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

Top 10 Reasons To Go Fishing in Gulf Shores in the Fall

The reasons to fish the waters along the Alabama Gulf Coast in the fall are many.  Local anglers will tell you to plan your trip, come on down and expect to have a great time while you’re here.  We will tell you that there are lots of reasons to Go Fishing in Gulf Shores in the Fall, but here are our top ten:

1       The Temperature is Great

The weather in the fall in Gulf Shores is fabulous.  The days are usually warm following a cool start and the nights are comfortable.  Be sure to pack sunscreen when you come down.  Even though the sun’s rays are longer this time of year, you can still get a sunburn while you’re fishing.  Remember, the rays reflect off the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and off our crystal white sandy beaches and you can get a quick sunburn without even realizing it.  Also, pack both shorts and jeans.  We’re pretty sure you’ll need both.  Don’t forget a windbreaker or light rain jacket.  We do get a little rain here in the fall, but it usually doesn’t last long.  And pack your shades.  As the days cool in the fall the sun seems to shine brighter.  Shades and visors are a must for any fall outdoor activities, especially activities like fishing where water reflects the sun’s rays.

2       Charters are Easy to Get

Fishing charters leave out of Orange Beach all year long.  Fall fishing is a great excuse to book a charter and go a few miles off shore.   The good folks at Orange Beach Fishing Charters and Fishing Guides are ready to help you get started.  With off-shore, near shore and deep sea fishing options available, you’re sure to find just what you’re looking for.  Several of our favorite charter companies leave out of Zeke’s Marina.  For years, the good folks at Zeke’s have been ready to get locals and guests alike out on the open waters of the Gulf.  Another option is Gulf Rebel Charter Fishing.  For over 50 years, these folks have been taking fishermen and ladies right to the best spots to catch the most fish.  Gulf Rebel Charters is a local family owned business.  Still haven’t found what you’re looking for?  Give Extreme Chaos Inshore Charters a try!  This is one inshore fishing experience your whole family is sure to love!

3       Great Fish are in Season

Fishing is great along the Alabama Gulf Coast all year long and fall is no exception.  Dolphinfish like dolphin, dorado and mahi-mahi are in season all summer and through October.  Bull Redfish are also in season.  Flounder is a local fave and can be caught through October in our area.  Several species of grouper are also in season.  We love fresh Gulf GrouperCobia is another local favorite and it is in season through October.  Whether you’re fishing from our famous Gulf State Park Pier or from one of our local charter boats, we are sure you will catch something great to eat while you’re here in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Fort Morgan.  If you can’t enjoy it here, pack it well in ice and take it home for a mid-winter feast you’re sure to enjoy!

4       Accommodations are Affordable

Lodging is a bit less expensive in the fall than it is in summer months.  With our tourist season winding down, we are able to offer nightly stays at reduced rates.  Usually, we have a greater selection of available properties to choose from, as well.  If you’re looking for a beach home to rent while you’re planning your fall fishing getaway adventure, check out Spunky Sandpiper.  This three bedroom beach home located in the Fort Morgan community sleeps up to twelve folks.  You can bring all your best buds on your fishing weekend and all stay together in this great home!  If a more unique beach home appeals to you, take a look at The Boathouse.  This boat shaped home is right on Mobile Bay and offers spectacular views!  It has two bedrooms and sleeps up to seven.  Small dogs are also welcome here with some restrictions.   Another great option for your fishing adventure is Navy Cove 1207.  This lovely condominium features two bedrooms and two bathrooms and sleeps up to six.  Additionally, it has its own boat slip.  That can be a definite plus for any angler!

5       Dining Out Is Quicker

With less folks visiting in our area in the fall than there are in the summer months, dining out is usually much quicker.  Lines at local restaurants are shorter and the whole experience can be much more relaxed and enjoyable.  This can be a real plus if you’ve been out fishing all day and you’re tired and hungry.  While you’re here, be sure to check out some of our favorite places.  For breakfast, you really should give the Ruby Slipper Cafe a try.  We love all of their eggs benedict choices.  And their coffee is second to none.  For lunch, stop by and see the good folks at Sassy Bass Amazin’ Grill on Fort Morgan Road.  Their seafood entrees are all excellent.  Would you rather have a great burger while you’re in our area?  You must try the World Famous Keg Burger at The Keg Lounge and Grill on Canal Road.  Don’t let the name fool you.  It’s not just a bar, it’s a great little hidden treasure.  They have a wonderful kids menu, too.

6       The Beaches are Less Crowded

Our beautiful beaches are less crowded, too.  If long quiet walks collecting shells without the hustle and bustle of the summer crowd appeals to you, you’re in luck!  Fall vacationers find our beaches easier to access and more peaceful than in the summer months.  Truly the lazy days of fall appeal to many.  If you’re one of those people who enjoys listening to the sounds of the waves, reading a good book and enjoying the warmth of the sun without the heat of summer, you’re going to love Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan in the fall.  Once you’re through with your fishing charter, we encourage you to take a blanket out onto our beautiful beaches and just enjoy watching the stars in the night sky.  

7       Festivals are in Full Swing

Fall is not only fishing season along our Alabama Gulf Coast, but it’s also festival season!  Be sure to plan your fishing adventure weekend to include one of our great locally produced festival activities.  Festivals celebrating seafood, musicians, and birds are just a few of the great events we have planned for the next few months. The Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival lasts for several days in November and can be found at many venues.  Check out their website for details.  For a complete list of our festivals, read our blog entitled Four Fall Festivals You Shouldn’t Miss in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan.   While fishing is a great reason to come this fall, our festivals may just be the reason you want to stay a little longer.

8       Nightlife Rocks

The Nightlife here in our area never disappoints.  In addition to the great music you’ll find all around our island during the Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival, you’ll also find music playing at all of our favorite places.  Live Bait Food and Spirits is known for its great entertainment.  Be sure to try their Greek Nachos, too, while you’re there!  The Hangout in Gulf Shores has become world famous for their entertainment.  Even though Hangout Music Fest is in May, we’re sure you’ll find some enjoyable moments at the Hangout this fall!  And don’t forget to stop by The Wharf after dark.  The Ferris Wheel never disappoints and offers a breathtaking view of our island!  And the Spectra light show offers nightlife fun for the whole family.  After all, young anglers need to have fun, too!  

