Best Beachside Cities in Florida

By: Ben Holdt

Spending a few days at the beach is a great way to get away from the daily stresses of life and relax. With over 8,000 miles of coastline, Florida is second to just Alaska for the amount of land they have touching, sparkling ocean waters. However, the Sunshine State has the upper hand on being near the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. While there may be a lot of towns and cities dotting the Florida coast, there are only a few that indeed offer the best quality of life. Check out the best beachside cities in Florida for your next beach getaway.

Panama City Beach

Panama City Beach Rentals

Panama City Beach Skyline

With 27 miles of white sandy beaches, Panama City Beach is widely known for its ability to ease away any stress that you brought with you on your vacation. This famous town offers waterfront restaurants as well as plenty of scuba activities thanks to its nearby artificial reefs. Families will enjoy the many water parks in town as well as two state parks that offer an up close and personal look at nature. There are plenty of nearby amusements to fill a vacation at the beach when the sand castle building is all done.

Cocoa Beach

Cocoa Beach House Rentals

Cocoa Beach House Rentals

This popular surfing destination is just south of Cape Canaveral along the Atlantic Ocean. Cocoa Beach is known for the waves that descend upon its shores at the end of the hurricane season that offers a great opportunity for avid surfers. Check out local events to book a vacation with plenty of action out on the water as you soak up the sun from the beach. You’ll also find many things to explore in the area including tours of the Kennedy Space Center, the Dinosaur Store, and many fishing charters.

Destin

Destin Florida Vacation Rental homes

Destin Sandy Beaches

Located in Northwest Florida, Destin features plenty of sugar white beaches and sunshine. As a popular destination point for many Midwesterners, the area is well known for its wide range of fishing activities as well as shopping opportunities. You’ll find excellent fishing charters as well as plenty of events year-round to make your vacation unique. Local restaurants feature fresh seafood from the gulf, and you’ll also find plenty of golf courses in the area as well.

Palm Beach

This widely known beach is as far East as you can get on the Florida coastline. Palm Beach features beautiful palm trees along white sandy beaches and plenty of luxury. The beach sits on a 16-mile-long island that is just 0.5 miles wide with plenty of beach area all around. Many wealthy families choose this area for winter homes which have created a luxury experience in town. You’ll find the most excellent restaurants and upscale shops when you’re not enjoying the beautiful beach.

Fort Walton Beach

Fort Walton Beach House Rentals on the beach

Fort Walton Beach

The beautiful emerald waters along Fort Walton Beach are enough to attract plenty of visitors each year. Located between Pensacola and Panama City, the beach is in an excellent location for visitors to get to from other parts of the country. Fort Walton Beach has powdery white beaches and offers plenty for the family to do once a day at the beach is done. You’ll find golf courses, aquariums, and many other attractions that help make this destination a vacation to remember.

There are plenty of places to choose from when looking for a great vacation on the beach in Florida. White sandy beaches mixed with enough great food and nightlife to keep you busy after a long day on the beach is standard for many of these hot spots. Consider any one of the best beachside cities in Florida for your next vacation to the Sunshine State.

Ben Holt is a fresh air enthusiast and loves writing about it. Ben is always looking to make the most of a summer day, whether he is relaxing in his garden, hiking on an off-beaten trail or entertaining friends on his newly renovated patio.

Now’s a Great Time to Book Your Beach House!

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Imagine this scenario – you’re planning a trip down to Florida, you’re excited to go during the summer months when the kids are out of school and your boss has finally granted you your week’s vacation, everything’s set for the trip, and then your opportunity is taken away from you as you realize that there are no more available beach houses in the area you were looking most forward to staying in. For those of us dreaming of being able to escape to warm, sunny climates during the most popular time of year, the best time to book a beach house is now! Some of the best and brightest locations tend to get booked sometime in the early/middle months of winter as more vacationers begin to take a good look at their cold surroundings and become motivated to move on to a brighter location in time for the summer.

Gorgeous Views!

Location, Location, Location
As we all know, one of the greatest obstacles is finding the right spot and deal once the official location for the vacation (city, state, country) has been decided. The earlier you book, the more options you’ll have when it comes to getting your desired spot and housing accommodations as well! One benefit of booking ahead is having more options when choosing your beach house, and a better chance of scoring a home closer to the water, or one with an extra bedroom that allows friends from back home to visit you if and when they get the chance. If you book your summer trip now in January, you increase your chances of getting a condo with a nicer view of the gulf so that you can wake up every single morning and have breakfast on your balcony as you watch the turquoise waters settle down below. When you hesitate to make your reservations, you lose your opportunity to get the better deal. And when you’re late, even in the off-chance that you can get a spot in the general area you originally sought to stay in, the likelihood of being able to get the places with the better amenities diminish considerably; you’re usually left with something you probably would not have gone out of your way for in the first place.

You Can Almost Smell That Ocean Air!

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
As important as availability is, another important thing to consider is transportation. True, many of us choose destinations that we end up driving to instead of either flying or taking the train. But imagine you decide to go out of your way for this one trip and venture out of your comfort zone as you head someplace farther and more exotic than the area you live in. A common mistake many first-time travelers often make is forgetting to coordinate their transportation with the rental dates. Whether this may be from one side of the country to the other or out of the country altogether, you need to make sure that your ride will get you there on the day you check in and take you back home the day you check out. Even more time is necessary if you need more than one seat! If you book last minute, you have a greater chance of not being able to get a ride over to your much awaited vacation destination and in extreme cases, you might even have to reschedule the whole thing on account of having mis-coordinating flight/rental schedules. Don’t let it get to the point where what could be the most enjoyable week out of your year is ruined because of poor time management!

