TOP 11 THINGS TO PUT IN YOUR BEACH BAG

If you’re anything like me, you’re a list maker.  I make lists all the time.  All kinds of lists.  Everything from “to do” lists, to grocery lists, to lists of goals I have not reached.  One of the most important lists you can use when you’re planning a day or a week at the beach in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Fort Morgan is a list of things to include in your beach bag.  Staying at the beach is the easy part.  Sunset Properties  makes sure of that.  Remembering what to take, on the other hand, is a little more tricky.  First, I suggest you invest in a good, sturdy, but not-too-heavy beach bag and use the following list as a guideline of things you should include:

 

  1. SUNSCREEN

Using sunscreen while you’re on the Alabama Gulf Coast beaches is an absolute must!  The sun’s rays reflect off our sugary white sandy beaches and The Gulf of Mexico making skin exceptionally vulnerable to burning.  The CDC recommends a minimum sun protection factor of 15.  I say the higher the number, the better!  It is also a good idea to reapply sunscreen after you’ve been out on the beach for a half hour.  Don’t forget to cover the tops of your feet and ears.  I can’t think of a worse place to sunburn than on the tops of my feet!  Our local hospital sees extra cases of accidental sun poisoning during the summer months.  Over exposure can happen faster than you realize and you don’t want to spend your vacation in an emergency room.  Its easy to run out on the beach from Pat-Ti-O or  USA 2  with just your happy thoughts of enjoying the day and forget to put sunscreen on and take some with you.  Remember to cover all exposed skin with at least 15 SPF during the day so you can enjoy your sunburn-free nights, as well.

 

  1. BEACH TOWEL

Get a good beach towel.  Get a towel big enough for you to stretch out on while your toes are playing in the sand.  Get one big enough to wrap up in once your day out is done.  If you forget to pack yours, beach towels are available for purchase in shops all around Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan.  Most hotel and condo managers prefer that guests not take their towels to the beach.   If you forget to bring one from home, your new towel will make a great souvenir to take back with you!

 

  1. SHADES

Don’t forget to protect your eyes while you’re out.  You’ll be surprised how many people forget to take sunshades to the beach.  The sun can be almost blindingly bright in summer months and even on clear days in the winter, too.  Whether you’re staying at Dunes 304  or at Moorings 414, a good pair of UV blocking shades are a must for your beach bag, if you aren’t already wearing them when you head out.

 

  1. WATER  

Pack some cold bottled water.  Packing at least one bottle of water per person is a good idea.  You can dehydrate out in the sun or swimming in The Gulf before you realize it.  I like to freeze bottles of water and let them thaw while I’m enjoying the beach and The Gulf.   Small coolers with ice and water are also great to carry along on your outing.  Remember, glass is never good on the beach.  On some beaches, it is prohibited.  Plastic water bottles or cups are the way to go.

 

  1. BOOK

The beach is a great place to catch up on reading.  Whether you prefer paper or electronic reading, this is the time to do it.  The relaxing sound of the waves and feeling of the breeze coming off The Gulf make reading on the beach enjoyable.  Enjoying your book from beside the lazy river at The Caribe C Penthouse 14 is just as relaxing as being down on the sand.  So don’t forget your favorite novel or People magazine and get ready to enjoy your outdoor reading space.

 

  1. MUSIC

You’re probably going to want to listen to your favorite music while you’re relaxing in the sun.  I know I do.  Don’t forget to pack your radio with fresh batteries.  Have all your music stored on your iPhone?  That’s great!   Maybe you have a Bluetooth speaker or headphones?  Don’t forget to put those in your beach bag, too.  Remember to bring along a waterproof case or cover and a battery life extender. When you’re done enjoying the sand for the day, you will probably want to stop and swim at your pool at Island Sunrise 468 or Indies 501.

 

  1. CAMERA

Is your favorite camera on your phone?  If so, great!  If not, don’t forget to grab your camera.  So many times we hear about folks who missed the perfect vacation photo opportunity because they forgot to bring their camera or phone with them.  Check your memory card and batteries and pack this in your bag, too.  Get ready to take some awesome pics of your outing.  Don’t forget to share them on Facebook or Snapchat.  Everyone loves to see great pics of the beach!

For a perfect view of the beach, check out the view from  Dunes 709 when you make your reservation.

