Watch College Football at the Beach? Absolutely!

This year has certainly been one for the books.  The COVID-19 Pandemic has seemingly touched every part of our lives.  We have dealt with closures, quarantines, cancelled events, cancelled sports, missed family visits, and, sadly, sick friends and loved-ones.  Truly COVID-19 has not been kind to us this year.  We, at Sunset Properties, are feeling the same way you are.  We are getting on with our lives as best we can, while keeping the social distancing guidelines firmly in the forefront of our choices.  We wake up each day, watch the news and hope things will start to improve.  We have also been trying to help you keep your good cheer going with our blogs suggesting ways to make a good situation out of a bad one.  

 The latest casualty of this terrible virus is college football.  If you’re from Alabama, or pretty much anywhere in the south, college football is not just a sport, it’s a season.  Down here, we have spring, summer, football, holidays, and spring again.  And COVID or no COVID, we want our football.  Our annual pilgrimage to our favorite college campus is almost a spiritual experience.  It’s like going home.  Meeting up with our friends for grilled food and cold beverages before cramming ourselves into the stadium with 101,820 other people just like us, well, it’s a feeling we cannot replace. Many of us were disappointed to find out stadium tailgating has been banned and  we cannot attend games this year and maintain social distancing.   To a Saturday-Down-South-er, that’s a pretty hard pill to swallow.  That said and  to keep with our goal of helping you make the best of things, we at Sunset Properties, want to give you an alternative to the traditional way you’ve watched your favorite team play.  We want to invite you to grab a couple of your besties and their spouses, and come to your Alabama Gulf Coast for a couples weekend getaway.   

Here are five great reasons to plan a College Football Couples Getaway Trip to Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Fort Morgan:

 1         Tailgating Has Not Been Banned

Because of fears of spreading COVID-19, tailgating, the original pre-game meet-and-greet, has been banned at several stadiums and college campuses this year.  However, in Fort Morgan, on the rooftop patio of USA 2, tailgating has not only not been banned, but it is actually encouraged.  This magnificent home will sleep up to 18 football fans comfortably, so you and your favorite cheerleader, together with a couple of your best friends, will have plenty of room to enjoy, not only the game, but also the view of the Gulf of Mexico.  In the kitchen you’ll find everything you need to prepare your favorite football snacks.  Stop by Rouses Market before you turn onto Fort Morgan Road for groceries.  We love Rouses.  In addition to foods you buy to prepare yourself, the good folks at Rouses always have something already cooked for you to grab and take home. And they have one of the best beer and wine selections anywhere.  Planning your tailgate party has never been so easy.  And if you’re staying at USA2, it will be one you’ll always remember.

 If grilling out before a game is your idea of a proper tailgate, check out Hayley House #12.  Located in Orange Beach, guests of Haley House #12 are offered the opportunity to use the grill located in the pavilion area of this gated community.  Once the game is over, you’ll love the super easy beach access from this amazing home that sleeps ups to eleven folks.  This beach neighborhood has its own private beach.  No matter which home you choose, please tailgate responsibly.  Our beach vacation homes are in neighborhoods where locals live. Please be courteous of your neighbors.  And when you visit our Alabama Beaches, please leave only footprints.

 2       Shopping is Allowed During the Game

When two or three couples get together, the ladies seem to want to go do their thing while the guys do theirs.  It just happens.  So, if the guys are going to be glued to the TV all afternoon and the ladies are not really that interested, what should they do?  How about a little retail therapy?!  Sure!  Shop!  There is certainly no shortage of places to enjoy spending a little money.  So, Ladies, lace up your sneakers, grab that cute face mask, and clutch your favorite cross body bag because guilt-free shopping is allowed during football games here along the Alabama Gulf Coast.  Are you looking for a fun souvenir?  Look no farther than everyone’s favorite “shark store”  and island staple, Souvenir City!  They have an amazing variety of items to choose from.  From fudge to hermit crabs, clothes to magnets, there is no shortage of choices and it’s no wonder they have been in Gulf Shores since 1956.  Don’t miss the opportunity to take selfies of yourselves as you walk right through the giant open mouth of a shark as you enter the store.  Your social media followers will love this!   If you’re wanting a little more than a mega-souvenir store can offer, take a short trip to Foley to the Tanger Outlet Mall Located right on Alabama Highway 59 in Foley, you’ll find nearly 100 outlet stores just ready and waiting to offer you one of the best shopping experiences anywhere!  

 3         It’s OK to Order Take Out

Under normal circumstances, when you’re able to watch a football game from your stadium seats, you would order food from the stadium concession stands.  But nothing is normal about 2020 or this football season.  You’re not going to be at the stadium.  That doesn’t mean you cannot still order your favorite snacks to enjoy during the game.  The good news is, the super nice and really talented folks at Orange Beach Concierge will blow your mind with the great food they’ll prepare for you. Forget hotdogs and nachos. Give your stomach a break from traditional stadium food and try their New Orleans Taste.  Be sure to call to place your order ahead of your arrival and they will even deliver your food right to your beach home!  Or stop by and visit them at The Wharf to pick up your take-out order.    Whether you’re lounging on the deck at Beach Time waiting for kickoff or are already in full-foam-finger-mode at Happy Clam, you cannot go wrong with appetizers or a great meal prepared by Chef David at Orange Beach Concierge!  Remember toplan ahead and order your ballgame day take-outfrom Orange Beach Concierge’s “The Pantry”  and make your football weekend experience with Sunset Properties one for the record books! 

 4         After the Game, There’s the Beach

 We know watching college football can be a blood pressure raising experience.  Pair the intensity of the game with the sometimes-suffocating heat from the stadium seats, followed by hours of traffic jams, and it can be challenging to just enjoy the rest of your afternoon or evening after the game ends.  Plus, when you’re in Tuscaloosa or Auburn or Knoxville or even Starkville and the game’s over, then what?  You go home, right? Or go to a friend’s place or maybe hit a club or two.  No matter where you go, you’re definitely going to sit in traffic.  But not here!  After your favorite game ends and you’re in our neighborhood, you can go to the beach!  No traffic.  No crowds.  No hassles.  The beach! And your favorite team jersey, paired with flip flops, is the perfect beach attire!  And let’s face it, the best beaches anywhere are right outside your vacation home’s front or back door, so how could you even resist?  Thirty-two miles of pristinely white sand are just waiting for you and your fan friends to enjoy.  Now that you’re not yelling at the refs on TV, go find the perfect beach spot, sit in the cool sand, relax, destress and enjoy the soothing sounds of the Gulf of Mexico

 5        After the Beach, There’s Coastal Nightlife

So, we helped you find a great place to tailgate and watch the game.  We suggested great food to enjoy and you visited our Alabama Gulf Coast beaches.  We have one more suggestion before you call it quits and pack up to head for home tomorrow.  Have a little nightlife fun before you leave.  Even though the pandemic has changed how our beach fun looks, it has not eliminated it.  We are taking all the precautions we can to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, but we are still enjoying all the great things available here in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan. Your Alabama Gulf Coast Beaches are open!  The Flora-Bama, located on the Alabama Florida state line is open and they would love to see you.  Live Bait which is located on Perdido Beach Boulevard in Orange Beach is open and often they have live entertainment.  The world famous Pink Pony Pub located in the heart of Gulf Shores is also open.  And so are The Wharf Ferris Wheel and Scoop’s Ice Cream Shop.  Many, many of your favorite beach stops are open and operating under different guidelines, and they are looking forward to seeing you.  Don’t leave our area until you have experienced at least one fun extracurricular outing. After all, you’ve been making memories with your best football friends all weekend, why not make just a few more before you head home?

 All of us at Sunset Properties are taking this pandemic seriously.  Like our neighbors, we are operating under different circumstances and providing extra cleaning and encouraging social distancing.  We don’t want anyone to be sick.  We also know that this, too, will pass.  While we are in the midst of our “new normal” we want you to know you are welcome to enjoy your favorite college football games in one of our beautiful, clean beach vacation homes.  Give us a call to set up your reservation or go online and book it yourself.  We are happy to provide you a “no contact” check-in and departure.  We, at Sunset Properties, are your biggest fans!  So, grab your college sweetheart and bring your team spirit to the Alabama Gulf Coast this football season and experience a winner of a football weekend getaway! 

www.sunsetproperties.com

Watch College Football at the Beach?  Absolutely!251-543-1370

It’s Fall along the Alabama Gulf Coast! It’s Shrimp Feastival Time!

