7 Best Places to Buy a Vacation Home in Texas

Breathtaking lake, mountain, and ocean views are never far away in the Lone Star State.

Scenic view of lake in forest against sky,New Braunfels, Texas
Photo: Michael Anthony Mascorro/500px/Getty Images

As the second-largest state in the country, Texas has no shortage of beautiful landscapes. The sun-kissed beaches of its Gulf of Mexico shoreline and the calm waters of its countless lakes are perfect for cooling off and keeping the heart pumping with water sports. The idyllic rolling hills of wine country draw oenophiles and hikers alike, while its many small towns give culture vultures and foodies plenty to rave about.

Texas is also home to two national parks — the Guadalupe Mountains and Big Bend — and approximately one million acres of nature preserves with diverse wildlife and plant species.

So, it comes as no surprise that investing in a second home in Texas is at an all-time high. Below, we rounded up seven popular Texas destinations where vacationers are settling in.

Cedar Creek Lake

Sunset on Cedar Creek Lake
Courtesy of Kathy Quigley

With more than 200 miles of scenic shoreline, Cedar Creek Lake (which is officially a reservoir, actually) offers plenty of recreational opportunities for Dallas and Fort Worth residents, as well as visitors and second homeowners from as far as California and Canada. The area's affordability, amenities, location, and natural beauty attract vacationers looking to unwind with a glass of wine or cold beer (the award-winning Cedar Creek Brewery is based out of Seven Points) while listening to live music under the stars. Those who'd like to stay active can take advantage of the several golf courses in the area, or go fishing, hiking, kayaking, or stand-up paddleboarding.

"Cedar Creek Lake offers lake homes and waterfront lots to fit any budget, from the low 100,000s to multi-millions," said Debbie French, a broker at Ebby Halliday.

Laffite's Cove on Galveston Island

Flying over Galveston Texas Sea Wall and Beach
Eric Overton/Getty Images

Named after French pirate Jean Lafitte (the difference in spelling is due to a clerical error that stuck), this slice of Galveston Island feels like a tropical paradise. Picture exotic birds, swaying palms, lush greenery, and perfectly manicured landscapes that give way to gorgeous views of the Gulf of Mexico. Residents are also always a short walk or golf cart ride away from beautiful Pirates Beach.

"Locally owned restaurants with fresh seafood and, of course, all the amenities of Galveston are within 15 minutes: Pleasure Pier, The Strand, shops and restaurants, and live entertainment," said Bet Jennings, a real estate agent with Greenwood King Properties. Jennings added that while the area is popular with Austin and Dallas residents, Laffite's Cove also sees an influx of out-of-state buyers, mainly from California and Arizona.

Lake Travis

View of like Travis with docks and boats throughout. Overlooking the trees and nature with a few lakefront homes. Taken while zip lining through Lake Travis.
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Lake Travis, hailed as the "crown jewel" of Central Texas, is one of the most visited freshwater destinations in the state. The lake's stunning blue water, surrounded by more than 270 miles of shoreline, makes for a picturesque backdrop for a long list of recreational activities, including boating, jet skiing, and zip lining. The fun seems to never stop at Lake Travis.

"In the Lake Travis waterfront market, we've seen a tremendous increase in activity for homes priced at $1 million and above over the last two years," said Kara Jones, director of marketing at Realty Austin. "Sold luxury listings increased 340%, and new listings increased 367% between April 2020 and April 2022." She noted that some of the most popular Lake Travis communities include Rough Hollow Lakeway, Volente Peak, the Hollows at Northshore, Lakehurst, and Reserve at Hudson Bend.

Fredericksburg

Vintage limestone courthouse building built in 1882 is now a library in this small Texas Hill Country town.
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Wine enthusiasts will love making this quaint Texas city their second home. Set against the pastoral landscape of wine country, Fredericksburg offers plenty to do and see year-round. From touring wineries, tasting rooms, and museums to hiking and cycling, boredom is never an option. The whimsical Enchanted Rock State Natural Area provides plenty of recreational opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts, especially hikers and rock climbers.

The destination's proximity to Austin and San Antonio — located about 75 miles from both cities — has made it a popular vacation home destination with urbanites. The median listing price in Fredericksburg in April 2022 was $780,500 — a 45.3% jump year over year, according to Anna Lee, a broker at Moreland Properties.

Lake Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ)

Sunset in the Texas Hill Country over Lake LBJ
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"[It is] truly a magical place where many Texans spent their childhood on the lake, fishing or water skiing, and now they want to provide the same wonderful experiences for their family," said Tammie Bennett of Kuper Sotheby's International Realty of Lake LBJ. With endless outdoor activities and resort-style amenities in the communities that surround it, this lake continues to draw vacationers from near and far. From small cottages to grand estates, there's a home to fit every buyer's need — and budget.

Bennett added, "Approximately 75% of the lake houses in the communities surrounding Lake LBJ are second homes with prices [ranging] from $500,000 to $15 million."

New Braunfels

Scenic view of lake in forest against sky,New Braunfels, Texas
Michael Anthony Mascorro/500px/Getty Images

This charming city is the closest you'll get to visiting Germany without leaving Texas. Conveniently located between Austin and San Antonio, New Braunfels was established in the mid-19th century by Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels, who named it after his hometown in Germany. New Braunfels' rich German heritage (the town's annual Wurstfest festival is a must), as well as its proximity to several natural gems like the Natural Bridge Caverns, Wildlife Ranch, and Comal River, make it an ideal family-friendly vacation spot.

"With record new listing prices and a rapidly growing population approaching 100,000 residents, New Braunfels is not only a splendid vacation home destination, but it's a great investment opportunity as well. A 27.7% home value increase from 2021 has caught the eye of many investors," said Jennifer Shemwell, CEO of Phyllis Browning Company, adding that Landa Park Highlands and The Bluffs on the Guadalupe are two of the most desirable communities on the market right now.

Lake Livingston

Livingston Texas sunset over the lake with a silhouette of a house
Vlad Busuioc/500px/Getty Images

Houstonians flock to this man-made lake in the summer to cool off, bask in the sun, and enjoy its picture-perfect waterfront views. And with more than 450 miles of shoreline, there's plenty to stay occupied, too — fishing, hiking, camping, and boating are favorite pastimes in and around the lake.

The pandemic-led surge in demand for vacation homes has made the area popular, especially with remote workers.

"Many families quarantined during the pandemic at their lake homes so that their children could play freely on the water and parents could work from home. When buyers come to the lake and look for the first time, the new question that's asked is: 'How's the Wi-Fi?'" said Aaron Sonnier of Martha Turner Sotheby's International Realty. He added that waterfront property prices vary from $350,000 to $3 million.

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