The 15 Best Cities to Start an Airbnb in the U.S.

MAKE MONEY - ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Set yourself up for success by hosting guests in one of these 15 stellar cities.
Updated April 11, 2024
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Opening an Airbnb is a great way to make money on the side, but whether or not you’re successful might depend on where you live. 

If you’re wondering where to set up shop so you can maximize rental profits, keep reading. These 15 cities have some of the best markets for would-be Airbnb hosts looking for a fantastic property investment.

Note: Median home prices were pulled from Redfin on February 15, 2023, and may have changed slightly.

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Santa Fe, New Mexico

Margaret/Adobe happy family hiking on the mountains in new mexico on sunny day

Median home price: $533,015

At an elevation of 7,000 feet, Santa Fe is the ideal destination for desert lovers who don’t want to deal with the heat extremes of Phoenix or Tempe. 

Its thriving art scene includes traditional sites like the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and less conventional ventures like Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return (which bills itself as a “mind-bending, explorable art experience”). 

In other words, there’s something for everyone in Santa Fe — one reason it’s an ideal city for hopeful Airbnb hosts to invest in.

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West Valley City, Utah

Christian/Adobe closeup of mount olympus in utah

Median home price: $410,000

As a Salt Lake suburb, West Valley City is just a 20-minute drive from some of the best skiing in the area. 

Even better, its housing prices are starting to drop after last year’s record-breaking highs: The median home cost is around $85K lower than homes in Salt Lake proper. 

And while 5.8 million people visited Utah for the skiing alone in 2022, other tourist activities — like Salt Lake’s easy day hikes and excellent natural history museum — make it a great area for tourists (and Airbnb hosts) of all types.

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Salem, Oregon

Bob/Adobe beautiful daffodils and cherry blossom outside the oregon state capitol building

Median home price: $405,000

Oregon’s capital is home to around 177K people, which makes it about a fifth of the size of Portland. 

As a result, it maintains many of Portland’s perks (plentiful tourist opportunities) without its downsides (crowded housing market). 

Although it’s closer to the center of the state, Salem isn’t too far from either the Pacific Coast or Mount Hood, two of Oregon’s biggest tourist draws. 

Visitors who’d rather stay within the city itself can explore its well-maintained city parks, nearly a dozen natural conservation areas, and walkable historic districts.

Buffalo, New York

fukez84/Adobe niagara falls on america side and skylines in the background

Median home price: $192,500

Located along the U.S. border with Canada and just 25 minutes away from Niagara Falls, Buffalo is a popular travel destination and NYC alternative. Buffalo’s county, Erie, plans to invest even more in its tourism infrastructure over the next decade. 

Buffalo should start to see even more tourists flocking to sites like Frank Lloyd Wright's famous Darwin D. Martin home, the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, and the Buffalo Museum of Science.

Savannah, Georgia

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe forsyth park in savannah georgia

Median home price: $295,000

Savannah frequently lands on lists of the best U.S. cities to visit, with an extremely walkable historic downtown area that showcases beautiful pre-Civil War architecture.

The city's picture-perfect location between the Savannah River and Atlantic Coast also offers plenty of outdoor activities for beachcombers.

El Paso, Texas

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe el paso texas skylines during day time under orange sky

Median home price: $235,000

Located in West Texas, El Paso’s landscapes are much closer to those of New Mexico and Arizona, which makes it an interesting contrast to some of Texas’s other big cities. 

El Paso’s Texas-sized, tourist-friendly activities include a zoo, several regional wineries, and access to the Rio Grande River Trail, a perfect spot for both birdwatching and biking.

Anaheim, California

AmeriCantaro/Adobe california screamin rollercoaster in paradise pier

Median home price: $765,000

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that property in Anaheim is expensive, but if you can afford the upfront cost, you won’t have a shortage of guests. More than 25 million people visited Disneyland in 2022, which is an increase over pre-pandemic levels. 

Plus, while it’s safe to say most Anaheim visitors come for Disneyland, concerts at the Honda Center and hiking opportunities in the hills draw even more tourists to the area.

Cape Coral, Florida

Michael Carroll/Adobe cape coral waterfront with boat and palm trees

Median home price: $393,988

Like California, property in Florida isn’t cheap, but the state’s massive tourism industry can potentially make your investment worth it. Lee County (where Cape Coral is located) sees 5 million annual visitors that bring over $3 billion to the area. 