Like y’all, we at Sunset Properties were all pretty bummed when we heard the 2020 Annual National Shrimp Festival in Gulf Shores was cancelled due to the pandemic and amidst COVID-19 concerns.  We love supporting our Coastal Alabama Business Chamber and gathering with our besties and hanging out for hours at the Shrimp Festival and it hit us pretty hard when we found out this year’s event was cancelled.  But, here on the Alabama Gulf Coast, we always try to make the best of any situation and we started thinking about finding other ways to celebrate our favorite local crustacean and still manage to stay within the CDC guidelines for social distancing.

We decided to have our own Shrimp Feast-ival!  And we think you might like our idea…so here goes:   You were planning on coming to Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Fort Morgan anyway with your family or closest friends, right?  So, go ahead and come on down and spend a weekend with us Feasting on our favorite local seafood Alabama Gulf Shrimp!  But, where should we go?  Well, that’s easy thanks to Sunny 105.7 FM, our local radio station.  Each year, they hold a People’s Choice Awards allowing locals to choose their faves, and this year’s winners were just announced.  Here are some great places to have your own 2020 Shrimp Feast-ival by visiting our 2020 Sunny 105 People’s Choice Award Winners:

Duck’s Diner

This year’s winner of the People’s Choice Award for breakfast and lunch is one of our faves, too. We have to give a big ole shout out to the fine folks at Duck’s Diner in Orange Beach.  Start your Shrimp Feastival at Duck’s for breakfast. This fun restaurant is located at 4560 Easy Street, right off Canal Road in Orange Beach.  We love their shrimp and cheese omelet and we think you will, too. Pair it with a side of French toast and a slice of tomato and you’re talking about a plate full of island goodness!  If coffee is your breakfast drink of choice, you can have it with or without Bailey’s Irish Cream.  And if a Bloody Mary rounds out your perfect morning meal, make sure to order one while you’re dining at Duck’s.  Congratulations to Duck’s Diner for being named a Sunny 105 People’s Choice Award Winner!

DeSoto’s Seafood Kitchen

If you haven’t been to DeSoto’s Seafood Kitchen, before now, you have really been missing out!  DeSoto’s was voted this year’s People’s Choice Winner for the Dinner Restaurant category, but this isn’t their first win.  DeSoto’s has been consistently providing great food and a wonderful atmosphere for more years than we can count.  They are located a block off Gulf Shores Parkway at 138 West 1st Avenue.  They offer inside and outside dining.  But what will you eat while your Feastival-ing?  That’s easy!  Steamed Royal Reds!  (Royal Red Shrimp 1 lb).  You may not know it, but you do want this! (thank us later!) What are Royal Reds, you ask? Royal Reds are beautiful crimson shrimp.  They are larger than other shrimp, much sweeter and have a texture like a lobster.  They can be harvested all year long, but their actual “season” is from mid summer to late fall, making October a great month to enjoy them.  How perfect is that?  You’re planning on coming to your own Shrimp Feastival and we believe you’re coming at the exact perfect time to enjoy the best our island has to offer!  Congratulations to the whole crew at DeSoto’s, 2020 Sunny 105 People’s Choice Winner, for yet another thumbs up from your island neighbors and friends!

Papa Rocco’s

This year’s winner for best place to eat pizza should surprise no one.  Papa Rocco’s (home of warm beer, lousy pizza–not really!)  since 1985, is one of our favorites, too.  How will you celebrate your Shrimp Feastival with these guys?  We don’t even have to ponder that a second…order Papa Rocco’s Seafood Primavera Pizza.  Don’t even think about it, just do it.  Then pair it with a seriously cold beer and enjoy!  Your pizza will be slam full of perfectly cooked seafood, including your little celebratory crustacean, and overflowing with melty-gooey-cheese.  If that doesn’t make your mouth water just thinking about it, your tongue must be sleeping!  Wake it up and don’t miss an opportunity to stop by Papa Rocco’s located at 101 West 6th Avenue, right off Gulf Shores Parkway, while you’re in Gulf Shores.  Congratulations to our buddies at Papa Rocco’s Pizza for being named a 2020 Sunny 105 People’s Choice Award Winner!  

Tacky Jack’s

You cannot really have the complete Shrimp Feastival experience without enjoying the best atmosphere along the Alabama Gulf Coast, so you definitely need to stop by Tacky Jack’s and you’ll quickly see why they were voted this year’s Sunny 105 People’s Choice Award Winner for Island Atmosphere. And while you’re at Tacky Jacks, you can have your choice of “feastible” shrimp.  We love the Firecracker Shrimp.  But it comes with a bit of a bang!  So, if you’d rather enjoy something a little less explosive, go with everyone’s favorite Peel & Eat Shrimp.  No matter which you choose, if you’re in the mood for an adult beverage, we suggest having a bushwacker while you’re there. Tacky Jacks has three locations on our island, so no matter if you’re staying with Sunset Properties at the Caribe in Orange Beach, or at Lighthouse 607 in Gulf Shores or at Dream in Fort Morgan, there is a Tacky Jacks, complete with the best Island Atmosphere around, near you!  Congratulations to all our friends at Tacky Jacks for being one of this year’s Sunny 105 People’s Choice Award Winners!  We are definitely fans, too!

Flora-Bama

What kind of festival or Feastival would be complete without a trip to the World Famous Flora-Bama Lounge, Package and Oyster Bar?  It just so happens that our friends at our favorite local beach bar/honky tonk won the People’s Choice Awards for Best Live Music.  We were so not surprised to hear this.  After all, The Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival starts and ends with the Flora-Bama.  You can hear some of the best music anywhere when it’s Songwriters Season!  But for your Shrimp Feastival, what do we recommend?  Visit the Ole River Grill and order Key Lime Shrimp and enjoy this unique appetizer outside on their open air deck.  The food and service are fantastic and the view is phenomenal!  The Old River Grill is located at 17400 Perdido Key Drive in Perdido Key, Florida, which is (as we say) just on the other side of Orange Beach right across the Florida State Line.  No Shrimp Feastival weekend would be complete without at least one stop at the Flora-Bama! Congratulations to the whole team at the Flora-Bama for being chosen this year’s Sunny 105 People’s Choice Award Winner for Best Live Music!

We know 2020 has been a year of uncomfortable changes resulting from the pandemic.   Having a year without the Annual National Shrimp Festival is unlike one we’ve seen in over 45 years.   We, at Sunset Properties, want you to know that even though we are saddened by all the cancellations that have happened this year, that we take your health and the health of our team seriously.  The Alabama Gulf Coast is open.  Our beaches are open.  Fun places to play are open.  Great places to eat are open.  Sunset Properties is open.  We are open and operating under the guidelines set forth by health officials.  And you are welcome to come hang out with us.  If your kids are attending school virtually this year, why not come on down?  Use the Wi-Fi in our vacation homes and enjoy the view of the pristine Alabama Beaches as the kiddos learn.  If you’re working remotely, go ahead and pack up your laptop and head south.  Why not set up your office right on a balcony facing the Gulf? And if you had planned time off to attend the Shrimp Festival, why not come anyway and have your own Shrimp Feastival?!  Give us a call, and we’ll get your reservation ready.  See you this fall in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Fort Morgan!

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Helpful links:

For more information on this year’s Sunny 105 People’s Choice Award Winners, check out Sunny 105’s website and Facebook page.

