Best Places For Vacation Rental Properties In Wisconsin – 2024

Overview of Vacation Rental Property Investment in Wisconsin

Wisconsin’s vacation rental market shows promising potential for investors looking for opportunities in the Midwest. With its picturesque landscapes, including scenic lakes and forests, it attracts a steady flow of tourists seeking a getaway, bolstering the demand for vacation rentals. Key regions benefit from seasonal activities, such as water sports in the summer and skiing during the winter months, creating year-round rental demand.

Investment in Wisconsin vacation rental properties promises diverse opportunities, ranging from lakefront cottages to urban apartments in bustling cities. The average rental price fluctuates based on location and property type but reflects a competitive market for potential vacation rental investors.

Performance indicators for Wisconsin’s market include:

  • Population Growth: Positive trends suggest a growing customer base for rental properties.
  • Employment Growth: An increasingly robust job market can lead to higher rental demand.
  • Median Listing Price: Reflects the upfront investment costs for potential properties.
  • Average Rent: A key factor in calculating potential return on investment (ROI).
  • Number of Leads per Property: Denotes the market activity and potential for quick rental turnovers.
  • Days on the Rental Market: A measure of how quickly properties get rented out, affecting cash flow.

The following cities have emerged as notable spots for vacation rental investments:

CityMedian Listing PriceAverage RentNumber of Leads
Sun PrairieData not availableData not availableData not available
KaukaunaData not availableData not availableData not available
FranksvilleData not availableData not availableData not available

In conclusion, Wisconsin presents a viable and attractive market for vacation rental investments, underpinned by solid growth metrics and a variety of locales appealing to different tastes and budgets.

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Top Destinations for Vacation Rentals in Wisconsin

Wisconsin’s diverse landscape offers a variety of unique vacation rental opportunities from the shores of Lake Michigan to the bustling streets of Milwaukee. With picturesque natural settings and vibrant cities, travelers can find the perfect getaway tailored to their preferences.

Door County

Door County is famed for its 300 miles of spectacular shoreline and charming lighthouses. Vacationers can rent properties surrounded by quaint villages and orchards, and enjoy activities like kayaking and fishing in the surrounding waters of Lake Michigan, or exploring the local arts scene in Egg Harbor and Fish Creek.

Wisconsin Dells

Renowned as the “Waterpark Capital of the World,” the Wisconsin Dells area offers thrilling attractions for families and adventure seekers. Beyond the water slides, this region is also rich in natural beauty with its river walks, boat tours, and cozy cabin rentals.

Lake Geneva

Located in southeastern Wisconsin, Lake Geneva is a hub for luxury rentals and picturesque views of clear waters and well-kept trails. This destination caters to both relaxation seekers and outdoor enthusiasts with its splendid lakefront properties and opportunities for golfing and nature hikes.

Green Bay

Green Bay is not only famous for its storied football legacy but also for its comfortable vacation homes that serve as a base for exploring the city’s museums, Green Bay’s waterfront, and trails that wind through lush forests and parks.


Milwaukee, on the shores of Lake Michigan, presents an eclectic mix of urban charm with its blend of cultural festivals, diverse dining, and brewery tours. From modern condos to historic homes, rentals in Milwaukee cater to city lovers.


Madisons’s isthmus setting provides scenic lake views on two sides, ideal for vacation homes. Known for its vibrant cultural scene and proximity to nature, travelers seeking a balance of city convenience and outdoor tranquility will be pleased with Madison’s offerings.

Sturgeon Bay

Sturgeon Bay serves as the gateway to Door County and impresses with its maritime history, art galleries, and beautiful waterfront. The area boasts a variety of rentals from cozy cottages to larger homes ideal for group retreats.

Baileys Harbor

In Baileys Harbor, visitors appreciate the quieter side of Door County with its natural preserves, bird watching, and lighthouses. It’s a place where one can find solace by the lake, with options ranging from rustic cabins to modern waterfront properties.

Property Types and Amenities for Maximum Appeal

To captivate potential renters, Wisconsin’s vacation rental market offers a plethora of property types, each boasting its own unique set of amenities. From cabins nestled in serene woodlands to modern lofts in bustling city centers, every property must ensure a blend of comfort, functionality, and local charm to stand out.

Cabin Rentals

Cabins in Wisconsin are idyllic retreats, often featuring fireplacesdecks, and full kitchens. Renters look for properties that promise privacy and an immersive nature experience, with additional luxuries like an in-room jacuzzi or spa to elevate their stay. Some properties may offer the added convenience of an EV charger.

