Things to Do in Coastal North Carolina During Labor Day Weekend

Everyone loves a long weekend, and the staff here at Intracoastal Vacation Rentals is no exception! The question is, do you know what you’ll be doing to celebrate Labor Day while you’re here on vacation? Our local experts are eager to help you understand why southeastern North Carolina has long been a favorite stop for vacationers on the last leg of summer.

Live Music on the Patio, August 31 + September 1

Outdoor concerts are the quintessential summertime entertainment, so why not end the season with a two-day event right here in Wilmington? Provided by Hotel Ballast – formerly the Hilton Riverside – at absolutely no cost to attendees, Live Music on the Patio features a series of performers, including Eric Metts, who will put on their shows by the hotel’s pool from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon.

Fort Fisher’s Battle History Site

Already a popular attraction for tourists in the Wilmington and Kure Beach areas, Fort Fisher is the perfect way to commemorate Labor Day while also fitting in a little local culture and history. Full of information about Civil War-era fort and battleship construction, the site gives visitors an insider’s look into the evolution of the U.S. Navy and the country as a whole. 

The Phantom Playboys: Fireworks by the Sea + Boardwalk Blast, August 31

If you’re looking for something with a little more energy and hype to kick off the weekend, check out The Phantom Playboys, who will put on a summertime rockabilly show in front of the Carolina Beach Boardwalk on August 31! Accompanying the annual Fireworks by the Sea + Boardwalk Blast, this free event starts at 6:30 and lasts until 9 p.m.

The Rag Doll Band Concert, September 2

Send Labor Day out with a bang! The Rag Doll Band is coming to Kure Beach as part of the Boogie in the Park Concert Series with a slew of pop, rock and dance hits that bring on the energy and are sure to encourage you and yours to make every second of the long weekend count. This free show begins at 5 p.m. in Kure Beach Ocean Front Park and lasts approximately two hours, perfect for a little dancing and family-friendly fun outdoors!

Whether you’re looking for local adventure this Labor Day, or just want to hit the beaches and relax, our area has plenty to offer your end-of-summer vacation! While you make your plans to stay on our beaches, contact us to have one of our trusted staff members guide you through the rental process.

Renting Your Vacation Home Through an Agency vs. a Third Party

Your bag is packed, the deposits have been made, and you can practically smell the ocean air. But when you arrive at your vacation home, does it resemble the image you’ve had in your head for weeks? Is your check-in process an ordeal, or smooth sailing?

Renting someone else’s property for any length of time, no matter how short, is a bit of a gamble, especially when you have the option of using a vacation rental agency or a third party like AirBNB or VRBO. While all of these are credible channels to explore in finding the best place for you and yours to stay, there are some definite differences that could sway you to make use of one or the other.

Who is your point of contact?

AirBNB is well-known for being a channel through which the owners of the homes or spaces up for rent can directly manage who stays there and when. It’s a great opportunity for the homeowners to keep an eye on their investments, and to get to know their houseguests on a more personal level. However, some vacationers might prefer a different approach. If you would rather have the added benefits of working with a rental agency – such as linen and equipment rental and property management services – then you might want to research the best in the area and peruse their offerings before you look into other accommodations in the area.

The bottom line

Vacations do come with one less than enjoyable facet that we’ve all encountered during our planning stages: the budget. But without it, your getaway would be difficult to plan! It plays such a significant role in your vacation that it can often be the deciding factor when choosing a place to stay, or with which company you want to rent during your time in the area. AirBNB and VRBO, as well as other renting facilitators, do tend to have different rates because of the way the service works with homeowners. Sometimes, you can find more cost-efficient options than you will find rental agencies, but in other cases they can be quite similar. The particulars would have to be sorted out when you get down to finding your accommodations for the period of your stay.

It’s all in the details

There have been recently reported cases in which excited vacationers arrived at their homeowner-managed destinations only to discover that the physical location did not match up to the expectations given through the online listing, or even a mix-up in availability. While this isn’t a guaranteed setback, you can more often avoid similar issues when you decide to rent through an agency. Offices like the Intracoastal Vacations company have to monitor listings and schedules on a grand scale, which means that they use a tried and true system to make sure you as a visitor can get all of the information you need and the best customer service for your budget.

