10 THINGS LOCALS KNOW ABOUT WINTER AT THE BEACH AND YOU SHOULD TOO

 

I’ve heard folks say:  I want to go to Gulf Shores and do what the locals do.  I want to know what they know.  I think those statements are a bit funny, because we, at Sunset Properties, are always sharing our knowledge with you, our readers and guests.  But I will admit, there are a few cool things we locals know about winters in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan that not a lot of folks outside our area are aware of.  I decided to write this blog to share

10 Things Locals Know About Winter At The Beach And You Should, Too just in case you’re contemplating a winter getaway vacation to our happy part of Alabama.

 

  • Shell collecting is the best

The beaches are less crowded and shell collecting during the winter months at the beach is so great!  With smaller crowds and fewer people walking the beaches, there is, quite literally, less competition to find the best shells.  Walking the beach along the Alabama Gulf Coast on winter days can be a bit breezy and sometimes it is a little cool, so you might want to wear a jacket or windbreaker for your outing.  Some days, however, the temps can reach the high sixties and even the low seventies, so don’t be surprised if you work up a little sweat while you’re treasure hunting.

 

  • Painting or writing a memory is a breeze

The winter sun reflecting off The Gulf of Mexico will make the water and sky sparkle and shine in amazing hues of blues and greens.  It’s easy to photograph our local beauty with a camera or phone, but why not take some watercolors or artist chalks and artists paper and capture your own memory?  Often you’ll find locals just sitting and relaxing on our vacant Gulf Shores beaches and making notes about or painting what they see.  If you take the time, we know our wonderful little island’s environment will speak to you.  You may not know it, but there may just be an artist inside you and this may just be the place to set him free.

 

  • The timing is perfect for great photography

If painting is not in your wheelhouse, why not take some breathtaking pictures of our island?  Less crowded beaches means you’ll have less opportunities for those crazy photobombers who seem to be everywhere in the summer.  Try shooting a few pictures in black and white and see how great they look!  The air is just crisper and cleaner during the winter months and the sunlight’s reflection off seemingly everything is amazing.  Sea oats are always great models.  We urge you to take pictures, but please do not disturb the sea oats.  They help hold our dunes in place and they are protected by law.  If you’re not the best photographer, but you want to capture some memories while you’re here, contact the good folks at Chasing the Son Photogrpahy and see if they can’t help you out.  

 

  • Local seafood is surprisingly affordable and there usually is not a wait to be seated

How long have you waited to be seated for dinner in the summer at the beach?  We suspect you’ve waited at least thirty minutes.  In the winter, however, seating is much quicker.  Locals know that most restaurants offer early-bird dinner specials, too.  It’s like eating at happy hour every night!  We cannot think of a better way to try a new menu item than to sample our great local Alabama Gulf Seafood at a reduced cost.

 

  • Fort Morgan is the perfect place for a December picnic

If you’ve never been inside the magnificent walls of Fort Morgan, we cannot think of a better day outing than planning a picnic on the fort grounds.  Take your picnic basket and blanket and spread out on the grassy area inside the fort for a cozy winter meal.  The walls of the fort help deflect some of the chilly breezes that can meander off Mobile Bay.  You’ll love the way the warm sun feels on your face and you’ll enjoy a making personal memory with your family or special someone.

 

  • Adult beverages taste better when you only have a few folks around

Everyone loves a great crowded night spot in the summer.  The fast pace of summers at our beach make our nights even hotter.  But there is something special about visiting a beach bar in the winter.  Sitting by a window where you can see the gulls playing outside or boats passing by as you sip your favorite adult beverage with just a few friends nearby gives you a whole new perspective on our laid-back beach life.  It is so nice to be able to enjoy a simple glass of wine or a rum topped bushwacker and have nice conversations with our friends.  If you want to meet a few of us, come on down to the Pink Pony or Bill’s By the Beach or Big Beach Brewing Company.  We might just be the folks sitting right beside you.

 

  • Shopping for beach attire and small gifts is easy

Did you know that many of our local shops run amazing sales on swimwear and local tees during the winter months?  Yep!  One of the best times to get amazing deals on fashionable swimwear is during the winter.  All those cool tees you were eyeing during your summer visit, those are on sale, too.  How about getting someone back home a great gift at a reduced price?  We are pretty sure you can find the perfect souvenir to take back home at an amount that won’t cut into your adult beverage budget.  Visit www.gulfshores.com for a complete listing of local retailers.  

 

  • Tanning is still a thing and flip flops are still acceptable footwear

That’s right!  You can still tan in the winter and you can wear your flip flops in January.  We do!  You can actually get a pretty bad sunburn if you aren’t careful.  While you may not want to don that string bikini in late December, you will most likely find days when shorts and t-shirts are comfortable.  Always, always, always use sunscreen while you’re visiting our happy little island.  Even on winter days, when it’s cold and snowing back where you come from, down here, the sun continues to tan us all winter.

 

  • Volunteer opportunities are all around

Want to become an intrinsic part of our little community while you’re here?  Great!  Locals are big on volunteering and we welcome our guests who want to participate.  Our local United Way is always looking for kind hearted folks who want to volunteer at their partner agencies.  The Thomas Norton Library usually likes to have volunteers around.  And our museums in Gulf Shores or Orange Beach may have volunteer opportunities.  

 

  • You can sleep cheap

This is one of the biggest secrets locals know.  After this blog posts, I guess it won’t be a secret anymore.  Lodging and vacation rental prices are at our yearly low, so finding an affordable place to stay is super easy.  You will get to stay in the same great places you did last summer but for about half the cost.  Sometimes it is even less than half!  Check out our website www.sunsetproperties.com or better yet, give us a call.  We may have a weekend special that isn’t posted and you might just be the lucky person who gets our rental deal of the week!


So we have you thinking about a winter beach getaway, huh?  Awesome!  Check out some of our amazing accommodations options in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan.  Don’t have time to look for yourself, that’s ok!  We are ready to answer your call at 251.543.1370 and help you find your perfect winter getaway vacation home!

5 REASONS TO ATTEND THE 2018 FRANK BROWN INTERNATIONAL SONGWRITERS’ FESTIVAL

Fall has reached the northern Gulf Coast and that means it is time to attend the 2018 Frank Brown International Songwriters’ Festival.  Locals know this 11 day event, held November 8-18, 2018, is the one of the best things that happens around here all year.  We love the Shrimp Festival, please don’t get me wrong, but the Songwriters’ Festival is a whole different kind of festival and one we know you’re sure to love once you experience it.

You’re probably asking:  Who is Frank Brown?  Or What is the festival about?  The festival, which highlights both up-and-coming singer/songwriters as well as those who are more seasoned and perhaps even Grammy winners, is named for Mr. Frank Brown.  Mr. Frank was the night watchman at the Flora-Bama for 28 years before he retired at the age of 91.  He was a man of high morale character and one who loved the music at the Flora-Bama.

 

If this hasn’t peaked your interest and given you reason enough to check out this cool event, here are our top 5 reasons we believe YOU should experience the Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival.

