5 Great Places to Stay at the Beach for Christmas 2018

So you decided to take a Christmas Vacation this year.  You’re not sure where to go.  You have five nights available for your vacation and you want to drive there, but where?  Where do you go?  We have a great idea for you:  Come to the beach!  The Alabama Gulf Coast is only about 6 hours away from Atlanta, Jackson, Birmingham and we’re even closer to New Orleans, so why not come stay with us?

 

You have the whole family to think about, and, of course, you can’t leave your fur baby at home, Time is short, so you need some last minute ideas.  We have you covered.  Here is a list of 5 great places to stay, some fun things to do and great places to eat while you’re in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan for Christmas 2018.

 

  • Spunky Sandpiper

Located in the Fort Morgan community, the Spunky Sandpiper is an exquisitely decorated three bedroom, two bath home that sleeps up to 12.  Dogs weighing 50 pounds or less are also welcome, with some restrictions.  You will love the way Spunky Sandpiper is laid out, with plenty of room for your whole family and a well stocked kitchen.  You will also love the great view you have of Mobile Bay.  What better way to spend a comfortable Christmas morning than to sit on your private deck and watch the ships pass on the bay as you sip your coffee or hot chocolate?  With the average daily temperature in Gulf Shores ranging from 62-68 degrees around this time of year, who can resist the opportunity to escape the bitter cold north of the coast and enjoy a milder Christmas morning?  While you’re in Gulf Shores, be sure to visit the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo.  Our “little zoo that could” is open every day all year except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.  The Zoo will be open on Christmas Eve, but they may close early, so give them a call just to be sure the animals aren’t already opening their gifts from Santa when you guys want to stop by!

 

  • Gentle Winds East B4

Gentle Winds East B4 is a great condo located just off Beach Boulevard in Gulf Shores.  If you’re planning to leave your pets at home and bring up to 8 people, this condo facing Gulf State Park may just be the perfect Christmas vacation destination home for you!  This lovely one bedroom, one bath unit is convenient to just about anything you want to do while you’re staying on our island.  Want to go to The Hangout for some music and fun?  From Gentle Winds East B4, you’re just a short walk away.  How about eating breakfast at the Ruby Slipper?  If you have never tried one of their amazing eggs Benedict dishes, you are really missing out!  The friendly, professional staff at the Ruby Slipper, along with their fabulous breakfast menu items and mouth-watering cocktails, make this one breakfast stop you shouldn’t miss!  How about going to the Flora-Bama for their Christmas Day Potluck Lunch?  The good folks at The Flora-Bama will provide the main dish for your Christmas Day Lunch and they ask that you bring a side dish or dessert.  There will be music starting at 11AM and lunch will be served at 1PM.  This is an annual family friendly event and everyone is welcome!

 

  • Dunes 607

Have you ever considered staying in a condo in the Fort Morgan community?  Think about this:  Dunes 607 is a one bedroom, two bath super cozy condo at The Dunes on Fort Morgan Road.  Located right across the road from Tacky Jacks 2, The Dunes condos have a wonderful indoor pool and jacuzzi hot tub right on the ground floor.  With a great view of The Gulf of Mexico from your private balcony and an amazing view of Mobile Bay right out your other door, you cannot go wrong bringing your family of 6 to The Dunes 607 for Christmas.  You say you want a White Christmas?  I say you’re only a short walk away!  On Christmas Day, you can easily enjoy the beautiful white sandy beaches of Fort Morgan. And don’t worry, Santa loves the beach, too!  And he stops at The Dunes every year, so he won’t pass you by!  Santa also loves Tacky Jacks 2!  We want you and him to know that they’ll be open for most of the days you’re in town.  They won’t be open on Christmas Day and they’ll only be there about half a day on Christmas Eve, so if you’re planning to go on Christmas Eve, be sure to stop in early and grab some great food and a bushwacker.  If you’re planning to cook while you’re in town, you’re in luck!  Dunes 607 has a fully stocked kitchen, so plan a quick trip to Rouses and you’re all set!

 

  • Indies 410

Next door to The Dunes on Fort Morgan Road is a fabulous condominium called The Indies.  Indies 410 will be the perfect Christmas vacation home for your family of 8.  This beautiful three bedroom, three bath home located just off the Gulf is one you should not miss!  With a wrap around deck, your views of The Gulf of Mexico from Indies 410 are spectacular.  Why not plan to make yourself a hot toddy, put on your snuggly Christmas PJs and favorite fuzzy boots and sit out on your balcony and watch for Rudolph to come flying across The Gulf?  Doesn’t that sound like a great way to spend one of the happiest nights of the year?  While you’re in Gulf Shores, you won’t want to miss an opportunity to take your family ice skating.  You read that right.  You can visit the beach and ice skate all in the same day!  The Wharf in Orange Beach has a seasonal ice skating rink and everyone loves to hang out there.  This holiday tradition is one locals and guests alike enjoy.  The Christmas lights at The Wharf are pretty great, also.   Make a point to visit after dark so you and your family can enjoy all The Wharf has to offer this holiday season.

 

  • Sip N Sea

Are you looking for a Christmas vacation home all dressed up with a pretty red bow?  Well, how about a beautifully decorated Christmas Tree, instead?  Sip N Sea is a gorgeous beach home that is nothing short of stunning.  Located in Fort Morgan, this four bedroom, four and a half bath home sleeps up to 16 guests.  There is plenty of room for, not only a Christmas family vacation, but a Christmas family reunion!  Bring your whole family to Sip N Sea and enjoy this grand little slice of pure island paradise!  With breathtaking views of The Gulf of Mexico and two decks that will let you easily find Orion in the December sky, you are sure to love this home.  The kitchen is extremely well-stocked, there are enough beds for everyone and there are plenty of TVs to catch your favorite Hallmark Channel holiday movies or football games.  Sip N Sea has more than enough room for the whole family to spread out or cozily spend time together.  Staying here is absolutely a Christmas Wish come true!  Did we mention the Christmas Tree?  That’s right!  With your five night stay, Sunset Properties will provide a specially decorated and well lit Christmas Tree for you to put your presents under.  Santa will love stopping by for milk and cookies as he makes his Christmas Eve trip.  And you and your family will make Christmas Beach Memories like you’ve never done before.