A vacation is supposed to be a fun, exciting break from the everyday; booking it and planning for your stay should be just as enjoyable! Whichever route you take in getting your experience underway, it’s important that you choose the one that will best suit you and your family’s needs. If you’re ready to explore southeastern North Carolina, contact us and find out how we can help!

Safeguarding Your Vacation Experience: The Importance of Rental Insurance

When you plan your vacation, you make room in your suitcase and picture all of the things you might need during your stay, book reservations at local restaurants, and read up on any festivals or events you might want to attend while you’re in town.

Typically, you wouldn’t get familiar with the best plumber in the area or research top contractors in the event of significant damage to the home in which you’re staying or your belongings. But at least when you get a comprehensive rental insurance package with your vacation house, the cost is one less concern to add to the list.

Why should I invest in coverage for the short-term?

Everyone has a travel story that contains at least one significant setback; the luggage got lost or damaged, the weather was awful. In the end, no one can really stop any of those things from happening, but you can guard yourself against the resulting cost and some of the frustration by investing in even a minor insurance policy.

What does rental insurance generally cover?

Depending on the company that manages the house in which you want to stay, there are a few different options in which you can invest to cover varying cases of damage or disrepair. Some, for example, offer coverage similar to Intracoastal Vacation Rentals’ Incidental Damage Program, which protects visitors from the little things that can go wrong during their stay. Before they even unpack their bags, tenants are asked to check out the home and make sure everything is as it should be; if not, smaller repairs are often covered by the rental company or the homeowner’s policy. The tenants are responsible for any damage incurred during the rental period. Other policies detail what dollar amounts’ worth of damage to your belongings are covered in certain circumstances while in the vacation house, or who is responsible in the event that someone is injured during the stay. More often than not, the homeowner’s policy covers the home in the event of weather damage and other more extreme cases.

Who do I talk to about setting up my vacation rental insurance?

The first person you’ll want to consult with on your vacation rental insurance options would be whoever provides your current policy on your permanent home. He or she can discuss the details with you in more depth because of the firm’s familiarity with your needs and what your current policy already covers. From there, it’s all about deciding what ought to be protected based on where you’re going and how long you expect to be gone. If possible, have your agent check in with the homeowner of the vacation house, too, so he or she can compare your existing policy with the one on the rental.

If you’re ready to get away for a while, contact Intracoastal Vacation Rentals for more details on your accommodation options on North Carolina’s coast!

Host a Backyard Cookout in North Carolina Style

With Memorial Day right around the corner, the season of outdoor cooking is nearly upon us! And if you’re new to the southeastern part of the country, then you may also be at a loss as to how to go about hosting a proper North Carolina backyard cookout. Vacationers need not worry, though; throughout all the years we’ve spent serving coastal North Carolina’s rental needs, we’ve managed to learn a few tips that will help you host a successful barbecue.

Don’t skimp on the sauce

As the locals will tell you, it isn’t good barbecue sauce unless you can taste a distinct hint of vinegar. Eastern North Carolina is notorious for vinegar-based sauces, while the western end of the state touts tomato-based concoctions. If you want to capture the flavor of the region, you can’t do so without a healthy dose of vinegar.

Venture into untested waters

One of our favorite things about southern-style cooking is the “anything goes” attitude. Locals aren’t afraid to be inventive and try new things, and that usually spills into the offerings at a backyard cookout. Amongst the staples like pulled pork, potatoes, and green beans, you might also find some new favorite dishes like a salad consisting of grilled watermelon, feta and basil. Don’t be afraid to do a little experimenting of your own!

Prime seating

A backyard cookout in eastern North Carolina isn’t just about food. It’s very much a social occasion, meaning that when you host your own get-together, you’ll want to account for plenty of outdoor seating. This can be in the form of lawn chairs, blankets, and if you happen to be gathering at a vacation rental during your stay, then beach towels work just as well.


The purpose of cooking outdoors may be to enjoy the summer sea breezes and the company of others, but another key component to an enjoyable cookout is any music or entertainment you have in mind. Be sure to choose a genre that isn’t too intrusive so as not to discourage conversation and mingling, and something that everyone can enjoy at least as background sound.

