Visitors who are heading to Wilmington may find that when it comes to ample amenities and room to move, the best accommodations option is a Wilmington vacation rental.

Scattered throughout the downtown and greater Wilmington areas, a vacation rental is a fine option for vacationing families, working visitors, and anyone in need of space to stretch out and relax. With a steadily growing vacation rental market that includes properties of all varieties, locales, and sizes, Wilmington vacationers will quickly discover that they can find the perfect “home away from home” when they opt for a vacation rental for their coastal accommodations.

Why stay at a Wilmington Vacation Rental?

While a vacation rental may not be optimal for a brief overnight or even a two-night stay, choosing this type of accommodations has a myriad of benefits over a traditional hotel or motel room – especially for longer stays, and larger parties.

Extra Amenities – One of the biggest allures of a vacation rental as opposed to a hotel or motel is that it has all the comforts of home, and then some. Depending on the individual unit or property, a vacation rental generally has a full kitchen, a separate living and dining area, and separate and / or multiple bedrooms resulting in more space across the board. Add extras like game rooms, decks or balconies, and backyards, and every party member will find they have ample room to relax.

Reduced Cost – As a general rule of thumb, a vacation rental is often less expensive than hotel or motel room(s), especially for larger parties. Instead of several couples or family members having to pay for individual hotel / motel rooms per night, they can combine their funds and still have a private bedroom of their own – all while enjoying extra amenities including kitchens and dining areas, which can also reduce vacation funds on constantly dining out.

Location – Many of Wilmington’s vacation rentals are in prime destinations that are close to the city’s best loved neighborhoods and attractions. From townhomes and flats in the heart of the downtown area to chic bungalows in the historic city streets, visitors can have walking-distance access to the city’s best sites while enjoying step-outside-the-door access to a host of local restaurants, pubs, shops, and other attractions.

How to rent a Wilmington Vacation Rental

Thanks to a vacation rental accommodations trend that is readily growing nationwide, visitors will find that renting a Wilmington vacation home or apartment is as simple as going online.

Several property management companies represent vacation rental homes in Wilmington, as well as in adjacent vacation towns like Carolina Beach, Wrightsville Beach, and Kure Beach, and these businesses are excellent first stops for finding a vacation rental in the region.

By utilizing a property management company, potential visitors can find and book their property of choice online, pick up their keys (or their keyless entry code), through the company’s office, and deal with the property management company directly if any issues arise – such as maintenance or housekeeping problems. Because property management companies are staffed with a team of specialists in varying departments – from housekeeping to maintenance – they tend to be better able to address any possible questions or issues, large or small.

The other option for potential rentals is to deal directly with a vacation rental owner, through international companies / sites like, Airbnb, and VRBO. On these sites, potential guests will deal directly with the owner and will have individualized instructions for check-in / check-out procedures, who to call if an issue arises, and other conditions pertaining to the home.

In either case, visitors will find a myriad of possibilities in and around the Wilmington area, which includes downtown apartments and townhomes, downtown single-family dwellings and bungalows, and multiple-bedroom homes both in the immediate Wilmington area and in the surrounding coastal communities.

Once a property has been booked, guests will often have to sign a lease – a requirement in North Carolina by the North Carolina Real Estate Commission – pay an initial payment, and then pay the remainder of their balance before their arrival.

Depending on the property, most vacation rentals require stays of 2 days or more, as well as an extra security deposit or a security damage waiver fee. North Carolina occupation taxes also apply, as well as any potential additional fees for bringing along a pet, early check-in / check-out requests, large events like family reunions, and other special considerations.

Wilmington Vacation Rental Amenities

While each individual unit or home is different, vacation rental guests can look forward to the following amenities when renting a Wilmington home or apartment. To ensure these amenities are accounted for, opt for an “advanced search” online and select your search filters accordingly, or call a local property management / vacation rental company to find options that meet your specific criteria.

Great setting – The majority of vacation rentals in Wilmington are clustered in the downtown area, and consist of waterfront townhomes, condos, and cottages in the historic districts. As such, visitors will often be walking-distance close to a variety of restaurants, shops, and attractions.

Kitchens – Vacation rentals almost always include a separate kitchen, which makes it easy to enjoy snacks and meals at home without the added expense of continually dining out.

Cookware and utensils – Along with the kitchen, vacation rental guests can expect to have all the standard supplies required – including pots and pans, appliances, glasses, and utensils – to enjoy meals at home.

Living and dining areas – Because vacation rentals are actual homes, visitors will find multiple living space areas, which can include separate living rooms, dining areas, game rooms, dens, and more.

Decks and balconies – Waterfront condos and townhomes often boast outdoor balconies, while in-town bungalows may have shaded front porches, which are ideal for the southern environment.

Internet access – Most all vacation rentals feature internet access, as internet has become a standard accommodations amenity.

Pet friendly – Vacation rentals are more likely to be pet friendly, and may offer special “extras” for furry family members like on-site crates, fenced-in backyards, food bowls, and other extras.

