Going to the beach is one of our family’s favorite vacations. We spend the week splashing in the waves and playing in the sand, and we often prefer to rent a beach house. Over the years, we’ve figured out how to find the perfect family beach house.
We’ve stayed in some amazing beach houses, but we’ve also stayed in some that weren’t so amazing.
Staying in the wrong family beach house is a surefire way to start your vacation on the wrong foot. Don’t make the same mistakes that we have over the years. I made a simple list of what to consider when picking the best family beach house that everyone will love.
Why You Might Want a Family Beach House
Some families prefer to stay in a hotel or a condo. Some hotels include water parks and amazing amenities, and since some condos have 3 or 4 bedrooms, you might wonder what are the benefits of renting a family beach house.
The Pros to Renting a Beach House
- Your kids can be louder without bothering the neighbors. My kids are loud – I’m sure yours are too.
- You have more space to move around and enjoy than a condo.
- It’s easier to accommodate larger families or multiple families taking a vacation together. If you’re traveling with your parents or siblings (and their families), a beach house offers space for everyone.
- They include full kitchens and laundry facilities, so you can save money cooking on vacation. Having laundry facilities is great if you have kids.
- Beach houses often are available for longer rental periods than condos or hotels.
- You have more privacy than staying in a hotel.
The Cons to Renting a Beach House
- Beach houses are often more expensive than a hotel unless you’re splitting the cost with other families.
- They book up much faster; don’t wait. I suggest booking 4-6 months ahead of time – or sooner!
- You won’t have access to house cleaning, so you still have to pick up and cook.
- Chances are you need to book for an entire week rather than just particular days or a weekend.
13 Tips for Finding the Perfect Family Beach House
1. Consider the Cost
It’s no secret; renting a family beach house is more expensive than a hotel or a resort location. The price often depends on several factors, such as:
- If you’re visiting a popular destination like Myrtle Beach.
- If you’re visiting in the prime summer months or the off season.
- Oceanfront houses are always more expensive.
- Houses with more bedrooms will cost more than smaller homes.
- Amenities increase the price tag.
Set a budget and find something that works in that range. If you can’t find something in your budget, I suggest keeping to the budget and looking for a hotel instead.
2. Find the Perfect Location
The first thing you have to consider when picking out the perfect family beach house is the location. Chances are you know WHERE you want to vacation, but then, you have to decide where you want to be located.
Some people want to be close to the beach. Our family prefers oceanfront beach homes; I want to walk out on the patio and be steps away from the ocean. Other people want to be a street or two away from the beach, which is often cheaper.
3. Beach Access
If you decide not to rent an oceanfront beach house, you have to think about beach access and parking. Just because you’re close to the water doesn’t mean you’re close to the beach.
Take a look at a map and find the closest public beach access point, or getting to the beach with little ones will be a hassle.
One time, we rented a beach house that was across the street from the beach. In the morning, I could see the waves from the deck and hear the crashing, but getting to the nearest public beach access point was a solid 15 minute walk with my kids. Dragging all of their supplies made the walk frustrating.
If there is parking close to the beach access point, that makes it a bit easier. The downside is that you’ll find sand in your car until the next family beach trip.
TIP: This is one reason why I think wagons are a must-have beach essential for families with babies and toddlers.
4. Proximity to Attractions
Do you want to be close to all the action, or do you want to be private and secluded? How far are you willing to drive to restaurant and area attractions?
We prefer to be private but close enough to area attractions because we have to think about the kids and driving. If your kids are older (or kidless), then you won’t have to worry about fussy kids driving to dinner.
Think about what you want for your vacation.
Do you want to spend the week beaching it up, or do you want to beach and do plenty of activities? Beaches offer plenty of attractions like go-karts, mini-golfing, amusement rides, and more.
When considering the proximity to local attractions, noise plays a factor as well. I like to hear the sounds of the ocean at night; a crowded area will be louder. That also might be a problem if your kids prefer quiet while sleeping.
