The days are short, the nights are cold, and summer vacation is still many months away. The beach is probably the furthest thing from your mind, and that's a shame. As it turns out, winter is the best time to plan your summer beach vacation. Whether you want to spend a week or two in Carolina Beach or Kure Beach, now is the time to explore your options, book your beach house, and start making a list of all the fun things you want to do. If you're wondering why you should be planning your beach vacation in January, here are some great reasons

You'll have a better selection. The earlier you book your dream beach vacation, the more choices you'll have. While Network Real Estate has a number of wonderful beach rentals to choose from, there's nothing more disappointing than falling in love with your dream house - only to find out its been booked solid since February. Reserve your first choice now and ensure that your vacation is the best one ever.

You'll have more time to research. Whether this will be your first trip to the North Carolina coast or your tenth, it pays to do some research before your arrival. If you book your vacation now, you'll have plenty of time to figure out which sights you want to see, which restaurants you want to visit, and where the kid-friendly attractions are located. Carolina Beach has changed a lot in the last few years, including a brand new boardwalk. Knowing about these things ahead of time will help you plan a great trip.

You'll be able to set a budget and save for your trip. If you know exactly where you're going, where you're staying, and what you'll be doing, you'll be in a much better position to save enough money to truly cut loose and enjoy yourself. For example, if you book your July beach vacation in January or February, that gives you five to six months to set aside money each month. This will allow you to save slowly for your trip and avoid putting any extras on your credit card. Planning now will free you from financial stress later!

You'll find better deals. From fishing charters to sunset cruises to specials shows to historic landmarks, many companies, events, and attractions offer group discounts, special deals, and great savings during the slow season. If you start booking now, you'll beat the rush, have your pick of dates and times, and will probably be able to snag some great deals. Plus you'll be able to plan leisurely, making reservations and contacting businesses during your free time, instead of in a last minute rush. Doesn't that sound nice?

You'll have something to look forward to. Most of us experience some level of Seasonal Affective Disorder, a condition that can make you feel not-so-great during the cold winter months. This is especially true in the post-holiday slump, when there aren't celebrations to distract us. Planning a fun vacation can help banish the winter blues and give you and your family something fun and positive to focus on during the darkest months.

We hope this post has given you some excellent reasons to start planning your beach vacation now. If you need help deciding what to do and where to stay, contact one of Network Real Estate's wonderful realtors. We specialize in helping connect our clients with the vacation rental of their dreams and making their trip to coastal North Carolina one to remember. We look forward to working with you. In the meantime, happy planning!