Tag Archives: vacation

Egmont Key Florida

Discovering Egmont Key All Over Again

Egmont Key flowersA long time ago, in a land right under your feet, a river ran to the sea. As the eons passed, the shoreline moved and the seas rose and fell. Today at the mouth of that ancient river-that-no-longer-runs is an island known as Egmont Key. Formed by the ancient lay of land, it differs from the nearby barrier islands, which were created wind, waves, and shifting sand. Located on the beautiful waters of the Gulf of Mexico, this fascinating Florida island sits at the mouth of Tampa Bay. Egmont Key beachEgmont Key State Park is remote and well worth the effort of visiting.

November marks the days for visiting the island, not because of the season, but rather the Discover the Island event which is organized by the Egmont Key Alliance,. While Egmont Key is open all year long, the event invites guests to the island for tours, food, displays, and souvenirs which are not ordinarily present. By doing so, the Egmont Key Alliance increases awareness and support for preserving the important island and its unique history.

Egmont Key lighthouseEgmont Key has served many purposes over the years, but its strategic position at the mouth of Tampa Bay dictated its destiny for military use. A fort sat on the island as well as guns for defending the mouth of the bay. While modern technology has overcome the need for a station on the island, it was used from the Civil War through World War Two to defend the important harbor. Tour guides for the event explained the various unique ways those stationed on the island kept the mouth of Tampa Bay safe. Many of the concrete structures still stand. Others have sunk beneath the surface of the Gulf of Mexico and sit off shore beneath the waves, victims of a shifting shoreline.

Train wheels Egmont KeyIn the present, the island supports a lighthouse, several old bunkers, and the brick streets of a bygone military base that you can walk. Amid the reminders of days gone by are railroad tracks that ran from the base out to a pier for loading boats. Palm trees and mangroves cover the island, the brick streets running through a palm forest now, rather than a base. On the west side of the former buildings is the beach, a beautiful stretch of white sand paradise. You will rarely find this beach occupied, except, of course, for the Discover the Island days.

Egmont Key beachThe southern portion of the island is off limits to visitors, being the domain of nesting birds and sea turtles. The large preserve is home to an amazing number of birds during nesting seasons, although our guide explained that November was not a peak month. Despite most of the island being a preserve, the portion that is open for touring is quite large and more than enough to fill an entire day of exploring.

Egmont Key FerryMark your calendars for November to take advantage of this fun and informative event. While you can visit the island any time you like, the Discover the Island event might be the best time to learn about the island’s history. It is also a good time to go if you don’t particularly want to be on an island all by yourself. Despite what type of experience you enjoy, guided or solo, be sure to check out this island. A ferry runs to it regularly from Fort Desoto Park. Don’t miss out on this unique experience!



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Shaking Hands with Pirates

Clearwater Beach Marina

Native American Indian Mounds of the Florida Gulf Coast


Clearwater Ferry

Ditching a Car for the Ferry to Clearwater Beach

Going to Clearwater Beach has always been enjoyable but now the Clearwater Ferry has added a bit more to the experience.

An Easier Way to Clearwater Beach

Clearwater Ferry boardingOne of the things we sometimes hear at our Florida Beach Rentals offices is that our customers are in traffic on their way to Clearwater Beach. While Clearwater Beach traffic doesn’t compare to places like New York or Los Angeles, it can take a bit of time to get over the bridge to our island on a Saturday afternoon. More than once we discussed how nice it would be to have a water taxi to get across Clearwater Harbor on busy days. Apparently, we were not alone. The owners of The Tropics Boat Tours recently launched a water taxi to make the crossing.

Beach Parking with Perks

Clearwater FloridaThe Clearwater Ferry starts at Coachman Park, home to many of the City of Clearwater’s favorite festivals. A large paved parking area flanks the park and, in this case, the parking lot is the main attraction. While parking on Clearwater Beach tends to fill up and cost money, it is free in the spacious lot next to Coachman Park. The parking lot puts you in a good location too. The lot is next door to both the Clearwater Public Library and Winter’s Dolphin Tale Adventure, which is a museum-style display based on the Dolphin Tale movies that star celebrity dolphins Winter and Hope. Also nearby is well-known Cleveland Street with the Capitol Theater, a number of restaurants, and a Starbucks. While the whole point might be to get across the water to Clearwater Beach, it is also nice to know that the amenities of Downtown Clearwater are within easy reach.

