise, perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and leisurely beachcombing. Don’t forget your sunscreen and get ready for some serious beach bliss.

Source;: Travel and Leisure

2. Fishing and Boating

Calling all fishing enthusiasts! Port Aransas proudly holds the title of “Fishing Capital of Texas,” and it’s no wonder why. Cast your line into the abundant waters, reel in some impressive catches, and savor the thrill of the chase. You can try your hand at bay fishing, fishing off the Horace Caldwell Pier or Bob Hall Pier, or even fly fishing. Don’t worry if you’re new to fishing; there are plenty of charters and guides available to show you the ropes. If you’re into boating, you can also enjoy thrilling adventures like kayaking and jet skiing.

Source: Fisherman’s Wharf

3. Dolphin Watching

Prepare for an unforgettable experience as we embark on a dolphin watching tour. Hop aboard a boat and set sail on the sparkling Gulf waters, where you’ll have a front-row seat to witness these magnificent creatures leaping and playing in their natural habitat. It’s a truly magical encounter that will leave you in awe.

Source: Port A Escapes

4. Birding and Wildlife

Nature lovers, this is the place for you. Port Aransas is a paradise for birding enthusiasts and wildlife admirers alike. With its diverse ecosystem, you’ll have the chance to spot a fascinating array of bird species and encounter other remarkable wildlife. Grab your binoculars, explore the trails, and keep your eyes peeled for feathery friends, sea turtles, and even alligators.

Source: Port A Escape

5. Mustang Island State Park

For those seeking outdoor adventures, a visit to Mustang Island State Park is a must. Lace up your hiking boots, set up camp, and immerse yourself in nature’s wonderland. This park offers an array of activities, from hiking scenic trails to enjoying picnics and camping. It’s the perfect opportunity to embrace the great outdoors and create lasting memories.

Source: PortAransas.org

6. Port Aransas Nature Preserve

Get ready to be captivated by the Port Aransas Nature Preserve. This hidden gem boasts a unique ecosystem waiting to be explored. Traverse the winding walking trails and elevated boardwalks that meander through stunning landscapes. You’ll have the chance to reconnect with nature, spot wildlife, and capture Insta-worthy photos—keep your camera ready for breathtaking views. It’s a serene escape where you can recharge and connect with the wonders of the great outdoors.

Source: PortAransas.org

7. Visit the Port Aransas Museum

Step back in time and immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of Port Aransas at the Port Aransas Museum. Explore fascinating exhibits and get up close to artifacts that vividly depict the town’s heritage. Admission is free but donations are happily accepted to support the museum. Keep an eye out for any special events or programs or join one of the tours they offer—it’s the perfect chance to make history come alive.

Source: The Clio

8. Explore the Local Art Scene

Port Aransas is a hub of creativity, boasting a vibrant art scene. Take a leisurely stroll through art galleries, discover local studios, and marvel at stunning public art installations that grace the town’s streets. Keep an ear to the ground for upcoming art events and festivals—it’s an opportunity to immerse yourself in the world of art and support local talent.

Source: PortAransas.org

9. Enjoy Fresh Seafood

If you have a taste for seafood, Port Aransas is a culinary paradise known for its delectable, fresh seafood straight from the Gulf. Indulge in mouthwatering dishes at local seafood restaurants, savoring the flavors of the ocean. From succulent shrimp to flavorful fish and delectable crab delights, your taste buds are in for a treat. Don’t forget to check out local seafood markets for the freshest catches to cook up in your vacation home.

Source: The Dunes

10. Golfing

Fore! If you fancy hitting the green, Port Aransas has got you covered. Tee off at one of the town’s fantastic golf courses and enjoy a round or two amidst beautiful coastal scenery. Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or a novice looking to have some fun, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to perfect your swing and soak in the relaxed atmosphere.

Source: Palmilla Beach Resort & Golf Community

11. Shop at Local Boutiques and Souvenir Shops

Time for a little retail therapy! Port Aransas offers a unique shopping experience with its charming local boutiques, souvenir shops, and art galleries. Take a leisurely stroll through the streets, discover one-of-a-kind treasures, and bring home a piece of Port Aransas magic. From coastal-inspired decor to quirky souvenirs, there’s something for everyone.

Source: Port A Escapes

12. Visit the University of Texas Marine Science Institute

Unleash your inner marine scientist at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute. Explore fascinating exhibits, learn about marine ecosystems, and even participate in educational programs. It’s an opportunity to dive deep into the wonders of the ocean and broaden your knowledge of marine life.

Source: Texas Highways

13. Attend Local Events and Festivals

Get ready to immerse yourself in the vibrant spirit of Port Aransas by attending its exciting events and festivals. From music festivals to fishing tournaments, there’s always something happening in this lively town. Check out the event calendar and make sure to time your visit with the ones that pique your interest. We’re partial to the Texas Sandfest, an annual sand sculpture competition where more than 100,000 attendees gather to create (and watch artists create) incredibly elaborate, beautiful sand sculptures. The Harvest Moon Regatta is also a popular event, the largest point-to-point sailboat race in the country. The regatta ends in Port Aransas, so you can enjoy the exciting finish from the beach or the jetty. 

Source: Texas Highways

Remember, for the ultimate experience, consider staying at a vacation home, especially when traveling with a group. AvantStay offers a wide range of Port Aransas vacation homes that cater to your needs, providing comfort, space, and an unforgettable stay. 

Now, pack your bags, gather your favorite travel companions, and get ready to embark on a journey filled with beachside bliss, epic adventures, and unforgettable memories. Port Aransas awaits, ready to shower you with its coastal magic. Bon voyage!

Work from (Vacation) Home – AvantStay’s Best WFH Destinations

Working from home is so last year! Going forward, we vow to Work from Vacation Home. Whether you’re looking for a Zoom background to make your coworkers jealous, or need a clear space for a clear mind, this round-up includes some of our favorite WF(V)H spots where you can disconnect to reconnect, and hit that mental refresh button.

1. Edendale  – Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles California AvantStay vacation rental house

Looking for inspiration? Search no further than Edendale in this Hollywood Hills WFH space – where you’ll have access to a comfortable bedroom desk set-up, lightning fast WiFi, and plenty of lounging areas to take that well-deserved Siesta. When the work day’s all said and done, head to the must-see Hollywood sign for a sunset to remember.

2. Edgewater – Destin, FL

Destin Florida AvantStay vacation rent

Where work meets water. This home is bringing nostalgia back! As a summer-camp worthy lake house with an extended dock for all those summertime hangs, Edgewater is the home you always dreamed of as a kid. Spend nights toasting s’mores with your crew, then engage in friendly competition with a healthy selection of games in the dedicated game room.

3. Bay Breeze – Newport Beach, CA

Newport beach California AvantStay vacation rental

Breathe in, breathe out, and say hello to a cleansed mental palette, perfect for tackling work tasks – true to its name, Bay Breeze is great for fresh air and cool bayside breezes. This home comes with its own dock, paddleboards, fire pit, and gaming area, making it ideal for a decompression session after your 9-5.

4. Crystalline – Smoky Mountains, TN

Smoky Mountains Tennessee indoor pool AvantStay vacation rental house

Work from comfort in this quintessential mountain home, Crystalline, surrounded by the Great Smoky National Park. This stay comes with a desk right by the expansive wraparound patio, so you can get all of those Zoom calls out of the way with a view before you regroup with the crew for a drink or too. In Tennessee, it’s always 5 o’clock somewhere!

5. Juniper – Lake Tahoe, CA

Lake Tahoe California balcony AvantStay vacation rent

This Taho(m)e is the perfect retreat from bustling city life. Our favorite part about Juniper is how the decor mimics the beauty of the surrounding forest. At the end of the workday, sip on wine and watch the sun grace the horizon as you cheers to a work day well done!

6. Encore – Park City, UT

Park City Utah AvantStay vacation rental

ISO a laid-back mountain town home to work from? Meet Encore in Park City, UT. This is the home for those who are looking for a change of pace, and a new Zoom background. With relaxed dwellings and the smell of the mountain air, this stay makes for the perfect getaway to get through your to-do list with a clear, stress-free mind.

7. Moonshine – Coachella Valley, CA

Coachella Valley California exterior AvantStay vacation rental

This majestic home has the best for both work and play. Let Moonshine’s natural beauty put you in the right headspace for getting work done, then enjoy a nice cocktail after a great WFH day – we suggest working from the pool. Nestled in the natural desert setting of Southern California, you’ll also enjoy being a stone’s throw away from any of the many fests you may find yourself at while staying in Coachella Valley.

8. Barton – Austin, TX

Austin Texas AvantStay vacation rent

Tackle your mountain-high inbox at this hilltop home, situated in the Austin, TX hill country. With a shaded outdoor desk and poolside chairs, you’ll find countless ways to work outside and soak in fresh air. Our personal favorite spot in Barton is on the upstairs deck, pictured above, where you’re guaranteed the best natural lighting for all those Google Meets you have.

9. Matador – Malibu, CA

Malibu California oceanview AvantStay vacation rent

The ultimate sanctuary to escape the bustling energy of the city and focus on those long-term projects. Matador is a bright and energetic space with multiple areas to lounge in. Head outside and take in the smells of the ocean. This work from home space doesn’t come with a desk per se, but you just can’t beat working on an oceanfront patio.

Work hard, play hard. We understand the basic, human need for a mental refresh – and we get that that usually comes with a change of your surroundings (a little vacation never hurt anyone, right?). In true AvantStay fashion, we’ve created a special Work-Friendly Space tag for all homes that support fast WiFi and remote workspaces. Download our app here and look for the tag to find your ideal WF(V)H space.

10 Best Isle of Palms Restaurants

Vacationers to Isle of Palms (IOP) are sure to work up quite an appetite after a day of sun and sand at the beach. The area has plenty of delightful bistros, cafes, and restaurants specializing in sustainable seafood and fresh fare guaranteed to satisfy the cravings of your entire party. Even your foodie friend is sure to find local cuisine to indulge in on a trip to Isle of Palms.

A short 40-minutes away from Isle of Palms is Charleston, which happens to be one of the top 20 best foodie cities in America, so it’s no surprise that Isle of Palms also has some exceptional food options. To help you make the most of your time in the area, we’ve taken the guesswork out of deciding where to relax and enjoy a fresh, local meal in Isle of Palms. 

Acme Lowcountry Kitchen 

acme lowcountry kitchen is a popular isle of palms restaurant
Source: Thrillist

For sustainable seafood and fresh, coastal cuisine visit Acme Lowcountry Kitchen. They specialize in one of the most iconic dishes in Isle of Palms—Shrimp & Grits. They offer this classic in a few different homemade variations, and with the laid-back, beachy atmosphere, this restaurant is hard to top.

Coastal Provisions

coastal provisions is a popular isle of palms restaurant
Source: Coastal Provisions

For al fresco dining with a seasonal menu visit Wild Dunes Resort’s Coastal Provisions. Their seafood dishes are driven by local, sustainable offerings, while the ingredients for meat and veggie-forward dishes are sourced from vendors around IOP and Charleston, SC. 

Coconut Joe’s Beach Grill

coconut joe's beach grill is one of many esteemed isle of palms restaurants
Source: Charleston Guru

For great food, appetizers, and a happy hour with live music visit Coconut Joe’s Beach Grill. The outdoor seating space boasts excellent ocean views from the rooftop bar and deck, as well as live entertainment for you to enjoy while you dine on delicious island eats.

Coda Del Pesce

coda del pesce is one of the numerous popular isle of palms restaurants
Source: Coda Del Pesce

For a romantic atmosphere with oceanfront dining, head to Coda Del Pesce. They serve sustainably caught seafood prepared with fresh, local ingredients. Here you can enjoy some of the most delicious homemade pasta and specials Isle of Palms has to offer!

Long Island Cafe 

long island cafe is a popular isle of palms restaurant
Source: Long Island Cafe

If you enjoy classic seafood dishes in an elegant, coastal atmosphere you need to reserve a table at Long Island Cafe. There’s a reason why Long Island Cafe is one of the best Isle of Palms restaurants. They’ve been cooking up delicious seafood, chicken, and handmade pasta dishes for more than 30 years.

Papi’s Taqueria

papi's taqueria is a delicious isle of palms restaurant
Source: Papi’s Taqueria

For the perfect after-beach taco visit Papi’s Taqueria. This small, laidback beachfront taqueria offers a creative selection of shrimp, meat, and veggie tacos made with locally sourced ingredients that are sure to satisfy your group’s taco craving. They even have a spectacular view from their rooftop bar, which is a great place to sip a refreshing margarita!

Sea Biscuit Cafe

sea biscuit cafe is a must-stop for isle of palms restaurants
Source: Trip Advisor

For one of the best breakfast restaurants in Isle of Palms, head to Sea Biscuit Cafe. This cafe is cute and cozy with quaint nautical decor. They offer a simple menu of delicious homestyle options such as french toast, grits, omelets, biscuits, and pancakes. 

The Boathouse at breach inlet

the boathouse at breach inlet is a delicious isle of palms restaurant
Source: The Boathouse

For true Southern cooking—from family recipes to modernized dishes—visit The Boathouse at 101 Palm Blvd. This Southern eatery is a classic foodie destination serving plates with fresh seafood from local fishermen and produce from local farms. The Boathouse is decorated with boats and its ceilings are adorned with 100-year-old vintage rowboats collected by the restaurant’s owner. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a Southern meal. 

The Obstinate Daughter

the obstinate daughter is a popular isle of palms restaurant
Source: The Local Palate

The Windjammer

the windjammer is a very fun isle of palms restaurant
Source: The Windjammer

For live music on the beach, a bar menu with South Carolina favorites, and an overall good time, visit The Windjammer. This fun music venue, located at Front Beach on the Isle of Palms, is a great place to enjoy good food and live entertainment with friends or family.

Plan the perfect foodie vacation to Charleston & Isle of Palms

IOP and Charleston are known for having some of the best restaurants in the South. So if you’re looking for a memorable, foodie-worthy experience, save this list for your next vacation to the area. 

If you’re looking for other recommendations in the area, be sure to check out our other resources for the area:

Here Comes the Sun: How To Attract More Snowbirds

Each year, thousands of seasonal travelers make the great migration to warmer climates during the winter months. These south-flocking travelers (typically retirees) are referred to as “snowbirds,” and often hail from Canada. According to the Canadian Snowbird Association, 87% of its 100,000 members are or are planning to travel to the US this year. So, how can short-term rental owners reach more of these folks? We’ll cover how you can prepare your vacation rental for snowbirds, optimize your listing, and ultimately increase your bookings and revenue.

If you’re wondering where snowbirds are heading, simply follow the warmer temperatures. Arizona, California, and Florida are popular destinations for seasonal visitors. At AvantStay, San Diego, Scottsdale, and Coachella Valley were some of the most booked destinations for the winter months this year. If you’re looking to purchase your first or next vacation rental home, consider buying in one of these top destinations for snowbirds: 

Prepare your vacation rental for snowbirds

Snowbirds will typically be traveling a long distance to enjoy your vacation rental (and staying for an extended period) so make it feel like their home away from home. Make sure your space is stocked and ready to welcome guests. From quality linens to a fully stocked kitchen and luxury bath products, don’t skimp on the vacation rental essentials. But don’t stress—we created a complete inventory checklist to help you become the host with the most. 

