The biggest decision in taking a step toward building a log home is in deciding the location that best suits you and your family. Discovering an area that is not overpriced or overpopulated is a difficult task.
In 2006, we presented our original list of 24 undiscovered vacation property hot spots areas around the country, roughly split between six geographic sectors of North America, chosen for their unique amenities, their affordability, and their undiscovered charms.
This year, we’ve gone an additional step and have asked for input from the log home community: Producers, dealers, property experts, and vacation experts. The list is presented below in alphabetical order. This list is from the 2007 issue of Country’s Best Vacation Log Homes, available on newsstands nationwide or by calling (800) 258-0929.
1. Bull Shoals, Arkansas
Located in the “real” Ozark Mountains, Bull Shoals features panoramic views, forests, wildlife, and clean, fresh air. Recreation opportunities include all water sports, hiking, canoeing, horseback riding, golf, scenic drives, historic sites, hunting, antiquing, and photography.
Average lot price: $81,900 for 4.74 acres, woods, river view
Average vacation home resale price: $347,000
2. Prescott, Arizona
Prescott, located in the cool ponderosa pines of northern Arizona, features more than 450 miles of scenic trails for hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, or mountain biking in Prescott National Forest. The 5,300-foot elevation provides a mild climate that allows the trails to be enjoyed year-round. The Prescott National Forest has eight wilderness areas spread over more than 100,000 acres. All trails are within a 20-minute drive of downtown Prescott, Arizona. For the history buffs, Prescott contains over 600 buildings in the National Register of Historic Places.
Average lot price: $194,900 for 1 acre, views
Average vacation home resale price: $499,000
3. Angels Camp, California
This beautiful little foothill town was founded in 1848 and two years later Placer gold was discovered. Located in Calaveras County, Angels Camp is nestled in the Sierra Foothills between Yosemite and Lake Tahoe, just three hours from the San Francisco Bay area. In the spring, summer, and fall, enjoy biking and hiking trails through the giant Sequoias at Calaveras Big Trees State Park and the Stanislaus National Forest. Off-highway and river rafting is available, while fishing, water skiing, houseboat weekends, camping, bicycling, and horseback riding will keep the entire family busy.
Average lot price: $124,500 for .41 acre, woods
Average vacation home resale price: $399,500
4. Del Norte County, California
Del Norte County is located in the northwest corner of California at the border of Oregon and next to the Pacific Ocean. The region features the world’s tallest trees, scenic rivers and a rugged coastline with spectacular beaches and rocky shorelines. Close by are miles of fern-lined trails through the redwoods. The Smith River is crystal clear and perfect for swimming, canoeing, tubing, rafting, trout fishing, or just hanging out on a sandy beach. Scientific American recently ranked Del Norte County in the top five counties in the United States for the most perfect weather.
Del Norte County Chamber of Commerce, Crescent City, CA, 800-343-8300
Average lot price: $60,000 for 1 acre, woods
Average vacation home resale price: $395,000
5. Mancos, Colorado
Nestled in the heart of southwest Colorado recreation country, Mancos Valley lies at an elevation of 7,000 feet and looks toward the east at the La Plata Mountains and toward the west to the Mesa Verde. Local activities include trout fishing in nearby mountain streams and ice-cold lakes, enjoy an old fashioned rodeo, painting or photography of the spectacular aspen color changes, hunting trips for mule deer or elk, and downhill and cross-county skiing along with snowmobiling.
Average lot price: $89,900 for 3.12 acres, mountain view
Average vacation home resale price: $795,000 (36 acres)
6. Ocala, Florida
Ocala/Marion County Chamber, www.visitflorida.com
Ocala is the land of mineral springs and thoroughbred horses. Some of the ranches allow visitors in to tour or ride horses and learn about how the thoroughbreds are trained for racing. The 383,000-acre Ocala National Forest spreads at Ocala’s backdoor, providing recreational access to the area’s spring lands and preserving vast acreage of pine forest laced with rivers, streams and the lakes they form. Trails include a path explaining how the Timucuan Indians lived; others are part of the Florida National Scenic Trail. Cyclists can pedal along the 22-mile-long Paisley Woods Trail, which connects Alexander Springs in the north to Clearwater Lake in the south.
Average lot price: $25,000 for .50 acre, woods, amenities
Average vacation home resale price: $325,000
7. Ellijay, Georgia
Nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Ellijay Georgia is rich in natural beauty and diverse in breathtaking geography. Surrounded by mountains and overrun with rivers and streams, Ellijay is a quick route to relaxation after only a 70-minute drive from the big city of Atlanta, GA. Some of the best mountain views in the state are just a short drive away. If a quick mountain getaway is what you’re looking for, Gilmer County offers magnificent scenery & trails and facilities for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, swimming, boating and fishing. Ellijay is Georgia’s “Apple Capital”, producing over half a million bushels of apples every year.