For more information on The Annual National Shrimp Festival or to shop their online store,

check out their website and

to virtually visit our Coastal Alabama Business Chamber click here.

www.sunsetproperties.com

251.543.1370



Make the Alabama Gulf Coast Your Fall 2020 Virtual School Science Classroom

When most people think about visiting Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Fort Morgan, they think about a summer trip because school starts back in the fall.  But 2020 has given us a whole new perspective on how school should look.  Traditional classrooms and desks are being replaced with kitchens and dining tables and chalkboards with laptops.  These days all you need is a laptop or tablet, a peaceful place to study and some Wi-Fi, right?  Well then, why not spend at least part of your 2020 fall school year in South Baldwin County, Alabama?  The Alabama Gulf Coast has so much to offer curious minds.  

Here are five great virtual school science report topics for fall 2020:

 Monarchs

Many of our traditional fall guests were disappointed to learn the Annual National Shrimp Festival was cancelled this year due to concerns about the possibility of COVID-19 virus spread in the large crowd.  We urge you to come on down to the beach in October anyway to see a different kind of crowd:  Monarchs.  That’s right!  They will be everywhere!  Monarchs, as majestic as their name implies, by the thousands could be passing through our area.  Often overlooked because of all the other fun things going on down here in October, this year the Monarchs can have the spotlight.   Monarch butterflies, the ones with the pretty yellow, orange and black colorful wings, are migratory insects.  They actually travel from the US to Mexico and back twice each year.  Monarchs that reside in the Eastern parts of America during the spring and summer travel to Mexico in October to begin their winter season there.  Our little part of the Alabama Gulf Coast just happens to be in the migratory path of some of these insects.  As they pass through our area, thousands of them can be seen along Fort Morgan Road and all around our island.  They spend their winter months in the Sierra Madre Mountains in Mexico.  From Gulf Shores, by way of Interstate 10 West then south into Mexico, it’s about 1500 miles to these mountains where the Monarchs spend their winters.  Because many of the butterflies spend their springs and summers along the East Coast of the US, their total trip can be as far as 3000 miles.  These little guys fly three thousand miles just to hang out for a few months!   According to the US Forest Service, the Monarchs follow the magnetic pull of the earth and notice the sun’s location in the sky for directions to their winter home.  According to AL.com, these butterflies can be seen in South Alabama from late September through early October.  What better science project than to write a report about the migration of these magnificent insects after seeing the migration first-hand?  

Ospreys

Another great science report topic is to observe and write about ospreysOspreys, also called fish hawks, are sometimes mistaken for eagles.  They are actually large raptors (we love that word:  “raptors”) and they live along the Alabama Gulf Coast.  Some of them migrate further south in the winter, while some choose to stay here with us.  With their pretty brown wings and white bodies, they are easy to spot.  As you travel around our island, look up at the tops of old dead trees or on special platforms that resemble power poles with little board floors nailed to the top of them.  That’s where our local ospreys build their nests.  These platforms can be seen from Fort Morgan to Orange Beach and all points in between.  There are a few of these near Lake Shelby in Gulf State Park.  Ospreys are amazing fish hunters and can often be seen soaring over Mobile Bay fishing.  Their talons (or toes and toenails) are super sharp and so is their vision.  Ospreys are protected animals and we are blessed to have so many around our little island home.

Alabama Beach Mice

The Alabama Beach Mouse is another protected animal who shares our island home with us.  This nocturnal little mammal is covered with buff and white fur and he is almost camouflage against the dunes in which he lives.  The Alabama Beach Mouse primarily feeds on seeds from sea oats and other coastal plants and small insects at night.   The mouse is a tiny little guy, weighing less than about three nickels.  You may catch a glimpse of them running in and out of dunes around your vacation home.  But remember, the Alabama Beach Mouse is an endangered species and it is illegal to catch or kill them.  Instead, they are fun to watch from a distance as they scurry along their little ways.  The mouse is an important part of our coastal ecosystem.  He makes his home among our sea oats which help hold our dunes in place.  The Alabama Beach Mouse is the coastal cousin to most other field mice found in our state.  Our tiny neighbor, however, makes his home exclusively from Ono Island in Orange Beach to Fort Morgan.  We, at Sunset Properties, happen to think he has exquisite taste!

Sea Turtles

Three main types of sea turtles have been known to nest along our Alabama Gulf CoastLoggerhead Sea Turtles seem to be the most common in our area, although Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtles and Green Sea Turtles have also been seen.  Another protected animal, we want you to know about these magnificent creatures, but urge you not to go near them.  Mama Loggerhead turtles, who normally spend their days swimming, floating and hunting for crabs and shrimp (two of our supper favorites, too!)  in the salty waters of the Gulf of Mexico or one of our back bays, find their way onto our sandy white beaches to dig a hole and lay their eggs.  Sea turtle nests can be found from May to October and there are ways to observe them without disturbing them.  For more information on sea turtle conservation, follow this link to Share the Beach, a great group of folks who monitor sea turtles all year long.  You might get invited to participate with the Share the Beach folks and help baby turtles find their way back to the Gulf.  Doing this outside of a conservation group is a really bad idea.  Damaging a sea turtle nesting site is not only illegal, it’s just mean.  These turtle moms travel for miles across the Gulf and choose to lay their eggs along our Alabama Gulf Coast and we consider it a privilege they picked us.  To disturb these baby turtles as they grow inside their shells and prepare for their journey back to the Gulf is something no local would ever do.  Instead we work together to help them start their new lives safely.

Lemurs

The first four animals we listed are native, at least in part, to our area.  Some are protected by law, and, although you can find some pretty great pictures of the areas in which they live, and maybe even catch a glimpse of one of them, it is not necessarily a good idea to handle them directly.  The non-native Lemur, however, is a totally different option.  Lemurs, as we all learned in the hilarious movie Madagascar, are natives to that African island and those surrounding Madagascar.  However, our Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo has a small lemur population and those little primates are super friendly and you can actually hold them, pet them and play with them.  The word “lemur” is taken from the Latin word “lemure” which means ghost or spirit.  Their little faces and white ringed tails give them the appearance of a spooky supernatural spirit being.  They are, instead, quite social and fun to interact with, far from spooky!  The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo offers a Lemur Encounter experience and we urge you to visit.  Operating under CDC guidelines for social distancing, our Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is open and the Lemur Encounter is one you won’t want to miss.  We cannot think of a better way to expertly submit a virtual report on lemurs than to have an actual visit with them.  Be sure to contact the good folks at the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo for times and specifics on your encounter, but don’t miss the opportunity while you’re visiting us this fall!

We, at Sunset Properties, know you were probably disappointed when you learned the Annual National Shrimp Festival was cancelled for October 2020.  We were, too!  But we want you to know that there is still plenty to see and do on our island home.  So come on down, anyway.  Instead of booking a short weekend trip, go ahead and pack up the virtual school supplies and come stay with us for a week!  We have affordable fall pricing for families and vacation home options that range from one bedroom condos to luxury beach houses that sleep up to 20 people.  Bring your small dog, too, and choose one of our fur baby friendly rentals.  If you need more ideas for virtual school reports, check out our blog on Five Great Ways to Watch Dolphins Play.  Dolphins always make great topics!  We are looking forward to seeing you this fall and will help out your schoolers any way we can!  

www.sunsetproperties.com

251.543.1370

Beat the Mid-Summer Heat! Keep Cool and Social Distance in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach

We know you guys are all too familiar with the social distancing guidelines.  Stay six feet apart.  Wear a lower face covering when possible.  If you’re sick, stay home.  Here along the Alabama Gulf Coast, we are becoming pros at keeping ourselves masked, separated and healthy, as well.  This has been pretty easy for the spring and much of the early summer.  When it’s not so hot, taking a walk on the  sand or sitting under an umbrella enjoying a good novel are great ways to social distance at the beach.  But what do you do when it feels so scorching hot outside that you limit your beach time to only part of the day, but you still need to escape the four walls of your vacation home without melting?