  • Ideal amenities for cabins:
    • Fireplace
    • Full kitchen
    • Spa/Hot tub
    • Deck/Patio
    • EV charger

Cottage Listings

Cottages strike a balance between rustic charm and modern amenities. A quintessential Wisconsin cottage offers lake views and BBQ facilities, allowing guests to feel at home while experiencing the state’s natural beauty. Features such as wheelchair accessibility also widen the appeal for a diverse range of travelers.

  • Amenities to highlight in cottage listings:
    • Lakefront views
    • BBQ
    • Full kitchen
    • Wheelchair accessible
    • Privacy

Lakefront Houses

Lakefront houses are highly sought after for their direct access to water and potential for activities like boating and fishing. Renters expect these properties to provide ample space and privacy, and premium features like a sauna or hot tub overlooking the water can be key selling points.

  • Desirable lakefront house features:
    • Direct lake access
    • Sauna/Hot tub with lake view
    • Spacious deck
    • Privacy
    • Full kitchen

Urban Lofts and Apartments

Urban renters gravitate towards lofts and apartments that offer a chic, cosmopolitan experience. Amenities like a well-appointed full kitchenpatio, or deck for entertaining are significant draws. Rental listings should reflect how the loft or apartment integrates city life convenience with inviting living spaces.

  • Important urban property amenities:
    • Full kitchen
    • Deck/Patio for entertaining
    • Fireplace
    • Accessibility features
    • Proximity to city attractions

By meticulously selecting and presenting the appropriate amenities, vacation rental owners in Wisconsin can significantly enhance the appeal of their properties to potential guests, providing them with an unforgettable experience.

What to Look for in a Vacation Rental Investment

When considering a vacation rental investment in Wisconsin, prospective investors should prioritize properties that promise high booking rates, are close to local attractions and activities, and uphold exceptional reviews and cleanliness standards.

High Demand and Booking Rates

Vacation rental properties that exhibit high demand and consistent booking rates tend to offer greater return on investment. Wisconsin, with its diverse range of outdoor activities like fishingbiking, and hiking, draws numerous visitors annually. Properties near popular lakes conducive to boating or in areas known for their golf courses are especially sought after. Investors should look for rentals with a history of high occupancy rates, indicating strong year-round or seasonal demand.

Proximity to Attractions and Activities

The location of a vacation rental is paramount. Properties within walking distance or a short drive from major attractionsand activities are preferred by guests. In Wisconsin, proximity to family-friendly locations, breweriesrestaurants, and shops enhances a property’s appeal. Vacation homes near biking trails or beach house rentals on Lake Michigan’s shoreline cater to guests who prioritize easy access to leisure and adventure.

Guest Reviews and Cleanliness Standards

Guest reviews are a critical indicator of a rental property’s reputation. Positive feedback, particularly regarding cleanliness and amenities, can significantly boost a property’s attractiveness. Cabin rentals and vacation homes that maintain high cleanliness standards and are described as pet-friendly or family-friendly in reviews often have higher booking rates. Properties offering specialties like rentals with pools can also command premium pricing, provided the quality is vouched for by excellent guest reviews.

Managing Your Vacation Rental Property

Successful vacation rental management is essential for property owners in Wisconsin who want to maximize their investments. With the right strategies, one can enhance visibility, ensure guest satisfaction, and comply with legal standards, all while marketing to a diverse clientele including families and travelers from major cities like Chicago.

Marketing Strategies for Higher Visibility

Marketing a vacation rental property on platforms such as Airbnb can significantly increase its visibility. To capture attention, owners should consider professional photography that showcases the property during all seasons. Additionally, including exclusive amenities, like HBO or other premium TV services, can make a listing more attractive. Creating partnerships with local businesses can also drive travelers to your rental.

Maintenance and Upkeep for Guest Satisfaction

The upkeep of a vacation rental is vital for guest satisfaction and encouraging repeat visits from family, friends, and other guests. Property owners should maintain a checklist for:

  • Regular cleaning and safety inspections
  • Seasonal maintenance, such as HVAC servicing
  • Immediate repairs to ensure guests’ peace and comfort

A well-maintained property supports positive reviews, which are crucial for sustained success on rental platforms.

Navigating Legal and Regulatory Compliance

Understanding and adhering to local regulations is imperative when managing Wisconsin vacation rentals. Owners must research and comply with:

  • Short-term rental ordinances
  • Lodging taxes and licensing requirements

Involving a local lawyer specializing in real estate can provide clarity and ensure that the rental operates within legal boundaries, safeguarding the owner’s investment.

Wisconsin’s Unique Seasonal and Cultural Offerings

Wisconsin offers a plethora of activities that celebrate its diverse seasonal climate and rich cultural tapestry. From bustling festivals and extensive outdoor adventures to enriching historical landmarks, visitors can immerse themselves in the state’s unique experiences year-round.

