Dauphin Island Sea Lab and Other Fun Things to Do on Dauphin Island

Dauphin Island Sea Lab

Take the 40-minute ferry ride from Fort Morgan to Dauphin Island and discover a whole new world full of incredible experiences for the whole family. On Dauphin Island, you’ll find the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Fort Gaines, Shell Mound Park, and more! Explore the subtropical oasis that is Dauphin Island and see for yourself the adventure day that will be one of the highlights of your trip to Alabama’s Gulf Coast!

Are you looking for the most incredible experiences on Alabama’s Gulf Coast? Then, you’ve come to the right place! Here at Sunset Properties, we consider ourselves experts when it comes to all things Gulf coast. So, check out our recommended activities and get the ball rolling on your next adventure!

You’ll Love These Great Things to Do on Dauphin Island

Audubon Bird Sanctuary
Cost: Free!
Hours: Open daily from dawn until dusk.
The Audubon Bird Sanctuary features 137 acres of maritime forests, including marshes, dunes, lakes, swamps, and beaches. As a result, the Audubon Bird Sanctuary on Dauphin Island is home to 420 of the 445 officially documented bird species in Alabama, or 95% of documented bird species. Its three-mile-long trail system is recognized as a National Recreational Trail, and it’s an exciting way to discover the island. Come, explore with the whole family!

Fort Gaines
Cost: Adults $6 (ages 13+) | Children $4 (ages 5-12)
Hours: Open year-round from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from June – August; Group tours by appointment only.
The Fort is famous for Admiral Farragut’s infamous line, “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” at the Battle of Mobile Bay at Fort Gaines. This pre-Civil War brick fortification is home to original cannons, kitchens, a blacksmith shop, and tunnels. The kids are sure to love the guided tours. Plus, living history performers in period-correct replica uniforms interact with the Fort’s guests! Come while you can because, due to shoreline erosion, Fort Gaines is considered one of the Eleven Most Endangered Historic Sites in America.

Dauphin Island Sea Lab
Cost: Adults $11 | Children (ages 5-18) or students with ID $6 | Seniors $9 | Group rates available
Hours of Operation
Both adults and children will enjoy the interactive exhibits and visual displays at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab! You’ll definitely want to check out the Living Marsh Boardwalk, the Mobile Bay Gallery, Barrier Island, Billy Goat Hole Gallery, the Touch Tanks, and the Weather Station. Be sure to grab a souvenir from the gift shop before you go!

Shell Mound Park
Come, explore the fascinating shell mounds! What are shell mounds? Scientists believe these shell mound are possibly the remains of Native American oyster roasts from A.D. 1100-1500. These incredible relics to Native American life in the area are a great reason to visit Dauphin Island! Plus, explore 11 acres of plant species on this “subtropical natural wonder.” It’s maintained by the Alabama Marine Resources Division.

Ferry Schedule
Single ferry, departing Dauphin Island
8:00 a.m. | 9:30 a.m. | 11:00 a.m. | 12:30 p.m. | 2:00 p.m. |3:30 p.m. | 5:00 p.m. | 6:30 p.m.*
Single ferry, departing Fort Morgan
8:45 a.m. | 10:15 a.m. | 11:45 a.m. | 1:15 p.m. | 2:45 p.m. |4:15 p.m. | 5:45 p.m. |7:15 p.m.*

Second ferry, departing Dauphin Island
8:45 a.m. | 10:15 p.m. | 11:45 a.m. | 1:15 p.m. | 2:45 p.m. | 4:15 p.m. | 5:45 p.m.
Second ferry, departing Fort Morgan
9:30 a.m. | 11:00 a.m. | 12:30 p.m. | 3:00 p.m. | 3:30 p.m. | 5:00 p.m. | 6:30 p.m.

*These hours only run during daylight savings time.

Take an Adventure Day from the Best Place to Stay on Alabama’s Gulf Coast

Dauphin Island is the perfect place to take a family adventure during your beach vacation! When you’re planning your vacation to Alabama’s Gulf Coast, check out the available condos and beach houses from Sunset Properties. You’ll love the comfort and proximity to the beach each of our properties affords. So, contact us today to book your beach getaway!