As you plan your stay in coastal North Carolina this summer, we would of course encourage you to take advantage of the many fantastic local restaurants we have in the area. But, if you find yourself wanting to break out the pots and pans to prepare a feast in your temporary home, use these tips to pull of your own southern-style backyard shindig and stay tuned to our blog for even more vacation tips to come!

Experience the Azalea Festival Historic Home Tour

Spring is in the air, and for the Wilmington area that means that the Azalea Festival is in bloom! If you’ve never visited southeastern North Carolina during this fun-filled weekend, there is plenty to see and do – enough that most of us can’t possibly get around to everything on the schedule. But if you happen to be a history buff, or a lover of architecture, then you won’t want to miss the Historic Home Tour!

Historical Roots

Presented by the Historic Wilmington Foundation, the tour has been taking festival goers across the threshold of some of the oldest and most eclectic homes in Wilmington for years. From cottages to mansions – even sometimes a notable church or public building – the foundation provides a varied selection in order to give you the best sampling of historic life in Wilmington. Each home is monitored by docents, which are ready to answer visitor questions and share unique bits of information on each of the city’s featured pieces of history.

The Present

This year, the area’s largest home tour begins Saturday, April 14, at 12:30 p.m. at the Daniel-Poisson House (315 S Front St.). The ribbon-cutting ceremony will be attended by city officials, local residences, and visitors to the festival before the tours officially start. Tours run between the hours of 1 and 5 p.m. on Saturday, and 1 and 6 p.m. on Sunday, before the 2018 Azalea Festival draws to a close.

The best part about your ticket is that you can use it on either day of the weekend, or even both if you decide you need more exposure to Wilmington’s architectural history! All proceeds go toward supporting the Historic Wilmington Foundation and its preservation efforts in the region.

The First Stop

The Daniel-Poisson House is one of many homes opened to visitors in the annual event. Located on historic South Front Street – near the Hannah Block Historic USO Building and many other local favorites – this home showcases a classic style and the quintessential southern front porch. Other Wilmington homes chosen for the tour have similar charms, but each is unique and has its own story. Don’t miss the chance to hear each one this spring when you visit our neighborhoods!

5 Wrightsville Beach Attractions You Shouldn’t Miss

Whether it’s been recommended by a friend, a travel site, or through your vacation rental company, Wrightsville Beach is a crowd favorite here on the North Carolina coast. There are plenty of reasons to visit this scenic locale, but we thought we’d share a few of our favorite attractions and aspects of the coastal town that you can easily work into your vacation plans.

Take a stroll through the ages

The Wrightsville Beach Museum of History offers visitors the chance to peruse our area’s past when they need a break from the bright spring or summertime sun. Hosted by Myers Cottage, the museum plans multiple special events and children’s programs throughout the year, and even incorporates the natural environment into displays and activities.

Catch some waves

Whether you’re a novice or a skilled enthusiast, the surfing and paddleboarding community of Wrightsville Beach welcomes you! Either take to the waves yourself, or join the kids in the chance to learn from the renowned WB Surf Camp during weekly day sessions. Our town also features plenty of surf gear shops and specialty outlets, so if you forget something at home, they’ve got you covered.

See the sights

If you’ve never visited this beautiful beach town before, why not see it in style? Wrightsville Beach is home to both the Wrightsville Beach Scenic Tours and Aloha Tiki Charters. There are several packages or themed tours from which you and your companions can choose, but all of them showcase the stellar beaches and atmosphere of the town and surrounding area.

Eat, drink and enjoy

Alongside Wrightsville Beach’s natural beauty is a thriving downtown bar and restaurant scene! Plan ahead or simply find a parking spot and start perusing on foot; either way, local favorites like South Beach Grill or the Bluewater Waterfront Grill provide great coastal eats and a spectacular view of the horizon.

Soak in the sun

Finally – as if you needed another reason to visit us – we come to the very best attribute of Wrightsville Beach: the sandy shores. Low-key and relaxed, the beaches here add that key element of relaxation to any spring break or summer vacation. Relax and recharge while you’re here, and the Wrightsville Beach experience will be complete.

If you’re ready to start planning your vacation, or want some local knowledge to make your trip memorable, contact us here at Intracoastal Vacation Rentals today!