Scenic Route to Clearwater Beach

Clearwater FerryThe Clearwater Ferry waits for passengers at the foot of the pier, just under the bridge. Signs lead the way to the loading ramp, just in case you don’t see the vessel right away. Boarding is easy and plenty of seating lines the perimeter. The ride goes quickly, but despite that, plenty of great scenery goes by. The tranquil waters of Clearwater Harbor glide under the ferry while it plies its way alongside the causeway. To the left stands an uninhabited mangrove island that has become a bird sanctuary. Birds always fill the branches or stand in the shallows of this harbor landmark. The docking arrives sooner than you might expect, the ride only taking perhaps 5 minutes.

Reaching more of Clearwater Beach

Clearwater FerryAn unexpected perk arose near the end of the Clearwater Ferry ride. Working on Clearwater Beach made me curious about the ferry service and whether it would be feasible on heavy traffic days like weekends or holidays. To my surprise, the pilot explained that they now drop people off at the Clearwater Beach Library at no additional charge. The extra distance went quickly and when we arrived, I stepped onto the shore a mere block from where I worked. With service to the main marina and the library dock, much of the beach is covered. For many employees, these two stops eliminate most of the walking. For tourists, the disembarking sites lead to the two most visited areas of Clearwater Beach. The Clearwater Ferry is even considering an additional stop to the southern end of Clearwater Beach which would make the entire public beach area accessible on foot after disembarking.

Thumbs Up for Clearwater Ferry

Aside from being convenient and affordable (day passes $3 to $8) the ferry is an enjoyable ride. While the route never varies, it does go through a channel used by many of the tour boats while out on the harbor. The views are fantastic, as they always are while out on the waters of the bay. It is hard to imagine a more scenic route to get to work.

Clearwater Ferry


More posts you might enjoy:

No Roads Found to Caladesi Island

Tarpon Springs Holiday Lighted Boat Parade

Clearwater Marine Aquarium


paddleboaring Clearwater harbor

Paddleboarding Clearwater Beach

Stand Up Paddleboarding

Clearwater Paddleboard CoPaddleboarding dates back over a thousand years, but modern paddleboarding, as a widely popular sport, seems to have its start somewhere around the year 2000, when boards designed for standing were brought to the US. The new style boards were easier to stand on than a surfboard, and far more buoyant. With the surge in popularity, the boards continued to evolve, the newest editions being wider and more stable than ever before. Stand Up Paddleboarding was born. Today when paddleboarding, falling into the water is far less likely. Some constants still remain, of course. Paddleboarding is still a workout, and first-timers will still discover new muscles –especially the next day.


Morning Paddle at Clearwater Beach

Stand Up PaddleboardClearwater Paddleboard Company extended an invitation to go paddleboarding a while back, which was easy to say yes to. The big decision was not so much when to go but rather whether we should paddle the shores of Clearwater Beach or the waters of Clearwater Harbor. While that decision might be a hard one for visitors, it was a little easier for us locals. For visitors, the sandy shores of the beach are a big draw. You can wave to your friends on the shore or enjoy the lively beach activities while you paddle by. For two employees who work on the beach, our bets were on the guaranteed-to-be-calmer waters of the harbor. With our plans set, we met in the morning, before most beach businesses opened. Clearwater Paddleboard Company has a large van which is capable of carrying a lot of paddleboards. We unloaded the boards at the library. Yes, the Clearwater Beach library has a boat ramp and a dock. After a short paddleboarding lesson, we pushed off the dock and into Clearwater Harbor.


