Travel Question Open Thread

Are any of you travel agents or know anything about east coast (North or South Carolina preferably) beach rentals. Tammy and I are going to pool resources and rent a place in late September and are looking for something clean, cheap, and pet friendly.

My trip to Topsail last year was the first time I had been on vacation since Point Pleasant, NJ in like 1995 and before that it was Barcelona in 1992 while in the service, so I am totally out of my element. It doesn’t have to be NC or SC, but I want it to still be sunny and warm and in driving distance, and it has to be pet friendly because we are going to take Lily and Sam. Lily’s never been to the beach.

Did I mention cheap?






96 replies
  1. 1
    Mary G says:

    Don’t know anything, but I love that Lily is in for the treat of going to the beach.

  2. 2
  3. 3
    geg6 says:

    We drove to Bradenton last summer with Koda and Lovey and we booked it all through Expedia. We had pet friendly hotels everywhere we went (we stayed on Anna Maria Island—loved it) and stayed in Charlotte on the way down and Columbia in the way back. Hotels in total were about $2000 and we got the place at Anna Maria for five days at $235 a night, including pets. A kitchen, living room with pullout couch, pool, patio, private patio and a nice sized bedroom just 25 yards from the beach. Expedia, I thought, was great for booking it all.

  4. 4
    Corner Stone says:

    I’m hearing a lot about Tammy but not so much about whatshisface.

  5. 5
    guachi says:

    I’ve done NC and, coincidentally, Point Pleasant.

    All I can really say is hit up some rental websites. It’s fairly easy to do searches. Some (many) places had minimum rental lengths.

    A rental house was far more relaxing than a hotel. It feels more like you’re staying at your friend’s house for a week.

    Give them money. Done.

  6. 6
    Mike in NC says:

    Try the Brunswick County beaches (AKA the “Inner Banks”), south of Topsail: Oak Island, Ocean Isle Beach, Holden Beach, and Sunset Beach. Not a realtor but there are hundreds of rental properties there.

  7. 7
    Barbara says:

    You might have to pay more for pet friendly places –that was my experience in the Carolinas — but that is off-season and you are leaving yourself time so consult VRBO etc. and you should be able to find something.

  8. 8
    Humdog says:

    Ask Quinerly if her place is open?

  9. 9
    la caterina (Mrs Johannes) says:

    My sister is renovating a small rental cottage she bought last year at Topsail. I’ll find out if it’s going to be ready by September.

  10. 10
    ljt says:

    My home – Edisto Beach, SC. Raven has vacationed here.

    Trying to add link:

  11. 11
    Amir Khalid says:

    Page loading is now not concluding on this site, and Adblock doesn’t work. I suspect the two are related.

  12. 12
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Many years ago I was on a project in Raleigh and had a free weekend, so we went down to Morehead City and Atlantic Beach, and to this east-coast-beach person, that was like heaven. This was in August or September, can’t recall. That’s all I can contribute.

  13. 13
    Steeplejack says:

    @ljt:

    Gotta close the link, else it eats the Reply button.

    Fixed: Edisto Beach.

  14. 14
  15. 15
    J R in WV says:

    We enjoyed a visit to Sunset Beach, NC, which is the last barrier island before you hit South Carolina. There’s a Nature Preserve, Green Swamp Preserve, nearby inland, with a wid

    e variety of rare plants, Venus Traps, pitcher plants, sundews, etc. The beach is nice too.

    We visited the swamp when we were there some years back, and looked and looked, and when we found the first patch, they were growing in the path, we were standing on them, which at first was bad, but there were hundreds of them on the path, and more obviously back in the swamp. Bug spray required!

    We stayed in a B&B near the access drawbridge, which was being replaced soon, and is probably – certainly – gone by now, it was a horizontal draw floating bridge pulled back and forth to open and close the waterway. I’m sure there are rental places that are pet friendly.

    Here’s a link to a pet friendly cottage, on the waterway rather than the beach, but there’s lots of them, https://www.vrbo.com/250580ha

  16. 16
    Barbara says:

    @Gin & Tonic: I went to Morehead City over Columbus day weekend when I lived in Chapel Hill and enjoyed a beautiful day and an empty beach.