Average lot price: $34,900 for 1.62 acres, woods
Average vacation home resale price: $152,000
8. Island Park, Idaho
As a neighbor to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, Island Park shares much of the same spectacular beauty and awesome adventure, but without the crowds. Island Park, located south of West Yellowstone near the border of Yellowstone National Park, is an Island of lakes, woods, rivers, meadows and mountains lightly sprinkled with ranches, summer homes and fishing lodges. Legendary fishing at the Henry’s Fork of the Snake is but one of the superb angling locales. Other fishing jewels include Henry’s Lake and the Island Park Reservoir. In the winters, you can trade their fishing tackle for snowmobiles to explore the hundreds of miles of forest and mountain trails.
Average lot price: $124,500 for 5 acres, pond, views
Average vacation home resale price: $389,000
9. Brown County, Indiana
Dubbed “The Art Colony of the Midwest,” Brown County’s natural beauty, seclusion, local charm, and hospitality have inspired artists and craftsmen since the early 1900s. These same attributes make Brown County an ideal location for a vacation home. Located south of Indianapolis, Brown County is home to Indiana’s largest state park, a 15,696-acre facility with nearly 20 miles of scenic drives, 70 miles of horseback riding trails, and 18 miles of hiking trails leading through the steep, forested hills.
Average lot price: $62,900 for 7.5 acres, woods, border state forest
Average vacation home resale price: $329,900
10. Petoskey, Michigan
Find plenty to do in Petoskey: windsurfing, jet skiing, strolling the beach in search of Petoskey Stones, or hanging at Michigan’s largest indoor water park. Five state parks are ideal for rollerblading, biking or hiking through magnificent forests. Shoppers will love the Gaslight District in Petoskey, the quaint shops of downtown Boyne City and Harbor Springs, and the upscale village at Bay Harbor.
Average lot price: $78,500 for 1 acre, views
Average vacation home resale price: $385,000 (waterfront)
11. Ely, Minnesota
The Ely area offers plenty of “Up North” fishing and outdoor activities and is located near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, which boasts 1,500-plus miles of water trails. Canoe outfitters can help you design your route, select campsites, supply you with all the food and equipment you will need and can even point out the best fishing spots. Ely also offers the relaxed environment of a small town with the advantages of big-city living, with some of the finest dining and shopping in the area, located near the Canadian border.
Average lot price: $48,000 for 40 acres, woods
Average vacation home resale price: $249,000
12. Warsaw, Missouri
Warsaw, Missouri is a small, but modern river town located between the two largest lakes in the state, Lake of the Ozarks and Truman Lake. With wooded bluffs and deep valleys, Central Missouri’s natural areas are one of its best-kept secrets. Enjoy canoeing and fishing on Missouri’s picturesque rivers and streams or explore the state’s pristine parks and hidden caves including the Harry S. Truman state Park.
Average lot price: $32,500 for .30 acre, waterfront
Average vacation home resale price: $250,000
13. Anaconda, Montana
A former industrial center with a rich history and heritage, Anaconda is more recently renowned as a recreation community in Southwest Montana. The Continental Divide passes within a few miles of the city limits and Rocky Mountain peaks reach 10,379 feet. Anaconda offers an extraordinary summer or winter vacation opportunity as well as a great place to live and work. Many visitors enjoy the history and historical architecture of Anaconda and the local preservation and development efforts of these sites cater to the growing number of cultural heritage tourists.
Average lot price: $85,500 for 20.51 acres, trees, views
Average vacation home resale price: $169,900
14. Lincoln-Woodstock, New Hampshire
The diversity of nature surrounding Lincoln Woodstock is incredible for a relatively small geographic area. The region has some of New Hampshire’s most beautiful natural attractions located in the White Mountains. Hikers and mountain bikers will love the trails that go for miles through scenic woodlands and climb up the highest mountain slopes in New England. In the summer take your pick of theme parks, water parks, antique and historical destinations, or pack a picnic lunch, visit a recreational area and go swimming, fishing or boating. In the winter visit quaint villages adorned for the holidays, go on a horse drawn sleigh ride or head for one of the many world-class ski and snowboard resorts.
Average lot price: $175,000 for 2.8 acres, views
Average vacation home resale price: $529,900 (mountain)
15. Logan, Ohio
Located outside of Logan is the Hocking Hills State Park. Whether your idea of outdoor adventure is a gentle hike in the woods or rappelling down a massive rock face, the Hocking Hills area offers a range of outdoor activities. There are more than 10,000 acres of deep forests, hidden trails, soaring cliffs, and sheltering caves. Other attractions include canoe trips down the Hocking River, historic train rides, washboard factory tours, small towns to discover and museums to wander.
Average lot price: $39,900 for 5 acres, views
Average vacation home resale price: $310,000
16. Deschutes County, Oregon
With 300 days of sunshine a year and fresh powder in winter, the high desert country of Central Oregon is an idyllic playground for sports lovers. There are more than 25 unique golf courses, fly-fishing at over 150 rivers and lakes, and outdoor adventures including hiking, rock climbing at Smith Rock and an abundance of snow sports atop Mt. Bachelor. Deschutes County is the host of diverse annual events including the Cascade Festival of Music, the Art Hop, Cascade Children’s Festival, Pole Pedal Paddle, Sisters Rodeo, Sunriver Sunfest, and the Cascade Cycling Classic.