Paddleboarding Clearwater Harbor

Paddleboard Clearwater Harbor The harbor in the morning is remarkably calm. On the morning of our paddle it was like glass. The calm waters made up for the lack of sunshine, with seasonal clouds gathered overhead. We started with a tour of some favorite waterfront homes, something only some might appreciate, us among them. We then turned around and headed toward Clearwater Marina. The paddle took us past anchored sailboats, boats docked at the marina, and under the causeway bridge. We did not get to see dolphins but we did get to see some stingrays swimming by. The paddle was relaxing but also a little bit of work. It made for a perfect morning outing before heading off to work. We arrived back at the docks after an easy trip back, where we loaded the boards back onto the van. The owner of Clearwater Paddleboard Company was very accommodating, but who wouldn’t be in a good mood when their job is to help people go paddleboarding?


Paddleboard Season

Cleawater Paddleboard CoThe great news about paddleboarding at Clearwater Beach is that you can do it all year round. Cleawater Paddleboard CoThe waters of the Gulf of Mexico are almost always calm and the waters of the harbor are even calmer. A lot of fun sites are reachable with this simple watercraft, and it makes for a very relaxing sightseeing tour. Your chances of seeing dolphins swim by are actually quite high anywhere around Clearwater Beach, with lots of exotic birds thrown into the mix. If you are visiting the area, and you want to try paddleboarding, Clearwater Beach is a great location to get your feet wet, literally.


 Paddleboarding video


Clearwater Paddleboard Co. 727-744-9008


Other posts you might enjoy:

Explore the Gulf Coast Dolphin Trail

Pinellas Trail Bicycle and Walking Path

5 Most Exciting Beach Activity Rentals at Clearwater Beach


John Levique Pirate Days

Pirate Day Fun and Warfare

John Levique Pirate Days at John’s Pass

Happy Return of Piracy

Maidens au portPirate days returned to John’s Pass in Madeira Beach, Florida May 8th through the 10th. The pirate festival has become a well-known excuse to visit the already popular tourist destination of John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk. The site is a well-known favorite for locals and visitors alike, due to its fun shops and great restaurants. The tourist-style shops sell nautical knickknacks, T-shirts, mugs, and lots of other touristy items. The restaurants are fantastic, some of them having dining docks on the waterfront. The ice cream and taffy shops add the finishing touch. The boardwalk and village are the perfect size for strolling, big enough to keep visitors looking but small enough so that you can see it all.


Pirates Everywhere

PiratesJohn Levique Pirate Days added a special buzz to the shopping and dining village at John’s Pass. Merchant tents lined the streets while the main parking lot had been converted into a tent with a stage for bands. A second performers’ tent stood at the other end of the street, with a fighting ring for pirate disputes and tents for visiting pirates. The streets were filled with visitors shopping, eating or just sightseeing. At every turn more pirates showed up, walking the streets in every directions, grizzly pirates, lady pirates, lone pirates, or packs of pirates. A lot of pirate paraphernalia was for sale in the merchant tents, for anyone wanting to join the fray.


Real Life Pirate Battle – Almost

Pirate shipThe pirate invasion of John’s Pass happened at noon. The battle, as it turned out, was between the pirate tour boat that docks at John’s Pass and the Hubbard’s Dolphin Tour boat. The two large vessels spun around the waters of the pass at surprising speed, shooting water cannons at one another. Added to the mix were cannon blasts that echoed off the shops of the boardwalk. SmPirate cannonsaller boats weaved into the battle, armed with their own water cannons, taking any opportunity to strike at the “invading” pirate ship. On the shore, more pirates fired cannons, ones much larger than those on the ships. The pass reverberated, literally, with the booming of cannon fire.


 Join the Pirates

John Levique Pirate DaysAfter the pirate show, it was time to return to the shops, the vendor tents, the shows, and a chance to dine on the waterfront. Despite the all the activity, the parking was reasonably priced and easy to find. Thanks to the small size of John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk, it was not difficult to find the car again. The event was a lot of fun, which it always is. Visitors to this yearly festival are advised to check the online schedule. It will help guide you toward the times when bands are playing, when the pirate invasions and battles occur, and promotional specials offered by bars of John’s Pass. If you are living in the area, or you plan to visit in May, be sure to check this event out in the coming years. John Levique Pirate Days really is one of the best events of the year.

