5 REASONS TO VISIT FORT MORGAN

One of the best kept secrets on the Alabama Gulf Coast is historic Fort Morgan.  Locals know about the fort and folks who have ventured out beyond the lights and attractions of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach know about the fort.  Some folks even found it when they looking for Tacky Jacks located at the Fort Morgan Marina right across from The Dunes Condominiums.   But have you ever been?  Do you even know where this wonderful family venue is?  Maybe it’s time you visited the fort for yourself.  Load up the kiddos and the dog and head west on highway 180 – Fort Morgan Road – and in about 22 minutes travel back in time to a place where cell phones and iPads weren’t ever even thought of.  Venture out and discover a place where history lives among the masonry of the 1800s and enjoy making wonderful family memories right now, in 2018.

 

Here are five reasons you and your family need to make sure you plan a day trip to Alabama’s historic Fort Morgan:

 

1         HISTORY NEVER GETS OLD

It’s kind of a play on words, but it really is true.  History, for most of us, was a subject we took in school where we memorized seemingly useless facts about people we will never meet who did things we will never do.  What if I told you there is living history at Fort Morgan?  There is!  And as you read this blog, I hope you begin to see it.  As you enter the fort’s pentagonal perimeter, you will drive over the fort wall designed in 1817 during a time when most people traveled by horses and wagon.  The fort was built at the mouth of Mobile Bay across from Fort Gaines on the spot where Fort Bowyer, a short lived stockade once stood.  Fort Bowyer was attacked twice during the War of 1812 by the British, but eventually was re-constructed and named Fort Morgan.  Fort Morgan was named after Daniel Morgan, a Revolutionary War Hero.  Today the fort is home to the Mobile Bay Ferry dock and a wonderful museum/gift shop.  You might want to consider catching the ferry and cruising across beautiful Mobile Bay to Dauphin Island.  Whether you choose the ferry ride or not, you will definitely want to visit the Fort Morgan Museum and Gift Shop.  Each member of your family will find something great in there!

 

2         PETS ARE WELCOME TO BRING THEIR PEOPLE

Because much of the fort experience is an outside one, pets are welcome to bring their people.  I meant to say:  people are welcome to bring their pets.  Dogs must be on a leash.  I suggest getting your dog some doggie booties, too, because there are sand spurs around the fort grounds and they can stick and hurt doggie feet just like they hurt ours.  The fort is build out of concrete and bricks and there are brick walkways all around.  The grassy areas are quite inviting, however, so you will want to make sure everyone in your party has some sort of footwear if possible.  In addition to bringing your pets, you will probably want to bring a picnic lunch and cooler with cold drinks or water.  It gets pretty warm on summer days when you’re exploring out in the sun.  You and your furry buddy can venture inside many of the rooms of the fort, however, and you’ll find it much cooler inside there.  The fort has nice public restrooms for people, but the fort staff asks guests to please clean up after your doggie potties outside.

Be sure to bring your camera and your treasure bag.  You will want both once you begin exploring the beach.  And whatever you do, don’t forget to bring sunblock.  You will probably get so involved in your treasure hunt, swimming, or wildlife watching that you won’t realize how fast you can sunburn on this quaint little beach.  Trust me on this, it can happen super fast!

 

3       THE BEACH IS FULL OF TREASURES

When you look over the fort walls, you will see Mobile Bay on one side and The Gulf of Mexico on another.  And you will see a beautiful beach and Mobile Point.  At Mobile Point, the place where the Bay meets The Gulf, the water is usually extremely rough and rip tides can be hidden in the surf.  Please don’t try to swim here.  Swimming is great, however, on the Mobile Bay side.  To enter the beach, you’ll just walk right off the parking lot and onto a brick sidewalk, then to the beach.  As soon as you get to the beach, you will want to start looking for treasures.  The rolling waves of the bay are so much gentler than those from The Gulf and shells and sand dollars usually are abundant.  You may see an occasional starfish, but please don’t pluck them from the water.  If you look just a few feet off shore, toward the horizon line, you will probably see dolphins playing in the tide.  Some days they put on quite a show!  Gulls, herons and pelicans are also regulars on the fort beach.  You may see a snake or other reptile.  Please do not bother them!  They normally will not even notice you if you don’t approach them.  Keep in mind that even though you’re on a public beach, you and your family are still in the wildlife’s home.