Spring Break Necessities

When springtime rolls around, it’s impossible not to embrace a little time off once it’s offered. Here at the beach, we know how nice a break from school and work can be; between the sand, the surf, and the sunshine, ours is a region known for natural beauty and seaside communities just begging to be explored! So while you’re dreaming about all that our coastlines have to offer, make sure to pack all the essentials for a relaxing and enjoyable vacation experience.

Beach gear

This one may seem like a no-brainer, but don’t forget all your beach day needs when you pack for your spring break getaway! Where some waters might still be a bit chilly, our beaches have a fairly quick turnaround from winter to spring temperatures. If nothing else, the sand will be nice and comfortable on bright, sunny days.  

Sweater weather

Remember how we said that the sun comes out and warms everything up in March and April? Well, sometimes the evenings may still bring on a slight breeze or a spring rain shower that ushers in cooler temperatures. In those instances, you might be glad we suggested you bring along a light sweater or jacket, just in case.

Good walking shoes

With so much to see and experience in the coastal towns and cities themselves, the last thing you want is to continually worry about wrecking your favorite flip-flops on your daily excursions. We suggest bringing along a trusty pair of sneakers you feel confident walking in so you can fully enjoy your exploration of all that the North Carolina coast has to offer. And if you’re planning to come in April, you’ll definitely want to have decent footwear, because the renowned Azalea Festival will be in full swing starting on the 11th!

Capture the moment

No vacation would be complete without the pictures to prove it. Before you leave and hit the open road, double check that you have your camera (or at least your smartphone) on hand and ready to go with any necessary chargers and accessories. You and your friends will appreciate having the memories, and you can enjoy getting your favorite scenery from every possible angle.

If you’re still planning your spring break getaway, or even looking ahead to summer, contact us at Intracoastal Vacation Rentals for a wide selection of accommodations as well as tips for staying in the area!

5 Reasons to Spring Break in Wilmington

By this time of year, a lot of us are already dreaming of spring and summer sunshine, salt air, and the distant roaring of churning ocean waves. Winter may get you down, but it’s also the season in which you should go ahead and start planning spring trips, like plenty of students do with spring break in mind! For us, there’s no better location than here on North Carolina’s coast, and Wilmington lends itself well to a fun stay.

The weather

North Carolina in the spring features lots of sunshine, some cooler mornings and evenings, and pleasant afternoons. In other words, it’s ideal weather for soaking up some sun on the beach, taking a stroll downtown, or just relaxing at one of Wilmington’s fantastic restaurants with a refreshing cocktail.

Rainy day alternatives  

The weather may be mostly amenable in the springtime, but if you’ve ever visited a beach town before then you know that a little rain is to be expected sometimes. When clouds move in on your plans, Wilmington still has a lot to offer in the way of entertainment! It’s a city rich in history and the arts, so feel free to browse the Cape Fear Museum, the collections in the Cameron Art Museum, or the unique shops in the Cotton Exchange.

The sand and the surf

The center of Wilmington is only minutes from Wrightsville and Carolina beaches, so if you want all the fun of staying downtown, the coast is still easily accessible. During most popular spring break times, the water can still be a tad chilly in the early parts of the day, but the soft white sand gets plenty warm in the sunshine!

Southern hospitality

Our region is famous for its charm and welcoming environment. As a vacation town, Wilmington is a pleasant reprieve from the hustle and bustle of larger cities and busy school schedules. And while it still has plenty to offer in the way of business and attractions, you can be sure that you and your travel companions will be able to relax and take in the atmosphere on those days where a lazy afternoon is just what you need.

The local eats  

When you’re on vacation, you more than likely want to absorb as much local flavor as you can. Here in Wilmington, you won’t have to go far! Our town has tons of original restaurants, niche bars, and local hangouts for you to sample regional recipes and seafood specialties. Not sure what to try first? No problem! Sometimes all it takes is a jaunt into the different downtown areas to make your choice, but you can browse online ahead of time and do a little planning, too. Just don’t get overwhelmed by all Wilmington has to offer, and try to taste a bit of everything during your stay!

Whether you’re new to the area or a returning vacationer, consider enjoying spring break here with us! To get you started, Intracoastal Vacation Rentals has some stellar housing selections for you and any friends that want to tag along. Take a look at our website, or give us a call and we’ll help you find the best location for your vacation.