Pirate Battle Video


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Treasure Island Kite Festival and Sport Kite Competition

Pass A Grille Chowder Challenge

Salvador Dali Museum


Barrier Island Touring

Touring Barrier Island Heaven

Barrier Island Touring with Private Island Charters

Anclote River ParkWhen Private Island Charters extended an invitation to tour the barrier islands of the coast, the offer was impossible to refuse. The tour started at Anclote River Park, a well-known destination for Tarpon Springs locals. While the park is not so much a destination for tourists, it does have many positive draws. Aside from the boat ramp, it has picnic pavilions with lots of shade of trees around, a swimming beach, and a Native American mound site. We set off from the boat dock at the park and headed out the boaters’ channel at the mouth of the river.


North Sandbar

North SandbarOur first destination was the island that most locals call North Sand Bar. It is part of a long sandbar that has risen above the water. It now supports mangrove trees, bushes and grass, despite being very small. The sands are perfectly soft, and bright. A few people were strolling the island while a number of private fishermen worked the shallows around the island. It is a beautiful place, which is most often a peaceful place to enjoy near solitude on remarkable beaches. We took a tour of the island on foot after dropping anchor. With such an abundance of shallows, it is a great place for wading.  After circling the island on foot, which took only minutes, we waded out into the shallows of the sand bar. Then, with more to see ahead of us, we climbed back onto the boat and headed off for more island exploring.


Island Currents

Anclote Key sandbarNorth Sandbar nearly connects to Anclote Key to the south but is cut off by a strong current that flows between. Anclote Key is a three mile long island that is uninhabited. It is well established, with forests and grasses along its length. Visitors to the island can almost always enjoy solitude on its beaches. The island also has a lighthouse from the 1800s. While visitors can no longer climb the tower, it is nice for photographs as well as being an important part of local history. We cruised by the northern end of the island using the channel between the island and the sandbar. Because the day was slightly windy, we did not stop the Private Islands Charter boat on Anclote Key, due to the higher surf rolling onto its western side, which is where the beaches are.


Three Rooker Bar

Three Rooker BarThe next island to the south is called Three Rooker Bar. Maps vary on its name, refering to it as both an island and a sandbar. The sands of Three Rooker Bar are still moving about, with a channel currently cutting the island in half. According to locals, the island was split in half in the past but then reformed. A recent storm split the island again, and a strong current now passes between the two halves of Three Rooker Bar. We stopped on the southern half, pacing around its shores for a  while. The shelling next to the tidal current was fantastic. The flow of water between the island halves was as strong as any river, creating surf where it issued into the waters on the west side of the island. While we wanted to circle the island on foot, the southern end was roped off for the nesting birds. The trees on the southern end of the island were inviting, but we left them to the birds and their nests and returned the way we came. The return trip to the docks was a sun-filled ride across the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico.


Island Boating

Private Island ChartersThe charter was a lot of fun, with Captain Todd going wherever requested. He explained that most excursions include dolphin sightings. The sites within reach are numerous, with even more locations either north or south of the places we visited. Honeymoon Island State Park is within reach, as is Howard Park, the Anclote River, and the northern Nature Coast. Captain Todd said that, while he has taken fishermen out, most his charters are booked by vacationers who want to see the area. The region of the Gulf of Mexico his boat plies is remarkable, with pristine natural islands, state parks, an historic river, and more. The choice is yours. You can ask to go where you like, or you can sit back and let Private Island Charters treat you to the treasures of the coast.