 

  1. LIP BALM

Often overlooked and forgotten, lip balm with a high SPF like 50, is so necessary.  Your lips will sunburn faster than you realize.  Everyone in the family needs their own lip balm and everyone needs to use it.  If this isn’t part of your everyday routine at home, don’t forget to make it part of your beach routine.  Sunburn lips are no fun.

 

  1. SNACKS

Snacks!   Don’t forget to pack some healthy snacks.  I bring fresh fruit or veggies in a ziplock.  A nice cool snack can be so refreshing after you’ve spent some time out in the sun.  Not into healthy snacks?  How about some Cheetos?  You’ll be surprised how yummy these cheesy snacks are on the beach.  I actually think everything tastes better on the beach, but Cheetos are a personal favorite.  Oh, and seagulls love them, too.  I definitely do not recommend feeding seagulls.  Once you do, you will have made friends for the whole day.  Seriously, they will not want to leave once you share your Cheetos with them.  And who can blame them?  Cheetos are the best!

 

  1. MONEY

While I don’t recommend bringing a lot of cash to the beach, it is a good idea to have ten or fifteen dollars handy or maybe just take your debit card.  There is almost always something you find that you’d like to buy while you’re out for the day.  Maybe some ice cream or a tall cold beverage from one of the local beach bars sounds good.  In any case, it is a good idea to have just enough buying power to cover that little unexpected expense that’s sure to pop up.  Don’t forget to bring your driver license along, too.  And of course, you’ll need to bring your room key or key card.  If you have trouble with your room key or need any help at all while you’re staying with us, stop by one of our office locations or contact us at info@sunsetproperties.com or just give us a call.  We will be happy to help you!

 

  1. TRASH BAG      

You’ll see “leave only footprints” reminders all around the beaches of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.  Leaving trash on the beach is not cool.  No one likes to visit a dirty beach.  Keeping our beach clean is everyone’s responsibility.  I suggest bringing a small plastic grocery store bag to collect your personal trash from the day in and drop it in one of the many large trash cans located near the road.  Leave your footprints, but please take your trash with you when you go.

 

Welcome to the beautiful Alabama Gulf Coast Beaches!

 

www.sunsetproperties.com

251.543.1370.

The Indies or The Dunes, Which is Better???

I get this question daily.  Guest call in wanting to know, ” Really which one is better?”  Both buildings have things that I love and maybe some things that I would change.  I’ll tell you about them from my point of view and hopefully this will help you make an informed decision about where your next stay will be.

Let’s start with The Dunes she is the matriarch of The Dunes Community.  The first building here and the anchor of this last little community on the island.  The Dunes was finished in 2001  and the owner have had the option to be a rental condo from the beginning.  The Dunes Building sits about 300 yards from the edge of the Gulf and every condo its beautifully calming waters.  This building has a westerly facing view of the gulf which allows for sunset views from virtually every balcony in the building.  Over time the community has grown and some of the views have become obstructed.  with homes.  You do still have a great water view from the pool deck and if you are on the 3rd floor and above.  This building was built on a Dune so it naturally sits well above sea level and has had no storm damage  to speak of in the years it has been open.  In fact this building is one of the safest places to be!

Lets talk interior!!!  The Dunes has seven floors of condo with 10 condo units on each floor with the exception of the 1st floor which has 8.  The first floor also houses an office for Sunset Properties, a fitness center, sauna, His and Hers restrooms, and an indoor pool.  The interior of most of the condos still have the original Formica counter tops and white cabinets.  However, we are beginning to see owners upgrade their cabinets to the more modern granite counter tops and install new cabinets.  Now that the building is getting a little older most of the owners are putting efforts into upgrading their interiors as well.  New furnishings and paint through out!

Each floor includes one bedroom, two bath condos, two bedroom, two bath condos and three bedroom, two and a half bath condos.  The one bedroom, two bath condos have master bedroom with an attached bath, a set of bunk beds built into the hallway, with a bath across from them.  A full size kitchen, living area that over looks the Gulf, and a washer and dryer.  Most of the one bedroom condos also have a sleeper sofa.  These condos sleep up to six and are a great option for small families or couples on a budget.

The two bedroom two bath condos also sleep up to six.  The master still has an attached bath but instead of being located at the entrance of the condo the Master bedroom in a two bedroom is located on the Gulf side of the condo with its own balcony door.  The two bedroom condos have a second bedroom near the front door which has a Bay view if you are on the 3rd floor or above.  this second bedroom also has an attached bath.  these condos also have the full size kitchens, washer and dryer, and living area that over looks the Gulf!  The two bedroom condos are great if you have multiple couples traveling or just want a little more space to spread out!

