This summer we were looking to do something a little different than we had done in the past. We typically take the kids to the beach but after seeing a few friends travel to lakes in the area we started looking for a lake house. Because there just aren’t sunsets like this in the city…
If you are looking for a beautiful, quiet, calm, serene, off the grid type trip with your family this is the place for you!
I looked at several different lake houses before we settled on The Lily Pad on Caney Lake in Chatham, LA Chatham is about 4.5 hours from Mandeville. We took a route that brought us through Natchez, MS to have scenic area to stop for lunch. The drive was exceptionally beautiful especially in the part past Natchez. Rolling hills and gorgeous green trees for hours.
We chose The Lily Pad because the home was located on the water and provided us with a 360 view of the lake. There are two houses on the property. The main house sleeps 8 and is the house located over the water. The second house is the tiny house that will sleep 5. You can rent the main house without renting the tiny house but you cannot rent the tiny house without also renting the main house. This ensures that your group is the only one on the property at a time.
This was our first experience renting an Airbnb. I was impressed with how easy and informative their site is and they send all of the reminders to your email. They also make communicating with the hosts a very simple process by encouraging you to introduce yourself when you reserve your rental.
We are still newbies to Airbnb so for more tips and tricks on how to do them you should read this blog post by Dog Mom Travel Diaries. The only big tip that I have is read the reviews! Especially about how responsive the hosts are. Also, I would only rent from a Superhost.
The property is one acre of private land to play and explore. This included things like cornhole, horseshoes, a fire pit and BBQ area. The property was spacious and while there is another house on the property, the tiny house, they will only rent that as an additional sleeping space. This means the entire property is yours. The Superhosts also had a canoe and two paddle board for our use as well as pool noodles and a variety of other floats. There is a pontoon boat and bass boat that are available to rent for an additional charge.
The house itself was larger than I imagined when we were looking online. I loved that there was access to the deck from the master as well as 8 sliding glass doors around the perimeter of the living space. The living room and the master had large tvs that had access to direct tv and also Netflix and other streaming apps.
The kitchen was fully stocked with plates, utensils, serving items and more. I was surprised to see that they even had things like a blender and down to a pizza cutter. We really didn’t need anything to be able to prepare meals.
The check in and out process was simple and there were clear instructions on how we were to leave the house. Communication with the host was easy and she was extremely responsive to me.
Where to Stay
We chose to stay at The Lily Pad but we did drive around to look at other properties while we were there. These are a few of the ones we loved.
What to Do
Plan to be in or on the water! Caney Lake is known for it’s bass fishing and water sports. We watched lots of boats go in and out from the marina each day. We saw several families water skiing and tubing. The boys were a little too small for that so we stuck to swimming, paddle boarding and canoeing. The boys didn’t seem to have any issues finding things to do and also made a game of digging for clams off the dock one afternoon.
On land the property came with a corn hole set as well as horseshoes and a fire pit. We even had a little visit from some neighboring puppies that made the boys entire trip.
There isn’t a lot to do in Chatham as it is a very small town and most things revolve around fishing and hunting. There is a small marina that has ice, fishing supplies and a few groceries. You can also visit Jimmie Davis State Park which has a large recreation area and splash pad. As I stated before this is a trip to take to be a little off the grid so you aren’t going to find a Starbucks or a fast food restaurant for many, many miles.
What to Bring
I brought too much. Well not too much watermelon because with my krewe there is never enough! Being that we had never done an Airbnb before I was unsure of what I needed. The Lily Pad had pots, pans, dishes, utensils, cups, basically a fully stocked kitchen. They had little added extras like a pizza cutter and some spices. It was nice of them to provide these things but I would not go into every Airbnb thinking they will have all of those amenities. Read here.
We read their list of amenities very carefully. I packed some of the following essentials…
- paper plates and napkins
- bug spray
- beach towels
- life jackets
- clothing and swimsuits
- salt and pepper
- food, drinks and snacks
- paper towels
- bag of ice (we picked up on the way in)
- toiletries (shampoo, soap, toothpaste, etc…)
- small first aid kit
- citronella candles (they ended up having these)
- coffee and supplies for coffee
- travel size laundry detergent
- dish washing soap
- hand soap
- kitchen essentials (syrup, mayo, mustard, butter, etc…)
What to Expect
One of the big questions I had going into this trip was, what are they going to expect from us when we leave? Mostly staying in hotels I have never had to navigate this part of the Airbnb experience. When we arrived I saw that there was a typed up list of thing to know coming into the house like where things were and how to turn the AC and TV on. There was also a list for leaving which included things like how to handle the dirty linens, dish washer and setting the AC. The list was easy to manage and nothing was out of the ordinary.
I am excited to try Airbnb again as well as coming back to The Lily Pad. This vacation was one of the best we have been on. The kids didn’t want to leave and are still asking when we can go back. The hosts were the best and I can’t recommend them enough. Now don’t everyone book at once because I don’t want you stealing our sweet spot!