 

  1. You get to meet the people who wrote your favorite songs

We all have that one favorite song.  You know that song…the one that when it comes on the radio you actually turn up the volume really high and sing along.  You probably think your favorite performer wrote the song, and, in some instances, they did.  But often times the writers of your favorite lyrics are not the ones who sing them on the radio.  Often times, the writers are lesser known folks, at least to the general public.  You might think you’d have to go to Nashville to meet some of these talented individuals.  I have great news for you!  The good folks at the Frank Brown International Songwriters’ Festival know who the best songwriters are and they invite them to perform for us, right here along the Alabama Gulf Coast and surrounding areas.  The performance line-up changes every year, but you may have an opportunity to enjoy your favorite song performed by the person who penned it.  How cool is that?

 

  1. You can visit venues as diverse as the performers

Another cool thing about this unique festival experience is the venues change and are as diverse as the festival goers.  With so much talent in one small geographical area, the need for lots of places to perform is evident.  With that, you have lots of choices of locations where you’d like to enjoy the events.  Locations vary from everyone’s favorite beachside roadhouse the Flora-Bama Lounge and Package where the festival began and the Bushwackers are world-famous, to Lucy Buffett’s Lulu’s in Gulf Shores where the t-shirts are as happy and fun as the dining experience.  Bill-E’s Old 27 Grill in Fairhope, where the performers are serenaded by Bill-E’s Small Batch Bacon is also scheduled to host performances.  For a totally different musical experience, visit the Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach during the festival.  The acoustics in this beautiful center overlooking Wolf Bay are amazing!  How about watching festival performances at a local church?  St. Andrews by the Sea- A Community Church located on Fort Morgan Road is a host site.  For a complete list of the 20+ venues where performances are scheduled,  check out the Venue Page of the festival.

  1. You can enjoy fabulous coastal dinners and

beverages

A few of the venues we have already listed are known for their great food and beverages.  The Flora-Bama has some of the best seafood on any state line!  Lulus’s in Gulf Shores offers not only an amazing menu as listed, but they also will prepare special meals for patrons with shellfish and seafood allergies.  How cool is that?!  Old 27 Grill never disappoints with their amazing burgers and ice cold beer.  Other great places to eat that area also festival venues include the Sunset Cork Room Restaurant and Wine Bar where your favorite wine and their fabulous grouper or blackened chicken breast are a perfect match.  While you’re enjoying the festivities, give Pirate’s Cove a try!  Also known for wonderful bushwackers and fat, juicy, sloppy, yummy hamburgers, Pirate’s Cove is a fun outing for couples and families alike.

 

  1. You are showing your support for veterans and

newcomers to the music industry

To be a writer of any sort is a challenge and a craft.  To be a songwriter, takes a special kind of gift turned skill.  Knowledge of the language, coupled with the perfect rhyme, and the placement of each exact word to tell a story that touches someone, is undeniably a gift only a few select folks have.  By visiting the venues of the Frank Brown International Songwriters’ Festival, you are not only going to come away with a new appreciation for  these gifted individuals, you are showing them your support just by going.  Some writers are Grammy winners and some are just getting started on their journey, but all of them appreciate public support.  Go the festival to for the great feeling you’ll get by attending, but know your being there is making someone else happy, too.

 

  1. You become a part of history in the making

This is the 34th year of the Frank Brown International Songwriters’ Festival.  For thirty-four years, our coast has been honored to host hundreds of writers, singers and musicians.  For 34 years, we have had the privilege of seeing first-hand the artists who shape our music airways.  We know you will feel a deep sense of awe once you’ve experienced the festival for yourself.  We actually know of no one who has ever attended this festival who didn’t come away with a new perspective on songwriting and the historical importance these guys play in our everyday lives.  Come for the music.  Come meet the artists.  Come be a part of history.

 

At Sunset Properties, we are pleased to recommend local events to our guests and website visitors.  Because we are blessed to be “locals”, we get to enjoy all that our Alabama Gulf Coast has to offer.  We are also pleased to host any guests who plan to come and enjoy the Songwriters’ Festival.  We have rental properties located in Orange Beach, near the Flora Bama and only a short drive to the Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach .  We would love for you to stay in one of our beautiful condos in Gulf Shores, just a short drive from Lulu’s or any venue in Baldwin County.  And we have lots of homes located on beautiful Fort Morgan Road, just a short drive from St. Andrews Church.  We, at Sunset Properties, are just as versatile as the songwriters and venues, themselves.  Give us a call and let us help you find your perfect vacation home for your festival stay.

 

www.sunsetproperties.com                                                                                    251.543.1370

10 Reasons to Spend Thanksgiving 2018 in Gulf Shores

School is back in full swing, footballs are flying around everywhere and the 2018 Holiday Season is in sight.  You’re planning a big ole family-filled Thanksgiving Weekend with lots of food and memories in the making.  Why not put a new twist on an old tradition?  Why not have all your family meet you at the beach for Thanksgiving?   There are lots of reasons to go to Gulf Shores and stay with Sunset Properties, and any time is the right time to go to the beach, but here are our

Top 10 Reasons to Spend Thanksgiving 2018 in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Fort Morgan

 

  1.       Beach is less crowded than in summer

Have you ever noticed how many people choose to spend summer weeks at the beach?  Summers are the busiest times along the Alabama Gulf Coast.  We migrate south in search of warm days and sunny skies and a perfect Gulf to swim in.  What if I told you those are the same reasons to spend Thanksgiving at the beach?   Its true!  You get all the same great days with a bonus:  not as many people on the beach!  You’ll find stores, restaurants and your favorite shopping places will be much less crowded and the same beautiful beaches that call out to you in the summer are still awaiting your arrival!

 

  1.       Temperatures are amazing

Let’s talk temperatures for a minute.  Did you know the average daily temperature in Gulf Shores in November is 69.1 degrees?  Yep!  That’s right!  One degree off from a perfect 70 degrees is the average temperature around our island.  So when you head down in late November to escape the cold temps at home, go ahead and pack your favorite pair of fuzzy boots, but throw in some shorts and flip-flops, too.  You’re gonna need them!

 

  1.       Your favorite island attractions are open

Did you know your favorite attractions are open in November?  The Track, Adventure Island and Pirates Island Mini Golf may have different hours than they do during the summer, but they are still open and ready to welcome your family for a day outing filled with  fun!  Oh!  And don’t forget to visit The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo while you’re down in November.  Stop in and see how the animals love the cool fall weather!  Remember to check the websites of your favorite attraction before you go.  While they are open for business, their hours are usually different than when you went there in the summer months.

