10 Fun Wheelchair Accessible Things to Do in Gulf Shores

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

 

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

 

1       Explore the Hugh S Branyon Backcountry Trail

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

 

2       Take a Dolphin Cruise aboard the Sunny Lady

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

 

3       Ride the Ferris Wheel at The Wharf

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

 

4       Fish from Gulf State Park Pier

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

 

 

5       Ride the Mobile Bay Ferry

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

 

6       Peek inside aquariums at the Estuarium

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

 

7       Tour Fort Morgan

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

 

8       Visit The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo

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

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

 

9       Shop in the Shark Store

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

 

10     Visit the Public Beach in Gulf Shores

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

5  Reasons to Book Direct and Say NO to VRBO

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

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

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

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

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

 

  1. We Know Our Area

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

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

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

  1. 2. We Know Our Properties

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

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

3 . We Know Our Property Locations

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

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

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

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

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

4. We Know Our Guests

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

5. You Save Money

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

www.sunsetproperties.com

251.543.1370

5 Things Every Tween Should Do While in Gulf Shores

Tweens:  the kids who aren’t quite teenagers but they’re not babies anymore, either.  They’re kind of stuck in “b-tween”.  We love those guys! When you’re too old for baby stuff but not quite old enough to enjoy the things teenagers do it can sometimes be hard to find activities to entertain you.

We want you and them to know they will not be bored while vacationing in Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan and Orange Beach.   Our Island Paradise is a great place for families and we are surrounded with lots of things for tweens to do.

Additionally, Sunset Properties features condos and beach homes all over the island making it easy for your family to lodge near all the fun.

We know you’re here to play on our sugar white sandy beaches and swim in The Gulf of Mexico, but then… after that… then what?  Here are 5 Things Every Tween Should Do While in Gulf Shores:  

Hang Out at The Hangout

Only minutes from Island Sunrise 468  and Lighthouse 607, The Hangout in Gulf Shores has always been a great spot for kids of all ages to play.  First opened back in the 1950s, the Hangout in Gulf Shores is one of the original places to go to have fun.  The Hangout is conveniently located at the Public Beach in Gulf Shores at the intersection of Alabama Hwy 59 and Beach Boulevard.

The location encompasses two and a half acres and has a 50 foot tower.  You can’t miss it and tweens won’t want to!   In addition to super easy beach access, The Hangout features ping pong, foosball and a Wish Wall.  They also have a foam bubble party every hour on the hour.  Tweens love that!  The food is amazing and so is the live entertainment.   Opportunities for great Snapchat and Facebook pictures are all around.  Don’t forget to visit one of the tee shirt shops, to while you’re hangin’ out.  After all, every tween needs a great tee to take home and show their friends!

Spend a Day at Adventure Island

Adventure Island, located on Beach Boulevard in Orange Beach, is a tween’s dream!  If you’re staying in Orange Beach at Moorings 414  or at the Grand Caribbean 425, you’ll love just how close Adventure Island is to your condo!   This fun-filled attraction is only a few minutes away.  It is really easy to find.  Just look for the only volcano in Orange Beach!  When you’re planning your day outing to Adventure Island, you’ll want to plan to visit for at least half a day to let your tween do it all.   Go-karts, bumper boats and paddle boats are a great way to start off your day of fun.  Then you’ll want to play a round of mini golf and laser tag.  And don’t forget about the arcade at Adventure Island.  More than 100 games will keep you tween happy and entertained for hours!  Your tween can win and redeem tickets for prizes.  Inside the arcade is a rock wall and there’s even a roller coaster simulator.