9       Golf is Right Around Every Corner

What better way to make a fishing weekend extra fun than to add a golf outing to it?  With great weather all fall long in our neighborhood, why wouldn’t you do just that?  Golf courses are all over our beautiful island home and golf packages are very easy to get this time of year.  Whether you want to golf at a course Arnold Palmer designed or at one of the oldest and best kept courses around, Gulf Shores Golf Club, your choices are abundant.  For a complete list to all the courses around, check out our blog about best places to golf.  We encourage you to book a golf outing while you’re here.  After all, why not experience the best we have to offer, both on land and at sea?

10     Who Really Needs a Reason to Fish Anyway?

Seriously!  Come on…who does need a reason to fish?  Fishing is one of the most relaxing sports around and it can end up being the most exciting!  Fishing is something we can take our kids along to and do with our parents.  Fishing creates an opportunity to make unforgettable memories and can provide food as well as entertainment.  After you think about, you really don’t need a reason to fish….just a time and a place!

Come on down to the Alabama Gulf Coast this fall and fish, golf, enjoy our nightlife and stay with Sunset Properties while you do it all.  We are looking forward to your arrival and we are here to help you with your reservation or to answer any questions about any of the fun activities we have going on in our area.  Go ahead!  Make a plan!  Come on and Fish!

www.sunsetproperties.com

251.543.1370

Four Fall Festivals You Shouldn’t Miss in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan

We know when you plan your vacation to the Alabama Gulf Coast, visiting our sandy white beaches is always at the top of your list.  We get it. Everyone loves listening to the sounds of the waves hitting the shore and watching the seagulls play overhead.  In the summer, the beach is all abuzz with swimmers, surfers and watercraft riders.  There are so many things to do right there on the beach, you may not think about anything else.  But what about when the fall comes?  Trips tend to be shorter and the beaches are not quite as busy as they are in the summer.  What is there to do in the fall when you only have a couple of days to enjoy South Baldwin County?  We want you to know about Four Fall Festivals you shouldn’t miss while you’re in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan.  From seafood, to wildlife, to some of the best music and art anywhere, fall festival season down here is just getting started!  You really need to come on down to Coastal Alabama, stay with Sunset Properties and check these out:

Alabama Coastal BirdFest

The 16th Annual Alabama Coastal Birdfest:  A Birding & Nature Festival will be held October 2-5, 2019.  BirdFest showcases great bird- and nature-watching spots all around Baldwin and Mobile counties, including Fort Morgan, Dauphin Island, Weeks Bay, Gulf Shores, and more. BirdFest offers excellent bird and nature watching experiences for both experts and novices alike.  Festival goers can expect to see a wide variety of coastal and migratory birds, alligators, dolphins and an array of local wildflowers.  Many BirdFest activities are ticketed, however there is one event that is free to the public.  In addition to the different ticketed locations of this festival, a Bird and Conservation Expo is planned for Saturday, October 5, 2019 from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm at the Fairhope campus of Coastal Alabama Community College in the Halstead Amphitheatre.  This outdoor expo is free to the public and everyone is invited.  The 16th Annual Alabama Coastal Birdfest is a production of The Weeks Bay Foundation and proceeds will benefit this local conservation group.

Annual National Shrimp Festival

A production of the Coastal Alabama Business Chamber, The 48th Annual National Shrimp Festival is planned for October 10-13, 2019 at the public beach area in the heart of Gulf Shores.  The Shrimp Festival, a locally produced and nationally recognized festival celebrating one of our favorite crustaceans, continues to be volunteer-driven.  Dozens of locals come together and collaborate to produce one of the best food, music, arts and crafts festivals anywhere.   This year’s music lineup is sure to please all who attend.  Look for musicians to be performing on two stages.  Groups expected to perform include:  The Tip Tops, Dr. Zarr’s Amazing Funk Monster,  and the Velcro Pygmies.  There will be tribute bands celebrating the music of Def Leppard, Elvis and AC/DC.  Local faves Tophat & Jackie, Brent Burns and Elaine Petty are also scheduled.  Be sure to check out the fine arts area featuring local and national artisans.  And don’t forget the food.  As is tradition, we expect to have shrimp in all kinds of recipes.  We love our Alabama Gulf Shrimp and hope you will try some while you’re here.  The Annual National Shrimp Festival is free to the public.  For guidelines on what you can bring into the festival site or for shuttle stop locations, check out their website.  We will see you there!

Oyster Cook-Off and Craft Spirits & Beer Weekend

If you thought the Annual National Shrimp Festival was the last thing going on this fall along the Alabama Gulf Coast, think again!  We have a couple of more festivals you need to try!  Join several of your besties at the Hangout in Gulf Shores November 1-2, 2019 for the 12th Annual Oyster Cook-Off and Craft Spirits & Beer Weekend.  This ticketed event is slam full of all the things we love about Gulf Shores:  beachfront, seafood, music, good friends and fun!  While not every oyster will give you a pearl, you’re sure to make a treasure chest full of memories when you meet your friends at the Hangout in early November.  There will be restaurant tastings, celebrity chefs cooking and craft beer sampling.  You can expect cocktail demos and an oyster shucking contest.  There will be a champagne lounge and a tailgating experience.  In addition to all this, there will be live music right on site!  Your ticket covers so much, we can’t even list it all here.  But you can check it all out for yourself on the Oyster Cook-Off and Craft Spirits & Beer Weekend website.  Everyone knows the Hangout is always a great place to…well…hang out…but when they do a festival, they do it up right!  Be sure to put this weekend on your calendar and stay with Sunset Properties while you’re in our neighborhood.  We have several condos and beach homes that are really close to the Hangout and we are sure we can find you the perfect place to stay!

Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival

Since 1984, the good folks at The Flora-Bama Lounge and Package Store have produced the Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival.   This eleven-day multi-venue event will take place November 7-17, 2019 in both Alabama and Florida along our beautiful Gulf Coast.  Named for a beloved night watchman at the Flora-Bama, the late Frank Brown, this festival celebrates people who otherwise might not get public recognition.  This unique festival allows seasoned song-writers and up-and-comers alike, the opportunity to showcase their talents.  Because this festival “moves” from venue to venue, festival goers not only are exposed to a variety of songwriting talent, but also get to experience the best our coastal communities have to offer in food and drinks.  This year the Southeast Tourism Society has named the Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival one of the Top 20 STS Events in the Southeast for November 2019.  With great venues like The Flora-Bama Lounge and Package Store, the Coastal Arts Center in Orange Beach, Lucy Buffet’s Lulu’s in Gulf Shores and the Sandshaker at The Wharf, we are inclined to agree.  We can’t wait to see songwriters like Mac Davis, Dean Dillon and Mark Dreyer perform.  For a list of all songwriters represented, check out their website.  

The summer may be over down here along our Alabama Gulf Coast, but the fun sure isn’t!  We hope to see you this fall.  Whether you’re just coming down for one of our great festivals or to stay for a couple of weeks, we at Sunset Properties are anxiously awaiting your arrival!  We have condos and beach homes located in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan.  We have vacation rental properties that will sleep from 2 to 22 and everything in between.  Want to bring your fur baby with you for your fall getaway?  We’ve got you covered on that, too!  So go ahead, plan your festival outing and plan on staying with us at Sunset Properties.  

Happy Fall, Y’all! 

We’ll see ya soon!

www.sunsetproperties.com

251.543.1370

5 Tips to Help You Enjoy Your 2019 Annual National Shrimp Festival Weekend

Welcome to The 48th Annual National Shrimp Festival in beautiful Gulf Shores, Alabama!  We are so glad you’ve decided to spend an October weekend with us!  For four fun fall days, October 10-13, 2019, Shrimp Festival Fever will take over Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan.  And we know many of you have been to visit our lovely island during Shrimp Fest, but for those of you who haven’t yet come down to experience the crustacean celebration, we invite you to give us a try!  The Shrimp Festival, with its 250,000 estimated attendance, can be a bit intimidating.  We thought we’d give you a few tips to help you enjoy your 2019 Annual National Shrimp Festival Weekend:

1       Know Where You’re Staying

With so many options on where to stay during Shrimp Festival Weekend, how do you decide what’s best for you?  At Sunset Properties, we are happy to help you with that!  If you want to stay within walking distance of the festival, check out Bare Foot.  This lovely three bedroom home sleeps up to eight people and is only a short walk to the main public beach in Gulf Shores.  If you’d like to stay in a condominium in Gulf Shores, take a look at Island Sunrise 468.  This super cute condo sleeps up to eight people comfortably and has an amazing Gulf front beach view.  Maybe you want to stay a little farther away from the festival site and use a shuttle for part of your trip to it.  Check out Dunes 704.  This one bedroom condo sleeps up to six people and has two full baths.  It is located near Fort Morgan and will allow you all the quietness of the Fort Morgan community after you leave Shrimp Fest each evening.  If a penthouse appeals to you,  be sure to check out Caribe C Penthouse 14 in Orange Beach.  While you’ll need to plan your transportation to the festival site, you’re sure to love this elegantly decorated penthouse condominium that overlooks Perdido Pass.  

2       Know How to Get to The Shrimp Fest Site

So getting to the Shrimp Fest site can be a bit complicated.  With the roads blocked off just north of the public beaches in Gulf Shores, parking can be pretty challenging.  We suggest taking BRATS.  Baldwin Rural Area Transit Service, lovingly known by us locals as BRATS, is the best way to get there.  BRATS shuttles will pick you up and drop you off outside the festival site making access a breeze!  Festival goers can purchase an all day rider’s pass and shuttles run about every 15 minutes.  For a complete list of shuttle stops, check out this link to the Festival Shuttle Guide.

3       Know Your Art and Entertainment Options

This is the 48th Annual National Shrimp Festival and the Arts and Crafts and Music continue to just get better with each year.   The fine arts section of The Shrimp Fest is a juried show and awards are given to the best of the best.  The Crafts section is slam full of crafters who create everything from clothes to household items and just plain unique art.  If you’re having a hard time deciding what to get your special someone for Christmas, make a plan to shop the Shrimp Festival.  We are sure you’ll find something for your someone who seemingly has everything.  There are so many unique items to choose from, your Christmas shopping will be super easy while you’re here.  And of course, you’ll want to know the music lineup.  We  have included the music lineup here, but remember things can change a little:

Thursday, October 10, 2019

EAST STAGE 

• Lisa Christian: 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM

• Poarch Ninjas: 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM

• Ryan Balthrop: 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM

• Tobacco RD: 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM

• Style the Band: 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM

• Doctor Zarr’s Amazing Funk Monster: 8:15 PM – 10:00 PM

 WEST STAGE

• Logan Lassiter: 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM

• Hannah McFarland: 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM

• Roxy & The Magic Johnsons: 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM

• Bruce Smelley: 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM

• David Jones & Friends: 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM

• The Tip Tops: 8:15 PM – 10:00 PM

Friday, October 11, 2019

EAST STAGE

• Tophat and Jackie: 10:00 AM -11:30 AM

• Tracey & Alan: 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM

• The Defrosters: 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM

• Will Smith: 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM

• Journey2Mars: 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM

• Category 6: 8:15 PM – 10:00 PM

WEST STAGE

​• Brent Burns: 10:00 AM -11:30 AM

• Christina Christian: 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM

• Shiny Objects: 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM

• Yeah, Probably: 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM

• The Wildflowers: 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM

• Doctor Zarr’s Amazing Funk Monster: 8:15 PM – 10:00 PM

Saturday, October 12, 2019

EAST STAGE

• Elaine Petty: 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM

• Ten Penny Gypsy: 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM

• JoJo Pres: 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM

​• Miles Flatt: 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM

• Cort Carpenter: 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM

• Mustache’ The Band: 8:15 PM – 10:00 PM

WEST STAGE

• Singing for Scholarships Contest: 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM

• Elvis Remembered: 1:30 PM – 3:30 PM

• Ultimate Def Leppard: An Incredible Tribute: 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM

• Highway to Hell: The Ultimate AC/DC Tribute Band: 6:00 PM  – 7:30 PM

• Velcro Pygmies: 8:15 PM – 10:00 PM

Sunday, October 13, 2019

EAST STAGE

• Worship Service: 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM

• Al & Cathy: 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM

• Sandra Kaye & The Legend Band: 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM

• Voodoo Bayou: 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM

WEST STAGE

• Marcus & Ebony: 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM

• Andy Smith: 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM

• Wavelength: 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM

• The Groovinators: 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM

4       Know How to Dress

Fall along the Alabama Gulf Coast can be a bit tricky.  One day it might be a clear beautiful 80 degree day with low humidity and the next day it may rain and be a cool 60 degrees outside.  So what do you wear to Shrimp Fest?  We suggest packing some fun tees and shorts and your flip flops.  You’re probably going to need them at least one of the days you’re here.  Don’t forget to pack your swimsuit, too!  The Gulf is still warm enough to take a dip and all of our beach vacation homes have available pools.  Some even have hot tubs on site and you won’t want to miss out on those!  Also, bring some comfy jeans.  Nights in October can be a bit chilly.  We can’t predict the evening air temps from year to year, but it’s better to be prepared than to be chilled while you’re watching your favorite bands perform at the festival.  And it’s a good idea to pack your frog tog or wind breaker.  Like we mentioned before, sometimes it does rain a little in October.

5       Know What You Can Take Inside

The Festival grounds are gated, but entrance is free.  The National Shrimp Festival in Gulf Shores is a family event.  Bring your kids, in-laws, and best buds and plan to stay a while.  Phones and cameras are allowed.  And they have a wonderful Kids Area all planned out.  You will want to take pictures and make life-long memories while you’re here.  Having said that, though, there are a few things you cannot bring into the festival site.  Pets are not allowed.  If you choose to bring your dog with you on your Shrimp Festival Weekend Vacation to stay in one of our many dog friendly rentals, we strongly suggest your reach out to the good folks at Sea Paws Dog Resort to schedule a play time for your fur baby.  Coolers are not allowed.  Why would you need one anyway?  The best food available anywhere and the coldest beer and sodas will be available right inside the festival.  For other FAQs, follow this link to the Shrimp Festival page for information.

We at Sunset Properties are thrilled to know you’re coming to celebrate Shrimp Fest Weekend with us.  If you have any questions about your vacation home reservation, call, text or email us.  We are happy to help.  And remember, our Shrimp Festival Weekend is four days long, so you’ll want to plan to come early and be there Thursday when it opens.  Thursday is less crowded than any other day and it’s the day when most of us locals go and hang out.  So come on down a day early and hang out with us!  We are looking forward to your arrival!

www.sunsetproperties.com

251.543.1370

Best Places to Golf in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan

When you think about the pristine white beaches of beautiful coastal Alabama and all there is to do in our neighborhood, going golfing might not come to mind.  In your mind’s eye, you may envision brightly colored parasails being towed behind ski boats or, perhaps the tall extended outriggers of a shrimp boat.  Maybe you think of the familiar blue and white striped umbrellas and beach chairs that decorate our beaches.  Or maybe you just smile at the thought of enjoying a local musician play on a restaurant deck while you slowly sip a perfectly prepared Bushwacker.  Whether golf comes to mind or not, it is certainly true that Gulf Shores and our surrounding communities are blessed with some of the best golf courses anywhere.  If golfing is a sport you’re passionate about or something you’d just like to try while you’re on vacation, we want you to know where to go.  Here is a list of our five favorite golf courses in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan:

  • Craft Farms Golf Resort

Craft Farms Golf Resort is one of the top resorts in the country.  The Cotton Creek Course and The Cypress Bend Course were both designed by the legendary golfer Arnold Palmer.  With perfectly trimmed fairways and surrounding areas unmatched in beauty, these 18 hole courses are a must for any golfer, pro or otherwise.  You will enjoy beautifully furnished clubhouses and be assisted by a knowledgeable and professional staff.  These courses are both challenging and entertaining.   Craft Farms Golf Resort is located at 3840 Cotton Creek Circle in Gulf Shores.  Check out their website for tee times and fees.  Make it a point to go by and visit Craft Farms while you’re in our area.  You never know, Arnold Palmer may have just designed the perfect course for You!

  • Kiva Dunes Resort and Golf

The Golf Course at Kiva Dunes has just over 7,100 yards of play area and is one of the top courses in Alabama.  Located just off Fort Morgan Road at 815 Plantation Road, Kiva Dunes is a completely public course.  In April 2018, it was ranked the top public course in Alabama by Golf Advisor.  Reviewers complimented the course as well as the staff.  Because of its unique location, literally between The Gulf of Mexico and Mobile Bay, the winds change frequently.  The course, itself, changes with the winds and each golfing experience at Kiva will be a unique one. For tee times and fees, visit Kiva Dunes online.

  • Peninsula Golf and Racquet Club 

Also located just off Fort Morgan Road, Peninsula Golf and Racquet Club is another of our local favorites.  Peninsula offers three separate 9 hole courses:  Lakes, Cypress and Marsh and we encourage you to play all three.  Combine two of the three to make an 18-hole round.  Each provides a distinctly different challenge and reward.  Finding this type of variety in one resort location is not always easy.  Make sure to visit the Peninsula Golf and Racquet Club website  to learn about tee times and fees.  Don’t forget to put Peninsula on your list of courses to check out while you’re staying with Sunset Properties.

  • One Club Golf

For one of the most distinctive golfing experiences around, try One Club Golf.  Along with traditional golfing outings, One Club Golf offers golfing after dark.  This fun and unique way to enjoy the sport is sure to please anyone.  With Sunset Golf, Glow Golf and Golf Happy Hour, we are sure everyone in your family will have a blast.  Conveniently located at 4000 Gulf Shores Parkway in Gulf Shores, One Club Golf is located only a short distance from most any beach home in our inventory.