Now, here comes the fun part. One of the easiest ways to make your home stand out is by providing top-of-the-line amenities. There are some amenities that snowbirds view as a need rather than a nice-to-have. These can make or break a good review, so invest in the following if you can: 

  • Fast WiFi
  • Smart locks for contactless check-in
  • Smart TVs with streaming options
  • Workout equipment
  • Pet-friendly stays
  • Parking

Take it one step further and provide experiential elements and amenities for all kinds of activities. Use your location for inspiration. Is your home on the water? Have kayaks, paddle boards, and other water toys ready for snowbirds to enjoy. Outdoor fire pit? Don’t forget the roasting sticks and supplies for s’mores. If budget and space aren’t an issue, consider installing a putting green or pickleball court to make your rental shine. 

Also, supply equipment like beach chairs and umbrellas, towels, pool floats, tennis rackets, and pickleball paddles. These details won’t go unnoticed and can lead to more bookings and higher ratings.

Optimize your vacation rental listing 

Reach more snowbirds with a well-optimized listing. This is your first touchpoint with potential guests and entices them to book a stay. Start with your title, description, and keywords. Your title should describe your vacation rental and leave travelers compelled to click your listing. 

Next, use your description to paint a picture of the guest experience at your home, including all the details that make your property stand out from the competition (especially the intangible perks like location!). Be sure to list your rental’s proximity to popular snowbird activities and attractions like beaches, golf courses, museums, tennis courts, dining, and more.

Also, don’t just list amenities—describe how guests can make their own memories at your home. Do you have a cozy patio perfect for enjoying morning coffee? Or a private pool and hot tub for relaxing after a day on the golf course? Use these in your listing to encourage snowbirds to hit that “Book Now” button. 

When creating your title and description, incorporate search engine optimization (SEO) strategies to further boost your reach. Research search terms (“keywords”) that are popular in your market and add those to your listing. Some examples could be “private beachfront cottage in Destin” or “dog-friendly Palm Springs vacation rental.” 

Another key component of your vacation rental listing is the imagery. Capture snowbirds’ attention with eye-catching photos. Hire a professional photographer to take high-resolution photos of your vacation rental that accurately reflect the space, amenities, views, and what guests can expect when they walk into your home. 

Tweak your marketing strategy for snowbirds

Promoting your vacation rental on multiple online travel agencies (OTAs) gets your home in front of more snowbirds and means more potential bookings. Airbnb, Vrbo, Expedia, and Booking.com are popular OTAs for vacation rental homes. Also, promote your rental on niche sites specifically for seasonal travelers, like American Snowbird

Make sure you understand each site’s criteria and functionality for listing your property and create a strategy for managing your listing across each. You’ll have to stay on top of guidelines, optimizing your listing, guest inquiries, reservations, and reviews for each platform to enhance your home’s performance. 

Start a vacation rental blog

Show off your local expertise with a vacation rental blog. A blog is an easy way to increase your visibility on search engines. With a thoughtful SEO strategy and the use of relevant keywords, you can drive more traffic to your website and increase bookings. 

Snowbirds appreciate recommendations and tips from a local. Pair your expertise with keyword research to write useful content for potential guests. Some examples of blog topics for snowbirds include: 

Leverage the power of social media

Allocate some of your marketing budget to social media ads. Facebook and Pinterest make it easy to narrow your target audience. You can choose to show your ads to your ideal guest by using filters like location, age, interests, and more. This allows you to get the most out of your advertising budget while optimizing for bookings. 

Welcome more snowbirds with AvantStay 

Successfully running a vacation rental, especially if you don’t live in the area, is a heavy lift. From keeping your home stocked and clean to strategic marketing and distribution, there are a lot of moving parts. If you want to reach more snowbirds (and travelers all year round), partner with a professional vacation rental manager

AvantStay offers end-to-end management programs to give you peace of mind. From financials to design to maintenance, we take care of your home as if it were our own. Our proprietary tech suite powers bookings, operationalizes in-field management, and activates an elevated guest experience. Plus, upgrades and experiences booked through our app can help snowbirds schedule tee times, organize at-home massages, request mid-stay cleans, and more! Say hello to more five-star ratings.

Interested in learning more about what it means to partner with AvantStay? Our team is ready to help. Get started with our vacation rental management experts today!

Where To List Your Vacation Rental To Drive More Bookings

Listing your vacation rental home on online travel agencies (OTAs) like Airbnb or Vrbo is one of the easiest ways to reach more travelers and drive more bookings. OTAs are typically a low-cost way to promote your property at scale, saving you money on ad spend. Other benefits of OTAs include increased exposure to reach new potential guests, improved reputation through association with trusted OTA brands, and the ability to build trust with travelers who can access reviews from previous guests. 

By promoting your home on multiple vacation rental listing sites, you will increase your visibility, secure more bookings, and generate more revenue. Keep reading to discover our picks for the top online travel agencies. 

Top online travel agencies 

An online travel agency is a digital marketplace that allows travelers to research and instantly book accommodations, transportation, tours, and activities. For vacation rental homeowners, OTAs provide amplified visibility to a higher volume of potential guests that would be difficult to reach on your own. OTAs offer services and tools for vacation rental hosts, such as advertising, managing bookings and reviews, and streamlined communication with guests. Here are some of the top online travel agencies for listing your vacation rental online. 


Airbnb is one of the leading OTAs that connects vacation rental hosts with travelers searching for accommodations and experiences in specific destinations. As one of the largest vacation rental listing sites, Airbnb is a household name whose brand reputation can help you reach more travelers. Since it was founded in 2007, Airbnb has hosted over 1 billion guests and currently has 6 million active listings worldwide. While it’s free to list vacation rentals on Airbnb, most hosts pay a fee of 14-16% for each booking’s subtotal. 

Key features: 

  • No listing fees
  • A host-only fee ranging from 14-16% is deducted from the total host payout (can be higher depending on location and if you’re an Airbnb Plus host) 
  • AirCover provides hosts with $1 million in insurance coverage 
  • Becoming an Airbnb Superhost can increase your visibility and earning potential 


Vrbo (originally known as VRBO or “vacation rentals by owner”) is one of the top vacation rental listing sites in the US. Vrbo recently merged with HomeAway and is now part of the Expedia Group. With over 2 million properties worldwide, Vrbo’s platform has 42 million unique visitors each month of travelers looking to book a stay. Its audience tends to be larger families or groups looking for vacation homes, cabins, and cottages. 

Key features: 

  • To list properties on Vrbo, hosts have the option to pay a $499 annual subscription or a pay-per-booking option (5% commission and 3% payment processing fee per booking)
  • Hosts can only list private accommodations (no spare rooms like Airbnb) 
  • Vrbo provides hosts with $1 million in liability insurance coverage
  • The Premier Host program gives you and your properties special recognition and increased visibility 


Booking.com began as a small Dutch startup in 1996 and has grown to be one of the leading online travel agencies today. Booking.com connects travelers from all over the world to vacation rentals and hotels, transportation options, and experiences. There are over 6.2 million listings for vacation rental homes, apartments, and other unique accommodations available on the site.  

Key features: 

  • No listing fees, but hosts are charged a commission fee for each booking based on the total value of each reservation
  • Hosts can request damage deposits from guests to cover any potential damage 
  • Booking.com runs background checks on guests, performs fraud scoring, and blocks problematics guests to protect hosts
  • Hosts receive protection against liability claims from third parties up to $1 million for every reservation


Tripadvisor is a travel guidance platform that helps travelers plan and book trips. They were originally known as a comparison and review site for hotels, restaurants, and other attractions, but have since become a booking platform for accommodations including vacation rental homes. With over 463 million monthly active users spanning 28 different languages, Tripadvisor is a great platform to reach potential guests from all over the world. 

Key features:  

  • No listing fees, but a 3% commission is charged per booking
  • Listings are also shared across Tripadvisor’s family of brands, including FlipKey and HouseTrip
  • Hosts can communicate with guests directly through Tripadvisor’s platform 
  • Hosts can integrate their property management software or reservation system with Tripadvisor

Niche vacation rental listing sites 

pet-friendly vacation rental

Leveraging niche vacation rental listing sites is a great way to diversify your channel mix, increase your exposure, and drive higher nightly rates (these travelers are often willing to pay more for personalized service). Niche vacation rental booking sites offer accommodations to travelers with certain needs or interests. These could be vacation rentals for families with children or pets, luxury homes, or locations with a desired climate. Some popular niche listing sites include: 

American Snowbird

American Snowbird is a booking site that caters to travelers looking to ditch the cold. It showcases snowbird vacation rentals across the United States, the Caribbean, and Mexico.  


BringFido is the world’s leading pet travel and lifestyle brand, connecting pet owners with more than 500,000 pet-friendly places, including vacation rental homes. 

Kid & Coe

Kid & Coe is a vacation rental listing site featuring hand-picked rentals across the globe. Accommodations include private family homes, professional vacation rentals, and hotels suitable for families. 

Plum Guide 

Plum Guide curates top-rated luxury vacation rentals from 25 listing sites. It chooses homes based on luxury amenities, architecture, and design

Amplify your reach with AvantStay

AvantStay guests enjoying snacks on the patio

Managing listings across multiple OTAs is the best way to be sure you maximize earnings, but it can be tedious and complicated. Why not work with an expert who will take charge and give you instant access to all of the top online travel agencies? 

When you partner with AvantStay for vacation rental management, we handle every step of your listing creation and promotion to get your home maximum exposure. Our in-house photographers and stylists collaborate to capture every aspect of your home and its key revenue drivers during a complimentary professional photoshoot.

Next, we create an aspirational, bespoke listing built to show off your home to the world. Our Listings & Distribution team has cultivated strong relationships with leading online travel agencies, which allows us to enhance your property’s listing performance against market competitors. Your listing will be optimized for maximized visibility and conversions across more than 65 distribution channels, including Airbnb, Vrbo, Plum Guide, Homes & Villas by Marriott International, and more. 

By leveraging our industry-leading reach, you’ll connect with more guests, land more bookings, receive better reviews, and earn more revenue

Interested in learning more about AvantStay’s vacation rental management services? Our team is ready to help. Get started with our vacation rental management experts today!

5 Best Fort Lauderdale Airbnbs with Private Pools

Fort Lauderdale, Florida is known for its beaches, culture, and events. Whether you’re ISO a trip here for sunny days, a girls’ getaway, or simply to be in close proximity to Miami, we’ve come up with the best AvantStay Airbnbs in Fort Lauderdale – all complete with private pools so you get a top-of-the-line vacay.

If you find yourself looking for a travel experience that values your privacy, safety, and cleanliness, maybe it’s time to try that site everyone’s been talking about. Maybe it’s time to try AvantStay.

AvantStay is a gem in the short-term vacation rental world. We display our signature style via hundreds of homes with award-winning interior design, seamless group travel experiences, and a plentiful selection of in-app upgrades and experiences. While all AvantStay properties can be booked through Airbnb, they can also be booked directly through our website. 

Apart from its top-of-the-line technology and innovation, AvantStay homes are in primo locations – places you’ve been dying to check out, and places you’re ready to check off your bucket list – like Fort Lauderdale! Let’s dive in.

1. Tidal – For the Outdoorsy Type

We’re starting this roundup strong. Tidal is a Ft. Lauderdale vacation home with an oasis of a backyard. Walk out back to find yourself immersed in a tropical jungle, complete with a private pool with a volleyball net, cozy seating and plenty of opportunities for that al fresco dining moment you’ve been yearning for. Enjoy short drives to the sand –  this stay is only a 10-minute drive to Las Olas Beach!

2. Capri – For the Water Sign

No, it’s not Italy, but it’s pretty close. Capri is a lovely vacation home located right on the canal in Pompano Beach. While it doesn’t come with a fresh Italian wood-fired pizza, it does have a pool, hot tub, and a private dock on the water – and honestly, that’s just as good in our book. 

If you find yourself still wanting that pizza, try adding on a private chef in our app when you book. They’ll make you (almost) whatever you want… 

3. Sea Breeze – For the Salty One

If you want the best of both worlds, stay at Sea Breeze. This stay is located just steps away from the Fort Lauderdale Beach and comes with a private pool with a waterfall. Enjoy long morning walks on the beach then come back to this spacious pad for lunch around the large dining table. At night when the temps drop, cozy up around the electric firepit and cheers to finding the perfect vacation spot. If you’re the type to get chilly, request a heated pool for your stay. You’ll thank us later.

4. Summerfin – For the Photographer 

Looking to spruce up your IG feed or TikTok? Head to this Pompano Beach stay. Summerfin is one for those who enjoy the colorful things in life. With a palm tree printed wallpaper seating area, sunny al fresco dining, teal colored pool table, and bright art throughout, this Ft. Lauderdale Airbnb shines bright on our list.

5. Turtle Nest – For the Socialite

Came for the prime location, stayed for the hot tub. Meet Turtle Nest, a vacation home conveniently located near both the beach and downtown. We love this Florida stay for its chic interiors and gorgeous pool/hot tub combo. Add on the fact that there’s room for up to 10 guests, and you just found the ideal place for detoxing before you retox in Fort Lauderdale’s nightlife.

The party doesn’t stop here. While these Airbnbs in Fort Lauderdale are here to impress, we understand that your travel itinerary is too. If you’re looking for more activities for the whole crew, check out our perfectly curated list of 30 Best Things to Do in Fort Lauderdale!

The Top 21 Things to Do in Asheville, North Carolina

Hey there, adventure-seekers and culture enthusiasts! If you’re yearning for a blend of picturesque landscapes, artsy vibes, and a side of culinary heaven, look no further than the charming haven of Asheville, North Carolina. Nestled cozily in the Blue Ridge Mountains, this city is bursting with an array of activities that’ll keep you grinning from ear to ear. So, grab your hiking boots, your appetite, and your sense of wonder as we dive into the top 21 things to do in Asheville.

1. Explore the Biltmore Estate: A Glimpse into Extravagance
Let’s kick things off with a bit of opulence! The Biltmore Estate isn’t just a house; it’s practically a castle. With 250 rooms, sprawling gardens, and a history that reads like a novel, this place is the very definition of grandeur. It’s like stepping into a time machine and experiencing the glamour of the Gilded Age firsthand. Pro tip: Don’t forget to raise a glass at the winery—they make vino that would make Bacchus jealous!

2. Wander Through the River Arts District: Where Creativity Blooms
Calling all art lovers! The River Arts District is your haven. Imagine strolling through streets adorned with vibrant murals, peeping into artist studios where creativity is contagious, and snagging one-of-a-kind masterpieces. You might even catch the artists at work, giving you an inside look at the magic behind the masterpiece.

3. Discover Downtown Asheville: Food, Shops, and Fun
Downtown Asheville is like a treasure chest waiting to be opened. From quirky boutiques and art galleries to farm-to-table eateries that’ll have your taste buds dancing the tango, there’s something here for everyone. Pack Square Park is your perfect picnic spot, and the Grove Arcade is a slice of architectural beauty that’s easy on the eyes.

4. Hike in the Blue Ridge Mountains: Trails for All Adventurers
Time to lace up those hiking boots and hit the trails! The Blue Ridge Mountains offer hikes for every skill level, whether you’re a seasoned pro or a newbie who’s just getting started. Feel the crunch of leaves underfoot as you embark on the Appalachian Trail, or soak up the panoramic views from Craggy Gardens—it’s a bit like stepping into a nature-inspired painting.