Here are five ways to Keep Cool and Social Distance While You’re in Gulf Shores:

Parasail over the Gulf of Mexico

Some folks have asked us what is parasailing?  Well, it’s actually being towed behind a boat while you’re hooked to a parachute.  It’s kind of the best way everrrrr to watch marine life in the Gulf without actually being in the water! How it works is simple.  You’ll get your parachute on and climb inside a boat and travel in the Gulf just offshore.  You’ll still be able to see your buddies on the beach and they will be able to get some great pics of you!   Once you’re out in the Gulf a few yards and ready to take off, you’ll find yourself flying up out of the water behind the boat pulling you in just a matter of minutes.  Forget trying to count six feet to social distance, while parasailing, you’ll go as high as eight-hundred feet over the water and just ride in the air. The good folks at Blue Sky Parasail and Watersports would love to have you join them for one of their outings.  The rates to parasail are very reasonable and the memories you’ll make are immeasurable.  If social distancing and staying cool are two of your goals while you’re vacationing with Sunset Properties in Gulf Shores, parasailing over the Gulf of Mexico needs to be on your list!  

Bike from Gulf Shores to Orange Beach

Lots of folks love to bike around our island.  We know taking a trip from Gulf Shores to Orange Beach with a few fun stops on the way will be a great way to social distance and keep cool.  Why not rent a bike at Tiki’s Bike Shack located on Gulf Shores Parkway next to what we “old tymers” remember as Zooland Mini Golf (now Tiki’s Mini Golf) and ride from there down Gulf Shores Parkway and turn left toward Orange Beach.  Of course, while you’re still on Gulf Shores Parkway, you’ll want to stop at Matt’s Homemade Alabama Ice Cream and just get a scoop or two for the road.  When you make the turn onto highway 182 also called Beach Boulevard, be sure to stop by our public beach in Gulf Shores and just spend a few minutes enjoying the sounds of the Gulf.  There really is nothing better than the feeling of the Gulf breeze on your skin in the middle of the summer.  Once you’re back on your way toward Orange Beach, you’ll see one of our favorite restaurants sitting out on the Gulf Side of the Lighthouse condos.  Be sure to stop in at Sea-N-Suds for a cold adult beverage and some of the best gumbo anywhere.  If you happen to be staying with Sunset Properties in Lighthouse 607, you already know about Sea N Suds!  Your adventure shouldn’t end here, though.   So, keep pedaling!  You’re only about ten miles from the heart of Orange Beach and the scenery along the way is spectacular!

Ride a jet ski in our beautiful back bays

Orange Beach is not only a fisherman’s paradise, but also one of the best places to ride jet skis!  While you’re social distancing, why not give it a try?  Our back bays, places like Bay La Launch and Wolf Bay, are brimming with sea life this time of year.  Dolphins will almost surely swim alongside you as you ride. Sea gulls and cranes are all along the shoreline.  While you’re out riding our back bays, be sure to visit Pirate’s Cove Restaurant and Marina and have a burger and a bushwacker!  If you’re staying with us at Grand Caribbean 425, a tastefully decorated two bedroom/ one and half bath condo (the perfect size for social distancing!), you are only a few minutes away from where this cool water adventure can start.   Visit the good folks at Alabama Extreme Watersports to schedule your jet ski rental and let the fun begin!

Slingshot yourself to Fort Morgan

We cannot think of a better way to cool off during the steaming summer days than to take a ride in a convertible, unless it’s riding in a Slingshot.  Slingshots are a kind of crazy cool cross between a convertible car and a three-wheel motorbike.  The good folks at Coyote Beach Sports in Gulf Shores will get you set up and on your way in no time!  Two people can ride comfortably, as long as one of you can drive a car with a manual transmission.  You should start from your condo at Crystal Tower 1406 in the West Beach area of Gulf Shores and travel out Fort Morgan Road until you reach the historic fort site.  The twenty-two mile ride out to the fort is such a nice ride and your scenery will change from hundred year old water oaks, to peeks at our lagoon, to passing beside Shell Banks Baptist Church and the old Indian village site.  Eventually you will be driving alongside Mobile Bay and end up at Fort Morgan where the Gulf and the bay meet.  This is a great ride and a great way to social distance and keep cool!

Go for a swim

Swimming is one of the best ways to cool off while social distancing.  Most pools have ten person-limit in the pool areas to help fight the spread of COVID-19.  However, the Gulf of Mexico is big enough to handle us all!  If swimming in the Gulf appeals to you and you want to be just a short walk away from the public beach in Gulf Shores, stay with Sunset Properties at Beachview 223.  This vacation home is a cozy one bedroom apartment on the second floor directly across the street from the world famous Pink Pony Pub and the amazingly white sandy beaches we all love!  Speaking of white sandy beaches, check out Beach Front 301!  This condo located on West Beach Boulevard is literally just steps away from our beautiful beaches!  Remember to social distance on the beach and only hang out with folks you know.  But swimming in the Gulf is a great way to get your splash on without having to worry about the ten-person limit at our pools.

We know the necessary social distancing thing can be a challenge when you’re trying to decide what to do in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan and avoid spreading the awful coronavirus.  We also know that with a little bit of creativity, you can still have a super fun vacation.  At Sunset Properties, we are taking extra precautions to keep your vacation homes guest-ready and safe.  If you’re wondering what we’ve been up to regarding this, be sure to check out our COVID-19 Updates Page.  We are looking forward to your arrival!  The beach is calling and social distancing can be a cool thing, so come on down!!

www.sunsetproperties.com

251.543.1370

Dog Friendly Places in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan

Most of us take our furry children with us when we travel.  They have become such an important part of our families, we just can’t bear leaving them behind.  Our team at Sunset Properties is just like you!  We take our furry kids with us on trips, too. Everyone needs a vacation break sometimes! Because we understand the need for this kind of companionship, we make sure we have dog friendly rentals available.  We offer a variety of vacation homes that allow guests to bring their four legged babies with them.  But once you get down to our beautiful beach paradise home, where can you take your fur baby?  What can you guys do to hang out together?  Dogs are not allowed on the public beaches in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, so where can you go for a playdate with your adorable little rescue who rescued you?  We suggest trying out the following local spots:

Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail

Established in 2003, the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail is one of our favorite places to go when we want to visit all the ecosystems our island has to offer.  It’s kind of a “one-stop-shop” for hikers, bikers and fur babies who want to see a variety of wildlife habitats right here along the Alabama Gulf Coast.  You’ll be sharing the trail with other folks, so be sure to have pup properly leashed.  This is as much for your safety as for the safety of others.  With more than fifteen miles of trails to explore, this is one outing that’s sure to please everyone in your group.  Be on the lookout for herons, gators, bobcats and turtles.  You and your pretty pooch will travel through marshes, along old hunting trails, and through one of the last remaining maritime forests in South Alabama. There’s a lot to see and sniff!  The trails are well maintained and great for travel on foot or bicycle.  Because the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail is a part of Alabama State Parks, there are also plenty of convenience stops for visitors, too.  You’ll find restrooms and picnic areas spread throughout.  So go ahead and pack a lunch for your and your buddy and make it a day outdoors!  Don’t forget to clean up after your canine cutie.  We expect you’ll find the trails clean and ask that you leave them that same way.

Lake Shelby Dog Park

Within the expanse that is Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail is beautiful Lake Shelby.  Located just north of the beach road within Gulf State Park, Lake Shelby has long been one of our favorite places to go for picnics, swimming and just watching nature.  Dogs are welcome to enjoy Lake Shelby, too.  Your furry friend must be leashed when entering and leaving the park and must be current on all vaccinations.  While we recommend Lake Shelby as one of our favorite outing spots, we caution you to be watchful over your fur baby.  Alligators live in and around this ancient lake and they can be aggressive towards dogs.

Orange Beach Waterfront Park

Located on Canal Road in Orange Beach, Orange Beach Waterfront Park is a perfect place to take the kiddos and the Fidos!  The kids will find a wooden playground unlike any other on our island.  Parents will notice this is a great spot to snap some fun vacation pics, too!  The City of Orange Beach planned well when they added a 400 foot fishing pier to extend the park out into our beautiful back bay area.  Take a walk out on the pier and you may just see a family of dolphins swimming by.  Your hound will be happy with all the open space to stretch his legs.  Restrooms are provided and a pavilion is available so bring your picnic supplies.  Remember to keep your fur baby on a leash and clean up after if he goes potty in the park.