Living in Paradise!

You’re in the Money!
As important as the first two categories are, one of the best features of booking ahead is the amount of money you get to save! You always go on vacation knowing that you will spend a certain amount of money which you automatically budget for. But have you ever considered how much more money you get to keep in your wallet when you take advantage of the rates available during the winter months? The lowest annual rates for any rental are always right after the holiday season. That way you have the opportunity to get that nice, big rental house right on the water for around the same price you would have to pay for the smaller, less convenient home farther away from the beach. Flight tickets also go down in price considerably after January 1st. And there you go! Your two biggest expenses cut down to nearly half just by taking care of things now rather than later. Makes the trip that much more enjoyable, doesn’t it?

So do yourself the favor and book now for your beach house sooner rather than later. Shouldn’t you have the best on your vacation? After all, for many of us working stiffs out there, it only comes but once a year!

Visit Sosua in the Dominican Republic for White Sandy Beaches!

Sosua beach

Sosua Beach

 

Sosua is known for having some of the most beautiful beaches in the Dominican Republic and is a top tourist destination of the Caribbean. Located on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic, just four miles from Puerto Plata International Airport and 15 minutes from Cabarete, the windsurf capital of the Caribbean, you can find beautiful beach houses for rent, great seafood, and exciting nightclub entertainment. At the beach you can go sunbathing, snorkeling, water skiing, scuba diving, and listen to live music.

The North Coast of the Dominican Republic has been a top tourist destination for Europeans for nearly three decades. The people of Sosua consists of mostly Germans, British, Americans, and Canadians. They love to share their culture and mingle with vacationers.

Sosua Bay attracts many water sports enthusiasts, including snorkelers and divers because of its sheltered, calm waters, many species of fish and intricate reef structures. In the winter, whale watching is also a popular tourist activity in Sosua Bay.

The premiere scuba diving facility in #Sosua is on the northern coast of the #DominicanRepublic. Owned and operated by Jurgen Rumpenhorst since 1994!
visit divecenter-merlin.com @diving_merlin on Twitter

Recently, a new beach has been created by nature, just north of Sosua Bay. Mother Nature has been depositing sand where there were previously only sheer rock cliffs. The beach is called both Playa Alicia and Playa Casa Marina because of the hotel in close proximity that bears the same name.

Sosua Beach is a crescent-shaped bay protected by coral formations and clear waters for divers and snorkelers. Sosua’s other beaches are Waterfront (also called cul de sac), which was created after a storm around 2002, Paradise beach, Playa Imbert and Playa Chiquita.

There is also sport deep water fishing.

Contact any of these Tour Guide companies to make your vacation in Sosua a fabulous one full of exciting activities:

Luya Tours @RdLuya on Twitter
Sunflower Tours @Sftoursrd
Tigua Aerotours SRL @TiguaAerotours
Ministerio Turismo @MTurismoRD

Top 5 Beaches Where You Can Bare it All

2916787894_cc7c44f5e4Banana Beach, Greece - What would you expect from the aptly named Banana Beach, but lots of – er – bananas?  Well get your mind out of the gutter, because this beach is actually a trio of beaches located on the small Greek Islandof Skiathos, whose name came from the yellow-hued sand and the curved shape of their coastline.  The three beaches that make up Banana Beach are Little Banana (also called Sparticus), Big Banana and a small beach separated from Big Banana by a rocky outcrop.  And while one may have assumed that bigger would mean better (especially in this situation) Little Banana is actually the most popular of the three.  Durring the peak winter months, clothed onlookers tend to swarm the other two beaches while leaving Little Banana to itself.  As if there wasn’t already enough to look at, all three beaches have tremendous views of the tree covered foothills that surround the beaches behind you and the crystal clear Aegean Sea in front of you.

5111987645_5d03bd3665Baker Beach, San Francisco, CA – In the city that is known for its liberal lean, Baker Beach is right at home in San Francisco.  Baker Beach is blanketed in clean, fine white sand – not too dusty, not too pebbly – clear sapphire water, and maybe the most dramatic views of any beach you will come across.  Satisfy your inner vouyer, and we’re not just talking about the old men bits and pieces you are sure to see… as you walk the beach you will also catch a glimpse of some of California’s prime real estate – and have a chance to take in the same views that those homeowners enjoy – the cliff houses look out over the bay and the famous Golden Gate Bridge.  Parking is a breeze, free, and just a short walk from the beach, or you can opt to take public transportation, which dropps you off very close by.  Visit in September or October as the summer months tend to be covered with San Francisco’s notorious fog bank.

4910303358_101ac07014Valalta (Rovinj), Croatia – As far as nude beaches go, Valalta is perhaps the Mecca – the destination where all nude sunbathers and naturists feel drawn to and hope to journey to at least one time in their life.  This resort (yes, it is a planned resort, different from some of the naturally occuring beaches that have been gradually morphed into a nude beach over time) is huge, with the beach alone streatching over 3 miles.  Visitors can stay in a variety of accommodation – Valalta offers everything from fully-equipped apartments and bungalows to luxury mobile homes and glorified tents…all with electricity and running water though.  There is also a sports harbor, a number of restaurants, beer that has been brewed in their own brewery, souvenir shop, kids club, and a host of day and overnight excursions.  And if you prefer to get your bare-bronze on in relative seclusion rather than with the rest of the resort, there is a beach that is not an official part of the Valalta Resort that is usually much less crowded.