5. Enjoy the Views from the Blue Ridge Parkway: A Scenic Symphony
There’s scenic beauty, and then there’s the Blue Ridge Parkway. Picture this: meandering roads, lush forests, and breathtaking overlooks that’ll make your jaw drop. Seriously, every curve reveals a new postcard-worthy vista. Whether you’re snapping pics or simply soaking in the view, this is a road trip you won’t forget.

6. Indulge in Local Craft Breweries: Cheers to Craftiness!
Beer lovers, rejoice! Asheville is practically the Narnia of craft beer. With a plethora of breweries offering everything from hoppy IPAs to rich stouts, it’s a beer paradise. New Belgium, Highland Brewing—these names aren’t just brands; they’re legends. Take a brewery tour and let your taste buds dance to the tune of liquid gold.

7. Experience the Asheville Food Scene: Where Every Bite’s a Delight
Calling all foodies and flavor aficionados! Asheville’s culinary scene is a whirlwind of deliciousness. From farm-to-table eateries that know how to treat a tomato, to eclectic international joints that’ll make your taste buds travel the world, your belly’s in for a treat. Don’t forget to sample the local delicacies—you might just discover your new favorite dish!

8. Visit the Folk Art Center: Where Art and Heritage Converge
Ready to dive into the heart of Appalachian culture? The Folk Art Center is your ticket. It’s not just an art gallery; it’s a celebration of the region’s rich heritage. Get lost in the masterpieces, catch live craft demonstrations, and maybe even take home a piece of art that tells a story older than time itself.

9. Immerse Yourself in the Music Scene: Dance to the Beat
Asheville’s music scene is like a magnet for soulful tunes and toe-tapping beats. From street performers with melodies that fill the air to iconic venues where the music flows like a river, you’ll find your groove here. Bluegrass, folk, indie—you name it, Asheville’s got it.

10. Explore the Botanical Gardens at Asheville: A Date with Nature
Sometimes, all you need is a quiet escape with Mother Nature. The Botanical Gardens at Asheville are like a tranquil oasis, offering a break from the hustle and bustle. Stroll through themed gardens, discover native flora, and let the serenity of the surroundings wash over you.

11. Go on a Ghost Tour: Hauntingly Fun Adventures
Ready for a bit of spook? Asheville’s haunted history will give you goosebumps in the most thrilling way. Join a guided ghost tour, explore eerie sites, and listen to spine-tingling stories that’ll have you clutching your friend’s arm. It’s like a history lesson with a supernatural twist!

12. Experience the Drum Circle at Pritchard Park: Beats and Bliss
Friday night fever? Head to Pritchard Park for a dose of rhythmic euphoria! The drum circle here is a gathering of spirits, where the rhythm takes over and your feet might just start dancing on their own. Whether you’re banging a drum or swaying to the beat, it’s all about community, connection, and some seriously good vibes.

13. Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride: Soar Like a Bird
Ready to see Asheville from a whole new angle? Get ready to take flight in a hot air balloon! Imagine drifting above the treetops, feeling the wind in your hair, and marveling at the sweeping vistas below. It’s a bucket-list-worthy experience that’ll leave you feeling like a modern-day explorer.

14. Visit the Thomas Wolfe Memorial: Literary Time Travel
Bookworms, this one’s for you! The Thomas Wolfe Memorial is like stepping into the pages of a novel. Explore the childhood home of the literary legend himself, feel the inspiration that lingered in every corner, and immerse yourself in the world that shaped his stories. It’s like a time capsule of words and wonder.

15. Go Ziplining through the Forests: Adventure Awaits Above
Ready to unleash your inner Tarzan (or Jane)? Ziplining through Asheville’s forests is your chance! Feel the rush of wind as you zoom through the treetops, soaking in panoramic views that are anything but ordinary. It’s like a roller coaster through nature—with a dash of adrenaline and a sprinkle of awe.

16. Attend a Local Festival or Event: Celebrate the Spirit
Asheville loves a good party, and there’s a festival for every occasion! From music festivals that’ll have you grooving to craft fairs that’ll make your inner DIY-enthusiast rejoice, these events are like the city’s heartbeat. Don’t just visit Asheville; join in the festivities and become a part of its colorful tapestry.

17. Relax at the Asheville Salt Cave: Zen, the Asheville Way
Need to unwind? The Asheville Salt Cave is your personal oasis of tranquility. Imagine lounging in a cave lined with salt, surrounded by calming vibes that soothe your soul. It’s like a hug from the earth itself, a chance to recharge your batteries in a space that’s as serene as it is rejuvenating.

18. Take a Guided Art Studio Tour: Where Imagination Takes Flight
Ever wondered what goes on behind the canvas? Embark on a guided art studio tour and peel back the layers of creativity. Get up close and personal with artists at work, hear their stories, and maybe even find yourself inspired to pick up a brush. It’s like a backstage pass to the world of art.

19. Discover the North Carolina Arboretum: Nature’s Playground
The North Carolina Arboretum is like a playground for nature enthusiasts. Wander through gardens that showcase flora from around the world, explore hiking trails that lead you deeper into the beauty of the outdoors, and take in outdoor installations that’ll have your artistic side swooning.

20. Go Tubing or Rafting on the French Broad River: Ride the Rapids
Ready to make a splash? The French Broad River is your playground for water adventures. Whether you’re tubing lazily down the stream or tackling the rapids in a raft, you’re in for a wet and wild time. Get ready to paddle, laugh, and create memories that’ll have you grinning for years.

21. Marvel at the Sunsets from Sunset Mountain: Nature’s Canvas
The view from Sunset Mountain is the ultimate masterpiece. Imagine the city and mountains bathed in hues of gold and pink—a scene so breathtaking, you might just forget to snap a pic. Soak it all in, and let the moment etch itself into your memory.

Your Asheville Adventure Awaits! Asheville is more than just a city; it’s a medley of experiences waiting to be savored. From grand estates to down-to-earth hikes, from artistic wonders to culinary delights, this place has it all.

And when you’re looking for the perfect place to rest your weary head after a day of exploring, consider AvantStay, one of the best options for vacation rentals in Asheville. So pack your curiosity, your appetite, and your sense of adventure, because Asheville is ready to show you the time of your life. Let’s go make memories!

Top 10 Key West Monthly Rentals

Key West is a tropical paradise perfect for those craving a long escape from the harsh winter weather (we’re looking at you, snowbirds!). With its sunny beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant nightlife, there are plenty of things to do in Key West for visitors to enjoy. Whether you’re desiring a relaxing day by the beach, an adventure out on the water, or a night on the town, Key West is an idyllic destination for a vacation.

For those looking to get away for a month or more, we’ve rounded up our favorite vacation homes available for an extended stay. These AvantStay vacation rentals have everything you could need in your home away from home, including a fully-equipped kitchen, hotel-grade amenities, a washer and dryer, bedding and linens, WiFi, and access to our 24/7 guest experience line as well as a local hospitality manager. 

Here are our top picks for vacation homes for snowbirds in Key West:

1. Ecco Domani

Ecco Domani is a beautiful three-story home with a private pool, off-street parking, and attractive decor in Key West. The home features a gourmet kitchen with state-of-the-art appliances and French doors that lead to a private outdoor space with a pool. Ecco Domani is centrally located, just off Simonton Street and one block from Duval Street, within walking distance to Key West’s best bars, restaurants, galleries, and shopping. South Beach is six blocks away with the Southernmost Beach Café offering excellent food and libations all day long.

Vacation rental in Key West with private pool

2. Serenity

This beautifully renovated conch home located in Bahama Village is a perfect romantic getaway for couples. Serenity a two-story guest house with one bedroom, one bathroom, and a bonus loft space. The high ceilings and magnificent glass doors allow for the bright Key West sun to shine throughout the cottage. The backyard offers a secluded tropical garden with a pool, lounge chairs, and an open outdoor shower, creating a calming and serene oasis. The cottage is just 3 blocks away from Duval Street, close to the action but protected from the hustle and bustle, making it the idyllic romantic retreat.

key west vacation home with pool

3. Spa Oasis

Spa Oasis is just a few miles from Smathers Beach and downtown Duval Street, making it the ideal destination to enjoy the best that Key West has to offer. It has three bedrooms (a king, queen, and twin beds), two bathrooms, and can accommodate up to six guests. The home has an open-plan kitchen and dining area, a hot tub, a large back patio with a BBQ grill, and access to a beautiful lagoon-style pool and 24-hour gym. 

Key West vacation rental with back patio

 4. Paradise Point 

Calling all golfers! Paradise Point is a charming retreat located at the Key West Golf Club. It boasts a private covered patio with stunning green views, a cozy living room, and two comfortable bedrooms with balcony access. The home is located on Stock Island, a tropical haven near plenty of dining options and shopping. 

Key West vacation rental on golf course

5. Coral Garden 

Coral Garden is a two-bedroom townhome located in the gated community of Coral Hammock on Stock Island. Both bedrooms feature private balconies overlooking the lushly landscaped grounds. The community offers a large heated pool and is conveniently located near popular local restaurants, Smathers Beach, the golf course, and a 10-minute drive to Old Town Key West. Check in and say hello to paradise.

Key West vacation rental with balcony

6. Tumi’s Time Out 

Tumi’s Time Out is a delightful 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom townhome in the desirable Windward Park community. Located in a secluded tropical hideaway, surrounded by lush palm trees and balmy breezes, the property boasts a sparkling swimming pool, open floor plan with a living room, dining area, full kitchen, and a private outdoor patio. Tumi’s Time Out is located in the heart of Old Town, just 2 blocks from Duval Street, where guests can walk to the famous music, dining, and activities Key West is known for.

Key West vacation rental interior

7. Spanish Lime Tree Cottage 

Spanish Lime Tree Cottage is located on Key West’s historic Whitehead Street, which runs parallel to Duval Street and is in the heart of Old Town. The street is home to some of the most famous sites in Key West, including the Southernmost point, the Key West Lighthouse, and Hemingway House. The cottage is a one-bedroom, one-bathroom with a backyard patio area, BBQ grill, and front porch that’s great for people-watching. 

Private backyard at Key West vacation rental

8. Coral Villa

Coral Villa is a beautiful, spacious 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom townhome located across the street from the Key West Golf Course. The property offers off-street parking for 2 vehicles and is minutes from popular restaurants, marinas, Smathers Beach, and the airport. A shared community pool and clubhouse are just a few steps away. Coral Villa is perfect for families or couples looking for a month-long stay in paradise.

Spacious Key West vacation rental

9. Flagler’s Oasis 

Flagler’s Oasis is a two-bedroom, pet-friendly vacation home that offers complete privacy with a lagoon-style pool. The home is equipped with three flat-screen televisions, a large 10 by 12-foot steel-roof gazebo for outdoor dining and entertaining, and a fenced outdoor space and pool. The property also has a huge 60-foot driveway for ample parking for cars or even your boat and trailer.

Key West vacation rental with pool

10. Lighthouse Villa

You won’t find a location better than this! Lighthouse Villa is a timeless, private Conch home located among the iconic historical sites of Key West. Step outside on your balcony and admire the views of the famous Key West Lighthouse right across the street. This three-level property features 3 bedrooms, 4.5 baths, a tropical-inspired design, and is within walking distance of the most popular attractions.

Vacation rental across from Key West Lighthouse

These are just a few of our Key West favorites. Check out the full list of AvantStay Key West vacation homes here.

The 51 Best Things To Do in Oahu

Oahu is one of eight islands in the Hawaiian archipelago. It is home to some of the world’s finest beaches, Hawaii’s largest city Honolulu, and the majority of Hawaiian residents.

Oahu translates to “the gathering place,” and the number of people on the island, combined with its breathtaking natural beauty, means there are near limitless activities for people of any age.

Before you head to Oahu, be sure to brush up on the local rules and regulations regarding tourists. Hawaii embraces sustainable tourism to maintain and protect the natural beauty, so they ask guests to leave no trace and support local nonprofit organizations that promote these initiatives.

Whether you’re traveling with your family, partner, or a group of friends, we’ve put together a list of the 51 best things to do in Oahu to make your vacation planning as easy as possible.

visiting Diamond Head State Monument is a crucial thing to do in Oahu

1. Diamond Head State Monument

If you want the perfect Instagram photo from Oahu, Diamond Head State Monument is your best bet. It has some of the most scenic hiking and stunning overlooks on the island. When you get to the top of your hike, you’ll have panoramic views of the lush green on Oahu, the Honolulu skyline, and the Pacific Ocean. 

If you aren’t a Hawaii resident, you will need to make a reservation and pay a $10 vehicle entry fee, along with a $5 fee per visitor over three years old.

2. Pearl Harbor National Memorial

No matter whom you’re traveling with, Pearl Harbor is worth a stop if you stay in Oahu. The memorial is steeped in devastating but powerful history, and includes the USS Arizona Memorial, The USS Utah Memorial, and the USS Oklahoma Memorial.

The best way to make the most of Pearl Harbor is to book a Ford Island Bus Tour, where you can see the Oklahoma and Utah memorials. The memorial for the USS Arizona is separate from this tour. 

3. Kualoa Ranch

Kualoa Ranch is located on the North Shore of Oahu Island. Kualoa Ranch has hosted many incredible TV shows and movies, including Lost and Hawaii Five-0. It is also called the Jurassic Valley because part of the Jurassic Park movie franchise was filmed there. 

You can book horseback riding, e-bike tours, Jurassic ATV tours, Hollywood Tours, visits to secluded beaches, and an incredible zipline experience. 

4. Polynesian Cultural Center

The Polynesian Cultural Center is the best way to experience the rich heritage of Hawaiian culture on any of the Hawaiian Islands. At the evening shows, you will be able to experience a traditional luau that includes hula dancing and incredible fire displays.

The Polynesia Cultural Center also offers an authentic Hawaiian dining experience and gorgeous handmade souvenirs.

Stay at a vacation rental close to Lanikai Beach

5. Lanikai Beach

Lanikai Beach is one of the best beaches in Oahu. Located in the town of Kailua, Lanikai is on the island’s windward side and offers stunning views of the bluest ocean you’ll ever see.

Getting to Lanikai can be difficult as there is no public access except for boardwalks between people’s homes. Parking can be difficult, especially on the weekend, so it’s best to visit during the week if you can. There are also no lifeguards on duty for this beach.

While Lanikai may be difficult to reach, it makes this beach one of a few hidden gems less crowded than other parts of the island. Our home Hale Oahu Cottage is only a couple of miles away from this beach.

6. Sunset Beach Park

Sunset Beach along Oahu’s north shore is one of the most incredible beaches in the world. In the winter, the giant waves make it a famous beach for surfers. If you’re unfamiliar with beaches and surfing, staying out of the water on good surfing days is a good idea. 

Sunset Beach is the perfect place to go snorkeling during the summer when the winds and surfing waves have calmed. Of course, the beach also lives up to its reputation—it’s the perfect place to catch a sunset no matter the time of year.

7. Dole Plantation

Visiting the Dole Plantation isn’t like seeing any other farm. It has many unique experiences that are perfect for the whole family. Since 1898, the Dole Plantation has been the place for tourists to explore a Pineapple Express Train Tour, a pineapple garden maze, and an incredible guided tour of the gardens. 

