Does your ideal vacation involve both the luxury of playing pickleball on a whim and experiencing and exploring an exotic locale? Then we have you covered. As the popularity of the sport continues to skyrocket, on-site courts are increasingly popping up at rental homes-away-from-home from the Blue Ridge Mountains to Southern California to the Caribbean. Now you can book your R&R escape with the built-in bonus of getting in some good games, sometimes with ocean views. Whether you want a quiet location that’s tailor-made for a small family getaway or an expansive property big enough to accommodate multiple couples or groups (all learning, playing, and watching pickleball, of course), here is a sampling of the spectacular choices out there.
GO way over the top
Want to dream big—really, really big? For a once-in-a-lifetime trip, grab five other couples and rent the uber-luxurious Villa Blanc Bleu in Gouverneur, St. Barts. Plantation doors open onto a covered deck that includes an outdoor living room and a dining table that seats 16. The infinity pool and hot tub have sunset views; the gym has stationary bikes, a treadmill, and a StairMaster; and the tennis court can be adapted for pickleball.
Bonus points: Housecleaning is offered six days a week, and the concierge can arrange grocery delivery. Don’t fancy cooking every night? Hire a private chef for special occasions.
Sleeping quarters: Six oceanfront bedrooms, each with an en suite bath (plus a seventh room that can be made up with twin bunk beds)
Book through: WIMCO Villas; average rent is $40,000–$55,000/summer week, $55,000–$90,000/winter week
Puerto Escondido, mexico
Villa María, a 5,000-square-foot B&B in Puerto Escondido, has three suites with private bathrooms and balconies (some with ocean views) and is within walking distance of the beaches. Its private pickleball court has sunshade roofing and LED lighting, so you can play day or night, and there’s a lighted swimming pool—and it’s all nestled amid lush landscaping.
Bonus points: Every day, wake up to a prepared Mexican breakfast, with fruits, veggies, and herbs from the owners’ organic ranch.
Sleeping quarters: Three bedrooms (sleeping eight guests); three and a half baths, outdoor showers.
Book through: Vrbo; average rent is $87/night
time to Indulge: play pickleball, swim, then take in a spa visit.
Though it’s surrounded by nature (and near a national park), you may never want to leave this private home in Utah, which boasts a large heated pool, mini-football field, trampoline, hot tub, ping-pong table, and, of course, its own pickleball court.
Bonus points: Go boating, fishing, golfing, hiking, or mountain biking at the 20,000-acre Sand Hollow State Park, about a 10-minute drive; hike at Zion National Park, about 40 minutes away; or pamper yourself at one of St. George’s luxurious spas.
Sleeping quarters: Four bedrooms (the eight beds, including three bunk beds, sleep up to 12); three full baths, one half bath. Note: The owners prefer to rent to families.
Book through: Vrbo; average rent is $429/night
WATERFRONT FUN At Villa Waters Edge you can enjoy the infinity pool | Courtesy: WIMCO Villas
A luxurious four-bedroom property, Villa Waters Edge at Oil Nut Bay lives up to its name: Its large deck and infinity pool sit right on the water, fronted by a massive terrace for outdoor dining and an open-concept floor plan. Daily housekeeping and babysitting services can be arranged.
Bonus points: Guests are welcome at Oil Nut Bay facilities, which offer dining, a nature center, a spa, a yoga and Pilates studio, plus both pickleball and tennis courts.
Sleeping quarters: Four bedrooms, all with en suite bathrooms and patios
Book through: WIMCO Villas; from April 18 to July 9 this year, rent is $24,325/week
You and your guests can take turns playing and watching.
Tucked into the woods on the border of North Carolina and South Carolina is Mountain Modern Base Camp, a seven-plus-acre private property with 30-foot ceilings, indoor and outdoor fireplaces, a hot tub, huge windows, and accessible hiking trails. And the pièce de résistance? A full pickleball court, which sits next to the covered patio, so guests can watch the action while waiting to play.
Bonus points: Find more fun (zip-lining, white-water rafting) in the Blue Ridge Mountains or nearby towns (the property sits between Hendersonville, North Carolina, and Greenville, South Carolina). For another fun scene, Travelers Rest, South Carolina, has lots of dining options less than a half-hour away.
Sleeping quarters: Three bedrooms (the house sleeps up to 14); three and a half baths
Book through: Airbnb; average rent is $650/night
So Cal, so good
Palm Desert, CA
Looking for a longer visit? Check into this Palm Desert condo, whose minimum stay is 30 days. Steps from the back patio of this renovated property are two pickleball courts available for use by the condo community. The unit also has a tabletop firepit and access to two community pools (one with a hot tub), tennis courts, and a half basketball court.
