Why is Cape Cod such a popular family vacation destination? Basically, it’s the beaches. So if they’re coming for the beach, what can you do as an owner/host to enhance their beach vacation?
Beach chairs are a must. If your property is directly on the beach, you may want to furnish those Adirondack-style resin chairs. They’re comfy, pretty durable with no parts to rust and seem to hold up fairly well, if you choose heavier gauge versions with better integrity. Some are so flimsy, they crack and break way too soon.
Especially if you plan to leave the chairs on the beach throughout the rental season, you might want to neatly inscribe your name or address on them somewhere – just so you can lay claim in case they wander down the beach at some point. A few inexpensive, stackable resin tables are also very handy and will be much appreciated by guests bearing beverages, snacks, sunscreen, tablets, whatever.
For most properties, the house is far enough away from the beach that you really need the folding, portable variety of beach chairs. They don’t have to be expensive, but they do have to be kept in good shape. If they have metal parts, they may be aluminum, but the fasteners probably aren’t. As most all folding chairs do, they will rust and you’ll be replacing them in a year or two anyway. NEWS BULLETIN: Presenting your guests with rusty, torn beach chairs does not make the cut.
Let me tellya about the beach umbrella.
Very popular items, of course, especially for parents of babies and younger kiddos. Even with 9,000 SPF sunblock, that Cape Cod sun can do a number on tender, young skin.
But here’s your problem. You tell your guests (and they will ask) that you have one of those stick-in-the-sand type beach umbrellas, because you do. At least, you did when the season started. But all it takes is one good gust of wind, and that umbrella is toast. So where’s the promised beach umbrella when the next guest group arrives? Probably inside out and useless in the corner of the garage or under the deck. If you’re smart, you’ll have its replacement in secret storage somewhere on the property where you or your manager can get at it and replace the dead body. Our advice: buy two or three umbrellas at the start of the season, and put them out one at a time.
Beach Toys Play Well.
Where do you start? Better question: where do you stop?
You can go crazy with beach toys and provide all manner of play things, from corn hole games to Frisbees® to paddle balls to kites, etc., etc., etc. But we recommend keeping it down to a dull roar.
Think little kids and apply the K.I.S.S. principle. Just give them a couple of plastic pails and shovels, maybe a couple of plastic vehicles – pay loaders and dump trucks are popular. Go with a slightly larger and more sturdy shovel or two so they don’t break on the first dig. Forget about those stupid “sifters” and plastic molds shaped like a star fish or whatever. No kid has ever used one of those in the entire history of Cape Cod. And guest parents will thank you for not having to pick them up at the end of the day.
Oh, and we definitely don’t recommend inflatables, boogie boards, SUPs, boats or anything else that floats. Unless you clear it with your insurance folks, and maybe, your attorney.
Beach Wagon Scores Big.
If your property requires a walk to the beach of more than about a minute or two, you’ll be a hero if you provide a cart or wagon for guests to use hauling their stuff to and fro. Make it big enough to accommodate everything mentioned above, plus maybe a four-year-old who loves the ride.
Beach chairs, umbrella and toys need to have a home when they’re not in use on the beach. The garage is good, assuming your property has one. Or on the deck, under the deck or inside the screened porch. Under cover is recommended, out of the weather. That’ll extend the usable life of everything.
Remember: all that stuff from the beach, comes back to your house laden with sand. So for example, if your beach stuff is stored in the garage, provide for hanging the chairs up off the floor. Have one or more large plastic storage bins for beach toys, including a lid that fits on tightly if you have to store them outside. With things stored in the bin(s) or up off the flloor, it will be much faster and easier for you or your manager to sweep or blow the accumulated sand out of there without having to re-arrange and re-organize all the gear. Most guests will leave the beach gear as organized as they found it. So set a good example at the get-go and help streamline your turnover day property prep.
Outdoor Shower and Foot Bath.
Most Cape Cod summer homes have an outdoor shower. Not only is it just plain fun and an expected part of the Cape experience, it helps keep sand out of your house big-time. So make sure your outdoor shower is clean and in good working order before the rental season starts, including eliminating that accumulated ugly green mildew. And one last beach-related piece of equipment you’ll want: a small plastic bin filled with fresh water, strategically placed to encourage guests to rinse off their sandy feet before entering the house. Amazing how much this simple provision helps keep the property in much better shape throughout the rental season.