While the plantation can be a fun place to visit with your family, it is also rich in history. The plantation has been used for centuries, and the foods grown there are a mainstay of Hawaiian culture. 

The Dole Plantation is also known for its incredible treats, such as Dole Soft Serve, freshly picked pineapples, and estate-grown Waialua chocolate. 

8. Byodo-In Temple

Nestled in the foothills of the Ko-olau Mountains, the Byodo-In Temple is a temple built to honor Japanese immigrants in Hawaii. Dappled with luscious flora, quiet waterfalls, and iconic Japanese Koi, it’s no wonder that the temple is a popular wedding destination for couples from Japan and the US alike. 

9. Iolani Palace

The Iolani Palace is one of Hawaii’s finest historic sites. For years it was home to Hawaii’s King Kalakaua and then his successor and sister, Queen Liliuokalani. When the monarchy was overthrown, the palace served as the capital for more than 70 years. 

In the 70s, the palace was restored to look like its original royal home. They offer tours where you can learn about Hawaii’s connections with Japan, the traditional attire of Hawaiian royalty, and more. 

shopping at Ala Moana is a popular thing to do in Oahu

10. Ala Moana

Ala Moana is a shopping district in Honolulu jam-packed with local cuisine, incredible stores, hula dancers, ukulele players, and activities for children. With hundreds of stores, Ala Moana is easily a full-day activity all on its own.

11. Kailua Beach Park

Kailua Beach is the best beach for active travelers. Located on the windward half of Oahu, you can canoe, kayak, snorkel, or try your hand on a stand-up paddleboard.

There are plenty of amenities available as well, including BBQ pits, picnic shelters, bathrooms with showers, and lifeguards. If you’re staying in a vacation rental on Lanikai or Kailua Beach, you can even get free gear delivered to this picturesque beach. 

12. Hanauma Bay Tours

Hanauma Bay Tours offers an incredible experience for the whole family with their Turtle Canyon tours. You and your family will be able to see wonderful marine life up close and its native habitat, including green sea turtles and Hawaii’s state fish, the humuhumunukunukuapua’a.

If you’re visiting from December to April, you may even get lucky and see a humpback whale.

13. Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens

This iconic garden includes 400 acres of peaceful land for you to explore. You will be able to see native Hawaiian plant life, of course, but you will also be able to explore botanical collections from the Philippines, Malaysia, Africa, and more. 

The Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens are a great place to learn about nature, wildlife, and the fragile ecosystems of the Hawaiian islands while enjoying gorgeous scenery unlike anywhere else. 

14. Ko Olina lagoons

Ko Olina includes four lagoons that spread across 642 acres of land. This beach is one of the more accessible beaches in Oahu, as daily public parking is available. 

Ko Olina beaches are best for those that want a quiet beach where they can sit in the sun. Because it is privately owned, Ko Olina has banned alcohol, cigarettes, pets, loud music, and most active beach activities.

If you’re an adult looking for the best place to sunbathe in peace and enjoy the sounds of the waves off of one of Oahu’s finest beaches—Ko Olina is your best bet.

embark on an Oahu shark diving tour for a popular thing to do

15. Oahu shark diving tour

If you want to ditch the relaxing beaches for a day and have a thrill instead, you can go diving with sharks with North Shore Shark Adventures. They guarantee you will see sharks on their tour, so your time and money are insured with this adventure. 

You and your family will be able to observe the true majesty of sharks up close and personal in a cage dive. If you’re planning on visiting Oahu and you can find the time, a shark diving tour is not something you want to miss. 

16. Pillboxes

The United States military had to endure intense onslaughts during WWII in Oahu. They built concrete structures called pillboxes around the island to serve as lookouts for the enemy.

Because they were important lookouts, these pillboxes often come with astonishingly beautiful views. Though soldiers built many around Oahu, two of the most popular pillboxes are in Diamond Head Lookout and along the Lanikai Pillbox Trial. 

17. Matsumoto Shave Ice

Shave ice is one of Oahu’s most iconic treats, and Matsumoto Shave Ice is one of the most iconic places to get it. Located in Waialua on the island’s north side, Matsumoto has been open since 1951. 

This little shop has regular flavors like watermelon, strawberry, and lemon, as well as unique flavors like guava, lychee, and ume. If you want to try something really different, you can even add adzuki beans for a little extra protein.

18. Makapu’u Lighthouse

As a chain of islands, it’s no surprise that Hawaii is home to many different lighthouses. No lighthouse in Hawaii is more iconic than Makapu’u Lighthouse

To see this lighthouse on the eastern point of Oahu Island, you’ll have to hike 2 miles round trip on Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline. The trail difficulty is moderate, so it’s suitable for most families.

If you decide to make the trek out, bring binoculars to see as much wildlife as possible- whales, seabirds, dolphins, and much more are all often visible from the lighthouse. 

19. Halona Blowhole Lookout

The Halona Blowhole Lookout is located near Hanauma Bay off Kalanianaole Highway and is worth a stop. Waters from the Pacific Ocean violently crash against the shore, and an old volcanic tube throws the sea waves high into the air. 

Aside from the blowhole itself, the lookout offers spectacular views of the water and a great place to pull over and stretch your legs. 

sitting down to take in the views is a popular thing to do in oahu

20. Tantalus Lookout

There is perhaps no better way to see the skyline of Honolulu than from Tantalus Lookout. Originally named Pu’u Ualaka’a, Tantalus Lookout is perched atop an extinct cinder cone volcano. 

The lookout also offers a fantastic view of the island’s craters—- including Diamond Head Crater—- which formed after large volcanic explosions thousands of years ago. While on the lookout, be sure to explore the Ualaka’a Trail, a short 1-mile loop that offers a unique view of the Hawaiian jungle. 

21. Nu’uanu Pali Lookout

The Nu’uanu Pali Lookout is a beautiful and historically significant site in Oahu. This lookout is a must-see just five miles from Honolulu if you’re staying in or near the city. 

This lookout is the location where the battle of Nu’uanu took place in 1795. During the fighting, hundreds of soldiers died, many by being pushed off the rocky cliff. It was during this battle that King Kamehameha I united Oahu for the first time.

22. Oahu helicopter tours

There are a few different helicopter tours in Oahu that launch from different locations. Wherever you’re staying, planning to experience Oahu via a helicopter tour couldn’t be more worth it. From the sky, you’ll be able to see Hawaii as the birds do.

From incredible waterfalls and lush green forests to the Honolulu skyline and the cerulean ocean, there is no better way of experiencing the breathtaking beauty of Oahu than from the sky.

23. Waikiki Beach

Located near Honolulu, Waikiki Beach is one of the most iconic beaches that Hawaii has to offer. This world-renowned beach is lined with a half-dozen surfing schools for those looking to learn. The smaller waves on this side of the island are perfect for those getting onto a surfboard for the first time. 

If only part of your group is interested in getting on a board, the rest can spend their day shopping or enjoying entertainment just steps away from the beach.

24. Skydiving

Skydiving isn’t for everyone, but if you’re ready for the freefall, this activity is one of the best things to do in Oahu. A few different businesses offer skydiving along the island’s North Shore. 

Starting from as high as 14,000 feet, most tours offer freefalls that last as long as 20 seconds. If you’re ready for the thrill of a lifetime, you can check out Pacific Skydiving or Skydive Hawaii to make a reservation. 

enjoy snorkeling at waimea bay as a popular thing to do in oahu

25. Waimea Bay

The waves at Waimea Bay are not for the faint of heart. This bay is on the windward side of Oahu, and it shows. In winter (roughly November to April), the waves on this beach can be more than 20 feet tall. 

The water at this beach is best traversed only by expert surfers and lifeguards. Waimea Bay is the place to be if you want to see expert surfers in action, not if you’re looking to ride your first wave. 

In the summer, the waters of the bay calm, and this area becomes a popular spot to relax, snorkel, and dive. 

26. Ka’ena Point Trail

The Ka’ena Point Trail is located in Ka’ena Point State Park on the northwestern point of Oahu Island.

On hotter days, hikers should keep in mind that Ka’ena Point Trail is a longer hike that doesn’t offer much shade and has no drinking water available along the trail. Still, if you’re willing to make the 2.7-mile one-way trek, it’s worth it for what you will see along the way.

This trail offers views of the Kaneana, a sea cave that is said to be the home of the Nanaue Shark Man of ancient Hawaiian mythology. If you hit this trail early, you might also be lucky enough to see dolphins swimming in the nearby waters.

27. The ‘Aiea Loop Trail

Located in Keaiwa Heiau State Recreation Area, the ‘Aiea Loop Trail stretches 4.8 miles of easy and moderate terrain. On average, this trail takes 2 to 3 hours to complete. 

The ‘Aiea Loop Trail offers some of the most memorable beauty in Oahu. Lined with lemon eucalyptus trees that leave a lingering citrus smell in the air, this trail offers spectacular views of the southern Oahu coast. You will likely see incredible wildlife along with your views, making this trail a must-see for anyone in the area.

28. Camping in Keaiwa Heiau State Recreation Area

Campsites in Oahu aren’t easy to come by, but if you get a chance to camp in Keaiwa Heiau State Recreation Area, take it. With just ten campsites open only from Friday through Wednesday, the State Recreation Area offers the finest way to spend a night outdoors.

The campsites in the recreation area have showers, water fountains, and bathrooms available, though alcohol is not permitted anywhere in the park. You should come prepared for bugs—especially mosquitos. However, it’s well worth it as camping in Hawaii is a truly memorable experience.

29. Wahiawa Freshwater State Recreation Area

Freshwater fishing may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Hawaii, but Wahiawa Freshwater State Recreation Area offers an area to do that. You can fish right off the shore of the Wahiawa Reservoir, or you can fish off a boat. 

This recreation area has water fountains, bathrooms, picnic tables, and a boat ramp for your convenience. 

kayaking to the mokes is a beautiful thing to do in oahu

30. Kayak to the Mokes

Looking out from Lanikai Beach, you can see two small islands in the distance—the Mokes. Kailua Beach Adventures offers kayaking tours to these secluded islands, from the beach to these islands, where you’ll experience some of the best beaches in Hawaii and spectacular views from the water.

Once you kayak the 30 minutes to the islands, you can hop out of your kayak, swim in the shallow waters, and explore the land. Whether renting a kayak and visiting the islands alone or following a guided tour, The Mokes are a must for anyone visiting Oahu. 

31. Koko Crater Trail

The Koko Crater Trail—more commonly called the Koko Head Stairs–is one of the most iconic hikes in Oahu. As Oahu’s most difficult hike with more than 1,000 stairs, this trail is best left to more experienced hikers and groups without small children.

Remember that you will have to descend any stairs you climb up on your way back down. As with all hikes, it’s best to turn around if you feel you’re becoming depleted of your energy or have used half of your water supply. 

To do this hike, you can park in the Koko Head District Park parking lot and follow trail signs. The higher you go, the better the views get until you reach the top. There may be no better view of Oahu than from the top of the Koko Crater Trail. 

32. Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum

The Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum is home to many legendary Pearl Harbor and WWII planes. Located on Ford Island in the middle of Pearl Harbor, this museum is the perfect stop for any group with a history buff.

In this museum, you can walk around an old plane hangar packed with dive bombers, flight simulators, and tons of history. 

33. The Manoa Falls Trail

The Manoa Falls Trail is a good choice for those with less experience to get some hiking in on Oahu. The trail has only a gentle slope and is a short 1.6 miles long. It’s also just a 15-minute drive from Honolulu—perfect for families with restless children. 

The size of the waterfall at the end of this trail may vary depending on the season and weather. Water from this waterfall depends on rainwater, so if you visit in the dry season, don’t be surprised when the water is a smaller trickle. 

Regardless of Manoa Falls waterfall, the trail will take you through a luscious green jungle under a gorgeous canopy of trees. This hike is absolutely worth the effort for the views along the way. 

34. Hawaii State Art Museum

The Hawaii State Art Museum is the perfect activity for anyone that wants to learn more about the local culture while getting some time out of the sun. There’s always something new to see with an ever-changing array of exhibits that feature local artists.

The sculpture garden is a permanent exhibit at the art museum. Designed to evoke the image of an urban oasis, the sculpture garden has free admission.

if you're visiting oahu, then take a waikiki submarine tour

35. Waikiki Submarine Tour

Atlantis Adventures offers a submarine tour of the clear waters of Waikiki. A submarine tour is not for those with claustrophobia, as you’ll dive 100 feet underwater in a tight space to see the marine life below the water. 

This tour is one of the best ways to observe fish in their natural habitats. The trip lasts over an hour, during which you will see coral, a sunken shipwreck, and even a crashed airplane.

If you have children on the trip, it should be noted that there is a minimum of 36-inch (3-foot) height for safety reasons. 

36. Kaniakapupu Ruins

The Kaniakapupu Ruins are an important historic site on the island of Oahu. Just a short hike off Old Pali Road, nestled in a bamboo forest, is the broken-down walls of the Kaniakapupu Ruins.

These broken walls represent what was once King Kamehameha III’s summer home, originally built in 1847. It was in this summer home that King Kamehameha III would consult with his people and his chiefs, away from the prying eyes of Westerners.

37. Waikiki Aquarium

The Waikiki Aquarium is part of the University of Hawaii. Originally built in 1904, the Waikiki Aquarium is the second oldest in the United States and sees more than 300,000 visitors annually.

While visiting, you’ll see incredible marine life up close and personal—from sea horses to jellyfish, the aquarium has more than 3,000 animals in its care.

If you add the Waikiki Aquarium to your itinerary, do not miss the aquarium’s two most popular attractions, the Hawaiian Monk Seal Exhibit and the Living Reef Exhibit.

38. The Honolulu Zoo

The Honolulu Zoo is home to many unique animals you won’t have the chance to see elsewhere. From mammals and birds to reptiles and amphibians, the zoo is the perfect way to get close to wildlife without endangering it or yourself.

Pythons, tortoises, giraffes, and flamingos can all be found in the zoo. You’ll want to dedicate a full day to the zoo and its activities with dozens of exhibits.

If you’re looking for an extra memorable experience, you can stay in the park after the gates close on Saturday nights for Twilight Tours.

These tours are two hours long and will take you throughout the zoo to observe the animals at a unique time of day. Animals’ behavior changes as the sun sets, and you’ll get extra time to ask questions on the guided tour.

39. Queen Emma Summer Palace

The Queen Emma Summer Palace is another important historical site that will take your breath away. In Hawaiian, it’s called Hanaiakamalama.

This palace was home to Queen Emma of Hawaii and her husband, King Kamehameha, for nearly forty years. They raised their son, Prince Albert, in the Nu’uanu Valley.

The palace spans more than 22 thousand square feet and was saved from demolition in 1915. The Daughters of Hawaii stopped this historical site from being destroyed, and they still run it to this day. 

travel to the bishop museum to learn about polynesian culture

40. The Bishop Museum

The Bishop Museum is one of the best ways to learn about Polynesian culture and the history of the Hawaiian islands. The museum hosts information about native wildlife, local culture, and the history of the building itself.

The Bishop Museum has more than 25 million treasures from Hawaii and Polynesia. These items paint a picture of the Pacific islands’ history, making the museum the perfect stop for history buffs.

