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Where to Buy the Best Vacation Rentals in Southwest Florida

Looking for your next investment property? Here are some of the best places to buy vacation rentals in Collier and Lee counties.

Best Vacation

A general overview of the rental market in Collier and Lee counties

As remote work becomes part of daily life for many Americans, renters are flocking to less densely populated communities with more relaxed environments and nicer weather. Beach markets like Marco Island and Bonita Springs are in especially high demand, particularly among renters moving from expensive and more crowded cities on the East Coast.

As a result, Collier and Lee counties have become some of the most competitive rental markets in the United States, according to real estate analysis by RentCafe. They also consistently rank among the best places to buy vacation rentals in the country for their natural beauty.

Known for fantastic weather, white sand beaches, luxury resorts, and tax perks, Collier and Lee counties are popular among renters who want to enjoy the vacation lifestyle year round.

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Southwest Florida’s economy and housing market are seeing robust activity with population and jobs growth this year. According to the Southwest Florida Economic Development Alliance (SWFLEDA), all five counties, namely Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry, and Lee are experiencing tremendous growth. The area’s growth is precipitated by a vibrant business climate that attracts residents from all over the country.

As a result, there’s more demand than available supply in the real estate market, a trend that will benefit rental property investors in the long term.

How to choose the best places to buy vacation rentals

You can still secure a rental or an investment property in Southwest Florida despite fierce competition if you know where to look and for as long as you work with a qualified agent who knows the market.

Best places to buy vacation rentals


Located on the Gulf of Mexico, Naples is known for world class golf courses and luxury retail. Most of all, the city is a renowned summer destination with its turquoise waters and sugar white beaches, which are considered among the most beautiful in Florida.

Community overview

Naples encompasses 16.46 square miles in Collier County. The city is located along U.S. Route 41. It is situated midway from Fort Myers to the north and Miami to the east. The population was 21,750 as of the 2020 census. As one of the most affluent cities in the country, Naples offers luxury living to those who want to live close to the beach.

Rental market

Naples offers a wide selection of short and long term rentals. Renters and property investors can choose from single family homes, townhomes, and condos. Some of the most coveted rentals in the area are waterfront properties and homes with views of the ocean. Prevalent architectural styles include Mediterranean, Modern, and Contemporary.

According to RentCafe, the average rental price in Naples is $2,252 as of July 2022. Rental rates vary with location, size, and condition of the property. Vacation rental rates vary with each season. Peak season typically runs from October to May. Naples is popular with snowbirds traveling from the Northeast and Canada in the winter months. The city is also a top spring break destination.

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Amenities and attractions

  • The Naples Pier was built in 1888 and is considered an important landmark. Spanning over 1,000 feet into the water, the pier is a scenic fishing spot and is flanked by pristine white sand beaches with clear waters. It is also one of the best places for dolphin-spotting along the Gulf of Mexico.
  • The Beach at Naples Pier is a popular spot for swimming, kayaking, sunbathing, and strolling. Conveniently located near shops and cafes and restaurants that offer fresh seafood and outdoor dining, Naples Beach is a world class summer destination that the whole family will enjoy.
  • Lowdermilk Beach offers the ideal getaway for those who enjoy watersports paddleboarding and kayaking. Located near a residential area, the beach can get crowded during peak season, making it an excellent place for meeting new people or people watching.
  • Clam Pass Park is located in North Naples and spans 3,200 feet. The wide sandy beach is perfect for beach volleyball, badminton, and picnics. It is also a popular spot for wildlife viewing and nature photography with reported sightings of sea turtles, dolphins, and various beach birds.
  • Delnor Wiggins State Park is a rarity in that it is an undeveloped beach with an abundance of native wildlife and greenery. Its shallow waters make it an excellent spot for beachcombing and shelling.
  • Barefoot Beach Preserve is a serene one and a half mile long beach that lends itself well to swimming, sunbathing, and shelling. It is also teeming with wildlife as visitors regularly spot gopher tortoises along the beach. The preserve also features a cacti and butterfly garden. As one of the last few remaining undeveloped barrier islands in Southwest Florida, it offers a relaxing environment where visitors can reconnect with nature.
  • Coastland Center is anchored by Dillard’s, Macy’s, Genesis, and JCPenney. Other retail options include Aeropostale, Old Navy, and Bath and Body Works. This shopping center also features casual dining restaurants that serve Italian, Thai, Japanese, Tex Mex, and New American cuisine.
  • The Village Shops on Venetian Bay is an upscale waterfront shopping center with retailers offering a curated selection of apparel, jewelry, footwear, and housewares. The mall also features several specialty stores selling wine, spices, and loose tea leaves.

Marco Island

Known as the gateway to the Florida Everglades, Marco Island is located on the largest and most developed land in the Ten Thousand Islands. This paradisiacal retreat is known for its gorgeous beaches, golf courses, and luxury resorts. It is also sought for its scenic inland waterways and a long, sandy beach that stretches along its west coast.

Community overview

Marco Island is a city in Collier County. It is situated on a barrier island of the same name in the Gulf of Mexico just off Southwest Florida. It is connected to the mainland via bridges that lead to the south of Naples. It is within the proximity of the Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW). The city encompasses 24.66 square miles and is home to a population of 17,930 as of the 2018 census.

Rental market

Marcos Island is known for its luxury condo rental market. The city also has an excellent selection of villas for rent, some of which are fully furnished and pet friendly. The most coveted rentals offer beach access or command views of the Gulf of Mexico. According to Zumper, the average rental price for a one-bedroom in Marco Island, FL is $250 as of July 2022.