 

4       HISTORY AND PRESENT DAY MEET RIGHT BEFORE YOUR EYES

As you look across Mobile Bay, you will most likely see the Dauphin Island Bridge.  If you look toward The Gulf of Mexico, you should be able to see the Sand Island Lighthouse.  You’ll also see a few drilling platforms.  Fishermen love these man-made reefs!  The Ferry will probably be crossing on one of its trips.  That’s also pretty cool to watch.  And you’re almost guaranteed a glimpse of an extremely large cargo or container ship.  Once the location of a fierce Civil War Battle, this Mobile Bay shipping channel now leads from the Port of Mobile out into The Gulf and ultimately to other countries.  Today it is a busy thoroughfare for ocean-going trade and cargo ships.   If you listen, though,  very closely,  you just might hear the echoes of Civil War Admiral David Farragut yelling his famous words:  damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!

 

5         FAMILY FUN ACTIVITIES ARE PLANNED FOR BOTH DAY AND EVENING HOURS

The fort is a great place to visit both day and evening.  On most days, the fort hours are 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.  The fort and the beach close at 5:00 PM.  However, on Tuesday nights in June and July, the staff is holding a living history tour from 6:00 PM-7:00 PM.  There is a cost of $10 per person to attend this wonderful family entertainment and learning experience.  This will be well worth your time!  Actors dressed as if they lived almost 200 years ago will be telling stories and visiting with fort guests.  You can also expect to hear the gunshots and artillery shells that you might have heard when the fort was active, long ago. Another fun family event is scheduled for July 2 from 10:00 AM until 2:00 PM.  The 151st Army Detachment Band will perform.  This is sure to be a treat for your whole family!  For a list of more special events planned for guests of Fort Morgan, follow this Fort Calendar link.

 

As you travel to Fort Morgan, you will pass some of the prettiest neighborhoods in Gulf Shores.  Many of those neighborhoods are home to elegant vacation rental homes and condos.  Sunset Properties, your premier rental management company in the Fort Morgan area, invites you to take a look at some of the wonderful homes we have available along Fort Morgan Road.  About halfway between the highway 59 intersection and the fort itself, you will pass the Peninsula Golf Course where Peninsula 401 is located.  Keep driving toward the fort, and you will come to Navy Cove.  Check out Navy Cove 2113.  You will also pass The Indies and The Dunes.  If a beach house appeals to you, stop and look around in The Dunes Subdivision near mile post 2.  Dolphy Dunes, Dunesberry and Just Write are just a sampling of the wonderful beach homes available for vacation rentals in that neighborhood.  If you’d rather stay in Gulf Shores or Orange Beach, we’ve got you covered on that, too!  Browse Sunset Properties to see all of fine rentals.

 

Make a plan to visit Fort Morgan on your next trip down to the Alabama Gulf Coast and make a plan to stay with Sunset Properties while you’re here.  We are looking forward to meeting you!

 

www.sunsetproperties.com

251.543.1370

Top 5 Family Outings for Memorial Day 2018 in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan

Memorial Day 2018 is rapidly approaching.  Most of us look forward to the last Monday in May and see it as the unofficial start to the summer season.   Our winters have been dictated by school or work schedules, and we are ready for the summer.

Sometimes, we overlook the origin of this Memorial Day and forget that is was started as a day of remembrance to honor those who served in our military and lost their lives in service to our great country.

In addition to all the great year-round family attractions found in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Fort Morgan and throughout The Alabama Gulf Coast, there are a couple of special Memorial Day outings we wanted you to know about.  At Sunset Properties, we love our guests and want to make sure you know about all the fun things going on in our area.  So, including two special Memorial Day Weekend activities, here are the

Top 5 Gulf Shores Family Outings for Memorial Day 2018:

 

  1. Visit Owa

Owa is one of the newest attractions on the Alabama Gulf Coast.  Located in Foley off highway 59 on South Owa Boulevard, it is a one-of-a-kind amusement park and entertainment venue.  Owa is chock full of fun for the whole family.    With 21 amusement park rides, there is something for everyone in your family to enjoy.  Rides at Owa range from a fabulous thrill roller coaster called Rollin’ Thunder to the Happy Haulers, a cute ride for the kiddos featuring old time trucks on a fixed track.