18th Annual Orange Beach Billfish Classic

Are you ready for a new adventure?  Join the top anglers in the country and lots of cheering fans at the 18th Annual Orange Beach Billfish Classic.  This event takes place out of the marina at The Wharf.  The events start on the 18th of May and go through the 22nd.  You can keep track of your favorite team and check often for their weigh-ins.  The fishing starts at noon on the 19th and goes until weigh in on at 11 AM on the 22nd. There is a Weigh in on Saturday also on Saturday from 6 until 10 PM.  So come enjoy all the fun activities at The wharf and then see if your favorite team won the big prize!  Below are all the details from the Orange Beach Billfish Classic Website.

First of the Gulf Coast tournament season and the kickoff tournament of the Gulf Coast Triple Crown Championship series.  The Orange Beach Billfish Classic was formed in 1998 for the express purpose of providing financial support for organizations that speak effectively for all recreational fishermen. The OBBC quickly became a top event on the Gulf Coast tournament circuit and serves as an important fundraiser for The Billfish Foundation and the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA). In 2011, over $50,000 was donated to these organizations, bringing the total contributed over the history of the tournament to over $500,000.

2014- Triple Crown trophy
2014- Triple Crown trophy

The OBBC is the country’s only non-profit billfish tournament with 100% of all net profit donated to qualified 501(c)(3) conservation organizations. The OBBC is an all-volunteer effort so there is no overhead to deduct from the financial support that’s provided to our conservation beneficiaries.

Beginning in 2013, The Wharf Marina Entertainment Complex hosted the Orange Beach Billfish Classic for the first time, and hosted the tournament again in 2014 and 2015. Over the course of the four day event, the crews, anglers and participants enjoy a series of fun and food-filled events, with a Captain’s Meeting on Wednesday evening and culminating with an awards brunch on Sunday morning. The organizers look forward to a big turnout this year in order to continue to support the organizations that fight for our resources.

10361061_634166736676009_1355216962380415182_n“I’d like to take a minute to personally invite everyone to join us for the 2016 Orange Beach Billfish Classic,” Dorland said in a recent interview. “Our staff will welcome you with open arms and we’ll all do our best to show you what a great experience this event has become, from the great fishing to our world-famous Gulf Coast hospitality. Come fishing with us this year — you won’t be disappointed.”

Interested participants are welcome to contact Dorland personally at (251) 402-8190 for more information.

Orange Beach Billfish Classic schedule of events is as follows.
Wednesday, May 18th• 4-11 pm: Registration and Optional Cash Awards open under the big tent • 6 pm: Cocktails and Hors d ’Oeuvres • 7 pm: Dinner • 8-11 pm: Optional Cash Awards Pot Party 2016

Schedule Of Events Thursday, May 19th • 10:00 am: Mandatory Captain’s Meeting under the big tent • 10:30 am: Boats may leave The Wharf through Perdido Bay to Perdido Pass • 12 noon: Boats may leave Perdido Pass. Any boat choosing to leave through Sailboat Bay may not leave The Wharf Marina until NOON, May 19th • 12 noon: Fishing Commences Friday, May 20th • 7-10 pm: Weigh in at The Wharf Saturday, May 21st • 6-10 pm: Weigh in at The Wharf Sunday, May 22nd • 9-11 am: Tournament Awards Breakfast

 

Leave Only Footprints – Keep Alabama Beaches Clean!

As a child growing up just over the state line in the Pensacola area of Florida I remember a similar idea of leaving only your footprints behind. As I’ve gotten older I’ve always wondered why Alabama Beaches didn’t have the same signs for all the beach goers. The beaches across Alabama are implementing a similar plan and it is called Leave only Footprints!

The leave only Footprints, works off of the idea that, “you must be change you want to see in the world”. With that idea in mind and with the direction of U.S. Fish and Wildlife, the cities and areas of the Alabama Gulf Coast have enacted several new rules regarding litter and items on the beach.

1. Personally owned structures and equipment left on the beach an hour after sunset will be removed byIMG_1355 the beach patrol.

2. Avoid walking on beach vegetation. Plant roots hold together the fragile dunes.

3. Keep the natural ecosystem intact by avoiding the removal of shells, driftwood or other items you may find during your island explorations.

4. Explore away from bird nesting areas. Nests may be located in the ground and camouflaged to resemble the surrounding environment, so please watch your step!