The Bishop Museum is also home to a planetarium, where you can see a show to learn more about the night sky overhead.

You can walk the same halls as Queen Emma alone or follow a guided tour. Whatever you decide, if you’re going to the Nu’uanu Valley, this palace is worth a stop. 

41. Washington Palace

Washington Palace, completed in 1847, is an important historical landmark in Oahu history. It originally housed Mary Dominis, who named it after George Washington with permission from King Kamehameha III. 

While the house was originally Mary’s, it is most known for being the home of Queen Liliuokalani, who married Mary’s son John Dominis. Queen Liliuokalani lived in the home from the time she was married until she ascended to the throne in 1891.

At Washington Palace, you can walk amongst this history and learn about the life, career, and death of Queen Liliuokalani—the last monarch of the Hawaiian islands.  

42. Honolulu’s Chinatown

The Hawaiian Islands’ proximity to Asia has meant that China and Japan have significantly impacted Hawaiian culture. Honolulu is even home to its own iconic Chinatown.

Chinatown in Honolulu stretches from North Beretania to Honolulu Harbor. You’ll find a bustling and vibrant art scene within Chinatown, restaurants that blend Hawaiian and Chinese cuisine, and incredible nightlife. 

43. Sea Life Park

The Sea Life Park is a perfect experience for families staying in Oahu. It is a great place to see a luau, watch marine life play and swim, and eat unique local cuisine. Sea Life Park is one of the few places where you can interact up close with dolphins and monk seals. 

You’ll also get up close and personal with whitetip reef sharks, small sharks native to the waters of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. 

Whether you go to the Sea Life Park for a dolphin encounter, a seal encounter, or just to get a closer look at the penguin habitat, make sure to pre-book your tickets and passes online, as they tend to sell out during peak seasons. 

44. Segway tours

One of the best ways to get a full view of Honolulu (without being in a car) is to take a Segway tour. Many companies offer Segway tours around the city, and you can bring your entire family along. 

In recent years, some places have even begun to offer tours riding hoverboards- the cool older sibling of the Segway. Segways are all-terrain vehicles, and with the right tires, you can smoothly transition from the city streets to the beach and back again. 

travel to oahu for golfing

45. Golfing

There are 40 golf courses on the Island of Oahu, and each offers a unique experience you won’t find anywhere else. There are options for every budget, from those who want a luxury PGA-golfing experience to those just looking to hit the course while they travel. 

The Ko Olina Golf Club course offers a quintessential Hawaiian golf experience. Boasting roughly 35,000 square feet of land, waterfalls, and breathtaking views, it’s not a surprise that Ko Olina was chosen for Golf Digest’s ‘Top 75 Resort Courses in The United States.’

46. Kitesurfing

Kitesurfing, also called windsurfing, is a sport where you use a board and a small sail to glide across the water at high speeds. The best kitesurfing on Oahu is in Kailua Bay.

If you have never done this kind of surfing before, it’s best to start with an instructor who can help you learn how to navigate safely. Fortunately, Honolulu is home to plenty of kitesurfing schools that can help you get started.

Once you get going, kitesurfing can offer you the experience of a lifetime. From breathtaking views of the island from the water to the thrill of feeling like a low-flying, there is nothing like zipping across the water with only the wind to pull you along.

47. Biking

There are tons of bike trails around the island of Oahu. Whether you’re looking to experience some unique island mountain biking or you want to navigate the city’s streets, bike rental companies can get you started so you don’t have to bring your bike from home.

48. Distillery tours

Whatever your alcohol preference, you will likely find an Oahu distillery to match it. Around the island, you’ll find distilleries that produce rum, whiskey, scotch, and more. Because of the Japanese influence on the island, you can even visit a shochu (Japanese rice alcohol) or sake distillery. 

49. Leonard’s Bakery

Leonard’s Bakery has been a staple of Oahu since 1952. It was opened by Leonard and Margaret DoRego, descendants of Portuguese immigrants. When they first opened the bakery, they stuck to traditional American desserts but quickly decided to include traditional Portuguese baked goods as well. 

When the owners of Leonard’s included malasadas on the menu for the first time, they were reluctant. They weren’t sure if the food would take off with white Americans or natives of the island, but it was a hit with both. To this day, Leonard’s Bakery represents the blend of cultures that makes Oahu and the surrounding islands unique. 

Today, the bakery serves traditional Hawaiian baked goods like Pao Doce, Portuguese foods like malasadas, and traditional American desserts like pies and cupcakes. 

Koko Crater Botanical Garden is a popular thing to do in Oahu

50. Koko Crater Botanical Garden

The Koko Crater Botanical Garden is located on the eastern side of Oahu near Honolulu. It includes sixty acres of gorgeous gardens in the basin of the 200-acre Koko Crater. 

The botanical garden includes plants from Hawaii, Africa, and Madagascar. There are tropical plants as well as plants native to arid climates. 

Due to the garden’s size, it is recommended that you wear good shoes and come prepared to walk. Guided tours are available, but you can also stroll through the garden alone or with your group. Most people spend about an hour and a half walking around the park. 

51. Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture, and Design

The Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture, and Design offers a unique way to learn about Islamic art and design. Exhibitions are always changing, so there is always something new to explore, even if you’ve been there before. 

While exhibits are always changing, the museum is home to more than 4,000 permanent objects of cultural importance from Spain, Morocco, Egypt, Syria, Iran, and more. The collection was put together over sixty years by Doris Duke. 

Final thoughts

While there are many things to do on all of the Hawaiian islands, including Maui, Kauai, and Hawaii itself, Oahu offers the most diverse array of activities in the archipelago. These 51 things to do in Oahu will keep you busy whether you’re staying just for a weekend or a week.

Still looking for a place to stay in Oahu? Check out our Oahu vacation rentals.

The 10 Best Fall Foliage Destinations in the USA

It’s time to cross that fall foliage trip off your bucket list! Grab your whole crew and head to one of the best leaf-peeping locations in the US. Each destination offers a unique experience, with a range of activities to make your autumn adventure truly unforgettable.

From picturesque mountains to serene lakeshores, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 places to see fall foliage in all its glory—plus what to do while you’re there and our favorite AvantStay vacation rentals to stay at!

1. Smoky Mountains, TN

Fall Foliage Peak: Mid-October

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee is a fall foliage paradise, with colors typically peaking in mid-October. Drive through scenic byways, hike to majestic waterfalls, and partake in wildlife viewing in this renowned national park. Attend the annual Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair, showcasing unique handmade creations, or venture out to Dollywood for a fun-filled day at Dolly Parton’s iconic theme park. 

Where to stay: Ranger

2. Berkshires, MA

Fall Foliage Peak: Late September to mid-October

The Berkshires in Massachusetts are synonymous with captivating fall foliage, which typically peaks from late September to mid-October. Rolling hills and valleys come alive with red, orange, and purple hues. Art enthusiasts will love the region’s vibrant cultural scene, with numerous galleries and performing arts venues. Additionally, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to go apple picking and revel in the tastes of the season. Gala, Fuji, or Granny Smith—take your pick!

Where to stay: Whitney

3. Breckenridge, CO

Fall Foliage Peak: Late September to early October

As the summer crowds dwindle, Breckenridge, Colorado, transitions into a wonderland of fall foliage from late September to early October. The aspen trees turn brilliant shades of yellow and gold, creating a striking contrast against the rugged mountains. For an adrenaline-filled autumn adventure, try your hand at rock climbing or mountain biking. If you prefer a more relaxed experience, explore the charming streets of the town, lined with quaint shops and inviting cafes.

Where to stay: Paddington

4. Hudson Valley, NY

Fall Foliage Peak: Mid-October

Hudson Valley makes for the perfect road trip from New York City—especially in the Autumn when fall foliage colors peak around mid-October. Stroll through charming towns, visit historic sites, and savor farm-to-table cuisine at a local restaurant. Explore one of the many apple orchards in the region, and definitely don’t leave before having a taste of an apple cider doughnut—it’s an upstate staple!

Where to stay: Cortland

5. Asheville, NC

Fall Foliage Peak: Late October

Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville, North Carolina, experiences its fall foliage peak in late October. The city’s bohemian spirit blends seamlessly with nature’s display, creating a one-of-a-kind autumn atmosphere. Explore the iconic Biltmore Estate, hike along the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, or indulge in the city’s thriving craft beer scene as you soak in the breathtaking surroundings. Cheers!

Where to stay: Juliet

6. Bend, OR

Fall Foliage Peak: Late September to early October

Bend, Oregon, offers a striking contrast of colors in late September to early October when the high desert landscape is adorned with golden aspens and fiery red maples. Embrace the outdoors with fly fishing along the Deschutes River, embark on a lava cave adventure, or take a leisurely stroll through the charming Old Mill District.

Where to stay: Black Bear Cabin

7. Park City, UT

Fall Foliage Peak: Late September to early October

Park City is so much more than just a winter ski town. As the leaves begin to change in late September to early October, Park City, Utah, transforms into a picture-perfect autumn postcard. Revel in the fall colors while mountain biking or hiking through trails. For an adrenaline rush, experience the thrill of ziplining or enjoy a scenic hot air balloon ride over the valleys. 

Where to stay: Sage

8. Big Bear, CA

Fall Foliage Peak: Mid-October

Tucked away in Southern California’s San Bernardino Mountains, Big Bear is a hidden gem for fall foliage seekers. The dense pine and oak forests showcase beautiful red, orange, and gold tones during mid-October. Take in the views on a scenic drive or go hiking along one of the many picturesque trails. For thrill-seekers, indulge in mountain biking or zip-lining through the fall colored trees.

Where to stay: Gambler

9. Lake Tahoe, CA

Fall Foliage Peak: Late September to mid-October

Nestled on the border of California and Nevada, Lake Tahoe boasts a fall foliage spectacle that begins in late September and lasts through mid-October. The surrounding Sierra Nevada Mountains become a mesmerizing canvas of warm autumn colors. Embrace the season with a boat cruise on the lake, or opt for hiking and witness the foliage up close. Don’t forget to visit local orchards and savor freshly picked apples and other fall treats.

Where to stay: Redwood

10. Charleston, SC

Fall Foliage Peak: Late October to early November

While Charleston, South Carolina, may not boast the same dramatic fall foliage as northern destinations, it still offers a unique and charming autumn experience. The city’s historic streets, adorned with oak-lined avenues, witness a gradual change in colors from late October to early November. Oh, and don’t forget to do a ghost tour while you’re there—October is the spookiest time to do so!

Where to stay: Live Oak

Ready to experience the best fall foliage this season? Once you’ve chosen your destination, find the perfect vacation rental for your autumn adventure on our website here!

Top 11 Things To Do in Telluride Year-Round

The town of Telluride is a scenic historic landmark, and it has come a long way since being founded in 1878. Once a Victorian mining town, modern Telluride is more than 8,000 feet above sea level, set in a box canyon amidst the world-famous Rocky Mountains. Its historic architecture and wonderful landscapes make it a top destination in Colorado. During the winter, it’s also one of the go-to spots to practice skiing.

Telluride neighbors the town of Mountain Village to the west. This world-class getaway is a little over an hour from the mountainside towns of Ouray and Silverton, and about four hours away from iconic Aspen and the state capital of Denver.

You can rent a cozy place right next to the river like the Riverside Condos, or a luxury cabin right near a ski center like Slopeside at Sundance. You can also go for something close to the town center but equally beautiful, such as Mountain House East.

From spectacular views to outdoor activities that adventure enthusiasts will never forget, there is no shortage of fun things to do in Telluride year-round. Read on to discover the top things to do in Telluride so you can start planning your dream vacation with unmatched confidence.

explore downtown telluride for a popular thing to do

Experience picturesque downtown Telluride

Telluride may have started as an old mining camp, but today it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the USA. 

The beating heart of Telluride runs through the town east to west: Main Street or Colorado Avenue. 

Mainstreet represents the epicenter of downtown Telluride. Here, you can find a variety of shops, bars, cafes, boutiques, bakeries, and more. There are dozens of dining options available to visitors, like the fabulous Cosmopolitan Telluride or the cozy Baked in Telluride bakery. 

You can enjoy all sorts of mouth-watering cuisine downtown, like French pastries, Italian food, bison, African fusion, and even some unusual delicacies like rattlesnakes. 
After you eat, pay a visit to the Telluride Gallery of Fine Art to take in the paintings, sculptures, photography, and local artwork. Then, relax in a comfy stay like AvantStay’s Spruce and recharge your batteries for your next adventure.

hiking the San Juan mountains is a popular thing to do in Telluride

Conquer the San Juan Mountains

Millions of years ago, two massive continental tectonic plates crashed into each other to create a fault – a rupture between rock blocks. That fateful crash is how the San Juan Mountains were born.

Ancient glaciers carved steep mountainsides into the rock and created distinct U-shaped canyons like the box canyon surrounding Telluride.Here you can explore the tallest, most spectacular peaks in North America. There are more than 20 peaks that soar above 9,000 feet in the San Juan mountains. 

The San Juan mountains were home to native Ute tribes for centuries before the arrival of European settlers in search of a fortune during the Goldrush. In recent years the mountain range has become a go-to destination for millions of tourists and outdoor adventure enthusiasts. 
With so many beautiful mountains and slopes available to enjoy, it is no wonder that Telluride is considered a paradise for skiers from near and far.The Telluride Ski Resort is home to some of the steepest, most challenging mountainous terrain. You could also try snowboarding or snow skiing down the scenic mountain slopes instead.

the san juan mountains offer breathtaking hiking trails

Traverse breathtaking hiking trails

There is much more to the San Juan mountains than just winter activities. 

You will find some of the most legendary Colorado hiking trails in the mountains surrounding Telluride, ranging from single-day hikes to epic adventures spent scaling 14,000-foot summits. 
Hikers from everywhere come to experience the tranquil mountain views of the beautiful Telluride mountains. In the fall, the trails burst into bright explosions of yellow and gold that brighten up the mid to late-October landscape.

Bridal Veil Falls

The San Juan mountains are home to the tallest free-falling waterfall in Colorado, Bridal Veil Falls. The falls are 365 feet high, and every year millions of visitors flock to Telluride to explore the beautiful wilderness surrounding them. 

Whether you bike, hike, swim, or ice climb, you will never be bored at Bridal Veil Falls. The trailhead also leads to Lewis Lake, Blue Lake, and other points of interest in the gorgeous Bridal Veil basin. 

This hike follows a jeep road that grants gorgeous views of Bridal Veil Falls, as well as the historic power plant at the top of the falls and the entire Telluride valley. The road will also take you to Lewis Lake, Blue Lake, and other locations in the Bridal Veil basin. 

If you want a good view of the falls from further away, you can try your hand at the Telluride Via Ferrata. This hybrid hiking and climbing experience is not for the faint of heart. At some points, the trail gives way to sheer cliffs, where you climb across steel rungs anchored into the rock. To take on the Via Ferrata, you will need the services of a trained guide.

Bear Creek Falls

About 6 hours up Bear Creek Canyon, you will find Bear Creek Falls. Bear Creek Trail leads you through a lovely route full of rugged cliffs that end with a stunning waterfall view.  

The San Miguel Conservation Foundation works with Telluride to preserve more than 320 acres of land in Bear Creek Canyon as public open space. Here you will find an easy hike that the whole family will love.