 

  1.       Fabulous accommodations are available

With your whole family coming over to celebrate this fun American holiday, you probably think you have to have your home in tip top spotless shape.  Who wants to do all that cleaning right before a holiday?  Wouldn’t it be nice if all the cleaning was already done and all you had to do was just cook and celebrate?  Great news:  we’ve got you covered!  All Sunset Properties rentals are not only tastefully decorated, fully stocked with linens and kitchen pans and dishes, but also are exceptionally clean when you arrive.  And when you leave, there are just a couple of easy things to do to tidy up before you check out.  Did I mention how well stocked our kitchens are?  Much of the same cooking pans you have at home will be available in your unit.  If you have a question about a specific item, simply call or text us at 251.543.1370 and we’ll be happy to help you.

 

  1.       Plenty of room for the whole family

Our rental properties range in size from one bedroom condos to six bedroom homes.  Need extra bathrooms?  A couple of our homes have seven bathrooms!  Our homes and condos sleep from two – twenty people and many allow dogs.  (After all, what’s a holiday without your fur baby, right?!)  Check out our one, two and three bedroom condos at The Dunes and The Indies for smaller family gatherings.  And give Grace, Sea Turtle and Coquille at Martinique a look for larger ones.

 

  1.       Great grocery stores are nearby

We know you’re already planning a magnificent meal for your whole crew and you’re probably thinking you’re going to have to cart all your food prep down to Alabama.  Not so!  We have amazingly stocked grocery stores and markets right around the corner.  Rouse’s Market is located at the intersection of Fort Morgan Road and Gulf Shores Parkway and Publix is located at Colonial Promenade at Craft Farms.  These are two of our favorite places to stock up on fresh veggies and great meats and desserts.

 

  1.     Seafood is still in season

What’s a trip to the Alabama Gulf Coast without having some fresh Gulf Seafood?  Did you know your favorite seafood is still in season in November?  If you’re in the mood for some Amberjack, Grouper, oysters or shrimp, you’re in luck.   How about some tuna, whiting or flounder?  Yep, these too are available fresh because they are in season.  While we’re on the subject, why not consider tossing your traditional turkey-and-stuffing dinner and make a big ole pot of fresh gumbo for Thanksgiving?  Now you’re talking!  Gumbo!  That’s an Alabama Gulf Coast Thanksgiving done right!

 

  1.     Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade is on TV and the beach is right outside

What would Thanksgiving morning be without the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade?  We love watching those giant balloon characters fly down 59th to 34th in New York, right?  Without this,   it just almost wouldn’t feel like Thanksgiving, would it?  Consider this:  how about watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade on your vacation home TV with the Gulf of Mexico right outside?  Now, that’s what I call a Thanksgiving morning!  After you’ve had your coffee, watched bands and entertainers perform in New York, you can walk right outside on your deck overlooking the spectacular Gulf of Mexico and have some much needed relaxing family time with all your favorite peeps.  Talk about memories that need to be made!  Your perfect vacation home with your perfect view is just a click or call away.

 

  1.       Black Friday shopping is unmatched

What would Thanksgiving be without Black Friday Shopping?  With all those amazing deals we wait for all year long just begging to be snapped up, Black Friday is like a shopper’s Christmas ….before Christmas!  If you’re like me, you look online and wait in serious anticipation for those sale papers announcing the best places to shop on a chilly Thanksgiving night and early on a Friday morning.  Well, as a guest on our island, you’re in the perfect place to hit up all the best sales on Black Friday.  There are lots of fun beachy shops on the island that will have end-of-year sales.  The Wharf does Black Friday right!  San Roc Cay in Orange Beach never disappoints.  Pelican Place is just a short drive away.  And if you’re an outlet mall shopper, Tanger Factory Outlets in Foley is the place to be!

 

  1.  The best nap you’ll have all year is here

Who doesn’t take at least one nap during Thanksgiving break?  That much anticipated nap after Thanksgiving lunch cannot get any better than if you stretch yourself out on a lounge chair on your deck and let the sound of the lapping waves of the Gulf of Mexico lull you to sleep.  Stretching out right on the sand is another option I highly recommend.  Toss a blanket on the warm sand, feel the angled rays of the sun on your skin and nap like you can no where else.  Truly, the best Thanksgiving nap you’ve ever had awaits you in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Fort Morgan.

 

These are our top ten reasons to plan a Thanksgiving weekend getaway at the beach.

Sounds pretty good, huh?  We are sure we have the perfect vacation home to fit both your wants and needs for this holiday season.  Rentals fill up fast for this holiday weekend, so don’t wait too long to reserve your family holiday home. We at Sunset Properties are looking forward to hearing from you.

 

www.sunsetproperties.com

251.543.1370

 

 

5 Best Bushwackers in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan

At Sunset Properties, our guests ask us about all kinds of thing.  We get questions like “where is the library?” or “how late is the pool open?” or “how long does it take to get to Owa?” or “where can I find a great Bushwhacker?”

 

We love giving our guests our best answers.  This blog will address the Bushwacker question.  First of all, for those who don’t know what a Bushwhacker is, I’ll tell you.  A Bushwacker is a  cocktail invented in 1975 in the US Virgin Islands.  Most bushwackers contain one or more of the following:  rum, vodka, Irish Cream, Amaretto, Kahlua, cream of coconut and ice.  Most bartenders won’t give up their exact secret mix and that’s what makes each one so special. Often topped with whipped cream, a cherry and a drizzle of chocolate, a Bushwacker is as much a perfect beach cocktail as a Hurricane is.  So now that you know what a Bushwacker is, here are our picks for the

5 Best Bushwackers in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan:

 

*        Lulu’s

Everything at Lulu’s is good, so it’s no surprise Lulu’s World Famous Bushwackers made our top five list.  Lucy Buffett’s Lulu’s is located at the intra-coastal waterway in Gulf Shores just off Gulf Shores Parkway.  With so many great menu items to choose from and so much fun to be had, you might not think to order a Bushwacker at Lulu’s.  Take our word for it:  you want to try theirs.  With a perfect mix of vanilla ice cream, coffee liqueur, and Margaritaville Coconut rum, you cannot go wrong with this drink.  While you’re at Lulu’s, check out the great live music, the rope playground for the kiddies and their great gift shop!  Lulu’s also offers a menu especially for folks with shellfish allergies.  Go to Lulu’s to have a Bushwacker, but stay for the experience!

 

*        Pink Pony Pub

A staple in Gulf Shores since 1956, The Pink Pony Pub has survived both Hurricanes Frederic and Ivan.  It sits proudly (and pinkly) just off the Public Beach in Gulf Shores. It isn’t a fancy bar, and it’s ok to enjoy your food and drinks on the deck overlooking the Gulf of Mexico barefooted and in your swimsuit, if you like.  There is usually a local band playing in the corner or karaoke about to start.  But we were talking about Bushwackers.  So to get back on topic:  Bushwackers at the Pink Pony are ohhh so yummy!    Sit that icy cold goodness next to The Pony Burger (a favorite since 1956) and some steamy hot fries, and you have a meal fit for a Beach Bum King!  So while you’re vacationing in Gulf Shores, go on by the Pink Pony.  Kick off your flip flops and find a spot on the deck to enjoy one of the best Bushwackers on our island.

