Visitors who want to discover everything Southport has to offer – or who want to utilize the scenic coastal town as a “home base” for exploring the both the Cape Fear area and Brunswick beaches – may want to consider staying at a sunny vacation rental.

Vacation rentals – which can take the shape of homes, condos, or apartments – are prevalent throughout the Southport area and are a perfect vehicle for enjoying all the comforts of home, and then some. Stocked with kitchens, individual bedrooms, and a host of amenities, visitors can stay in comfort while surrounded by Southport’s best attractions and things to do.

Interested in relaxing in a vacation rental for your next getaway? Then read on to uncover how the process works – from the initial booking stage, to lounging on a shaded porch and enjoying the Southport scene.

About Southport Vacation Rentals

There are dozens of vacation rentals in the heart of Southport, which can range from studio or one bedroom apartments, to stunning three, four or even five bedroom cottages along the waterfront.

Vacation rentals are typically rented in weekly increments, (although partial stays may be available), and are generally managed by local vacation rental companies in the Brunswick and Cape Fear areas. These vacation rental companies handle all aspects of renting a vacation home – from booking, to housekeeping, to any occasional maintenance issues – and work directly with the guests to ensure the best possible vacation experience.

While many of the vacation rentals in the region are represented by vacation rental (or property management) companies, some may be rented directly by the owner via national rental websites like Homeaway or VRBO. Regardless of how a guest chooses to reserve a property, the general features and locations are very similar. While many big hotels can be found just outside of Downtown Southport, vacation rentals tend to be in the heart of the action, with pristine locales in the center of the downtown region, adjacent to the Cape Fear River, the Intracoastal Waterway, and / or in scenic neighboring regions like Bald Head Island.

Why Opt for a Southport Vacation Rental over a Hotel / Motel?

There are a number of reasons why visitors choose a vacation rental over a hotel or motel for their Southport area accommodations:

Price: Depending on the size of a party and the length of a stay, a vacation rental can be noticeably cheaper than a hotel / motel room. This is especially true for families and larger parties that are staying for multiple days, or who require multiple rooms. (I.e., instead of renting two or three motel rooms, a family can book a single home instead.)

Location: Most vacation rentals in Southport are clustered in the downtown area, or in scenic locales that are close to the waterfront, area attractions, and a wealth of shopping and dining options. As such, guests will be nicely close to the numerous attractions that allure Southport vacationers in the first place.

Space: Space is a huge asset at a vacation rental, because compared to a hotel / motel room, there’s a lot more space to go around. Many vacation rentals have separate kitchens, dining areas / living rooms, private porches or balconies, and individual bedrooms, which makes them attractive to larger parties and any visitor who appreciates privacy and room to move.

Amenities: Vacation rentals can also offer a host of amenities that go above and beyond the basics, such as high speed / wireless internet access, multiple TVs and entertainment centers, private porches and decks, hot tubs, sleeper sofas, bikes or kayaks, and much more. Refer to an individual property description to see what “extras” may be included with a stay.

How to Find and Reserve Southport Vacation Rentals

Vacation rentals are similar to hotels and motels in that visitors can find – and reserve –their Southport accommodations online well before their stay.

All area property management / vacation rental companies have detailed websites where visitors can search for vacation rental homes, and then review individual property detail pages which can include a list of features, a description, a calendar of availability, weekly rates, multiple photos, floor plans, virtual tours, and / or all of the above. From here, each vacation rental can be booked for the preferred dates of stay in Southport, weeks and even months before a proposed stay.

When guests “book” a vacation rental home, they will likely be asked to make an initial payment or deposit, as well as sign a vacation rental agreement per North Carolina state law. The remaining balance of the accommodations is generally due before check-in day, and guests may often opt to include additional services into the cost of their vacation rental, such as a security deposit or a security deposit damage waiver fee, a pet fee, trip insurance, or other options.

On the day of arrival, visitors will either go to a central check-in office, or to the home itself if there is a keyless entry code or another method of picking up the keys. From here, visitors who have rented through a vacation rental company can contact the company directly if any issues arise, and / or if they have any questions (such as recommendations on things to do and places to go.)

On check-out day, guests may be asked to perform a few tasks to make the property easier to prepare for the next guest, (such as emptying the fridge, and taking out the trash.) Check-in and check-out times are generally similar to a hotel / motel, with check-in at 4:00 or so on day of arrival, and check-out at around 10:00 a.m. for day of departure.

All in all, it’s a smooth process to find and rent a vacation home or condo, which takes about as much time and effort as renting a hotel or motel room. Visitors who have question along the way, or who need assistance finding a specific property, can also call the property management / vacation rental company directly to talk with a reservations specialist and garner a little guidance through the process.

Amenities at Southport Vacation Rentals (and What to Bring)

Though each vacation rental is distinctive and different, visitors will find that many offer a similar suite of amenities, as well as a few items that are noticeably missing, which guests will want to bring along or pick up while they are in town.

When researching prospective vacation rentals, keep the following list of amenities to look for - as well as things to bring - in mind to ensure you’re prepared for a fabulous Southport stay.

Pet Friendly – Many vacation rentals are pet friendly, which means that guests can bring their dogs along on vacation. These properties may require a small extra fee or security deposit for families with pets, and guests are cautioned to only bring pets along to homes that are designated as “pet friendly” to avoid a fine or possible eviction.

Handicapped Friendly – Some Southport vacation rentals may be designated as handicapped friendly, which indicates that they are accessible for visitors with mobility issues. Features of a handicapped friendly home may include elevators / ramps / one level living areas, handicapped features in bathrooms and bedrooms, and other factors to make moving through the property a breeze.