2773305082_27c5f70fb2Little Beach, Maui, Hawaii – If you like to live on the edge (which you must if your’re reading this post in the first place), Little Beach may be perfect for you.  Although nude sunbathing is technically illegal at the secluded Little Beach – and the rest of Hawaii – it’s referred to as Maui’s “unofficial clothing-optional beach” since the law has not been enforced here for a number of years.  It’s also somewhat of a local’s hot-spot…while the vast majority of beach-goers opt to sunbathe au natural, there are those who wear clothes (mostly tourists).  So if a little thing like illegality doesn’t rock your boat, grab your sandals and towel and make the trek to Maui’s Southern coast, and you will find Little Beach located just North of Big Beach.  Tucked behind rocks and high shrubs, and guarded by a narrow entry, Little Beach is picturesque Hawaii – white sand contrasted by bright blue/turquoise water.

5651319954_6a3b1c6a39Wreck Beach, Vancouver, British Columbia -

Named for a hulking, wrecked vessel that once sat on the sand, Wreck Beach is the shore of choice for Vancouver students. Just several hundred steps below the University of British Columbia, the 3-mile-long beach is a wildlife and nesting area for both bald eagles and bald bodies. Other sections of the beach assume a more carnival-like atmosphere. One stretch on the beach known as Vendors’ Row is a 1-stop shop for souvenirs, refreshments and the ever-important sunscreen.

Come see what Kiawah is all about!

Miles of beautiful beach and nearly nobody else in sight!

 

 

 

 

One of South Carolina’s best-kept secrets is beautiful little island 20 miles south of Charleston. Kiawah Island is one of the best places to book beach property rentals because it offers vacationers to relax in a place of quiet tranquility at a secluded, private beachfront community.

Kiawah Island, (pronounced “KEE-a-wah”) is a resort community 20 miles south of Charleston, South Carolina. One of the happiest seaside towns in America, it offers 10 miles of pristine white, and warm beaches. With so much space to spread out and so few properties on the island you’ll never have to see another vacationer if you don’t want to. Kiawah is the perfect destination for honeymooning couples or families with small children.

Bike trails galore for the adventurer in us all

For those who want to do more than rest on the beach, Kiawah Island offers 20 miles of paved bike trails meandering through wildlife and nature reserves where anyone can see the local species Kiawah is designed to protect. Stop by the Kiawah Island Nature Center to sign up for one of its nature programs which include kayak and canoe rentals, guided paddling excursions, outdoor walking tours, ocean tours, an alligator adventure, island birding, nature photography, wetland tours, fishingand motorboat excursions, sunset cruises, and so much more. Learning to ride a bike? The white-sand beaches during low-tide are a beautiful and safe place to improve your skills or get your little ones going.

Kiawah Island oceanside vacationers love the outdoors and enjoy playing tennis at one of the many tennis courts, rollerblading around the island, and at one of the island’s many exclusive golf courses. The Ocean Course at Kiawah’s Island Golf Resort will be hosting the 2012 PGA championships.

 

What a beautiful place to play!

Freshfield Village, just outside Kiawah, features exclusive shopping, art shows, live music, outdoor movies, a farmers market and lots of other events. And if you are craving even more culture just make an excursion to Charleston which is a short car ride away. It’s the cultural heart of the South with lots of historic sites, art galleries, concerts, cafes and restaurants to explore.

Vacationers on Kiawah Island  can enjoy all the benefits of a modern, well-furnished beach home with exclusive beachfront access year round. Since many homes are in private or gated communities a vacationer can enjoy perfect privacy right between a boundless nature preserve and a beautiful beach.

Want to come and see what Kiawah is all about? Book now before it’s too late!

Great surf spots you’ve (probably) never heard of…courtesy of Budget Travel

Surfing Steamers Lane 1 - by Jim Bahn

Surfing Steamers Lane 1 – by Jim Bahn

* re posted from BudgetTravel

In honor of International Surfing Day on June 20, and another ‘endless’ summer (shaka!), we asked the Surfrider Foundation to put together a list of some lesser-known surf spots around the country that everyone from the novice to the experienced rider can enjoy.

“I tried to pick spots that are legit from a surfing standpoint, but for various reasons don’t get the attention that they deserve,” explained Matt McClain of the Surfrider Foundation, an international non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of coastlines.

McClain put together this list from West Coast to East:

1. Pine Trees, Kauai, Hawaii: Located off the sleepy surf town of Hanalei on the north shore of Kauai, Pine Trees offers an escape from the circus-like atmosphere of Oahu’s North Shore. It’s a fun break for intermediate and advanced surfers, while beginners can find gentler waves in front of the nearby pier.

2. Yakutat, Alaska: If you want to get away — far away — then Yakutat is the place. Don’t let the towering Sitka spruce and bald eagles fool you. Yakutat is a bona fide surfing destination that has drawn some of the biggest names in professional surfing.

3. Cowell’s, Santa Cruz, California: Located just inside the famous break at Steamer Lane, Cowell’s is the perfect spot to learn how to surf. This break is renowned for its gentle peaks and long, rolling waves. A number of surf schools operate here.

4. Burnout, Torrance, California: Despite being one of the most photographed spots in Southern California, Burnout is still relatively unknown outside of the South Bay. A quintessential California beach break, on any given day pro surfers like Alex Gray and Holly Beck can be found pulling into the barrels at Burnout.

5. Trails, San Clemente, California: Technically part of San Onofre State Beach Park, Trails is often overshadowed by the park’s other spots, Trestles and San Onofre. The surf itself is not the most amazing you’ll ever ride, but the laid-back atmosphere and dog-friendly policy make it worth the trip.