 

Don’t forget to try the fabulous food while you’re at Owa.  With great dining options from restaurants like The Groovy Goat, Wahlburgers, and Cinnabon, no one should leave Owa hungry!  Oh, and did we mention the shopping?  Plan on checking out Alvin’s Island, The Fairhope Soap Company and Pepper Palace.  While you’re out, you probably need to get a couple of gifts from some folks back home, don’t you?

 

  1. Experience Waterville USA

That’s right:  Experience Waterville!  After all, Waterville really is quite an experience!  And it’s one your whole family will enjoy.  Once you’re inside the gates, you’ll see you’re visiting two theme parks with one ticket entry!  First, you must try all the water attractions.  There are 17 water slides (yep!  Seventeen!!), a lazy river, the flow rider, Shrimp Boat Village, a wave pool, and WaWa World.  WaWa World is a perfect little pint sized water park area for the kiddos.  After you’ve tried all these rides, and ridden a couple of the super fast slides two or three times, you have to ride the amusement park rides, too.  The Cannonball Run roller coaster has to be on your to-do list.  There are Nascart Go-carts and The Trampoline Thing to experience, as well!  Save some energy for mini-golf and the arcade.  And after you’ve done all those things, you must check out The Escape House. This mystery game is Waterville’s newest attraction and has a separate entry fee.   Gulf Shores has been home to Waterville since 1986 and the park just keeps getting better and better!  Whether you’re on The Alabama Gulf Coast for a weekend or an extended stay, Waterville USA needs to be a definite stop on your family’s vacation adventure.

 

  1.  Delight in a Day Out at The Wharf

The Wharf in Orange Beach is home to some of the island’s best dining spots, family entertainment venues and superb retail stores.  Have you ever dined at Villaggio Grille?  What a menu they have!  The specialize in Italian entrees and offer everything from rib eyes to chicken pesto to shrimp and crawfish.  If you’re more in the mood for a delicious steak burger prepared after you order with your choice of toppings, stop in and see the folks at STKburger.  We’re pretty sure they’ve got what you are craving. How about a little retail therapy?  For some really fun beach clothing for both girls and guys, check out Ocean Eddies.  Looking for some trendy jewelry?  Stop by Bungalows to pick up a special gift for your favorite mom or daughter.  We can’t forget the special guys on this trip.  How about grabbing a new pair of shades while you’re on vacation?  Shades has one of the best selections of sun glasses and tees around.  Girls will love Shades, too.

 

Once you’ve shopped til you’re about to drop, don’t!  Don’t drop, that is.  You still have the zipline to soar, a Ferris Wheel to ride, and a game of laser tag to play.  The Hummingbird Zipline has just opened and the reviews are great!  We encourage you to be among the first to soar over The Wharf on this new ride.  The Ferris Wheel at The Wharf has become and island landmark and is an attraction your whole family will love.  See the island from new heights while you’re at the top of this beautiful wheel.  Arena the Next Level is an unmatched 4,000 square foot laser tag arena.  Before you head back home, be sure to stop by and show off your laser tag skills.

 

And by the way, have you heard there’s a concert in town?  That’s right.  As part of the C-Spire Concert Series, The Amphitheatre at The Wharf is hosting Dave Matthews Band on Sunday, May 27, 2018.  Tickets may still be available.  Click Tickets for more information.

 

  1. Immerse Yourself in History at Fort Morgan

Fort Morgan located at the end of Fort Morgan Road just west of Gulf Shores, is an historical landmark no one visiting our island should miss.  Built on the original site of Fort Bower (circa 1812), Fort Morgan is a remarkable work of masonry that is almost 200 years old.  The Fort park entrance serves as the Mobile Bay Ferry landing.  Inside the Fort, you’ll find a museum packed with artifacts from two centuries.  Additionally, inside the museum is a wonderful little gift shop with items that represent our area.  Adjacent to the exterior walls of Fort Morgan, a sandy white beach borders Mobile Bay and stretches all the way to the mouth of the bay where it meets The Gulf of Mexico.  Fishing, swimming and sightseeing are all permitted from Fort Morgan’s beaches.  The waves in Mobile Bay are usually much gentler than the waves in The Gulf, so swimming in the bay is usually not as taxing as swimming in The Gulf can be.  However, unlike the public beaches of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, there are no lifeguards on duty at Fort Morgan.   Swim at your own risk.  Sea life is usually pretty active along the beaches of our fort.  Fish, gulls, pelicans and even dolphins can be seen most days.  Shells are often plentiful here, too.  Be sure to bring a big beach bag so you’ll have to something to hold your shell treasure collection.

