Beach house rental, minus oil
May 31, 2010 7:29 AM   Subscribe

Looking for an alternate beach house rental in late August.

Early this year, we booked a wonderful beach house on Dauphin Island in Alabama. This isn't the home, but to give you an idea:

The things we love: Literally on the beach, 4+ bedrooms, great beach for the 2 families (ages 4 - 10).

Obviously the oil spill in the Gulf has made this vacation plan go downhill rapidly. Because of vacation insurance, I'm looking for houses along the East coast that might compare. Preferably within a couple of days drive from Missouri.

Do you know of beaches that are similar to this setup in North / South Carolina, or even in northern Florida on the East coast? I expect availability to be limited, but just giving it a shot as my four year old continues to ask how many days left until the beach house.
posted by shinynewnick to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
The North Carolina coast is pretty much full of barrier islands with beach houses like that. The bonus is that NC schools go back in early- to mid-August, so most families have already finished up their vacations by then.

Seriously, there are so many, it's hard to know what to suggest. You might like Sunset Beach, far south on the NC coast, as it has no highrises.

In South Carolina, there's a neat, pretty remote beach/island called Edisto Island. That's lovely as well.

I have no idea about driving times.
posted by bluedaisy at 8:05 AM on May 31, 2010

Anna Maria Island in Florida is your answer but it is usually booked a year in advance. You want to be in Anna Maria instead of Holmes Beach or Bradenton. Even though it's on the Gulf side, Anna Maria doesn't seem to have been affected (yet, dammit to hell, BP). Perfect heaven, especially for 4-10 year olds. Free trolley that takes you all over the island, but everything is bike-able and walk-able. You might not be able to get right on the beach this late, but the island is only 5 blocks wide with ocean on both sides so it usually isn't a big deal as every walk is very short. Still, check it out for possible last minute cancellations, you never know.
posted by jeanmari at 8:19 AM on May 31, 2010

My family has been going to Holden Beach, NC for 15+ years, it's a couple of islands up from Sunset Beach mentioned above (which is also nice). It's pretty much all cottages, no hotels or condos, so very much a family beach. Late August is good aside from hurricane season. I think rates go down mid-August.
posted by ghharr at 8:57 AM on May 31, 2010

Garden City, SC fits your requirements. My extended family (20-30 people) have vacationed there each of the last 20+ years. The community is nice in that there are houses (some of which are very large) right on the beach. This lack of density means that the beaches are very uncrowded...approaching private beach-esque. However, you can still stroll and see people and be a little social if you like. Another advantage of the location is that while the immediate area is pretty low density, you do have Myrtle Beach 15-30 minutes away to the North which means lots of activities for an excursion if sitting on the beach all day gets boring. Likewise, Murrell's Inlet is 10 minutes away to the South and it full of charm and seafood restaurants located directly on the marsh-front docks.

Feel free to MeMail if you have more questions.
posted by mmascolino at 9:00 AM on May 31, 2010

My friends are partial to Duck, NC.
posted by gudrun at 11:40 AM on May 31, 2010

And we like Topsail Island, NC.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 2:07 PM on May 31, 2010

My family has a beach house for rent on Perdido Bay, about 40 miles east of Dauphin Island. It was built in 1930, and extensively remodeled after Hurricane Ivan in 2004. Obviously, we are distressed by the oil spill, and the potential damage to the Gulf beaches, and the inland bay beaches. More than that, the area has many creeks that are filled with plants, fish, and wildlife, all vulnerable. However, right now everything is clean, fine, and lovely. And the renters are canceling.

Should you still be interested, there are four bedrooms, a dining table that seats 14, 100 feet of broad screened porch, bay views, and sea breezes. The bay is shallow near the shore, and two feet deep at 100 yards out. There is a dredged swimming hole. There are canoes and kayaks, and nearby creeks to explore. A half hour drive takes you to the Gulf beaches, including some beautiful sugar-white sand. Drive a bit past the crowds and you can have a portion of the beach almost to your self. Any yet, people are avoiding the area.

There are fishermen who make their living from the Gulf, and from the bays. Some of their fishing grounds are closed, but many are still open. But people are avoiding buying seafood.

All of this is to say that things look bad, but they are not horrible yet. Your August vacation is far enough away that you should assume that oil will be on the beaches then. Be sure to keep the area in your memories, and come back again. Think kind thoughts about the people who live on the Gulf, and how the fear of oil is affecting their lives. See you next year, when it could all be beautiful again. Assuming, as we always hope, that this is not the year of the Big One, which would wipe away the homes and amenities.

Memail me if you want info on the rental house.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 2:29 PM on May 31, 2010

Sweetie Darling mentioned Topsail Island, NC. YES! My husband's family has been going there for 30+ years. It's very quiet, very family-oriented. We always get a house on the ocean and in fact, were really late to rent this year (we just reserved online this evening!) and still got a 4 bedroom house on the ocean. So you should really have no problem. We always go over July 4th and you can seriously look both ways from your beach chair and see maybe 30 people total depending on what part of the island you're on. It's awesome. We put up our umbrellas and chairs for the whole week and never move them.

Plus, there's a sea turtle hospital on the island that might be interesting for the kids. Some of the rescued turtles are huge and really cool to look at.

There are lots of realtors, but we usually use Topsail Realty or Ward Realty, both include cleaning when you leave, so all you have to do is take out the garbage and go home!

Here's the website for Topsail Beach. Good luck choosing and have fun!
posted by fresh-rn at 6:21 PM on May 31, 2010

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