 

*        Tacky Jacks

With three locations around our island, it’s hard to miss Tacky Jacks.  But the first location, on Safe Harbor Drive in Orange Beach, found humble beginnings as a grill and tavern in 1979.  The first Tacky Jacks welcomed patrons by car or by boat, just like they do now.  A great place to go for breakfast, lunch or dinner, Tacky Jacks is sure to have something for everyone to enjoy.  Now, about their Bushwackers, they are truly somethin’ else!  Try their Smoked Tuna Dip alongside your Bushwacker. The two are a perfect pairing.  If you’re feeling like you’d like a little extra special kick in your drink and they ask you if you want a “floater”… say “yes”.  An extra shot of dark rum on top of the frosty cocktail will certainly bring a smile to your face.  Don’t forget to get a t-shirt before you leave.  Tacky Jacks’ shirts have become almost as famous as their namesake.

 

*        Anchor Bar and Grill

Located at Hudson Marina in Orange Beach, Anchor Bar and Grill serves up some of the best seafood and burgers anywhere. Enjoy the gorgeous views of Terry Cove while you enjoy your Blonde Bushwacker.  Dine inside or outside and bring your whole family.  Come for the Bushwacker, but stay for the view and fabulous food . Make sure to check their social media accounts while you are in town to see what their Bushwacker special of the week is!  Once you experience the laid back goodness found at Anchor Bar, you’ll come back again and again.

 

*        Flora-Bama

If you Google “bushwacker” a picture of a Flora-Bama Bushwacker will pop up.  Yes!  They really are that good and that famous.  Everyone knows the Flora-Bama Lounge, Package and Oyster Bar is famous for fresh oysters and cold beer.  The live entertainment is unmatched, as is their community involvement.  Since 1964, this famous roadhouse has held its place on the Alabama/Florida state line.  When it comes to planning great events, the Flora-Bama staff is unmatched.  When it comes to making great drinks, the bartenders at the Flora-Bama are outdone by no one.  They don’t call themselves “home of the world famous Bushwacker” for nothing!  If you’ve never been to the Flora-Bama, go just to try their Bushwacker.  You’ll find yourself having so much fun, you’ll wonder why you waited so long to go!

 

So, in this blog, we have listed our favorite spots for Bushwackers.  You’ll notice we didn’t number them.  It wouldn’t be right to list one as number 1 or one as number 5, because we think they are all equally great!  They are all a little different, but perfect just the way they are.  If you’re thinking of taking a Bushwacker Tour around our island, we suggest getting a cab or having a designated driver.  Each one of these adult cocktails contain a little more liquor than most folks are used to having in one drink.  So enjoy our suggestions, but please drink responsibly.  If you find yourself out and having too much fun to stop with just one Bushwacker, follow this link to find one of our fine taxi services to take you back to your vacation home.

 

We hope you enjoy your stay with Sunset Properties and we look forward to answering any other questions you might have for us!

 

www.sunsetproperties.com

251.543.1370

5 Best Places to Watch a September Sun Set in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Fort Morgan

September sunsets, when the sun’s rays seem to stretch across The Gulf of Mexico, long and slow across the water, can be some of the most spectacular all year.  To see a late summer sunset on the Alabama Gulf Coast is truly a treat!  At Sunset Properties, we get asked all the time:  where’s a good place to watch the sun go down?  While the public beaches in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are always great places to watch an Alabama day end, we have a few more suggestions of places to check out if you’re hoping to see an amazing September Sunset.

 

  1.       Sea-N-Suds

Do you like seafood gumbo?  How about a cold beer? Do you like eating outside watching The Gulf waves ebb and flow?  Put the beer beside the gumbo and add the fabulous Gulf view and you have a perfect evening at Sea-N-Suds!  For 43 years Sea-N-Suds has been a Gulf Shores favorite. We think it should be a state landmark!  If you’ve never eaten at Sea-N-Suds, you’re so  missing out.  If you’ve never have  tried their gumbo, you need to put that on your list of must-do-things!  This unique restaurant is located only about five minutes from Beachview 223. If watching the September sun sink below the horizon is in your vacation plans, you really should do it from the deck at Sea-N-Suds while you lazily eat a bowl of yummy gumbo and sip a cold beer.

 

  1.       Alabama Point Beach

Located just three-tenths of a mile past the Perdido Pass Bridge on the AL Highway 182 (Beach Boulevard) is Alabama Point East, a part of Gulf State Park.  The sand peninsula that forms Alabama Point East is a great place to go to watch the sun go down.  With plenty of parking, boardwalk access to the beach and an unmatched view of The Gulf, Alabama Point East is a great place to end a fun day at the beach.  If you’re staying with us at Grand Caribbean 425, you already have a great view.  However, just for fun, go ahead and check out the sunset from the beach just a few minutes away from your condo.

 

  1.       Fort Morgan Beaches

We can’t say enough about the beauty of the beaches of the Fort Morgan community.  For our guests who choose to vacation in Sea Turtle, USA 2, or The Dunes or The Indies, you already know the amazing views that your vacation home has.  However, for sunsets, you are doubly blessed!  Facing West from your favorite chari on your private beach, you have one of the best views on our island to watch the sun’s rays change colors as they shorten.  Be sure to bring a flashlight, too.  After the sun disappears, you’ll need your flashlight to do some great beach crab watching!

 

  1.       On the waters of The Alabama Gulf Coast

Watching a sunset from on board a vessel is always a cool thing to get to do.  Book a sunset cruise on the Wild Hearts and expect to see a sunset like you’ve not seen before.  The reflection of the setting sun on the waters of The Alabama Gulf Coast is a vision never duplicated.  If you’re staying with us in Orange Beach at Caribe B Penthouse 4 or in Gulf Shores at Grand Caribbean 215, catching a ride on Wild Hearts is so easy!  It leaves out of the back bay of Orange Beach , which is just a short drive away.  Each day has something a little different to see on our island and each sunset memory is uniquely perfect.  Contact the good folks at Wild Hearts to make your reservation and bring along your camera!  You’ll probably see some dolphins, too.

 

  1.       Gulf State Park Pier

So everyone knows the pier is a great place to go fishing, but what about sunset watching?  Yep!  It’s perfect for that, too!  Whether you’re staying nearby at Pat-Ti-O or a little farther away at Dunes 709,  you’re sure to enjoy watching a late summer setting sun from the pier.  The Gulf State Park Pier is open 24 hours, so even after the sun sinks for the day, you’re welcome to stay as long as you like and enjoy the evening from the pier.   The sound of the waves hitting the pier pilings is so relaxing.  We can’t think of a better way to end a perfect day in Gulf Shores.

 

Septembers on the Alabama Gulf Coast are usually pretty quiet.  Most folks have traveled back home to go to school and back to work before the holidays.  We think this is the perfect time to visit our island.  If you haven’t made your plans to visit in September, what are you waiting for?  Here is your invitation to experience Island Life in late summer!  We believe the best way to enjoy a September Sunset starts by reserving your vacation home with a rental management company named for Sunsets!  Contact us at Sunset Properties today!

