Local News

Key to Coastal Rentals: Plan Ahead

Posted May 24, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— On this, the beginning of the long Memorial Day weekend, our beaches are rebounding. Finding an available rental on the coast is nearly impossible.

It's a sign of the time and of a hopeful season to come. Vacationers are eager to get the unofficial start of summer underway. Beach property owners are ready to make up for some of what was lost last year during the hurricanes.

Most places at Wrightsville Beach are booked up with the exception of Shell Island. It's still under construction. The Holiday Inn is being torn down because the damage was too much to repair. Both are reminders of what happened along the North Carolina coast.

Most realtors are already, saying they're booked solid for the summer. But if you want to vacation on the North Carolina coast, don't be discouraged. You can still find a rental, but the sooner you call, the better.

Town Manager Tony Caudle says the damage has cut down on the number of rooms available. In areas smaller than Wrightsville Beach, what few rooms are available for rent are full by Memorial weekend.

The hope is that it will stay that way. And aside from the glaring changes, like the shortened Johnny Mercer Pier, vacationers will see that everything still looks the way it did before Fran hit.

Tourist Tony Vecchio was surprised at how clean Wrightsville appeared to be. He credits the area for clearing away the damage. Vecchio says the New York media portrayed the coast as more heavily damaged, so seeing the beaches as they are was a welcome find.

What else you'll find on the beaches is sand. A lot of that sand came from underneath homes battered by hurricane Fran. Authorities worked to move the sand back on the beach front. But still a lot of that sand was washed away. That fact has coastal communities worried about what could happen this upcoming hurricane season.

If you're planning on vacationing in an area hit hard by Fran, have a second or even third choice in mind. Most beach communities still aren't up to 100% capacity.

Terri Gruca reporting