5. Consider the best type of transportation to see the island: your feet! Walking is not only a great form of exercise, but it’s an eco-friendly way to experience the Alabama Gulf Coast.

New Trash Cans and Recycle containers will be all along the beach to help keep trash and recyclables off of the beach and out of the water. Keeping Alabama beaches clean and safe for all of its inhabitants and visitors.IMG_3017

Each year more than 5 million visitors travel from across the nation and the world to enjoy the turquoise water and white-sand beaches of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Come, stay, play and enjoy the striking beauty and laid-back lifestyle of our 32 miles of sugar-white sand. We simply ask that you take with you all those happy beach memories . . . and leave only your footprints.

The Leave Only Footprints program exists to ensure it stays that way for generations to come. Will you join us?

Lulu’s 8th Annual Tropical Re-Union Wedding Vow Renewal Ceremony

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Event Category  

Dates & Times

Feb 13, 2016   11:00 AM – 12:00 AM

Location

200 East 25th AvenueGulf Shores, AL, 36542

Event Info

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For all of the lovebirds out there, this one is for you! Come celebrate your love and commitment at LuLu’s 8th Annual Tropical Re-union. Couples – Come out and enjoy the festivities with a complimentary champagne toast, complimentary wedding cake, flowers for the “brides”, certificates of re-union and some great music will help to make this day perfect. This event will take place on Saturday, February 13th, 2016 with registration beginning at 11 a.m. The Vow Renewal will take place at 2:00 p.m. Come spend the day with friends, family and all of us here at LuLu’s as we celebrate YOU!!

Contact Us

PHONE: 251 967-LULU (5858)

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Golfing along the Gulf Coast

Alabama’s Gulf Coast boasts more than just beautiful sandy beaches and fantastic weather. Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan, and the surrounding areas are home to several of the state’s best and most beautiful golf courses. In fact, the state’s top rated course – Kiva Dunes – is located between Fort Morgan and Gulf Shores, just down the road from our beautiful beach houses and condo rentals.Golf Gulf Shores

The golf community in and around Gulf Shores and Fort Morgan is comprised of many wonderful golf courses, including four pristine and famous golf courses within the limits of Gulf Shores. Each offers challenging holes, stunning scenery, and a variety of landscapes. These beautiful courses offer unique and memorable golfing experiences, with most just minutes from the landmark of Fort Morgan.

Cotton Creek at Craft Farms

3840 Cotton Creek Circle

Gulf Shores, AL 36542

This course is the original Arnold Palmer signature design, offering challenge and Southern charm. It’s one of only two of Arnold Palmer’s Alabama projects, and it’s sure to impress. It features rolling fairways, rippling greens, dwarf Bermuda grasses, several lakes, and more than 7,000 yards from the tips.

Cypress Bend at Craft Farms

3840 Cotton Creek Circle
Gulf Shores, AL 36542

The sister course to Cotton Creek, Cypress Bend is the other Arnold Palmer masterpiece in Alabama. Year-round conditions are lush and green, making it a must-play course no matter when you visit Fort Morgan or Gulf Shores. It holds a 4 ½-star rating from Golf Digest and features “staggered tee boxes, sprawling bunkers, top-quality putting surfaces, and year-round lush conditions.” The lakes accented by cord grass offer a breezy, coastal feel at almost every hole.

 

Kiva Dunes

815 Plantation Drive
Gulf Shores, AL 36542

The number one rated golf course in Alabama, Kiva Dunes is truly stunning. It was designed by former U.S. Open Champion Jerry Pate and is Alabama’s only beachfront golf resort. It has been named among Golf Digest’s “America’s 100 Best Public Golf Courses,” and showcases the native sand dunes, lakes, and natural wildlife areas. The 7,092-yard course is secluded, seaside, and is convenient to the full-service clubhouse on site.

 

Peninsula Golf & Racquet ClubIMG_1123

20 Peninsula Blvd.
Gulf Shores, AL 36542

Created by Earl Stone, this 27-hole course on Mobile Bay features more than 7,000 yards from the tees. It is located on 820 secluded acres, with the Bon Secour Wildlife Preserve on two sides of it. It has been consistently ranked 4 stars by Golf Digest, and it is home to an abundance of natural vegetation and lakes.

