Even more than Florida.

By Marisa Spyker
July 24, 2019
Jumping Rocks Inc/Getty Images

There are some places where we set down roots for the practical reasons—maybe it’s for a job, good schools, or your proximity to a Starbucks. (Very important for some people, says research.)

And then there are those places we choose purely for the beauty, the lifestyle, and the joy a destination brings us. If this is your forever home, kudos to you. For the rest of us fortunate enough to own one, this type of dreamy escape is often categorized as a vacation home.

While vacation homes can exist anywhere from the mountains of West Virginia to the glaciers of Alaska, many people choose to find their bliss by the beach—and rightfully so. Research shows that merely being close to a body of water can promote mental health and happiness.

But with plenty of states boasting ocean, Gulf, and lake coastline, there are more than a few waterfront destinations to transform into your go-to getaway. According to investment property exchange company IPX 1031, however, one state in particular seems to attract those with summer home dreams more than others. And that state is Maine.

Related: This Maine Private Island Estate Comes With Its Own Historic Lighthouse: 

To determine the hottest markets for vacation homes in the country, the financial company looked at vacation home data from more than 29,000 different census designated places in all 50 states. From there, they determined which cities and states boast the highest number of vacation homes compared to full-time residences. The researchers learned that the Pine Tree State leads the pack, with a whopping 19 percent of all homes in the state used for vacation purposes. In comparison, Florida—a year-round vacation mecca thanks to its sprawling coastline, urban hot spots, and (what else?) Disney World—surprisingly ranked fourth on the list, with one out of every 10 homes used as vacation escapes.

But while Florida’s soaring popularity among vacationers might lead us to believe it’d triumph, it’s also perfectly logical that Maine—with its perfect summer weather, stunning scenery, and abundance of buttery crab—would fare well. Maritime towns like Bar Harbor and Kennebunkport consistently wind up on the vacation bucket lists of travelers from near and far. Despite their popularity among vacationers, those towns don’t hold the highest percentages of vacation getaways in the state; instead, that honor goes to the under-the-radar coastal towns of Cape Neddick (where 64 percent of all homes are seasonal), Winter Harbor, and Castine.

So consider that your insider’s look into what the locals (at least the part-time ones) consider Maine’s best-kept secrets. See the full list of vacation hot spots here.