Unleashed Doggie Park

Are you and your cheerful canine will find plenty to wag your tails about at Unleashed Doggie Park!  Plenty of open space, that is.  Unleashed Doggie Park, located at 27920 Canal Road, opened in 2010 and it has become a favorite place of locals and visitors, alike!  In addition to plenty of open space to play, you’ll find a nicely kept, fenced-in large play area.  Watering stations are also available.  For everyone’s safety, this park has a very specific list of guidelines for visitors and we encourage you to check them out here.

The Fort at Fort Morgan

Have you ever visited the actual fort located at the end of Fort Morgan Road?  Turn off Alabama Highway 59 and head west about 22 miles and you’ll find Fort Morgan.  Its just past The Dunes subdivision and condos.  On the site of this historic landmark dating back to 1812 and formerly called Fort Bowyer, Fort Morgan historic site is a great place for a family outing!  All members of your family, including your furry bestie kept safely on a leash, are welcome to tour the fort grounds during daylight hours.  Historic Fort Morgan is located at the most western tip of Baldwin County where the Gulf of Mexico meets Mobile Bay making it’s beach area unique in several ways.  First, because the salt and fresh waters that surround Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan meet here, you’re sure to see several forms of marine life.  Dolphins tend to swim pretty close to the beaches that surround the fort.  Coastal birds like seagulls, blue herons, and sandpipers are visible almost daily.  Sand crabs love this largely untraveled beach and you may even see a gator somewhere nearby.  Another thing you’ll most likely see off shore is the Mobile Bay Ferry.  The ferry transports automobiles from Fort Morgan to Dauphin Island in Mobile County.  The ferry schedule may be altered a bit due to COVID-19 concerns, so we suggest you check their website for an up-to-date schedule listing.  Lastly, you might find your furry friend sniffing something that was left at the old fort site for decades.  Artifacts found on fort property are naturally the property of the fort.  So, if you guys unearth something, be sure to take it to the gift shop located on the fort grounds.  Speaking of artifacts, if you’d like to see something really cool, that has been unearthed by the Gulf’s might power during a hurricane, but is too big to put in your pocket, travel about 5 miles east of the fort along the beach.  If the tide is just right, you may get a glimpse of The Rachel.  A ship from long ago, her remains are beached in the Fort Morgan area for all to see.

Fort Morgan Community

Our fur babies are not allowed to traipse their toes across the sandy white public beaches in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, but they are allowed on the sand in the Fort Morgan community.  That’s right!  You and your four-legged jogging buddy can stretch your legs in the warm sand in Fort Morgan.  If you are a guest of Sunset Properties and your vacation home is located in this area, you will love the convenience of this.  The beaches in Fort Morgan, Alabama have less restrictive guidelines than those in other places on our island.  Consider reserving a vacation home in The Dunes Condominiums.  Check out Dunes 602 if you and your canine companion enjoy watching sunsets from a private balcony facing the Gulf of Mexico.  Dunes 202 may be more in line with what you’re looking for if you want to be poolside.  Several other condos located within this complex are also dog friendly.  Would you rather stay in a single-family beach house?  Give Dunesberry a look.  This spacious beach home is located in The Dunes subdivision and is literally just yards from the sandy white beaches of The Gulf of Mexico.  You and your pupper will enjoy sipping your cold drinks on private balconies as you plan your daily outings.  For a complete listing of our dog friendly rentals, follow this link.  Remember there are some restrictions associated with bringing your furry family member and we will be happy to answer any questions you have!  

When you’re ready to head down to our beautiful Alabama Coast, don’t leave your snuggle buddy at home.  Bring him or her with you, too.  There’s lots you can do together as a family and lots of great places to choose to stay.  We are looking forward to your arrival!

www.sunsetproperties.com

251.543.1370

Choose a Local Pro to Manage Your Vacation Home in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan

So, you just purchased your dream vacation home in your favorite escape-to city and you want to open your home up for vacation renters when you’re not using it.  Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan are great places to vacation!  We applaud your choice!  But do you manage your rental by yourself and use a national website that folds your property into tons of other similar homes for rent or do you hire a local professional rental management company to help you market your investment?  At Sunset Properties, we believe knowing the pros and cons of this big decision are a must for any new or experienced vacation home owner.  We also know we can help you manage your investment to its fullest potential while keeping your personal goals for your property in mind.  We are going to list the “pros” for using us, Local Pros in vacation rental management, and let you determine the “cons” for yourself.

Here are five reasons you should choose Sunset Properties to manage your vacation investment in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan:

1       We are local and we are family

Our team at Sunset Properties lives, works and attends school in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan.  We have roots here.  We are local and we love our area.  It’s our home and, as a vacation homeowner, it’s your home, too.  We are a family company with family values and we welcome the opportunity to have you join us. We know buying a vacation rental home is a huge investment and we understand the need for owners to profit from it.  We also know owners want to be able to enjoy their purchases.  Because we live here, we are able to make recommendations to owners about dates and times to visit the Alabama Gulf Coast and still make their specific desired income from their rental home.  We can also make suggestions on changes or upgrades to properties based on the requests of renters.  We can even arrange those changes or upgrades with the owner’s permission. As for our guests, we listen to their wants and needs for their vacation experience and we match them with the home based on their specific vacation goals.   It is our intent at Sunset Properties to meet the needs, not only of our owner families, but of our guest families, too.  When we say, “we are local and we are family”, we are including you, as well!

2       We are available

We are always available.  We are available to assist our owners and guests 24/7 and then some (remember, we are on Island Time!).  While we have primary point people to serve our Sunset Properties families, our team is cross-trained, benefitting both our owners and guests.  We may not have the answer you need at the time you ask it, but we will find it and get back to you.  We are available by phone, text, email and social media messaging.  We are often available to meet with guests and owners by request.  Unlike owners who try to manage their properties from a remote location, we live here.  While renters may be okay with booking a property online without any personal interaction, when they actually arrive at their vacation home, sometimes they want to know a real live human is available for them.  We are!  We are real live humans and we are personally available!

3       We have been in the rental management business for a while

Actually, that’s a bit of an understatement.  In fact, we have over 35 years of vacation rental management experience and expertise.  We are also realtors and vacation rental owners, ourselves.  We know how to manage an owner’s rental calendar in a way that will make the property stand out.  We know which questions to ask guests to ensure their vacation needs are met and how to match up those needs with the exact right place for them to stay.  We know how to handle almost any situation that may arise, because we have been doing this for so long.  We don’t know everything about the rental management business and we are learning and growing and changing every day to meet new and unprecedented circumstances (like the COVID 19
Corona Virus Pandemic), but we do know quite a bit and we are pretty good at what we do.  To be in the same career field for this many years, you have to love what you do.  And we do love our jobs, our community and our neighbors… and it shows!

4       We will market your property effectively

We coordinate directly with our local Convention and Visitors Bureau, as well as our local Chamber of Commerce.  We attend local meetings with other island professionals, such as restaurant owners, photographers, and attractions managers.  We actually know our government leaders in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach and consider them to be some of our best friends.  This kind of local, face-to-face marketing creates word-of-mouth recommendations for potential renters and, oftentimes, someone’s personal recommendation is the best marketing you can get.  We also manage our website in-house.  Let’s face it, more people are shopping online now than ever before. Forget that national “big box” impersonal rental management site!  We are able to physically visit each home to keep the most current information about each posted on the web.  We provide our owners with professional photography, detailed home descriptions and provide extra services, like this blog, to draw potential guests in.  Further, we have created online partnerships with groups like Xplor!e and RedSky, giving our guests extra options for discounted attractions and vacation insurance. This hands-on approach from our team allows owners the freedom to just enjoy their purchase without the worry of keeping up with the day-to-day details of managing it.  We promote your home, so you don’t have to.

