Have you ever vacationed on the Jersey Shore?
"Long Beach Island, number one, has some of the nicest beaches found on the east coast of the United States," said Rick Jones, of G. Anderson Realty.
The east coast has a huge supply of vacation rentals, and many, especially in the slow economy, are frugal-friendly.
Jones guided us through samples of rentals that won't break the budget, starting with an ocean-block home at $4,000 a week. But don't gasp.
"A home like this will sleep 10," Jones said. "It's great for a family that has four, maybe another family that has two kids. Two sets of adults."
So split three ways, it comes to about $1,300. And bring your groceries!
"There's an economy in being able to stay here in a fully-stocked kitchen," he said. "Eat a number of meals out on the deck."
About $1,500 a week can get one unit of a duplex. And the prices reflect the distance to the beach. Also, it's just one floor of living space.
"But certainly large enough for dining and being able to accommodate six," Jones said.
If you need to shave the cost a bit more? Try splitting a house bayside instead of beachside. One that sleeps eight to 10 people is about $750 to $1,200 per family. And bayside can offer more than just a good price.
"One of the major benefits of being on the bayside is we have some of the nicest sunsets found anywhere on Long Beach Island," Jones said. "They're just spectacular."
Jones also showed off a pricier one-floor duplex at $2,100 to $2,200 a week. It sleeps eight, though it's smaller. But what you sacrifice in space, you gain in location.
"It is maybe four, five homes from the ocean," Jones said.
Also, look for bargains in the Hamptons or Fire Island, where bookings are lagging because of the economy. One realtor says Fire Island rentals are the slowest they've been in 12 years. So you may find you can negotiate price, or even the length of your stay.
And here's another tip. You can save hundreds of dollars by choosing a week that's not considered prime rental time. And believe it or not, some of those weeks are in June.
"June, you run the possibility that the water will still be a little bit chilly," Jones said.
And in September?
"Everything is still open, the water is still very, very warm, and there are hardly any crowds whatsoever," Jones said. "So you pretty much own the beach."
And there's room to negotiate prices for off-prime weeks. Check the internet for shore rentals in the Hamptons, Fire Island and the Jersey shore. A realtor can help you book one. Then choose extended family or friends you can live with for a week, and the sand, the surf, and the sun is yours!
WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King