Home for the Holidays

When the holidays roll around, we all have that family member (if the role doesn’t fall on our shoulders) who volunteers to host the parties, put up loved ones from out of town in his or her home, or take on the bulk of the cooking.

Next year, rather than put the pressure on yourself or another to accommodate all the revelers, why not take a group vacation? Here at Intracoastal Vacation Rentals, we have lots of housing options for families and gatherings of all sizes, and even seasonal offers to help ease some of the financial stress of trying something new in place of your traditional celebrations!

Customizable sleeping arrangements

Let’s face it – when everyone ventures to one family home, chances are that someone ends up crashing on the sofa or on a creaky air mattress on the floor because there aren’t enough rooms to give each person his or her own bed. By choosing a rental home at the beach in advance, your group can select a house that will come as close as possible to offering everyone a comfortable place to sleep, rather than relying on someone’s everyday home to make up the difference.

Borrow someone else’s kitchen

Even when all your guests pitch in to help cook or clean up after the feast, the prospect of presiding over the holiday meal can be a daunting one. There is a way to take some of the pressure off, though. By renting a vacation home for everyone, there will still be the preparation and clean-up afterward, but you won’t have to worry about monopolizing someone else’s kitchen, or vice versa. And if you really want to keep everyone’s hands out of the meal prep, North Carolina coast has some amazing restaurants and venues that would be happy to reserve space for you and yours well before the holiday season even starts!

Decorations are optional

Some people prefer the house to be completely revamped for the holidays, while others might favor a more subtle celebration. But when everyone agrees on a beach house to rent during the time off from work and school, compromises can be made so that everyone is surrounded by the accents that will make the season bright. Rather than the decorations falling solely on the host, have each member of the group bring his or her favorite decoration or tree ornament, and let the low-key part of the festivities begin.

Holiday traditions are difficult to break away from, but we encourage you to embrace new things with all of us here at Intracoastal Vacation Rentals! If you want to get a jumpstart on next year’s festivities, contact us and we’ll help you find the best house to host your holiday.

How to Beat a Rainy Day at the Beach

We’ve all been there before. You plan the perfect vacation at the beach, planned with only sunny days in mind. And then, before you can even put on your sunglasses or wonder whether or not you should just leave your sandals inside, it starts to rain.

While we completely empathize with how frustrating the sudden change in itinerary can be, here at Intracoastal Realty, we’ve learned that there’s plenty to do in this area that can save your vacation from being totally washed out. It might be the sandy beaches and rolling waves that you’ve come to see, but when the weather gets in your way, there’s a lot more to entertain and delight than you might have originally thought.

Bellamy Mansion Museum

Are you a history buff? Harbor a love of architecture? Gather the troops and explore the Bellamy Mansion Museum in downtown Wilmington for the afternoon. Built just before the start of the Civil War, this landmark has seen a myriad of stories, including its own survival of an arson fire in 1972. Today, the building can be rented for events or toured at leisure; you can even check out the calendar for any upcoming public functions being held during your trip. Even during a coastal rain shower, this house holds a lot of charm and history for each member of your group to enjoy.

Fort Fisher Aquarium

When the weather keeps you from getting in the water, Fort Fisher Aquarium in Kure Beach brings the ocean – and all its inhabitants – to you! The aquarium hosts multiple educational and interactive experiences, all while supporting regional and state-wide conservation efforts. There’s always something new, and you’ll be almost glad for the dreary outdoors when the experience allows you to get up close and personal with some of these undersea creatures.

Franklin Square Gallery

Feeling crafty? If you’re in Southport when poor weather hits, take refuge in the Franklin Square Gallery. While the shows change several times throughout the year, this gallery always boasts a supply of local art, unique gifts, and one-of-a-kind pieces. Check out the calendar for news in the lecture series, workshops, and other specialty shows and displays.  A nonprofit cooperative, the Franklin Square Gallery is located in a historic building three blocks from Southport’s waterfront.

Rain and other forms of foul weather may put a damper on your beach trip, but it doesn’t have to put an end to the fun! If you’re going to be on the North Carolina coast any time soon, remember to keep a weather eye out and have a few back-up plans just in case. But if you do run into a snag, check out our website, where we have some suggestions for how to beat the rainy day doldrums.