Tuesday, March 31, 2015

4 Tips for Picking the Perfect Beach House

One of my favorite weeks of the year is always my family's annual trip to the beach. We've been going to Myrtle Beach for almost 15 years now, and typing that, I feel really old. But it's true, all throughout high school we went during Spring Break, and for the past 8 years we've gone in late August. 

When we went to the beach in high school, we stayed in a three bedroom condo in the same hotel as all of our friends. It was perfect because our parents could easily keep an eye on us, and they didn't have to drive us back & forth to meet our friends all the time. But as we got older, and stopped traveling as a pack, we quickly realized that we hate elevators & public pools. Thus, a beach house is the ideal option for us. 

The first time we went to rent, we were overwhelmed with options. So, I thought I'd break it down for all of my readers. My tips are specifically geared towards Myrtle Beach, but can easily be applied to other beach vacation towns too! 

1. Location, Location, Location

In Myrtle Beach, the area is separated into 4 main areas. North Myrtle - which is primarily condors & hotels. South Myrtle - again, hotels & condos. Surfside Beach, Garden City, & Murrel's Inlet - primarily beach houses. We personally stay in Surfside, because it is closest to Myrtle Beach & the restaurants and activities that we enjoy. However, Garden City & Murrel's Inlet still have every major convenience that you could ask for, and offer just a little more peace & quiet. Be sure to do your research & find out what your family will be interested in doing while you're there - no one wants to spend half an hour in the car to go to dinner every night! 

2. Party of ??

A lot of beach houses say they sleep 18 people, but you need to take into consideration if that includes pull out couches, bunk beds, or people sharing rooms. We always look at the number of bedrooms, then the number of actual beds. The house that we're staying in for the third year in a row has four bedrooms upstairs and a master bedroom downstairs. It has six total beds. For us, that's more than enough room & allows my grandma or aunt to join us if they choose to do so. We could certainly get by with less room, but we all enjoy having our own space. 

On the flip side, my boss goes to Myrtle with a group of friends & neighbors every year and they fill their house to capacity. He says the kids don't mind sleeping on the pull outs & it's a great way to save some money! 

3. Beach Front or Pool? 

Personally, I'm a pool person. Yes, I love a good walk on the beach, but when it comes to laying out & swimming, I prefer a pool. And with Ella, a pool is definitely easier than going back & forth to the beach all day. Since my family is on the same page with me, we always rent a house with a pool, a few rows back from the beach. Generally, it's less expensive because you aren't beach front, but it's still only a 5 minute walk away. 

4. Eating In or Dining Out?

Some beach houses come equipped with 5 star kitchens, others... not so much. If you have no plans to eat anything other than a bowl of cereal at your beach house, don't worry about it. But if you're like my family & eat over 2/3 of your meals there, having a large, functional kitchen is key! Be sure to look at the amenities to see what is included! 

5. Go in the Off Season 

If your schedule allows, go during the off season to save a bundle of money. I'm obviously a teacher, so going in September when prices really drop off isn't an option, but we did do it the year Ella was born while I was still on maternity leave & it was awesome. We still had great weather, but the restaurants were quiet & we paid far less for our rental. Most years, my family still avoids the majority of the crowds by going the very last week of August, when most of the southern schools are back in session. 

By going in the off season, you're likely to get the most house for your money. In many cases, just going one week later can suddenly make beach front or an extra bedroom affordable! 

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