If you're looking for a summer rental, um, it might be a little late. Most summer-long stints run from Memorial Day to Labor Day, so this would be some seriously last minute shopping. Of course, that timing works both ways. Owners with summer-long vacancies or holes in their schedules should be willing to cut a deal now that the season is off and running. In the Hamptons, "a deal" doesn't mean "cheap"...ever. This typical looking shingled manse, 5,500 square feet on one acre, is listed for an astounding $595K for the summer. For that price, renters get five bedrooms, five baths, views of both the bay and the ocean, and a prime Southampton address, along with state -of-the art audio and video systems and that most Hampton's of standard features, a gunite pool. Of course, thrifty renters could always just take it for the month of July, a time period that runs $315K.
? One of our favorite summer enclaves, Tuxedo Park is a less glam, more traditional alternative to the Hamptons, and also happens to be closer to NYC. This Gingerbread-style house is nestled in the woods, within walking distance of the lakes and the Tuxedo Park Club. The four-bedroom spread is rich with historic details, but also has plenty of modern updates, like a new oven and built-in microwave. The current going rate is $8,000 per week.
? Martha's Vineyard, the favored summer destination of Presidents Clinton and Obama, has plenty of high-priced vacancies heading into Memorial Day weekend. This Chilmark stone-and-shingle mansion is booked for most of June, but opens up in July and August to renters willing to fork over $25K-$30K per week for the privilege, with a minimum two week stay. The five-bedroom manse includes a pool, added for the 2012 season, and coveted central A/C for those steamy summer days.
? Getting further out and away from the cities might be more relaxing, but it is not necessarily less expensive. The age-old summer "cottages" of Mount Desert Island are a prime example. Located on an isolated section of the Maine coast, and one of the preferred summer escapes of Gilded Age robber barons, the enclave of Northeast Harbor boasts some impressive period architecture. Seaward, as this shorefront "cottage" is known, is a fine example of Maine coastal architecture, with seven bedrooms, six bedrooms, and spacious entertaining rooms. The price is a not-so-casual $40K-$58K per month.
? California is always good for a more casual take on summer living, and there's something supremely casual about this beachfront manse on Stinson Beach, north of San Francisco. Elevated above the sand on stilts, the two-bed, two-bath cottage is about as close to the water as one can get without getting swallowed by it. The place rents for $2,500 per week.