Average lot price: $545,000 for 1 acre, woods, hillside
Average vacation home resale price: $987,000
17. Somerset County, Pennsylvania
About an hour east of Pittsburgh, Somerset County has been called the “Roofgarden of Pennsylvania” and “The Land of Milk and Maple.” The county is known for its agriculture, coal mining, wind farms, and various industries. Mount Davis, the highest point in Pennsylvania at 3,213 feet, is centered in Somerset County among the Laurel and Allegheny mountains. Ski resorts, the Great Allegheny Passage, and many indoor and outdoor activities offer year-round fun for residents and tourists alike in Somerset County. Laurel Hill State Park consists of 3,935 acres of mountainous terrain in Somerset County.
Average lot price: $92,000 for 31.6 acres, woods
Average vacation home resale price: $149,900
18. Pickens County, South Carolina
The Cherokee Foothills National Scenic Highway winds its way through South Carolina’s northwest corner and through Pickens County. Following the southernmost peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the 115 miles is surrounded with peach orchards, quaint villages and parks. Table Rock Mountain also provides a towering backdrop for an upcountry retreat at the edge of the Blue Ridge Escarpment. The 3,083-acre state park provides challenging hiking trails, two park lakes, and many other quality outdoor activities.
Average lot price: $162,000 for 8.1 acres, woods, creek, view
Average vacation home resale price: $149,900
19. Roane County, Tennessee
On the lush, western slopes of the Appalachian Mountains and in the complex twists and bends of the Clinch, Emory and Tennessee rivers, there are endless possibilities for hiking, camping, boating and fishing. The region is sprinkled with a number of historical sites to explore. With almost 40,000 acres of water inside its banks, Watts Bar Lake is one of the premier attractions in the Roane County area. Watts Bar Lake provides boaters with several marinas and more than 800 slips.
Average lot price: $49,900 for 1 acre, woods, views
Average vacation home resale price: $269,900
20. Port Angeles, Washington
If you love the outdoors, bring all your toys to play in Port Angeles. Port Angeles is the gateway to Olympic National Park, making it a natural jumping-off point for the 922,000-acre park. The stunning alpine and coastal wilderness includes such destinations as Hurricane Ridge, Lake Crescent, and the Upper Sol Duc.?The Olympic National Forest is over 632,000 acres in size and offers a wide variety of camping, trails, and other recreational opportunities.
Average lot price: $84,500 for 5.96 acres, woods
Average vacation home resale price: $599,000
21. Door County, Wisconsin
One of the top five vacation destinations in the state, Door County features more than 300 miles of scenic shoreline with harbors and coves. Beaches, sailing, fishing, boat rentals, charters or a unique car ferry ride to Washington Island are just a few ways to enjoy the sparkling waters of Green Bay and Lake Michigan. The rolling landscape includes five state parks, 10 lighthouses and more than a dozen county parks for hiking and biking; 11 golf courses, rural vistas, and bluffs provide other relaxation opportunities.
Average lot price: $200,000 for 25 acres
Average vacation home resale price: $200,000
22. Fayette County, West Virginia
Home to the world-famous New River Gorge National River, Fayette County offers one of the best places for outdoor enthusiasts with whitewater rafting, mountain biking, climbing, hiking, and more. Fayette County also has great festivals such as Bridge Day that bring visitors in from around the country. The 876 feet high New River Gorge Bridge serves as a launch pad for base jumpers.
Average lot price: $50,000 for 7.6 acres, woods
Average vacation home resale price: $72,000
23. Pocahontas County, West Virginia
It’s one of the largest counties in West Virginia, and, with less than 9,000 inhabitants, among the least populated. Located abutting the western border of Virginia, most of the county is contained in the Monongahela National Forest, which offers 500 miles of hiking/biking trails, and a myriad of camping opportunities. The four-season Snowshoe Mountain Resort has become a top destination resort for a large portion of the East Coast skiing population.
Average lot price: $23,000 for 3 acres, views
Average vacation home resale price: $130,000
24. Thermopolis, Wyoming
Nestled among the foothills of the Owl Creek Mountains and resting beside the Big Horn River lies Thermopolis, Wyoming — a picturesque Western town where the altitude is higher than the population (altitude 4,500, population 3,200). It’s known for the world’s largest mineral hot spring and beautiful surroundings. Among the area attractions are huge herds of bison in various state parks and spectacular vistas.
Average lot price: $50,000 for 40 acres, woods
Average vacation home resale price: $270,000
This article ran complete with images in the 2007 issue of Country’s Best Vacation Log Homes. It is available on newsstands nationwide or by calling (800) 258-0929.