North Carolina is home to many great destinations for a family vacation or time away by yourself. To rent a beach house in North Carolina, follow these simple steps:
1. Select a date
Most beach houses in North Carolina are available for rent from Saturday to Saturday. Check in is typically around 3PM and check out is almost always promptly at 10AM. Prime rental season begins in late May and that’s when prices go up. Tourist season is in full swing by the middle of June. Water temperatures peak in July and the water is over 80 degrees. Things die off quickly as soon as August is over, however the water is still warm enough to swim in until October. If you want peace and quiet, go in September or October and you won’t be disappointed. Of course, this is likely not an option for most families with children.
2. Decide who’s going
Some beach houses are very large and two families go at once. Be sure to go with someone you get along with. If the beach house has only one master bedroom, be sure not to split the money 50/50 or else whoever has the smaller bedroom will be upset. If a second family is going, get their money right now because once the house is rented you’re not going to be able to un-rent it without losing a significant down payment.
3. Pick your beach
My favorite beach is Topsail Island. I like to describe it as the opposite of Myrtle Beach. Yes, Myrtle is in South Carolina, but the city has loads of bars, attractions and other things to do. It’s loud, dirty, and you can’t set foot on the beach without being right next to a lifeguard or paying to simply use an umbrella. Most of the beach is owned by a hotel and you may need your wallet. Screw that! Topsail Island is very clean and quiet. If you want to hit up all kinds of restaurants, take an Uber around, go on rides, this is not the beach for you. If you want to get fresh seafood to cook at home and sit by the ocean all day, Topsail is your spot. Topsail is mostly rented by families, so expect to see lots of children there.
North of Topsail is Emerald Isle and it is another nice beach.
Wilmington is full of college students and beautiful people and driving around is difficult.
Oak Island I enjoy as well however the water is very different as the river flows out just above the island. It can be brown and a few times it has made me very itchy.
4. Rent your house
Many beach houses are all booked up by May.
A 3 bedroom beach house in Topsail that sleeps 6 – 8 people will generally run you about $2,000 – $3,000/wk. That’s oceanfront, no dogs. There are also duplex houses here which are cheaper and of course larger homes which can accomodate multiple families for $4000ish.
Houses are much cheaper a row away from the beach.
Popular sites to rent a beach house include: AirBNB, VRBO and of course the local real estate beach rental companies. I personally just began using AirBNB a year ago and have found that I like it a lot. Renting via AirBNB is fairly safe and you can read other guest’s reviews. I am inexperienced with VRBO although it has been around longer. The real estate companies are generally fairly professional although they take a big 25-30% cut of what the owner is getting so some of the better deals are on AirBNB.
5. Bring LOTS of sunscreen
The first time I went to a North Carolina beach I simply visited it to take a walk. I was wearing clothing. I am a dark skinned white guy who rarely gets red in the sun. I was burnt. The sun burned me through my shirt. I didn’t even know that was possible. The next time I visited I got burned again although this time I had my normal SPF15 on. What was going on? I don’t know the scientific reason WHY but I do know I do not go outside without at least SPF30, and I still get very dark and avoid the sun from 12PM-2PM. The rest of the family needs SPF50 or greater, and you’d better be sure to get kids all slathered up several times each day and don’t forget their feet, ears and lips. My good friend who introduced me to Topsail Island has melanoma skin cancer. It is a real thing and yes exposure to the sun IS going to burn you.
Which beach is your favorite?
Please feel free to comment below with which beach is your favorite or your tips you would like to share about how to rent a beach house in North Carolina.