 

Now you know where to stay and what to do while you’re visiting The Alabama Gulf Coast for Christmas 2018.  What are you waiting for?  There are Christmas shopping specials you’ll miss if you don’t get down here soon.  There are seafood dinners calling your name!  There are only a few sunsets left to watch in 2018 and we, at Sunset Properties, are ready for your arrival.  Call us at Sunset Properties at 251.543.1370 or email us at info@sunsetproperties.com to make your reservations today.  You holidays can be happier and your Christmas merrier if you spend it with us at the beach.  Give us a call today!  We literally have the front door key to your happiest holiday vacation ever!

 

www.sunsetproperties.com

251.543.1370

5 REASONS TO LIST YOUR VACATION PROPERTY WITH A LOCAL RENTAL MANAGEMENT COMPANY

So you bought your first vacation rental property.  Congratulations!!  We, at Sunset Properties, are very excited for you.  It’s a pretty cool thing to be able to own a second home in a vacation paradise and be able rent it out to guests when you can’t be there.  Renting your vacation home to tourists can help pay the mortgage, HOA fees and maintenance costs.  It’s really a win-win situation.  But how do you go about doing it?  Most of us have rented a vacation property before.  We decided to take a trip, called up someone, booked a place and went on vacation.  It’s likely that you rented a place in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Fort Morgan before you bought yours.  That whole rental process looks easy enough.  Just market the property.  Find some renters.  Fill out some paperwork.  And tah-dah!  The rent money rolls in!  Right?  Maybe.  But what if you’re wrong?  What if there are factors you haven’t considered?  What if issues with your vacation property arise and you can’t quite tackle them from your home?  Then what?

 

Here are 5 Reasons to list your vacation rental property with Sunset Properties instead of trying to rent it out on your own:

 

  1.   We Have Experience

Experience goes a long way.  We have been in the vacation rental management business on the Alabama Gulf Coast since 2001.  A lot has changed since 2001, but our commitment to our clients and staff has not.  Our clients are the reason we strive so hard for excellence.  Our staff is our client’s first impression of us.  Because of this unyielding commitment to excellence, our staff has been extensively trained.  We attend meetings, classes, and seminars with others in the rental management industry to discover best practices and apply them to our business.  We have faced a few interesting scenarios in the last 17 years.  Some of them turned out to be serious and some quite funny.  The thing is, if you would have told us back in 2001 about some of the unexpected things we’ve managed since then, we probably would have said:  no way!  But we’re here to tell you:  yes way!  Crazy, unexpected things happen!  We have gained invaluable experience by resolving a variety of issues. Experience comes from doing and learning and doing again.  We want to offer you our experience and hopefully save you from having to deal with some of the goofy unexpected things we have.  We’ve learned a lot these past 17 years and we continue to learn with each passing day.

 

 

  1.   We Know Our Area and Our Market

We know you already love our island paradise.  Why else would you have bought a second home here?  But do you know our area?  I mean really know it?  We can honestly say we do.  Sunset Properties is a member of the Coastal Alabama Business Chamber , our local chamber of commerce.  We are also a partner of our Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau. We maintain these affiliations so our owners and guests don’t have to.  We partner with other local businesses to ensure our whole island benefits.  By allowing us to manage your rental property, you get the benefits of these partnerships without having to do anything.  It is these relationships that allow us to know our market, as well.  We know what marketing trends are working and which ones are obsolete.  Additionally, we are in constant communication with other island businesses keeping ourselves current on local events.  We actively participate in the events that attract guests to our area.  We not only want to manage your rental property once guests arrive, we want to help be the catalyst that draws them here.  Again, you benefit without having to do anything.

 

  1.   We Know Our Clients

Because we are a small local family-owned company, we really do know our clients.  We form relationships with them long before we see them face to face.  We know them by name.  Many times we know several of their family members’ names before they even arrive to check in.   We begin to build a rapport the moment they reach out to us to inquire about any of our properties.  We are available to our guests and can be reached through our website or by phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  We don’t ignore calls or email. We consistently call or email back if a message is left.  If you’ve tried to manage your own vacation rental, you know people sometimes start looking for vacation homes late in the evening and sometimes in the middle of the night.  This can be a real challenge.  We have an overnight team and we are ready to respond.   We respond in a timely manner and begin building lasting relationships right from the start.  These relationships often last for years.  Often they branch out beyond that first guest to their friends and family.  Many of our clients have been our clients since 2001.  Many of them are not just our clients, they are our friends.

 

  1.   We Know Our Maintenance and Cleaning Teams

Things break and things need cleaning.  It is part of managing a vacation home.  When you are managing your vacation home remotely, you can ask someone else to make necessary repairs or to clean your property.  You pay a contractor to do these things and you believe they’re done.  That is until your guest calls and they don’t have enough towels or sheets or the coffee maker is broken.  Then what do you do?  You’re hours away and who do you call?  Do you refund some of your rental money to your guest?  No matter how you manage to resolve it, it is not a good situation.  At Sunset Properties, we know our maintenance team and we know our cleaning team.  We are close enough to each vacation home to be able to go see if the requested tasks were completed.  Remember our commitment to excellence?  This is also true with how we maintain the vacation rental properties we manage.  If a guest has an issue with a property we manage, we handle it immediately.  If your vacation home needs a repair, we make sure it’s done in a timely manner.  Your guest is our client and we want everyone involved to be satisfied.

 

  1.   We Know How to Help You Make Money

The last point we want to make is we know how to help you make money.  If you take all the previous points and add them together, you get a steady rental income.  That income can help you offset the costs of owning a vacation property.  Isn’t it time you started making some money off your investment?  We’re ready to help you do just that.  We will market your vacation home to an age appropriate renter.  We will allow pets if you want pets in your home.  We will make sure your home stays in good repair and is kept clean between guests.  We will keep an open line of communication with you, just like we do with our tourist clients.  We will work with you to make sure your unit is available when you want to visit the Alabama Gulf Coast.  We want you to be as satisfied with our services as our guests are.  And we want you to make money.