 

Throughout the year, the Fort Morgan staff holds guided tours.  For Memorial Day Weekend, however, there will be a Living History Memorial Day Tribute.  On Saturday, May 26, fort staff will dress in historical uniforms and clothing from the last 200 years.  They will entertain guests with stories about battles and lifestyles from long ago.  This event will be both educational and entertaining for the whole family.  Be sure to pack a camera for this one.  We’re certain you’re going to have some great photo ops.

 

  1. Tour the USS Alabama

About an hour from Gulf Shores via highway 59 and highway 90, the USS Alabama battleship is parked at her permanent home at Battleship Memorial Park located at 2703 Battleship Parkway in Mobile.  The park is accessible from highway 90 also called the Mobile Causeway or Battleship Causeway.  The USS Alabama was first sent to defend her country during WWII in the North Atlantic then later the South Pacific.  In 1965, the “Mighty A”, as she was called, was brought home to Alabama to take her place at Battleship Memorial Park.  More than 15 million folks have visited her since then.  The park will be open during normal hours for Memorial Day 2018.   On that day, guests will find The US Flag at half staff in honor of fallen American Heroes.  There is a fee to visit the park of $4 for general public admission.  Active duty military will receive free admission and retired and former military members will receive a discounted admission.

 

The park is a great place to spend an afternoon watching the seagulls play over Mobile Bay and touring the war monuments.  Bring a picnic lunch.  There are tables available for public use.  Bring plenty of sunscreen.  The sun’s rays stronger than you think.   Along with enjoying the park, we encourage you to tour The Alabama.  There is a separate fee to take this tour.   Bring your camera and get ready to capture some great memories.  You and your kids are going to love this!  With hatches and rooms to explore, go below her top deck into the actual living and working quarters of her former crews.  This is a real treat for anyone who has never been.  Even if you’ve been before, visiting the USS Alabama on Memorial Day is a great way to remember those who served on board this mighty vessel.

 

Now that you have some great ideas of things to do with your family as you gather and vacation with Sunset Properties this Memorial Day, all that’s left to do is make your reservation.  Would you like to stay in a condo near Fort Morgan?  The Indies, The Dunes and Navy Cove are located about two miles from the fort.  With one, two and three bedroom options, private beaches and enticing swimming pools, these are sure to please any family.  If your larger family needs some room to spread out, consider SAND-Y-SOL, a super cute duplex beach house with four bedrooms that can sleep up to thirteen guests.  How about a little AMERICAN FUN for an American holiday?  This charming beach home has three bedrooms and sleeps up to eight guests.

 

If your family will feel more at home in Gulf Shores near the public beaches, consider BEACHVIEW 223.  This cozy condo has one bedroom and sleeps three guests comfortably.  LIGHTHOUSE 607 has two full bedrooms and sleeps up to eight folks.

 

If Orange Beach is your ideal vacation location, we propose you stay MOORINGS 414 . With one bedroom, this lovely condo sleeps up to four.  Larger families might like GRAND CARIBBEAN 215.  With two bedrooms this condo, located right across from the Gulf State Park Beaches, sleeps up to six guests.  If staying closer to Alabama Point is your desire, you should take a look at CARIBE B PENTHOUSE 4.  This magnificent unit has all that a family of six could ask for, including a private lazy river and two water slides.

We have other properties around the island and we welcome the opportunity to talk about your family’s needs with you.  Just give us a call at 251.543.1370 or email at info@sunsetproperties.com and we’ll get you all fixed up with  the perfect home away from home.  Happy Memorial Day and we are looking forward to your arrival!

7 Important Reasons to Book Your Vacation Stay with Sunset Properties in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Fort Morgan

Ok… so you’re looking for a rental management company you can trust, but who do you book your vacation rental with?  They’re all the same right?  You call up somebody you may never meet or go online and deal with a giant “server in the sky”…find your vacation home…make your reservation…authorize a payment…show up…check-in…blah blah blah….  Same ole story…no great thrill …right?

 

Well, what if I told you there is one company with an important difference that puts us above the rest?  What if I told you the folks at Sunset Properties actually care about you and your specific vacation needs?  I’m not saying the others don’t.  They might. But we do, for sure!  At Sunset Properties, we really do care about your family vacation.  You are important to us.  You might not believe me.  I can’t blame you.  After all, who am I anyway?  Just someone who writes blogs, right?