High Speed Internet Access – Most all vacation rentals offer high speed internet access, although visitors will likely need to bring along their own laptops, tablets, and / or desktop computers. Few homes have computers on the property for guests’ use, for security reasons.

Fully stocked kitchens – Vacation rentals often have fully stocked kitchens, which refers to a full suite of appliances, cookware, dishes and glassware, and utensils / other supplies home chefs will need to cook a gourmet meal or two. These features typically DO NOT include condiments and food, paper products, and other disposable supplies that guests can bring with them, or pick up at the local grocery store. 

Linens and towels – While all homes have comforters and pillows for each bed, the availability of linens and towels can vary from property to property. Unless otherwise stated, guests will want to bring along their own sheets, pillowcases, and towels to use while at the home.

Toiletries – While an initial supply of soap and dish detergent may be available at the home, guests will likely need to bring along or purchase their own toiletries and cleaning products, such as shampoo and conditioner, soap, bath products, and laundry detergent.

Hot tubs – Some properties may offer hot tubs for guests’ use, which are typically available all year-long. Specific rules and safety regulations for hot tub use will be posted at the property.

Boat docks / Water access – Homes that are near the water may offer private or community water access, which can include boat docks / fishing piers, boardwalks to the water, and launching areas for kayaks or boards. Consult the individual description to see what the property or community facilities provide if you’re brining a vessel along for your Southport vacation.

Private / Community pools – Several homes in Southport have a private pool or access to a community pool. Outdoor pools are seasonally available, (generally from spring through mid-fall), and an extra pool heat fee may be applied or available for homes with private outdoor swimming pools.

Fireplaces – A number of Southport homes have fireplaces, which are traditionally available in the off-season months only, when the weather is cool enough to operate them.

Dens / Game Rooms / Offices – Many vacation rentals also have extra “bonus rooms,” such as dens, game rooms, lounges, and / or offices. These rooms provide extra space for guests, and are typically available in larger properties that boast three bedrooms or more.

Tips and Tricks for Staying at a Southport Vacation Rental

  • Vacation rental rates are traditionally seasonal, which means that the same property may cost less in the winter months than in the prime summer months. For extra savings, look at renting a home in the mild spring and fall shoulder seasons, when rates are lower, but all of Southport’s attractions are still open and readily available.
  • Want a coastal getaway? The nearby towns of Oak Island, Caswell Beach and Bald Head Island collectively offer hundreds of vacation rentals, and are great options for visitors looking for a home next to the beach.
  • Many local companies offer nightly or partial week stays for Southport properties, which means they can accommodate visitors who want to stay for just a few days as opposed to an entire week.
  • Most vacation rentals can be reserved up to a year in advance, so visitors will want to book as early as possible to ensure the best selection of options.
  • Consider purchasing trip insurance, especially if your party is staying during hurricane season, which is July 1 through November. Trip insurance protects your vacation rental in case of an evacuation, as well as cancellations due to personal emergencies.
  • A Southport vacation rental may be a fine option for special events, such as small weddings, receptions, family reunions, and corporate retreats. Ask your vacation rental company about properties that allow gatherings outside the traditional family vacation.

Vacation rentals are quickly becoming the accommodations of choice for many Southport vacationers, as the attractive price, ample space, and stellar locations combine to create unforgettable getaways. Peruse your vacation rental options, and enjoy a Southport vacation that truly feels like an authentic and altogether fun home away from home.

Bald Head Woods

Bald Head Woods

But despite being an instrumental component to the island's very existence, and a protector against erosion and storms, Bald Head Woods serves a more visible role as a fun, outdoor destination for visitors to enjoy off the beach. A popular spot with bird watchers, hikers and nature fans alike, this rustic destination allows vacationers to easily step off the beaten path, and dive into Bald Head Island's natural landscape.

Bald Head Ferry

Bald Head Ferry

The Bald Head Island Ferry Terminal is the gateway to exploring the small, but popular paradise of Bald Head Island. Located on the northern edge of the roughly 5 square mile island, and bordering the Cape Fear River, the terminal deposits visitors in the heart of the action. With two major property management companies located within walking distance, in addition to the Bald Head Island Marina, the Marsh Harbor Inn, and a number of transportation options, first-time visitors will have so problem stepping off the docks and finding their way towards a great weekly vacation, or a fun day trip on the beach.

The Common at Cape Fear Station

The Common at Cape Fear Station

The "Cape Fear Station" community is a collection of homes and estates with a variety of settings from oceanfront locations tucked behind the sand dunes to wooded sites that are virtually hidden beneath the towering oaks of the maritime forest. All of these properties are interconnected via a series of sidewalks, which also run adjacent to and through the Cape Fear Station Common. The community, as well as the common itself, is named after the original lifesaving station which once stood along Bald Head Island's East Beach. The station is long gone, however the properties here have their own style and architectural attributes that make them fit in easily with the southern scene.

Southport Historical Society

Southport Historical Society

The Old Brunswick County Jail is a favorite stop along any historic Downtown Southport walking tour, as the early 1900s structure is chock-full of stories which span from its stately brick architecture to its original sprinklings of graffiti, still legible after more than a century.

Southport Waterfront Park

Southport Waterfront Park

While Downtown Southport has an ample supply of wide front porches to take a load off and enjoy a breeze, many longtime visitors attest there's no better place to relax than the Southport waterfront Park.