  • Gulf Shores Golf Club 

Located in the heart of Gulf Shores at 520 Clubhouse Drive, Gulf Shores Golf Club is a semi-private club.  Guests are welcome to play this top-rated Alabama golf course, along with members.   This beautifully kept 18-hole course is home to several local non-golfing residents.  Raccoons, squirrels and alligators can sometimes be found on or near the course.  The course has some challenging holes, as well.  Trees and ponds make navigating this local favorite fun and exciting. While you’re here, be sure to visit the Pro Shop and clubhouse.  Gulf Shores Golf Club, built in the 1960s, is an icon in our area and we know you will want to visit it while you’re in our neighborhood.  Be sure to check out their website to make your reservation while you’re in town!

As a bonus to this blog, we don’t want to miss an opportunity to highlight our favorite place to practice.   The City of Orange Beach has opened Orange Beach Golf Center located at 4700 Easy Street in Orange Beach.  Easy Street is just off Canal Road near The Wharf in Orange Beach.  The Orange Beach Golf Center features 9-hole course with a lighted driving range, practice putting/chipping greens, practice sand bunker, and a Pro Shop.  This golf venue is so lovely and well-kept.  We encourage island guests to visit The Orange Beach Golf Center for a relaxing afternoon of golf.

We know many of you come to visit our beaches and stay with us at Sunset Properties and golf isn’t even in your plans.  You may not have even known about all the great ways to enjoy the sport in our coastal towns.  We encourage you to venture out and try something new.  You and your family may just fall in love with golfing here with us in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan.  If you’re already an avid golfer, and you knew about all our great courses, we encourage you to give Sunset Properties a try!  Our vacation homes range from one bedroom condos to multi-bedroom luxury beach homes.  We have homes that welcome small dogs and homes with private pools, and pretty much anything in between.  Just as we are sure you will find your best golf experience here in our area, we are equally sure you will find your perfect Sunset Properties vacation home.

www.sunsetproperties.com

251.543.1370

Five Unique Foods You Must Try in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach

We know most of you come to our beautiful Alabama Gulf Coast and stay with us at Sunset Properties with the intention of having somefresh Alabama Gulf seafood while you’re visiting.  For some great ideas on where to find the best seafood around, check out our seafood blog. If you have seafood allergies, we have a blog for that, too.  Most locally owned restaurants offer seafood-free menus.  Several have gluten-free foods, as well.  But what about trying something just a little bit unexpected?  Several of our favorite local restaurants have kicked it up a notch with some of their menu items.  But a few have some really great unique food choices and we wanted to highlight those here.  Here are five foods you really should try while you’re in our neighborhood:

  1. The Ole Spider Burger

So don’t let the name of this local fave scare ya!  The Ole Spider Burger, a staple at Doc’s Seafood Shack & Oyster Bar for many years, definitely deserves to be on our Top 5 List!  A spider burger is a “big ole (soft shell) crab” on a bun with all the toppings you’d expect on any burger.   Crabs are trapped while they are in between hard and soft outer shells.  While their shells are soft, they can be fried whole and eaten.  You might be surprised just how good this local treat really is!  Inside the crispy outer coating, you will get a mouthful of delicious sweet crab.   We suggest topping it with lettuce, tomato and onion, just like you would your favorite beef burger.  Add some ketchup, mustard or mayo; or try our favorite:  cocktail sauce!   The Ole Spider Burger comes with fries and slaw, but we suggest adding an extra side of Doc’s World Famous Homemade Onion Rings and a cold beer or a tall glass of southern sweet tea.

  • Seafood Primavera Pizza

We all love pizza, right?  We can honestly say, you’ve never had a pizza like this.  If alfredo sauce topped with gooey mozzarella, shrimp and scallops sounds good to you, you will love the Seafood Primavera Pizza at Papa-Rocco’s.  The pizza also comes with broccoli and onions.  Papa-Rocco’s has been a local’s favorite restaurant for more than 30 years.  Located just north of the public beach in Gulf Shores, you really must stop by and visit the good folks at Papa-Rocco’s.  They call themselves the “home of warm beer, lousy pizza” but we respectfully disagree.  The beer is consistently some of the coldest anywhere and we have yet to get a bad pizza from there!  Recently, Papa-Rocco’s has added delivery to their services.  So if you don’t want to leave your beach home and go out to eat, give them a call.   Delivery just may be the answer for you!

  • World Famous Award Winning Keg Burger 

If you happen to be one of those folks who have seafood allergies, you’re gonna love our next suggestion:  The World Famous Award Winning Keg Burger from the Keg Lounge and Grill located on Canal Road in Orange Beach.   Cooked to order, this beef hamburger piled high with lettuce, tomato and grilled onions is sure to please any burger connoisseur.   Add a side of cheese fries and a cold beer for pure tasty mouth-watering bliss!  Who would ever think of having a beef burger at the beach, right?  We are so glad the good folks at The Keg did!  For years, we have found ourselves happily parked inside The Keg enjoying the flavor-filled Keg Burger they are so famous for.  Don’t let the name “The Keg”  fool you into thinking you have to be 21 to enter.  They offer a great menu for kids, too!

  • Beignets and Cafe’ au lait

How about a little  taste of New Orleans while you’re visiting the Alabama Gulf Coast?  How about enjoying some fresh, hot beignetsCafe’ Beignets of Alabama has a location in Gulf Shores and one in Orange Beach.  Well-known around south Baldwin County, Cafe Beignet is a popular breakfast or brunch spot for a light, quick sweet meal.  You cannot have French New Orleans style beignets without a cup of cafe’ au lait.  For most of us, that’s puffy powder-sugar coated pastries with a delicious cup of chicory with steamed milk.   Beignets are definitely a morning treat, so you’ll want to stop by before they close daily ‘round about noon.  Be sure to give this family-friendly easy to find locals spot a try!

