Last week, we went to Litchfield Beach, South Carolina our Summer Family vacation. We were joined by my wife’s family so there were 9 of us. We rented a beach house for close to $2000 total. It was about 3 blocks from the beach in the Waccamaw Trace development with a community pool. Splitting $2000 between 3 families for a week is very reasonable. While some of this post may sound negative, I want to assure you that I thoroughly enjoyed getting away for a week and spending quality time with my family.
Litchfield Beach vs. Pawley’s Island
A couple of years ago, we stayed at Pawley’s Island, one beach to the south of Litchfield. Litchfield’s beach is larger than Pawley’s Beach. Litchfield Beach has Public Access parking that was never full. Pawley’s public access lots were much tougher to navigate due to crowds. On Pawley’s Island, during high tide there is some flooding of the main road on the beach. The island just seems to be eroding away. So, although very close in proximity to me the Litchfield experience is much nicer. Plus, North Litchfield Beach is a short walk to Huntington National Park. The National Park sports a natural beach area free of houses or condos with the safety of lifeguards. If you are trying to decide between Pawley’s Island or North Litchfield Beach… my choice would be Litchfield.
Litchfield Beach vs. Cruise Vacation
It’s not possible for me to go on land based vacation without comparing it to a cruise vacation. Litchfield Beach was awesome and we got a fantastic deal on the house rental. We paid about $700 for a family of four for 7 days. On our first day, we went grocery shopping. Food prices are rising everywhere, and at the beach the grocery store’s prices are even higher. Our initial grocery bill was $190 because we wanted to save money by eating most meals at the house.
For 7 days, not a single dinner was the quality of a cruise line dinner [no offense to my wife]. We ate out one night at Flo’s Place in Murrell’s Inlet where the bill ended up being $100 for my family of 4. This meal was way overpriced, and not close to the quality of a dinner on a cruise ship which happens to be included in the price. After each meal cooked at the house, we had to clean the kitchen and dishes. Definitely, don’t have to do that on a cruise.
On this vacation, we spent 98% of our time making sure that our kids 4 and 9 were having fun. On a cruise, they love to go to the kids program for a couple of hours giving mom and dad some free time. Kids club included on the price of cruise. At night, cruises have entertaining shows that on new ships like the NCL Epic and Allure of the Seas are Vegas quality. Staying at a beach house, we had the TV to entertain us. One night we went to the Amusement Park and Ripley Haunted House in Myrtle Beach at a cost of about $100. If we would have gone to any other shows in Myrtle Beach, it would have cost us about $100.
I am a beach guy. Each morning, I woke up early to run on the beach or go shore fishing. After 3 days, being spoiled from cruising, I grew tired of being at the same beach. North Litchfield Beach has it’s own beauty but it is no Caribbean Island.
So, like when added up we spent about $1600 on our vacation for a family of 4. Not bad for the summer, but close to what a cruise would have cost. With Entertainment, Kid Programs, tropical ports, elegant dinners, and no cleaning, a cruise vacation is a much better value. So why did we do the beach house? It’s family tradition – which we will break next year.
Family of 4 Cruise Deals
If you can take your family of 4 on vacation later in 2011, you can cruise for 5 nights on Royal Caribbean starting at $896 per person. Check the flyer below for details on the special deals for family cruising on Royal Caribbean.