Make a Splash at Waterville

If you’re staying in Fort Morgan, you’re only about twenty-five minutes away from Waterville USA, the island’s only water amusement park.  Since 1986, Waterville has been offering up fun for kids and adults.  Perfect for a day out with your tween, Waterville has 12 water attractions including The Flowrider, Jet Scream and Screamin’ Demon.  In addition to water rides and slides, there is the Cannonball Run roller coaster, a super cool arcade, and bungee trampoline call The Trampoline Thing.  Waterville is also home to some of the best go-karts around.  Recently, the folks at Waterville added an Escape House mystery game.  While tweens will certainly enjoy this thrill-filled attraction, folks under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

Get Tagged at Arena The Next Level

If you’re staying at Endless Summer, located in Fort Morgan, you’re going to experience an amazing vacation home that sleeps up to 18 people.  And if you’re looking for nearly endless fun, you’re need to take your tween to Arena The Next Level.  Located at The Wharf in Orange Beach, Arena The Next Level, is one of our island’s newest attractions.  This 4000 square foot arena showcases a super cool sci-fi laser tag arena with lights, sounds and lasers.

While you’re at Arena The Next Level, 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.

And Visit the Zoo, Too

Only a short drive from About Time, an amazing beach home that sleeps 10, The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is an outing no tween should miss!   Famously deemed “The Little Zoo That Could” The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo has been an island favorite since 1989 when it was called Zooland Animal Park.  The zoo sits on 17 acres located on Gulf Shores Parkway in the heart of our little beach town and welcomes visitors every day except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.  Today, the zoo is home to 500 animals.  Pathways that wind through the zoo campus allow up close and personal (as we say down here) access to many of the animals.  Expect to see lions, tigers and bears (oh my!), in addition to leopards, monkeys, wolves, birds, and snakes.  There are so many animals to visit, we encourage you to plan at least four hours for this adventure.  Bring your sunscreen and insect spray.  The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is an outdoor attraction and we’re sure you and your tween will want to stay for a while without getting sunburned or being some bug’s dinner.  We know you’ll enjoy all the indoor attractions and the water park, but don’t forget to visit the zoo, too!

 

The Alabama Gulf Coast has something to offer every member of your family.  While we penned this blog with the focus on tweens, we know all of the ideas we shared here will appeal to the adults in your family, too.  After all, how can you not have fun if you’re hangin’ out, on an adventure, making a splash, tagging your bestie or watching monkeys play?  If you’d like some more ideas for fun things for your whole family, check out our Convention and Visitors website at www.gulfshores.com or just call us at 251.543.1370.  Our vacation rental specialists here at Sunset Properties will be happy to make attractions recommendations while they help you book your vacation condo or beach home.

 

 

 

 

Oh Wow!  OWA!  

3 Things You Must Do At Owa

Owa is The Alabama Gulf Coast’s newest entertainment, dining and shopping venue.  OWA, which is a Muscogee Creek term for “water”, offers something for the whole family.  Located between AL Hwy 59 and The Foley Beach Express at 1501 South OWA Boulevard in Foley, Alabama, Owa should definitely be part of your next beach adventure!   While there is way more stuff than you can do in one day, here are 3 things we recommend you not miss while in our area:

1. Ride a coaster or a frog

Owa is proud to offer 21 amusement park rides.  For the thrill seekers among us, Owa is sure to please!  Whether you prefer rides that spin like the Wave Runner or have G-force thrusts like the Air Racer or swing high over the park like the Freedom Flyer, you’re sure to have a blast experiencing them all.  Oh, and don’t miss the roller coaster.  Rollin’ Thunder, a super fast thrill coaster, has drops, loops, hairpin turns and speed sure to get your adrenaline going!  You’ll be telling your friends about that ride for years to come!  

Owa also has several family friendly amusement park rides.  The Flying Carousel, Sky Balloons and Tea Time spinning teacup rides are just a few.

And what would an amusement park be without kid specific rides?  Don’t let the kiddos miss the Zip Zap Race, the Gully Washer or the Leap Frog ride.  After all, who wouldn’t want to ride an actual leaping frog?

For specific guidelines like height requirements for these must-do attractions, visit OWA amusement park guidelines.

2. Eat something good

If you’re looking for a quick snack between rides, check out one of Owa’s many food carts.  Yummy hot dogs, tacos, shaved ice and ice cream are just some of the choices available at the food carts.

