Vacations have always been hugely important in our family. Over many years I scrimped and saved in almost every other category of our budget just so that we would be able to vacation with our kids each year.
We first rented a vacation home back in 2005 when we ‘only’ had 10 people in our family. Back then the kids were young, none were married, and there was no problem tucking 3 or even 4 kids into a bedroom.
Over the years as our family grew, and more of our kids were married, our housing wishes became more complicated. Before each trip I would spend hours poring over vacation-home listings online, hunting for just the right mix of bedrooms, space, location, bathrooms, and, of course affordability.
The first beach house had two bathrooms, and one was attached to the master suite with no door, meaning there was exactly one truly private bathroom in the whole house. Other homes had similar bathroom issues. And believe me, it is just not all that easy to share one bathroom among 10 people.
Another home had most of its bedrooms opening directly onto the main living room–which meant once the babies were up, running and chattering in the morning, so was everyone else.
Yet another was a good three miles from the beach, with a hiking trail that crossed highway 101– not ideal beach access.
A different home was wonderful in most ways but had no master suite at all, plus parking that was like playing tetris to fit all the vehicles into the driveway.
Yet another was gorgeous and beachfront– but cost nearly as much as a mortgage payment to rent it for just one night. EEK!
All that looking gave us lots of ideas about what made a great beach house.
Here are the essentials in our list, as well as a few nice-to-have luxuries.
- Sleeping space for everyone, ideally with a private bedroom at least for each couple
- Bathrooms spread logically through the home, keeping the bathroom wait minimal
- Enough space in the dining room so that everyone can eat together
- A couple of different living spaces, so that people can choose between several different locations for relaxation at any time
- An ocean view, even if just a peek. It’s wonderful to be able to see the ocean from the home.
- Enough parking for everyone without making multiple people move cars to get out one vehicle
- Beach access within 15 minutes walk or 5 minutes driving
- More than one master suite–this is especially nice if more than one couple is sharing the cost of the vacation.
- Outside eating and play space, so that there’s a place to overflow when the weather is nice.
- A hot tub or pool access —goes a long way toward helping both kids and adults feel pampered and occupied
- A fenced yard, to keep kids safely contained so that parents can relax.
- Two washers and dryers, and maybe even two dishwashers to simplify the inevitable laundry and dishes.
- Pack n plays, high chairs, and child safety gates to simplify vacationing with little ones
What else do you have on your must-have list when looking for a rental house for your family? We’d love to hear your ideas.
And if you’re looking for a house on the Oregon coast that checks all these boxes for groups of up to 16, look no further than the Owlhaven. Click here for more photos, then go here to see our booking calendar. Weekends and some weeks are still available for this fall and winter, but next summer is booking up fast. Chat with your people, pick a date, and come enjoy the beautiful Oregon coast in a beach house custom designed for large families!! And remember, your 7th night is free all year long!