 

www.sunsetproperties.com

251.543.1370

 

10 Things to Know About the Annual National Shrimp Festival in Gulf Shores

The Annual National Shrimp Festival has been a staple event in Gulf Shores in October for almost 50 years.  This year’s festival dates are October 11-14.  Each year, the Gulf Shores Public Beach area is packed with artists, musicians and festival goes expecting to have a fun-filled family weekend.  Each year, festival planners bring their A-Game and this year is sure to be no exception.  Whether you’re staying with Sunset Properties at Pat-Ti-O or Beachview 223 right in the heart of Gulf Shores or at Just Write in the Fort Morgan community, here are a few tips to make your Shrimp Festival Adventure a fun one:

 

  1.       Bring your camera

There is so much to see at the Shrimp Festival.  You won’t want to miss a single memory.  From the wonderful musical groups performing on the stages around the venue, to the fun sand castle contest going on along the beach, there will be so much to do and see.  You and your family will want lots of picture to take home to show your friends or to post to your favorite social media account.  A camera is a must for this year’s Shrimp Festival.

 

  1.       Leave pets at home

Many of our rental properties are dog friendly places.  We encourage you to check out our list of places to stay where your pet is welcome.  Please know, however, the Shrimp Festival is not a place for pets.  If you’re not comfortable leaving your fur baby in your rental unit, reach out to the good folks at Sea Paws Dog Resort, a local doggie daycare.  Reservations to play may be necessary, so give them a call to get all the details on what you need to bring so your dog can have a day out while you and your family enjoy the festival.

 

  1.       Plenty of cold drinks available

October days on the Alabama Gulf Coast can get pretty warm.  There will be plenty of cold beverages available all throughout the Shrimp Festival venue.  From water, to sodas to lemonade, you’re sure to find your favorite drink available.  For those of you over 21, adult beverages are also available inside the venue.  Please enjoy adult beverages responsibly.  If you must drive back to your vacation home, please don’t drink.  If you really want to let your hair down and have a few beers, please call one of our fine taxi services to take you back to your vacation home.

 

  1.       Entertainment is non-stop

This year, country music recording artist Joe Diffie will be headlining at the Shrimp Festival.  Local favorites like Tophat & Jackie, The Tip Tops, Brent Burns and Kristy Lee are also scheduled to perform.  On Sunday, there will be a church service provided by Liberty Church.  Check out the Entertainment Lineup for specifics, and rest assured there will certainly will be something for everyone to enjoy on the stages at the 2018 Annual National Shrimp Festival.

 

  1.       Fine Artists are unmatched

As you walk through the Fine Arts section of the Shrimp Festival, you will see museum quality hand created items from paintings, to photography to pottery.  With the artist personally present a the festival, you will be able to not only enjoy the creations, but chat with the creators.  This is a great place to find Christmas gifts for those folks who have everything.  There are so many one-of-a-kind pieces, shopping for that hard-to-shop-for person will be a breeze!

 

  1.       Crafters have fun affordable wares

Sometimes fine art pieces can be a bit pricey.  Maybe you want to buy a handmade gift but you don’t have a huge budget or a lot of room in your car to take it back home.  Don’t miss the Arts and Crafts section of the festival.  You are sure to find just the right handmade gift.  No factory made items are allowed in this section of the festival.  Just like in the Fine Arts area, all crafts are handmade and the craftsmen and crafts-ladies are right on site to talk with your about their wares.  Sometimes half the fun is finding out what skills it takes to create such fun and unique pieces of art.

 

  1.       Souvenirs are one-of-a-kind

Because the Coastal Alabama Business Chamber is the leading entity producing the Shrimp Festival, they have the best souvenirs.  Be sure to visit one of their booths and get an official tee shirt or koozie.  There is only one Annual National Shrimp Festival and only one place to get the official souvenirs:  right on site during the festival dates.

 

  1.       Kids have a special area

There is always something cool and fun for the kiddos!  From the Sand Castle contest to The Kids Area, your little mermaids and pirates will have a great time at the festival, too. And don’t forget about enjoying the beautiful Alabama Gulf Coast Beaches while you’re in town.  Gulf Shores has some of the prettiest beaches in the world and we hope you will allot some of your weekend time to just enjoy the sugary white sand that wraps our shoreline.

 

  1.       BRATS shuttles are the best way to get there

There are plenty of ways to get to the Shrimp Festival, but parking in the festival venue is probably not an option for most folks.  Baldwin Rural Area Transit Service, our county’s own public transportation service, is available to pick up and drop off festival goers from several locations around the island.  We suggest riding BRATS.  It is convenient, inexpensive and the drivers are some of the nicest folks around!  For a complete list of BRATS services and fees, please check their website.

 

  1.   There’ll be lots of Shrimp!  Shrimp! And More Shrimp!

And you cannot forget to have some shrimp while you’re in Gulf Shores!  Famously named for the cute little pink crustacean, The Annual National Shrimp Festival is home to some of the best shrimp around.  You’ll find fried shrimp, boiled shrimp and grilled shrimp.  You’ll see shrimp on a stick and shrimp with veggies or fries.  Come hungry and plan to stay for a day and enjoy on of the best festivals anywhere!

 

If you’ve never been to the Annual National Shrimp Festival, you’re definitely missing out.  If you’ve never stayed with Sunset Properties, you should give us a try, too, for your next visit to the Alabama Gulf Coast.  With rentals in Orange Beach like Moorings 414 and Grand Caribbean 215, you can’t go wrong.  How about staying in Gulf Shores at Light House 607 or Peninsula 401 ?  Or if you’d prefer to stay in the Fort Morgan community, check out Navy Cove 2113 or Southern Comfort.  No matter where you choose to stay for your Shrimp Festival Weekend getaway, we at Sunset Properties know we have the perfect rental accommodations for you and your family!

 

www.sunsetproperties.com

241.543.1360

 

10 Fun Family Late Summer Things to Do at The Beach

So your summer’s almost over and you are taking the kiddos to Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan one last time before you have to get back to PTA, homework and, of course, football.  But what do you do?  When you guys came down to the Alabama Gulf Coast and stayed with Sunset Properties earlier this year, you did it all, right?  You hit all the great spots:  Waterville, The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo and Adventure Island.  So what’s left?

 

Here are ten great family outings that you must do before everyone goes back to school:

 

  1. Dine with pirates and princesses

“Arrgh, Matey!  Pass me them there eggs,”  might be what you hear when you having breakfast at The Hangout with pirates and princesses.  These unusual characters can be found most mornings at this local spot.   Have you ever dined with pirates before?  Most folks haven’t.  But, trust me on this,  you’re in for a treat!  This summer at The Hangout, you can have breakfast with these infamous folks from the High Seas. Come dressed in your best costume, enjoy some great food and stay for the treasure hunt.  This is a really cool way to start off any late summer day in Gulf Shores.  Contact the groovy staff at The Hangout for exact times and dates of this unique breakfast experience.

