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Unveiling the Charm of Desert Vacation Rental Properties

Unearth the unique appeal of desert vacation rentals. Learn how to maximize your investment, attract guests, and stand out in the competitive rental market. Get ready to transform your desert property into a sought-after oasis!


By Derick Hargrave

Published on July 8, 2023

Imagine the sun setting over a vast, tranquil desert, casting long shadows and bathing everything in a warm, golden glow. Now, imagine owning a piece of this serene landscape, a desert vacation rental that serves as a haven for travelers seeking a unique getaway. Sounds enticing, right?

Desert vacation rental properties can be a rewarding investment, offering a distinctive appeal that sets them apart in the bustling vacation rental market. In this guide, we’ll delve into the world of desert vacation rentals, exploring what makes them special, the different types of desert homes, popular locations, common amenities, and much more.

Are you curious about the various types of vacation rental properties?
Our overview of different Airbnb property categories can get you started.

What’s Special about Desert Vacation Rentals

Desert vacation rentals offer a unique blend of tranquility, adventure, and stunning natural beauty. These properties, often nestled amidst breathtaking landscapes, provide an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. As an investment, desert homes can be lucrative due to their distinctive appeal and the growing trend of experiential travel.

  • Unique Landscape: The desert’s stark beauty and serene environment offer a unique vacation experience that many travelers seek.
  • Experiential Travel: With the rise of experiential travel, more guests are looking for unique stays like desert homes.
  • High Demand: The demand for desert vacation rentals is high, especially during cooler months, leading to potentially higher rental income.

Types of Desert House Vacation Rental Properties

Desert vacation rentals come in various shapes and sizes, each offering a unique charm. From modern villas to traditional adobe homes, a desert property suits every traveler’s taste.

  • Modern Villas: These properties often feature contemporary design, spacious interiors, and luxury amenities. They attract guests looking for a high-end desert experience.
  • Adobe Homes: Traditional and rustic, these homes offer an authentic desert experience. They’re typically built with natural materials, helping them blend seamlessly into the desert landscape.
  • Desert Cabins: These cozy rentals are perfect for small groups or couples. They often feature rustic decor and are located in more secluded areas.
  • Glamping Tents: For a more adventurous stay, these luxury tents offer comfort and a close connection with nature. They’re popular among younger travelers and those seeking a unique experience.

Desert vacation homes are typically found in cities that embrace their desert surroundings. These cities often have a rich history, unique culture and offer a variety of outdoor activities.

  • Palm Springs, California: Known for its stylish mid-century modern architecture and vibrant arts scene.
  • Sedona, Arizona: Famous for its red rock formations and spiritual vortexes.
  • Santa Fe, New Mexico: Offers a blend of Native American, Hispanic, and Anglo cultures.
  • Las Vegas, Nevada: Beyond the glitz and glamour, it’s surrounded by stunning desert landscapes.
  • Tucson, Arizona: Known for its vibrant arts scene and close proximity to Saguaro National Park.
  • Joshua Tree, California: Home to the famous Joshua Tree National Park and a thriving arts community.

Common Amenities for Desert Vacation Rental Properties

Desert vacation rentals often come equipped with amenities that enhance guests’ comfort while complementing the desert environment. These may include outdoor lounging areas, fire pits, and air conditioning.

Unique amenities for desert homes can further enhance the guest experience:

  • Outdoor Showers: Allows guests to cool off while enjoying the desert scenery.
  • Private Pools: Ideal for hot desert days and can be a major selling point.
  • Fire Pits: Perfect for cooler desert nights and creating a cozy atmosphere.
  • Outdoor Kitchen/BBQ: Allows guests to enjoy outdoor dining under the desert stars.
  • Air Conditioning: Essential for guest comfort during hot desert days.
  • Telescopes: The clear desert skies make for excellent stargazing.

Activities and Attractions Near Desert House Rentals

Desert vacation rentals offer guests a variety of unique activities and attractions. From exploring national parks to experiencing local culture, there’s something for everyone.