Jud Wiebe Trail

When springtime comes to Telluride, the Jud Wiebe Trail is one of the first hiking trails to thaw out, though some avid hikers still traverse Jud Wiebe in the wintertime. The popular trail stretches for more than 3 miles and can take about 2 hours to complete. Dogs are welcome to join you on this trail as long as they have leashes on. 

From May to October, this trail is also great for mountain biking and horseback riding.

Sneffels Highline Trail

If you want a more challenging hiking route, then give the Sneffels Highline Trail a shot. Explore every inch of this 13-mile loop named after the massive Mount Sneffels to the north. 

The trail doesn’t take you up the mountain, but you can experience the dramatic cliffs between Mount Dallas and Mount Gilpin. On average, this trail takes just over 9 hours to complete. 

Don’t be surprised if you run into fellow hikers, campers, and backpackers up there, but this is certainly an experience where you can find some peace on the trail.

Imogene Pass

The San Juan Mountains aren’t just for hiking. You can also enjoy plenty of off-road adventures and scenic driving routes along the way. 

The Imogene pass is a very popular spot for high-adrenaline driving thrills, and it’s no surprise. The high mountain pass is more than 13 thousand feet tall and crosses a ridge that connects Telluride with Ouray. It is the highest pass in the San Juan Mountains and the second-tallest drivable mountain crossing in the state. 

Explore the Imogen pass at your own risk, as there are lots of extremely steep areas that can be very dangerous. The risk is well worth the reward for experienced drivers who are rewarded with magnificent, panoramic views of San Miguel county. 

Another famous drivable mountain pass is Black Bear Pass. Found on Black Bear Road, the pass extends more than 12 thousand feet upwards to provide an epic view of Telluride below.

visiting the San Miguel River is a popular thing to do in Telluride

Explore the San Miguel River

Located in the pastoral sprawl of the famous Telluride valley floor, the San Miguel River is just east of the Telluride canyon. 

The river runs through acres of wildflowers and noble evergreens in the winter. Wildlife is abundant here, and you will often see coyotes, elk, birds, rabbits, and even prairie dogs. 

You can find some of the best cold-water trout fly fishing on the San Miguel River just about 45 miles northwest of Telluride. You can also cut through twisting canyons and churning rapids if you enjoy whitewater rafting. The rafting season is rather short, mostly spanning the summer months. The San Miguel rapids are not an overly technical course. They are mostly Class II, with a few Class III along the way.

visiting Alta Lakes is a popular thing to do in Telluride

Feel awestruck at Alta Lakes

Just south of Telluride you’ll find a series of enchanting alpine lakes. 

The Alta Lakes are over 11 thousand feet up, and they are named after the nearby ghost town of Alta. Alta was once a tiny, prosperous mining town, but it has been abandoned since the 1940s. 

When you visit Alta Lakes, you’ll find priceless views of the Telluride Ski Resort, Silver Mountain, and Bald Mountain.

Telluride Historical Museum is a popular thing to do in Telluride

Go back in time at the Telluride Historical Museum

The Telluride Historical Museum has an impressive permanent collection of artifacts to peruse, as well as annual historical exhibitions that provide a glimpse back in time to old Telluride. 

You can dive right into the region’s Ute Native heritage or brush up on its legendary mining history. Walk through ten themed rooms, each showcasing a different aspect of the town’s dramatic history. 

There are a lot of interactive displays to engage with, and visitors of all ages can find something to fascinate them or tickle their fancy. 

No matter how much Telluride grows and changes, this museum ensures no one will forget the legacy that created the town and shaped its present iteration.

take a hot air balloon ride over Telluride Town Park

Fall in love with Telluride Town Park

If Telluride had a beating heart, chances are you would find it at Telluride Town Park.

No matter the season, you can find locals and tourists enjoying the lovely scenery of the town park. 

During the summer the park hosts music festivals, camping trips, softball games, swimming lessons, tennis matches, kid’s fishing, and so much more. In the winter, you must visit Hanley Ice Rink, Telluride’s winter ice skating pavilion.

There is also a natural outdoor rink that is open from the middle of December until the middle of February. There are also outdoor warming huts for when you come off the ice.

Uncompahgre National Forest is a popular thing to do in Telluride

Take a dip at Uncompahgre National Park

There are more than 1 million acres of Colorado land inside the Uncompahgre National Forest, including parts of the San Juan Mountains around Telluride. This remote national park is home to some of the most beautiful scenery in all of Colorado, and the land is protected by the United State National Forest Service. 

Unlike some of the trails and vistas in the San Juan range, Uncompahgre National Forest is usually much less crowded and has plenty of campgrounds, hiking trails, and backcountry terrain. 

There are popular fishing spots here, notably Priest Lake and Trout Lake that you can enjoy for free. Both lakes offer lots of birdwatching and plenty of wildlife activity. You can also find them surrounded by colorful wildflowers in warmer months, a view that will surely bring a smile to your face.

off-road biking is a popular Telluride thing to do

Brace yourself for off-road mountain biking

You can travel between Telluride and nearby Mountain Village on a 13-minute free gondola ride. 

This biking gondola is the first and only public transport system of its kind in the continental US and allows bikers to access some of Colorado’s best biking trails. 

You can access the gondola from either town, and there is a midway point between them located at San Sophia Overlook. The ride takes you more than 10 thousand feet in the air. 

The gondola runs every day from 6:30 am to midnight, and during certain events and holidays, you may find the gondola offers extended hours. Please note that every spring and fall the gondolas are closed down for regular maintenance.

Telluride Film Festival is a popular thing to do in Telluride

Find all the best festivals

When you think of Telluride you might think of snow and winter sports, but it’s a great summer vacation destination as well. During the warmer months, the town is host to some of the best entertainment festivals in the world. 

There’s the famous Telluride Film Festival, which is one of the most celebrated film festivals in the world. Every Labor Day weekend, Telluride is full to the brim with film buffs, superstars, and everyone in between. 

You can also experience the legendary Blues & Brews music festival. Every fall Telluride enjoys this multi-stage festival celebrating blues, indie, funk, gospel, and soul music. Then they wash all that good music down with some of the best craft beer in the western hemisphere.

unwinding in a hot spring is a relaxing thing to do in Telluride

Relax and unwind in luxurious hot springs

You can find a lot of adrenaline-fueled thrills in Telluride, but sometimes you just want a tranquil place to relax and let go of all your worries. If you need a luxurious rest day, where better to find it than one of the region’s many hot springs? 

These natural mineral hot springs provide relaxation and relief all year long, and many are equipped with spa services like facials, body scrubs, and massages. 
You’ll find Orvis Hot springs about 45 minutes away from Telluride. Locals love to frequent this hot spring. Or you could try Ouray Hot Springs, which is just over an hour’s drive away.

Final thoughts

Telluride looks like a magical land from a childhood fairytale. Surrounded by tall mountains and bursting with wildlife and natural beauty, it’s no wonder the town has become one of the country’s most legendary vacation destinations. 

Founded during America’s rugged wild west era, Telluride has never lost its unpretentious charm and never adopted the ritzier reputation of neighboring ski resort towns in the Rockies. 

The town has something for everyone to enjoy – no matter your age or what you want out of your trip. Though it is only eight blocks wide and 12 blocks long, Telluride is far from being a mundane mountain town. 

You can ease into the small-town mountain lifestyle for sure, but you can also experience larger-than-life thrills on the slopes or trails. It’s all up to you. 
There’s no shortage of amazing things to do in Telluride. Whatever you decide, you’ll never forget the time spent here, and you’ll want to start planning your return to a Telluride cabin as soon as possible.

The 20 Best Bars in Key West

When it comes to the story of alcohol in America, you couldn’t write it without the help of Key West, which has been an enclave for good times, food, and drinks for around 200 years. The city has a rich history of rum running, and during prohibition, Key West residents took the law as more of a polite suggestion than something to be adhered to.

These days, Key West is many things to different people. Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly destination, exciting nightlife, a local dive bar, or a relaxing day at a tiki bar, Key West is the perfect place to hangout. There are also plenty of yearly festivals to enjoy, from Hemingway Days to Key West Fantasy Fest, Lobster Fest, and many more, depending on when you’re visiting the Florida keys.

You’re sure to be thirsty when you arrive in Key West, so we’ve prepared an exhaustive list of the best bars in Key West on and off the beaten path for you to enjoy on your travels. Be sure to check out as many of these legendary spots, grab your margaritas, hit the dance floor and explore everything Key West has to offer.

El Maison de Pepe

Fancy dinner at El Maison de Pepe, one of the best Key West bars
El Maison de Pepe

The jewel of Mallory Square and the perfect sunset spot in Key West, El Maison de Pepe is a must-see destination in Key West.

Since 1986, chef Pepe Diaz has served traditional Cuban Conch cuisine, mojitos, daiquiris, other delicious rum cocktails, and picturesque sunsets. Be sure to get here early if you plan on enjoying the sunset because they don’t take reservations.

Tipsy Rooster

Right on the main strip in Old Town Key West is the world-famous Tipsy Rooster. This bar was a winner of the 2022 Trip Advisor Traveler’s Choice Award, and it’s one bar you must try on your trip.

The Tipsy Rooster features live music every afternoon and evening and an inventive list of signature cocktails made with house-infused liquors. This unique bar also houses one of Key West’s best liquor stores so that you can grab a bottle for the road on your way out the door.

Little Room Jazz Club

From Wednesday through Sunday, stop into the Little Room Jazz Club on Duval Street for inventive cocktails, inspired small bites, and the best musicians you’ll find in Key West. The Little Room is home to some of the nation’s best jazz performers, and it’s an ideal spot to relax and unwind after a day of fun in the sun.

Old Town Tavern

A stone’s throw from the Little Room Jazz Club on Duval Street, you’ll find the Old Town Tavern and Beer Garden, one of the best places in the city to gather with friends for a quick bite and a delicious drink.

Old Town Tavern offers one of the best happy hour programs on the island, with happy hour from 4-7 pm and 11 pm to close. Their full menu is available until closing, making this the perfect spot for some late-night eats.

The Smallest Bar in Key West

The Smallest Bar in Key West
The Smallest Bar in Key West

Towards the end of Duval Street, surrounded by some of Key West’s most famous tiki bars, you’ll find a tiny bar about the size of a jail cell known as The Smallest Bar in Key West.

What it lacks in size, it makes up for in charm. This tiny bar is the perfect spot to grab a drink and chat with the bartender about the best spots in town, which all happen to be around the block from this famous watering hole.

Lucy’s Retired Surfers Bar

Lucy’s has only been in Key West for around five years, but in that short time, this bar has cemented itself as a Key West classic. Pop into Lucy’s for inventive vacation cocktails, a cold beer, or a bite to eat. For those of you with the courage to spare, try Lucy’s famous scorpion shot. Sure, you may get stung by a scorpion, but at least you get a t-shirt to commemorate the experience!

Willie T’s

In the heart of world-famous Duval Street, you’ll find an inviting coastal dive known as Willie T’s. At Willie’s, can enjoy an inventive list of new and classic cocktails, unfussy pub grub, and live music every day from open until close.

Willie T’s has some of the best drink specials in Key West, with rotating selections every day. It’s also the best spot in Key West for some late-night fun since they’re open until 4 am on the weekends.

Bull & Whistle

One of the most fun and iconic bars in Key West, Bull & Whistle is a bar within a bar on Key West’s busiest strip for bars and restaurants.

On the ground floor, you’ll find The Bull, an expansive room with a long bar, plenty of seating, and live music. The Bull is one of the last remaining open-air bars in Key West, and it’s one of the best places to spend an afternoon on the island.

Head upstairs, and you’ll find the Whistle Bar, which is a bustling game room with a large squared bar and pool tables. The Whistle Bar overlooks Duval Street and Caroline Street and gives you a bird’s eye view of everything happening on the street.

The Whistle always has a great breeze, and it’s one of the most comfortable spots to hang out outdoors in Key West.

Beyond these two bars, there’s still more to see here at the Bull & Whistle, and we’ll cover that below.

The Garden of Eden

One of the best Key West bars, the Garden of Eden rooftop view
Garden of Eden

High atop the Bull & Whistle bar at the rooftop level, you’ll find the inviting Garden of Eden bar. This clothing-optional bar’s motto is “drinking is mandatory, clothing is optional.” You won’t find cameras or cell phones at the Garden of Eden, but you’ll find just about everything else.

Whether you bring your birthday suit or not, The Garden of Eden offers arguably the most fun of all the bars here at Bull & Whistle, and the nightly DJ is sure to get your crew up and moving.

The Rum Bar

Whether staying the week or just stopping by for a quick drink, The Rum Bar at Speakeasy Inn is a must-try in Key West. The Inn is one of the finest places to stay in Key West, and it’s at the southernmost point of Duval Street, one of the most coveted destinations in the Keys.

As for the Rum Bar, they’re open from 11 am until midnight or later, serving up some of the best cocktails in the Keys. For those who love rum, you’ll find more than 350 exclusive bottles from around the world on the shelves of this cozy and inviting bar.

Point 5 Lounge

Point 5 Lounge is a short walk from the Ernest Hemmingway house on Duval Street, and it’s the ideal location for a romantic dinner or a few cocktails. Originally constructed in 1850, the Point 5 Lounge served as a beautiful Victorian-style residence for over 100 years before being repurposed as one of Key West’s coziest and most romantic restaurants since 2002.

The bar is excellent and stocked with anything you could ever want to drink, and the kitchen is one of the best places to grab a meal.

Hog’s Breath Saloon

Established in 1976, the Hog’s Breath Saloon has become a must-see destination in Key West to relax and unwind. This unfussy haunt is pure Key West, and they offer a full kitchen to go along with their island-inspired cocktails. Try one of their famous key lime shooters before you head out the door.

Schooner Wharf

One of the best Key West bars, the Schooner Wharf Bar
Schooner Wharf

At the end of the Historic Harbor Walk, you’ll arrive at the former location of the Singleton Shrimp factory. The shrimp factory has long been replaced by the Schooner Wharf Bar, but you’ll still find plenty of fishy business here.

Schooner Wharf opens bright and early every day for their Breakfast on the Bight service, and they keep cruising every day until 4 am, with three separate happy hours throughout the day. For those arriving by sea, boat slips are available for you daily or monthly. When you stop by, be sure to try a signature Schooner lemonade.

Hemingway Rum Distillery

A block from the water at the corner of Greene and Simonton, you’ll find a tribute to one of Key West’s most famous residents, Ernest Hemmingway. When Hemmingway wasn’t writing the most iconic literature in American history, he was fishing aboard his boat, Pilar, or enjoying a rum cocktail somewhere in Key West.

The distillery that bears his name is one of Key West’s most popular tourist destinations and a great way to grab specialty drinks and some local history. The distillery features a small tasting room for you to enjoy some of their famous rum, and they also offer cocktail classes, ghost tours, and much more at this iconic rum factory.

Green Parrot

If you only have time to visit one of the haunts on our list, let it be Key West’s most iconic bar, the Green Parrot. This Key West staple has been at the corner of Whitehead and Southard for over a century, and the spot has been a bar since the 50s. Although the name has changed, the spirit endured, and for decades the legend of the Green Parrot grew.