 

Maybe so…but just for a few minutes consider this:  the folks at Alabama’s own Sunset Properties not only care about helping you find the perfect vacation home to meet your family’s wants and needs, but they are also interested in your fun once you arrive.

 

Yep.  It’s true.  Keep reading and I’ll explain:

 

  1. Your Family is Important

Wait? What?  You’re asking yourself:  these folks care about my family?  The answer is “yes”.  Yes, your family is important to us at Sunset Properties.  We want to know as much about your family as you’re willing to share.  How many adults and kids are in your party?  Do you have a dog you want to bring? How about your mother-in-law or your second cousin Bob? Does someone use a wheelchair or a stroller?  You can bring them all!  Load up the kids, the dogs, the mother-in-law, your second cousin Bob,  and everyone else who needs a vacation!  When you stay with Sunset Properties in Fort Morgan, Gulf Shores or Orange Beach, we’ve got space for everyone.  We have accommodations to meet everyone’s needs.  We’ll find the perfect beach home for all of you.  Your family – every single member of your family- is important.

  • Want a dog friendly option?  How does 25 options sound?  We have 25 homes that allow dogs.  Here’s our pet policy and  here’s just a quick sampling of two of them:
  • Check out Dunes 206.  You doggie can bring 6 humans to stay with him in this comfortable condo.
  • Another option is SOUTHERN COMFORT.  This beach home sleeps one dog plus 12 human family members.
  • One more thing to note:  your dog doesn’t have to stay in all day while you guys are at the beach playing, Sea Paws Dog Resort is a local doggie daycare.  Everyone in your family can enjoy a vacation on The Alabama Gulf Coast!

 

  1. Your Vacation Needs are Important

Everyone’s vacation needs are different.  Do you need a separate room for all who will be traveling with you?  We can do that.  Do you prefer a pool adjacent to your vacation home or one a few feet away?  Are you planning a special event and need certain things in your kitchen or dining room?  Just let us know what you’ll need when you arrive and we will do our best to accommodate.  If you need an elevator or would prefer to take the stairs, let us know.  We have properties with both.  With properties in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan,  we will make every effort to see that all your pre-planning needs are met so that when you arrive, all you have to do is unpack and let the fun begin.

  • Need an elevator outside your beach home?  Most of our condominium units have elevators leading up to non-ground level floors.  To be sure, check with us when you call.
  • Need an elevator inside your beach home?  Check out ENDLESS SUMMER (sleeps 18) and GRACE (sleeps 20).  Both of these regal beach homes have their own elevators and will sleep just about as many folks as you can pack into two minivans!

 

 

  1. Your Vacation Wants are Important

Do you want to be in the middle of “all the action”?  We have properties near the public beach in Gulf Shores.  There is something going on in that area pretty much all the time.  Would you prefer to be a little way away from the busiest part of the island, but still close enough that your travel time is minimal?  Our beach homes in Orange Beach may be just the thing, then.  Do you want to play golf?  One of our Fort Morgan properties is located on a great golf courses.  If you want to be close to fabulous shopping malls or family friendly attractions, just let us know.  We’re reasonably sure we can meet your wants and needs in a perfect home away from home.

  • Want to stay near Waterville and The Track?  Give Peninsula 401 a peek.  It’s on Fort Morgan Road located on a fabulous golf course, but only minutes from the heart of Gulf Shores.
  • Want to stay near the Hangout?  PAT-TI-O is the answer.
  • Want to be at Perdido Pass so you can watch the fishing charters go out on their daily runs?  You will love Caribe C Penthouse 14.
  • Want to catch one of those fishing charters?  Contact the good folks at www.gulfshores.com and they’ll be happy to make recommendations.

 

  1. Your Correspondence With Sunset Properties is Important

If you call us, you will speak with real live people who are anxious to help you.  If you email us, you will get a response from a human, not a machine.  We consider it a privilege to speak with our guests directly on the phone or by email.  If you ask us a question and we don’t have the answer right then, we will get the answer and call or email you back.  If you need to speak with us once you arrive, we have two office locations to serve you.  As I said, we consider it a privilege, not only to get to know you, but to help you in any way we can.

