Are you searching for a great place to take your family on vacation to the Gulf Coast in Texas? Or are you undertaking a vacation more daunting, like a multi-family vacation? Well I have a great place for you to put on your list to check out and also a house listing to AVOID!
Surfside Beach, Texas, has long been a favorite of my family. It is conveniently located about an hour and 15 minutes south of Houston and is about a 30 to 45 minute car ride from Galveston. Having graduated from Texas A&M, and being so close to the coast during college, I routinely went to the beach.
This is when I first introduced my friends to Surfside Beach. The main draws were the ability to drive on the beach (not sure this is still a perk though… more info below), build fires on the beach and it wasn’t quite as crowded as Galveston.
Travel Tip #8: Stay *Near* Galveston
So if you are planning a multi-family vacation in Texas, consider Surfside Beach! Close enough to Galveston where you can visit for the day, but far enough where there are fewer crowds.
December 2017: Planning Begins
If you hadn’t already guessed it, my family decided to take a family vacation this year, but not just my immediate family. It was my dad’s brother and sisters and their mother and most of the associated kids. To put this in perspective for you, at one point we had 30 people all together. 30! (At one point we tried, last minute, to get reservations for 25 at a fancy restaurant – more on this later)!
Multi-family vacations require an immense amount of planning and coordination. At our 2017 annual Matthews’ Family Christmas party, my Aunt Natalie announced we were going on vacation this summer. Cue the hell yeah head nods. I love my family and it’s always a good time when we get together. So, once she was finally able to get all the information out and get a rough head count, Aunt Natalie and my mom Jolé set off to get it all planned. And plan to plan we jumped.
In the beginning, all the “kids” (my dad and his siblings) were going to stay in one house and all of the grandkids (me, my older siblings and the older of the first cousins) were going to stay in a second house. House to house we jumped, week to week we jumped. Originally we had planned for the first week of June and by the time it was all said and done we had locked in our dates for the third week.
The Multi-Family Vacation is a Go!!
By February we had dwindled to one house that had 8 bedrooms and 3.5 baths. We paid the deposit and we were locked in, hello week long vacation with four generations under one roof! If you’re wondering why we planned and booked so far in advance, all I have to say is we probably should have booked earlier. Booking early means you have more options and when your planning a multi-family vacation, you need as many options as possible.
To say everyone was happy with our house would be a wildly inaccurate statement. To lay it out plainly and give brief overviews of the good, the bad and the ugly, I’ve broken it down into a classic pros versus cons list for the Sand Castle Beach House.
- The A/C: In Texas, you better have a good air conditioner. And in a multi-family vacation property that has 8 bedrooms, you better have at least two. This was honestly the best thing about the house (except for in one room), and that is not to be taken as a slight. It struggled a bit in the beginning as everyone went in and out, emptying out their cars, but at night it kept us nice and cool (under 70ºF).
- Ample parking under the house.
- Access to the beach.
- My room (photo 23 and 24) was nice and cool, didn’t get much light in the mornings and the bed was comfortable.
- The room by the front door (photo 20), but unfortunately not for reasons you would think. When it rains, this room leaks! Insert crying face emoji here! And, from the looks of the ceiling, it has leaked multiple times before!
- The room over the porch (photo 27 and 28) looked like an add on and consequently didn’t have great air flow from the a/c.
- Sound carries like you wouldn’t believe in this house (mainly on the first floor and in the room above the porch). And you better hope your neighbors are considerate, because you can hear them when they’re on their porch. Is it too harsh to put this on a review for a multi-family vacation home?
- They expected us to sweep, mop and vacuum the floors before we left.
Cons, Pt. 2 (Things the property owners can’t really control.)
- The water has hints of iron and salt and if you get a glass from the sink, you’ll be able to see it. And do yourself a big favor and use bottled water for the coffee because you’ll definitely be able to taste the difference. We had an accidental blind taste test. Is water quality something property owners can control?
- This house is the second in from a beach entrance. Unfortunately this turned into a con really quick with little kids. People would pull on to the beach and take off going who knows how fast! Finally, my brother-in-law went and got his Tahoe to make the other cars drive where they were supposed to, further away from the shore. At one point he had to sit in a chair at the water’s edge to keep people from driving between his car and the children playing at the water.
I wasn’t quite sure where to put the linen service, it was $264 and the towels and bed sheets came in duffle bags for us to use as needed, meaning we had to make the beds. So decide for yourself where you think this needs to go and let me know in the comments!
Travel Tip #9: Stay in a Lived in Home
I would like to end this post by saying the staff at Beach Resort Services was friendly, but not very responsive when we put in maintenance requests. Also, many of their other properties look great, but the best tip I can provide when looking for a home to stay in at the beach is to find one that is lived in and owned by a family. They are just taken better care of, it’s as plain as that.
Hi friends! This is one post of my blog series for Surfside Beach! Be sure to checkout all the great blogs I will be posting for this multi-family vacation here. Also, don’t be shy! Let me know if you’ve been to Surfside Beach and what you loved and *gasp* hated!