 

Managing a vacation rental home can be as fun and rewarding.  If you’re doing it on your own and are successful, we applaud you!  If you’re doing it on your own and are a little stressed out, we invite you to give us a call.  At Sunset Properties, we believe owning a vacation rental home should be a pleasant experience.   We love what we do and we are ready to show you.

 

So go ahead, reach out to us.  Let’s just have a conversation about how we can help you.  Let’s talk about what your wants and needs are and how, together, we can meet them.  And you can rest assured your vacation rental home will be in good hands because at Sunset Properties, we treat your investment as if it were our own.

 

www.sunsetproperties.com

251.543.1370

TOP 10 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD HAVE A BEACH DESTINATION WEDDING IN GULF SHORES, ORANGE BEACH OR FORT MORGAN

So you just got engaged and you’re looking for the most perfect place on earth to have your wedding.  Most will agree the beach is indeed at the top of a very short list of amazing places.  Whether the beach is made of stones, pebbles, or soft sugar white sand like the 32 miles along the Alabama Gulf Coast, the beach is undeniably a place where Cupid can usually be found.  Love seems to blossom and thrive among the sea oats and palms that grow in coastal environments.  With seagulls serenading from overhead and the occasional dolphin school splashing just off shore, the beach is definitely romantic by nature.  Having your wedding ceremony in this perfect outdoor chapel will take a little planning, but it is not out of reach.

 

Here are ten reasons why you should make the beach your wedding destination location::

 

 

1       A BEACH WEDDING IS ROMANTIC AND NATURALLY ELEGANT

The beach is simply romantic by nature.  There’s nothing quite like spending a day on the warm sand, feeling the Gulf breeze on your skin as the waves kiss the shore.  It’s a bit like a fairy-tale venue, but its  located right here in Alabama.  Who wouldn’t want to say “I do” in such a special place with the Gulf of Mexico as the perfect backdrop?  Whether you’re planning to hold your ceremony on a beach in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Fort Morgan, be sure to check to see if there are any reservations or permitting requirements.  There are a few guidelines for using Alabama State Park beaches.  They aren’t unreasonable, but brides-to-be should definitely start here when making plans to hold a wedding ceremony on a state park beach.  If you plans include holding a wedding on a private beach near your beach house or condo, you should first check with your rental management company and be sure to follow their guidelines.  Sunset Properties will be happy to quickly get you in touch with the right folks when you stay with us.

 

2       YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER WILL CAPTURE SOME FABULOUS PICTURES

They say there’s a time and place for everything under the sun.  Beach weddings are no exception!  You already know the beach is the perfect place for your destination wedding, but what about the timing?  And the sun?  Although there is actually no bad time to take pictures at the beach, great photography often depends on lighting. And what is a better form of lighting than the sun?  Whether you’re wanting a morning, mid-day or evening wedding, we want your wedding photos to be amazing!  To help make sure your pictures reflect all the love you and your partner share on your special day, contact the good folks at Sun Shots Photography  or Chasing the Son Photography.  They will work with you to determine your goals for your wedding album.  They will meet you at the beach or your location of preference and make every effort to capture your memories just the way you want them done.

 

3       OBTAINING A MARRIAGE LICENSE IS SIMPLE AND CLERGY ARE AVAILABLE

Because Bay Minette is the Baldwin County Seat, our courthouse is just a short drive from our fabulous beaches.  Licenses are issued Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:00AM and 3:00PM.  It’s a good idea to check out all the guidelines on getting a marriage license in Baldwin County, Alabama by following this marriage license information link.  Do you need a minister?  With so many churches around the island, Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan are sure to be home to a minister or clergy member who will fill your need.  For a list of local churches, check with churchfinder.com or contact our Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau to find the perfect person to lead your ceremony.

 

 

4       AWARD WINNING CATERING IS JUST A CLICK AWAY

You can’t plan a wedding without planning a reception.  And what’s a great reception without great food?  Orange Beach Concierge  and Chef David Pan area ready to help you.  Chef Pan, First Place winner of the 11th Annual National Shrimp Festival Restaurant Challenge, and his team are not only local favorites, but favorites among island guests, as well.  In addition to winning the Restaurant Challenge, Chef Pan and his team will host  the 47th Annual National Shrimp Festival Wrap Up Party. Need a place to hold your rehearsal dinner or reception? Check with Tillie at Orange Beach Concierge.  They have an event space at The Wharf that just may be the perfect venue for your gathering.

 

 

5       ACCESS TO THE BEACH BY CAR OR AIR IS EASY

With Interstate 10 about 30 miles away and Interstate 65 only about 60 miles away, accessing the Alabama Gulf Coast by automobile is pretty easy from just about anywhere. Once you exit off an interstate, Gulf Shores Parkway (AL Hwy 59) and the Baldwin and Foley Beach Express Highways make getting onto our island a breeze.  Did you know we have an airport, too?  Yep!  That’s right.  Gulf Shores is home to a wonderful airport.  If your favorite mode of transportation is by air, Jack Edwards International Airport may just be your first stop in our area.  No matter how you get here, we know that once you arrive with your special day just ahead of you, you will not be disappointed.  Will you need transportation once you get here?  Limousine and taxi services are available on our island.  Contact Luxury Limo if you need an elegant ride for you or your wedding party.  If a not-so-formal mode of transportation is what you desire, consider any one of fine taxi services .

 

 

6       YOUR DRESS CAN BE AS FORMAL OR AS LAID BACK AS YOU ARE

One of the most special things a bride does in preparation for her wedding day is choose her dress.  So many times, her dress sets the tone for the whole affair.  One of the coolest things about a beach wedding is you dress can be as individualized as you are and your wedding will still be perfect.  What do I mean?  Well, if a formal wedding is what you’re heart is wishing for, then you’re in luck.  Reach out to one of our local wedding planners, get your chairs and red carpet aisle scheduled and wear that spectacular formal gown as you cross a beautiful Alabama beach like a princess on your way to meet her prince.  If your style is a bit more laid back and you’d rather be barefooted on the warm sand as you say your vows with your sweetheart, well, that will work great, too!  About the only thing I haven’t seen (so far) is a mermaid wedding.  Would you like to have a mermaid wedding?  If that appeals to you, again I say:  the beach is the perfect destination wedding location to make your special dream come true!