6. Reef Road, West Palm Beach, Florida: With it’s clear, warm water, Reef Road is about as good as Florida surfing gets. A popular spot with local surfers, the sandy bottom break can range from three- to six-footers, up to two times overhead on a storm swell.

7. The Cove, Cape May, New Jersey: If The Cove were located in California or Hawaii, it would probably be as famous as Malibu or Waikiki. The Cove is primarily a longboard spot and attracts surfers of all ages and abilities.

8. Alamo, Montauk, New York: Located out on the tip of Long Island, Montauk pulls in all kinds of waves and weather. The hearty souls that are willing to brave the wind and strong currents are rewarded with thick heaving lefts (waves that break from left to right when you’re looking out from the beach). This spot is for experienced surfers only.

There’s also a whole host of activities taking place around the country, and around the world, over the coming days in honor of International Surfing Day. For a schedule of events and additional information about the day set aside for celebrating the sport of surfing, go here.

Property Spotlight: Casa Morocco in Isla Mujeres, Mexico

Casa Morocco - Street View

Casa Morocco – Street View

Welcome to the majestic Casa Morocco, newly constructed in 2011. Casa Morocco exhibits meticulous and intricate detail blending rich African and middle-eastern architecture of the highest quality and craftsmanship. Imperial archways and elaborately hand-carved mahogany doors all come together creating an exotic charm certain to carry guests away to another world. Custom-designed, hand-painted tiles of the richest colors contrast the pristine white walls on every level of this extravagant Moroccan palace which sits just steps from turquoise Caribbean waters. Atop Casa Morocco’s stately architecture stands a magnificent dome illuminated nightly, creating a spectacle of beauty and grandeur against the Caribbean’s star filled sky.

Casa Morocco - Beach View

Casa Morocco – Beach View

One of the most stunning features of Casa Morocco is its private pool, fully laid with iridescent tile, unveiling shimmering brilliance in the island sun. Overlooking the glistening pool stands an impressive iridescent wall fountain, adorned with a majestic lion head surrounded by a dazzling 24-carat gold dial.

Casa Morocco is located on Isla Mujeres and offers the epitome of versatility for travelers in search of an affordable, yet exquisite luxury retreat. This Moroccan-themed haven boasts four superb suites; each fully furnished with en-suite baths and fully appointed kitchens. Guests can lease from one suite up to the entire ocean-front property which accommodates up to 8 guests for a memorable island experience. Three ocean-front suites and one bay-view suite all showcase extraordinary vistas and the ultimate in comfort and privacy.

Infinity Pool

Infinity Pool with Grand Ocean View

Imagine your own personal beach graced with white sands where you can sunbathe, eased by the sound of ocean waves caressing the shoreline, or go for a dip in the luxuriant pool with its majestic Moroccan flair and commanding view of the open ocean, or grab your gear and snorkel in the crystal blue waters found in your own backyard. Enjoy an evening of Al-fresco dining under the third level terrace palapa as you watch the sun set upon the Cancun coastline. There you can entertain your guests with a barbeque or enjoy an intimate rendezvous. There is generous space to lounge with a glass of wine on integrated sofas, or hide away in the bubbling jacuzzi. Take in an awe-inspiring and dramatic 360 degree view of the island beauty surrounding you.

Make this the most unforgettable vacation getaway you have ever experienced by making Casa Morocco your tropical island vacation destination.

Casablanca Master Suite

Casablanca Master Suite

Casablanca Guest Suite

Casablanca Guest Suite

Tangier Suite

Tangier Suite

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Children in traditional dress celebrate Cinco de Mayo; © Lawrence Migdale

Children in traditional dress celebrate Cinco de Mayo; © Lawrence Migdale

Cinco de Mayo (Spanish for “fifth of May”) is a holiday held on May 5. It is celebrated nationwide in the United States and regionally in Mexico, primarily in the state of Puebla. The date is observed in the United States as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride, and to commemorate the cause of freedom and democracy during the first years of the American Civil War. In the state of Puebla, the date is observed to commemorate the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín. Contrary to widespread popular belief, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day, the most important national patriotic holiday in Mexico, which occurs on September 16th.

If Cinco de Mayo has you craving a south-of-the-boarder get-away, click HERE to see Beachhouse.com’s great inventory of Mexico beach vacation rentals!

Puerto Penasco‚ Mexico

Puerto Penasco‚ Mexico

Property ID#20335 - Cabo San Lucas‚ Baja California Sur‚ Mexico

Akumal, Mexico

Property ID#5353 - Puerto Vallarta‚ Pacific Coast‚ Mexico

Puerto Vallarta‚ Pacific Coast‚ Mexico

Property ID#5239 - Cozumel‚ Yucatan Peninsula‚ Mexico

Cozumel‚ Yucatan Peninsula‚ Mexico

Vacation with your Pet & Save!

$50PetDiscountLandingPage

Love to travel, but hate to leave your furry friend at home?  With Bluewater, not only can your dog come along, he can save you money!

Receive a $50 discount on your pet fee with a new weekly booking made on any of these PET FRIENDLY beach vacation rentals in the month of March!

MENTION BEACHHOUSE.COM to REDEEM THIS OFFER.