  • Hiking: Many desert cities are near national parks or have local trails.
  • Photography: The unique desert landscapes offer excellent photo opportunities.
  • Stargazing: Clear desert skies provide perfect conditions for stargazing.
  • Local Arts Scene: Many desert cities have thriving arts communities.
  • Outdoor Sports: Activities like rock climbing and mountain biking are popular in desert areas.
  • Cultural Experiences: Local museums, historical sites, and cultural festivals are common in desert cities.

How Much does a Desert Vacation Home Cost?

The cost of desert vacation homes can vary greatly depending on location, size, and amenities. You can expect to pay anywhere from $200,000 to over $1 million on average.

  • Palm Springs, California: $500,000 – $1.5 million
  • Sedona, Arizona: $400,000 – $1 million
  • Santa Fe, New Mexico: $300,000 – $800,000
  • Las Vegas, Nevada: $280,000 – $700,000
  • Tucson, Arizona: $250,000 – $650,000
  • Joshua Tree, California: $250,000 – $600,000

What Factors Affect the Cost of Desert Vacation Rentals?

Several factors can affect the cost of desert vacation rentals. These include the property’s location, size, condition, and the amenities it offers.

  • Location: Properties located near popular attractions, city centers, or with panoramic desert views can command higher prices. For instance, a home in Palm Springs with a view of the San Jacinto Mountains may be more expensive than a similar property without such a view.
  • Size: Larger properties with more bedrooms and bathrooms typically cost more. A four-bedroom desert villa with a spacious outdoor area will likely be priced higher than a two-bedroom cabin.
  • Amenities: Properties with unique or high-end amenities can be more expensive. A desert home with a private pool, outdoor kitchen, or a rooftop terrace for stargazing can attract higher rental rates. Similarly, properties with unique features such as sustainable design elements or accessibility features may also command a premium.
  • Market Trends: The real estate market trends in the area can also affect the cost. Prices are likely to increase if there’s a surge in demand for properties in a particular desert city.
  • Regulations: Local regulations and zoning laws can impact the cost. Some areas may have restrictions on short-term rentals, which can affect the property’s earning potential and, thus, its price.

How to Make Your Desert Rental Property Stand out to Guests

To make desert rental properties stand out, focus on creating a unique and memorable experience for your guests. This could involve highlighting the property’s unique features, offering local experiences, or providing exceptional service.

  • Unique Decor: Incorporate local art or desert-inspired decor to create a unique and authentic atmosphere. For instance, you could commission a local artist to create a mural inspired by the desert landscape for a feature wall in your property. Or, you could furnish the property with locally made, artisanal furniture that reflects the desert aesthetic. Cost: $500 – $2,000
  • Local Experiences: Partner with local businesses to offer guests unique experiences. For example, you could collaborate with a local tour company to provide guided hikes to nearby national parks or with a local chef to offer cooking classes featuring local desert ingredients. These experiences enhance your guests’ stay and help support the local community. Cost: Varies depending on the experience.
  • Exceptional Service: Personalized service can make guests feel special and enhance their overall experience. This could include a welcome basket filled with local products like artisanal soaps made with desert botanicals, locally roasted coffee, or a bottle of wine from a local vineyard. You could also create a guidebook with your personal recommendations for local attractions, restaurants, and shops. Cost: $50 – $200
  • Sustainable Practices: Emphasize sustainability in your property management. Install solar panels, provide recycling bins, use energy-efficient appliances, and offer eco-friendly toiletries. This reduces your property’s environmental impact and appeals to eco-conscious travelers. Cost: Varies depending on the upgrades.
  • Technology Upgrades: Install smart home features like keyless entry, smart thermostats, and voice-controlled devices. These features provide convenience to your guests and modernize your property. Cost: $500 – $2,000

Our Thoughts

Owning a desert vacation rental can be a rewarding and profitable venture. Understanding what makes these properties unique, choosing the right location, and offering a memorable guest experience can make your desert home a sought-after destination.

Written by

As a content writer passionate about travel and hospitality, I have a unique perspective on short-term rentals. With years of experience creating engaging, informative content for various clients, I enjoy communicating the benefits and appeal of short-term rental properties. I've been an Airbnb host for the last three years, consistently providing my guests with a high level of hospitality.