 

 

7       FLOWERS AND WEDDING DECORATIONS ARE AVAILABLE LOCALLY

While the beach, itself, sets a perfect backdrop for a fantasy wedding, you’re probably going to want to dress it up (even if only just a tad bit) with some flowers and maybe a few candles.  You’ll probably want to get some gift baskets for your wedding party or special guests, too.

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are home to some of the most talented florists anywhere.  The skilled staff at Flowers by the Shore has been serving the Gulf Coast for over 20 years.  Check out their website for pictures of their colorful bouquets, cut flowers, fine wines and gift baskets.  The staff there is so accommodating!  After all, you don’t stay in business for 20 years in a small town if you don’t have excellent customer service.

Another option for flowers and gift baskets is All Island Flowers.  Browse their website to see the most popular floral arrangements currently trending on the Gulf Coast.  If you want to add a little color to your special day, either of these florists should be able to get you just what your heart desires.

 

 

8       ENTERTAINING YOUR GUESTS AT YOUR RECEPTION IS A BREEZE

So you have the perfect reception in mind.  You secured your venue or outdoor space and you have the caterer all lined up.  What about the music?  Sure a live band would be great, but if that’s not quite the option you were looking for, how about a live DJ?  Gulf Shores’ own Damon Collins – Event Disc Jockey has been entertaining wedding parties for over 20 years along the Gulf Coast.  As an owner of three FM radio stations, he has the experience to help make your event fun and entertaining.  And boy does he bring the music!  He has more songs in his music library than most of us can count.  He also offers a karaoke option and is very easy to work with.  Lighting and speakers are all provided.  Check out his interactive website and, go ahead, start to choose your special music for your special day.

 

 

9       YOUR HONEYMOON STARTS THE MOMENT YOU SAY “I DO”

Think about it.  Your honeymoon really does start the moment you say “I do”.  No traveling required.  You’re already here!  And you’re married to your best friend in the whole world!  Most people have their weddings somewhere else and drive to the beach for their honeymoon, but you made the great decision to do it all in one place.  You chose to share your special beach destination wedding with your guests and now it’s time for you and your spouse to have your special time together.  Sunset Properties has an extensive list of rental properties available for your stay both before and after your wedding.  Would your whole wedding party like to stay together?  Check out Wit’s Inn or Fort of Fun or Sea Turtle . These amazing beach homes sleep from ten to twenty people comfortably.  Would you prefer your guests stay in the same building but not in the same home?  Consider reserving several condos at The Dunes or The Indies.  But what about your own special place for after your wedding?  We have a couple of suggestions for that, too.  Of course you could reserve your own private one bedroom condo at The Dunes or The Indies.  You might like Beachview 223 or Moorings 414.  If you’d rather spend your first week as a married couple in a beach home instead of a condo, give Rookery 1902 and the Boathouse a look.  Need more suggestions?  Just contact us directly at info@sunsetproperties.com and we will be happy to help!

 

 

10     YOUR BEACH DESTINATION WEDDING IS MORE AFFORDABLE THAN YOU MAY THINK

So I’ve given you a list of reasons why you should hold your beach destination wedding in Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan or Orange Beach.  You’re probably saying, “That all sounds nice, but what about my budget?”   I know every wedding has a budget and every bride and her family face those issues.  What if I were to tell you that your Alabama Gulf Coast Beach Destination Wedding may be more affordable than you think?  Consider this:  no matter where you say your vows, you’re probably going to hire a caterer, buy some flowers, and plan a reception with a special venue and entertainment.  You have to buy a marriage license and you’re probably going on a honeymoon.  I propose to you that with careful planning that you can have it all right here in south Alabama and you can have the wedding of your dreams.  If checking out all the links in this blog seems like too much work, I have one more suggestion:  Gulf Shores Wedding Chapel.  This wonderful little venue located in north Gulf Shores has it all.  Maybe all you need to do is contact the good folks here, let them guide you in your planning, and dress up, show up, and get married.

 

Planning a wedding is a stressful time for any bride.  Destination weddings can be a challenge for anyone.  Here in Gulf Shores, Alabama, however, we are ready to help you make your special day an amazing dream come true.  At Sunset Properties, we are interested not only in making sure your accommodations are perfect for you and your wedding guests, we also want your wedding day and honeymoon stay to be the absolute best they can be.  If you’re looking for some memorable romantic things to do while you honeymoon with us, check out our blog Top 10 Most Romantic Things to do in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan for suggestions.

 

From all of us at Sunset Properties, congratulations on your engagement and we look forward to seeing you on your happy day!

5 REASONS TO TAKE MOM TO THE BEACH IN GULF SHORES FOR MOTHER’S DAY

So you let Mother’s Day slip up on you again, huh?  And you find yourself unprepared to celebrate one of the most important women in your life.  Now you’re scrambling trying to think of something amazing to give Mom for her special day.  Last year you got her that great hanging flower for her patio.  The year before you got her a gift card to her favorite store.  And just a few short years ago, you made her that really cute construction paper card and macaroni necklace.  Now what?  What do you get for the woman who gave you everything, but she already seems to have all she wants?  You’re at a loss!  Don’t fret!  We understand.  We’ve all been there.  Lucky for you, we have an idea!  We think Mom needs a beach trip and we have compiled a list of

5 Reasons to Take Mom to the Beach for Mother’s Day 2018.

 

  1. Moms need downtime, too

Mom needs a day or two at the beach.  Every Mom needs this.  She needs a day to enjoy a beach stroll, putting her toes in the edge of the water, and just relaxing.  She needs a chair in the sun and an umbrella and her favorite tunes on her radio.  She needs to be able to put on her shades and kick back and watch the cotton white clouds float by.  Mom worked hard all year taking care of everybody’s everything. And for every little emergency that popped up, she found a solution.  She’s everyone’s super warrior, prayer queen and in-house doctor.  Her kisses are magic and her food unmatched.  She’s a laundry beast and the taxi driver for her kids and grandkids.  But this super lady needs some downtime sometimes, just like you do.  Mom needs a weekend at the beach.  And what better weekend is there to celebrate Mom than Mother’s Day Weekend?