Today, the parrot is Key West’s most iconic bar. They’re open daily until 4 am with happy hour from 4-7 pm. There’s also an on-site liquor store, in case you need to take something with you for your travels.


These days, you can throw a dart at a map and end up somewhere near a Margaritaville location, but there’s only one original Margaritaville, and it’s here in Key West.

The original Margaritaville is a bit of a tourist trap, but for parrotheads and those hoping to pay homage to Key West’s living legend Jimmy Buffet, a stop at Margaritaville is a must.

Rum Row

Rum Row bar interior
Rum Row

Tucked away inside The Gates Hotel, you’ll find one of Key West’s best bars, Rum Row. Rum Row is the perfect haunt for vacationers hoping for something a bit more high-end than the open-air watering holes of Duval Street.

Rum Row emphasizes local rum and cigars, and thanks to their partnership with Key West Legal Rum and Rodriguez Cigars, they have both in high supply. Grab a fresh local rum runner or mojito and enjoy it with a cigar as you watch the sunset.

Captain Tony’s Saloon

Buffet fans are sure to know this local watering hole, immortalized in Jimmy Buffet’s song “Last Mango in Paris.” This historic bar has been a part of Key West lore for over 100 years, and it was a favorite spot of local legends like Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, and Truman Capote.

At Captain Tony’s, there’s live entertainment every afternoon and a band every night, and there always seems to be a seat at the bar waiting for you when you arrive.

Sloppy Joe’s

Often confused with Captain Tony’s Saloon, which was once known as Sloppy Joe’s before Captain Tony Tarracino acquired it, Sloppy Joe’s is another iconic bar where every Key West visitor should grab a drink.

Like Captain Tony’s, Sloppy Joe’s is one of the most historic watering holes in town, and it was a favorite haunt of Ernest Hemmingway. Plenty has changed in Key West over the years, but Sloppy Joe’s isn’t one of them.

Tiki House

No vacation is complete without a classic tiki cocktail served in a fun glass, and Tiki House is the best place in Key West to enjoy one. Once you step inside this Greene Street bar, you’re immediately transported to 1950s California for some fun in the sun.

Tiki House offers an expansive menu of classic and modern tiki cocktails, and on Wednesdays and Saturdays, they offer a Tiki Cocktail Class from 1-3 pm. The bar offers daily happy hour from 4-6 pm and live music every night.


Key West has no shortage of bars waiting to offer you a night you’ll never forget. Make sure you check out our Key West vacation homes for a stay above the rest!

Foliage, Pumpkins, & Scares: The 5 Best Fall Vacations in the US

Throughout the US, days are becoming shorter, the weather is cooling down, apples are ripening, and leaves are erupting in color. Which can only mean that fall is right around the corner! Not only is fall a picturesque time to plan a getaway, but the season also offers fewer crowds, lower prices, comfortable weather, and an abundance of festivals. Finding the best fall vacations in the US for groups is made easy with AvantStay

We offer vacation homes in over 35 destinations, whether you want to experience iconic leaf peeping in the Great Smoky Mountains, grape harvest season in Sonoma, or a fun festival in Hudson Valley. Here are our top five fall vacation destinations with AvantStay vacation homes; plus, the best times to visit each area if you’re looking to travel when these areas are in peak fall foliage, according to the Smoky Mountains Fall Foliage Prediction Map.

Hudson Valley

Hudson Valley AvantStay vacation rental

Extending 150 miles above Manhattan along the Hudson River is the Hudson Valley, known for natural beauty, history, culture, and winemaking. The Hudson Valley offers some of the best fall foliage in the country, setting the region aglow for scenic hikes, bikes, and drives. You can expect quintessential seasonal activities, like apple picking, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, and haunted houses. You can also plan your fall vacation around food and wine festivals or walk through thousands of lit-up pumpkins at the Great Jack o’Lantern Blaze.

Looking for fall leaves? Here are the best times to see them in Hudson Valley: 

  • Near peak fall foliage: Week of Oct. 10
  • Peak fall foliage: Week of Oct. 17

Smoky Mountains

Smoky Mountains AvantStay vacation rent

The Smoky Mountains are located in western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee, known for their ancient mountains, diverse wildlife, and the mist that settles in the valley. The Smoky Mountains offer one of the best fall vacations for nature lovers. Fall is an excellent time to visit since it is less crowded, the foliage is beautiful, wildlife migrates, and temperatures are perfect for hiking, fishing, horseback riding, and more. 

Here are the best times to see fall leaves in the Smoky Mountains:

  • Near peak fall foliage: Week of Oct. 10
  • Peak fall foliage: Week of Oct. 17

Sonoma, CA

Sonoma California AvantStay vacation rent

Autumn is a beautiful time to plan a wine-country getaway in Sonoma, California. Fall is when vineyard grapes are harvested, farm-to-table cuisine is at its best, vibrant foliage highlights the valley, and annual festivals return. After you have spent time at Scenic Sonoma County Wineries, there are plenty of fall activities like pumpkin patches, harvest fairs, apple orchards, and haunted houses to keep you busy during your getaway!

Trying to check out some fall leaves in Sonoma? Here are the best times:

  • Near peak fall foliage: Oct. 24
  • Peak fall foliage: Oct. 31

Sedona, AZ

Sedona Arizona AvantStay vacation rent

When you are looking for the best fall vacations in the US, you may be surprised to see Arizona on the list. However, Sedona offers cooler weather and beautiful fall colors like other fall destinations. Driving through Oak Creek Canyon provides spectacular foliage, and the weather is cool enough that you can hike Red Rock State Park comfortably. You can also expect fall activities like apple orchards, wine tasting, craft fairs, and ghost tours.

The best time to see fall leaves in Sedona? 

  • Near peak fall foliage: Week of Oct. 10
  • Peak fall foliage: Week of Oct. 17

Telluride, CO

Even though Telluride is best known for skiing, this Colorado mountain town is also excellent during the fall. The San Juan Mountains explode with hues of yellows and gold, offering an idyllic backdrop to your hiking, biking, and golfing adventures this fall. There are also fun festivals to plan your vacation around, such as the Blues & Brews Festival and the Telluride Horror Show film festival.

These are the best times to visit Telluride if you’re looking to see some perfect fall foliage:

  • Near peak fall foliage: Week of Oct. 10
  • Peak fall foliage: Week of Oct. 17

Find the Best Fall Vacations in the US with AvantStay

Discover the best fall vacations in the US when you stay with AvantStay. Whether you want to spend the fall season hiking through the foliage, sipping wine, picking apples, or attending festivals, there is a destination for everyone! Plus, our homes are perfect for groups of all sizes and come with games and activities to play together on those cozy fall days. 

White Sand and Sun: The 15 Best Fort Myers Beaches

Whether you’ve lived in Fort Myers all of your life or you’re just visiting and looking for a new piece of paradise in the sun, Fort Myers is home to some of the Sunshine State’s best and most iconic beaches.
Bright white sand, seashell heaven, and all the vitamin D that you can ask for are guaranteed here. But, before you plan your trip, remember that not all of Fort Myers’ beaches are the same. So we’ve rounded up for you what each one of them offers depending on your timing and interests. Then you can book your stay confidently with your swimsuit, sunblock, and flip-flops ready to go!

Beaches for days

Fort Myers a.k.a. the “City of Palms” sits at the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River roughly halfway between Naples and Sarasota. It’s also the gateway to one of the most beautiful stretches of barrier islands on Florida’s Gulf Coast, including Estero Island, Sanibel Island, Pine Island, and Captiva. 

Fort Myers is world-renowned as a vacation destination beyond its beaches. Summers are long and sunny, winters are short and comfortable, and the sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico are perpetually breathtaking. The City of Palms also offers endless opportunities for fishing, boutique shopping, swimming with manatees, or visiting one of the city’s historic estates and museums.
So, whether you’re visiting Fort Myers for the sunshine, getting away with a group of your best friends, or just taking a much-needed break from work with that special someone who makes your heart skip a beat here are the best, can’t-miss beaches to make your vacation the trip of a lifetime.

a pristine shot of Fort Myers Beach

1. Fort Myers Beach

Situated on Estero Island, Fort Myers Beach is the first stop on any Sunshine State Gulf Coast vacation. With plenty of “shelling” and seemingly endless pristine white sand, there’s something for everyone here, including swimming, kayaking, parasailing, sunbathing, and every other water sport that you can imagine.

Plenty of rental shops along the boardwalk offer quality equipment at an affordable price. And you also aren’t far from Times Square—Fort Myers’ downtown area home to boutique shops and outstanding local restaurant options. You can also visit the famous Lynn Hall Memorial Park and stroll along the pier.

aerial shot of lovers key beach

2. Lovers Key State Park

Lovers Key State Park is the perfect romantic destination for anyone visiting Fort Myers and the Gulf of Mexico. And if you’re looking to experience a manatee encounter, this beach park is your go-to spot.

Lovers Key is home to postcard-perfect, sugar-sand beaches while also offering protection from the wind and waves thanks to Southwest Florida’s barrier islands. You can explore the beach on foot or take a kayak or paddleboarding trip to get up close and personal with the Gulf Coast’s natural inhabitants, including exotic birds, manatees, and alligators. 
With over two miles of beach at Lovers Key, you also don’t have to worry about ruining someone else’s romantic getaway—or your own—since you can almost always find a corner of the beach all to yourself.

sunset photo of Bonita Beach

3. Bonita Beach

Situated between Fort Myers and Bonita Springs, Bonita Beach is the perfect place to spend an afternoon, an evening, or your entire vacation for that matter. There’s plenty to do if you want to up your watersports game as well as endless room to dig your toes in the sand if all you want is just a piece of the beach with no one else around.

Bonita Beach is also the perfect place to swim, kayak, try your hand (and feet) at paddle boarding, or just relax and bask in Florida’s Gulf Coast sunshine. You’ll find wind-swept dunes, tidal pools, and rare plants if you’re up for exploring. Or you can bring your fishing rods to get some bites in. You might even spot an exotic bird or two if you keep your eyes peeled. 

The parking lot for Bonita Beach charges $2 per hour. But between the beachfront park and the boardwalk, you won’t regret paying the small fee for a day filled with fun in the sun.

evening shot of Yacht Club Public Beach

4. Yacht Club Public Beach

This small public beach with full facilities, a fishing pier, and a playground is technically located in Cape Coral on the other side of the Caloosahatchee River from Fort Myers, but it’s only a stone’s throw away. 

If you’re visiting Fort Myers with your family, the Yacht Club Public Beach is a can’t-miss bucket list destination since it sits close to a strip of classic Gulf Coast restaurants, including a tiki bar or two where you and your kids can both enjoy yourselves on “island time.”

clear day at bunche beach

5. Bunche Beach

Check out Bunche Beach on San Carlos Bay if you’re looking for a quieter and more relaxed experience than the typical spring break beaches. This tranquil destination will get your mind off whatever worries you want to leave behind.

The shallow surf makes Bunche Beach a perfect place for wading, relaxing, and dipping your toes in the water, especially for families traveling with kids. It’s also a great place to find seashells, particularly at low tide along the mud flats. You’ll pay $2 per hour for parking near the beach, with a maximum of four hours per vehicle. You can also walk or bike to Bunche Beach for free.

beautiful sunset at bowditch point park

6. Bowditch Point Park

If you’re looking for a beach that has it all, Bowditch Point Park is one of Fort Myers’ best places to relax—including picnic tables, a fishing pier, a beach, and restrooms.

From Fort Myers’ famous Times Square, you can access Bowditch Point Park via a quick walk so it’s the perfect place to stretch your legs before you lounge on the beach for a few hours. There’s plenty of space for swimming if you’re looking to feel the ocean on your skin, and Bowditch Point Park is also open from sunrise to sunset with a dock if you bring or rent a boat. 

lighthouse at Sanibel Lighthouse Beach

7. Sanibel Lighthouse Beach Park

Sanibel Island is a short drive or a slightly longer boat ride from Fort Myers, but it’s one the most beautiful getaways within a getaway when you’re visiting Florida’s Gulf Coast. 

Sanibel Island is world-renowned for its picture-perfect beaches, breathtaking sunsets, and historic lighthouses. It’s also home to the Sanibel Lighthouse Beach Park, a public beach with water sports rentals nearby where you can paddleboard or kayak in the Gulf of Mexico. 

You can also find picnic areas stocked with grills and scenic views, making it the perfect place for a family cookout or a get-together with your vacation buddies. 

If you’re more of a nature lover, visitors can explore the beach park as well to discover the island’s mangrove forests and Florida’s rare flora and fauna.

aerial shot at causeway islands park

8. Causeway Islands Park

Causeway Island Park is a beach park along the Sanibel Causeway bridge, making for easy access if you’re on the causeway as well as allowing you to pull right up to the water with your boat, paddleboard, or kayak. 

There’s excellent swimming here, and you also can get a good workout if you swim for cardio or just lazily want to do the backstroke for fun. Either way, the clear, temperate waters of the beach at Causeway Islands Park is one of Fort Myers’ best places to get a day in the sun.

The big bonus? You don’t have to pay for parking here. And you’re free to bring your fishing gear along with you if you’re coming to Florida to cast some lines or enjoy the incredible sunset views at no additional cost.

couple walking along algiers beach

9. Algiers Beach

Also known as Gulfside City Park Beach, this pristine white sand beach on Sanibel Island is the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing afternoon or watch the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico. Algiers Beach is quiet and tucked away, and far less busy than some of the surrounding beaches on Sanibel so it’s also one of the best places to meet the locals.

There’s a small parking fee. But it’s worth the money for the tranquil experience of relaxing on a beautiful beach with the ocean gently crashing at your feet and the Florida sun beating down (or the sun setting).

You won’t find a comparable experience on Sanibel, and that’s saying something. Algiers Beach is a true mecca of peace, far less crowded than nearby Lighthouse Beach, and just as beautiful and relaxing.

beach birds at captiva beach

10. Captiva Beach

Slightly further north from Sanibel Island, you’ll find Captiva Island, which features a slew of pristine beaches that are pristine, clean, calm, and legendary for shelling while offering some of the most amazing views of the Gulf of Mexico in Florida.

Free and open to the public, Captiva Beach is one of the best places in Fort Myers to relax in the sun, enjoy a dip in the Gulf, or simply people-watch in the sand. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you bring plenty of sunscreen and come prepared for a good time!

seashells at Turner Beach

11. Turner Beach

If you’re looking for one of the best fishing holes on Captiva Island, Turner Beach should be first on your bucket list. You’ll also find yourself surrounded by some of the most beautiful and unique “shelling” locations on Florida’s Gulf Coast. 

Since tourists tend to flock to other beaches, you’ll essentially have this place to yourself. Situated just beyond the bridge that connects Sanibel to Captiva, Turner Beach is only a short jaunt upstream from wherever you are on your dreamy Fort Myers vacation. 

The best news for dog lovers is that if you’ve brought your furry friend along, they can join you at Turner Beach!

map at bowman's beach

12. Bowman’s Beach

Whether you want to scour the sand for seashells or spend an afternoon basking in the hot Florida sun, you can accomplish both goals at Bowman’s Beach. 

Bowman’s beach is one of the most picturesque locations in the Fort Myers area that attracts a lot of tourists coming over to Sanibel Island. The beach has playgrounds, picnic tables, and a ton of trails so it’s also an ideal destination for families vacationing with kids. 