These great pet friendly vacation rental properties and many MORE:

Getaway

View pet friendly rentals on BeachHouse.com

Bella Vista

Bella Vista

Sea Song

Sea Song

Pelican View

Pelican View

North Carolina Beach Rentals


Remodeling to Get the Most Out of Your Vacation Rental

bluegull_7Your vacation rental should be the place for you or your tenants to relax and enjoy coastal luxury. However, it can be somewhat difficult to enjoy the pleasures of a stunning property when the interior of your house is outdated, poorly equipped or unattractive. If you retreat to your own vacation property, you want to be able to enjoy the beauty and uniqueness of the area and of your home without having to worry about dilapidated cabinets or old fashioned decor. The same is true of your renters. Whether you are looking to sell your vacation rental, lease it to a new owner or simply enjoy its merits on your own, it is vital that you remodel your property so that it can fulfill its true potential.

Many property owners are reluctant to pour too much of their hard-earned money into their vacation rentals. Oftentimes they fear that they will not be knowledgeable enough to properly renovate their home without construction management experience, or they may worry they will not see a return on such an investment, especially if the property is only occupied for a portion of the year. However, vacation home remodeling does not have to be costly, nor must it be time consuming. So long as you focus your efforts on the right areas of your property, you can get the most out of your vacation rental with just a few home improvement projects.

3167624572_ec17751b98

First of all, you must attend to the property’s master suite. A home’s master suite is its center of relaxation, and most people are looking for an escape from the trials of their everyday lives when they travel to their vacation rentals. Consider these possible improvements:

  • You should ensure that your master suite is as lush and luxurious as your budget will allow. If possible, make room for both a sleeping area and a sitting area in the master bedroom.

  • Accentuate any special features such as large windows or a balcony with adornments that will draw the eye. For instance, floor length curtains can be used to emphasize exquisite French doors framing a beachfront view.

  • Make sure that the master bath is in excellent condition. Update all plumbing features, add high-end counter tops and flooring, and install a separate tub and shower if you have the room.

It is also important to make a vacation property’s kitchen appealing and functional. Although some choose to refrain from cooking when taking a break from their regular lives, many travelers prefer renting over a hotel in order to save money by cooking for themselves.

  • Outfit your vacation rental’s kitchen with updated appliances (and make sure they work!).

  • Replace battered or unappealing countertops and floors with new, durable surfaces.

  • Consider a fresh coat of paint to tie the kitchen together and create a pleasant cooking space.

3167603732_0f05a4ec61Above all else, it is vital that your vacation property exudes convenience and comfort. Keep these general pointers in mind during and after any renovation projects:

  • Maintain a stock of clean sheets, bathroom supplies and other necessities for the master suite.

  • Be sure to furnish the kitchen with paper towels, dish soap, utensils and a full stock of non-perishable cooking supplies and some food.

  • Don’t over-clutter. Keep all the house’s spaces open, airy and beachy.

  • Provide a list of resources for your renters including who to call in case of plumbing or electrical issues (new appliances can’t always be trusted right off the bat).

  • Most importantly, make sure everything is CLEAN! Any renovation or remodeling work will produce dust and debris, and lots of it. Clean up the whole house thoroughly after making any improvements.

Improvements to your vacation rental are a wise investment so long as they provide your renters with the relaxing ambiance they need after months of hard work. By remodeling your vacation rental to heighten its functionality and atmosphere, you will be adding both value and pleasure to your property.

Homeowner Brings New Meaning to “Pet Friendly” Vacation Rentals

BBBlabel3Beachhouse.com homeowner and owner of Mermaid Cottages, Diane Kaufman, has combined 2 of her loves – property management and dogs – in her latest “pet” project, Beach Bum Biscuits.  These delectable all-natural bakery-made dog biscuits are currently on sale in Tybee Island, Georgia at Seaside Sisters, and will soon be available in a beach town near you.  As if you needed any more reason to spoil your furry friend, proceeds from the sale of Beach Bum Biscuits also go to support service and guide dogs!IMG00114-20100605-1443

Also,  by staying at any Mermaid Cottage vacation rental property, you help to support 2 great guide dog foundations:  the Southeastern Guide Dogs’ Puppy Sponsorship Program, and The Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind.

Stay up to date on the latest Beach Bum Biscuit news by following their blog!

Beach Bum Biscuits are also a great Holiday gift for your pet or that special pup in your life!  To order in time for the Holiday’s, contact Diane at:  Diane@MermaidCottages.com or call her at:  912-313-0784.

Mermaid Cottages has always sponsored Guide Dogs.  Read below for bio’s and information about a few of the dogs they have sponsored:

Clarke2

Clark

Clarke is one of the first dogs we sponsored who trained at Southeastern Guide Dogs’ School in Palmetto, FL. Clarke has proven to be easy going, extremely comfortable with people of all ages and very quick to learn new tasks. We are all hoping for a great career for her as a guide dog for a deserving blind individual. Clarke is also from the Southeastern Guide Dogs Program.

(Update)  It is with great joy we tell you that Clarke was matched in June 2009 with her blind partner, Joyce. They both are quite laid back and easy going and from all appearances will be great companions for a very long time. Clarkes’s truest challenge might be living with Joyce’s six birds!! No doubt, she’ll do just fine.

Erik

Erik

Erik was given a career change in 2007 due to medical issue. We are happy to report that Erik is currently embarking on a new career as a Hearing Dog for 5 year old Jay Lommel. Jay, born deaf, recently received a cochlear implant, and with his new pal Erik will hopefully be on his way to speaking as well as hearing. Erik is receiving his new training at Polite Paws in Bluffton, SC, courtesy of owner, trainer Robin Walter.  Erik is also from the Southeastern Guide Dogs Program.

Tony

Tony

Tony is one of our newest guide dog sponsees for spring 2009 from the Southeastern Guide Dogs Program. Our update on Tony is that he is a great pup! He will be a year old in November. He is sweet and has a great work ethic. He lives with his new owner’s other dog, Sherlock, who is 8 years old. They go to work together, play and enjoy each other’s company.  Tony is a beautiful black lab, who loves to please.