  17. 17
    Steeplejack says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Did you do the manual fix for the Connatix ad?

  18. 18
    Brickley Paiste says:

    There are tons of nice Air bibs and the more important thing is be somewhere away from the crowds. Look on the Islands outside of Beaufort SC. Many of them have access to completely private beaches so you don’t have to deal with other people on vacation;

    Because they are the worst.

  19. 19
    Steeplejack says:

    @J R in WV:

    We visited the swamp when we were there some years back, and looked and looked, and when we found the first patch [. . .].

    First patch of what?

  20. 20
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Amir Khalid:
    Everything is okay again now, thank you.

  21. 21
    NotMax says:

    Finally gets the house ‘just so’ – and takes off.

    :)

  22. 22

    Thanks anyone. Turns out hospitals are terrible places to try to rest between nurses checking vitals regularly, alarms going off when the IV bag runs dry, being woken up for daily sponge bath and change of gowns. But doing the best I can. Thankfully not a lot of pain.

  23. 23
    Honus says:

    The outer banks of NC are more accessible and probably a little cheaper for a rental, but Ocracoke Island is nice and quiet if you can make it over there. The ferry from hatteras is 20 minutes. There’s another one from Swan Quarter that’s about 1-1/2 hours, but it cuts off about 45 minutes of driving time, and it’s a beautiful ferry ride past a bunch of uninhabited islands.

  24. 24
    Jeffro says:

    Dude just check out the DE beaches. Bethany in particular if you want something quiet.

    No sales tax and a heckuva lot closer than NC or SC

  25. 25
    NotMax says:

    How trafficky and/or noisy do B&Bs get as a rule? Asking because the house across the street has a billboard posted facing the street (apparently required by statute) that they are in the processing of applying for a B&B permit, announcing also a place and a number to contact about comments from the neighborhood.

    Houses on the street aren’t right up against one another, but not rural-like widely separated either.

  26. 26
    Mike in NC says:

    @J R in WV: The Sunset Beach swing bridge was retired about 6-7 years ago when a permanent bridge was built. Rationale was that the old swing bridge impeded access by police and emergency medical personnel who were frequently summoned from the mainland to the beach (Bird Island). The cost was about $30M.

    PS – After Labor Day I’d image renting beach properties here would be dirt cheap. The beaches remain enjoyable through the early fall.

  27. 27
    Amir Khalid says:

    Adblock has stopped working again, and page load is again failing to conclude.

  28. 28
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    I missed Barcelona when I was in the service; regret that, and Berlin. Did spend a week stumbling around the Roman Forum, the Vatican, and the Uffizi, though. Not a day at the beach, certainly.

  29. 29
    peggyai says:

    I second the DE beach idea – Lewes, Bethany & my favorite, Rehoboth & also think AirB&B is the best first step

  30. 30
    Steeplejack says:

    @Sister Golden Bear:

    You have my sympathies. I was in the hospital for 16 days as a kid, and I can still vividly remember the tedious discomfort of it, even apart from the whole being hurt/​recovering thing.

  31. 31
    smike says:

    @Amir Khalid:
    That seems true for me, too (most of the time). I don’t see many ads, but if BJ gets any revenue from visits, I’ll gladly white list the site. I never actually click on ads, so not much help there.

  32. 32
    Mike in NC says:

    @Steeplejack: Hospitals are hell. My first memory was staying overnight after having my tonsils removed at about age five. The next time I stayed overnight in a hospital was two years ago after an A-fib episode.

    My BS was in Biology but I never in a million years would have considered working in the medical field.

  33. 33
    NotMax says:

    @Amir Khalid

    Desktop version of site on a browser?

    Not being snarky – have you tried turning the browser off and back on again?

  34. 34
    Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.) says:

    There are a lot of places on Bogue Banks, near Beaufort and Morehead City. We went there when we were little, and many of the rentals will let you take dogs. That’s where I would recommend.

