Just in time for the Spring real estate season, a recent article in Barron's highlighted the best places to purchase second homes in the United States. Barron's rates these locations based on beauty, comfort, convenience, a range of lifestyles and, above all else value now that the worst of the financial crisis is over.

Barron's concludes that this is a great time to buy a luxury vacation home; prices are rising, but they are still quite low. Or to quote the authors "Two years after the worst of the financial crisis, the rich have dusted themselves off and resumed some serious discretionary spending."

However, what if you don't want to make the investment in sole ownership of your vacation home? The good news here is that there are alternatives; you can also find wonderful destination club and/or private residence club options in many of the locations that Barron's cites. In some cases, in fact, there are several options to choose from in the same area.

And of course, buying into a destination club or private residence club gives you many of the advantages of owning a vacation home without all of the inconveniences that come with full ownership like upkeep and paying full property taxes.

Let's take a look at the options.

At least one, and in some cases several, destination clubs offer shared home options in eleven of the fifteen locations in Barron's "Best Places" list;

Sea Island, GA

The number one location on Barron's list is located midway between Jacksonville and Savannah. The paper notes that residents include Don Keough, former president of Coca-Cola; software billionaire Tom Siebel and former Senator Sam Nunn.

Destination club Exclusive Resorts has 20 four-bedroom homes on the Island. Club members enjoy access to the resort amenities including three award-winning golf courses, a newly built luxurious spa, and excellent restaurants.

Equity Estates Maui Pool

Maui, HI

In Maui (number 2 on Barron's list), check out the Quintess' Loa's Lani, a 3,800 sq ft home nestled against the West Maui Mountains. You'll enjoy the same beach (the largest in Wailea) and stunning views you would by purchasing full ownership in this location. As a Quintess member, you will also have access to the five-star Grand Wailea Hotel, the Wailea Golf Club, and spa and tennis amenities.

Equity Estates owners enjoy a 6 bedroom estate in 2 acres on the famed Plantation Golf Course. The residences private infinity pool overlooks the lush Maui landscape and Pacific Ocean (pictured above).

The Ritz-Carlton Club at Kapalua Bay offers a choice of either a 2 or 3 bedroom residences, through both its home club and portfolio membership plans. Exclusive Resorts has 12 residences at The Ritz-Carlton Club and Residences, Kapalua Bay and 10 residences at Wailea.

Aspen, CO

Nowadays, Aspen is a year round favorite and comes in at 4th on the Barron's list. Most of the leading destination clubs offer residences for people who want to make Aspen their vacation home. Many of them are ski-in/ski-out. Plus there are probably more residence club options in Aspen and the surrounding valleys than anywhere else, including The Residences at The Little Nell, The St. Regis Club Aspen, Hyatt Grand Aspen Lodge, and the Timbers Club.

Martha's Vineyard, MA

Number 5 on Barron's list and the vacation location of choice for several US Presidents, the island of Matha's Vineyard is just 7 miles off the coast of Cape Cod. The Edgartown Residence Club is located in Vineyard Square and provides 1/12 shares in one and two bedroom residences overlooking the harbor.

Deer Valley, UT

Like Aspen, you have several options to choose from around Deer Valley, Utah, which is ranked number 6 on the Barron's list. Several destination clubs have homes in the area including Equity Estates, Exclusive Resorts, Quintess, Lifestyle Assets and Abercrombie & Kent. The Deer Valley Club was the worlds first private residence club and has been joined by The Residences at The Chateaux and Sky Lodge Resort Club.

Lake Tahoe, CA

Looking to the West Coast and Lake Tahoe (number 7 on the Barron's list), Exclusive Resorts offers you a choice of fourteen different homes. Abercrombie & Kent and Quintess members can each enjoy a residence in the Great Bear Lodge at Northstar. Ritz-Carlton opened their club in Northstar, Lake Tahoe just last winter. There's equally a wide selection of fractional ownership properties around the lake, from high-end clubs such as the Northstar Club or Tonopalo to shared single family homes.

Kiawah Island, SC

Kiawah Island in South Carolina, comes in at 8th on Barron's list and offers several choices of shared second homes. Quintess, Exclusive Resorts, and Abercrombie & Kent, all have four- or five-bedroom residences for you to choose from.

You can also find nice options nearer the middle of the continental US with shared luxury residences in Palm Springs (Barron's #11), Sun Valley, Idaho (#13), Lake Geneva, Wisconsin (#14) and Asheville, North Carolina (#15).

Of course, you may also want to vacation in other parts of the United States, or throughout wider North America, Europe or the rest of the world. This isn't a problem as there are many fine locations offering shared second homes. Click here to start your search – and enjoy your trip!

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