If you want to bring your fishing rod along, you’ll have to get a saltwater fishing license from the Lee County authorities. There’s a small parking fee at Bowman’s Beach. But it’s worth the small price to experience one of Sanibel’s best beaches.

people fishing at Tarpon Bay Beach

13. Tarpon Bay Beach

There’s a public parking lot located only a short walk from Tarpon Bay Beach which is one of Sanibel’s most beautiful beaches, offering endless expanses of bright, white sand along with glorious views of the Gulf of Mexico’s horizon all day long.

If you’re looking for that perfect romantic spot to take your special someone for a Florida sunset, Tarpon Bay Beach is a must-visit. You won’t find a crisper, cleaner view of the reds, oranges, and pinks dancing across the evening sky.

And if you’re up for a dip in the ocean, Tarpon Bay Beach is situated far enough from the swift currents to make it an excellent spot for a relaxing swim. No matter how you spend your time, you won’t be disappointed with your visit to Tarpon Bay.

driftwood at cayo costa state park

14. Cayo Costa State Park

One of the most exciting barrier island state parks to visit during your Fort Myers vacation is Cayo Costa State Park. It’s a natural island with nine miles of pristine, quiet, and secluded beachfront and one of the best-preserved natural habitats on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

The best part is that you can only get to the park by boat. So, whether you’ve launched your own or have booked a rental or a charter, make sure that Cayo Costa is on your Fort Myers bucket list.   

The island features cabins, nature trails, beautiful beaches, as well as outdoor grills for the perfect sunset BBQ. If you’re a camper, Cayo Costa will also quickly become one of your favorite destinations if you’re up for a night in the Florida wilderness.

aerial shot of Boca Grande Beach

15. Boca Grande Pass

Boca Grande Pass is located just off the southernmost tip of Gasparilla Island and is one of Lee County’s most famous beaches. 

There’s a small fee for entering and also a fee to get onto Gasparilla Island. But once you’re there, you can enjoy all that Boca Grande offers, including swimming in the aquamarine Gulf waters, surfing, fishing, relaxing, sunbathing, and making new friends while you soak up the scenic Florida vistas. It’s rarely too crowded, and the beaches are so soft that you might never want to leave.

Fort Myers beaches, final thoughts

Planning a trip to Fort Myers means getting ready for the time of your life. There are so many exquisite beaches to choose from that you might run out of time to experience them all. 

Whatever you do, though, or no matter how long you’re staying, check out some of these awesome rental options to make your stay more luxurious and turnkey. 

Even if you’re traveling with your best buddies from college, you’ll be able to find the perfect place to call home while you explore the sandy beaches of southern Florida!

10 Black Friday Deals for Travelers: Tech, Gear, and More!

We’ve made our list—and checked it twice—of the best 2022 Black Friday / Cyber Monday deals for the traveler in your life. Whether you’re searching for the perfect gift or looking to score an awesome deal for yourself (no judgment), we’ve compiled the top deals out there for any type of traveler.

1. Apple Airtags

You’ve made it to your destination.. but did your luggage make it too? There’s nothing like that sinking feeling of finding out your suitcase was left behind, or even worse, lost by your airline. Pop an Apple Airtag in your luggage on your next trip and have the peace of mind of tracking your bag every step of the way.

Purchase a 4-pack of Apple Airtags on Amazon for $79.99, regularly $99.99.

photo of an AirTag
Source: Apple

2. Kindle Oasis

Stop scrolling your social media and pick up a book—or an eReader if that’s more your style. The 7” Kindle Oasis is on sale this Black Friday and comes with a massive price cut. Read your favorite book while 40,000 feet in the air or beachside with a margarita in hand. Either way, you’ll feel great knowing you saved nearly $95 during the Black Friday sale.

Snag a Kindle Oasis on Amazon for $184.00, regularly 279.99.

photo of someone holding a kindle
Source: CNET

3. Apple Airpods Pro (2nd Generation)

What will be the soundtrack of your next getaway? If it’s absolute silence, we don’t blame you. The perfect item to drown out the crying babies and snoring seatmates on a long flight, the Apple Airpod Pro earbuds offer active noise cancellation to ensure the smoothest of flights.

Get the Apple Airpod Pro (2nd Generation) on Amazon for $199.99, regularly $249.00.

photo of airpods
Source: IGN

4.  S-Zone Antitheft Bag

You don’t need to compromise style for safety. With the S-Zone Antitheft Bag, you can have both. This leather backpack comes in a variety of colors and features a zipper compartment that lays flat against your back—ruining any pickpocketer’s day. This bag is perfect for the traveler who often finds themselves in large crowds or in busy cities while on their adventures.

The S-Zone Antitheft Bag is marked down from $85.99 to $79.99 on Amazon. Plus, you can check off the 15% coupon for an additional $12 in savings.

photo of antitheft backpack in black leather
Source: S-Zone

5. Away Luggage

If you’ve been eyeing a new piece of luggage, now’s your chance to save big. Away Luggage is offering $50 off when you purchase two suitcases, and $100 off when you purchase three. It’s the perfect excuse to buy one as a gift and to treat yourself, too. All colors, styles, and sizes are included in the offer, available now through November 28th.

photo of Away suitcase set
Source: Conde Nast Traveler

6. Trtl Travel Pillow

Forget what you know about travel pillows. The Trtl Travel Pillow is made to completely support your head for maximum comfort. The pillow is designed to prevent neck pain, strains, or aches so you can feel refreshed after a long flight.

Get the Trtl Travel Pillow 15% off this Black Friday or check out one of Trtl’s VIP bundles where you can earn up to 40% in savings.

photo of girl wearing neck pillow

7. Ankur USB Charger

If you planned on taking advantage of some tech deals this Back Friday, you may want to invest in a portable charger. This Ankur charger allows you to charge up to 3 devices at once, with either a USB A or USB C output.

Purchase this Ankur USB charger for $44, down from $59.99—plus apply a $3 coupon for additional savings.

photo of portable charger
Source: Amazon

8. Sand Cloud Towels

Save your sanity while also saving marine life. There’s nothing worse than laying on the beach with a towel covered in sand. These stylish Sand Cloud Towels are sand-resistant and ultra-absorbent to keep you comfortable while sunbathing at the beach. Not only that, the company donates 10% of all profits toward marine conservation so you’re bound to feel good inside and out.

Get 30% off sitewide during this year’s deal at Sand Cloud!

girl sitting on Sand Cloud Towel looking at beach
Source: The Surfrider Foundation

9. AvantStay Vacation Rentals

We may be biased, but this is our favorite travel deal of all. Now through Cyber Monday, you can save between $250-$1,500 on AvantStay vacation rentals. The more you spend, the more you save—so it’s the perfect excuse to extend that vacation you’ve been planning to take.

With over 1,500 homes in 100+ destinations, AvantStay vacation rentals offer group-friendly spaces that could fit the whole family. When you stay at an AvantStay, you can expect an elevated vacation rental experience, with homes packed with fun amenities, 24/7 guest support, upgrades, experiences, and beautiful design to create the perfect backdrop for your Instagram selfies.

Sonoma, CA vacation rental by AvantStay
Blue Steel by AvantStay

10. AvantStay Swag

Hats, T-Shirts, and more! So you took advantage of AvantStay’s Black Friday Deal and booked yourself a vacation. Now, you may want some new swag to pack along in your suitcase. Take advantage of 15% off in the AvantStay swag store where you can find some of our most favorited items, like our “Out of Office” hat.. or even travel gear for your jetsetting pup!

Use code “BFCM15.” Offer valid on any order $25 or more, limit one per customer, expires 11/28/22 at midnight.

dog with scarf and AvantStay dog toy
The AvantStay swag store has plenty for you and your pup!

12 Things to Do on the Emerald Coast

The Emerald Coast, located on the Florida Panhandle, is one of the most beautiful destinations in the country. With its white sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and abundant sunshine, it’s no wonder that so many people flock to the area every year. In fact, did you know that the name “Emerald Coast” comes from the emerald green color of the waters in the Gulf of Mexico?

Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach, explore nature, or enjoy some family fun, the Emerald Coast has something for everyone. In this article, we’ll provide a comprehensive guide to the top things to do in the area, along with some helpful tips for where to stay while you’re visiting—we consider ourselves experts in that area.

Beaches and Water Activities

Let’s start with what the Emerald Coast is best known for: its stunning beaches and endless water activities. Whether you want to relax on the sand, swim in the Gulf of Mexico, or try your hand at some water sports, there’s something for everyone. Here are the top three beaches you should visit:

Source: Destin Real Estate

1. Destin Beach

Known as the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village,” Destin Beach is a must-visit destination for beach lovers. With its sugar-white sand and emerald-green waters, it’s the perfect place to relax and soak up the sun. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also try your hand at some water sports, like parasailing or jet skiing!

2. Okaloosa Island

Just a few miles west of Destin Beach, Okaloosa Island is another hot spot for beachgoers. With its soft sand and clear waters, it’s the perfect place to take a dip or go snorkeling. If you’re looking for a break from the sun, you can also explore the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park, a popular family-friendly attraction (more on that later in this article).

3. Grayton Beach State Park

If you’re looking for a more secluded beach experience, Grayton Beach State Park is the perfect destination. With its rolling sand dunes and emerald waters, it’s a beautiful spot for a quiet picnic or a romantic walk on the beach.

When it comes to water activities, the options are endless. Additionally, the Emerald Coast is a popular destination for sea turtle nesting. In fact, the area has the highest concentration of nesting sea turtles in the continental United States, so you might get lucky and catch a sighting!

Some other popular water activities include snorkeling, scuba diving, paddleboarding, kayaking, and fishing. No matter what you choose, you’re sure to have a great time on the water.

Parks and Nature Preserves

If you’re looking to explore the natural beauty of the Emerald Coast, there are plenty of parks and nature preserves to choose from. Here are the top three you should visit:

Source: Florida Smart

4. Henderson Beach State Park

Located in Destin, Henderson Beach State Park is a beautiful spot for hiking, picnicking, and birdwatching. With its natural sand dunes and lush vegetation, it’s a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the beach.

5. Point Washington State Forest

Just a short drive from the beach, Point Washington State Forest is a hidden gem for nature lovers. With its miles of hiking and biking trails, it’s the perfect place to explore the local flora and fauna.

6. Gulf Islands National Seashore

Stretching from Pensacola to the Mississippi border, Gulf Islands National Seashore is a vast expanse of natural beauty. With its pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and diverse wildlife, it’s the perfect place to experience the best of the Emerald Coast.

Family-Friendly Attractions

If you’re traveling with kids, there are plenty of family-friendly attractions to choose from on the Emerald Coast. Here are the top three you should visit:

Source: Realty Masters of FL

7. Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park

Located on Okaloosa Island, the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park is a popular destination for families. With its dolphin shows, sea lion performances, and interactive exhibits, it’s a great way to learn about marine life.

8. Big Kahuna’s Water and Adventure Park

If you’re looking for some thrills and spills, Big Kahuna’s Water and Adventure Park is the place to be. With its water slides, lazy river, and go-kart tracks, it’s a fun way to spend a day with the family.

9. The Track

Located in Destin, The Track is another popular destination for families. With its go-karts, mini-golf, and bumper boats, it’s a great way to spend an afternoon or evening together and get some quality bonding time!

Shopping and Dining

If you’re looking to do some shopping or dining on the Emerald Coast, there are plenty of options to choose from. Here are the top three places you should visit:

Source: Emerald Coast

10. The Village of Baytowne Wharf

Located in Sandestin, the Village of Baytowne Wharf is a charming destination for shopping, dining, and entertainment. With its boutiques, restaurants, and live music, it’s a great place to spend an evening with friends or family.

11. Destin Commons

If you’re looking for a more traditional shopping experience, Destin Commons is the place to be. With its big-name retailers, restaurants, and movie theater, it’s a great place to spend a day with the family.

12. HarborWalk Village

Located in Destin, HarborWalk Village is a popular destination for dining, shopping, and nightlife. With its waterfront restaurants, live music, and outdoor events, it’s a great place to experience the local culture.

Vacation Rentals

When it comes to lodging on the Emerald Coast, vacation rentals are the way to go. They offer more space, privacy, and amenities than traditional hotels, and are often located right on the beach. 

AvantStay is proud to be one of the best vacation rental companies in the area, which offers a wide range of luxurious rentals all along the coast. From spacious homes with private pools and hot tubs to cozy condos with stunning views, AvantStay has something for everyone.

Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach, explore nature, or enjoy some family fun, the Emerald Coast has something for everyone. With its beautiful beaches, natural parks, family-friendly attractions, and great shopping and dining, it’s no wonder that so many people flock to the area every year. And with vacation rentals from AvantStay, you can enjoy all the Emerald Coast has to offer in style and comfort. 

Source: AvantStay

So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip to the Emerald Coast today!

5 of the Best Oregon Coast Golf Courses

The coastal region of the Beaver State offers an incredible array of activities and experiences. Most may not think of golf as a popular thing to do in our area, but there are some great golf courses on the Oregon Coast. Whether you want to enjoy a quick nine-hole outing or a full-fledged 18-hole competition, you’ll find the perfect fit for your game here.

The Top Oregon Coast Golf Courses

1. Highlands Golf Club – Seaside

Highlands Golf Club is about a 10-minute drive north of the beach town of Seaside and is one of the better Oregon Coast golf courses that you will find in the area. 18 manicured holes wind through a beach house community that’s one block away from Del Rey Beach State Recreation Area. Rates here are very reasonable, with nine holes costing $22 and 18 holes costing $39. You can also find specials find early bird and twilight rates!

If you’re searching for one of the best public golf courses on the Oregon Coast, look no further than Gearheart Golf Links. This sprawling 18-hole course features a nice clubhouse with a pub and is within walking distance of the beach. It’s also just down the road from the Highlands Golf Club. The rates here vary depending on the season and are substantially higher than most of the public courses in the area.

3. Seaside Golf Course – Seaside

Seaside Golf Course offers visitors a casual place to take in nine holes at their own pace. This small public golf course sits south of Seaside and winds along a creek, so you can test yourself a little bit during a fun golf outing. One round of golf ranges between $18 to $24, depending on the season. The Seaside Golf Course works on a first-come-first-serve basis, so you don’t need to bother making a tee-time!

The Manzanita Links is somewhat of a hidden gem for golfers wanting to enjoy a casual round of golf on well-manicured greens. This nine-hole golf course on the Oregon Coast features plenty of beautiful trees surrounding each hole along with great views of Neahkahnie Mountain in the distance. Call the clubhouse for rates and tee times!

5. Alderbrook Golf Course – Tillamook

If you’re on a quest to test your skills at all of the Oregon Coast golf courses in our area, drive about 20 minutes south of Rockaway Beach to Alderbrook Golf Course. This 18-hole, par 69 public golf course offers reasonable weekday rates along with some beautiful scenery around the course.

Plan Your Oregon Coast Getaway

AvantStay offers the ultimate Oregon Coast experience. Our luxurious properties in Manzanita, Rockaway Beach, Arch Cape, and Cannon Beach feature oceanfront and ocean locations and ocean views as well as an array of other amenities. We also provide an incredible guest services program that is second to none in our area.

Browse through our collection of rentals to find the perfect one for you and your family. We look forward to welcoming you to the AvantStay family.