This guide hops from the tropical sands of Hawaii to the buzzing boardwalks of South Carolina, the pine-scented forests of the Rocky Mountains to the turquoise lakes of the Californian sierras. Along the way it will zero in on some of the most luxury vacation rentals available, whether that's luxury condos for rent on the East Coast barrier isles or luxury lodges on the edge of Coloradan ski fields.

Getting luxury vacation rentals near the ocean

Being close to the wavy shore and the salt spray of the ocean adds something special to any type of trip. Choosing luxury vacation rentals on the coast can mean having front-row seats overlooking the sands, and plenty of enticing extras. Below are just a few hot destinations where plush rentals pop up within eyeshot of the water.

Loads of luxury condos for rent in South Carolina

Even the pizzazz of Myrtle Beach eventually gives way to some seriously luxurious homes. Close to the rollicking boardwalk and its aquarium, they come in the form of luxury condos for rent, which spill onto balconies overlooking the white-tinted sands and the white-capped waves of the Atlantic. Head along the Grand Strand to the north, and there are luxury cottages in neighborhoods like Cherry Grove, rubbing shoulders with manicured golf courses and dune reserves.

Secure a Maui luxury rental on Aloha shores

From the black-rock coves of Kapalua to the golden sand stretches of Kaanapali, Maui luxury rentals are a ticket to some of the most stunning coastline in the Aloha State. You'll be following in the footsteps of Polynesian kings, who once came here to vacation and do daring cliff dives from the peaks of Puu Kekaa. These days, though, there's chic shopping in Whalers Village and PGA-rated golf courses to discover.

Luxury vacation homes across the Caribbean

Glowing like a string of pearls as they rise out of the aquamarine Caribbean Sea, the isles of the Bahamas have become a byword for jet-setter vacationing. Luxury vacation homes cling to the shores of cays like Exuma, channeling colonial-era styles and offering sweeping views of alabaster-white beaches. And that's just one Caribbean getaway. There's also the uber-romantic Turks and Caicos, the Spice Isle, and lively Anguilla to name a few more.

They might be the most-visited places of all – bucket-list beach towns, Disney adventure parks, must-visit metropolises – but there's usually something luxurious that means you'll get to experience them in a truly unique way.

Luxury house rentals for families in Orlando

Florida's fun-loving theme park hub is no stranger to the luxury side of things. There are oodles of homes in these parts that will ensure the fun doesn't end once you've said goodnight to Mickey Mouse and Cinderella. Cue game rooms, covered pool areas, big BBQ grills, and comfy living rooms with massive flat-screen TVs.

Mexico's luxury estates

Live the high life south of the Mexico border by seeking out luxury estates nestled in the jungles of the Yucatan, or up in the Sierra Madre ranges that line the Pacific Ocean. Infused with a Spanish vibe, they have big courtyards with bubbling fountains, palm- and fern-sprouting gardens, antique interiors, and more. You'll leave feeling like a real conquistador.

Luxury townhomes for rent in cities all over

From genteel Southern mansions to brownstone row houses to adobe Mexicana cottages, there are all sorts of luxury townhomes for rent across the United States. These are the rentals that will get you into the very heart of a town or city with all the creature comforts you could want. A hot tub after a day's touring Midtown Manhattan, perhaps? A dip in your private pool after treading The Strip of Las Vegas, maybe?

Luxury vacation rentals in USA mountain resorts

The mountains and the woods offer an altogether different sort of luxury vacation rental. Up with the ski fields of California and Colorado, there's a hint of the traditional Swiss chalet or the opulent French chateau about many, where features range from ski-in access to steaming al fresco tubs for winter dips.

Big Bear luxury rentals for alpine treats

Tucked deep in the recesses of San Bernardino National Forest, Big Bear Lake continues to pull vacationers away from the warm sands and bustling boulevards of LA. It's got luxury lodges with a charming alpine twist to them, coming with wood-panelled walls and gardens that burst with tall pine trees. The town itself is great both summer and winter, touting the ski trails of Snow Summit mountain, designer shopping boutiques, and miles of surrounding hiking paths.

The ski centers of Colorado beckon

Aspen and Vail lead the way on the luxury skiing front in the Centennial State. It can seem, sometimes, as if the fashion shopping and the champagne-fuelled après are more important than the slopes in these parts. Only sometimes, though – both are world-class winter sports destinations with 100s of miles of runs. Rental wise, get ready to enjoy sumptuous alpine chalets with equipment rooms and hearty log fires.

Get luxury lodges in Vermont

Vermont's mountain peaks are famed for their blankets of forests, which can be seen changing colors from verdant green to ochre and auburn when the fall swings around. Sumptuous cabins and luxury lodges all over the state can be a ticket to that wonderous natural show. Or, they could be a base for hitting the tree-lined runs of exclusive resorts like Killington and Sugarbush when the snow starts falling.