5       We take the hassle out of your rental management business

Did we say “hassle”?  Well, what we meant was we will do things like take those midnight calls from late arrivals.  We will make sure they get inside your vacation home when they are supposed to.  When a water heater leaks (and it will!) we will send the repair team out to fix it.  You don’t have to hear the upset voice from a guest and you don’t have to follow up with the repair company.  We will help make sure the pool attached to your property is clean and well maintained.  We will send a quality control team behind our cleaning experts to verify your home is ready between guests.  We will make every effort to ensure only small dogs are allowed inside our pet friendly homes and only renters who are age appropriate lease from us.  We will handle the issues when these guidelines are stretched (and they will be!).  These are just a few examples of the issues we tackle for our owners and guests.  We handle them professionally and in a manner that keeps our guests coming back to your home time and time again.  We take the guesswork and potential fraud out of online booking. But, most of all, as your rental home guest liaison, we will collect your rental fees for you and ensure you are paid fairly, completely, and in a timely manner.  

We know deciding whether or not to let a rental management company oversee the daily operations of your vacation home is a challenge.  We know it is appealing to try to do it yourself and maybe save yourself a little money.  But are you really saving?  How much is your time worth?  Why not let us handle the day-to-day business part of managing your rental home and allow you the pleasure of enjoying your vacation home?  Let us put our family oriented vacation rental management expertise at Sunset Properties to work for you.  After all, you just bought your dream vacation home in your favorite escape-to place, right? 

Well, go ahead!  Grab a Pina Colada and escape!  And just sit back and look for your rental income check in the mail!

www.sunsetproperties.com

251.543.1370

Ten Important Things to Bring on Your Beach Vacation in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan This Summer 2020

With all the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, we know you are wondering about your long awaited and eagerly anticipated beach trip to Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Fort Morgan.  If you’re wondering what to bring, you’re not alone.  Many of you have called and asked us at Sunset Properties and Anchor Vacations what to bring.  While we are happy to make suggestions on the phone, we thought we’d just post a blog to help you guys out.  We pride ourselves on providing you, our guest families, with well-stocked beach vacation homes.  Having said that, however, there are still a few things you’ll need to bring from home to ensure you have the best possible beach experience during this Covid-19 cautionary time.

Here is a list of our ten important things to bring to the beach this Summer 2020:

  • Your Family

Pack up as many members of your tribe as you can fit into your vehicle and come on down!  The weather on our little island home is perfect and the rolling waves of theGulf of Mexico are spectacular.  Can’t find a boarding spot or doggie hotel for your fur baby?  No worries!  Bring him or her, too!  More than 25 of our beach rental homes are dog friendly (with some restrictions) and your four-legged friend is just as welcome as any other member of your family. If you get here and need a local dog sitter, just reach out to the good folks at Sea Paws Dog ResortThey will love on your furry family members while you’re out doing human things.   As you embark on your vacation rental search, check out our dog friendly home named Sea Turtle, a delightfully decorated beach home in the Bay to Breakers Community in Fort Morgan.  This magnificent home features six bedrooms and five full baths (and 1 half bath) and sleeps up to 17 humans and 2 dogs.  Like we said, pack up all your family members and come on down.

  • Sunblock 

We think bringing sunblock goes without saying for most folks, but we always list it anyway.  A bad sunburn can quickly ruin a great vacation for everyone!  Our local hospital is accustomed to treating folks with burned skin, and we have complete confidence in the good folks at South Baldwin Regional Medical Center, but we hope you won’t have to visit them while you’re here.  While the FDA recommends an SPF of at least 15, the AAD (American Academy of Dermatology) recommends a sunscreen with at least an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of at least 30. Sunblock is available in many stores around our island if you forget to pack it before you leave home.  Just remember to apply and reapply it all day long while you’re out enjoying our island paradise.  Even if it’s cloudy, apply sunblock.  Take it from us Locals, you can still get a pretty bad burn on a cloudy day. 

  • Shades

And pack your sunshades.  Protecting your eyes is always important, especially at the beach.  The sunlight creates glare off large bodies of water and things that reflect its light.  For example, our beautiful sandy white beaches can cause glare on bright days.  Glare is actually defined as sunlight that hinders sight.  It’s not a good thing.  Protecting your eyes, however, is always a good thing.  In addition to eye wear, think about adding a visor or ball cap to your bag.  These will help shade your eyes and the delicate skin on your face.  Remember to bring shades that protect against UVA and UVB rays, just like your sunblock will do for your skin.  And remember the kiddos!  They need shades, too!  

  • Toilet Paper

We urge you to bring toilet paper.  Your condo or beach home will have a starter roll in each bathroom.  To elaborate, Dunes 204 is a one bedroom, two bath condo overlooking the pool in The Dunes condominiums near Fort Morgan.  This home, with its super comfy sofa and fun bunk beds, will have toilet paper in each bathroom, but will likely not have extra rolls for you.  And keep in mind: our housekeepers do not restock that for you during your stay.  Even before the pandemic and Covid -19 issues that we have all faced this year, we asked our guest families to bring toilet paper from home.  It is more important this year than ever that you guys do that.  Pack your extra toilet paper along with all your other personal toiletries.  While our local grocery retailers have done a great job of keeping us stocked with toilet paper, we all know there can be shortages.  

  • Your Favorite Foods and Snacks  

Do you have something special you like to snack on?  We all do!  We suggest you pack your favorite snacks for your trip to visit us in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan.  Again, our local grocery retailers like Rouses Market in Gulf Shores have done a great job of keeping their shelves stocked for locals and guests alike, but with the uncertainty that seems to be going on all around us, you cannot go wrong bringing your favorite non-perishable foods from home. All of our vacation destination homes feature fully stocked kitchens.  Take a look at the pictures of Shellchase.  In addition to the updated kitchen, you will find pictures of five bedrooms.  This home has sleeping accommodations for 12 people. This home also has plenty of outside living space, too.  Whether you will be enjoying your snacks on the private beach, in front of the TV or in your own personal deck space, we know you’ll love all that Shellchase has to offer!

  • A Beach Blanket

Social distancing is still important to us along the Alabama Gulf Coast.  Beach blankets, for the most part, provide a space large enough for a few of the same family members to enjoy sunning and watching the waves safely together.  Our Safer at Home guidelines for the state of Alabama, encourage a six foot space between non-related families.  Enjoying your own beach blanket will be a great way to help you determine proper spacing.  We want everyone to enjoy their trip to our beautiful beaches and stay healthy both here and when you get back home.

  • Your Phone, Camera and Selfie Stick

Most of us have become dependent on social media to keep us up to date on local happenings and current events including our friends’ lives.  Just as we have come to rely on Facebook*, SnapChat* or Instagram* to help us keep up with our friends, they use it to see what we’re up to, as well.  Don’t forget your phone, camera and selfie stick.  We know you will find lots of opportunities to share how much fun you’re having while you’re in our neighborhood and we know you’ll want to post the best pics you can.  What better way to record your memories of your days and nights of fun in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan than by sharing them on your social media?  You’ll want to visit the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, the Ferris Wheel at The Wharf and eat breakfast at Ruby Slipper Cafe.  All of these will give you great opportunities for some fun pics!

  • Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizer is something everyone needs these days.  Be sure to pack some for your beach trip.  We encourage you to remember what the CDC recommends about handwashing and sanitizing.  For a refresher course,  follow this link to the CDC website for their latest recommendations.  You will most likely find sanitizer available in some of our retail shops and restaurants, but it’s always good to have a small bottle of your own with you.  And you might as well go ahead and pack a face covering or cloth mask.  While many of our retailers are not requiring you to wear one to enter their business, you can’t go wrong by sticking one in your purse or backpack, just in case. Be sure to pack one for each member of your family.  As of now, face coverings are not required on the beach areas or to use our pools or swim in the Gulf, nevertheless, having one handy is a great way to be prepared. 

  • Beach Towels

When you lease a vacation rental home from Sunset Properties, you will arrive to find meticulously sanitized bathrooms stocked with bath towels, wash cloths and kitchen towels for your whole crew.  It will not, however, have any beach towels.  We strongly suggest you bring at least one beach towel for each person in your group.  We ask our guests not to use our linens on the beach or at the pool.  Brightly printed, happy themed beach towels are a great way to display your personality on the beach and at the pool.  Your beach home will have a washer and dryer, so you’ll be able to do your laundry while you’re staying with us.  Be sure to bring your favorite laundry detergent, too.