Bonus points: A 15-minute drive puts you in Old Town La Quinta and El Paseo, as well as the Palm Desert Resort Country Club. Los Angeles is a two-and-a-half-hour drive away.
Sleeping quarters: Three bedrooms (sleeping six guests); two baths
Book through: Airbnb; average rent is $209/night; dogs less than 20 pounds are welcome
“Every bedroom opens onto the pool or sea, all with water views.”
—Owner Bob Works
Hit the beach
A WALK TO REMEMBER The Caribbean beach is just a short stroll from Villa Amoraflora, which has a pool with a pavilion over it as well as a private pickleball court | Photographs by The NYC Couple
Villa Amoraflora is like two properties in one—so by splitting it with others, you can indulge in Caribbean luxury. “There are two kitchens, two living rooms, two dining rooms, all linked by an 82-foot swimming pool with a pavilion over it,” says owner Bob Works. “This is the way people like to vacation now—to take a big rental and divvy it up between two families—or six to eight couples.” The place has oceanfront suites in two villas, a 100-foot-wide deck, 300 feet of remote beach, and a pickleball court. “The name of the house means ‘for the love of plants,’ and we have a beautiful natural Cayman garden,” says Works.
Bonus points: A spiral staircase leads from the library up to a second-floor observation tower, great for watching sunsets (or the picklers below).
Sleeping quarters: Five bedrooms with private baths sleep 10 people. A sixth bedroom can be created in the library, sleeping two more in twin beds.
Book through: WIMCO Villas; average rent is from $7,700/week in the summer and up to $15,050/ holiday week
away from it all
If you really want to get away (but still enjoy pickleball), consider this quiet, 12-acre property in tiny Moneta, Virginia. The family-friendly rental has a private stocked pond for fishing, an in-ground swimming pool (closed November through March), a walking trail, a playground, and a basketball court. Or stay inside and enjoy the game room (with ping-pong, Foosball, and pool), theater room, workout space, and an indoor pickleball court.
Bonus points: The house sits on Smith Mountain Lake, a mecca for fishermen, sailors, kayakers, canoeists, and water-skiers alike.
Sleeping quarters: Four bedrooms (the six beds sleep eight guests); four and a half baths
Book through: Airbnb; average rent is $425/night
HILL COUNTRY HAVEN
SAN MARCOS, TX
Traveling with a large group? Check into the historic 200-acre Stonehaven Ranch in the Texas Hill Country. Built more than 100 years ago, the luxurious, 4,000-square-foot main lodge—with exposed wooden beams, a large pool shaded by oak trees, and a renovated chef’s kitchen—is ideal for a family reunion. But the biggest seller is the new tennis court, painted for two pickleball courts and offering portable nets.
Bonus points: Besides the lodge, there are three other properties on the grounds—a carriage house, cottage, and smaller ranch house, the latter two with their own full kitchens and porches—so the entire property has room for up to 16 guests. Austin’s music scene is an hour away.
Sleeping quarters: The entire property has 10 bedrooms,
11 beds, and six bathrooms.
Book through: Airbnb; average rent is $1,850/night
If You Build It, They Will Come
Courts are climbing to the top of vacationers’ wish lists because pickleball is a fun family activity. These owners and renters attest to the growing trend.
Though it’s not yet possible to filter for “pickleball properties” on the major vacation rental sites, property owners are increasingly realizing the value of adding their own private courts.
Ashley and Jared Helton, owners of Mountain Modern Base Camp on the North Carolina and South Carolina border, opened their property in February 2021 and within months added a combination pickleball and basketball court. “People have told us they’re booking our house because they play pickleball—some say it’s the only reason they booked,” says Jared Helton, who advertises the court on Airbnb and Instagram.
A pickleball court “is a great selling point,” says Stiles Bennet, president and chief marketing officer of WIMCO Villas, which represents private weekly rental homes in the U.S., Caribbean, and Europe. It’s “a way to attract families that love paddle and racket sports and active groups of adults.”
SALLEE and Morry silvermaN got together with their three children and four grandchildren in Pennsylvania last summer for the first time since the pandemic began, booking a Vrbo condo at the all-season Seven Springs Mountain Resort (7springs.com) because it had access to pools, playgrounds, and, yes, pickleball. “We brought our paddles and taught everybody to play, even the 8-year-olds,” Sallee Silverman says. “We played eight or 10 times. It was a beautiful property.”