  • Joe & Dave’s Alligator Bites

If you peek in our bayous around our island, you’ll most likely see some alligators.  While we do not encourage feeding, molesting or killing them, we do suggest you try some already prepared to eat.  Most people agree alligator meat is a tasty delight.  Stop by the Original Oyster House and try some of Joe & Dave’s Alligator Bites.  Fried to a golden brown, a basket of  perfectly portioned gator bites with a side of their wonderful dipping sauce, is certainly a reason to dine in Gulf Shores’ own Original Oyster House located in the heart of Gulf Shores.  Add an ice cold adult beverage or soda and we’re sure you’ll be glad you stopped in.  Don’t forget to grab one of their super stylish t-shirts, while you’re there.  Enjoy great food and take home a great souvenir from the Original Oyster House!

These unique menu items available from some of our favorite local restaurants are just a few reasons why we love our island.  Whether you’re staying with us at Sunset Properties for a weekend or all winter long, we encourage you to shop local and try new foods!   And remember, for all your vacation rental needs, Sunset Properties has you covered.  From single bedroom condos to multi-bedroom beach homes, we have exactly what you’re looking for in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or in Fort Morgan.  Call us, text us or email us and we will be happy to get your next beach vacation reservation ready for your arrival!

www.sunsetproperties.com

251.543.1370

Top 10 Ways to Destress in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan for Labor Day Weekend 2019

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With Labor Day 2019 right around the corner, we know you’re probably trying to squeeze in one last summer beach vacation getaway.  At Sunset Properties, we are ready for your arrival.  Not only are we looking forward to you coming to visit us along the Alabama Gulf Coast, we have ten great ideas how to spend your Labor Day 2019 stress-free and without laboring at all!

  1. Relax under a beach umbrella and read a book

How does stretching out one last time this summer on a beach chair, book in hand, as you relax to the unmatched sounds of the waves of The Gulf of Mexico sound?  To us it sounds pretty good!  Be sure to pack your sunscreen.  We know it’s late in the season, but you can still catch a pretty bad burn if you’re not careful.  So pack your favorite novel, your cozy towel, and come on down to Gulf Shores, stay in Dunes 401, located in the Fort Morgan community, and you beach relaxation moment is only a few steps away!  

  • Watch the sun rise and set from your own beach home balcony

Maybe you’re an early riser.  Why not enjoy a hot cup of coffee as you watch the sun come up over The Gulf from your own private balcony in Indies 603?  Maybe you’d rather sleep in.  We get it.  After all, you’re on vacation.  Well, be sure to watch one of the last summer day’s sunsets with an amazing view of Perdido Pass and Alabama Point from Caribe C Penthouse 14.  With a view unlike any other on the island, this penthouse with its exquisite decor is perfectly placed for amazing views any time of day.

  • Stroll the boardwalks at Wade Ward Nature Park

The boardwalks at Wade Ward Park, located over an amazing wetland area in the heart of Gulf Shores, provide a place for a relaxing stroll.  You’ll be able to become a part of your surroundings while walking safely above any wildlife that could seem threatening.  This city park is located only about five minutes from your vacation home Lighthouse 607.  So getting here won’t create any stress, either.

  • Watch the tide ebb and flow under the Gulf State Park Pier

The Gulf State Park Pier has almost a half mile of railing and the view underneath changes almost minute-by-minute.  We’ve heard about people who have glass aquariums or fish bowls in their offices for stress relief.  We suggest taking a walk out on our pier to enjoy an unmatched view of the best natural open aquarium anywhere:  The Gulf of Mexico.  You’re almost guaranteed to see schools of fish swimming in the waves no matter what time you go visit the pier.  For extra entertainment, make it a night trip.  The waves lapping against the pier make a sound that is soothing to not only your ears, but also to your mind, body and soul.   Couple that with the feel of the night air along the Alabama Gulf Coast, and we believe you’ll forget all about labor of any sort.

  • Watch the boats travel through Perdido Pass

Just steps from Caribe C Penthouse 14, is Perdido Pass.  This is one of our favorite fishing spots.  But if fishing seems too much like work to you, just find a bench and watch the boats go in and out from our back bays.  We’ve also seen sea turtles swim by and you may even catch a glimpse of a manatee or two.   This is definitely a relaxing way to spend a few lazy hours while you’re in Orange Beach.

  • Watch the sunset over Mobile Bay

From your deck at Navy Cove 2113, you’ll have a spectacular view of the sunset over Mobile Bay.  Why not fix yourself a cold beverage and just sit back on your private deck and watch the summer sun’s rays fade away into the bay.  As the summer draws to an end, the sun’s rays seem to soften and stretch across the bay in a way you can only see this time of year.  Make plans to stay in one evening and see for yourself.

  • Watch the dolphins play at Orange Beach Waterfront Park

Have you ever been to Orange Beach Waterfront Park?  This is a great place for a family picnic and to spend an afternoon enjoying the outdoors. You can also walk out on the pier and you might be able to see dolphins playing just off shore in Wolf Bay. With clean public restrooms and a large kids area, this family friendly local park is a great place to relax and unwind.  There is no charge to use the park and everyone is welcome.

  • Kick back and float in your beach home’s pool

We cannot forget about this special way to relax and recharge.  All of our condominium beach homes have pools on site.  Many of our beach houses have pools available in their communities and a couple of our homes have private pools attached to them.  Check out Dream, Kiva and Sip N Sea to see what a luxury beach home with a private pool looks like.  Talk about a great way to spend a few hours before you have to return to work.  Bring your float and kick back and let the gentle rolling waters of your nearest pool wash away your stress.

  • Walk your fur baby at Unleashed Dog Park in Orange Beach

We know walking your fur baby at home is relaxing.  Why not bring your furry kiddo to the beach with you and walk him or her at Orange Beach’s own doggie park:  UnleashedSunset Properties has several homes that allow small dogs with some restrictions, so bringing your four legged friend on your weekend vacation can be stress-free, too!

10.    Shell hunt on Fort Morgan Beach

For some of the best treasures the Gulf can provide, we suggest walking Fort Morgan Beach.  Because the waves of the Mobile Bay are softer and gentler than those the Gulf produces, we often find larger shells and sand dollars on Fort Morgan Beach.  Remember, any artifacts you may uncover belong to the Fort and cannot be removed, but shells, sand dollars and the like are yours to take home.  These make wonderful natural souvenirs and will help you remember your trip for many years to come.

