I must begin this blog post with the theory that I am really supposed to be a beach photographer. Hands down. I know it to my core. Now how can I talk my entire family into moving here? Our Oak Island North Carolina Family Vacation.
With the exception of two separate weddings I’ve photographed in Aruba (here & here), & this session/wedding in Charleston, this beach/place was the best beach we’ve ever been to. Now also keep in mind our family has taken a trip down to Destin, Florida and although it was a sight to behold…I still think Oak Island was better. You can not beat these sunsets. Gasp. I know right? I’m serious though.
How I found the location
I knew I wanted us to be able to experience staying ON the beach. Not trucking a million floats, coolers, and sunscreen a mile down the road like we’ve always done. I never thought I’d be able to find a place within our budget, but I did. Oak Island, NC. It’s the sweetest little beach town with a Food Lion right down the road (hello budget!).
Where we stayed
You can stay in teeny tiny houses and they have massive homes to rent. We settled on Sand Walker 3 bedroom/1.5 bath home. The biggest factor in picking this particular place? Location(directly on the beach) & budget. Truth.
We’re not fancy people and we don’t need all the 5 star amenities. We just really wanted to spend the week together playing games, eating, and not dragging bags and bags to the beach.
What we did need was enough space for each of us to sleep (we had 5 of us and 1 additional child). The house has 1 room with bunkbeds(very tiny room), a room with two full beds with a 1/2 bath, and the last room had a queen.
I loved how big the kitchen table was. We were all able to sit comfortably around it for dinner and game nights.
What did it cost?
Some people will always say we paid too much and others will say we got a deal…that’s life, but I’m always truthful. In the past we have always stayed at Ocean Lakes and for a week and it was well over $3,000 and most of the time it never included a golf cart, not to mention you couldn’t even see the ocean from the house. If you don’t know about that place, you get everywhere by golf cart because it’s so much easier than driving. The closer you get towards the ocean there, the more expensive it is.
The total price for the week was $2836.20 and includes all taxes and fees.
$299.29 per night x 7 nights=$2,095
Owners fees: $229.17
2019 DPI: $65
Trip Protection: $164.17
Service fee: $245.00
Damn those fees.
The benefits of booking through VRBO…I could pay payments. You put your deposit down (I tried to find when I paid that, but I have no idea what folder I put it in), then you can make payments whenever you want. Example: You usually have to pay the remaining balance 30 days prior to your stay, but I went online every so often when the budget allowed and paid towards our trip so it was well paid for before the 30 day mark.
What did we do?
Our family enjoyed being right on the beach at Oak Island. In all seriousness, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to stay at the beach and not be on the beach. It was so dang easy. I could honestly throw something down to the kids if we were sitting on the porch. It was the most relaxing trip ever. Yes, I got sick while there (you’ll already know that if you follow my IG stories), but I was sick sick. I couldn’t get my fever down so off to the local Urgent Care I went. So two days there sucked for me, but thank goodness I started to feel better and was able to recoup some of our last days.
What did we eat?
Since I knew we weren’t doing any extras there (ie: frequent takeout, boat rides, or exertions) we brought enough moola to cover food. A lot of food. We had two teenagers on this trip so I knew we were going to go through it and fast. Most of the time I made big breakfasts (eggs, bacon, toast, waffles, muffins, sausage, etc.), we had sandwiches and chips for lunches, and we made hamburgers two nights, hot dogs one night, then spaghetti, tacos, and pizza takeout that was DELICIOUS: Pepperoni Grill at the Beach.
Side note: Why does everything taste better when you don’t have to cook it yourself? Also, I bought food I never buy and it was fantastic. It’s vacation.
I warned you…out of control lol.
They were a little bit excited.
We're going back next year
The Pendleton’s are coming back next year and although we have chosen to stay at a new rental next year, it was a lovely home to stay in. We want to bring one or two of our dogs next time (in an amazing pet friendly beach) and we found home that is pet friendly. The only thing my husband and I would have changed about this home was we would have loved to have curtains or room darkening shades in each of the bedrooms, and possibly one extra full bathroom.
It was an incredible family vacation and I’m so so grateful.