Not quite what you were craving?  Then check out Shady Arbor or the Veranda.  For mouth-watering pulled pork, fresh delicious salads and perfectly prepared beef brisket, visit the Veranda.  Nachos, popcorn shrimp and gator bites are also available.  Shady Arbor’s menu includes hamburgers, hotdogs, pizza and chicken.  And, of course, there is ice cream!

For a whole different dining experience, visit the Groovy Goat or Wahlburgers located right outside the park.  The Groovy Goat offers a vast menu including breakfast all day, specialty burgers, steaks and salads.  They offer a wide variety of beers, cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks.  And TVs.  There are TVs all around so you can watch your favorite sporting event while you dine!

And Wahlburgers is at Owa, too.  We all love Wahlburgers!  Known for hamburgers as famous as the Wahlberg Family, Wahlburgers is sure to be a hit with your whole family!  From mac and cheese, to specialty burgers to chili, there is something on the menu for everyone.  Wahlburgers also has drink menu that is unmatched!  Featuring Coke products, coffee and tea, locally brewed beers, and adult frappes, the drink menu has something for everyone.  Wahlburgers also has a tee-shirt shop right on site, so don’t forget to grab yourself a cool tee before heading out.

3. Visit the arcade

If your idea of a great day is not riding thrill rides, but playing arcade versions instead, you’re in luck!  One of the newest additions to the Owa property is an amazing arcade located right outside the park gate.  Showcasing 50 different arcade games, a variety of interactive video games and a redemption center, the arcade at Owa just opened in December 2017.

 

Owa is still growing.  This is just a short list of things we love and believe you will, too.  As more restaurants and attractions are added, we will be sure to highlight them in our blogs.

 

While you’re making your plans to visit OWA, don’t forget about our sugar white Alabama Gulf Coast Beaches and Mobile Bay just a short 20 minute drive away.  Sunset Properties has Gulf front beach houses, condos with and without boat parking, and fabulous penthouse rentals available for vacationers.

 

Make your plans to visit OWA, but be sure to stay with us!

www.sunsetproperties.com   or call 251.543.1370

2018 New Year’s Resolutions you can keep!

Have you made your 2018 New Year’s Resolutions yet?  Lose ten pounds.  Join a gym.  Save more money.  Learn a new trade or skill.  Read more.  Ugh.  Those sound more like punishments than resolutions!

How about this instead:

With the new year rapidly approaching and everyone making New Year’s Resolutions for 2018 that seem nearly impossible to keep, we, at Sunset Properties, suggest making resolutions that are fun, memorable and attainable.  

In short, make resolutions you can keep!

 

Resolve to:

 

  1. Take a nap on the beach

Stretch out on a comfy beach lounge chair under a big colorful umbrella and let the sounds of The Gulf of Mexico lull you to sleep.  

 

  1.  Wear flip flops all day

Spend a whole day shopping in shoes that pop when you walk.  SanRoc Cay in Orange Beach and Pelican Place in Gulf Shores offer superior retail therapy options.  Flip flops welcome!

 

  1.  Leave your phone and tablet turned off

Let the only calls you hear be the ones seagulls make to each other.

 

  1.  Walk a nature trail

Take a leisurely stroll along one of Gulf State Park’s fabulous nature trails and just unwind within your surroundings.  

 

  1.  Cast a line from a pier

Watch a bobber dance in the waves from Alabama’s 1540 foot long Gulf State Park Pier.  Fishing licenses are available online and day permits are available right from the pier office.

 

  1.  Visit a Fort

Listen for the sounds of soldiers’ conversations from centuries ago you tour historic Fort Morgan.  Built in 1812, Fort Morgan is surrounded with some of the most beautiful and peaceful beaches in Alabama.

 

  1.  Ride a ferris wheel

Enjoy an amazing view from atop the ferris wheel at The Wharf.  Check out the concert schedule for the Amphitheatre at The Wharf, as well.  One of your faves may be playing soon!

 

  1.  Eat oysters

Add some Tabasco, salt, and lemon to top off your raw or fried oysters at Doc’s Seafood Shack in Orange Beach or Tacky Jacks in Gulf Shores.