5. Who is Coming with You
Think about who is coming and staying with you in your family beach house. We have gone on beach trips with just my husband and kids, but some years, my parents and siblings might join us. The more people you have, the bigger house you need.
When we have multiple adults coming with us, I always have to consider the bedroom situation. I won’t give up having a nice bedroom with a large bed and a good view, even if my parents come.
It’s my vacation too!
So, consider if everyone will have a bedroom that they like!
6. Number of Bedrooms
Think about the sleeping configuration along with having nice master rooms. Who is going to sleep together? Will all of your kids be okay sleeping in the same room, or do you have older kids who might prefer to have privacy?
Most beach houses list how many people can sleep in the house, but that’s not always reflected by the number of bedrooms. Rentals often include pullout couches or cots in their sleep total, and most parents don’t want their kids sleeping on a pullout sofa on the screened in porch.
7. If You Cook at Home Often
Do you like to cook when you’re on vacation, or do you prefer to eat out regularly?
If you prefer to cook at home, then you’ll want to make sure the family beach house has an adequate sized kitchen and dining room space to hold your family. Cooking at home is one way to save money on vacation, but it’s a lot more fun to eat out.
I look to see what kind of coffee maker they include because mama needs her coffee.
Look at the fridge size as well. If you’re staying for a week and have several kids, you need space to fit all of their snacks and breakfast foods.
8. The View!
I love having an amazing view whenever I go to the beach. I want to hear the waves crashing when I lay in bed and wake up to see the sun rising over the ocean.
It’s one of the best parts of going on a beach vacation. We’ve gone to the beach when our infants are young, and I often saw the sunrise while nursing my babies. It made the start of the day even better.
9. Included Amenities
Look to see what each of the beach houses have to offer when you make your selection.
Having a washer and dryer at the house is a must-have when I rent a family beach house. It makes going back home easier when you have clean clothes.
Some beach houses include pools and hot tubs, which may or may not be a benefit if you have kids. Others have pool tables, board games, a DVD collection, and other fun things for families to enjoy.
Make sure you consider these when picking the right family beach house!
10. The Outdoor Space
I have to have some sort of outdoor space when we have a family beach house. If we aren’t on the beach, then we’re on the deck. We like to have a deck with chairs, lounges, and a grill. Our family grills out often; the kids love hot dogs, and we love a good steak!
11. Is The House Kid-Friendly?
I’ve stayed in a few family beach houses that were far from kid-friendly, and that’s okay. Every beach rental house caters to a different group of people, and some houses aren’t designed for kids.
Look to see if the house is listed as family friendly or kid-friendly. Keep in mind that it doesn’t mean the house is child-proofed, so you might need to bring a gate and other safety items with you.
Ideally, you want to have a child gate at the top of deck stairs and sturdy railings. Look at the floor plan to make sure your kids’ bedrooms will be on the same floor as your room in case you need to make an emergency exit. You also should look to see if there is a place for your kids to play indoors; it will probably rain at some point on vacation.
12. Included Beach Gear
One time, we stayed at a beach house that included beach chairs, umbrellas, sand toys, and coolers. It was so nice to have extra stuff that we didn’t have to bring with us while traveling.
Often times, previous guests leave these things anyway because they don’t want to put them in their cars to drive home. However, some rentals include nice-quality ones.
Be sure to ask!
13. Look the Check-In and Check-Out Times
Most family beach houses have a minimum night stay; not all are available for a weekend rental. Many are strict about their renting policies, requiring a rental from Saturday-Saturday or Sunday-Sunday.
The check-in hours are important; consider how far of a drive it is from your house or the airport. Ask if they offer any pre-check-in amenities; sometimes, you’re allowed to use the pool before your check-in time.
Enjoy Your Vacation
Finding the perfect family beach house is just the first step to having an amazing vacation. You can have fun anywhere, but you never want to start your vacation disappointed in your beach house. So, take the time to find the perfect house for your family.