  • Patience

And lastly, don’t forget to pack your patience.  We know you and the kiddos are super excited to be going to the beach.  This year, the excitement is especially strong because we have all been cooped up inside for much of the spring.  But the simple fact is, there are only a couple of ways to reach our Alabama Gulf Coast by car and they will most likely be heavily congested.  Expect delays.  But don’t think of them as delays.  Think of them as opportunities to make memories with your family as you travel.  Take a few minutes and stop and visit our neighboring cities on your way down.  Maybe plan a stop at Buc-ees in Loxley or Tanger Outlets in Foley to break the drive.  Maybe even stop and have a roll thrown at you at Lambert’s Cafe.  After all, you’re on vacation and the best part of your trip is literally just ahead!

At Sunset Properties and Anchor Vacations, we are so glad to invite you back to your vacation home!  We know once you get to Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Fort Morgan, all your troubles will just float away with the Gulf breeze.  No matter what’s going on in the world around us, the waves of the Gulf are always calming, the pristine white sandy beaches are always inviting, and your company is always welcome.  So, go ahead, pack up the family (don’t forget furry Miss Speckles and friendly Mr. Spot!), gather a few necessities, and come on down!  Your perfect vacation home is just a call or click away!

www.sunsetproperties.com

251.543.1370

*Facebook and Instagram are owned by Facebook, Inc.

*SnapChat is owned by Snap, Inc.

Leave Only Footprints in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan

For more than a thousand years, locals have left proof of their lives on our little Island Paradise.  Its actually hard to imagine our island had locals and guests that long ago.  But its true!  Our Alabama Gulf Coast has seen its share of different people, professions and lifestyles over the years.  Evidence of them is still obvious if you know what to look for.  Native Americans once lived all over our island and we celebrate them by remembering and by looking forward.  Today, we ask guests who visit Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan to Leave Only Footprints, when you walk in the same places these first beach loving Alabamians lived.  We suspect that if you take the time to listen, you can hear their spirits still whispering in the oaks.

  • Native American Canal

Not long ago, a group of archeologists from around the state of Alabama gathered in Gulf Shores to research a 1400 year old canal that existed between Oyster Bay and Little Lagoon.  That’s right!  Beneath part of what is our modern-day Fort Morgan community, there once existed a canal that connected those two bodies of water.  Presumed to be built by ancient Middle Woodland Era Native Americans who inhabited the area, this canal was eight feet deep and thirty feet wide and about a half of a mile long.  Today, that would take little more than a backhoe and a couple of days to complete, but in AD 600, this canal was built entirely by the hands and handmade tools of determined people.  Known to many older residents as the “Indian ditch”, it is believed to have been used by ancient fishermen to make their trips to and from the Gulf easier than land travel.  The canal has since been filled in either by men or nature or both, but relics dating it back to about 600 years after Jesus lived have recently been discovered.  The land where the canal is located today is owned by the City of Gulf Shores.  Researchers hope to have it linked to a hiking trail and one day in the near future, have it preserved for all to enjoy.

  • Bear Point

Bear Point is located at the far east end of what is now Orange Beach.  Until the early 1800’s, this area was home to a group of Creek Indians. These early settlers were descendants of the people of the Mississipian period and were known for their strong social structures and for building large mounds in or near their villages.  They were among the most respected Native Americans by European settlers.  In fact, in 1775, author and trader James Adair remarked about the Creeks that they were:  “more powerful than any nation” in the American South.   The Poarch Band of Creek Indians continue to contribute to our local history and future.  In addition to constructing OWA in Foley, a wonderful family recreation amusement park, they sponsor the annual Ballyhoo Festival in Gulf Shores.  Along with being known for its Native American inhabitants, Orange Beach was later known for its fishermen, turpentine producers and abundance of orange groves.  Although theweather on our island is perfect for growing citrus fruits, today Orange Beach is more widely known for being a leader in fishing and water recreation sports.  Everyone along the Alabama Gulf Coast knows that if you want to catch great fish, Orange Beach is the place to start.  

  • Shell Banks Cemetery

Located behind Shell Banks Baptist Church on Fort Morgan Road, historic Shell Banks Cemetery sits beneath the ancient Live Oaks just inland from Mobile Bay.  While cemetery markers prove a timeline of Americans who lived near here, including some grave markers from the American Civil War, this was once the location of the Native American village of Achuse.  A nearby historical marker states that in 1539 this location hosted a Native American settlement that was visited by one of Hernando DeSoto’s men.  This initial meeting was the first ever recorded encounter with Native Americans by any European explorer.  Native Americans were then referred to as “Indians”.  To elaborate, this meeting was 81 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth in what is now the Commonwealth of Massachusetts  and 68 years before the English settlers founded Jamestown located in Virginia.  A Native American village called “Achuse” was listed on an old Spanish map from the 16th Century proving the community existed and verifying the location was near the modern-day Shell Banks Baptist Church.

In this time of social distancing along the Alabama Gulf Coast, we know you are looking for things to do and places to see that won’t involve being in crowded areas.  We, at Sunset Properties,  invite you to tour our island, enjoy our sandy white beaches, and consider those who lived here before us.  Take a ride through our Fort Morgan Community or over to Bear Point.  Along the way, you will see some of the most beautiful coastal landscaping anywhere.  You will also pass several of our rental homes and one just might be perfect for you and your family.   Located near Fort Morgan along and near the calm waters of Mobile Bay, we have several vacation homes ranging from condos to single family luxury homes available.  In Orange Beach where the seafood is amazing and the fishing non-stop, we invite you to look at our selection of dog friendly homes.  Or if you prefer to stay in Gulf Shores just a short distance from the world famous Hangout where there is fun for kids and adults alike, or a quick drive to the Flora-Bama where the bushwackers are always cold and the music always exceptional , we’ve got some fabulous beach homes available there, as well.  Please enjoy all our island has to offer, the things that are obvious to everyone and the ones that are a little more hidden.  Come stay with us and enjoy our beautiful beaches, back bays and rich history.  

And please… Leave Only Footprints.

www.sunsetproperties.com

251.543.1370

10 Ways to Social Distance and Still Have Big Fun at the Beach in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Fort Morgan

Social Distancing has become the new norm for many of us.  In order to fight COVID-19, we have been told to stay inside our homes except for essential travel for a couple of months now.  We either missed Spring Break or our Easter vacation because of the COVID-19 cautions that were recently put in place.  We have been working from home, homeschooling our kids and eating supper at home every night.  We are completely Netflixed out and we have watched everything interesting on Prime.   We haven’t been able to go non-essential shopping. Or tan or get our nails done.  We’re so over it. We have Covid-lag.    We have cabin fever.  We need a vacation from our lockdown.   We need some good old fashioned vitamin D, some nice warm sun on our faces and some sand between our toes.  If this is you, Sunset Properties which serves Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan has you covered!  With some restrictions, the Alabama Gulf Coast is open and we are ready to help you Social Distance your way to a great vacation!

Here are ten ways to social distance and still have fun at the beach in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan:

  1.  Go for a walk on the beach

Social distancing stipulates we stay 6 feet apart.  That is an easy thing to do when you have 32 miles of beautiful sandy white beach to walk on.  What’s better to cure cabin fever than a walk along the Gulf of Mexico while you watch the sunrise or sunset?  How about collecting shells?  Have you missed seeing the sandpipers run around in the tide pools?  Alabama Beaches are open to families and groups of 10 or less.  This means you can take a walk on the warm sand you’ve been missing, enjoy watching the coastal wildlife that makes you smile and spend time outside with your family.  Sunset Properties manages condos and beach homes that either face the beach or are right on it.  Located near Fort Morgan, Dunes 204 faces the beach, but sits back a little from the Gulf.  Lighthouse 607 is right on the beach in the heart of Gulf Shores and Crystal Shores West 1201 located in the West Beach area of Gulf Shores is also right on the Gulf.  The beach walk you’ve been craving will literally be just steps from your own vacation backdoor.  Remember when you visit our beaches, leave only footprints.

