Tell me what you did last summer
April 5, 2013 9:41 AM   Subscribe

A bunch (8-10, possibly more) of friends and I want to rent a beach house or similar living situation for Thursday-Monday over the summer, either late June/early July or early August. Where should we go and how can we find affordable housing?

A few notes about what we are looking for:

- We will be driving to Location from upstate New York, and do not want to travel more than 10 hours each way, absolute maximum.
- Beach, beach, beach. Did I mention beach?
- We don't want to have to use the cars when we get there. Walkability to attractions is important.
- We range in age from 23 to 30, mostly in the mid-20s range, and are looking for a place geared toward people our age. However, we are not, for the most part, wild partiers. We're more "crowded niche bar" people than "hazy nightclub" people.
- While we primarily want to spend our time at the beach, we would also like a place with other things to do. Boardwalk, parasailing, etc. We are an educated group and are also interested in museums and similar events.
- Warm/hot weather. The ocean is cold enough; we don't really want to get out of the water and feel colder than we were when we went in. (This is more of a concern the earlier in June we go, of course.)

Regarding the house... Assuming we have a group of at least 8, we will have a budget of $1000+ collectively, which I assume will be plenty for four nights (we want to arrive late Thursday and leave Monday afternoon/evening).

- We want a place as close to the beach as possible. A few blocks at most, ideally.
- Ideally we'd like more than one bathroom for obvious reasons
- One member of our group has some pretty severe allergies. Not enough that he'd die or anything if we got a place with some mold in the basement, but out of consideration for him I'd like to minimize the sniffles and general unhappiness that comes with having an allergic reaction.
- We stay up late, we're on the noisy side, and we'd rather not have people after us for it. Thus why we're staying away from hotels.

Just to clarify, we're not going to party-wreck the place. We're out to have a good time, but we're conscientious too. The place will be in fine condition when we leave.

So, help us out! Where should we go, where should we stay, and what might be fun to do when we get there?
posted by Urban Winter to Travel & Transportation (13 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Fire Island!

My non-expert impression is that you would be priced out of Cape Cod and the Hamptons (here I mean the Lesser Hamptons). :( But Fire Island will be cute and fun for you for a weekend (I think if you were going to go every weekend you would get bored of it, but you will have fun for a weekend).
posted by Snarl Furillo at 9:53 AM on April 5, 2013

Ten hours gets you a lot of beach!

You can pretty much just head down the coast and find the popular beach towns. I'm not sure what rental prices are like in Barnegat Light, NJ (we stayed with some very lucky friends who own a place there) but it was lovely in August and I believe there are a few surrounding similar towns.

Consider Rehoboth or Bethany Beach in DE, or the more subdued Fenwick Island, but June may still be a tiny bit chilly. Further south: Ocean City, MD (though I think of that as more a party scene). Virginia Beach might also suit, but I think that if you're going to go that far, you may as well drive the rest of the way to the Outer Banks in NC. Duck is a little more chilled out than Nags Head, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, etc.

Then again, if you like what you see in the Outer Banks, then I think you should go ahead and re-consider Delaware because you're driving twice the distance for a somewhat similar experience. For perspective, in high school and undergrad in southeaster VA, the kids went to the Outer Banks to rent houses and party freely for Beach Week. I see the same thing now with the college kids surrounding DC and heading to Delaware or Ocean City.

I think the hardest part going to be finding a house rental for Thu-Mon. During the summer season, many houses expect weekly rentals (Sat-Sat is standard, I think).
posted by juliplease at 9:55 AM on April 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

I am not east-coast focused so I don't have a specific location suggestion, but look at vrbo and airbnb. $30/person/night is really very low for this sort of thing, so I suspect your options will be relatively limited. Actual beachfront may not be an option, but you'll be able to find something in walking distance to a beach.
posted by brainmouse at 9:56 AM on April 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'd go onto and have a look at some candidate areas where costs are lower for beach rentals.