  35. 35
    cmorenc says:

    @John Cole:

    I would highly recommend Sunset Beach, NC – the beachfront itself is very wide, with a beach access every block, the actual beach is separated from the “beachfront” row of cottages by a 500 ft low scrub forest instead of being right on top of you. No high-rises – there’s a 35 ft height limit on the island. The whole island is only a long block wide + this 500 ft buffer, so it’s hard to go wrong picking a rental cottage that’s an easy walk to the beachfront. It’s an easy shot from WVa down I-77 then I-40 the rest of the way to Wilmington, then coastal Hwy 17 the last 40 miles or so and you’re there. Places rent Saturday to Saturday, but some owners may be more flexible off-season in Sept. We have owned a house there since 1995 (we don’t rent our house) and so have no financial interest in the recommendation. Both Century 21 Realty and Sunset Properties are good rental agencies with lots of listings. At the west end of Sunset Beach is a mile+ uninhabited stretch of beach you can walk or bike to that ends at Little River Inlet (border with South Carolina). Plenty of good seafood restaurants in nearby Calabash, decent grocery store on mainland less than a mile from the bridge. Very relaxed, laid-back place, Sunset Beach is. The sunsets are often psychadelic-gorgeous (esp at the west end, since the beach faces just east of due south) – hence the name.

  36. 36
    oatler. says:

    @NotMax: I have U Block now and it doesn’t seem to gobble gasoline like Adblock.

  37. 37
    bookdragon says:

    I second Dewey and Rehoboth in DE. There’s big greyhound event in Dewey beach at the beginning of Oct and it a great beach for dogs.

    Wherever you go, check that they allow dogs on the beach. Beach rentals allowing dogs doesn’t always mean the beach allows them

    https://www.bringfido.com/attraction/beaches/state/delaware/

  38. 38
    Mike in NC says:

    @bookdragon: Any beach anywhere is a good beach. But I remember going to a few near Cape Cod as a kid and the horseflies would eat you alive.

  39. 39
    eemom says:

    Outer Banks. Specifically Hatteras Island, i.e., towns Rodanthe, Avon, Buxton/Waves/Salvo, Frisco, Hatteras Village. Gazillions of rental homes, many of which are pet friendly, and off season equals cheap. Trust me, you can find something excellent right on the beach, or a bit further back even cheaper. VRBO is fine but there are about a dozen rental agencies that make the process a lot easier, including Hatteras Realty, Midgett Realty, Outer Beaches Realty, Surf or Sound Realty, Dolphin Realty, Sun Realty. Been renting there most summers for the last 18 years and always had a good experience.

    The northern beaches — Kitty Hawk, Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills — are fine too but more developed. Corolla and Duck are snobville.

    eta: dogs are allowed on all beaches; there are leash laws which vary in enforcement. Again, going off season is a big advantage. Huge stretches of empty beach everywhere. Gorgeous.

  40. 40
    NotMax says:

    Really, do you want your money being spent in South Carolina?

  41. 41
    Juju says:

    @eemom: In which town do you rent? I spend a lot of time in Avon at the family beach house, usually off season, but the occasional week or so during the summer. I love being out there but I’m not suitable for sun, being a nearly paper white person, so I never actually go to the beach. I was going to make a the same list of rental agencies you did, but that would be repetitive. I do prefer Hatteras or Outerbeaches realty. Hatteras probably has the best selection of rentals. I’d suggest soundside Avon, but I’m a bit biased.

  42. 42
    Kdaug says:

    Get rid of those goddamned slide out ads, Cole.

  43. 43
    eemom says:

    @Juju:

    We’ve rented in all of the towns at various times over the years. Prefer Avon and the others to Rodanthe, which is kind of inconvenient to everything else. I do appreciate the sound side but I always have to have ocean front, because I so love to see it and hear it.