  • Swim the tides in the Gulf

The Gulf of Mexico never technically closed during this time of flattening the curve, but access to it from many locations did.  We are happy to report, however, that now access is open and if the Gulf of Mexico is where you find happiness, happiness is ready to see you!  The beaches in Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan and Orange Beach are open and ready for guests.The Haley House Beachside 12, located in Beachside Romar Gated Community in beautiful Orange Beach  has a boardwalk through the dunes, making access to the Gulf a breeze.  While community pools may remain restricted in accordance with the Safer at Home Order issued by the State of Alabama on 4/29/2020 and expires 05/15/2020, the Gulf of Mexico is open and is perfect for a swim.  It is super easy to social distance here!  Bring your favorite float and plenty of sunscreen and enjoy the pleasure of swimming in the rolling waves of the beautiful Gulf of Mexico.

  • Feast of fabulous seafood take-out

While dining inside a restaurant is not approved by the State of Alabama’s Safer At Home Order, take-out and delivery are.  Many of our local restaurants are offering pick up/carry out services.  Eating fresh Alabama Seafood is one of the many pleasures of vacationing along the Alabama Gulf Coast.  If you’re staying in the Fort Morgan area, perhaps at Coquille at Martinique, a wonderful six bedroom, five bath home, we suggest you call ahead for a take-out order.  Coquille’s sunroom or deck would be a great place to enjoy some freshly prepared seafood from Sassy Bass Amazin Grill or Behind the Pines, both conveniently located just minutes from Coquille.  For a list of all restaurants in our area and the services they are providing, visit our tourism folks’ website at  www.gulfshores.com or take a look at their current restaurant public information  SmartSheet.

  • Host a family picnic

Here along the Alabama Gulf Coast, we love to picnic!  We love to dine out by literally eating outside and enjoying our wonderful Island weather.  We hope that while you’re our guest, you’ll do what the locals do and have a family picnic, too!  To create the best possible coastal picnic, visit Rouses Market in Gulf Shores.  Rouses sells only the freshest of veggies, hand cut meats, amazing seafood and they have a great selection of craft beers.  Several local parks are open and, in accordance with the Safer At Home Order,  we know you and your family will enjoy dining out at Orange Beach Waterfront Park located on Canal Road or Wade Ward Park located on Gulf Shores Parkway.   Both of these wonderful city parks are easily accessible from Colony Club M5 at Drake’s Landing.

  • Shop, shop, shop

Have you missed retail therapy as much as we have?  Though our Safer At Home Order restricts the number of folks who can be inside a retailer at one time, it does allow us to shop again for items recently considered “non-essential”.  Items like clothing, shoes, jewelry and fishing supplies are now, once again, available to us in our Island Paradise.  We hope to see you at SanRoc Cay, Pelican Place, The Wharf and The Original Oyster House Boardwalk shops soon!    Once you’re done with your retail therapy, how about some balcony therapy?  The view from Crystal Tower 706 located in the West Beach area of Gulf Shores is breathtaking!  Fix yourself a tall, cool tropical drink and relax on your balcony with a great book.  This condo also has a lazy river and game room for the kiddos.  Remember to remind the kiddos, social distancing applies to any pool or condo amenity that is open.  We want you all to have a great vacation and enjoy your stay.

  • Explore Fort Morgan

School has been out for a while and field trips probably got cancelled.  How about taking a family field trip to our favorite local historical spot:  Fort Morgan Historic Site.  Located at the end of Fort Morgan Road, where Mobile Bay meets the Gulf of Mexico, Fort Morgan Historical Site offers a great opportunity for learning and relaxing.  Located just past The Dunes Condos and Subdivision, and originally built in 1813 and called Fort Bowyer, a fort has occupied this site for more than one hundred years.  While the museum remains closed due to COVID-19 concerns, the fort itself and its beaches are open to the public.  Fishing in these brackish waters can yield one of the freshest suppers around!  Dogs are also allowed to tour the fort with their humans.    Did you know Sunset Properties offers more than 25 properties that allow dogs?  Certain restrictions apply, but if you’ve been in lockdown with your fur baby and you think a beach trip will not only benefit you, but sweet little Fido, as well, give us a look!  We might just have the perfect vacation home that suits you both!

  •  Bike around our island

Biking is always a great way to see the sights and follow social distancing guidelines.  With bike trails that circle most of our island, you will pass through and beside multiple ecosystems.  You will most likely see several different local wildlife species.  One great place to explore our ecosystems is the Hugh Branyon BackCountry Trail.  With seven trails that cover about 15 miles of our island, you’re sure to see something different each time you ride.

  •  Enjoy a bushwacker or some ice cream to go

That’s right!  The world-famous bushwacker is now available, so to speak, in a to-go version.   The folks at Doc’s Seafood Shack and Oyster Bar in Orange Beach have created a wonderfully delicious ‘to-go’ version of your favorite island drink.  Because of the innovative way they are serving this delicious island treat, it could be for adults or kids.  Check out their facebook page for details.  

  •  Check out a library book from the Orange Beach Library

The Orange Beach Public Library has begun to offer curbside service.  Books can be reserved online and you can call ahead and have someone deliver it right to your car!  How cool is that?  Whether you’re staying at Moorings 302 or Caribe C Penthouse 14, you’re just a short drive to the library.  Reading on vacation is one of the most relaxing things we can do.  Reading from a balcony with a fabulous view is a dream come true!  Maybe you want to tell your kiddos a bedtime story while you’re making new memories on this vacation.  This is a great way to accomplish that without breaking any social distancing guidelines.

  1.  Go boating, skiing or fishing

Have you ever thought how great it would be to bring your own personal watercraft from home and enjoy it while you’re on vacation?  What better time to find out than when social distancing is expected?  After all, there is a lot of water surrounding our island and keeping six feet between you and the next guy should be pretty easy if you’re on your own boat.  We have three rental homes that have dedicated boat slips located in Navy Cove on Mobile Bay in the Fort Morgan Community.  Check out Navy Cove 1207, Navy Cove 2113 and Navy Cove 2114So go ahead, bring your own boat down and enjoy social distancing while you ski, fish or just explore the waters that surround our island home.

With many of our attractions still closed, we know your entertainment options seem limited now.  We say they are only as limited as your imagination.  There really is a lot going on around our little island.  We are so glad you’re choosing to stay with us at Sunset Properties while you’re here.  If we can help you in any way, just call or text us!  Remember, we’re all in this together! 

www.sunsetproperties.com

251-543-1370  



For more information on COVID-19, go to www.cdc.gov

Fort Morgan Escape Room!

Do you love escape rooms? Do you love history? Well, our very own historical Fort Morgan now has an escape room! This new experience is a great way to interactively learn the history of Fort Morgan.

It is perfect for those older children that love history, but need a fun way to learn. As of now, they are offering this escape room Wednesdays at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.  and recommended for people 12 and older. It takes around 40 minutes to complete. With this escape room you are placed directly in the Fort as an enlistee just like you were part of the three different wars it was used for. Fort Morgan was used off and on throughout the Spanish American War, World War I, and World War II. Every clue you find that is leading you closer to the escape also informs you of some of the rich history in Fort Morgan. This is one of the most interesting ways to learn about the defenses of the Mobile Bay and is a definite must-do for you and your family. Fort Morgan’s website says, “It is the summer of 1864 and you are Federal Spies captured by the Confederate soldiers. The Battle of Mobile Bay was one of the most decisive battles of the war. Can you help the union forces understand the defenses of mobile bay? Does the fort have an effective method of attack? Your job is to find the defensive map and escape route.  LISTEN carefully! Wise captives have been known to escape. Step back in time to discover your fate.”

You have to book this experience in advance at escaperoom@fort-morgan.org or go to their website for more information, http://www.fort-morgan.org/escape-room/ this fun escape room is only $25 per person! When you are booking your beach vacation to Fort Morgan, don’t forget the historic escape room! We at Sunset Properties have many properties in Fort Morgan, from one bedroom condos to seven bedroom houses! When you’re thinking about booking a Fort Morgan vacation remember you can reach us at 251-543-1370 and e-mail us at info@sunsetproperties.com. Our website, www.sunsetproperties.com , has many options for you to choose from. Don’t delay and book today!