Keep in mind though that you'll be there during the peak season, so prices will be higher. You will have to really look hard to find a good place for 8 people for $1000, but you should be able to swing it.

I'd start with some Eastern Shore (MD) towns like Chestertown and then just look at a map and move up and down the coast. There are some VA beaches that also might be good choices for you as well.

Fire Island, on the other hand, is going to be way out of your range unless you're camping.
posted by yellowcandy at 9:58 AM on April 5, 2013

AirBNB is going to be your best bet. You're going to have to be really flexible with location with such a low budget.
posted by ewiar at 10:04 AM on April 5, 2013

Response by poster: Looking at the "$30/person/night" comment... Is $1000 too low? I wasn't really thinking of paying per person so much as for the house itself. I just tossed the number out there; it's not a hard-and-fast budget. Really, we could probably get closer to $200/person without too much trouble since none of us vacations very often. We're not looking for super-expensive places, but feel free to suggest things in a fairly wide price range.

Not Cape Cod though. Never Cape Cod.
posted by Urban Winter at 10:04 AM on April 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

I think your budget may be a bit low for non-hotel accommodations. For a place that sleeps at least 8 adults, most places are going to be $300+/night on the East Coast. Most places will also have checkout by noon or early afternoon so if you want to stay through Monday afternoon/evening you'll be charged for an extra night. It's often not much more to rent someplace for a whole week as it is for 3-4 nights over the weekend. Seconding VRBO to look for rentals--test out a few potential locations and see how things stack up price-wise.
posted by drlith at 10:06 AM on April 5, 2013 [2 favorites]

Note that Outer Banks beach house weekly rentals are typically Saturday afternoon to Saturday morning. Also, now would be the time to be booking there for the 2014 season.
posted by Rash at 11:05 AM on April 5, 2013

Your budget is criminally low for a stand alone house to sleep 8 people for 4 nights over an extended weekend in the prime rental season for beach towns. My parents own a condo in Wildwood, NJ that has 1 bedroom with 2 double beds, 1 bathroom, a galley kitchen and a pull out couch, so it sleeps 6. It's basically a converted 1960s motel. It went for $238 a night last year witha 3 night minimum. Always booked.

You would pretty much be limited to "prom" type rentals in party towns, and they would be liek 2 bedroom 1 bath rental flop house apartments.

I think your only hope at that price would be to see how Sandy afftected the rates in some of the harder hit towns.
posted by WeekendJen at 12:40 PM on April 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

This escaped me on my first answer because i used to live there so i didn't consider it a beach town so much as home, but your budget might work in Asbury Park, NJ. If it does then the bars to hit up would be Bond St Bar and Brickwall (with it's Annex next door) and watermark, right on the boardwalk. Theres also art galleries and some hippie dippie stuff like a supernatural store. They have real Mexican at a nice restaruaunt on main st call "La tienda" or somehting but it's labeled as a laundromat. They also have some upscale bar/ restaurants. Asbury Lanes is a cool place to see some punk band. Stone Pony has bigger shows, usually outdoors in the summer. BUT a good portion of the town is still rundown.
posted by WeekendJen at 12:56 PM on April 5, 2013

You might like the more laid back southern beaches. Myrtle Beach.

Yeah, it's a couple hours out of your target area, but it's pretty funky and pretty cheap.

You can get a beach house or a condo on VRBO.

Also you will love the low country boil.

Watch the movie Shag. Learn how to Shag!

Honestly, I think you'll have a lot of fun.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:26 PM on April 5, 2013

Thinking outside the box, how about Lake Michigan. It is essentially the Hamptons for Chicago. Saugatuck, for example. Beaches are just as nice and the water is arguably more swimmable. Probably cheaper that the Atlantic coast. Might be slightly outside your driving range, though.
posted by dzot at 1:28 PM on April 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Many kids in the South go back to school in early to mid-August, and if you can after that, you'll find more vacancies and possibly lower rates.
posted by bluedaisy at 8:15 PM on April 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

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