 

  1. Enjoy a live play

Remember The Lion King?  Everyone loves The Lion King!  Bring the whole family to see a live production of this timeless classic at the South Baldwin Community Theatre.  With several show times in August, there is sure to be one to fit your vacation schedule.  This production features bright costumes, great music and, of course, your favorites from the jungle including Simba and Rafiki.  If you enjoyed the animated version (and who didn’t, right?!) this live version is sure to take it to the next level.  Tickets are limited, so you will need to grab those as soon as you decide to put this fun outing on your “must do list”!

 

  1. Dance in the streets

The Wharf hosts the biggest street party on the island.  Enjoy island life outside in the evening summer breeze when DJ Matt and mascot Starla the Starfish get the party started around 7 PM on Saturday nights.   There are contests and prizes at this summertime event.  With all kinds of retail shops and restaurants right in front of you, once you get to The Wharf, you won’t want to leave before you see and do it all!  So throw on your boogie shoes or your favorite flip flops and head on over to Main Street at the Wharf and dance the night away with your whole crew.

 

  1. Take a segway tour

Coastal Segway Adventures offers 2-hour guided Segway® Personal Transporter tours through the beautiful Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail.  The Trail features seven pathways through six different ecosystems totalling a 15 mile outing.  For two hours, your guide from Coastal Segway Adventures will lead you through the trail and talk about what you’re seeing all around.  We can’t think of a better way to enjoy nature in Gulf Shores than to explore your way through Gulf State Park.  Make sure you bring your insect repellent and sunscreen.  Oh, and don’t forget your camera.  You’ll probably see plants and animals not found in your own backyard!

 

  1. Visit a Nature Center

Speaking of Gulf State Park, have you ever been to the nature center at the campground on Lake Shelby? The nature center is a living museum of plants and animals that are native to our Alabama Gulf Coast region.  The good folks at the nature center want to create awareness about the plant and animal life in our area.  As much as this is educational, it is entertaining.  It’s a fun hands-on learning experience unlike any other around.  Through this kind of personal connection with nature, the staff there hopes to encourage others to share the same love for our environment that they have.  Don’t just visit Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan, then leave without seeing this.  Stop by our little nature center and become a nature-loving part of our extended family!

 

  1. Have a family date night

Who says “date night” can only be for couples?  We think Family Date Nights are amazing, too!  But what do you do for a Family Date Night?  Gather up your whole crew and head on over to the Gulf State Park Pier.  It is great for way more than just fishing from.  Did you know that you can walk out on the pier even if you’re not fishing?  Yep!  It’s a great little walk, too!  The pier is 1540 feet long and 20 feet wide and features indoor seating as well as rail seating.  Here’s a fun fact:  they have Blue Bell ice cream in the concession store.  This outing may not be as flashy and sparkly as some of the others you and your family go on, but how great would it be to just get some ice cream, find a nice peaceful spot, sit back and enjoy the sights and sounds of The Gulf of Mexico as the waves roll around underneath you?   Sometimes the simplest things make the best memories.

 

  1. Check out some cool fireworks

There is always something cool going on at The Wharf.  In addition to being your Saturday night boogie spot, come to The Wharf on Monday nights all summer to catch some great fireworks!  Sparks after Dark Fireworks has become a summer tradition at The Wharf.  Find your spot on Main Street before 8:45 PM and get ready to watch the skies light up in all kinds of fabulous colors.  Be sure to follow this link for more details on this weekly fireworks show.  We definitely don’t want you to miss this!

 

  1. Be a groupie

All summer long, Pelican Place at Craft Farms is hosting their annual Sounds of Summer Event.  Every Saturday night from 6:00-8:30 PM bring your lawn chair and see a free concert.  What better way is there to start your own groupie “career” than at a free outdoor concert at the beach? This is a family friendly event, so the kiddos can officially become concert groupies, too!  There will be food and other vendors on site, so all you really need to bring is a lawn chair or a blanket.  Expect to see some of the best entertainment around and we are pretty sure you won’t be disappointed!

 

  1. Walk on water

Ever thought about walking on water?  Wouldn’t it be great if you could just strike out across a body of water and not sink?  Well, now you can!  Lucy Buffett’s Lulus now hasl Water Walkers.  A water walker is an inflatable sphere that you can get inside of and actually walk across the water without getting wet.  You can run, roll, flip and flop inside your Water Walker and enjoy seeing down through the water with a whole new perspective.  While you’re at Lulus, you’re probably going to want to stay for a while and enjoy some of the best seafood on the island, so set aside a couple of hours for this adventure.

 

  1. Marvel at the Blue Angels

Oh my goodness!  Have you ever seen the Blue Angels in action?  This is thrill like none other.  Grown ups and kids alike love watching from the ground as the Blues fly overhead, barely missing each other in the air.  You will find yourself saying the word “wow” out loud before you even know it.  The Blue Angels practice at the museum at NAS Pensacola on just a select few days each year.  But you’re in luck, they should be in the air at least one of the days while you’re down this way.  Practices last almost an hour and admission is free.  With some careful planning, you can schedule your outing to include meeting these amazingly skilled Navy pilots and maybe even getting their autographs. Who wouldn’t want to get a Blue Angel’s autograph?  They truly are the heros and stars of the American skies.

 

Using this list as a guide, we know you’re sure to enjoy your late summer stay in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan.  But what if you’re not quite ready to make this your last beach trip for the year?  Well, here are two more reasons you need to come back to the Alabama Gulf Coast before the holidays:  The Annual National Shrimp Festival and The Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival.  

 

Don’t forget to contact us at Sunset Properties and make all your reservations early!  We still have a few rentals available in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan during these festival times, but keep in mind, our island tends to be pretty full of out-of-town folks who attend both of these and we don’t want you to miss out!  Book early and ensure you get the perfect vacation home for your family’s needs.  We look forward to speaking with you and helping you get on your way to having a perfect later summer vacation!

 

www.sunsetproperties.com

Phone 251.543.1370

info@sunsetproperties.com

 

Top 10 Ways to Avoid the Mid-Summer Heat in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, and Fort Morgan

Welcome to your mid-summer vacation  to vacation on the Alabama Gulf Coast.  You have chosen a perfect time to come down, right before school starts back, when the Gulf Coast is in full swing!  There is so much to do around our island paradise, but we know it can get pretty warm in the middle of the day in July and August.    The Gulf is usually a wonderful 82 or 83 degrees and the pools are always just right.  But with average high temps hovering around 83 degrees during July and August, coupled with our usual humidity, the mid-day summer heat can maybe make you a little cranky.  You love hanging out on the beach, I mean, who doesn’t, right?  But what do you do in the middle of those rare days when it seems like it’s just too hot to hang out?   Here is a list of ten ways to cool off while you’re vacationing with Sunset Properties in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan in July and August:

 

1  RIDE A PERSONAL WATERCRAFT

Did you forget and leave your personal watercraft at home?  No worries!  You can rent a jet ski and a go pro from Alabama Extreme Watersports right here on the island.  How much fun would that be?  Jet skis are the perfect way to beat the heat by riding on the water.  Maybe striking out on your own in unfamiliar waters doesn’t feel comfortable to you.  Then how about trying a waverunner dolphin tour with about 4 of your friends?  The good folks at Alabama Extreme Watersports will take you on a guided tour of the waters of Orange Beach.   Seeing dolphins is always a great thing, but seeing them from a waverunner is sure to be a thrilling outing everyone!