Private Island Charters: 727-534-8818


Other posts you might enjoy:

No Roads Found to Caladesi Island

Discovering Egmont Key

Wildest Islands on the Central Gulf Coast of Florida

If you would like to stay at a waterfront vacation rental with a private dock serviced directly by Private Island Charters call us at Florida Beach Rentals and we will do our best to accommodate you. (727-288-2020)

Seven Dwarfs sand

Fairy Tales in the Sand at Clearwater Beach

Fairy Tale Beach

Three Little Pigs in sandDo you remember the Three Little Pigs? Goldie Locks? Rapunzel? The Little Boy Who Cried Wolf? The Princess and the Pea? Clearwater Beach, Florida brought those and a host of other fairy tales into the realm of three dimensions at the Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival . At a mere ten dollars a ticket, visitors gained entrance to the large tent protecting the sand sculptures. A path led through the artwork, the trail composed of nothing more than ordinary beach sand which is there all year round. Guests were treated to close up encounters with their favorite fairy tales. Viewers discussed each pieces, many trying to recall the names of certain fairy tales or quotes from the stories. Sculpted into the sand of some of the pieces were their titles, helping guests along while presenting some striking three dimensional fonts. Colored lights alternated from one shade to another, helping to enhance the shadows. pinoccioTo immerse spectators further, a soundtrack played in which snippets of fairy tales were read. The walkway wound end to end inside the very large tent. The trail led guests through the fairy tale renderings, passing by a photo op in front of a fairy tale castle at one end, and a sculpture contest at the other. Loads of interesting sculptures waited in between, making a visit to the ten day Sugar Sand Festival a worthy outing for both area visitors and local residents.


Unique Sand Sculptures

sand sculptureThis year marks the centennial anniversary of Clearwater, Florida. The one hundredth birthday of the community was marked with a sand sculpture of a giant birthday cake at the exit to the event. Another local feature that made its welcome return to the Sugar Sand Festival was Winter the dolphin, this time with her friend Hope to help her along. The two real-life dolphins star in the Dolphin Tale movies which have brought a dose of unexpected fame to the area. Sand sculpting contestThe other sculptures that did not follow the fairy tale theme were those from the sculpting contest. A handful of artists pitted their skills against one another at the south end of the large tent. All contest designs were well done, as you might imagine, some including remarkably intricate detail. The the contestant themes ranted from  mechanical structures to the abstract art in three dimensions. Visitors were encouraged to vote for their favorites.


Sand Sculpting Artists

GoldielocksOne of the best features of the 2015 Sugar Sand Festival was the upkeep of the sculptures. Not only were sculpted pieces maintained and repaired throughout, new pieces appeared all week long. Team Sandtastic, a traveling group of sand sculpture artists, was responsible for the majority of the sculptures seen at the event. A talk with one of the team members revealed some interesting tidbits. Fairy Tale CastleThe one sculptor we spoke with was responsible for several tons of sculpted sand within the tent. The event itself boasted a weigh in of 1000 tons of sand. An interesting and interactive feature was the chance to get a photograph in front of a giant fairy tale castle made by the team. Guests could take home the photo from a booth outside that also sold photo booklets from the event.


Pier 60 Festivities

Sugar Sand FestivalPier 60 was bustling all week long. On an ordinary day, souvenir vendors line the pier for four hours a night at the Sunset Festival. Street performers entertain the crowds juggling fire, tumbling, dancing, or displaying a host of other talents. For the Sugar Sand Festival, vendors set up all day long, every day of the festival. Evening is always the prime time for street performers, but one or two could be found at almost any hour during the ten day event. In addition to the additional availability of souvenirs, a number of food carts set up along the sidewalk and on the sand to serve treats to the passing crowds. TPier 60 Sugar Sand Festivalhrown into the mix was a swimming pool where visitors could float in giant inflatable bubbles, an interactive drum circle, a sand castle building area for the kids, and even a mechanical “bull” in the shape of a shark. On the two weekends, bands play on a stage set up on the beach. The sands of Clearwater Beach were the venue for those who attended the shows. The extra activities, the food, and the music surrounding the sand sculpture tent made the event a thrill to visit.


Sugar Sand Festival

Little Boy Who Cried WolfThe Clearwater Beach Sugar Sand Festival was as fun as expected. Last year set a high bar that this year’s event succeeded at meeting. The event drew plenty of extra attention during a time of year that ordinarily sees fewer visitors. Artists transformed the beautiful white sands of Clearwater Beach into fairy tale sculptures, while the grounds outside took on a carnival atmosphere. For those thinking of coming to Clearwater Beach, or one of the nearby beaches in the area, April might be the month to consider. If you enjoy fascinating art and a dynamic atmosphere, the Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival is for you.


