MADISON, NJ -- (Marketwired) -- 05/30/13 -- The summer season has started and what better time to check out some "under the radar" vacation markets. With the National Association of Realtors reporting that vacation home buyer activity is on the rise, ERA Real Estate presents some places that are off the beaten path but packed with promise and excellent value.
From the Mountains: Gatlinburg, Tenn.
Snuggled at the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg, Tenn., is a gateway to all sorts of outdoor adventures such as whitewater rafting, fishing, hiking, golfing, ziplining, horseback riding and biking.
This quaint mountain resort town offers a bounty of restaurants, galleries and shops, as well as family attractions including mini-golf, water sports, arcades and amusement parks. Don't miss Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies, the most visited aquarium in the country.
"Situated within half a day's drive from half the country's population, Gatlinburg is a year-round vacation destination, offering great return on investment for vacation home buyers," said Larry Reece, broker/owner of ERA In the Smokies Realty and Rentals. "From one-bedroom condos and cabins starting around $80,000 to three-bedroom single family homes priced around $165,000 to expansive luxury estates in the $1 million range, Gatlinburg offers a range of housing options for year-round living, vacation visits or investment vehicles."
Nearby cities with more cosmopolitan offerings include Asheville, N.C., to the east, Nashville, Tenn., to the west and Atlanta, Ga., to the south, all about a two- to three-hour drive from Gatlinburg.
To the Prairies: Yuma, Ariz.
Heralded as the sunniest place on earth, Yuma, Ariz. is equidistant between Phoenix and San Diego. This snow bird destination is also known for its low humidity, a boon in the summer months. Can you say "dry heat?"
Located near the confluence of the Gila and Colorado Rivers on the border of California and near the border of Mexico, this historic riverfront town offers watersports galore, plenty of bird-watching opportunities and ample avenues for even the most discerning history buffs. Over the years, Yuma has earned high marks from golf experts and amateurs alike because the ratio of courses to population keeps the sport so affordable.
"Yuma is a popular market and it is about to heat up even more," said broker Michael Hall of ERA Matt Fischer Realtor. "Homes are affordable with single-family residences selling at an average of $147,000. And Yuma was just identified by Business Insider as one of 14 great housing markets where prices are expected to rise over the next five years."
Cultural offerings run the gamut from Arizona's oldest pool hall and the Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park to the Yuma Art Center. And a must see -- the Imperial Sand Dunes which at times during the winter months, attract more than 100,000 visitors.
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