 

2  VISIT A MUSEUM

Did you know our island is home to three unique local museums?  If the weather feels too hot outside, stop by and cool off inside the Orange Beach Indian and Sea Museum, originally built at a school house in the early 1900s, now houses a wonderful collection of artifacts relating to Orange Beach’s fishing heritage and Native American roots. The Gulf Shores Museum , another local favorite, hosts permanent collection of items relating to island life and our island’s history, as well as a rotating exhibit that changes often.  Maybe you’ve stopped by before?  Stop in again!  Chances are you won’t see the same thing you saw last time.  Our third museum is the Museum at Fort Morgan and has artifacts dating back to when the fort was built on display.  This museum also has a wonderful little gift shop, so plan some extra time stay and shop for a bit!  There are so many cool things to see at the these three venues.  You’ll enjoy the family outing and, as a bonus, you guys will probably learn something you didn’t already know about your vacation home.

 

3  CHECK OUT THE REC CENTER

The  David L Bodenhamer Recreation Center in Gulf Shores has racquetball courts, indoor pools, and a full service fitness room.  This state of the art facility welcomes island guests and locals alike.  Day passes are available.  Reservations are not required.   There is a complimentary fitness towel service and a game area that kiddos just love.   The Bodenhamer Center is ADA accessible and open every day.  This is a great place to go any time of the year!  The climate is always perfect inside the rec center!   It is conveniently located at 319 West 19th Avenue, about two minutes from the Gulf Shores Museum.

 

4  PLAY LASER TAG

Have you ever played laser tag?  Arena The Next Level takes laser tag to “a whole nother level” (as we say down here) .  Located at The Wharf in Orange Beach, Arena The Next Level, is a perfect place to take the whole family.  Everyone can play laser tag in this 4000 square foot indoor arena showcasing a super cool sci-fi laser tag arena with lights, sounds and lasers.

And while you’re at Arena The Next Level, you must give Bazooka Ball a try, too.  This electronic glow-in-the-dark combat game features two inch round foam balls that can be shot out of low impact toy guns and travel up to 100 feet.  Come inside to get away from the midday heat and stay for the afternoon!

 

5  SPEND A DAY AT WATERVILLE

No matter where you’re staying in Gulf Shores, you’re only about ten minutes away from Waterville USA, the island’s only water park.  Enjoy the day outside minus the feel of the heat while you play your way through Waterville’s 12 water attractions including The Flowrider, Jet Scream and Screamin’ Demon.  In addition to water rides and slides, you’re going to want ride the Cannonball Run roller coaster, play in a fabulous arcade, and bungee jump on the trampoline called The Trampoline Thing.  Waterville is also home to some of the fastest go-karts around.  Waterville also hosts an Escape House mystery game.  This is an inside game that your whole family can play together!  Plan on spending a whole day at Waterville and enjoy the summer without scorching in the heat.  Once you get there, you won’t want to leave.

 

6  SPLASH AROUND AT OWA

Owa, the Alabama Gulf Coast’s newest entertainment venue is located in Foley.  In addition to Owa’s 21 thrill rides, super cool arcade and great places to eat, they recently added a splash pad for the kiddos!  Wacky Waters is a 9500 square foot splash pad that features everything from a super tall water dump bucket, a water dome and 15 other splashy and cool attractions.  Wacky Waters was most likely built with kids in mind, but adults love it, too.

 

7  ENJOY SOME RETAIL THERAPY

One of the best ways to avoid the midday heat, is to go inside a great store and shop.  We know you’re going to be looking for that perfect souvenir to take back home for yourself or someone special.  Stop inside one of the many boutiques scattered around our little island paradise. With great venues to shop like SanRoc Cay in Orange Beach and Pelican Place at Craft Farms, the midday heat will be the last thing on your mind.  Shopping  at The Wharf at Orange Beach or taking a thrilling ride on the Ferris Wheel will make the whole family happy.  Don’t forget about The Shops at The Boardwalk in Gulf Shores next to The Original Oyster House where your whole family can take a break and enjoy some fresh seafood and a tall, cold beverage.  You may even see an alligator or two just below the boardwalk.  Have your camera ready.  While our local wildlife doesn’t mind pictures, feeding or provoking them is not ever advised.

 

8  CATCH A MOVIE

Have you ever noticed how good movie theatre popcorn tastes?  And those little boxes of chocolate covered raisins?    And nacho chips with all that gooey, yummy cheese?  Why not cool off with a great snack and a current movie release?  Cobb Pinnacle 14 , located at Pelican Place, is one of our favorite places to go when it’s just a little too warm outside to hang out on the beach.  Watching a movie is always a special memory.  Often we think things like, “I saw that movie at this place” or “I was fourteen the first time I saw that movie.”  Why not make a special memory your whole family will hold onto?  With so many great summer releases to check out,  stopping by Cobb Pinnacle 14 is a perfect way to pass an afternoon.  With closed caption, assisted listening, and descriptive narration available on most films during most showtimes, everyone can enjoy a popular film.  You’ll be in a nice cool movie theatre, making a great memory, and enjoying some of the best popcorn around.  We say “that’s the ticket!”

 

9  CHILL OUT WITH SOME ICE CREAM

Scoops ice cream shop is one of the coolest places around.  Literally!  Located on in the heart of Gulf Shores, Scoops should be on your “to-do” list whether it’s hot outside or not.  Scoops has been serving locals and guests alike in Gulf Shores since 1980.  The truly have some of the best ice cream around and some of the best service, too.  Scoops ice cream is real  treat!  From banana splits, to malts, to milkshakes, to just a scoop of your favorite flavor, this little ice cream shop is sure to put smiles on everyone’s face.  So when you’re headed south on Gulf Shores Parkway, don’t just drive by.  Stop in Scoop’s and cool off the old fashioned way…with some delicious vanilla ice cream and the perfect toppings!

 

10  SCORE HIGH ON YOUR FAVORITE VIDEO GAME

We can’t say enough about how much fun you’ll have at Adventure Island, located on Beach Boulevard in Orange Beach  This is seriously one of the best arcades around.  This inviting is also home to a rock wall and a roller coaster simulator  If you’re not wanting to spend too much time inside, Adventure Island has you covered on that, too.  Outside, you’ll find mini golf, go-carts, bumper boats and paddle boats.  Everyone loves bumper boats!  Adventure Island is not too hard to find, either.  Just look for the only volcano in Orange Beach.  Once you see the volcano, you’ll know you’re only minutes away for hours of fun.