The three bedrooms truly are the show places of the building.  Located on the east and west end of the building these condo have gorgeous sweeping views of the end of the island multiple balconies, and plenty of space for everyone in your party!  The master bath room has private toilet shower area away from the sink and vanity.  The bathroom is attached to the master bedroom which has its own balcony and balcony door.  The other two bedrooms share a large bath that is situated in the hall and attached to one of the rooms.  Both of the extra bedrooms are located at the north side of the building so they overlook the bay.  The living area has a large balcony that gives a great space for the entire family to enjoy the Gulf view.  There is an additional half bath off of the living area just past the washer and dryer closet.  The full kitchen is the most open off all of the condos sizes and there is a great bar area for people to realx or just have breakfast.

The Dunes  has ample parking for multiple vehicles and even a place to store your boat at the ends of the parking area.  The Dunes requires parking passes at different times of the year.  be prepared to pay for the $12 passes for your vehicles.  Dogs of 35 pounds or smaller are welcome at The Dunes in pet friendly condo units, but not in th pool area, and you must leash and pick after your dogs at all times you are outside of the condo.  If you are staying at the Dunes you have access not only to The Dunes indoor out door pool but also The Dunes Community pool about halfway to the beach.   Over all the Dunes is  a fantastic family friendly place to stay!

The Indies was finished in 2005 and also has 7 floors.  The Indies has some very strict policies that you should be aware of prior to booking.  It is not pet friendly!  Also, The Indies has as they call it a “No Sharing Policy”!  This means simply that they do not share their amenities with the rest of the community.  The guest staying at at The Indies only have access to the amenities at The Indies because of this policy.  They also have parking passes just as The Dunes does but they are $22.00 per pass.  You also do not have boat storage at The Indies.  You will need to plan ahead and set up boat storage at the marina across the street, as your boat will be towed from the Indies parking lot.

The Indies is a great building!  It has a beautiful roof top terrace for sunning, complete with lounge chairs.  The pool deck has multiple pools for The Indies guests.  You have a sunning pool, that waterfalls into the regular condo size pool.  The association has converted one of the hot tubs into a kiddie pool and there is also another traditional hot tub.  There are plenty of lounge chairs on the pool deck to soak up the rays while on vacation.  There are also multiple fitness centers for your use.  The first door on your left as you enter the breeze way is the security guard office and business office.  this is where you can pick up your wrist bands for swimming at the pool and any extra parking passes you may need.  The Indies condos have large garden tubs, and shower combination.  All of the units of The Indies face directly south toward the Gulf of Mexico.  The Indies sits on top of a parking garage which put it well out of the way of storm water as well.  The parking garage has limited parking.  Do not assume it is ok to park ther most likely your condo does not have a parking place.  Most of them do not!

This building has one, two and three bedroom condos as well just ina little different situation than the Dunes.  Where The Dunes has mostly one bedroom condos, The Indies has mostly 3 bedroom condos.

The Indies also has a three bedroom, three bath condos which are located on the east and west end of the building.  These large end units are considerably larger than the 3 bedroom, 2 bath condos in the interior of the building.   The large three bedroom, three bath end condos have fantastic wrap around balconies.  These  balconies allow beautiful views on the west end you can even catch the sunsets.  Because this building looks directly south you can tell the sun is setting but you cannot see it from most condos. The view is still beautiful with Indies sitting equally back from the water you can see the gulf from each room third floor and above.

The interior three bedroom, two bath has a master bedroom that over looks the Gulf while the other rooms are sit on the north side of the condo.  The mast bedrooms have their own bath while the other two bedrooms share a hall bath.    The living area has a beautiful view of the Gulf out the main patio door.  The condos all have granite counter tops and the majority have stainless steel appliances in their full size kitchens.  The large hallways allow easy access for those who may need wheelchair accessibility  this is not a benefit that The Dunes has.  There are not pull bars or roll in showers in these condos, however.

The two bedroom two bath condos look toward the gulf through their main sliding glass door.  Just in side the door is the main living area and the fully equipped kitchen.  The Master bedroom also has its own door that allows access to the balcony and a private bathroom.  The second bedroom also has its own bath and is located at the north end of the condo with a window that looks toward the bay.