There are also several wonderful courses nearby, some of which were designed by famous golf pros!

Glenlakes Golf Clubsolider creek

9530 Clubhouse Drive

Foley, AL 36535

Lost Key Golf club

625 Lost Key Drive
Perdido Key, FL 32507

Rock Creek Golf Club

140 Clubhouse Drive
Fairhope, AL 36532

TimberCreek Golf Club

9650 Timbercreek Boulevard
Daphne, AL 36527

Christmas Celebrations in the Gulf Shores Area

It is that time of year and all across our area it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas, despite the warm weather. The street lamps through out the area are lit up and covered in garland.  Recently the City of Foley had their Christmas Tree lighting and welcoming Santa. This year the event was quite grand with Santa escorted by the Police and Fire departments. This year the City of 20151204_183333Foley went all out adding tons of new lights in the Train Park, and around the newly built Centennial Clock Tower. Guests to the Tree lighting enjoyed regular sized trees decorated by local business and community organizations, hot chocolate, carols sung by local children’s choirs, and a count down to lighting the of the Dr. Seuss like tree.
The second most popular spot after visiting Santa in the pavilion was the miniature village. This area has miniature replicas of local city landmarks and even little trees to light up the tiny town. This area features buildings that are a couple of feet tall and painted and even occupied by townspeople or sometimes Santa’s elves. This popular little village had a line just as long as the line for Santa.  20151204_180849 The newly constructed clock tower with star and surrounded by angels was a favorite spot for photos.
Foley isn’t the only place that has holiday festivities this time of year. Gulf shores recently hosted a Christmas Parade on the streets and in the Inter-coastal Canal both are a site to see as they are dominated with lit up boats. Lighting the boats for Christmas is a tradition that is particular to coastal towns. If you haven’t seen a boat parade you need to make time to see one of these parades.

The Gulf Shores Christmas Parade closes down Hwy 59 and proceeds right down through the heart of town ending just before the beach. Of course candy and prize are tossed by passing floats. Holiday music fills the air as light covered floats and boats head toward the gulf. As inmost small towns everything shuts down when a parade comes through the streets. The high school band plays and marches and different sports teams and the homecoming court is part of the action as well. A great parade to sit and enjoy and then you can continue your evening at a local restaurant.  IMG_4523 The annual Christmas boat parade starts at 6 and continues on until it is done. Many people stake out their spot early on the canal or a pier and pack a picnic to enjoy the parade.Fresh Market Christ Boat If you are not up for roughing it and a picnic enjoy the parade from the side of the canal enjoy it from one of the many canal side restaurants while enjoying a wonderful meal. Be sure to pack your hot coco and your camera and enjoy all the fun of the local Christmas activities.

Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores, AL

Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores, Alabama, offers lots of fun things to do, from geocaching, biking, and days on the beach to golfing, fishing, and exploring the nature center. Open daily from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., you could spend the entire day exploring here! The two miles of gorgeous beaches offer room to kick back in a chair, throw a Frisbee or football, or splash around in the Gulf. Beyond the beach, enjoy recreational activities, the Nature Center, and more.

Nature Center

A nice place to cool off and meet some interesting critters, the Nature Center at Gulf State Park is home to native plants and animals. The “living museum” aims to teach people about caring for the environment and its many living things. It’s open from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and entrance is $1 per vehicle into the campground area.IMG_1199

Fishing & Education Pier

The pier at Gulf State Park has 2,448 feet of fishing space along the rails. You’ll find trash cans, lights, and bench seating, as well as some great chances to catch some fish. There is even an indoor seating and concession area, as well as a retail store where you can get tackle and souvenirs. The pier is also wheelchair accessible.fishing pier

Refuge Golf Club

Set in the scenic Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores, Refuge Golf Club is a beautiful 18-hole championship course designed by Earl Stone. It features 6,593 yards of landscaped courses, along with a driving range, putting green, and pro shop. It’s open from 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. seven days a week with reasonable daily fees. Play 18 holes for $24.99 ($21.24 for seniors and $12 for children) or nine holes for $14.99 ($12.74 for seniors and $10 for children). Cart fees are $9 and $15 for nine holes and 18 holes, respectively.

