9 Tips for Jersey Shore Rentals

Pick the right town—and know what questions to ask.

Summer rental listings from Diane Turton Realtors include this brand-new, six-bedroom house with pool and spa at 45 Strickland Street in Bay Head.
Summer rental listings from Diane Turton Realtors include this brand-new, six-bedroom house with pool and spa at 45 Strickland Street in Bay Head.
Photo courtesy of Diane Turton Realtors

Never rented a Shore place before, and not sure how to dive in? We understand that you might be a bit intimidated. The New Jersey coast is about 130 miles long and includes more than 40 towns, each with its own vibe, and lots of different housing types, ranging from teeny bungalows to condos to oceanfront villas.

Here are nine tips to help you find the right place — and the best beach experience — for you and your crew:

1. Find the town that matches your needs. Do you have kids who thrill to amusement parks and boardwalk rides and games? Consider Point Pleasant Beach, Seaside Heights, Beach Haven, Ocean City and the Wildwoods. Maybe you’re the type of beachgoer who is asleep by 10 pm because you’re always eager to hit the sand soon after the sun comes up. Quiet towns include Cape May, Stone Harbor, Avalon, Spring Lake, and Long Beach Township on Long Beach Island. Is nightlife a big part of the beach experience for you? Plan to rent in or near places like Seaside Heights, Belmar, Beach Haven, the Wildwoods, Asbury Park and Atlantic City.

2. Location always matters in real estate, but it really, really matters at the Shore. Want to stay on the ocean, or on the beach block closest to the water? Be ready to spend hundreds of dollars more per week, compared with what you would pay to stay a few blocks inland.

3. You can rent through an agent or through a website like Airbnb.com or VRBO.com. If you choose to work through an agent, the homeowner pays the agent’s fee.

4. Try to check out your rental in person during the pre-season. Pick a sunny spring day for a quick trip down the Shore. See just how close your future beach getaway is to the waves, the ice cream parlor and the supermarket. And make sure the property’s as clean and pretty as it looks in those glossy photos on the website. We’ve also got tips for off-season stays.

5. Remember you won’t be spending your summer weeks at a hotel chain, where the rooms are standard and you know exactly what to expect. Each house has its own quirks, and each landlord, his or her peculiarities.

6. Read the contract, and figure out what’s included in your rental. How much tidying and cleaning are you expected to do before you leave? Who pays for a cleaning service? Does the house have wi-fi? A gas grill? Are pets allowed? Does the rental include beach tags, or will you have to buy them separately? Is parking included, and for how many cars?

7. You may need to bring your own sheets and towels. In many Shore rentals, linens aren’t included. But if you’d rather not carry half the contents of your linen closet in the trunk of your car, you can rent sheets and towels. A sampling of prices at several rental agencies along the coast found twin sheet sets renting for about $13 to $15 a week and beach towels going for $7 or $8 a week.

8. You can also rent bicycles and beach chairs and umbrellas if you don’t want to schlep them from home. Beach chairs run $10 to $14 a week, according to an unscientific survey of a couple of rental companies. Bikes can be rented by the hour or by the week. At Zippy’s Bikes in Wildwood, for example, weekly rentals are $99.

9. Make sure the nearby beach will be available to you. Beach replenishment projects can keep swimmers off the sand at times. Check with your rental agent, if you’re using one, or with the town hall in the town you’re considering. In northern Ocean County, check the Army Corps of Engineers’ website.

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