 

  1. Mom won’t have to cook to get fabulous food

With so many great choices for seafood and steaks in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan, you’re sure to find the perfect place to take Mom for her special outing.  For great seafood, try local faves Tacky Jacks or King Neptunes.  Want a delicious steak?  Check out Cosmos for great food and a super friendly staff.  How about some gumbo to brag to her friends about?  Sea-n-Suds is the place for gumbo.  Think Mom would enjoy a Bloody Mary?  Bills by the Beach has a Bloody Mary that’ll make her whole mouth happy.  What’s the best part about taking Mom out to dinner?  She doesn’t have to do the dishes!  Who will be a winner in her eyes?  You will!

 

  1. Mom will be surrounded with amazing shopping and spa opportunities

So you gave Mom a gift card last year?  That’s a thoughtful gift, but this year you’re ready to take it up a notch.  Instead of just a gift card to one store, give her so many shopping opportunities, she won’t be able to do them all in one day.  By bringing her to the beach, you give her malls like SanRoc Cay and Pelican Place at Craft Farms to shop.  She will love the shops at The Wharf at Orange Beach and she may even need to ride the Ferris Wheel while she’s there.  Don’t forget about The Shops at The Boardwalk in Gulf Shores next to The Original Oyster House where she’ll find great appetizers when she needs a shopping break.

 

Would she rather spend the day at a spa getting her hair or nails done?  Or maybe she needs a massage?  You can arrange for Mom to have a massage done right in her vacation home. Check out Austin Massage Therapy  for details and booking an appointment.  For hair, skin and nail pampering, visit Spas of Eden or Serenity at the Beach.  Either of these salons are sure to make Mom look and feel like the special beautiful person we all know she is.

 

  1. Mom can experience a fun night out filled with music and cocktails

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach night spots are known for cold beverages and great live local entertainment.  LuLu’s is always a great place to start.  With the last name “Buffett” Lucy Buffett is certainly an expert when it comes to great music and cold drinks! Another fun place Mom is sure to enjoy is Live Bait.  With fabulous cocktails, great music you can sing along with and a unique appetizer menu, Live Bait has been an island favorite for years.  Make sure you try the Greek Seafood Nachos at Live Bait.  Mom will love these!

 

  1. Mom can stay in a beach home fit for a queen

You know how picky Mom is about staying in nice places.  She likes clean and well-stocked vacation homes when she’s away from her own home.  You’re in luck!  Sunset Properties has an array of tastefully decorated and fully stocked beach homes and condos ready for Mom’s arrival.  Some of our homes are located in the quiet Fort Morgan area.  Check out The Dunes and The Indies if this area appeals to Mom.   How about a beachfront cottage in Gulf Shores or maybe a beach home with a boat slip for her jet ski?  Or is Mom more of the ‘let’s-go-float-the-lazy-river” type?  Well, we have penthouse condos at The Caribe in Orange Beach with one of those, too. We, at Sunset Properties, have you taken care of no matter what Mom’s preference is.  Would you rather stay home and get some of Mom’s friends to come with her?  We’ve got you covered on that, too!  How about a three bedroom condo or multi-bedroom beach home?  No problem!  Call us and we’ll make you the hero of Mother’s Day!

 

Convinced yet?  Well, we have one more reason you should take Mom to the beach for Mother’s Day 2018.  We are going to save you 15% off your two-night booking with code* MOTHER18.

Mom will be so proud of you for being so frugal.  After all, she always told you to spend your money wisely.

 

So go ahead!  Make Mom proud!  Be her hero!  Call or click Sunset Properties today and get Mom’s special weekend booked before we are all sold out!

 

www.sunsetproperties.com 251-543-1370

For code* MOTHER18 – restrictions may apply; contact us for more details

10 Fun Wheelchair Accessible Things to Do in Gulf Shores

Restricted mobility can present challenges most people don’t realize.  For folks who aren’t able to walk, accessing a beach or vacation attraction may be difficult or impossible.  The City of Gulf Shores recently installed a wheelchair accessible beach mat that will make accessing The Gulf from the public beach parking lot a great deal easier for those in wheelchairs, on scooters, or pushing strollers.

 

In addition to visiting the pristine beaches of the Alabama Gulf Coast, there are several other fun activities around our Island Paradise we’d like to suggest:

 

1       Explore the Hugh S Branyon Backcountry Trail

The Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail is a great place for folks with limited mobility to spend a day.  The trail complex, located within Gulf State Park, consists of 25 miles of 15 paved trails.  While you’re on the trail, you’ll pass through up to six distinct ecosystems and explore almost 6200 acres of wildlife.  That’s a lot of exploring!  The paved pathways are easy on wheels, as well as on feet, so anyone can enjoy a day outing on The Trail.  Remember to bring your camera.  You’re going to see our local wildlife and we’re pretty sure you’re going to want to share what you see with your friends back home.

 

2       Take a Dolphin Cruise aboard the Sunny Lady

The Sunny Lady , a fun family tour boat, offers tours of the back bays of Orange Beach and leaves out of The Wharf.   While this cruise does not go into The Gulf of Mexico, you’re still set to enjoy an outing filled with fun, waves and wildlife viewing.  Dolphin cruises last about an hour and a half.  The Sunny Lady has a ramp available making it easy for folks in wheelchairs to board.  Guests are permitted to bring a small six-pack cooler but if you forget yours…no worries!  Light snacks like sodas and chips are available for purchase during the cruises.  Bring your camera and sunscreen and prepare to see some dolphins!

 

3       Ride the Ferris Wheel at The Wharf

After your dolphin cruise, stay at The Wharf for a little while longer and ride the Ferris wheel!  The Ferris wheel at The Wharf has a 4.0 rating from TripAdvisor and has become a local landmark.  The Ferris Wheel at The Wharf is wheelchair accessible and we love the view from the top.  With its great location at The Wharf, this incredibly tall ride will provide a view of our island you won’t soon forget.  Give it a try and don’t forget let us know what you think.