 

So we’ve given you a short list of fun and cool things to do while you’re on vacation in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Fort Morgan.  We know sometimes the heat can be a bit overwhelming, but your vacation can still be a boat load of fun!  If you’d rather not venture out away from your condo, remember the pristine pools at The Dunes in Fort Morgan and The Grand Caribbean in Gulf Shores are always perfect.  The lazy river that atop the Caribe in Orange Beach and the saltwater pool at The Indies in Fort Morgan are easily accessible family favorites!  If you’re looking for a beach house, contact us at Sunset Properties.  We have several of those, too, and we can help you find exactly what you’re looking in exactly the right spot.

We are glad you’ve chosen to vacation on the Alabama Gulf Coast with Sunset Properties.

We hope this is your “coolest” trip ever!

 

www.sunsetproperties.com

251.543.1370

info@sunsetproperties.com

 

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

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

 

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

 

 

1       A BEACH WEDDING IS ROMANTIC AND NATURALLY ELEGANT

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

 

2       YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER WILL CAPTURE SOME FABULOUS PICTURES

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

 

3       OBTAINING A MARRIAGE LICENSE IS SIMPLE AND CLERGY ARE AVAILABLE

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

 

 

4       AWARD WINNING CATERING IS JUST A CLICK AWAY

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

 

 

5       ACCESS TO THE BEACH BY CAR OR AIR IS EASY

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

7       FLOWERS AND WEDDING DECORATIONS ARE AVAILABLE LOCALLY

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

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

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

 

 

8       ENTERTAINING YOUR GUESTS AT YOUR RECEPTION IS A BREEZE

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

5 WAYS TO MAKE A FATHER’S DAY BEACH TRIP EXTRA SPECIAL FOR YOUR DAD

Father’s Day is right around the corner and you’re wondering what to get for Dear Old Dad.  What do you get for the guy who is your family grill master, your Mr. Fixit, your go-to-guy when your $20 short?  Dad pretty much has everything he wants.  If he sees something he needs or likes, he just buys it.  Makes it tough for a kid to get him anything new and original.  And we understand.   You’ve probably already tried all the standard Father’s Day gifts – ties, tools,  things for his truck, those tiny little pool tables for his desk.  This year you want to do something extra special for him, but you’re fresh out of ideas.  Well, we have the perfect gift plan!  Take Dad to the beach for Father’s Day Weekend!  He might never ask to go to the beach in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Fort Morgan, but we’re pretty sure he will have a blast if you just follow these simple suggestions:

 

1       BOOK DAD A FISHING CHARTER OR WATERSPORTS OUTING

Dads like to fish.  And dads like fast boats.   Your dad may have never been on a charter trip or he may have been on several. Most dads like to fish. Being out on the open waters of The Gulf of Mexico just seem to make guys happy and your dad will probably be no exception.  Orange Beach is home to some of the best charter boat services along the Gulf Coast.  Whether you’re looking to book a short trip or a long one, we are confident you will find the right outing if you follow this Charter Boat Link.  Red Snapper Season opens June 1st, so if you hurry, you can get him registered to go on a great fishing trip!  Do you think he’d rather just spend the day on a boat or jetski?  Maybe your dad is the self navigating type.  Consider reserving him a jet ski or boat from Flora-Bama Marina located on Perdido Beach Boulevard in Orange Beach or Alabama Extreme Watersports located on Bay La Launch Avenue in Orange Beach.  Either of these will make the thrill-seeker in your dad as happy as a seagull with a french fry!

 

2       SET DAD UP WITH A ROUND OF GOLF

Gulf Shores is home to some of the best golfing anywhere!  With perfect golfing weather in early June, you can’t go wrong with a golf package.  Peninsula Golf and Racquet Club located on Fort Morgan Road is a local favorite.  Nestled in the Peninsula subdivision, this pristinely kept course will surely make Dad smile.  How about trying one of the Craft Farms courses?  Designed by golf icon Arnold Palmer, Craft Farms’ Cypress Bend and Cotton Creek courses offer 36 holes of amazing golf.

 

3       GO ON A GUY SHOPPING SPREE WITH DAD

Contrary to what some would have us believe, most dads like to shop.  The trick is to find the right shopping venue.  We have some pretty good suggestions that make our dads smile, and we think you should give them a try, too.  Harbor Freight located on South McKenzie Street in Foley is a guy’s paradise!  This store is chock full of everything from great tools, to car parts, to lawn equipment and it is all at great prices.  Once Dad gets in this store, we wish you luck getting him out!  Maybe Dad would rather shop for a golf cart, boat, motorcycle or even a new generator.  If that sounds more like something your Dad would enjoy, visit Gulf Shores Power Sports.  This is one of the coolest stores around!  Or maybe your dad is more of an all around sports fan.  Some Dads are!  Some dads love everything sports related.  If that sounds like your Dad, Academy Sports and Outdoors is the place to go.  Also located on McKenzie Street in Foley, this is one store you don’t need to miss.  They have everything from balls, to goals, to guns, to socks.  Yep!  They even have socks! Your Dad may not act like he likes to shop, but we’re pretty sure if you take him to one or all of these local retailers, he’ll surprise you!  You might just see your Dad shop til he drops!

 

4       TAKE DAD TO THE FLORA-BAMA

What guy’s weekend would be complete without a trip to the original beach front roadhouse?  The Flora-Bama Lounge, Package and Oyster Bar has something fun going all the time.  It doesn’t matter what time of the day or night you visit this coastal landmark, you and Dad are sure to have a blast!  The Flora-Bama was voted America’s #1 best beach bar in 2017.  Live music, great seafood and cold drinks are always available at The Flora-Bama.  Make sure to put this on your list.  You and Dad will make a fun memory that’ll last a lifetime!

 

5       RESERVE DAD A CONDO AT THE DUNES OR THE INDIES

Of all the great places you could rent for Dad, why would we suggest The Dunes or The Indies? Two reasons:  no crazy traffic for him to fight and great food is right across the street.  Because The Dunes and The Indies are perfectly placed near the end of Fort Morgan Road away from all the busy early summer traffic in Gulf Shores, we know Dad will like staying here.  He will enjoy a slower pace, a private uncrowded beach, a super clean pool or lazy river, and he won’t even have to drive to get his supper.  We all know he is not going to cook while he’s on his Mini-Dad-Vacation for Father’s Day Weekend anyway, so staying at one of these condos is perfect.  He is literally right across the road from Tacky Jacks 2 where they have great food and cold drinks every night.   What makes Dad happier than a clean cozy place to sleep, good food in his tummy, and a bill his kid covers?  We’re betting there isn’t much!

 

So now you have some really good suggestions on how to make this Father’s Day special for your Dad.  What are you waiting for?  Go ahead and call us at Sunset Properties today to make your condo reservation.   If you need other suggestions on how to give Dad the perfect Father’s Day in Gulf Shores, just ask us.  We have plenty more we will be happy to share with you.  We want your Father’s Day gift to your Dad to be the best it’s ever been and we are excited to help you plan it!

 

www.sunsetproperties.com

251.543.1370