What’s the Difference Between a Beach House and a Beach Resort?

Soaking up the sun, toes wiggling in the sand, while you listen to seagulls calling and waves crashing, and that salty breeze, a beach vacation has a way of melting away stress. Now that you’re excited to start planning your next beach destination, the question arises: do you choose the intimacy of a beach house or the vibrant energy of a beach resort? Fear not, sunseekers, for this blog post dives into the key differences to help you pick your perfect vacation paradise!


In short, the main difference between a resort and a vacation rental beach house is crowds. Resorts are corporate businesses, and to remain profitable, they need high occupancy, all of the time which can mean hundreds or even thousands of people on the property continuously. In contrast, the vacation rental concept is based on the use of individual homes, condos or apartments, private spaces usually away from bustling crowds. An individual or family at a beach house may not see any other vacationers during their entire stay and will have more privacy and independence. 

A beach resort is a type of vacation destination located near a beach or waterfront area, offering a range of facilities and activities to its visitors. Here are some key characteristics of a beach resort:

  • Location: As the name suggests, beach resorts are situated near a beach, lake, ocean or river. This prime location provides guests with easy access to swimming, sunbathing and water-based activities.
  • Accommodations: Beach resorts typically offer a variety of accommodations, such as hotels, villas, bungalows, or condos that are designed to be comfortable and relaxing, with balconies or patios overlooking the water.
  • Amenities: Beach resorts typically have a wide range of amenities to keep guests entertained and comfortable. This could include swimming pools, waterslides, fitness centers, spas, restaurants, bars, shops, and even casinos. Some resorts also offer organized activities and entertainment, such as live music, dance shows, and events.
  • Atmosphere: The atmosphere of a beach resort can vary depending on the target audience, some cater to families and offer a fun and lively atmosphere, while others cater to couples or adults seeking a more peaceful and romantic getaway.

Picture yourself in a chic hotel room or luxurious villa within a bustling complex. Resorts offer an array of room types, catering to solo travelers, couples, and families. Housekeeping, in-room dining, and concierge services cater to your every whim. Think organized activities, diverse dining options, and a social, on-the-go vibe. Overall, beach resorts are a great option for anyone looking for a fun and relaxing all-inclusive vacation in a beautiful setting. Here are some of the benefits of staying at a beach resort:

  • Convenience: Beach resorts offer everything you need for a relaxing vacation in one place, so you don't have to worry about finding transportation, planning activities, or cooking meals.
  • Variety: Beach resorts offer a wide range of activities and amenities to keep you entertained, from swimming and sunbathing to exploring the local area or trying new things.
  • Relaxation: Beach resorts are designed to be relaxing and stress-free. You can spend your days lounging by the pool, getting pampered at the spa, or simply enjoying the beautiful scenery.

Now, imagine a cozy abode, or lavish home with floor to ceiling windows, just steps from the shore. Beach houses offer privacy, independence, and often space for larger groups. Full-size kitchens allow you to whip up your own seafood feasts, and decks or patios become breezy sunset sanctuaries. Think family gatherings, intimate getaways, and the freedom to set your own schedule. Ultimately, the choice between a beach house or a resort boils down to your personal preferences, here are some comparisons to help you decide. 


  • Beach house: While amenities vary, you'll likely find beach chairs, BBQ grills, and maybe even kayaks or surfboards. Some houses may have private pools or hot tubs. The focus is on self-sufficiency and enjoying the natural surroundings.
  • Beach resort: Brace yourself for a smorgasbord of fun! Most resorts boast multiple pools, waterslides, splash pads, and even swim-up bars. Think tennis courts, spas, fitness centers, kids' clubs, and on-site entertainment. It's a one-stop shop for adventure and relaxation.


  • Beach house: Rental prices fluctuate based on size, location, and season. Generally, a beach house can be more budget-friendly, especially when splitting the cost with a group. Cooking some meals yourself also helps save.
  • Beach resort: Expect higher nightly rates, often including multiple meals and access to all amenities. While potentially pricier, the all-inclusive aspect gives you a lot of bang for your buck.


  • Beach house: Picture serene mornings with coffee on the porch, lazy afternoons lounging in the sand, and evenings spent playing board games under the stars. It's a laid-back haven for those seeking peace and quiet.
  • Beach resort: Think lively poolside bars, vibrant evening shows, and organized activities like beach volleyball or dance classes. Expect a fun, social atmosphere with plenty of opportunities to mingle.

Are you craving independence and intimacy? Maybe opt for a beach house. Are you yearning for non-stop fun and organized activities? Maybe choose a beach resort. No matter your choice, remember to pack your swimsuit, sunscreen, a good book and a sense of adventure. Happy beach hopping!

Expansive mountains, spectacular waterfalls and black lava landscapes define the Mauna Kea Resort and Beach Hotel on the Kohala Coast of Hawai‘i. As the first resort hotel on the island, it has welcomed generations of travelers to embrace the island’s spirit, the warmth of its people, and the rejuvenating capacity of the ocean that surrounds it. Want a hassle and stress-free booking experience? We can help. Call us at 888.598.6353 or email reservations@eastwest.com for help planning your next beach resort trip.