 

  1.  Take a dolphin cruise

Book a day or evening trip out on the water and watch dolphins play.  Sunset Properties has a program called Xplorie, where when you stay with us you receive one free ticket everyday during your stay to some of the local attractions, one of them being Cetacean Cruises.

  1. Volunteer

Participate in the Alabama Coastal Cleanup in September or The Annual National Shrimp Festival in October and make new friends who love the beach just as much as you do.

 

Don’t these sound so much better than the traditional resolutions we’re supposed to make?  We think so, too!  

We, at Sunset Properties,  want to welcome you to the Alabama Gulf Coast in 2018 where resolutions are enjoyable, memorable and even relaxing.  Happy New Year and we’ll see you soon!

5 Things to consider when deciding to rent a Beach House or Condo for Spring Break 2018

Your family has decided you’re going to visit the beautiful Alabama Gulf Coast and enjoy our sugar white beaches for Spring Break 2018, but you can’t decide if you’d like to stay in a condo or a beach house.

Location/View

Location.  Location.  Location.  We’ve all heard the term.  What does that mean here?  The location of your condo or beach house often determines the view.  High rise Gulf Coast Condos tend to offer better views of The Gulf of Mexico and/or Mobile Bay than beach homes located in beach neighborhoods.  However, there isn’t a much better view than the one you get from a deck of Gulf Front beach house.  Our homes are located throughout Pleasure Island in South Alabama.  Rentals are available in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Historic Fort Morgan.  No matter which you choose, you are only steps away from the Sugar White Sands of Alabama’s most beautiful beaches.

Parking/Elevators

“I wish parking was closer to our vacation front door.  This parking lot is huge!”

Most beach houses offer parking right under the house or in the adjacent yard.  Alabama Gulf Coast beach houses, by design, are built up on pilings or piers to prevent flooding during tropical rain storms.  Most do not offer elevators.  Instead they only have stairs leading up the main living floor.   Taking vacation supplies and luggage can be a challenge.

Beach front condos, Mobile Bay front condos and beach view condos, on the other hand, have large parking lots.  Typically, luggage carts are available and elevators are usually present, so taking people and luggage up to your vacation front door can be very easy.

Personal Space vs Price

Beach condos are usually compact versions of larger homes.  If personal space is a factor in your choice, a beach home may be your best option.  Usually, beach homes offer more square footage than their smaller compact counterparts. Condos tend to be more economical than beach houses, however, if you are planning to split rental costs between two or more families, a beach house may just fit the bill. When choosing the beach vacation destination home that will best fit your family’s needs, keep in mind Sunset Properties has rental houses and condos that offer a variety of choices, design layouts and pricing.

Extra Comforts

If certain vacation amenities like having a pool only steps from your home-away-from-home is a must, a condo will usually fit the bill.  Most condo complexes offer pools, fitness rooms, saunas and even a lazy river either on the ground level or the roof.  Beach houses, however, are single family homes and typically don’t have these adjacent to the house.  Beach houses are usually a part of a beach community and have a shared pool and/or fitness area within the neighborhood.  WIFI, DVRs, TVs, stereos and other entertainment comforts are available in most condos and beach houses.

 

Fur Baby on Board

Is your fur baby coming with you?  Both beach condos and beach homes allow pets.  Usually a pet deposit is required and pet size restrictions can be a factor.  If bringing your fur baby with you to the beach is a must, your options are open for both condos and beach houses.

 

If you’re still having trouble deciding which accommodation will best suit your family, email us at info@sunsetproperties.com or give us a call 251.543.1370.  One of our vacation rental experts will be happy to help you!

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

Dauphin Island Sea Lab

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*These hours only run during daylight savings time.

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

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

Girls’ Getaway to the Gulf

Aching for some serious girl time? Need to catch up with friends and just relax? About to break out into “Girls just wanna have fun”? Head to Fort Morgan, Alabama, and enjoy a girls’ getaway on the beautiful beaches of the Gulf Coast. From fine dining and relaxing spas to great shopping and beach fun, there are plenty of things to make your time with the girls memorable! Here are just a few ideas for a girls’ getaway to Fort Morgan, Alabama.