Visitors to the city especially enjoy the local waterpark, golf courses, and — naturally — easy access to dozens of beautiful Gulf Coast beaches.

Missoula, Montana

Westley/Adobe three cyclists are biking in glacier national park in missoula, montana

Median home price: $570,000

Missoula is a quaint college city and an ideal stopping place for visitors on their way to Glacier National Park outside of Kalispell.  While the city’s median home price is definitely on the higher end of the spectrum, it has a robust tourism industry. 

Visitors love Missoula’s historic sites, riverside restaurants, excellent shopping (especially at local bookstores and boutiques), and mountain trails.

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Hartford, Connecticut

f11photo/Adobe downtown hartford city

Median home price: $250,000

Hartford, Connecticut’s capital, is nearly 400 years old, which makes it a dream destination for many history and literature buffs: Mark Twain’s Hartford home is now a museum, as is Harriet Beecher Stowe’s house and garden. 

There’s plenty to appeal to more modern-minded tourists too, including the Connecticut Science Center, which has nine stories of science exhibits about everything from space to climate change.

Grand Rapids, Michigan

SNEHIT PHOTO/Adobe waterfall at frederick meijer gardens in michigan

Median home price: $235,000

Not to be confused with Grand Rapids, Minnesota, Michigan’s Grand Rapids is the second-largest city in the state. 

As the holder of the “Best Beer City” title for more than a decade now, Grand Rapids has over 80 breweries. Beer aficionados stream into town for Beer Month (February 15th through March 15th) and during various beer-inspired festivals throughout the year.

Raleigh, North Carolina

Chansak Joe A./Adobe north carolina state building in fall

Median home price: $380,000

In 2021, nearly 16 million people visited Raleigh — and for good reason. In the fall, Raleigh showcases some of the most beautiful, vivid fall foliage in North Carolina, and its moderate autumn temperatures make for cozy, comfortable sightseeing. 

The North Carolina Museum of Art and Museum of Natural Sciences both call Raleigh home, as does one of the oldest amusement parks in the United States.

Providence, Rhode Island

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe providence skylines at night

Median home price: $390,000

Providence’s competitive housing market might deter aspiring Airbnb renters, but if you can nab a property, you should have plenty of hosting opportunities in Rhode Island. 

Providence is much smaller than other New England capitals, especially nearby Boston, so tourists can enjoy a typical Northeast trip without getting lost in big-city crowds. 

Historic sites like the country’s first Baptist church and science exhibits at the public planetarium help Providence stand out even more.

Tacoma, Washington

David Gn/Adobe mount rainier over tacoma city

Median home price: $425,000

While Tacoma doesn’t have the same popularity among tourists as Seattle, 8.8 million people still visited its county in 2021. 

Tacoma is midway between Seattle and the capital city of Olympia, which makes the city a useful home base for tourists hoping to explore more than just Seattle. 

Plus, Tacoma is home to the Tacoma Dome, one of Washington’s biggest performance venues, as well as the Chihuly Museum of Glass, Bridge of Glass, and Point Defiance Aquarium.

Bangor, Maine

thomas/Adobe maine bangor kenduskeag stream with little water and pebbles

Median home price: $220,000

With a population just over 30,000, Bangor is still the biggest city near Acadia National Park, one of the most popular parks in North America. 

Its comparatively low population and proximity to Acadia mean that Bangor is a top destination for outdoor enthusiasts who hate crowds. 

The city has something to offer the indoor-inclined as well, such as the one-of-a-kind Cole Land Transportation Museum and the Hollywood Casino and Raceway.

Bottom line

Monkey Business/Adobe happy family holding suitcase going out of door

If you’re tired of relying on one source of income to pay your rent or mortgage, hosting an Airbnb in any of these cities might be the big break you’ve been looking for. 

And who knows? Once you have a little extra cash on hand, you can finally make that trip to your own dream destination — just like the families you’ve been able to host.

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Author Details

Michelle Smith Michelle Smith has spent a decade writing for and about small businesses. She specializes in all things finance and has written for publications like G2 and SmallBizDaily. When she's not writing for work at her desk, you can usually find her writing for pleasure near large bodies of water.

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