You want to take a trip to a warm place. Florida is perfect. No need to leave the US, just hop in the car or on a plane and in a few hours you are in the Sunshine State. But it’s a big state. And the variety of rentals can be overwhelming. Which one is right for you?
Of course if you have a specific place in mind – near Disney, or close to relatives – that will narrow down the search. But many people want a simple getaway to a beautiful beach. That is my idea of a vacation.
So here are your choices: 1. Rent a condo or apartment on the ocean. 2. Rent a private home on the beach. 3. Rent something just off the beach, but close enough to walk there (this will of course be cheaper). 4. Or maybe you will be bringing your boat, and will need a dock / boat slip / boat ramp nearby. Some places offer canal access to the open water. 5. The Florida Keys have many homes to rent with boat slips.
Will a pool at the property be a must? Personally, I can’t do Florida without a pool. I like a pool in the backyard. One I don’t have to share with a bunch of screaming kids. And remember, if you rent a condo and you are near the public pool, be prepared for the possible noise all hours of the day and into the night.
Are you okay with cars on the beach in front of your condo / apartment? Drive on beaches allow traffic during the day. New Smyrna Beach and Daytona Beach, on the east coast in central Florida, have beach traffic. It means any place you stay where that is allowed can mean very crowded beaches. These are all things to take into consideration.
Some properties have ocean access, but no view of the water. Views of the ocean mean paying more, but anyone on a budget can stay near the beach. Even if the trek to the sand is just across the street, remember that chairs, towels, toys, and all that good stuff will have to be carried to and from the beach. I’ve seen beautiful homes for rent in such locations. As long as the home has a pool, you can cool off when you return from the trip.
Many rentals have requirements, such as seven day minimum stay, and some only rent by the month. Prices will vary according to the time of year. Even Florida has “off season” and “busy season” pricing. In general, summer is the off season (cheapest), at least in the lower part of the state. It’s hot, really hot. In north Florida, and panhandle area, winter can be quite cold, and I imagine prices are lowest there in winter months.
And last of all, will you rent from a private owner or through a rental agency? I’ve had better luck with VRBO (vacation rentals by owner) than I have with an agency that handled many rentals. TripAdvisor is another place to check for private properties and reviews.
Read reviews from guests who have had personal experience with the place before you decide to rent. (Read my personal story and review of the Fisherman’s Cottage Rental which looked perfect, but actually pretty nasty.)
My next posts will go into more depth in highlighting each of these rental choices.