Touring the Year’s Top Second Home Spots

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Six months has gone by fast for me writing about vacation homes for What have we been covering? Beach, lake, ranch, and mountain abodes, among other destinations of interest to North Texans. Year end is a time to look back and reflect. What are the top spots for vacation homes for DFW residents?

Gas up the virtual jet and click to see highlights; we’re taking a tour of some of our favs…


The Florida Panhandle:

Alys Beach
Photo courtesy of Alys Beach

No question, the Florida Panhandle is one of North Texans’ favorite destinations. A standout residential and vacation rental development off Highway 30A that we covered this year is Alys Beach with its sophisticated, Bermudan-themed architecture and breathtaking setting. It says a lot that the award-winning architects who oversee design in the place are also permanent residents. The walkable township on 1500 feet of white sand beach offers multiple pools, a 20-acre nature preserve, restaurants, and upscale retail venues to residents and vacation rental guests.

The Caliza pool, an Alys Beach showpiece.


The aesthetic at Alys Beach is Carribean and modern.
Alys Beach
Options in this gorgeous project of courtyard-centric residences range from 3-bedroom rowhouses (townhouse-like homes) to free-standing single-family homes, to compounds of pavilion buildings connected by loggias and garden walls suitable for a group.

The Texas Coast:

Cinnamon Shore
Photo courtesy of Cinnamon Shore

Port Aransas on Mustang Island is the setting for the hot Cinnamon Shore residential and vacation rental community we covered this past summer. Cinnamon Shore features single-family houses, townhomes, and condos in a waterfront, pedestrian-friendly campus built around a town center with an entertainment stage, restaurants, retail shops, swimming pools, stocked lakes and a boardwalk to the beach. Area activities include stellar offshore fishing for grouper, snapper, sailfish, and marlin which has made Port Aransas a draw for sportsmen for decades.

Photos courtesy Cinnamon Shore
Photos courtesy Cinnamon Shore
Architecture and interior design here is Gulf Coast vernacular. Here’s an example: an airy, neutral-toned living area.

CinnamonShoreAugFThe seaside-themed dining room of a Cinnamon Shore home offered earlier this year, ready to go with furnishings included.

Mark your calendar for May 2017, when the residential and vacation rental development will be graced with a Texas Monthly charity showhouse decked out by some of Texas’ finest designers.

Pebble Beach: 

Pebble Beach Golf Links. Photo by Bart Keagy
7th Hole, Pebble Beach Golf Links. Photo by Bart Keagy, courtesy of Pebble Beach Resorts

California’s glamorous Pebble Beach is a residential community we looked at in June when temperatures there were average a high of 67 F, and we were seeing at an average high of 91 in DFW. Famed for a course that’s a bucket list item for avid golfers and a scenic 17-mile shoreline road that’s such a popular tourist attraction there’s a hefty toll to drive it, this elite community offers some of the finest beachfront property in the country. Case in point, this residence at 3325 17 Mile Drive we featured that is listed at just under $15 million, presented by Jamal Noorzoy and brokered by Alain Pinel Realtors. You can’t get a much prettier view than this:


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Cedar Creek Lake, just 75 minutes from Dallas, is the setting for Long Cove, a luxury residential community we’ve been following for those drawn to boating, golf, and an array of recreational facilities to please every age.

Developer Don McNamara’s vision includes turnkey services so that residents can actually vacation in their vacation home, with plenty of community activities to knit together close ties among the multi-generation residents.

Long Cove
Photos courtesy of Long Cove
The Long Cove Lake Club
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A Waterside Cottage in Long Cove. Architectural styles in the community include craftsman, rustic shingle, low country, ranch, Austin stone and Hill Country contemporary.


The Residences at Little Nell in Aspen

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A pinnacle of mountain living, sophisticated Aspen, drew our eye in October, with a peek at the luxurious Residences at Little Nell, perched at the base of the gondola. Fractional shares of the elite property afford residents access to one of the world’s most glamorous ski venues and charming towns.

Aspen, Colorado
All photos by Shawn O’Connor.


We’d happily nest here any time of the year.

The rooftop pool deck of The Residences at Little Nell.


Boot Ranch represented the Texas Hill Country in our coverage of planned vacation home communities this year. Set on more than 2000 acres in the rustic wine country just outside of Fredericksburg, Boot Ranch is a luxury housing development and golf club built around an 18-hole championship golf course named one of the top 10 in Texas by Golf Digest and The Dallas Morning News. Shared amenities include a baronial clubhouse with a fine dining restaurant; lodging facilities with luxury guest suites:, multiple swimming pools; a casual open-air bar and grill; a spa and workout facilities; hard surface tennis and sport courts; and a trap and skeet range. Walking and biking trails will soon connect with a new amenity we posted on recently: Lake Longhorn, which will feature a beach, boardwalk, covered party pavilion with fireplace and canoe tie-ups; jumping rocks, tree houses, a rope swing and a swim platform. Boot Ranch 24

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A Boot Ranch Clubhouse dining room.

The spectrum of housing here ranges fractionally-owned 3-bedroom condominium-like properties to single family homes on multiple acres to compounds with separate cottages to accommodate large families, friends or business groups. Boot Ranch will also host a Texas Monthly showhouse, scheduled for Spring 2017.

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Boot Ranch
All photos courtesy of Boot Ranch


Boot Ranch
Longhorn Lake. All photos courtesy of Boot Ranch.

And what’s on the agenda to look in 2017? We’ll be covering properties in the Bahamas, the Carolinas, New Mexico, Utah and more. Stay tuned, and let us know what you like to see!