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  • Writer's pictureCarolyn

How to Choose the Right Vacation Rental for Your Beach Vacation

Updated: Jun 26, 2020

Looking for the perfect vacation rental for your beach vacation can be a daunting task!  There are thousands of condos to choose from and the listings can all begin to blend together over time.  Here are some tips for how to find the best beach condo for you!

Think About How You Will Live on Vacation

What does the ideal vacation day look like for you?  Do you want to be at the beach all day? Do you have little ones who will need naps and breaks throughout the day?  Is the pool important to your family? What about proximity to restaurants and activities? You can greatly improve your chances of having a great vacation experience if you take a few minutes to think about how you want to spend your vacation time.  For most people, their vacation preferences aren’t all that different from daily life.

Size Matters

Make sure that any condo you’re considering can comfortably accommodate everyone in your travel party. 

It’s often helpful to have spaces that are private enough for a break from the main living space. This is especially important if you have kiddos who need to nap or would benefit from some rest time in the afternoon.  

The size of the condo complex itself and amount of beach frontage also important.  Look at the size of the building compared to the size of the beach. A large building with relatively small beach frontage can create a situation where you have multiple rows of beach chairs between the building and the water. This makes for a very crowded beach and water situation. 

TIP: Many condo complexes have webcams that show their beach. You can check out how different beaches look on the same day to get an idea of what you can expect crowd-wise. Here's the Dunes of Panama webcam

You might also want to consider the size and number of the swimming pools. Again, consider the size of the pools relative to the size of the condo buildings.  My children are proficient swimmers and I would generally prefer a complex with multiple smaller pools because it makes it easier to keep an eye on them. They also seem to enjoy having a few different pools to choose from throughout the week.  It keeps the experience fresh for them.

TIP: Use Google Earth to see the actual size and layout of swimming pools at the condo complexes you’re considering. Finally, if you’re traveling in the off-season you might want to look into indoor and heated pools.  Don’t assume that all pools are open year round.

Walk vs. Drive

Do you want to park your car for the week and leave it?  Then you’ll want to be very close to stores and restaurants.  But think about how this will actually work. Are there good sidewalks between your condo and these restaurants?  If not, you may not be comfortable walking with your family regardless of how close they appear to be online. I’ve also found that my family will not walk as long at the end of a day in the sun as they would normally.  So even if we would walk the distance at home, we end up driving it on vacation. You might also want to consider how far you’ll have to park your car from the building you would be staying in. It sounds like a minor detail, but it feels far less minor when you’re hauling in groceries or luggage.  In the end, you may decide that it isn’t actually worth paying the premium to be in what you consider a prime location if you still end up driving everywhere you go.

Just Like Home

Consider how the condo is furnished.  Is there a washer and dryer unit in the complex?  In your actual unit? You’re likely to need to do some laundry on the trip and the proximity of those services is worth considering.  Will you be cooking meals for your family on vacation? If so, you’ll want to understand how well appointed the kitchen is.

Even though it’s a shorter duration, your beach condo will be your home for the week.  Make sure it functions the way you need it to. Taking the time to think about your needs and then finding a space that meets them is worth the extra investment!

If you're looking for a condo in Panama City Beach, FL, we would love to invite you to stay at the Joy Coastal condo - a 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo at the Dunes of Panama.


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