Festivals and Local Events

Wisconsin takes pride in its German heritage, which is celebrated in numerous festivals throughout the year. One can’t miss event is the town of Germantown’s annual Oktoberfest, where beer, bratwurst, and polka music create an authentic German experience. Additionally, the state pays homage to its dairy industry with events like Cheese Days, where visitors can enjoy parades, cheese-tasting sessions, and culinary competitions.

Outdoor Recreational Activities

Outdoor enthusiasts can explore the stunning nature trails and fishing opportunities epitomized by locations like Lake Pepin. This natural lake on the Mississippi River is a haven for anglers and boaters alike. Peninsula State Park, located on the Door Peninsula, offers breathtaking hiking trails and scenic sunrise vistas, showcasing the beauty of the Great Lakes region across seasons. Tourists can also embark on boat tours from the ports along Lake Michigan, enriching their appreciation of eastern Wisconsin’s maritime heritage.

Historical Sites and Cultural Experiences

Wisconsin’s historical sites provide a cultural escape into the past. Notable examples include Old World Wisconsin in Eagle, where one can explore reconstructed farmsteads and experience rural life in the late 1800s. Additionally, visitors can traverse the lush valleys and rolling hills to discover Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural masterpieces, which reflect the innovation sparked by Wisconsin’s cultural landscape.

Investment Performance and Financial Considerations

Investing in vacation rental properties in Wisconsin requires a detailed analysis of market trends and financial factors. An investor must consider rental rates, operating expenses, expected returns, and the necessary financial products such as loans and insurance, to ensure a secure investment.

Analyzing Market Trends and Rental Rates

Wisconsin’s vacation rental market shows variability across the state with areas like Milwaukee displaying an average nightly rental rate of $80. This information becomes critical when investors identify properties that can provide higher-than-average returns. By assessing factors such as occupancy rates and seasonal demand, investors can better predict cash flow and property performance.

Estimating Operating Expenses and ROI

Operational expenses for vacation rental properties can range from utility costs to property management fees. To comprehend the full financial picture, one must calculate the estimated expenses against potential income. For example, typical costs could include cleaning services, property maintenance, and marketing. Return on Investment (ROI) is captured by comparing net income to the initial investment costs. For instance, Sandbridge, VA properties boast a considerable cap rate of 6.47%, pointing to profitable investment opportunities.

Securing Financing and Insurance for Properties

Financial planning for vacation rental investments often involves securing a mortgage and the right insurance coverage. Understanding the terms, rates, and prerequisites for financing is essential. Insurance for these properties not only covers the usual aspects like structure and contents but also liability and loss of rental income. Potential investors should investigate tax benefits related to their investments, such as deductions on mortgage interest and property taxes, to optimize the financial performance of their vacation rental properties.

Frequently Asked Questions

Investing in Wisconsin’s vacation rental market can yield promising returns, but it’s essential to be informed. Below are answers to some commonly asked questions by potential investors.

What are the top destinations in Wisconsin for vacation rental investments?

The most sought-after destinations for vacation rental investments in Wisconsin include the scenic areas of Door County, the tranquil Northwoods, and the popular Lake Geneva region. Each area offers a unique appeal for tourists, from charming small towns to outdoor recreational activities.

How does the profitability of vacation rentals in Wisconsin lakefront properties compare to other regions?

Lakefront properties in Wisconsin often command higher rental prices due to their desirable location and views, potentially increasing profitability compared to non-lakefront vacation rentals. Proximity to water activities and scenic beauty make them a top choice for renters.

What are the considerations for buying a vacation home in Wisconsin with the intent to rent it out?

Investors should consider location, local tourism trends, and property management. They must also evaluate all costs, including purchase price, maintenance, taxes, and marketing, to ensure the investment aligns with their financial targets.

What size of vacation rental properties are most in demand in Wisconsin?

In Wisconsin, medium to large-sized vacation rentals are in demand, catering to family gatherings and group vacations. Properties with multiple bedrooms and ample living spaces tend to attract more bookings throughout the year.

Are there any unique regulations for vacation rental properties in Wisconsin that investors should be aware of?

Yes, investors should be aware that regulations for vacation rental properties vary by locality in Wisconsin. It’s important to research and comply with zoning laws, licensing requirements, and tax obligations specific to the area where the property is located.

How can owners maximize occupancy and profitability for large vacation rentals in Wisconsin?

Owners of large vacation rentals can maximize occupancy by offering amenities that cater to groups, marketing their properties effectively, and providing a memorable guest experience. Strategic pricing during peak seasons and hosting special events can also contribute to increased profitability.

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