Berkeley

Berkeley

Berkeley is our newest Service Dog from the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind, Inc since Fall of 2009.  Here is a great pic of him at Diane’s cottage.

Spotlight: Cabo San Lucas Vacation Rentals

Villa Montecristo in Quivira Private Residence Club

Villa Montecristo in Quivira Private Residence Club

Have you had the opportunity to experience Baja California in style? Check out these deluxe villas located in Cabo San Lucas!

Casa Luca De Pedregal

Casa Luca De Pedregal

The “Casa Luca De Pedregal” Villa is a private and exclusive luxury property in the guard-gated community of Pedregal, showcasing expansive 180-degree views of the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez. It is a custom designed Tuscan villa, with no expense spared in design, construction, landscaping and impeccable furnishings. Step foot in the dramatic Italian-styled entrance hall and marvel at the huge entertainment area, custom-designed staircases, private library, fully equipped gym, massage room with steam shower and sauna, and expansive living and dining areas leading out to the infinity pool and Jacuzzi spa. Step outside the gourmet state-of-the-art kitchen and enjoy lunch with panoramic views of Baja and the Pacific.

The “Villa Montecristo In Quivira Private Residence Club” is located in the Montecristo Estates, next to the Pedregal in Quivira. This spacious “Hacienda-Style” villa . It is built on and into the highest peak on the southern-Baja, and boasts its own private swimming pool in the villa, a BBQ on deck, plus indoor & outdoor jacuzzis. Constructed with gorgeous marble, granite, cantera and mahogany, this Villa brings you all of the comforts of home with a luxurious twist. You will have access to all the Quivira has to offer: the European Health Spa, 7 pools with swim-up bars, kid-pools and jacuzzis, championship golf courses, in addition to shopping and fine dining. Venture to Cabo; there is a free shuttle every hour leaving Quivira!

Casa Contenta Vacation Villa

Casa Contenta Vacation Villa

The “Casa Contenta Vacation Villa” is an ultra-deluxe architectural marvel, not to mention the former private residence of past Cabo San Lucas Mayor, Carlos Cota. One of the Villa’s many distinct features is the authentic display of artisan crafted artwork from Mexico, along with indigenous art collected from countries all around the globe. Wall to wall, floor to ceiling windows and doors bring the spectacular, unobstructed views of Land’s End, Medano Bay and the Sea of Cortez. Step onto the shady pool level terrace and you’ll find the views expand to include the desert, the town of Cabo San Lucas and the Sierra Laguna Mountains. Seek refuge in the luscious garden, or use the lower decks and hammocks to read in private. Cool off with a dip in the pool or work on your tan, reclining in one of many padded chaise lounges with umbrellas waiting for you poolside.

Sunsets from the rooftop terrace are nothing short of spectacular. Honeymooners and Groups love this special terrace, because the fire pit, lounge chairs and gas tiki-torches make this a great spot for an impromptu social hour or evening star-gazing.

Casa Contenta is perfect for quick and easy access to the exciting nightlife that Baja California has to offer, in addition to sport fishing, golfing (guests staying at Casa Contenta will receive a 50% discount at the Dye Cabo San Lucas Country Club, only a mile away!), a wide variety of restaurants, bars, shopping and good old people watching. Casa Contenta looks down on Medano Bay and Medano Beach, the safest swimming beach in Cabo and only minutes away.

Take advantage of the current special booking incentives, and not only will you read of Baja’s stunningly spectacular views and lavish villas, you’ll experience the real deal!

Spotlight: Bluefields Bay Jamaican Seaside Villas

15% OFF Adult Rates When you Book Through Beachhouse.com!
(you must mention “Beachhouse.com” when you make your reservation to receive discount. Offer valid for stays before November 1, 2010)

Imagine boarding an airplane, taking a scenic helicopter transfer and reaching Bluefields Bay, Jamaica, in time for a refreshing beach swim followed by sunset cocktails and a gorgeous candlelit dinner.  Located 34 miles south of Montego Bay and less than an hour from Negril, Bluefields Bay whisks you away from the hustle-and-bustle of urban life, with mesmerizing vistas of sugar cane fields, mountain ranges and vibrant blue sea.  For a luxurious, yet authentic Jamaican experience, consider planning your stay at Bluefields Bay Jamaican Seaside Villas.

Villa San Michele

Villa San Michele

Villas:
Whatever they may be, Bluefields Bay has the vacation property to suit your needs.  Milestone Cottage, dramatically perched 30 feet above the Caribbean Sea, has spectacular panoramic sunset views and is the perfect spot for a secluded romantic getaway.  In addition to its fabulous vistas and private terrace overlooking the Caribbean Sea, Cottonwood Cottage features a king-size, four-poster canopy bed, an exotic marble shower that opens out to the tropical garden and sea view, and a new infinity-edge swimming pool with whirlpool jets. Mullion Cove boasts rich mahogany furnishings, with silver, crystal and fine china, in addition to a private seaside patio with staircase directly into the sea and hammocks set in a luscious grove of trees.  San Michele is not only beautifully decorated, but also features a private island, reached by footbridge, with a pool pavilion, lounge chairs and hammocks, freshwater shower, stereo system and bar.  The majestic Hermitage is always a favorite, with its impeccable attention to detail in furnishings and phenomenal views from every room.   Each of these five distinctive villas offers exquisite hideaways to relax by the sea, stocked with beverages and included service too.

