The Five Ws of Taking the Perfect Beach Vacation


Quit Yer Crabbin’ Beach House on Tybee Island, Georgia

I’m writing this article in a luxurious, five bedroom beach house on Tybee Island courtesy of Tybee Joy Vacation Rentals called Quit Yer Crabbin’ that is just a couple blocks from the beach and is so huge and elegant, we could live here forever. The two of us are rattling around in this huge house, never even using the expansive upstairs.

We are here to cover the annual Tybee Island Pirate Fest and we could not be in a better or more comfortable location. On the other hand, the last time we were in Tybee, we stayed in a tiny, circa 1920s cottage called Old Love on Tybee Island, Georgia courtesy of Mermaid Cottages that was perfectly darling . The hot pink exterior was complemented by the bright turquoise and white interior where lazily turning ceiling fans evoked that special, incomparable beach mood. We were 99 steps from the beach. I love being 99 steps from the beach.

We have stayed in fabulous, sprawling, luxury hotels in Hawaii — hotels that were mere steps from an incredible beach and offered amenities that would boggle your mind. Then we’ve stayed in places like these wonderful beach houses. We enjoyed both vacations equally. There is a beach vacation out there for everyone. And everyone needs a beach vacation. The sun, the sand, the smell of the air, the taste

Sea turtle on a beach in Maui

of fresh seafood just pulled out of the water, kids building sandcastles – yes, everyone needs a beach vacation.

Now, just how do you get one?

Who? First, think about who is going on the beach vacation. You might think that the bigger the family, the more expensive the vacation. But that isn’t necessarily true. If you have a big family, maybe you can share the cost of

a beach house. We recently stayed at the Summerwind Resort in Navarre Beach, Florida, thanks to Gulf Blue Vacations, which offers tons of gorgeous condos and houses to rent in the area.  The two of us (my husband and I) found ourselves in a large, three-bedroom condo that could have easily accommodated several more people. Split the cost of a gorgeous, beachfront condo or house, buy some groceries to make your own meals, and you have a pretty reasonable price for a beach vacation.

The pool at Perdido Beach Resort in Gulf Shores, Alabama

What? If you have small kids in your group, they are honestly very happy playing on the beach for hours. There is no need to stress yourself out planning an elaborate vacation with tons of expensive things for them to do. Choose a place like Tybee Island or Gulf Shores/Orange Beach, Alabama, where we recently stayed at the beautiful Perdido Beach Resort. Right on the beach, with a beautiful pool and several restaurants, it’s a perfect location with great prices. If you have a group of people going who want more activities, just choose a different area with more activities, like Destin, Florida. We’ve stayed several times at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. A huge resort area, the Sandestin offers everything from lovely hotel rooms to huge beach houses, along with pools, a golf course, parks, restaurants, and shops. Just choose the accommodations and the price that fits your budget.

When? There are two aspects to this one. When, as in can you leave on vacation at a moment’s notice? Hotels and resorts like to have full rooms. It means people are also spending money on food and

amenities. So if they have empty rooms, you have some power to negotiate a better deal. Check the website, check sites like,  then call the hotel or resort directly and see them what’s the best they can do. You often get the best price by dealing directly with property. When can also refer to when can you go? Does it have to be when the kids are out of school? If you’re a Baby Boomers, probably

Summerwind Resort in Navarre Beach, Florida

not. If you can travel in the low season, you’re going to get the best prices. Many beach areas are perfectly lovely in May or September and you’ll find some great deals.

Where? It’s pretty obvious that you’re not going to get a great deal during the high season when hotels and resorts make most of their money. You’re also not going to get a great deal at the most popular

beaches, unless you head to someplace like Hilton Head, South Carolina during the off season. We stayed at the wonderful Beach House in Hilton Head which is a Holiday Inn Resort and has one of the biggest beach areas at low tide that I have ever seen.  The United States has pretty big coastlines on the east and west and down by the Gulf.  Get out a map and check out some of the smaller, less populous beach areas.

Go to the library or the bookstore and read up on some of these small and undiscovered, but quite lovely locations or just browse the Internet for ideas. Once you find an area that looks interesting, check tripadvisor for reviews of the hotels, resorts, or rental properties you are considering. There are plenty of gorgeous beach areas that your family is going to love – and that you can afford.

Why? Please. Do we even need this?

Now I think I’ll take a break from writing and go walk on the beach.

And so should you.

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