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Originally published Thursday, December 4, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Finding vacation rentals - and offseason bargains

Ideas for offseason bargains on cabins and homes around Washington.

Seattle Times Travel staff

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For a winter getaway, here are some Washington areas that have many vacation rentals, from cabins to fancy waterfront homes.

In the winter offseason, there are substantial discounts at beach and island destinations. Another advantage: Some vacation homes on San Juan Island and Whidbey Island that require a minimum rental of a week in summer reduce it to a two- or three-night minimum in the offseason.

If you're comfortable renting through a private owner, instead of through a vacation-rental agency or resort, check the Web sites of HomeAway (www.homeaway.com) and Vacation Rentals By Owner (www.vrbo.com). They're major clearinghouses with vacation rentals throughout Washington.

Besides Lakedale Resort on San Juan, here's a sampling of other places to hide out. If you like what you see on the Web site, it never hurts to phone and double-check for more discounts.

San Juan Island

Lonesome Cove Resort: A dirt road leads to this tranquil, old-fashioned resort of a half-dozen log cabins. The small, simple beachfront cabins are so popular that much of next summer already is sold out; www.lonesomecove.com or 360-378-4477.

Harrison House Suites: This historic house in Friday Harbor offers suites with separate bedrooms and full kitchens, including one that can sleep up to 10; www.harrisonhousesuites.com or 800-407-7933.

Vacation home rentals: Find dozens of links to vacation rentals on San Juan, both agencies and individual owners, through the San Juan Island Chamber of Commerce, www.sanjuanisland.org/visitoraccommodations.html.

Windermere Vacations Rentals manages dozens of vacation houses on San Juan, Orcas and Lopez islands. Most are luxurious second homes, with commensurate rental rates, but rates can drop by 25 percent or more outside the summer season; www.windermerevacationrentals.com or 800-391-8190.

Whidbey Island

Whidbey Island has an abundance of vacation rentals, particularly in the southern half.

Coupeville area: See www.centralwhidbeychamber.com and www.coupevillelodging.com for links to vacation rentals, from a log cabin to beachfront homes and the century-old historic houses of the Fort Casey Inn.

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Langley area: Get listings for vacation rentals, from cottages to farmhouses and big beachfront homes, at www.visitlangley.com/lodging. For a real splurge, the Inn at Langley, a luxurious hotel, has 1,500-square-foot Master Suites with kitchens and living rooms. See www.innatlangley.com.

For upscale waterfront rentals around the island, see www.whidbeyretreats.com.

Leavenworth area

Natapoc Lodging has five cabins/houses along the Wenatchee River outside of Leavenworth, including one three-story house that can sleep up to 18; www.natapoc.com.

Kahler Glen rents homes, condos and townhomes on a golf course (cross-country ski trails in winter) outside Leavenworth near Lake Wenatchee State Park; www.kahlerglen.com

Destination Leavenworth lists many vacation rentals, from cottages in the heart of the Bavarian-themed town of Leavenworth to rural houses that can sleep a dozen or more; www.destinationleavenworth.com

Long Beach

Prices drop in winter at the ocean beaches. On the Long Beach Peninsula, vacation rentals range from condos and rustic cottages to sprawling oceanfront homes. See listings at www.funbeach.com/lodging/vacationrentals.html.

Copalis Beach, Pacific Beach

Two very different resorts offer cottages and vacation houses on this stretch of the Washington coast. The old-timer Iron Springs Resort has rustic cottages on the beach, http://ironspringsresort.tripod.com. The new, planned community of Seabrook has comfortable homes and cottages for nightly rental, www.seabrookwa.com.

Methow Valley

This rural valley of north-central Washington is loaded with second homes, from cozy log cabins to sprawling homes, that are rented to vacationers. Some are listed through the Winthrop Chamber of Commerce, www.winthropwashington.com, or through Central Reservations, www.centralreservations.net.

Some Methow Valley resorts that offer cabins/condo-style lodgings include Wolfridge Resort, Brown's Farm, Sun Mountain Lodge and Freestone Inn /Wilson Ranch. Find links to them through the Chamber of Commerce Web site.

Kristin Jackson: kjackson@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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