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If you’re planning a trip to the beach you’re probably looking for a place to stay. Most people will book a room at a hotel, but unless it’s a swanky resort why settle for a cookie cutter hotel room when you can rent a beach house?
Each beach house has its own character. It will have a kitchen, multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, and there’s usually a barbeque to cook outside.
You won’t find anything like it in a square hotel room.
Renting a house, whether it be for a week or weekend has become a popular alternative to enjoy a vacation. Although beach house rentals have been around for a long time, the last decade has seen a boom in the market due to technology making it easy to few and book online (Airbnb and VRBO are the big ones).
If you haven’t tried renting a vacation house you should! It can be done for solo travelers and couples, however, it’s most popular with families and large groups. Believe it or not, renting a beach house is fairly cheap (compared to a hotel) if you have a large group of people.
Plus you’ll save money if you decide to stay in and cook.
I’ve compiled a list of tips to consider when renting a beach house. Be sure to ask the manager about the house, neighborhood, parking, and other extras. I’m sure you’ll already know most of these ideas but hopefully a few are new. Let’s get started.
10 Tips For Renting A Beach House
Avoid Homes On The Boardwalk
Is the beach you’re visiting a tourist destination? Does it have a boardwalk or is it a quiet beach community?
This tip largely depends on the group of people renting the beach house. Younger groups looking to party might actually prefer to be on the boardwalk because that’s where the action is. Know that the boardwalk at a tourist beach can get loud and it’s always busy.
Be aware that you’ll have a lot of traffic passing by and don’t leave items out on the patio at night.
Some people may want the oceanfront beach house because of the view. Well, houses just off the boardwalk often have great views too.
Check the area with a map and read up on your beach. I find that houses one or two rows back offer many of the same perks, are cheaper, and provide more privacy.
Make Sure It Has Reserved Parking
One of the big perks of renting a beach house is free parking. Some beach rentals, however, only offer street parking (even if they have a garage they might use it for storage).
Double check to make sure it has reserved parking. This is a big tip because competing for parking spots at the beach is a headache in the summer.
Expect To Have Available Gear (masks, boards, bikes, towels)
Most people still bring their own beach gear. Rightfully so! If you have a surfboard or snorkel gear that you’re comfortable with then bring it with you on vacation.
Many beach rentals now provide used beach gear as part of their offer. For example, the last beach house I stayed at had paddle boards, boogieboards, fins, masks, as well as beach chairs and umbrella.
Granted, they were generic brands but worked well (especially the beach chairs and umbrellas). We brought our beach gear but didn’t end up using it.
Related: Best Boogieboards for the Beach
Check with the manager to see if there are beach supplies at the house and you might be able to travel with less gear.
Find A Place With A Rooftop View And Balconies
Balconies are cool, but rooftop views rule! Even if a beach house is only 2 or 3 stories high, a rooftop is the perfect place to hang out, enjoy the sunset, and BBQ. Rooftop areas offer privacy and are great places to sunbathe when you’re taking a break from the beach.
Balconies are also nice but it depends on their size. The more views the better!
Make Sure It Has A BBQ
If you’re staying at a beach house it better have a BBQ.
If not, the hosts are doing a disservice to their guests. One of the biggest differentiators between staying at a hotel or staying at a beach house is the ability to cook your own meals.
It’s not just about the kitchen. At the beach, you’ll want to cook outdoors too.
Check To See If The House Is Dog-Friendly
Do you have pets? Are you allergic to pets?
If the description for the beach house isn’t clear, be sure to ask if pets are allowed. Most beach houses use a cleaning service that thoroughly cleans the house after each guest. But they aren’t perfect.
I encountered pests at one of my stays and learned my lesson. Pets attract fleas. Evidently, the homeowner’s dog slept in the house when guests weren’t staying there. I still left a great review but made a mental note to ask about pets in the future.
Negotiate The Price
Did you know you can negotiate the price at a beach rental? Most people don’t, and if you do don’t be upset if they don’t budge. There are a lot of factors that go into pricing a beach house and demand is the main factor.
Are you going in the high season (summer) or during a holiday weekend? Your negotiation probably won’t be fruitful.
If you visit the beach in the off-season or mid-week you’ll likely have more leverage (even more if you’ll be staying a long time).
Look at beach rentals in the area. Are their many available? Is the calendar wide-open for beach houses? That’s a good sign for negotiating.
Either way, negotiation is likely to be minimal. Most beach houses off fair market value. It depends on your patience and the manager’s motivation.
Go In The Off-Season For A Better Price
Visiting the beach in the off-season will provide you with more options at a better price. If you’re a budge-conscious vacationer, early fall and late spring are great times to visit the beach.
Visit at these times and you’ll likely get great weather without the crowded beaches.
I recommend choosing dates right when school begins in the late summer (2nd week of September) and before school gets out in the spring (mid-May)!
Invite All Of The Family
If you’re traveling with a large family it will cost less if you rent a beach house. Depending on the dynamics of your family you may not want to stay together!
The more people staying in the house the lower the price is for each person. Vacations are always better with family, especially if you’re able to cook, BBQ, and watch your favorite sport’s team on television.
Plus, you’ll won’t be together the whole time as you’ll be spending most of your days at the beach.
Use Google Maps “street view” To Check Out The Neighborhood
Beach house rentals do a great job of showing every thing their house offers, but rarely do you see photos of the neighbors.
Usually, the neighbors are an afterthought but if you’re renting a beach house, your neighbors are important! You want to make sure the community is well taken care of and that it appears to be safe.
Though you may not get pictures of the neighborhood on the rental website, you can use Google maps to get a view of the neighbors and the street. Keep in mind Google’s photos can be 1-2 years old, but you should be able to get an idea of the area.
Don’t arrive at the beach house only to be disappointed by your neighbors!
Renting a beach house is an easy process and should be considered as an alternative to staying at a hotel. There are plenty of perks to renting a beach house, including:
- A better price for large groups
- Views (roof top and balconies)
- Gear to use
- Reserved parking spaces
- More family time
- Negotiating power
If you haven’t experienced renting a beach house I’d encourage you to do-so and see what it’s like. Resources online like Airbnb and VRBO, make the process as easy as booking a hotel and if you’re like me, you’ll develop a habit of staying at a beach house rather than a hotel.
Thanks for reading another Beach Life article. Check out the homepage or more tips for visiting the beach.