We at Sunset Properties, know your last beach weekend this summer is important to you.  We want you to have a relaxing 2019 Labor Day Weekend.  We are proud to offer clean, fully stocked beach homes to fit any need and are ready to make your reservation with you.

If you need us during your stay, we have two office locations on the island to serve you.  You can also reach us by phone, text and email.  It is our goal to make your Labor Day getaway, just like any other vacation with Sunset Properties, as stress-free and pleasant as possible.  We are looking forward to hearing from you!

www.sunsetpropertie.com

251.543.1310

The Best Places to Picnic in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan

So you want to spend a day out in about enjoying the natural scenery in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan.  We, at Sunset Properties, know your indoor accommodations are important, but now you’re ready to just get outdoors.  You’ve got your comfy walking shoes on, applied some insect repellent and sunscreen and you’re looking for ideas.  Here are six easy-to-access places that you should drive to, then get out of your car and enjoy a little of our island paradise on foot.  Take your family and a picnic basket filled with fresh local Alabama Seafood and make memories you’ll cherish for a lifetime.

  • Wade Ward Nature Park

Located just off the sidewalk along Highway 59 in Gulf Shores near Scoop’s Ice Cream, Wade Ward Nature Park is one of our favorite places to explore.  With free public parking nearby on East 1st Street, accessibility for the whole family is easy.  You’ll enter the park area as you cross a wooden boardwalk bridge and under a pavilion.  The walkway is an elevated boardwalk that sits above the wetlands below.  It’s an easy walk and you’re almost guaranteed to have great views of alligators, heron, and other coastal wildlife.  In the marshes, you’ll find an array of plant life indigenous to this type of ecosystem.  Bring along your camera!  Wade Ward Nature Park is part of our Alabama Coastal  Birding Trail.  Migrating birds are often spotted here.  Your whole family will enjoy this outing where you’re sure to see plants and animals unlike any in your own front yard north of our beautiful Alabama Gulf Coast.

  • Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail

Established in 2003, Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail is actually seven trails in one.  It is made up of over 15 miles of trail paths and passes through six distinctly different ecosystems in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and around Gulf State Park.  A fun trail destination is Boulder Park.  You will find giant boulders perfect for kids to climb.  It is located  next to the Pavilion and Butterfly Garden; about 1½ miles from the Catman Road trailhead on Highway 161.  Rock climbing venues along our Alabama Gulf Coast are uncommon, but this one’s sure to please.  For a complete map of all the trails to explore along the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail follow this MAP link.  In the meantime, don’t miss an opportunity to bring your kids to Boulder Park for some memorable outdoor fun!

  • Orange Beach Waterfront Park

Located on Canal Road to the east of Doc’s Seafood, Orange Beach Waterfront Park is a great place for a family outing.  With pavilions and restrooms and an unmatched view of Wolf Bay, your whole family will enjoy an afternoon here.  Be sure to walk out on the 400-foot-long fishing pier to get the absolute best view possible!  While alcohol is not allowed in Orange Beach Waterfront Park, pets are!  Remember to visit this family-friendly, exceptionally clean outdoor park when you’re planning to get your whole family out for an afternoon of sightseeing and picnicking opportunities.

  • Fort Morgan Beaches

What blog about natural walking trails and outdoor family venues would be complete without mentioning the serene beaches of Fort Morgan?  Most island guests are accustomed to seeing the clean, swept, sandy white beaches in front of condos and places like The Hangout in Gulf Shores.  While those beaches are always nice and welcoming, the undeveloped beaches of Fort Morgan are some of our favorites.  The dunes are a little more covered with sea oats and the island wildlife is often more visible.  To get here, travel all the way to the end of Fort Morgan Road and enter the fort.  Park near the restrooms and walk out the brick walkway to the beaches.  At the end of the walkway, go left and head towards the Gulf of Mexico at Mobile Point or choose to walk to the right and explore The Mobile Bay side of this beach.  If you need more reasons to visit Fort Morgan this summer, check out our blog about the Fort.  And if you happen to look out across the water and see Dauphin Island bridge and wonder what’s over there, we’ll tell you:  The Dauphin Island Sea Lab.  Catch the Mobile Bay Ferry, which leaves from the entrance gates at Fort Morgan,  to cross Mobile Bay and extend your nature outing around this area by including a trip to the The Estuarium.  You’ll be glad you did!

  • Romar Beach

Romar Beach, located nearly 7 miles from Highway 59 on Perdido Beach Boulevard, has been a local’s favorite Gulf access point for years.  There is only a limited amount of free parking around this Alabama State Park beach access, but if you’re just looking to run out across the sand and put your toes in the water, you have to stop here at Romar Beach. Don’t forget to bring a picnic basket.  This little stretch of public access is a great place to spread a blanket and have a snack.  Many people have asked us about the name “Romar”.  Romar is a combination of two last names:  Roche and Martin.  These two gentlemen were the first to build homes in this area of our island around 1924.  Stop by and see for yourself what attracted them all those years ago!  The years have changed, but the beauty of Romar Beach remains.

  • Lake Shelby

Lake Shelby is located inside Gulf State Park just off Perdido Beach Boulevard on Highway 135.  This well-kept outdoor venue welcomes pets and people, alike.  Pets, however, must be leashed.  Lake Shelby is known for its wild alligator population and they are protected, so be aware if you choose to bring your fur babies. Leashing them is an absolute must and any type of feeding or molesting the gators is a crime.  Fishing is also allowed in Lake Shelby.  There are picnic areas, designated swimming areas and restrooms available, as well.  Lake Shelby is a unique body of water in our area.  It is considered a freshwater lake, even though it is so close to the Gulf.  You’ll notice the color of the water is not like most other lakes you’ve seen, too.  But it is safe for swimming and fishing.  Freshwater bass, bream and crappie all live in Lake Shelby, along with trout and mullet.  Be sure to visit this unique lake and adjoining park. 