 

4       Fish from Gulf State Park Pier

The Gulf State Park Pier , located on Beach Boulevard in Gulf Shores has always been a favorite stop for locals and guests, alike.  Whether you’re on a date, a fishing outing or just wanting to spend a day listening to the lapping of the waves, Gulf State Park Pier is sure to please.  On extra warm days, visit the indoor seating at the concession area.  You’ll also be able to purchase fishing tackle and souvenirs while you’re on the pier.  Comfort stations are located at the midpoint of the pier. The pier has 2,448 feet of fishing space available along the rails.  The pier office and bait shop hours are 6am until 6pm only, but the pier itself is open 24 hours.  There is an honor box to pay fees if you want to go out on the pier when the office is closed.  Did we mention how cool the moon looks as it rises over the Gulf when you’re watching it from the pier.  If you’ve never witnessed this, you should definitely put it on your “to do” list!

 

 

5       Ride the Mobile Bay Ferry

Want to visit Dauphin Island while you’re nearby?  One of the most enjoyable ways to get there is to cross Mobile Bay from Fort Morgan to Dauphin Island inside your own vehicle on the Mobile Bay Ferry.  If you’ve never ridden a ferry, now’s the time!  You’ll probably pass large ocean going vessels, fishing boats and maybe even see someone on a kayak.  Did we mention dolphins?  Yep!  You’re probably going to see a few dolphins along the way.  The Mobile Bay Ferry runs all day, most days, weather permitting.  The trip takes about 40 minutes.  Once you’re on Dauphin Island, check out the Sea Lab Estuarium.

 

6       Peek inside aquariums at the Estuarium

Once you depart the ferry on Dauphin Island, you must visit The Estuarium.   It is located at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab.   With 31 aquariums and hosting more than 100 species of sea life, The Estuarium, is sure to entertain and educate your whole family.  It showcases plants, animals and natural resources found all around the Mobile Bay Area.  The Estuarium is open most days and does have an entry fee.  Enjoy your time at the Sea Lab, but keep a watch on the ferry times!  You don’t want to miss your ride back!

 

7       Tour Fort Morgan

When you arrive back at the ferry landing, you’re at the gates of Fort Morgan.  Go ahead and take some time to tour this Alabama Landmark. The original fort at Fort Morgan was constructed over 200 years ago in 1812 and was called Fort Bowyer.  Now an Alabama State Historic Site, Fort Morgan is one attraction you won’t want to miss.  Family events are planned throughout the year, but even on days when there is no organized event, we suggest checking out all of the fort’s grounds including the paved walkway that leads out to the fort beaches.  No outing at Fort Morgan is complete without a trip through the museum.  In addition to all the great historical artifacts housed there, you’ll find a gift shop unlike any other in this area.  Take home a piece of history from the museum gift shop when you finish your day at Fort Morgan.

 

8       Visit The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo

Did you have fun at the Estuarium?  How about seeing a larger and more diverse group of animals?  Did you know there is a zoo right here in Gulf Shores?  Famously deemed “The Little Zoo That CouldThe Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo has been an island favorite since 1989 when it was called Zooland Animal Park.  Home to more than 500 animals, The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo has well-kept pathways that wind throughout making wheelchair access easy.  Special “encounters” are available.  If you’re a fan of snakes and gators, check out the Reptile Garden encounter.  The Lemurs are sure to have you laughing and the Tamanduas are a treat for everyone!

The zoo sits on 17 acres located on Gulf Shores Parkway in the heart of our little beach town and welcomes visitors every day except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

 

9       Shop in the Shark Store

You’ve seen it right?  “The Shark Store”, better known as Souvenir City is located in the heart of Gulf Shores right across from the public beach.  You’ve wondered what could possibly be inside a store with a giant shark mouth as its entrance.  Souvenir City has been a Gulf Shores favorite since 1956, but it isn’t your average souvenir store.  After you literally pass right through a giant shark’s mouth to get inside this locally-owned store, you’ll find rows and rows of fun things to see, touch and buy.   You’ll find everything from shells, to tees, to Hermit Crab pets.  Whether you’re looking for a gift to take back to your bestie or just a little souvenir memorabilia for yourself, don’t miss a chance to spend some time in Souvenir City.

 

10     Visit the Public Beach in Gulf Shores

As we mentioned in the header of this blog, the City of Gulf Shores has literally rolled out a wonderful new addition to the public beach.  Just west of the Hangout, the wheelchair access mat is welcoming beach goers each day.  The mat eliminates the struggle of navigating wheels over and through sand, thus making accessing and enjoying The Gulf of Mexico so much easier!  Reviews by users have been great and we encourage you to give it a try.  Don’t forget your sunscreen and shades.  We’re pretty sure once you get so close to The Gulf, you’re probably going to want to stay a while and enjoy the sound of the lapping waves as you watch the gulls splash and dive for their dinner.

 

We, at Sunset Properties, hope you find some of these suggestions helpful when you’re planning your beach vacation.  While there are many more attractions with wheelchair and stroller accessibility in our area, these are just some of our favorites.

 

Do you already have a place to stay while you’re in Gulf Shores?  Sunset Properties has two vacation rental properties that are wheelchair accessible.  Before you finalize your vacation plans, we would love for you to see Grace and Endless Summer.

Grace, located in the Fort Morgan community has 6 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms. Grace will comfortably accommodate 20 people and has its own elevator.  With amazing views, Grace stands magnificently among her neighbors.

Endless Summer, also located in the Fort Morgan area, has 6 bedrooms and 6 baths.  Endless Summer sleeps up to 18 people comfortably and also has an elevator.  With a roll-in shower and extra wide doors, this vacation home is sure to please.

 

If you need additional information about these homes or other properties we manage, please reach out to us at info@sunsetproperties.com or call us at 251.543.1370.

5  Reasons to Book Direct and Say NO to VRBO

With so many ways to book a vacation rental available now, you may be wondering which way is the best way to reserve your beach home or condo.  Online services like VRBO or AirBnB may be appealing.  Smaller local companies like Sunset Properties might not be your first choice.

