Picking a beachfront home means choosing somewhere that's just steps from the salty breezes of the ocean, pristine sands, kaleidoscopic coral reefs, or groves of swaying coconut palms. For vacations of pure rest and relaxation, of soaking up the rays, or snorkeling, swimming, and surfing, you simply can't go wrong. This guide runs through some of the main features of beachfront house rentals, some hot destinations to consider, and ways you can snag a bargain this season.

Distinctive features of beachfront homes

While beachfront homes range from the rustic to the downright luxurious, there are some things that tie them together. A seat by the sea breezes is the obvious one, while al fresco living spaces and a few communal extras might also be a welcome addition to your vacation.

Location, location, location

The clue's in the name – to be a beachfront home, that rental must first be on the beach. Of course, that differs around the globe. In LA's hip and happening Venice, it could mean a condo behind the buzzy boulevards. In Florida, you could be looking at a private villa with gardens that merge with the quartz sands of Clearwater. In the Caribbean, it may be a collection of colorful beach shacks hidden in coconut forests.

Outdoor living in beachfront homes

There's good news for those who like to crack a cold one and watch the sunset after long days on the beach – these rentals rarely come without at least a taste of outdoor living. In fact, many beachfront homes have huge decks with jaw-dropping views of the ocean, BBQ grills, and exterior dining areas to boot.

Shared facilities in some beachfront house rentals

In tried-and-tested ocean retreats especially, it's normal to find beachfront house rentals with access to a number of shared facilities. Swimming pools that are just feet from the waves are common, but it doesn't end there. There could be game rooms for the little ones, on-site restaurants for that grilled mahi-mahi come evening, or a dedicated tour organizer for when you get the urge to scuba.

Some exciting places with beachfront house rentals

There are so many beachfront homes peppering the United States and abroad these days that you can start getting excited about leaving your footprints in sands all over. The selection below is just a taster of some of the most popular options.

Florida tops the bill

Looking for somewhere that's been catering to beach lovers ever since Americans first pulled on their boardshorts? Florida's a doozy. It's got two chart-topping coastlines that are laced with thousands of beachfront houses of all kinds. From Clearwater to Panama City Beach, you can soak in the rays and turquoise waters of the Gulf Coast with self-catering condos and penthouse apartments. On the Atlantic Coast, Miami means swish pads for partiers, while St. Augustine comes with enthralling tales of Spanish galleons and pirates.

Beachfront house rentals in the Caribbean

A region that really needs no introduction, the Caribbean is primed for the dedicated beach lover. You can rest assured that romance will flow if you bag a cabana on the cotton-white sands of Turks and Caicos. Alternatively, there's swish Saint Barts with its designer shopping and fine-dining haunts. Or, there are the Bahamas, where water sports and water parks combine to create somewhere awesome for families.

Beachfront homes in California

Ready the wetsuit and wax down the board, a beachfront home in California is a ticket to some of the most legendary surf on the planet. There are options all along the coast of the Golden State, but pads in places like Malibu, Orange County, and La Jolla are just perfect if you're looking to hop on some gnarly waves.

Ways to secure bargain beachfront homes for rent

No one wants to overpay to vacay right by the ocean. The good news is there are loads of ways you can save on the cost of beachfront homes for rent, whether that means being flexible with dates or locations or how far you travel.

Go for beachfront homes near you

A sure way to bag something cheap by the sands is to look out for bargains on rentals that aren't far away from your own home. Doing that will mean you're able to grab the best prices when they pop up and be cruising towards the coast in a hurry. What's more, you're bound to save loads on the cost of gas and tolls by keeping things local.

Consider a beachfront house rental in fall or spring

If you're not tied to the usual vacation periods, then you could be in for a real treat on the price front. A jaunt to the Caribbean between January and February, for example, usually means discovering the beaches bathed in sun and with fewer crowds after the festive rush, not to mention lower rates all round. Domestic travelers could look to states like California come fall, too, when it's still balmy but most surfers and sunbathers have returned home.

Go for off-the-beaten-path beachfront homes for rent

Feeling a little adventurous? Spontaneity could actually bolster the travel budget when you're heading to the ocean. Yes, hotspots like Clearwater, Galveston, and Mission Bay might be brimming with attractions, but there's something exciting about choosing somewhere less discovered for a taste of the sea, too. The good news is that less-popular destinations will also tend to have shorter rates on rentals closest to the water.