    This summer, we’re doing two weeks in Buxton near the lighthouse in two modest little condos (us and the kids) which are delightfully close to the beach. No dogs allowed though. 😢

  44. 44
    Steeplejack says:

    Going to the beach is my favorite vacation. When I lived in Atlanta, the girlfriend and I used to go to Perdido Key, a lightly developed (at the time) place west of Pensacola toward the Alabama line. Pleasantly empty days: books, music, cooking, swimming and maybe some tennis.

    Occasionally I see that area on the HGTV beach shows and shudder to see how built up it all is now.

  45. 45
    Aleta says:

    Nice idea, taking Lily to a warm weather beach. My dog had never been to one until he was 7-8. He loves it. I think the air excites him and the sand is easier on his legs and feet, so he runs a lot more than usual. + If she likes to dig…forgettabout it.

  46. 46
    NCSteve says:

    Some good advice here. However, might also look at the Kitty Hawk/Kill Devil Hills area at the north side of the state. The Wright Memorial ought to be done at least once. Nice balance of civilization on the middle of the island and NC coastal regulation beach seaside. And probably a couple hours shorter drive from West Bygod. It is a bit windy, admittedly. That’s why Wilbur and Orville were there, after all.

    If you’re looking to save money though, October is better. Rates drop precipitously after Labor Day and the weather is still beautiful. Usually. Not counting the odd hurricane and nor’easter. Which brings up an important point: do not cheap out, BUY THE GODDAM TRAVEL INSURANCE that comes with the rental offer. Under NC law, if the owner offers rental insurance and you don’t buy it, he or she gets to keep your money if a hurricane kills your vacation plans.

  47. 47
    Jager says:

    Look at VRBO, we’ve had great luck with them over the years. vrbo.com (they’re so good AirBnB buys google ads with vacation rental by owner in the ad)

  48. 48
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Sister Golden Bear: Thanks for checking in! I hope you’re doing okay out there, as best you can.

  49. 49
    Mnemosyne says:

    Made it home in one piece. Denver was a lovely city and I told G that we need to add it to our vacation list for the future.

  50. 50
    Grover Gardner says:

    Delware’s nice but the Outer Banks is very relaxing. Down around Avon, etc. as others mentioned, there’s not a damn thing to do but eat, sleep and walk on the beach.

  51. 51

    @Mnemosyne: Welcome, just in time for things to get toasty.

  52. 52
    Duane says:

    @Kdaug: If there’s any decency left in this country, those hateful ads will be removed.

  53. 53
    Beautifulplumage says:

    OT. Got home from a weekend beer fest ~ 11:20 to find visual evidence of a fire in the apts across the street, 2 phase power is out (3 phase powers my apt bldg outside lights, ranges, dryers), and a large amount of activity from professionals working on things. I won’t know the details until tomorrow, but right now a local tree co is working a chainsaw to ???.

    So impressed by the calm professionalism of the gathered utility folks working in the dark.

    I live on a short culdesac, and a bunch of trucks are in the field of the neighbor. Not going to be able to sleep soon, so have moved to the front balcony hallway to observe.

  54. 54
    prostratedragon says:

    Don’t have any travel tips, but here’s a poem and song about a journey agent.

  55. 55
    piratedan says:

    word of caution, keep an eye on the weather reports, you’re not completely out of hurricane season on the mid-atlantic coast

  56. 56
    Amir Khalid says:

    Sad and strange news: a cardiologist who had treated George HW Bush was shot dead while riding his bicycle to work, by another cyclist.

  57. 57
    NotMax says:

    @Amir Khalid

    Texas. Bah, humbug.

  58. 58
    Repatriated says:

    @Duane: Probably gets many apparent click-throughs from failed attempts to hit the close button…

  59. 59
    Duane says:

    @Repatriated: Satan’s ad agency at work.I hope Cole didn’t sign a life-time contract.

  60. 60
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    I’ll third (or fourth or whatever) contacting Quinerly. Or the off-season Outer Banks.

    On the ads: uBlock Origin and uMatrix are wonderful things. Very fine-grained control; I can block most of the really annoying stuff without blocking everything. I still get the “failed to finish loading” issue fairly regularly; it seems to be a Twitter problem. It goes away when I block that.

