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The Best Vacation Rental Sites For Families

With the current situation, it’s no surprise that many families are opting for vacation home rentals, rather than standard hotels. With a vacation home, you’ll have more room to spread out and can have private rooms for online school, online meetings, and other work/school needs. If you are thinking of booking a vacation home, here are the best vacation rental sites to consider.

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Cape Cod beach

Best Vacation Rental Sites For Families

When booking a vacation home, it’s usually best to start out with a general area that you want to stay in and when you want to go. As with any vacation plan, flexibility is always best and will give you more options. In many cases, you can search for a general region – e.g: Cape Cod.


Arguably the most popular vacation home rental site is Airbnb. Airbnb is available in over 190 countries (including, the United States), and offers a variety of different property listings. These include short term rentals of homes, individual rooms within a home, and other unique property types including treehouses, lighthouses, and farms.

Despite the B&B sound in the name, Airbnb listings aren’t necessarily bed and breakfasts. In fact, most aren’t. While you may be renting a room in a home, in many cases you’ll be able to rent an entire house.

To search Airbnb, you’ll start out at the top of the website where you can select a location, dates, and the number of guests. Within Airbnb, anyone over the age of 13 is considered an adult. You can also select whether or not you plan to bring a pet.

When choosing a date, you’ll have the option to provide some flexibility to your check in and check out date. This way, you can see if the perfect property is available if you were able to just shift your trip by a few days.

Once you see the properties offered in the location and on the dates you selected, you can choose other filters. Options include amenities like a full kitchen, washer, dryer, and waterfront location, as well as features like private pools, hot tubs, and gym.

You can also select the neighborhood where you’d like to stay, cancellation flexibility, house rules, host language, and more. Guests can also choose properties that get good ratings from business travelers, as well as Airbnb Luxe and Airbnb Plus listings.

Once you find a property that you like, look within the listings at the amenities, policies, and photos. Spend some time with the listing to make sure there are no surprises when you arrive.

The prices will be listed along the side of the listing. There you’ll find the price for your stay, the cleaning fee, services fees, as well as the applicable occupancy fees and taxes.

If you have questions before purchasing, you’ll be able to contact the seller in advance. Be sure to do that if you aren’t sure about everything.

Once you decide to purchase, you’ll set up an account (or login to an existing account), and request a booking. The owner needs to approve any booking so it’s not finalized until they approve.

After your stay, you’ll be able to rate the seller and they’ll be able to rate you as a guest. It’s always recommended to try to resolve any issues with the seller before providing feedback.

Martha's Vineyard Waterfront


VRBO, vacation rental by owner (pronounced verb-oh), is another of the top vacation rental sites. With this Expedia-owned site, you’ll be able to find vacation homes that are listed by their owners. It merged with HomeAway and includes any of the vacation rental properties that were previously on that site.

To find a property on VRBO, again you’ll want a general idea of where you want to go and when. Once you get a listing of properties, there are additional filters that can be applied. These include price, types and number of various rooms, features and amenities, house rules, and ratings.

You’ll also be able to choose properties where owner has 24 hours to approve the booking, or ones where the booking is instant. It’s best to keep that selection open, unless you are in a hurry.

Once you find a property, you’ll want to check the photos, details, reviews, and policies. Along the side, you see the total price. To get a breakdown of what’s included, like cleaning, taxes, and fees, you can view more details.

Depending on the option the owner has selected, you’ll either get an immediate booking approval or will hear back within 24 hours. Don’t make any binding travel plans until you get that approval back, because it isn’t guaranteed.

Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester, MA

Local Sites

These two national/international websites listed above are great options for a wide array of rental options. However, for large tourist areas, you may find more local options that have a wider option of homes within a small defined area., for instance, is a popular rental website for renting a home for a Cape Cod, Nantucket, or Martha’s Vineyard family vacation. If you are planning a family trip to Cape Cod, it’s worth looking there as well.

You may also find local rental companies that focus on a region. When we stayed in Gloucester, MA, we found Atlantic Vacation Homes, which offers vacation rentals in the Cape Ann, MA area.

When searching for vacation homes, it’s definitely a good idea to do an online search for the area. That way, you may find local websites that will offer you a wider array of options.

Are you considering renting a vacation home? You may need to search for the perfect home. Here are the best vacation rental sites for families

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