The Escape Home: 5 summer destinations that still have rentals available

United States

This article is reprinted by permission from The Escape Home, a newsletter for second homeowners and those who want to be. Subscribe here. © 2021. All rights reserved. 

Revenge travel. Have you heard of it? That’s the term being used for the expected surge of vacations set to take place this summer as more vaccinated Americans make up for a year of lost travel.

Rentals in popular vacation destinations were snapped up quickly; Vrbo says 90% of its vacation homes in parts of the Jersey Shore have already been booked for July. 

Another factor making it harder to book lodging? People have been buying up second homes and living in them full time, further shrinking the already skinny inventory in vacation towns. According to a recent Redfin report, the number of buyers who locked in mortgage rates for second homes rose 178% year over year last month.

Living that last-minute lifestyle? Don’t listen to the naysayers telling you it’s too late to plan a summer vacation. Here are five destinations across the country that have lots to offer — and more importantly, plenty of availability. 

Watauga Lake, Tennessee

Where to stay: This four-bedroom log cabin has availability for the months of June and August. Rates start at $ 1,575/a week, with nightly rates available upon request.


What to do: Watauga Lake is the perfect destination for a water-centric vacation filled with boating, fishing, swimming and water-skiing. The area also offers world-class white-water rafting and plenty of opportunities to hike on the nearby Appalachian Trail. 

San Luis Obispo, California

Where to stay: This historic farmhouse in the middle of Edna Valley sleeps six and has plenty of availability in July and August. $ 336/ a night 


What to do: Napa Valley who? San Luis Obispo County boasts more than 250 wineries for your tasting pleasure. If that’s not your scene, there are plenty of beaches and the downtown area is home to a vibrant restaurant scene and a Thursday night farmers’ market. 

Hood River, Oregon

Where to stay: This cabin, which sleeps six, sits right on the White Salmon River and has ample availability in June, July and August. $ 261/a night.


What to do: Hood River is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts and beer lovers. The area is known for its alpine hiking and mountain biking trails, and the Columbia River is a windsurfing destination. For you ski bums, Hood River is just an hour away from Timberline Lodge, the only North American ski area open year-round. And, microbreweries abound — the city is just an hour east of Portland, after all.

McCall, Idaho

Where to stay: This wooded cabin with a wraparound porch sleeps seven, and has availability in June, July (including the week of the 4th) and August. $ 326/ a night.


What to do: This resort town, located about 100 miles north of Boise, sits on the shore of Payette Lake and is the perfect family friendly destination. Rent a boat and spend the days relaxing on the water or navigating one of the area’s many bike trails. In the evenings, live music reigns supreme.

Bald Head Island, North Carolina

Where to stay: This recently renovated house sleeps six, is minutes from the beach and has open availability throughout June and July. $ 319/ a night.


What to do: Carolina Beach has all the trappings of a classic summer holiday: a vintage boardwalk lined with ice cream stands, miniature gold, stand up paddleboarding and more. Carolina Beach State Park offers pristine coastline hikes, and it’s one of the few places in the world where you can see the carnivorous Venus flytrap in its natural habitat. 

This article is reprinted by permission from The Escape Home, a newsletter for second homeowners and those who want to be. Subscribe here. © 2021. All rights reserved.