Genie in the lamp Pinoccio whale Banner for Sugar Sand Festival Thumbalina

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Holiday Lights in the Garden

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North Sandbar Anclote Key

Sandbar Island Paradise

Island in the Sun

North Sandbar IslandNorth Sandbar is a place that lives in all of our imaginations. Dream of a tiny island, one where few people go, but which is a safe place to be. Cover it with soft white sand and paint clear turquoise waters around its shores. When you are done, you might have come close to North Sandbar. It is a tiny island located off of the coast of Tarpon Springs, Florida, a fun little tourist town on the Central Gulf Coast of Florida. It is to the north of such famous places as St Pete Beach, Clearwater Beach, Caladesi Island State Park, and Honeymoon Island State Park. When you go through that list of names, you will realize that the island called North Sandbar is located in the midst of a popular vacation destination. However, if you make your way to this remote sandbar, you will find that you are nearly alone. With absolutely perfect beaches of soft, white sand, it is a destination you might want to include in your travel plans.


Remote Destination of North Sandbar

island boating FloridaThe only access to the uninhabited islands of our area is by boat. While Caladesi Island is a popular boat destination, you can walk there from Clearwater Beach. Honeymoon Island is connected by a bridge. Go farther north, however, and you will not reach the islands without crossing the water. Three Rooker Bar, Anclote Key, and North Sandbar are the three most northern points of land. All three enjoy a low visitation rate, due to the difficulty of getting there. If you do not own a boat, you have to rent or charter one. While you can kayak there, the trip is not recommended for beginners because of the open water between, which is exposed to wind and waves. The photos in this blog were taken on a trip with Private Island Charters. The coastal waters of the Gulf of Mexico are a boaters’ paradise, with endless locations to visit. On holidays, the little island can fill up, but on most other days of the year, it is a gentle, soothing place to soak in the sun and sea. The northern barrier islands are a perfect destination for a day of boating.


The Evolution of an Island

North Sandbar of Anclote KeyNorth Sandbar appears as though it might be an extension of Anclote Key to its south. The sand extends in a long bar, easily a mile in length. At its northern tip, North Sandbar rises out of the water to become a tiny island, complete with mangrove bushes and grass. Google Earth has this sandbar listed at Rapp Island, although we found no other source on the whole of the Internet that confirmed the assignment of that name, casting doubt on the title. While it seems as though the sandbar might become part of Anclote Key, the matter is debated by locals. The conflicting forces are the accumulation of sand rising to the surface and a strong current that runs between the sandbar and Anclote Key. A study of the history of Honeymoon Island formation suggests that the sandbar might become a northern extension of Anclote Key, as a nearly identical formation was in place at Honeymoon Island a mere thirty years ago. In that case, the sandbar did become part of the island, despite the channel that flowed between. Time will tell if the joining occurs, and if North Sand Bar will eventually come under the title of Anclote Key, enjoyed by future boaters who might never know the two keys were ever separated.


Enjoying the Shores of North Sandbar

North Sandbar of AncloteThe shores of North Sandbar are some of the most beautiful you will find. The beaches are formed by the lightest sands, those most susceptible to movement in the currents, deposited onto a sandbar that has risen from the waves. That makes the grains among the softest you will find. The white color is remarkable, dazzling to the eye and cool to the feet. When the sand is submerged in shallows, it illuminates the water to a sparkling turquoise color. The island is perfect for sitting on the sand or strolling the shores. However, a walk around the island will only take a few minutes, so plan for a large dose of relaxation. The shallows are expansive, making wading and swimming conditions perfect. If you head south toward Anclote Key, you can stroll with your ankles in the water for nearly a mile. So, if you share the inclination to restore your soul on the shores of a remote island, you should give this tiny gem a try.


