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Thinking Outside the Box: Wineries, Ski Lodges, Farms, and Driving Ranges as Alternative Real Estate Ventures

Updated: May 22

As interest rates remain consistently high, and the Federal Reserve opts for a hands-off approach amidst stubborn inflation, many real estate investors are exploring unconventional avenues to generate profits.


Vacation homes that operate year-round have emerged as a lucrative option, often yielding triple the returns of regular rentals. However, the competition in this space is fierce, and reliance on a full booking calendar can be stressful.


Fortunately, lesser-known real estate assets also hold promise for savvy investors. Let's delve into a few of these alternatives.



Investing in wineries is no longer exclusive to celebrities or tech moguls, and it extends beyond California's Napa Valley. While California dominates wine production in the U.S., states like New York, Pennsylvania, and Oregon also produce quality wine. However, purchasing an operational winery requires substantial capital and industry connections.


Ski Resorts and Vacation Homes:

Investing in ski resort towns offers high-income potential during the ski season and attracts outdoor enthusiasts in the summer. While upscale ski resorts can be pricey, opportunities exist in less-expensive regions like Maine, Pennsylvania, and Oregon.


Driving Ranges:

Modern golf driving ranges such as Topgolf and Drive Shack present lucrative investment prospects. Unlike traditional golf courses, driving ranges operate year-round, catering to golfers of all skill levels and offering additional amenities like food service.



Franchising options like Topgolf provide opportunities for high returns, albeit with significant initial investments. These franchises eliminate the need for dealing with tenants but require intensive management.


Overseas Vacation Homes:

Investing in vacation homes abroad, particularly in Central America, Europe, or the Caribbean, can offer attractive returns due to lower purchase prices. However, managing and maintaining overseas properties may pose challenges.



Farmland investments, either through REITs or direct ownership, offer stability and long-term growth potential. Platforms like AcreTrader provide avenues for investing in farmland, which historically has delivered favorable returns.


In conclusion, real estate investors seeking to maximize returns must explore unconventional avenues and consider adding service components to their assets. Partnering with industry experts for passive investments can enhance profitability over time.

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