How to Rent the Perfect Beach House—Every Time
Avoid renter’s remorse with our expert guide for picking a house suited to every type of crew.
Whether you’re booking an annual girlfriend getaway or a family retreat for 50, we’ve got the intel for picking the right rental for your beach squad. Bags, packed.
The Trip: Girlfriend Getaway
Quality time is the secret sauce to a great girl’s (or guy’s!) weekend. Key words like “open concept” or “great room” should clue you in that this particular house is well-suited for BFF bonding time.
Insider Tip: Get the local scoop. Many rental owners provide a list of local suggestions with everything from private chefs who will cook up a custom meal at home to a great day spa.
Related: The Best Girlfriend Beach Trips
The Trip: Great Big Family Reunion
For mega family get-togethers, consider the needs of each generation and how one big house can accommodate everyone. One-story rentals or houses with first floor bedrooms are great for older family members, while bunkrooms are efficient and oh-so-fun spaces for piling in cousins of all ages. Another option: consider a string of adjoining condos or neighboring houses, which will make divvying up the rental costs that much easier. (Plus, rental agencies often offer special rates for groups renting multiple properties.)
Insider Tip: Look for homes with built-in fun for kiddos (and grown-ups!). Many rental homes include complimentary board games for rainy days, bocce ball for beach fun, and boogie boards and other toys for on-the-water adventures for the whole crew. Amenities like these make planning afternoon activities a cinch.
Related: Four Famous, Historic Homes You Can Actually Rent:
The Trip: Pet-Friendly Getaway
Some of us can’t bear the thought of leaving our fur child behind. Before you book your pet-friendly rental, make sure you’re clear on the owner’s policies and built-in fees, such as deposits, daily rate increases, and cleaning charges, that can come when you’ve got your four-legged friend in tow. Also, ask what the pet laws are at the closest beach. You’ll want to be near a Fido-friendly stretch for impromptu walks—and avoid fines. It’s also good to ask about access to outdoor showers and spigots to rinse off sandy paws.
Insider Tip: If you’re traveling to a new seaside location, it’s always a good idea to check with your vet first. Some pets, especially those used to colder climates, might not be on the flea, tick, and heartworm preventatives that are necessary in warmer climates. The same goes for vaccinations. And always make sure your pup stays hydrated and has constant access to shade on sunny days.
The Trip: Couples Escape
Retreats with your S.O. are all about quality time—both outside and inside your rental. When searching for a place, consider filtering for romantic amenities like fireplaces and hot tubs (depending on the time of year), or opt for a totally different type of rental that will feel special, memorable, and uniquely private, such as a sailboat, Airstream, or tree house.
Insider Tip: Make sure you peruse the comments section of rentals, where past guests often reveal bonus facts about the property that might not be in the listing, such as the owner’s tendency to leave a bottle of wine or a cheese plate for guests upon arrival. It will give you one more thing to look forward to in advance of your getaway.
The Trip: Kid-Friendly Family Vacation
The last thing you want to be doing on your family vacation is worrying about damaging anything in a too-precious rental. Look for a house with kid-friendly functionality, like slipcovers, tall railings on balconies, and bunk beds. Easy beach and pool access are also big bonuses—both for hauling toys and gear and proximity to rest rooms and shade when it’s time for a break.
Insider Tip: Ask about kid’s programs or camps. Many beach towns and community centers have fun activities like sailing, paint your own pottery, and more. Day and half-day camps mean fun for kids and a respite for adults.