The joys of Summer. Warmer weather. Longer days. Shorts, skirts, and sunburns. Well, maybe not so joyous that last one, but you get our point. Summer is here and for families around the globe, that means an escape from the school room and a perfect excuse to plan a little rest and relaxation on a beach, or boat, or magical kingdom. And while all of these destinations might seem fine and dandy, finding sand in places sand should never be can get a bit, grating and don’t even get us started on those expensive trips to visit some teenager dressed up like an imaginary cartoon mouse.

If you’re like us and in search of something a bit different this summer, we’ve got a suggestion for you. Instead of a one-time investment in a week’s worth of memories and funny hats, why not invest in a vacation property? We’re not talking time shares here either. While a vacation home may seem a luxury straight out of some wall street movie, it turns out that owning a second property is within the reach of more U.S. households than you’d think.

Not So Far Away Lands

When you hear the term vacation home, most people start thinking exotic ski lodge in the Alps or beachfront walkout in Malibu. While those may be beyond the majority of our budgets, sticking a little closer to home may be well within the average family’s reach. While a tropical paradise may be fun, it’s awfully hard to get to on a regular basis. Local lakes or mountain areas provide plenty of opportunities for warm weather water sports. They’ll also hit your budget far less if you aim for less populated lakes or are okay with being a few minutes off the water.

Another bonus of picking somewhere a bit closer to home for your vacation abode is the ability to turn your summer getaway into a year-round adventure. With a vacation home within driving distance, it’s much easier to escape for a weekend whenever the mood hits. Rough week at the office? Time to get away for a relaxing retreat. Need some peace and quiet away from the kids? Spontaneity is easier than ever. It may not be over the rainbow, but you’ll certainly get more use and enjoyment with the ability to use your vacation property whenever the mood strikes.

A Getaway Home for Every Budget

If you’re still counting the dollars and cents of buying a second property for pure enjoyment purposes, we’ve got a few more factoids for you to knock around that logical head of yours. First, it’s well established that owning property is one of the most reliable methods of growing personal and family wealth. While property values and markets certainly fluctuate, long-term trends have consistently been on the rise. Time your purchase in the right kind of market that’s on the upswing and you can see even bigger returns.

Vacation homeowners may also want to capitalize on modern rental housing trends to offset monthly expenses. Private rental hosting sites such as the popular Airbnb allow you to rent out that lovely lakeside manner during times you know you won’t be in residence. Rental agencies are also available and will manage your vacation home for a fee. And while it’s not a monetary return, letting friends or family use the property with enjoyment can go a long way to building relationships and creating memorable times to boot.

In short, owning a vacation home doesn’t have to be a pie in the sky dream. Affordable properties in areas perfect for a getaway are more numerous than you’d think. But don’t take our word for it. Start searching for a vacation property near you on Homegather today. With thousands of listings and expert tools and advice, you’ll be up and running, or swimming, or paddling, or boating, at your very own vacation home in the mountains in no time.