 

  1. Your Satisfaction When You Arrive is Important

We want you to be so familiar with your vacation home and our staff, that you will not encounter any issues when you arrive.  We know issues pop up.  You know issues pop up.  Issues become opportunities – opportunities to show you how much you matter us.  If issues do arise, however, we will resolve them to the best of our ability and to the best of your satisfaction.  After all, it’s your vacation.  We know you worked all year to be able to take this week off and come stay with us in our little island paradise.  We think of you as not only our guest, but our neighbor, even if only for a week or so.  Hosts look after their guests and neighbors look after neighbors.   We want you to know that Southern Hospitality isn’t just a catch phrase.  Instead, here in south Alabama, it’s a way of life for us.  Frankly, it’s the way our Mommas raised us and we are proud to share it with you.

 

  1. Your Fun is Important

Your FUN very is important.  We, at Sunset Properties, have this cool program called Xplorie.  Xplorie is a way for you and your family to enjoy some of our island’s best attractions without having to pay some of the admission fees.  We partner with local attractions to give our guests one free admission pass each day of their stay.  This only applies to reservations that last less than 28 days but there is no minimum night to qualify.  So if you stay two nights, you qualify for two passes.  Therefore, if you are planning a golf outing, use the Xplorie program to claim your one pass for Glen Lakes Golf Club and gather up your foursome.  When you arrive, you’ll only pay for three.  How does a day at Waterville’s water park sound?  It works the same way.  You’ll claim one pass and load up all your little swimmers and head to Waterville USA waterpark for a day.  One member of your group will get into the waterpark free.  There’s more to do for free beside waterslides and golf.  Does riding go carts or a dolphin cruise sound good?  Well, those options are available with Xplorie, too.  Xplorie does have some restrictions.  But what program doesn’t, right?  Check out all the offers and guidelines at Xplorie .  Even with restrictions, my original thought remains the same:  Your fun is important to us at Sunset Properties.

 

  1. Your Next Stay With Us is Important

We know that while you’re on vacation, you’re already thinking about the next time you can come back.  We all do it.  We go away for a week or so and fall in love with our vacation spot.  Before we know it, we’re already planning the next time we can come back again.  We want your stay with us to be so great, that when you start having those kind of pre-planning thoughts that you don’t even consider staying with any other property management company.  We want you to be so sold on Sunset Properties, in fact, that when you go home,  you tell your friends about us.  We are a small company.  We are a family company and a local company.  We are real folks who are blessed enough to get to live and work in our little island paradise.  We know you can choose to stay with any number of companies and we appreciate the opportunity to be your first choice.  As I said, your next stay with us is important.  It is just as important, in fact, as your first stay.

 

Many of our best friends are folks we have met through our business over the last few years.  Many of them started out just like you wondering if they wanted to stay with us.  Not only are they now great clients, they are great friends.  And some, even, are just like extensions of our own family.  They grafted us right into theirs, too.

 

Give us a try.  Let us show you YOU are IMPORTANT.  Put us to the test and I am pretty sure you won’t be disappointed.

Ok…so what are you waiting for?  We want to hear from you.  So go ahead, reach out.  Send us an email at info@sunsetproperties.com or give us a call at 251.543.1370 and let’s start  a conversation today.  Your vacation home is waiting and we, at Sunset Properties, are looking forward to hearing from our most important next guestYOU!

TOP 9 REASONS WHY GOING TO THE BEACH IS GOOD FOR YOU

Most folks smile when they think about their favorite day at the beach.  Why?  Why does the beach make us happy?  Why do we sit at our desks and sometimes find ourselves longing for a nice sunny day filled with sand between our toes and the sounds of waves and seagulls?  As it turns out, going to the beach is actually good for us!  Seems our bodies already instinctively know this and that may be the very reason we feel that internal longing for sun, sand, and surf.

 

Don’t believe it?  Get ready to visit Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Fort Morgan because here are nine reasons going to the beach is good for you and can actually help you live a little bit healthier life.

 

  1.  SALT WATER IS GOOD FOR YOUR SKIN AND BODY

Salt water, like that found in The Gulf of Mexico, is good for your skin.  It is full of minerals like sodium, chloride, magnesium and calcium.  These are some of the same ingredients found in our daily vitamins our internal organs crave, so it stands to reason, that our skin would love them, too!  Salt water helps with seasonal allergies.  Many of us use saline nose sprays to help with allergy symptoms.  A swim in The Gulf is undeniably nicer than an allergy nasal spray any day.  And did you know that swimming in colder water activates temperature receptors under your skin and that it can help release hormones like adrenaline, endorphins and cortisol?   That’s right.  It is a widely accepted premise that cold water swimming can actually help boost your immune system and relieve aches and pains by activating certain hormones.