Amenities and attractions

  • Tigertail Beach and Sand Dollar Island are considered among the best beach destinations in Southwest Florida. Tigertail Beach has an inner beach with a calm lagoon that is perfect for swimming, kayaking, and paddle boarding as well as a shallow lagoon that lends itself well to waterplay. The outer beach can be reached by crossing the shallow part of the lagoon and walking down a narrow path that cuts through a coastal scrub to Sand Dollar Island.
  • Ten Thousand Islands is a chain of islets, mangroves, and barrier islands that can be explored via waterways from Marco Island. These islands are great for exploring remote beaches and observing native wildlife.
  • Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and Briggs Boardwalk Nature Center features a half-mile boardwalk loop that is ideal for bird watching and learning about Marcos Island’s unique ecosystem. Just down the road from the boardwalk is the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, a 110,000 acre mangrove habitat.
  • Otter Mound Preserve is a 2.45 acre preserve with a short trail surrounded by native gumbo limbo trees. It is a popular spot for bird watching as well as for spotting butterflies and Florida gopher tortoises.
  • Esplanade Shoppes at Marco Island is a shopping mall with boutiques, beauty salons, wellness centers, and casual dining restaurants. It is also home to the Esplanade Marina, which offers slip rentals, boat tours, and dockside dining.
  • Marco Town Center is anchored by a Publix and features several retailers and casual dining restaurants.
  • Marco Walk Plaza is an open air mall with shops and service providers offering swimwear, boating gear, and hair and nail care.

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Bonita Springs

Also known as the Gateway to the Gulf of Mexico, Bonita Springs is sought for its white sand beaches and clear waters. Situated between Naples and Fort Myers, this beach community in Lee County offers the ultimate vacation lifestyle in a picturesque and laid back setting.

Community overview

Bonita Springs is located approximately 130 miles south of Tampa–St. Petersburg on the coast. The city has a land area of 35.3 square miles and is home to an estimated population of 54,904 as of July 2021.

Rental market

Bonita Springs offers a diverse selection of condo and single family home rentals, some of which are fully furnished and pet friendly. Popular architectural styles include Mediterranean, Contemporary, Ranch, and Bungalow. According to RentCafe, the average rental fee in Bonita Springs is $2,204 as of July 2022.

Amenities and attractions

  • Conservancy of Southwest Florida Nature Center offers immersive exhibits, walking tours, eco cruises, and catch and release fishing tournaments to help guests appreciate Florida’s native wildlife, particularly its sea turtles.
  • Everglades Wonder Gardens features exquisite gardens and wildlife enclosures filled with colorful orchids and rescued animals like golden pheasants, flamingos, macaws, parrots, tortoises, and alligators.
  • Little Hickory Island Beach Park and Bonita Beach Park feature sand dunes and fishing spots for visitors who enjoy outdoor activities like swimming, boating, fishing, and kayaking.
  • Lovers Key State Park is made up of four barrier islands. With a pristine 2.5-mile mile beach, the park is ideal for bird watching, beachcombing, swimming and kayaking. It’s also one of the best places to spot dolphins and manatees.
  • Dog Beach Park is the only no-leash beach in Florida. Its shallow waters make it a safe and pet-friendly destination for dog owners.
  • Promenade At Bonita Bay features a wide array of boutiques, specialty stores, gourmet markets, casual dining restaurants, and fitness studios for the whole family to enjoy.

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Once a humble citrus community, Estero is a scenic and peaceful village along the Gulf Coast. Surrounded by natural beauty, it is one of the most desirable places to live in Florida. It gets its name from the Spanish word for “where the river meets the sea“.

Community overview

Located in Lee County, Estero encompasses 25.4 square miles on the edge of Florida’s Gulf Coast. It is conveniently situated midway between Naples and Fort Myers, approximately 130 miles south of Tampa–St. Petersburg. It is made up of seven districts with 35 gated communities. The population was 36,939 as of the 2020 census.

Rental market

Estero offers a wide range of apartments, condos, townhomes, and single family homes for rent. Popular architectural styles include Ranch, Bungalow, and Mediterranean. According to Zumper, the average rental price for a one-bedroom in Estero is $2,018 as of July 2022, up 45% from the previous year.

Amenities and attractions

  • Mound Key Archaeological State Park is the site of ancient mounds and rides made of various shells, bones, and pieces of pottery. The site is believed to have served as a ceremonial center for the Calusa Native Americans. The area is surrounded by mangrove forests and is accessible by boat.
  • Happehatchee Center is a nature center where visitors can participate in spiritual ceremonies and private retreats as well as attend talks on gardening, permaculture, farming, climate change, and more. The center is located on 4.5 acres of scenic land that features a mature bamboo forest, organic garden, nature trail, fire circle, and river kayak launch.
  • Downtown Estero features cafes, restaurants, and specialty stores. It also hosts seasonal events and live musical performances throughout the year.

Meet Southwest Florida’s trusted expert in vacation rentals

Locate your next rental or real estate investment with the Lanners Group, LLC.
Call us at 239.253.5446 or send an email here. Our team specializes in rentals and residential sales in Naples, Marco Island, Estero, and nearby communities. With over 22 years of experience in real estate, we will help you find a property that you will be happy with. Our licensed and insured property managers provide honest and reliable service to help you achieve your real estate goals.

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