Small city surrounded by forest (Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania)

7 Vacation Rental Escape Destinations Off the Beaten Path


Internet searches for vacation rentals continue to climb, as people look for ways and places to really escape it all. However, not all getaways are created equal, in terms of their ability to give you a break from the crowds, the traffic, and the hassles.

Look below for some of our favorite vacation-rental getaways that excel at really getting you away. And, if you want to help protect your vacation rental trip, check out our vacation rental insurance plans.

Top Vacation Rental Destinations to Escape it All

Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania

You can escape to any number of hilly regions in the East, including Massachusetts’ Berkshires or the Adirondacks or the Catskills in New York. The truth is they’re just the northern extensions of the Appalachians – but does it really matter where you end up around here? They’re heavily forested and extremely scenic, and they have an excellent infrastructure that supports vacationers and the things they love to do.

While the legendary Catskills resorts are largely a thing of the past, rental cabins and camping areas are easy to find, and offer the right measure of solitude and access to whitewater rafting, mountain biking, and more.

And with the Poconos only a four-hour drive from the Adirondacks, with the Catskills in between and the Berkshires not far off the route, you could get three or four mountainous recreation areas for the price of one. (Hint: They’re also beautiful in fall.)

Also read: The Most Popular Vacation Rental Destinations in the U.S.

Blue Ridge Mountains, Georgia-Tennessee-North Carolina-Virginia

The Appalachians go by different names down south, too. The Blue Ridge Mountains actually stretch from just outside Atlanta to Roanoke, with Asheville at the geographic and cultural center.

Asheville has a little bit of everything, from small breweries and distilleries to art colonies and live-music venues, and its influence has spread all through the mountains. You’ll find folklife centers nestled in small towns, and more places to hike, bike, kayak, and generally recreate in state and national parks all along the range’s length.

And don’t take Gatlinburg or Asheville as evidence the area has gone all crowded and touristy; there are plenty of rental cabins in isolated hills and hollers where it’s just you and the impossibly green hills.

Also read: 6 Tips For Choosing a Great Vacation Rental For Your Next Family Trip

Galena, Illinois

Illinois has its own version of the hill country, too, and while it’s not quite as hilly as the Appalachians and their variants, it’s pretty, rolling country with river valleys perfect for kayaks and winding country roads just made for bicycling.

Galena has some history (Civil War general and U.S. president Ulysses S. Grant lived there) and a postcard-pretty main street packed with farm-to-table restaurants and microbreweries. There’s a wide variety of lodgings available – everything from golf resorts to restored old farmhouses. If you feel like venturing a little further afield, cross the nearby Mississippi River and take the backroads to Decorah, Iowa’s funkiest small town.

Also read: Why You Should Get Protection for Domestic Trips

Northern Minnesota/Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

For those who like their wilderness a little more on the wild side, the place to be is the extreme northern Midwest, from the Lake Superior shore to the Canadian border.

If backcountry canoeing is your jam, the Boundary Waters wilderness is your happy place. If sea kayaking is more your style, Isle Royale National Park and the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore can’t be beat. Lighthouses? Split Rock Lighthouse north of Duluth and the multiple lighthouses scattered around the Apostle Islands are just the ticket. Mountain biking? Set your GPS for Copper Harbor, Michigan.

Rental cabins and lake houses are available for rent all across the region. Just remember to pack something warm for those cold up-north mornings … and don’t forget the insect repellent!

Also read: Best Places to Rent a Beach House in the U.S.

Durango, Colorado

Renowned as the mountain-biking capital of the country – and if not the country, certainly the West – Durango is surrounded by jagged mountains that invite you to grab the nearest bicycle and start climbing.

Mountain biking not your style? Investigate Durango’s Old West heritage, starting at the historic Strater Hotel. The hiking and whitewater rafting are grand, but so is the Durango & Silverton steam train, as it chuffs through impossibly steep canyons. You can get a feel for the precipitous nature of travel in these parts on the “Million Dollar Highway” between Durango and Ouray – just keep your eyes on the road and two hands on the wheel!

Also read: Six Great Small-Town Colorado Getaways

Santa Fe, New Mexico

If you’ve never been to Santa Fe, it’s a little futile to try to explain just how wonderful Santa Fe is. It’s one of those places you simply have to experience for yourself. The architecture, the food, the skies, the people – they’re all like no place else in the country.

Rent a large room or a small cottage, toss your bag in the corner, and start strolling through the old Spanish mission town. We all need a little more Santa Fe in our lives, especially these days. If you’re feeling that way too … well, you know where to find it.

Also read: 6 Secrets to a Memorable ‘Flexcation’ – Working Remote on Vacation

New Hampshire Coast

First, the bad news: U.S. 1/I-95 through Portsmouth, N.H., on a hot and sticky summer day is a swampy mess of fireworks stands, cheap hotels, fast-food restaurants, and bumper-to-bumper traffic, with no redeeming qualities. Now the good news: This in no way represents the entirety of the New Hampshire coast.

There’s not much to the coast – only about 18 miles – but small towns like Rye offer a whole lot of Cape Cod plus some pleasant parks like Odiorne Point State Park and Wallis Sands State Beach (check for status). Because the area’s relatively small, there are fewer rentals to choose from, but do an online search and you might be surprised at what you find.

Remember Travel Insurance

The further afield you travel the more you need travel insurance. 

Generali Travel Insurance  provides coverage for your prepaid nonrefundable trip costs, such as, the money you spend on vacation rentals, flights, rental cars, pre-paid park admissions and more if you have to cancel or interrupt your trip for a covered reason. And, the Emergency Assistance and Transportation coverage is vital when you’re traveling off the beaten path.


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