We’re glad you’re choosing to spend part of your summer with us in our island paradise.  At Sunset Properties, we have several beautifully decorated and fully stocked beach homes around the island available for your family’s use.Imagine, Dunes 206 and Navy Cove 2113 are located just minutes from Fort Morgan.  Lighthouse 607 is not too far from Lake Shelby.  If you’re looking for a penthouse, check out Caribe C Penthouse 14.  If none of these fit your vacation stay needs, email us atinfo@sunsetproperties.com or just give us a call 251.543.1370 .  We will be happy to help you find the perfect beach home to make the indoor part of your beach vacation unforgettable!

www.sunsetproperties.com

251.543.1370

Things to do On July 4th in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan

Things to do On July 4th in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan

Here on the Alabama Gulf Coast, we love celebrating birthdays and our nation’s birthday is no exception!  Welcome to our Island Paradise.  We are so excited you’ve chosen to spend this Independence Day 2019 with us!  We know you’re looking forward to the awesome fireworks display sponsored by The City of Gulf Shores on July 4, 2019 at 9PM, but what will you do until the fireworks start?  Here are some suggestions on how to spend your Independence Day with your family:

  • Breakfast with Pirates and Princesses

This is a great way to start off any vacation day.  Dress the kiddos (and Mom and Dad) in their best pirate or princess costume and stop by The Hangout located at Gulf Place in Gulf Shores for a great breakfast buffet with Pirates and Princesses.  Costumes are not required, but are always fun!  Breakfast is served from 8AM until 11AM.  While you’re at The Hangout, you’ll most likely meet some of our local maidens and scallywags.  Be sure to ask one of them to help you search for buried treasure on a guided treasure hunt.  And bring your camera along, too.  The photographs you’ll catch are sure the be the most valuable treasures of the day!

  • Midmorning Mini Golf and Ice Cream -Crustacean Style

After breakfast, be sure to head over to Shrimpy’s Mini Golf & Ice Cream located only a couple of blocks from The Hangout at 204 East 2nd Avenue.  This super cute fishing village themed 18 hole mini golf course will be a bit of challenging fun for your whole family.  We know its hot to play outside on the 4th of July, so that’s why we suggest mini golfing at Shrimpy’s in the morning.  As soon as you’ve mastered all 18 holes, you can go inside to cool off with something delightfully frozen.  Shrimpy’s is home to more than 20 flavors of ice cream.  And the good folks at Shrimpy’s make a delicious Bananas Foster ice cream treat you’re sure to enjoy.

  • Lunch at Lulu’s

Lucy Buffett’s Lulu’s in Gulf Shores , located at 200 East 25th Avenue in Gulf Shores, is more than just a great dining experience.  It’s an entertainment experience, also.   We don’t have to tell you how great the food is at Lulu’s.  We know that by now, you’ve already heard.  But did you know Lulu’s offers menu items specifically for folks with seafood and other allergies?  Yep!  They do.  Just ask your server to tell you about it.  While you wait for your table, you and the kiddos will love the arcade.   If video games don’t appeal to you, load up on the sunscreen and head outside to the rope courses.  There is a course for the tiny tots and one for bigger kids.  Both are challenging and fun.  If waiting for a table today doesn’t appeal to you, you’re in luck!  Lulu’s has a “go online and get in line” option that will allow you to get your name on the waitlist from a “Beat the Wait link on the website.  So plan to have lunch at Lulu’s on the 4th of July and don’t forget to get one of their iconic t-shirts while you’re there.

  • Be Lazy and Cool All Afternoon

As the heat of the day takes over, all we want to do is be lazy.  Why not do it in the Crystal Waters River at Waterville USA?  This slow moving water ride will allow you to simply relax on your tube and float the ⅓ mile course around the park.  This is a great way to cool off from the mid-summer heat while still enjoying the outdoors of our island paradise.   While the kiddos enjoy the fast paced waterslides like the Screamin’ Demon and Rainbow Falls, the adults can just kick back and relax.  Don’t forget your sunscreen.  Maybe chilling in your own private cabana appeals to you.  Rent your own space at Cabana Cove inside the park.  Enjoy seating for up to eight people including two beach recliners.  You’ll have a server assigned to your cabana and your server will bring your food and drink orders right to you.  As a bonus, each cabana rental comes with two free beach towels that are yours to keep.  That’s a pretty cool souvenir to take home after a fun afternoon enjoying one of the oldest, and yet most modern,  theme parks in Gulf Shores. 

  • Dine at Doc’s

After a long day that included everything from pirates to screamin’ demons, you’re gonna need a comfortable, casual place to have dinner.  Give Doc’s Seafood Shack located on Canal Road in Orange Beach a try.  For some of the best local seafood, the nicest servers and one of the most laid back atmospheres around, Doc’s is sure to please.  If you like raw half-shell oysters or fresh fried shrimp, you’ll love Doc’s.  Not a seafood lover?  That’s okay!  Doc’s serves fried chicken that’s so good, we’ve heard the Colonel is jealous.  If you’d like to peek at their menu before you go, follow this MENU link for a look.

  • Finally Fireworks

The City of Gulf Shores will once again this year host a fireworks show unlike any other around.  Beginning at 9PM, fireworks will be shot from the Gulf State Park Fishing and Education Pier.   Fireworks will be shot from the southernmost end of the 1500 foot long pier making viewing from most any point in Gulf Shores or Orange Beach pretty amazing.  For a great vantage point, find a spot on one of our State Park Beaches, or watch from your vacation home atBare Foot, Flip Flop or Ellie Fish II.   If you’d like to stay a little more out of the hustle and bustle of Gulf Shores and just come into town for the day or to see the fireworks, check outSpunky Sandpiper, Imagine, Pelicans Rest and Wits Inn.  All of these immaculate beach homes are fully stocked with linens and kitchen accessories, exceptionally clean, and ready for your arrival.  Sunset Properties rental management company manages a wide variety of beach homes around the island, ranging from condos to houses with sleeping arrangements for up to 20 people.  Many of our beach homes are dog friendly and we will be happy to recommend a great 4th of July outing for your fur baby, as well.  We want your whole family to enjoy America’s Birthday Celebration.

As you plan your 4th of July Independence Day Celebration in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Fort Morgan, we hope you’re planning to stay with us at Sunset Properties.

Happy Birthday, America!  God bless you!

www.sunsetproperties.com

251.543.1370