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Summer Price Index 2018

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We present our 2018 price index for summer vacation homes across the United States. The analysis reviews millions of vacation rentals in the US, aggregated from various booking platforms. We compare the busiest week of summer travel between June 30 – July 7 in the week surrounding Independence Day (high season) and one of the lightest summer travel weeks, between June 2 – June 9 (low season).

  • Saving opportunities of up to 70% during low season
  • Wyoming is home to the most expensive vacation rentals around the 4th of July
  • Average nightly rates in the most popular summer destinations range from $186 to $978
Heatmap USA 2018

Heatmap USA 2018

Wyoming is more expensive than the coastal states during peak week

The most expensive state per night for a family-sized vacation accommodation during Independence Day week is Wyoming, averaging at $412. A close examination of this reminds us that several Western towns host old-school Americana Fourth of July celebrations, which may account for higher prices and willing payers. Wyoming’s Jackson Hole and Cody see an influx of visitors for their almost week-long celebrations; tourists make the journey out west for fireworks, parades, live music and craft fairs. In addition to these Independence Day celebrations, tourists stay in nearby towns that also allow them to visit surrounding National Parks, such as Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park and Black Hills, which are all located in Wyoming.

Snake River Overlook in Wyoming

Most expensive state during Independence Day week: Wyoming

A glimpse at wallet-burning & budget-friendly states

Other expensive states following Wyoming during the high season (creating a top ten with Wyoming included, in order of higher to lower vacation rental nightly rates) are Oregon, Alabama, California, Massachusetts, Louisiana, Texas, Rhode Island, Washington and Maryland. Each of these states, all priced above $260, are located on the coasts and home to coveted warm weather destinations. While Wyoming offers very traditional Fourth of July celebrations, other states like California, Massachusetts, Texas and Washington lure tourists with the promise of beaches but also metropolises to explore – cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, Austin and Seattle.

The most budget-friendly choices (under $200 per night) are located primarily in the Midwest and the South. The 10 least expensive states, counting down to the most economical choice, are: Ohio, Arizona, West Virginia, Kentucky, Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa, Arkansas, Kansas and, cheapest of all, North Dakota.

North Dakota Badlands

The most budget friendly choice: North Dakota

Highest- and lowest-priced destinations within regions

We gathered data for ten of the most popular destinations in the six major contiguous US regions and found significant price differences between them.

For those hoping to spend their summer out West, Half Moon Bay (Calif.) is certainly the priciest choice, with $584 as the average nightly rate during the high season. Lake Tahoe (Calif.) and Seattle (Wash.) are still fun mid-range options, at $449 and $419, respectively. Yellowstone National Park area is the most economical possibility, with $313 as the average cost of a night in a vacation rental.

The Wisconsin Dells (Wis.) lead the pack in price per night for the Midwest region. While not a “Waterpark Capital of the World,” Lake Michigan (Ill./Ind./Mich./Wis.) still offers a wet and wild summer and is easier on the wallet – it falls in the middle of popular Midwestern haunts, at $280. Your cheapest bet during high season in this region is Table Rock Lake (Ark./Mo.) at $197, where you can still do lots of swimming to cool off.

People looking to summer in the Southwest should know that South Padre Island (Texas) will set them back $435. New Braunfels, within the same state, is a less pricey alternative, at $390, and the cheapest of all popular destinations also remains in the Lone Star State – Lake Texoma, at $209.

Travelers looking to visit the more popular destinations in The South will find that New Orleans (La.) burns the biggest hole in their pockets – they’ll be dropping $449 for a vacation rental in the Big Easy during the high season. A fun alternative to NOLA, for a better price, can be found in Miami (Fla.), for $316. Your most economical options are in Orlando (also Fla., $209), so you can save your cash for the dozen theme parks in the area.

Price of vacation rentals in the South

Price of vacation rentals in the South

Mid-Atlantic vacationers will pay the most for a night in the Hamptons (N.Y.) – $957, to be precise. Lake George (N.Y.) is the mid-range choice, at $380. The penny-pinching possibility would be the Pocono Mountains (Pa.) for $267, which still offers lakes and outdoor activities.

Knowing that Nantucket (Mass.) is the most expensive of all destinations, at $978, one visiting New England might consider Kennebunkport (Maine) instead, at a more affordable price of $401. Wells (Maine) is the cheapest New England destination, at $286.

Smart travelers can save during the off-season in most destinations

The data indicates up to a 70% difference in prices between the peak and low weeks, thus offering substantial saving opportunities for travelers with flexible schedules. Prices also vary substantially between states.

The highest savings opportunities between high and low seasons can be found in the Wisconsin Dells (Wisc., at 70%), followed by Miami (Fla., 60%), Lake Tahoe (Calif., 59%), New Orleans (La., 59%) Montauk (N.Y., 39%) and Deep Creek Lake (Md., 39%).

South Beach Miami

High saving opportunity in Miami

A handful of locations reveal little to no price change between seasons – some examples: Lake of the Ozarks (Mo.), Geneva-on-the-Lake (Ohio), Flagstaff (Ariz). and Sedona (Ariz.), notably, show no change in price whatsoever. Two places that are actually more expensive during the low season are New York City and Washington, D.C.: You’ll pay 4% more for an apartment in New York during the low week and 11% more for a rental in Washington during the same time frame.

“We see a large spike in demand around the week of Independence Day, and many vacation rentals are already booked – well in advance,” says Holidu co-founder and CEO Johannes Siebers. “However, because Holidu is a metasearch engine that quickly scans millions of vacation rentals from various travel sites, it’s easier for people to find vacation homes at great deals, even around the busy 4th of July week.”

About this study

The data used in this study was collected in April 2018 from the Holidu database. It accumulates searches for a family-sized vacation rental (3-8 persons), during one week in the summer (June 30 to July 7, defined here as high season) and early June 2 to June 9 (low season). Summer is defined as all the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day (May 28 to September 3, 2018). The median price was used to determine the average price per night, during representative Saturday to Saturday periods of the peak and off weeks, accumulated from millions of holiday homes and compared across popular vacation destinations in the US. Statistical outliers were not considered.

For the purposes of this study, these (contiguous) US regions are categorized as follows: The West (Colorado, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming), The Mid-Atlantic (Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Washington, DC), New England (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont), The Midwest (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin), The South (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and The Southwest (Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas). Alaska and Hawaii not included.

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