  61. 61
    himahamma says:

    I live in NC but go with my family to Bethany Beach DE every summer (the grandparents have had a place there for decades). The rental rates in Bethany are often a bit high, but Fenwick Island, Rehoboth Beach and Dewey Beach can be pretty reasonable in September. The water and air temps are usually quite nice in September and there’s less chance of a tropical storm than on the Outer Banks. I use airbnb for most of my travel and have had great experiences with that. Having a kitchen makes a big difference and saves quite a bit of money over a hotel, as well as making for a more homey experience. I’ve heard VRBO and hometogo work well also but I don’t have personal experience with either.

  62. 62
    swiftfox says:

    I’d get on this right now at least for Delaware. It’s about as popular in September and October as it is during high summer. Need to start looking there at least 3 months ahead of time. These places don’t turn into sleepy hamlets after Labor Day like they used to.

  63. 63
    PSpain says:

    @Jager:

    VRBO sucks now. Bought out by Expedia for $2 billion and they gouge their customers. We paid them $500 a year for our ad and had nice guests. They sold us, their customers. After they were bought out the switched to the commission model. Adding 15% to a rental does not serve their customers which had been us the owners. AirBnB has it’s own issues but they are up front about the fees, 3% to owners and 6 to 12 % to customers. To be charged extra after paying for what was an ad is ridiculous.

    https://www.facebook.com/SayNotoVRBO/

  64. 64
    Barbara says:

    @swiftfox: Definitely — also true for NC that there is more activity after Labor Day than there used to be but to a lesser extent than for destinations closer to larger cities like DC. Also true that NC is more likely to be subject to disruption by hurricanes.

  65. 65
    Nettoyeur says:

    Sunset Beach is nice BUT September is hurricane season.

  66. 66
    Albatrossity says:

    We’ve stayed in places on Ocean Isle (NC) several times. It has a great beach, and lots(!) of housing options. Beachfront houses are more expensive of course, but the second-row or canal-facing houses are also quite nice and a lot cheaper. Never took the pets, so I don’t have any insights into that. We usually use Williamson, but there are several other realty agencies that offer beach house rentals as well. https://www.williamsonrealty.com/

  67. 67
    low-tech cyclist says:

    @geg6:

    we stayed on Anna Maria Island—loved it

    I’m sure it’s too far a drive for John (it’s 16 hours from Bristol on the VA/TN line to Tampa, a drive my wife and I used to be *too* familiar with), but my wife and I LOVE Anna Maria. We rent a house for a week each year near the north end of the island on the bay side, where you can literally throw a rock from the back door to the water. Our week of heaven on earth.

    (For eating out, one place I recommend is Duffy’s Tavern, which is about the only place that I’ll admit grills a better burger than I can do on my own. Their brie and caramelized onion burger is amazing.)

    We’ll be there four weeks from today. Can’t wait.

  68. 68
    AAAndrew says:

    We’ve lived in NC for 15 years now and have visited most of the beaches here. For quiet, I second the recommendations of Ocean Isle, Holden Beach, Sunset Beach area. Ocean Isle has a good Jamaican restaurant and is very quiet. It’s one of our favorites. Look for realty companies in the area and rent from them. Mid-September is prime time cause the beaches are pretty empty, but the restaurants haven’t closed up yet. Threats of hurricane are still pretty rare. They are one of those low-risk, high-impact events.

    Emerald Isle is also a nice beach. We were just there at July 4th and it wasn’t terribly crowded considering it was a holiday.

    We haven’t run into a bad beach yet in NC. Have fun!

  69. 69
    low-tech cyclist says:

    There’s Surf City, in between Topsail Beach and North Topsail Beach. Can’t say anything about the accommodations, but rumor has it there’s

    two girls for every boy!

    Actually, a friend of mine went there a few years back and found it quite pleasant.