Pamper yourselves.
Can you think of a better way to spend a girls’ day out than getting massaged, primped, and pampered? Hit up one of the area spas to give yourselves some much-needed unwinding time. Some spas in and around Fort Morgan and Gulf Shores include:

Massage Therapy of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach
3645 Gulf Shores Pkwy. Suite 109
Gulf Shores, AL 36542
251-223-7838

https://www.beach.massagetherapy.com/

Fusion Spa Salon
4778 Main Street
Orange Beach, AL 36561
251-224-4247

https://fusionspasalonaveda.com/

Emerald Coast Esthetics, Inc.
1574 Gulf Shores Pkwy
Gulf Shores, AL 36542
251-752-3223

https://www.eceagelessbeauty.com/

The Spa at the Beach Club
453 Beach Club Trail
Gulf Shores, AL 36542
866-348-9112 or 251-224-2772

https://thebeachclub.spectrumresorts.com/spa/

Play in the sun.
Of course, there are tons of fun things to do at the beach, especially when it comes to outdoor activities. Take walks on the beach, set out a beach chair and soak up the sun, take a dip in the water, go on a dolphin cruise, go deep sea fishing, visit historic Fort Morgan, or take a walk along the many beautiful nature trails.

Shop ‘til you drop.
Just down the road from Fort Morgan, Gulf Shores offers tons of fantastic shopping. There are outlet shops, high-end boutiques, and shops boasting one-of-a-kind gifts. If you want to do some shopping but are looking for a little more than the beach stores, check out:

SanRoc Cay
27267 Perdido Beach Blvd
Orange Beach, AL 36561
251-981-5423

Pelican Place at Craft Farms
3800 Gulf Shores Parkway
Gulf Shores, AL 36542
251-968-3638

Original Oyster House Boardwalk
701 Gulf Shores Parkway
Gulf Shores, AL 36542

Tanger Outlet Center
2601 S. McKenzie
Foley, AL 36535
251-943-9303

The Wharf in Orange Beach
4830 Main Street
Orange Beach, AL 36561
877-942-7325
251-224-1000

Wine and dine.
Fort Morgan and Gulf Shores boast a wide variety of restaurants to meet any tastes. You can grab a quick bite to eat, indulge with dessert, or dress up for a night on the town and a fancy dinner. Some top picks in the area include:

  • Tacky Jack’s 2 – just across the street from our condos!
  • The Hangout
  • Original Oyster House
  • Lucy Buffett’s Lulu’s
  • Shrimp Basket
  • Mikee’s Seafood Restaurant
  • Louisiana Lagniappe at SanRoc Cay
  • King Neptune’s Seafood Restaurant
  • DeSoto’s Seafood Kitchen
  • Cobalt the Restaurant
  • Cosmo’s Restaurant and Bar

Be Dolphin SMART

Gathering crowds and pointing fingers often mean one thing on the beaches of Fort Morgan – a dolphin sighting! It’s so exciting to see dolphins traveling through the waters along the Gulf Coast, especially when they’re “performing” for the crowds. You may see them splashing, circling, playing, jumping, or flipping out of the water. They truly are beautiful and magnificent creatures, and we must keep them safe in order to continue enjoying them. Being dolphin SMART is about knowing how to react around dolphins for the safety of yourself and the animal.

The Dolphin SMART program was created in Key West, Florida, and promotes responsible dolphin viewing. You can enjoy the dolphins, but at a safe distance! The acronym “SMART” is an outline of basic dolphin etiquette. SMART stands for:

Stay at least 50 yards from dolphins
Move away slowly if the dolphins show signs of disturbance
Always put your vessel engine in neutral when dolphins are near
Refrain from feeding, touching, or swimming with wild dolphins
Teach others to be Dolphin SMART

In October 2008, Orange Beach, Alabama, hosted its first Dolphin SMART training session. The hope is to create a safe and healthy environment for the dolphins in Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan, and Orange Beach.