But what are you really getting?  Are you getting the best deal with the best service options?  What happens if you get to your vacation home and there’s an unforeseen issue?  Who do you call?  Are the “big-box” website’s faceless people going to help you?

To avoid confusion when you make your beach vacation reservation, why not just book direct with the local rental management company?

Book direct with Sunset Properties!  Book with people with faces and happy voices and sincere smiles who have actually been inside your vacation home.  Book with people who want your vacation getaway to be as great as you do!

Here are 5 Reasons to Book Direct with Sunset Properties and Say NO to VRBO:

 

  1. We Know Our Area

We live and work along the Alabama Gulf Coast and we know this area forwards and backwards.  We know which roads to take to get to the best places to eat and play.  We know how long it takes to get where you want to be.  In Coastal Alabama, we give directions based on time, not miles.  After all, that’s what you really want to know, right?  We can you about how long it takes you to get to where your fun is.  We know how long it takes because we drive it every day.

For example, when you call Sunset Properties, looking for a perfect spot for a family reunion extended weekend, we’ll tell you that not only is USA2 a fabulous beachfront home that has five bedrooms and sleeps 18, but that it is perfect for family reunions because it is in a private neighborhood with a private beach.  We can tell you that if you leave your neighborhood heading West, it is only about a five minute drive to the Mobile Bay Ferry from this house.  So for a great family day-outing, your group can ferry across Mobile Bay, visit the Dauphin Island Sea Lab or Fort Gaines and come right back all in one day, and all with minimal driving.  We’ll encourage you to have your camera ready, because you’re probably going to see some dolphins swimming alongside the ferry.

On the other hand, we’ll share with you another option.  If you leave your private subdivision and head East on Fort Morgan Road, in about 25-30 minutes you can be at the Hangout in the heart of Gulf Shores or eating dinner at King Neptunes, a local favorite for delicious seafood for more years than we can count.

  1. 2. We Know Our Properties

Sure, you can do your web research and review a property’s pictures and written details.  Any good rental management website offers those things.  But, unlike the VRBO website folks, we at Sunset Properties, have physically been inside of each of our rentals.  We know what kinds of comforters and coffee pots are in each unit.  We know which ones are easy to push a baby stroller into and which ones have steps making access a bit more challenging.  We know what the surrounding yards and parking areas and common areas are like.  We even know if there’s a barbeque grill or not.

And, if by chance you happen to ask a specific question about a property and we don’t have an answer right then, we can just jump into our cars and drive to the property, get the answer and call you back.  And we, at Sunset Properties, will call you back.

3 . We Know Our Property Locations

If you search Gulf Shores on a large site that hosts properties worldwide, you may get a true Gulf Shores, Alabama property suggestion returned.  You may.  Or you may get a property some 25 or 50 miles away.

However, if you search for a Gulf Shores vacation property with Sunset Properties, you get a true answer.  If you want to be in Gulf Shores, we will make sure you stay in Gulf Shores.  Same goes for Orange Beach or Fort Morgan.

You can even find a rental property in Park City, Utah, where the Sundance Film Festival is held, that is, if you want to visit Park City.   The point is, you’ll get what you ask for, where you ask for it to be.

So, if you’re looking for a fun place to stay that’s close to Souvenir City in Gulf Shores, we suggest you consider Pat-Ti-O, which is a 5 minute drive.

And, if our website is not clear to you, if something’s just a tad bit confusing, we are always just a phone call or text away.  Call or text 251.543.1370 to reach a real live vacation specialist who is waiting to help you make an informed decision about your vacation reservation.

4. We Know Our Guests

We love getting to know our guests!  The person you speak with on the phone or email with as you make your reservation wants to get to know you.  To all of us at Sunset Properties, you’re not just a guest, you’re OUR GUEST.  And you’re vacation is just as important to us as it is to you.  We want you to have the best possible experience while you’re on the Alabama Gulf Coast and we are available, not only to help you plan your getaway, but also to meet you after you arrive.  If you need to speak with a Sunset Properties representative while you’re vacationing, we have two locations to serve you.  Our main office is located on Alabama Highway 59 just north of the Dr. W C Holmes Bridge and we have an office on Fort Morgan Road in The Dunes Subdivision.

5. You Save Money

You read that right!  You save money by booking directly with Sunset Properties instead of using VRBO.  You save between 4-9%.  All the base reservation fees are the same, but VRBO tacks on an additional ‘service fee’.  For example, if you choose to book Dunes 303 for the week of July 21-28, you will see VRBO charges a service fee of $148 over and above the normal reservation rental rate.  This is $148 more than you would pay to reserve the same condo from Sunset Properties.  VRBO charges this fee but it is not for the owner.  Even though the property is listed as a Vacation Rental By Owner, the owner does not get this extra money.  VRBO does.

We think you should keep that money!  It doesn’t sound like a lot of money, but why not keep it and spend it on yourself or your family while you’re on vacation?

 

You may be asking:  What can I buy with $148?  Well, there are a lot of options actually.  But here are a few that you might want to consider:

 

  1. You can get a week of unlimited yoga and a massage. Visit Glow-Yoga in Gulf Shores.  And you’ll even have a little money left over for ice cream!
  2. You can rent a jet ski and a go pro from Alabama Extreme Watersports .  How much fun would that be?
  3. You could treat your whole family to an amazing seafood dinner at Mikees, another local favorite that’s been serving great seafood for many, many years!
  4. You can get come cool new beach gear at Ron Jon Surf Shop.  With locations all around the Gulf Coast, these guys are definitely experts in beach wear!

 

No matter what you do with it, at least you’re not giving it away to some big website company and getting no visible return for it.

 

Instead, book direct with Sunset Properties.   You get expert advice from someone who has been inside of your vacation rental home, who knows exactly where it is and can give your actual driving directions to get there.  You get local folks who are happy to see you and are available to help you if issues arise after you reach the Alabama Gulf Coast.  And you get it all for less money!  All you have to do is just say NO to VRBO.

 

We, at Sunset Properties, look forward to helping you finalize your upcoming vacation plans and to adding your name and face to our list of guests who have become some of our best friends!

 

www.sunsetproperties.com

251.543.1370

Alex Goes To College!!!