Hiking, biking, beach fun

There are 15 miles of trails in Gulf State Park, spanning Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama. Trails feature a variety of terrains, providing opportunities for people of many skill levels to bike, walk, and run.
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Dog-friendly fun

Gulf State Park is dog friendly in several areas! As long as your well-behaved four-legged friend is leashed, you can bring him or her along on the trails and at the picnic area.IMG_1194 You can even unleash pets at the Dog Pond at Lake Shelby, where they can run, play, and swim. The dog park is on the west end of the parking lot below the Gulf Adventure Center. Just be sure to check the rules before heading over.

 

Alabama Coastal Birding Trail

When visiting the Gulf Coast, one might see a seagull flying around waiting to be fed, a pelican plunging into the water to grab its fishy lunch, or one of the many shore birds wading at the water’s edge pecking for food and nesting. Alabama’s Gulf Coast is home to many feathered creatures – not just the ones we see hanging around the beach area. In the late 90s, a birding trail was opened to offer the opportunity for people around the world to come experience a wide variety of bird species along the Alabama Gulf Coast.548386_329999303727100_100001510997017_856982_1705441458_n

The Alabama Coastal Birding Trail is 200 miles, consisting of six birding loops between Baldwin County and Mobile County. The loops can be followed in order, in full or in partiality. The six birding loops include:

  • Gulf Shores – Orange Beach Loop
  • Fort Morgan Loop
  • South Baldwin County Loop
  • Easter Shore, Mobile Bay Causeway and Blakeley Island Loop
  • Mobile – Tensaw River Delta Loop
  • Dauphin Island Bayou La Batre Loop

Fort Morgan Loop

The closest to our Sunset Properties community, Fort Morgan Loop starts at the intersection of AL 59 and AL 180 in Gulf Shores. Most of the Fort Morgan Peninsula falls in the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, making it great for birding and enjoying nature. As you explore the Fort Morgan Loop, you’ll run across the Jeff Friend Trail, Pine Beach Trail, Mobile Street, The Pines, Fort Morgan, The Stables, Ferry Landing, Middle Ground, The Fort, and The Marsh. All of these trails offer a variety of terrain and views, as well as a number of conveniences – easy parking, restrooms, a snack bar, a museum and more.

While on one of the many loops listed above, you will see birds such as Black Bellied Plovers, Clapper Rails, Indigo Buntings and so many more. Directional and informational signs along the way will guide you easily along the loops.  Plan your days accordingly; tackle a different trail each day or you could even do two or three during a day. Each loop is close enough to where you could drive to one after another. In between each trail, you and the family could stop and grab a bite to eat at one of the favorite local restaurants or take a look inside one of the many gift shops.

Not just for the bird lovers, these trails offer something for the outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. Along with the birding trail, there is a time for hunting. The season usually lasts from October until February; however, non-consumptive use is allowed all year long. Along with hunting, you can also grab that fishing pole and take out the boat or stand on the coast for a relaxing day of fishing. So grab those binoculars, fishing poles, and more and come experience an outdoor paradise that’s fun for any age!

Red, White and Blues Air Show 2015!

Saturday July 11th is the date for the Red, White and Blues Air Show over Pensacola Beach. Just before the air show some antique planes will fly WWII Veterans in honor of their service. There are about 11 planes taking WWII Veterans. These special planes will be a show all to themselves. The main event will start at 2 p.m. be sure to travel and get your spot on the beach early.

Some tips for being prepared for the Air Show. Be patient! There will be lots of traffic and it will be hot so be over courteous and kind to your neighbors. The worst thing that could happen on such a fun day is if tempers rise and fights occur. Remember this is a family event. There will be impressionable little ears and eyes everywhere. Be sure to wear sunscreen and reapply throughout the day. Bring food and lots to drink! Have FUN!!!

The 2015 air show line-up includes the RV-8 speed demons; fat albert, a C-130 Hercules that flies support for the Blue Angels; an MX2, an unlimited aerobatic aircraft that spins and rotates at high speeds; and a one of a kind Extra 300SHP; plus a biplane that roars and races.

I remember going to these shows every year as a child and have wonderful memories. Load up your family and make the trip to Pensacola Beach you will not regret it. After the Air show the Blue Wahoos will be playing the Montgomery Biscuits and after the ball game there will be a fireworks show over Pensacola Bay.