Dolphin viewing in and around Fort Morgan

If you want to spend the day, or just a few hours, out on the water, check out these area dolphin cruises and tours. The professionals guiding these trips are sure to provide you with a fun and scenic day – hopefully with lots of dolphin sightings! If you’re out in the water along the beaches of Fort Morgan or Gulf Shores, remember to follow the proper etiquette. It will ensure the safety of these wonderful animals and of yourself and your family!

Fins and Family Fishing Charters
4170 Spinnaker Dr. Unit 1223i
Gulf Shores, AL
251.979.2691
https://www.finsandfamilyfishing.com/

Flora-Bama Marina & Watersports
29603 Perdido Key Drive
Orange Beach, AL
251.980.5222
https://www.florabama.com/

Dolphin Fun Dolphin Cruises
27844 Canal Road
Orange Beach, AL
251.971.1893
https://dolphincruises.net/

Cetacean Cruises*
25991 West Perdido Avenue
Orange Beach, AL
251.550.8000
https://cetaceancruises.com/

*Certified Dolphin SMART business

Fun for Snowbirds in Gulf Shores

While summer is the most popular time to visit Fort Morgan and Gulf Shores, the winter months also offer plenty of events and fun for snowbirds! Parades, art exhibits, tournaments, and exciting series fill the Gulf Shores calendar, providing tons of entertainment for guests in our Fort Morgan condos and beach houses! Check out some of these events for snowbirds during your winter at the beach!

What: Winter Camellia and Cold Hardy Annual Displays
When: Now – February 28
Where: Bellingrath Gardens
Bellingrath Gardens is beautiful year-round, with fantastic winter displays featuring Camellias, ornamental kale, pansies, violas, cabbages, tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, primrose, and more! Stroll the 65 acres and take in the beauty of a Southern estate.

What: Acrylic Painting (Beginning and Intermediate classes available)
When: Now – March 30
Where: Gulf Coast Arts Alliance Art Gallery
Learn more about acrylic painting from professional artist Kathleen Tucker during classes this winter. Each class is $40 with all supplies included.

What: Pottery, Hand-building and Glazing
When: Now – February 11
Where: Gulf Coast Arts Alliance Art Gallery
Anne Webb, professional potter, will offer her expertise during classes this winter. The six-week course is just $160 with all supplies included.

What: Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain
When: January 9 – February 13
Where: Gulf Coast Arts Alliance Art Gallery
Professional artist May Lou Nicolai’s six-week class will encourage students to explore a new way of thinking and drawing. The six-week course is $130.

What: Prayer Shawl Group
When: every Tuesday from now – March
Where: First Presbyterian Church of Gulf Shores
Snowbirds who love knitting and crocheting will appreciate peaceful Tuesday mornings with the Prayer Shawl Group. Participants can make shawls for themselves, as gifts, or for those in need while enjoying some time with like-minded people.

Along with many events, the areas in and around Fort Morgan and Gulf Shores offer many clubs for snowbirds. There are state-specific clubs where people can gather with those from home, and there are snowbird luncheons held often!

Snowbird Potluck Luncheons
260 Clubhouse Drive
Gulf Shores, AL 36542

Located at 200 E 25th Avenue in Gulf Shores, AL:
Illinois Snowbird Club
Indiana Snowbird Club
Ohio Snowbird Club
Minnesota Snowbird Club

Located at 27200 Perdido Beach Blvd in Orange Beach, AL:
Iowa Snowbird Club
Missouri Snowbird Club

Located at 27235 Canal Rd in Orange Beach, AL:
Wisconsin Snowbird Club

Located at 25311 Perdido Beach Blvd in Orange Beach, AL:
Pennsylvania Snowbird Club
North Dakota/South Dakota Snowbird Club

Located at 26189 Canal Road in Orange Beach, AL:
New York Snowbird Club

Located at 344 W 19th Avenue in Gulf Shores, AL:
Michigan Snowbird Club