Earlier this year we had an opportunity to apply for a scholarship to send a staff member to Southeastern Tourism Society Marketing College. This scholarship gave our Alex the opportunity to meet and learn from marketing professionals that specialize in tourism. Alex is our newest full time staff member she has been with us almost three years. Alex came to us with fantastic knowledge of social media and wonderful customer service skills. With these skills we immediately put her covering our marketing. Over the years she has learned and grown so much knowledge. She brightens each and every day and puts her heart and soul into her job. We believed nominating her for this scholarship was a must. Alex naturally was doing great with our marketing so with some professional advancement training we knew she would grow in her job by leaps and bounds.

In her classes Alex learned the difference between marketing and advertising, secrets of Travel packaging, how to brand our area as a destination, marketing in the digital world, top trends and economic impact of tourism, how to market with festivals and events and creating brochures. Already Alex has put her knowledge to work and is improving and making changes in our marketing strategies.

Alex joined other marketing specialists from all over the southeast in this week long intensive study to market tourism industry businesses and tourist destinations. She made some great friends and contacts in this field and is looking forward to next year and the knowledge will be added to the foundation she received in this first round of classes.

Beach Vacation From the Rental Company’s Point of View

For the longest time no one I knew friends, family, strangers believed that my job was an actual real job as an assistant manager for a property management company at the beach. Everyone thought I just checked a few people in each day then had the rest of the time to go and play in the sugar white sand and emerald green water. There are so many more things involved. Some are fun, some very time consuming, some frustrate you to no end and others give you a laugh every time you think of them. More often than not we are playing a counselor in some form or fashion listening to people who really need a getaway from their everyday life.

My first funny experience was a couple of guys who just walked in off of the street. They were already feeling really good and continued to drink once they checked in. They went up to their room and came right back down because they did not remember what their room number was and their keys were coded. I told them their room number and even wrote it down for them. I ran into them again at the elevator later and once again they unsure which room to go to. I had them wait right there while I grabbed a sharpie and wrote their room number on their hands. They were sure not to get lost now.

The very time consuming situations come into play when people simply refuse to read the information that we send them. This leads to very long phone conversations about what to bring and what there is to do in the area. Not to mention we have to deal with the angry calls from people who did not know what they rented or where they are going, or where to get the keys for their rental. Take ten minutes and read or watch the videos they will save much confusion.

The most frustrating thing that I have had to deal with is the guest that calls with lots of complaints but does not allow us to attempt to fix them. We try very hard to send you into a property where everything works and it is clean and beautiful for your stay. However if we miss something please give us a chance to make it right. It typically only takes a moment and we can make your stay that much more enjoyable.

One of those situations that will make you laugh every time you think of it is different for each of us. For me it is some of the funny things kids say when they are so excited at check in. Or the dogs enjoying their first trip to the beach and playing in the water. For my bosses it is the people who called and being very serious asked them to turn the waves down that they were too loud and they could not sleep. Sometimes the requests we get are over the top and there is absolutely nothing we can do. Sometimes we are so frustrated we want to run screaming out the door but most of the time we love our job just like you. Helping people have a wonderful vacation well its one of the best, most challenging jobs I have ever had.

First Floor and Fantastic!!! Indies 104

This 3 bedroom, 2 bath condominium is equipped with every comfort and convenience you would need for the perfect vacation.  This condo is located in the perfect spot to have easy pool access and great views of the water.  Free wireless internet access is available for each guest in this unit.  The

kitchen is fully equipped and features granite counter tops, GE Profile appliances and a full-size pantry. The kitchen is open to the living and dining room. The living room features comfortable seating, flat screen TV with awesome views of the Gulf of Mexico. The dining room features seating for 4 at the dining room

table and seating for 4 at the breakfast bar. The over-sized master bedroom features views of the Gulf of Mexico out the sliding glass door, a king size bed, flat screen TV, DVD, walk-in closet, private master bath w/double vanity sink and garden tub. The 2nd bedroom features also

features a king bed, flat screen TV, DVD, and views of Mobile Bay. The 3rd bedroom sleeps 3 with a bunk bed that has a full on bottom and a bed on top, flat screen TV, and DVD. There is also a sleeper sofa that sleeps 2 more comfortably.

This property sleeps up to 9. The generously large balcony looks directly over the Gulf of Mexico and features comfortable patio furniture. The condo’s interior is decorated with comfortable high-end furniture. Appliances include cordless phones, high-speed internet, stainless steel refrigerator w/ ice maker, dishwasher, microwave, stove and cook top, washer/dryer, coffee maker, toaster, blender, mixer and all of the cookware you could ever need. No smoking and no pets allowed. Come sit on the balcony and watch the beautiful sunsets.

In Memory of a Fallen Hero

April 24 of this year the new flag and flag pole at The Indies was dedicated to SSGT Don Franklin Worley for his service in Laos during the Vietnam War.

SSGT Worley, was part of a secret project that was not recognized until the 90’s by the federal government.  His remains were never returned to his family nor were any of those who served with him.  Finally as a recognized Veteran, SSGT Worley was honored with a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart for his bravery and service in Laos.

SSGT Worley is the father of Mark Worley one of the contract maintenance men who works at The Dunes, The Indies, Navy Cove, and in The Dunes Subdivision through Sunset Properties.  Mark was 10 and his brother Greg was 6 and sister Tammy was 4 when their father was lost at war.  Mark is now part of our

family here in Fort Morgan and The Indies board led by Mr. Lee Hicks wanted to honor this fallen hero.  This ceremony brought together owners, workers and management from the different individual entities in our community.  It was truly a community building service. Mark worked for years petitioning to have his father recognized by the government and to have his name added to the Vietnam Memorial Wall. 

In the Ceremony hosted by Lee Hicks an Indies owners the flag was raised to half-mast as he spoke of the war and SSGT Worley’s service and family. Another owner, in the subdivision, Robert Vaughan, played his bugle in honor of SSGT Worley at this sunset ceremony.

  A head stone was placed at the bottom of the flag pole in memory and honor of SSGT Don Worley.  Please take a moment to pay your respects to SSGT Don Franklin Worley next time you are here as part of the Dunes Community!