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14 top-rated, off the beaten path vacation rental destinations

Last updated 2 years ago

A lot of ink is spilled about the usual suspects when it comes to vacation rental destinations, or even top vacation spots in general. You hear about Florida, people won’t shut up about the South of France, and the picturesque but well-trod areas like Bali or Tuscany. What we’re offering is the ultimate list of up-and-comers, vacation rental destinations that you’ll want to visit very soon before they become completely overrun by everyone who finds out what we’re telling you right now – they are incredible.
We looked at the past 18 months of vacation rental reviews and the average score (1-5) for all our destinations, and we’ve singled out these 14 as the ones you should plan a trip to as soon as possible. Here’s the list of winners and a bit about why they deserve your attention.
Port Aransas, Texas - 4.42 avg score
The Gulf of Mexico buffers this relaxing city featuring 18 miles worth of sun-filled beaches. Port Aransas has become a fishing, beach, and resort village, with summer populations sometimes swelling to 60,000 or more. You’ll want to take advantage of the world-class boat excursions like sunset cruises, big game fishing and sailing lessons. A favorite local activity is beach bicycling where visitors rent large bikes for the sand - great exercise and a fun way to explore the area.
With temps over 80 from April through September, you’ll find yourself with plenty to do outdoors no matter when you visit. At Mustang Island State Park visitors can enjoy the beauty of the outdoors and some beach serenity. People of all ages will enjoy visiting the University of Texas Marine Science Institute where display tanks include sea horses, oysters, eels, and other ocean animals. It's free programs, Explorium and Wetlands Education Center offer an interesting and fun introduction for kids and adults alike to marine life in the Gulf of Mexico and around surrounding waters of Port Aransas. Visitors can enjoy on their own or take a guided tour every Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 10:00 am.
Must-try activity: The Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center features a raised boardwalk that makes it easy for visitors to stroll through the area and view a number of local bird species. The site has several viewing scopes, including one at the top of an observation tower for sweeping vistas and prime bird watching. Depending on the season, guests may also see alligators, butterflies, and native plants. Click here to read online at

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