  70. 70
    Hoodie says:

    Have gone to Emerald many times, it’s fine, especially down by the Coast Guard station. That time of year is probably the best time to visit anywhere on the SE coast, as the temps and humidity are usually very comfortable (barring a tropical storm, but the probability of that is pretty low by late September) and the water is still pretty warm. I’m not the biggest beach fan, but I have to admit that October down there can be glorious. Fishing on NC coast is also great in early October. SC can also be great if you avoid Myrtle Beach. Georgia coast is interesting, although not a lot in the way of beaches because most of it is wildlife preserves. There are great beaches in N. Florida, very nice that time of year.

  71. 71
    Snarkworth, short-fingered Bulgarian says:

    John, check out Sandbridge, VA. Just south of Virginia Beach, but light years away in mood.

  72. 72
    Juju says:

    @eemom: That sounds lovely. I hope I get a chance to go to Avon sometime in August. If you are in Avon and happen to see a woman walking two dogs, one curly red golden and one reddish golden blend, before 9:00 am or after 5:00pm, and she sort of matches her dogs, that could be me. I usually walk them sound side Kinakeet.

  73. 73
    HinTN says:

    @Mike in NC: We go to Holden a lot and love the place. Coastal Vacation Resorts has pet friendly properties and a person friendly web site. Holden is all houses and quiet.

    John – get in touch if you like.

  74. 74
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Mike in NC: Seconded on that one. Pretty sure that’s where I went for a destination wedding about – God, was it twelve years ago? Am I really that old? Anyway – and it was fabulous. Beach house, pet friendly, did some sailing with the groom’s mom and stepdad, saw pelicans and all kinds of other birds. Heaven.

    The area around New Bern is really nice, too.

  75. 75
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Sister Golden Bear: I feel you. I know exactly of what you speak. Hope you are doing as well as can be expected otherwise!

  76. 76
    Quinerly says:

    I’m originally from NC and still own a place..oceanfront at Pine Knoll Shores, NC.. Bogue Banks. Rent to friends. Send me an email if you are still looking. Late to the thread.

  77. 77
    Quinerly says:

    @Miss Bianca: I’m originally from the New Bern area!

  78. 78
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Sister Golden Bear: Hope you get out of there soon and back to your home. Take care.

  79. 79
    catatonia says:

    @eemom:
    Cola Vaughn Realty is a small shop in the Nags Head/KDH area, geared toward pet friendly rentals. We went through him all the time when we had our beagles, Sidney and Stella. There’s a great old house, called “Toad Hall”, Soundside, backing right up onto the south side of Jockeys Ridge State Park (which is a great place to take your dogs on an early morning hike). It’s a big place with wrap-around porches — a lot of character. The guy’s a good egg too. We had a rental scheduled right around the time of Irene, but the house was flooded out, so he put us in Todd Hall for the rate we were going to spend for the other place.

  80. 80
    Chris says:

    Hi John-
    Just got back from a week at Oak Island NC. Oak Island Accomodations is the realtor I always use (been going there every summer for about a decade) After labor day the rates begin to drop and I am sure you can find something you’ll like. Their website rentalsatthebeach.com. Very easy process. They use these key code locks on the doors on all their rentals so you dont even have to go by the realty office on the way in. You pay..they email you a code and bam you check in. Great beach. The Army Corps of Engineers is doing beach replenishment right now but they are supposed to be gone by 8/21. Long story about why in gods name they are doing this in the summer….some bidding issue last fall.

  81. 81
    Gelfling 545 says:

    @NotMax: It depends on the area. In a big tourist area you’ll get a rapid succession of tenants. In quieter areas, only a few here and there. If it’s an area with a lot of night life, less quiet, etc.

  82. 82
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Quinerly: Really? My ex’s dad and stepmother lived down there. We went and visited them a couple times. Nice area!

  83. 83
    Mr.Mack says:

    No beach here, but we operate an Air BnB near Nashville. We haz creeks, trails, horses, donkeys and an irritable goat. Dogs love it here. Cabin sleeps four, all the amenities you could ask for. September filling up but happy to extend a “stay free” offer for you and your fur babies. Have to block out the dates in advance, feel free to email me. Best of luck regardless. For pics and info…look up Coyote Creek in Greenbrier, Tn.