The Hermitage

The Hermitage

All Inclusive:
Your all-inclusive stay provides the highest level of service, and includes a full staff of cooks, waiters, chambermaids, drivers and nannies, as well as meals, liquor, beverages, airport transfers, sports equipment, clubhouse/beach use, and night-lit tennis courts.   Each villa has a headman who ensures that all aspects of your vacation are smooth and “irie”, and who also meets with his guests daily to plan menus, timing, and location for meals.  Shopping, cooking, and cleaning are taken care of by the staff, with meals and drinks catered to guest wishes.

Activities:
Whether you’d like to stay close to home, or venture out and about, Bluefields Bay provides endless entertainment.   Mingle with company at the Manager’s Cocktail Party every Monday, or over Jerk Chicken Lunch held Wednesdays at The Treehouse.   Hold a match on the night-lit, competition-sized Laykold tennis court, or hike the Bluefields Mountain with expansive landscape views.   Catch Tuna, Kingfish, Mahi-mahi, Snapper and Marlin while deep-sea fishing, and your chef will prepare it for dinner!  Discover a rich world of tropical fish, coral, rays, and much more while snorkeling in Moor Reed or South Coast. Paradise Plantation offers horseback trail excursions across Sweet River for stunning vistas of tropical foliage, the coastline and mountains.  Chukka Caribbean Adventures offers a 2.5 hour long breathtaking canopy tour via zip line, mixing amazing views of flora and fauna with an exhilarating adrenaline rush.   Don’t forget to pack your clubs- Jamaica is home to Negril Hills Golf

Milestone Cottage

Milestone Cottage

Course and Tryall Golf & Country Club, which hosted the Johnnie Walker Open for many years.   Explore YS Falls, boat up the Black River for crocodile-watching, or visit Treasure Beach, Appleton Estate’s Rum Bottling Plant, and Negril, among other popular locales.   Return home in the peak of health after enjoying Bluefield’s spa services, which include massage, scrubs, wraps, manicures, pedicures and cornrow braiding.

As a family friendly destination, children are welcomed at Bluefields.   Kids will love building sandcastles on the shoreline, taking nature walks, swimming, sea-kayaking and snorkeling at the beach and in the pools with our beach staff and nannies.   Nurturing nannies will read and tell stories, give baths, plan child-friendly meals, launder clothes, clean rooms, and put children to bed so that parents can enjoy a worry-free vacation.

It’s time you enjoyed the best Jamaica has to offer; leave “tourism” behind and treat yourself and loved ones to a week in this flourishing tropical oasis.

Bluefields Bay

Spotlight: Kona, Hawaii

Kailua BayKailua-Kona, often referenced as simply “Kona”, is an infamously beautiful tropical getaway located along the shoreline of Kailua Bay and up the southern slope of Hualālai volcano.  Reputed for the region’s bold Kona coffee beans, which are cultivated on the slopes of Mount Hualalai and Mauna Loa in the North and South Kona Districts, this exotic Hawaiian destination is also hosts popular events such as the annual Ironman World Championship Triathlon and the Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament.

Stay at one of the island’s gems, The Dolphin House, located in the exclusive, gated and security-guarded community of Kona Bay Estates!   The Dolphin House is situated directly on the deep sapphire blue waters of Kona Bay and is just steps away from a private sandy beach (not to mention within walking distance to tennis and town!).  This stunning oceanfront home, known as “Ka Naia” in Hawaiian, is an upscale 4 bedroom, 4.5 bath home that boasts an atrium entry with cathedral ceilings, skylights, large living room, family room, convenient indoor/outdoor dining, and a game room with a fully equipped bar.  Take a dip in the heated swimming pool and splash under the spectacular pool waterfall!

The Dolphin House, Kona Bay Estates, Kona, Hawaii

The Dolphin House, Kona Bay Estates, Kona, Hawaii

A short oceanfront stroll leads you to a sandy, reef-protected beach cove lagoon, great for swimming, snorkeling, and playing in the sand.  Tide pools offer great exploration for children and teens, and can be found scattered along the lava rock shelf.  Enjoy nature’s marine creatures and catch a glimpse of turtles, dolphins, and whales!

The Big Island of Hawaii offers a myriad of activities for every age.  Exciting and exotic island activities include visiting the Kona Coffee Farms, Botanical Garden Tours, Sunset Dinner Cruises, Parasailing, Whale Watching, Hawaiian Luaus, Horseback Riding, Submarine Rides, Snorkeling and Volcano Viewing, just to name a few!   Take one look at this slice of paradise and you will instantly fall in love with The Dolphin House!

Spotlight: Isla Mujeres, Mexico

Isla Mujeres aerial viewCrowded beaches and congested airports, all factors in a typical vacation that makes us a little apprehensive to book that flight and take the time off. What if you could find the ultimate escape, without sacrificing the luxury and service of a resort? Let me offer a suggestion.

Isla Mujeres, an island town a short distance off the northeast coast of the Yucatán Peninsula in the Caribbean Sea, about 13 kilometers (8.1 mi) northeast of Cancun, is a perfect getaway from the stresses of everyday life. There are ferries that transport you to this paradise from the main land, running every 30 min during the day.

Isla Mujeres offers great activities from scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming with whale sharks, shopping, dinning, as well as various locations to visit. There are two marine parks on the southern end of the island, Garrafon and Garrafon de Castilla. There is also a turtle park that is open to the public, where vacationers can take part in releasing the new born sea turtles into the Caribbean Sea once they have reached the health to survive on their own.

