Rental bargains at the beach are usually located off the water. At new Bayside at Bethany Lakes (lfvacations.com), a Delaware community a mile from the ocean, a three- or four-bedroom house rents for half the price ($2,500 versus $5,000) of one within walking distance of the surf. On weekends, there’s a beach shuttle.
Here’s a terrific deal on upscale digs in and around St. Michaels, Maryland: Eastern Shore Vacation Rentals (easternshorevacations.com) is adding three free nights when you book a four-night stay at selected homes. Free tickets for a sail are included with some bookings. Properties include the oldest brick house in Talbot County, with horses on 100 acres, and the cottage where James Michener wrote Chesapeake.
With lots of houses for rent on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, great last-minute specials can be had this season.
HomeAway.com lists vacation homes around the world, including more than 3,000 in the Outer Banks. After you enter a town, a drop-down box lets you sort by special offers.
Kitty Hawk Rentals (beachrealtync.com/special/special.html) has date-specific specials: For example, rent a certain house the week of July 25 for $300 off. Considering quiet Corolla? Specials of the week are promoted at visitcurrituck.com/specials.cfm. Click on Twiddy Realty’s link to see its deal of the day. One house recently offered a Nintendo Wii as a gift with certain bookings; other deals have included $500 cash and helicopter rides.
At Deep Creek Lake in Maryland, three-bedroom lakefront homes usually start at $1,500 a week, but “summer blowout” deals are available through July at rentals.deepcreek.com. Another site with date-specific specials is deepcreekresort.com.
Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia is Deep Creek’s closest competition, and pricing is lower. At sml-vacation.com, you can rent a luxe three-bedroom home for $1,200 a week or a basic three-bedroom on the lake for as little as $780. Even better: Smith Mountain Lake isn’t as deep as Deep Creek, so the water isn’t as cold.
Pay for two nights and get a third free on selected properties through allstarlodging.com, which lists more than 100 house and cabin rentals in the Shenandoah Valley. A typical three-bedroom riverfront home with a hot tub, canoe, and bicycles is $275 a night for up to four adults.
Sandbridge is a serene community at the southern end of Virginia Beach, just 15 minutes away from the boardwalk action. Good values in rentals got even better this year: Discounts of 20 percent or more are being advertised on some of the 300 rentals on sandbridge.com. One three-bedroom condo on the beach was reduced from $3,040 a week to $2,430.