Private Island ChartersThis trip to the islands was provided by Private Island Charters (727-534-8818) (Facebook link)



North Sandbar trip

North Sandbar

North Sandbar Anclote

North Sandbar

Boating to Anclote Key sandbar

North Sandbar

Island Paradise Central Gulf Coast of Florida

North Sandbar



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Gulf Coast Sand Bar Hangouts

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Florida Barrier Island Breakdown


vacation rental

Vacation Rental Frequently Asked Questions

Ask Questions Before You Book Your Vacation Rental

A vacation destination sets you free to explore a new piece of the world. Unfortunately, it also comes with challenges. In order to know what you are getting into, you have to ask a lot of questions. Here is a short list of questions which we handle often.


Vacation FAQs

vacation rental condoWhere is my vacation rental? Well, that’s important, isn’t it? You need to know not only the town, but where specifically in that town you will be staying. Are you on the beach? Are you near it? That’s matters. In fact, it’s vital information that can make or break your vacation plans. Be sure to nail down exactly where your accommodations will be. Your vacation rental company should provide a map with the exact location marked.

How far ahead should I book? Unfortunately, that question is often asked too late. If you intend to visit a popular vacation destination during its peak season, you had better book ahead a full year. For the less traveled seasons, or less known destinations you will want to book three to six months ahead. If you miss those deadlines, you may wind up booking at higher, last-minute rates.

vacation rental condoHow many does it sleep? Knowing the number that the unit sleeps is key. Be sure your rental will accommodate your party. Some rentals consider an overcrowded unit to be a breach of contract by the renter. If you want to stay cheaper, try to find places that utilize sofa sleepers for extra guests.

What size are the beds? Questions regarding bed size aim at personal taste and type of party. Some couples want king size beds, others are fine with queen size. When bed size can really come into play is when two families travel together, which includes the extended-family vacation. You may want to make sure that the couples each have a king or queen size bed. You can also ask for units that have more than one master bedroom. They are less common, but they do exist.

beachfront accommodationsQuestions about money. Questions about money are perhaps the most important. Aside from the obvious “how much” inquiry, you will want to know how payment is made. Is it all up front? Is there a deposit? Is there a penalty for cancelling? Is the money refundable? Those are all important details. The company you use should be able to answer them easily. Be sure to validate that your company is the real deal, especially if they are asking for a full payment up front.

How do I know my vacation rental company is real? That is a question you will want to answer before you pay. Don’t use non-official, garage-sale style sites to book a vacation rental. A week at a beach condo can cost in the thousands. You should know your company is legitimate before paying. Check the BBB, make sure the rental company has a website, and look online for reviews.

beachfront condoWhere do I check in? Not knowing where to check in can throw a wrench into your first day of vacation. Ask the booking agent where you need to arrive then check it on an online map. If it doesn’t seem right, be sure to call them back for specific directions.

What is the layout of the vacation rental? This is more than one question really. Does it have a kitchen? How many bedrooms does it have? Will the dining table seat your group? Does the unit have a washer and dryer? Does it have a balcony or patio? What floor is it on? What is the view? Where do I park? Those are all very important details that you need to know. Write them down before you call so you don’t forget to ask. A good online directory should tell you all those things. So should a good booking agent.

vacation condoWhat can you expect to find inside your rental unit? Will it have a dishwasher and an icemaker? Can you expect beach towels and beach chairs? What about toilet paper, paper towels, and soap? Those answers vary greatly between rental agencies and even between units rented by the same company. Knowing those answers ahead of time will help you prepare. The agent you contact should be able to tell you what will be waiting for you and what you need to bring.

What activities and attractions are nearby? An agency, even an online one, should have an idea what you will find nearby. That is why you are booking that unit in the first place! Clearwater BeachThe online booking site should answer at least some of those questions. An over-the-phone agent should also have an idea of what you will find outside your door. After all, the things-to-do list is one of the most important features of most vacations. You should be able to receive a short list, at the very least, before booking your vacation rental.


Other posts you might enjoy:

Clearwater Marine Aquarium

How to Avoid Vacation Rental Scams

Accommodations or Flight, Which to Book First