Yield to the call of the great outdoors this season! We’ve found six incredible vacation rentals primed for enjoying the elements. Why not select a stay with features that maximize your group’s chances for summer fun? Whether it’s lounging in a dreamy garden setting, fishing off a dock, or sitting around a bonfire, here’s how to do it all in your own backyard.


1. Lounge in a lovely Sag Harbor garden

Want to feel at one with nature? Does lying in a hammock amid rolling lawns and fruit-tree-laden gardens sound good? Then this freshly renovated Sag Harbor cottage should do nicely. With room for eight vacationers, plenty of outdoor seating, a pool with an optional heating function, a barbecue grill, and an outdoor shower, this locale is primed for pleasant country life in the summertime. It also borders a nature preserve and is a 10-minute walk from both Sag Harbor Village and the beach, which pretty much secures its status as an idyllic refuge. And the cottage is air-conditioned with a state-of-the-art kitchen if you do decide to take advantage of its great indoors.


2. Frolic in the Santa Barbara foothills

Everything’s alfresco when it comes to SoCal summer living. But a sprawling Mediterranean-style villa in the area’s crown jewel of Santa Barbara is sublime even by regional standards. Villa Verano rests in the foothills above the city and encompasses 18 acres of incredible exotic gardens—including the vegetable, fruit, and sunken variety—and courtyards with fountains, terraces, patios, and even a backyard gazebo perfect for a group gathering at sunset. (Or whenever, really.) If the swanky cabana/pool house next to the sparkling pool doesn’t adequately entertain everyone, open the French doors to the actual 14,000-square-foot house! There’s a wet bar, a game room, and a theater room. Oh, and nearly every window offers sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean and the nearby Channel Islands.


3. Kick back in a coastal fishing village

The living is easy when summertime means fishing, crabbing, and swimming off a deep-water dock in the backyard of Myrtle Beach’s “King’s Krest” cottage. That is, when you’re not snoozing in a hammock on a screened-in porch, or rambling around the sprawling yard, or taking in the sunrise over the creek. The 100-year-old house on Murrells Inlet has been lovingly maintained and sleeps 11 people, making it a great spot for big families who want to prolong enjoyment of the outdoors in time with the gentle pace here. One of the other screened-in porches is for dining, so when you’ve caught and cleaned your fish on the dock, grilled it, and washed yourself up in one of two outside showers, you can mosey on over to the table without ever having to go inside.


4. Trek around Moab Springs Ranch

Planning to pack up your gear and blaze down some trails on your bike this summer? Look no further than Moab Springs Ranch for a sweet townhouse to rest your head in between rides from mighty Moab to the banks of the nearby Colorado River. Ensconced in a private park with a wading pond, a fire pit, a spring-fed stream, a heated pool, and a hot tub, this distinctive residence also offers oversized garages for all your vehicles—all-terrain or otherwise. Up to nine of your fellow outdoors enthusiasts can chill out on the back porch, snooze in one of several hammocks, fire up the propane grill, or put together a picnic on the shaded lawn. There’s no better desert location for group vacation recreation.


5. Relax by the Alabama seashore

If you and up to five of your crew are beach-bound this summer, check out this freshly updated abode smack dab on the sands of Gulf Shores. Enjoy views of the rolling Alabama tides from every room inside the luxurious Crystal Shores West condo, one of this hugely popular area’s newest developments. The ample patio is ideal for those moments when you just want to recline in a lounge chair and breathe in the sea air. For all other times, there’s an activity to suit your mood ... grill outside on the barbecue, unwind in the hot tub, steam in the sauna, swim in the pool, go for a workout in the gym, or play in the game room. There’s summer fun here for everyone!


6. Take the summer plunge in San Antonio

Summertime sizzles deep in the heart of Texas, so a house with a shaded plunge pool is definitely in order. And this historic hacienda, stylishly appointed and beautifully restored with tasteful regional flair, also happens to sit on two acres along the San Antonio River and Mission Hike and Bike Trail. “River House” is literally next door to Mission San Juan Capistrano and just a stroll or bike ride from the downtown attractions that have put the Alamo City on the map for travelers. This gem of a place also comes with an authentic barbecue smoker and plenty of outdoor seating on the leafy patio, not to mention a cheery sunroom inside. What better way to experience the flavor of the season (in this region) at just the right temperature?


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