A Few Rules
Figure Eight Island
Carolina / Kure Beach
Southport - Oak Island
Bald Head Island
South Brunswick Islands
Topsail Island Area
The southern North Carolina coast has many outstanding hotels, motels, inns and bed and breakfasts for vacationers, but there's another way to stay: rental homes. Every island from Topsail in the north to Sunset Beach in the south has at least half a dozen home rental companies with properties for short-term rental that range from opulent to modest. Choose from million-dollar homes, well-appointed condos, cheery cottages and even fishing trailers to meet your own preferences and budget. Most rentals are booked through a rental agency (a list of agencies is included below).
Most people have three reasons for choosing to rent a home instead of staying in a hotel for a week: it's usually less expensive to rent a cottage than a hotel room for a longer period of time; you can fit a bunch of family and friends into one comfortable place; and the setting is casual -- you can dress the way you like and never have to worry about getting up to greet housekeeping when they tap on your door to clean.
This latter brings up a big difference between hotels and rental homes: there's no staff on hand to wait on guests. No room service, either. A bed left unmade in the morning will stay that way unless you take care of it. Same thing for taking out the garbage, cleaning the bathrooms and doing the laundry. A vacation rental home is, simply put, your home away from home and you're responsible for how well it runs.
Guests who don't mind the added responsibility of cooking and cleaning while on vacation will discover the special pleasures a rental home offers. There's enormous freedom in terms of scheduling the day to suit oneself. A kitchen at the beach is a bonus to cooks who appreciate the availability of fresh seafood at nearby markets. And there's an inclination for renters to make their chosen vacation home a tradition, returning year after year to a place that increasingly feels like their own home.