Handicapped accessible – Some vacation rentals may be accessible for guests with mobility issues, which can entail features such as on-site elevators, one-level living spaces, handicapped-accessible restrooms, and / or all of the above.

Community amenities – Depending on the location, some apartment buildings and / or neighborhoods may offer community amenities, such as seasonal swimming pools, club houses, golf course access, and more. Check ahead to see what community privileges may be included with a stay.

What to Bring

Visitors should note that the list of things to bring – and what to leave at home – may be different with every vacation rental, (or vacation rental company), in Wilmington. Be sure and ask the owner or the vacation rental personnel ahead of time to see if these items should be packed along with your luggage.

Laptop / Tablet / Desktop – While many vacation rentals have free high speed internet access, visitors will often have to bring along their own computers (i.e., laptop or tablet), for security reasons.

Linens – While veritably all vacation rentals have comforters and pillows on every bed, some vacation rentals do not have linens included – which includes sheets, pillowcases, and / or towels. Be sure and check ahead to see if these things need to be brought along, or if they can be left at home.

Cleaning supplies – Again, depending on the vacation rental, visitors may want to bring along laundry detergent, household cleaning supplies, soaps, trash bags, and other supplies to ensure that their accommodations (and their clothes) remain clean throughout their stay.

Toiletries – Vacation rentals may have extra soaps and dishwasher detergent on hand, but visitors will want to bring along their own shampoos, body washes, lotions, and other toiletries that they will need for the duration of their stay.

Baby supplies – Check ahead to see if baby supplies – like cribs, high chairs, or play pens – are at the home, or if they should be brought along. Like linens, baby supplies is an amenity that varies from home to home.

Groceries – The cookware and place settings are provided, but visitors will want to bring along or stock up on their own groceries – including condiments and spices – to ensure that there’s a full kitchen waiting for their culinary adventures.

Investing in a Wilmington Vacation Rental

Vacationers who dream of retiring or relocation to Wilmington, or who just want the option of a second home is this desirable area, may want to consider purchasing a vacation rental.

Vacation rental homes in Wilmington can be as diverse as an individual homeowner’s taste, and can include country houses, bungalows, apartments, and townhomes. This means that veritably any property can be transformed into a seasonal vacation rental with ease, providing that the house is clean and in great shape.

The benefits of owning a vacation rental are numerous, especially for investors and / or home buyers who want to save money before they move into Wilmington, full time.

A vacation rental produces extra income when the owner is not using the property. It also ensures that the property is occupied for continual periods of time, ensuring safety and / or attention to maintenance issues. Finally, there can potentially be a number of tax benefits, which includes the owner’s trips to Wilmington to work on a vacation rental home and / or any ensuing expenses.

Best of all, the income earned from renting out a Wilmington home can offset the expenses of homeownership. This can include mortgage payments, taxes, insurance, utilities, community fees, and other costs that are simply a part of being a property owner.

Many Realtors in the Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach, and Carolina Beach regions have experience with vacation rental owners, and can point new investors on the right track in terms of what to look for initially, and what to expect. By enlisting a Realtor as a buyer’s agent, potential homeowners will discover that they’ll have all the guidance required to move forward on purchasing a vacation rental home.

Tips and Tricks for Staying at a Wilmington Vacation Rental

  • Because Wilmington is considered a hopping destination year-round, the off season is a great time to visit for vacationers on a budget. Vacation rental rates are typically seasonal, which means that the same property may cost less in the winter months than during the height of the summer.
  • For a broader selection of vacation rentals, head to the coast. The towns of Carolina Beach, Wrightsville Beach, and Kure Beach all offer dozens if not hundreds of vacation rentals, which are often just a shell’s throw from the oceanfront.
  • For the best access to area attractions and restaurants, check out the downtown region. There are a number of downtown accommodation options that are close to theatres, historic sites, and a myriad of eateries and shops – (and which also offer waterfront views.)
  • For a more relaxed setting, look at the outskirts of the downtown area. There are a handful of stellar homes in quiet and primarily residential areas that are ideal for families who want to get away from it all.
  • Don’t forget the trip insurance! Trip insurance covers the cost of your vacation rental accommodations in case of a hurricane or storm, but also in case of a personal emergency. Offered at a fraction of your overall vacation rental cost, trip insurance provides plenty of peace of mind.
  • Be sure and book well in advance. Many stellar vacation rental properties can be booked up to 12 months before an arrival date, so the sooner you book, the better selection you’ll have for your preferred dates of stay.

The Wilmington vacation rental scene is starting to gain traction as more and more vacationers are discovering the allures of a rental as opposed to a motel room, and new visitors have an exceptional chance to get in on the ground floor of this movement. With ample options available that can range from sky-high condos to sprawling inland estates, the diverse selection combined with a wealth of amenities makes opting for a Wilmington vacation rental a no-brainer decision.

McClure Realty Vacations
Wilmington Riverwalk
Top Activities for Kids in Wilmington, NC