  84. 84
    Quinerly says:

    @Miss Bianca: grew up about 30 miles from New Bern in the little town of Grifton. New Bern is a sweet little town and the home of Nicholas Sparks (writer). We have had a place on Bogue Banks since 1966…first Salter Path, now Pine Knoll Shores. Small world… weren’t you going to meet Cheryl, O Felix, and me in Santa Fe for drinks in February? Something came up from your end?

  85. 85
    J R in WV says:

    @Steeplejack:

    First patch of what?

    The first patch of the rare plants (carnivorous) growing right in the path the conservationists built into the swamp.

  86. 86
    Currants says:

    Rehoboth beach DE or ocean City, MD and NJ both nice. Use VRBO.

  87. 87
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Quinerly: Correct. I am possibly going to be in NM at the beginning of August, but probably won’t have time to suggest another BJ meet-up. Too bad, since the CO one proved delightful!

  88. 88
    Janette Blandford says:

    Emerald Isle or anywhere on Atlantic Beach, near Morehead City, NC. Very family-oriented, quiet, no frat parties, motorbike kind of thing. Have seen many dogs on the beach. Check out Emerald Isle Realty for rentals.

  89. 89
    Jager says:

    @PSpain:

    Didn’t know that. The house we rent in West Port, CA (population 66) went off the regular vacation rental market and we rent it directly from the owner now. Too bad, we had great experiences with VRBO over the years. Joshua Tree, Mono Lake, San Francisco, too damn bad.

  90. 90
    The Moar You Know says:

    Also will weigh in on VRBO, been very good to me and the wife. AirBNB has been such a consistent disaster that even my wife, who is a hardcore travel bargain hunter, will not use them anymore.

    “Fool me five times, and it starts looking like I don’t learn so well.” Five AirBNB Rentals, and every one has ended in us having to get a hotel because the place was being let by a total psycho, or facing daily threats of eviction because the person renting it out is not the owner, but a tenant who is then subletting it out. So we don’t do that anymore. AirBNB doesn’t give a shit just so long as they get their money, but at least are pretty honest and tell you that. Afterwards. When they have your money and you’re trying to find a safe place to stay.

    VRBO at least seems to screen their owners. Done that three times and all were spectacular.

  91. 91
    Scott says:

    Just came back from Carolina Beach which is just south of Wilmington. Carolina Beach is kind of an old timey, run down place that is coming back up so it has a mix of the cheesy and the upscale. Everything is pretty walkable. We have also stayed at Wrightsville Beach which is more upscale.

    The best part is that these two are close to Wilmington which is worth spending a day or two wandering around. Lots of colonial homes, stores and history. Cape Fear museum is one of those local museums that are long on charm. Even has a corner dedicated to Michael Jordan who came from there.

  92. 92
    Satya says:

    The cabins in the state park on Edisto Island are that area’s best kept secret.

  93. 93
    Enzymer says:

    Ocracoke is my favorite. You won’t be beach front, but the village is nice. Good restaurants. Very quiet, the ferries filter out the traffic. After the last ferry, no traffic at all.

  94. 94
    Jonothan says:

    Come to New Zealand – it’s all those things and a lot more.

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    eemom says:

    What a great thread! So many places I’ve never even heard about. Bookmarking for future ref.

    A couple of places not yet mentioned: Chincoteague, VA. Similar to Ocracoke in that you can’t stay beach front because it’s all national park land, but a very nice town with a wide range of places to stay, good restaurants, etc. And the wild ponies! (No doggies on beach, though.)

    A few years back we went to Tybee in Georgia because we freaked out over the shark attacks in the Carolinas. (We knew it was irrational, but we still freaked.) That’s a nice place too — very down to earth and friendly. There’s a Tybee resident amongst our commenters here, as I recall.

    @Juju:

    We’ll be there August 5 to 19. Will keep an eye out for you and your doggies!

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    toocanAnj says:

    @Sister Golden Bear: Where in the world are you that you are getting a daily sponge bath in a hospital? I hope you get some rest for recovery, in spite of all the interruptions!

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