The building only has a hand full of one bedroom condos and each of these only has one bath.  The bedroom in these condos is located on the north side of the building.  these condos also have bunk beds in the hall.  Most of the one bedroom condos sleep six which means they are wonderful for small families.  The one bedrooms are located in the middle of the building.  They all have a similar balcony that looks toward the gulf with a door that leads in the main living area.  The living area and the kitchen are one shared space in all of the condos.  This condo is a great choice for those who want to stay close to their conod and want the upgrades that came with this building from the beginning.

My hope is that with knowledge you can make an informed decision about whihc condo building would be best for you and your family when you com on your beach vacation!  See you soon!

Sunset Properties first house with it’s own POOL!!!!

We wanted to introduce our first house with a pool to you! Welcome “Dreams Come True” to our rental line up! This four bedroom three and a half bath home is located on South Boykin Court, about 2 blocks from the Dunes Community. Located on the Ft. Morgan peninsula, this beautiful home is also only 20 yards away from the sugar white sandy beaches of the Gulf of Mexico. You will also enjoy your very own private pool. How cool is that!! This home has 3 decks all with ocean views. You can cook all that wonderful seafood in the large well stocked kitchen. This kitchen will come with everything you need and then some to prepare amazing meals with your family. You can seat six comfortably at the dining room. For additional seating 5 more can eat at the breakfast bar that separates the kitchen and dining room. Relax with your family and a good movie or a board game in the plush living room. After a fun family evening you can grab a hot shower or relax in the Jacuzzi tub before you head off to a restful sleep in one of the peaceful bedrooms. The master bedroom has a wonderful King size bed to add to your comfort. There are two bedrooms with queen beds and the forth bedroom has two sets of bunk beds for your little sand crabs If you have a few extra people there is a sleeper sofa with a special mattress to insure your comfort. In the master bedroom there is also an over-sized chair that lets out into a twin bed. There are TV’s and DVD players, with Direct TV throughout the home. Who could ask for anything more in a vacation home? Don’t miss out on this piece of paradise!!!!  Call to book today.

What to pack for your Beach Vacation!!!

If  you are like me, you always over pack no matter where you are going, and the things you pack are not exactly what you need.  Tara and I took some time to make a video about what you need for your beach vacation.  What you need is a surprisingly short list.  Be sure to check out this video so you don’t bring needless items, and don’t forget the most important things! 

   What to pack for your Beach Vacation

Snapper Season Open each weekend until Nov. 22nd

Time to break out your fishing polls and put on some sunscreen, it is Snapper Season each weekend until November 22nd.  I’m not sure who came up with the idea but they were brilliant!!! Instead a few weeks earlier in the year,  Now it is Snapper Season every weekend in the fall.  Almost every man I know in the area is busy every weekend fishing for the fun and great tasting fish.

So now is the time folks, book your condo, bring your boat down or schedule a charter and get ready to have some fun!!!  The snapper are huge, and available every weekend.  Oh, and don’t forget about the ladies in your life, if they are not interested in fishing themselves, there are beautiful white sand beaches and world class shopping for them to enjoy in the area.  The fall is the beast time of year to come to the beach with its small crowds and perfect weather and low rates, who could ask for more???  Give us a call for specials.  See you soon!!!!

39th Annual Gulf Shores Shrimp Festival Oct. 7-10

Fall is officially here!!!!! We have some great happenings at the beach this fall, including the 39th Annual National Shrimp Festival.  This year it is the weekend of October 7th thru Sunday the 10th.  If you have never been here for the Shrimp Festival, it is certainly an event not to miss.  Great food, that ranges from seafood to typical fair food, that brings back memories of those childhood visits to the state fair. 

 The food is not the only reason to attend however, there are great vendors and you can purchase beach inspired clothes, jewelery, and artwork of any scale!  Some of my favorite pieces are the giant metal sculptures of life size sea creatures, and the resin cartoonish ones that bring a smile to everyone’s face.  Don’t forget about the musical performances each day you have choices of two different stages to listen to music continously through out the festival.  The kids are not left out at shrimp festival.  There is a family friendly sand sculpture contest, and a Children Activity Village, for your little ones to create their own masterpiece!  A Chef’s Challenge is something you don’t want to miss as the top five finalists consists of some of the best chef’s in our area showcasing their talents in the kitchen to create new dining delights for visitors to our area. 

We have some great specials for you come for a couple of days or a long weekend to enjoy the fun and events of Shrimp Festival, and then the piece and quiet of Ft. Morgan, only 20 minutes from the festival shuttles!  Prices start as low as $199.00 for 2 nights!  Give us a call today!!!!