School’s almost out, meaning vacation season is just around the corner. As Southwestern Connecticut families plan their upcoming vacations, it’s likely a few spots will nab the title of the most popular spot for area residents.
The real estate website Trulia.com recently did a little digging to identify Americans’ favorite vacation spots, finding that Cape May, N.J., is the most popular place for its users to search for when they’re investigating vacation homes.
But here in Southwestern Connecticut, we have slightly different taste. Trulia provided Hearst Connecticut Newspapers with a Top 10 list for the vacation ZIP codes searched most by users in Fairfield County – and Cape May didn’t even make the list.
As Trulia’s Chief Economist Jed Kolko pointed out, most people searching for a vacation home tend to look in locations close to home. And that holds up here; three of the most popular spots for Southwestern Connecticut residents are in Massachusetts, while another three are in New York State and two more in Vermont. Sorry California, you didn’t even make the list.
Instead the most popular location for Fairfield County folks in Nantucket, making it much more popular for Southwestern Connecticut families than it is for Americans at large; in the national survey, Nantucket was listed as the 20th most popular spot.
On the whole, Fairfield County residents opted for locations in the Northeast, though Palm Beach did make a surprise appearance at No. 2, after being left of the national list altogether.
“I find that people this year, for some reason, are not traveling as far,” said Sonja Ziluca, owner and manager of Georgetown Travel, a travel agency located in Ridgefield. “They’re going to places like Mystic and Stonington, and of course, the Vineyard and the Cape, Nantucket, and also Block Island – places with a lot of boating.”
But more than anything, locals’ tastes differed from others around the country due to the price range. While Ocean City, New Jersey, the national list-topper had the highest price of all the locations in the national top 10 at $525,000. Fairfield County’s favorite Nantucket has an average price of $1.8 million. The Hamptons are no bargain either, with East Hampton’s average price listed at $1.3 million, and Southampton’s at $1.4 million.
Of course, Fairfield County’s vacation preferences do line up with some of our neighboring areas. Four of the top five locations listed for New York City residents were also on Fairfield County’s top 10 list. In the City, the top spot is East Hampton, which falls at No. 3 for Southwestern Connecticut travelers.
The Jersey Shore town of Cedar Heights also falls higher on the New York City list than it does in Connecticut, coming in at No. 5 for city residents, compared with No. 8 for Nutmeggers. And that popularity may be a recent change, according to Ziluca.
“I don’t have many people going to New Jersey,” she said. “I think people unfortunately got turned off from Sandy, though historically, Cedars has been very popular.”