Isla Mujeres also offers another attraction that pulls you back in time, the Mayan ruins on the southern cost of the island. This temple, dedicated to the Mayan goddess of the sun and moon and patroness of pregnant women, Ixchel, attracts visitors and offers a taste of the rich history and culture this island get away has to offer.

Castillo Del Candelabro, Beachhouse.com Property ID# 21520

Castillo Del Candelabro, Beachhouse.com Property ID# 21520

One of the most impressive things Isla Mujeres stands to offer is an embrace of luxury felt through the Castillo Del Candelabro, “The House of The Chandelier.” This gorgeous beach vacation rental property is a home away from home, and boasts impeccable furnishings and sumptuous designs throughout the expanse of its 5 bedrooms, and 4 bathrooms. This inspiring home looks out over the Caribbean Sea offering an infinity pool and a guest home that will comfortably suit a group without asking them to sacrifice comfort. Bask in the sun and enjoy the Caribbean breeze as you experience the ultimate feeling of arrival.

Start planning your vacation today!  Contact the owner of Castillo Del Candelabro today – click HERE to submit a rental inquiry.

Organizations We Love – Vacation Homes for Charity

charityB

We love finding great companies and organizations to blog about.  And even better when the company or organization incorporates a great cause and the travel or vacation rental industry!  We just came across Vacation Homes for Charity, a great organization that partners vacation rental homeowners with charities in need.

From their Website:

dogoodfrontpreview-300x218“There are 1000′s of charities in dire need of live auction items.  Our goal is to make the process of donating time at a vacation home to a charity easy and efficient for all parties.

In the fall of 2008, we at The Society opened up our platform to help charities source vacation homes for their auctions and other fund raising events. We tested this new service in the fall all parties including homeowners, property managers, real estate brokers, and charities were delighted.

We created VacationHomesForCharity.org to highlight upcoming events, success stories and news regarding this new service.  For 2009 we have some audacious goals: we are going to giveaway over 1000 nights to charities! It’s time to go big and the charities need our help.”

If you own a vacation home or know someone with a vacation home, you can CONTACT them or REGISTER today!

Before you donate your rental property, be sure that you’re up on the latest tax regulations in regards to what you can and can’t write off.  For information on the tax benefits, you can check out this ARTICLE.

Sandcastles – not just child’s play anymore!

15751425_41bbde8e6aIf you’re going to live the beach-house lifestyle, there’s one skill you can’t do without, and that’s the ability to build a respectable sandcastle.  True beach lovers know that there’s nothing more relaxing than feeling the sun on your back, the wind through your hair, and wet sand on your hands as you construct a fairy-tale castle fit for a pint-sized king.

But if it’s been a few years since you dabbled in the sand-related arts, you may need some pointers from the experts.  And strangely enough, there are experts.  A whole community has grown up around the art of sandcastles, with contests, Web sites, and even newsletters.

So before you jet off to your beach-house vacation, get prepared with the following overview of sandcastle building.  It’s all a matter of patience, the right tools, and lots and lots of, you guessed it, sand.

36889676_aa197c203dThe first step to a successful sandcastle is a good water source.  You can either dig a hole down to the water table (so that it fills with water) or get yourself a big bucket of seawater.  You won’t get anywhere with sand that is too dry.

Then it’s all a matter of carving.  Yes, carving.  It turns out that sandcastle experts generally carve sandcastles from large mounds of sand, rather than attempting to build from the bottom up and forming flimsy (read doomed) walls and towers.  They get themselves a nice pile of wet sand and carve it down into a castle shape.

To be a successful sandcastle-carver, you need tools.  Whether you use Popsicle sticks, shells, shovels, spatulas or just your hands, you need a variety of tools to do a variety of different jobs, from carving out a tower to drawing in a window with a little sand princess looking out.

Start at the top of your pile and work downwards, that way the sand won’t roll down and destroy your work.  Carve out a few towers, and pick out a suitable roof for your structure.  Put in a few turrets and maybe a window or two.  As you get to the bottom, add some landscaping, or maybe a moat.

The key is to go slow, and carve off just a little at time.  If you get impatient, and scrape off a big chunk, you’ll have to start over again.  Relax, get into the mood, and watch your dream castle slowly appear.  But don’t get too attached.  High tide will be here soon.

Sandcastle built by Sudarsan Pattnaik, part of the Amsterdam India festival Sandcastle Resource Guide

There’s a whole big sandcastle world out there, with contests, Web pages, even computer games. Check out our selection of links to the online world of sand sculpture:

Contests

  • Comprehensive guide to sandcastle contests, from www.sandcastlecentral.com, your online resource for all things sand sculpture.

Sand Sculptors

  • Home page of Sandscapes – a team of leading, sand sculptors, Brad Goll, Dan Belcher, Fred Dobbs, Kevin Crawford, and Greg & Brandi Glenn.  Lots of information about their technique, links, photos, and more.
  • Kirk Rademaker – sandsculptor / interactive environmental art and more.

Beachhouse.com’s BEST VACATION EVER Photo Contest

best vacation ever

Submit a photo from your BEST VACATION EVER to Beachhouse.com Vacation Rental’s Facebook page for a chance to win a great prize and be featured in an upcoming blog post!

The photo can be of anything – your pet, your kids, a beautiful view, whatever you feel best depicts your BEST VACATION EVER!   Please include a few words about where the photo was taken, who is in it, etc.

The contest ends Friday, March 12, 2010, when Beachhouse.com staff will vote for the best overall photo.  The winner will receive a prize from Beachhouse.com, plus, their picture will be featured in an upcoming blog post.

We can’t wait to see what you guys send in!  Good Luck!