 

  1. SAND IS A NATURAL EXFOLIANT

How much money have  you spent on exfoliants for your feet and body in an effort to make your skin softer and  younger looking?  Why not just take a walk on the beach in Gulf Shores?  Alabama has 32 miles of pristine white beaches and beach sand is one of nature’s best exfoliants for your feet.  While we wouldn’t use on faces because it is a bit rough for tender skin, for feet, however, its perfect.  It’s super easy to exfoliate your feet on the beach, too.  Just go search for shells.  Yep!  As you treasure hunt along the tideline looking for the most perfect shells you can spot, the sand is gently exfoliating your feet.  The farther you walk, the better the exfoliation.  It’s like getting a natural foot spa treatment that ends with a great little souvenir collection!

 

  1. SEA BREEZE IS GOOD FOR YOUR BRAIN

Tired of brain freeze?  All the cold weather and staying inside all winter got you down?  Well, head to the beach and breathe in the fresh salty air found at the seaside.  Spending a lot of time inside during the winter around power sources and electrical devices can lead to a great deal of positive ion exposure.  Positive ions, despite their optimistic names, are not positive for our overall health at all.  Instead these tiny little positively charged atomic particles are believed to have properties that can lead to anxiety, breathing difficulty, irritability and an overall lack of energy.  Negative ions, on the other hand, are found outdoors in natural clean air sources, such as in an Orange Beach sea breeze or after a fresh rain on Lake Shelby.  Negative ions can reverse the effects of their positive counterparts on your body.  Negative ions can help purify blood, revitalize cell metabolism and boost your immune system.  According to a study in the Journal of Alternative Complementary Medicine, negative ions have also been shown to reverse the effects of seasonal affective disorder, also called SAD.  So while you’re at the beach, breathe in the fresh salt air.  It’s good for you!

 

  1. SUNSHINE IS A GREAT SOURCE OF VITAMIN D

Did you know your body is a manufacturer of Vitamin D?  That’s right.  When your body gets sun exposure, your skin uses the UVB rays to manufacture Vitamin D.  This vitamin is used throughout your body to support immune, lung and cardiovascular health.  It helps regulate insulin and helps strengthen bones and teeth.  So while you’re on your little treasure hunt looking for shells, soak up some sun and encourage your body to produce the Vitamin D it needs.   Keep in mind, though, that while our bodies need sunlight to encourage the manufacturing of Vitamin D, UVA and UVB rays can cause sunburn and can lead to some cancers.  Sunscreen and exposure moderation are key factors when soaking up rays.   The CDC recommends applying a broad spectrum sunscreen with at least an SPF15 before going outside for long periods of time.  Studies have shown that using sunscreen does not cause a Vitamin D production deficiency, so don’t forget to take care of your skin as it works hard for you!

 

  1.   WALKING OR RUNNING ON THE BEACH GETS YOUR HEART RATE UP

Exercising anywhere is good.  Many of us, admittedly, do not get enough exercise even though our doctors would prefer we get our heart rates up a bit each day.  The truth is:  we just don’t do it.  We will walk on the beach, though, because this doesn’t seem like exercise.  It’s more of a sightseeing or shell hunting adventure.  As it happens, walking or running on the beach is really great exercise!.  Because the beach sand moves under our feet as we walk or run, we actually burn more calories than we do while walking or running on concrete.  So exercising on the beach doesn’t seem like exercise at all and it is a better workout than we might be getting somewhere else.  Who knew working out could be so much fun?

 

  1. BEACH SOUNDS ENCOURAGE HEALTHY SLEEP PATTERNS

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to take a nap in the middle of the day on the beach?  Or how quickly you wake up in the middle of the night to the sound of a fire engine or clap of thunder?  This doesn’t seem to make a lot sense unless we think about how our brain processes noises.  Whether we are sleeping or awake, our brains classify noises as threatening or nonthreatening.  Fire engines, thunder and even those pesky alarms we set each day are heard as potentially threatening noises.  When we hear them, even if we are in a deep sleep, we wake up.  We may not want to wake up, but we do.  On the other hand, that soft lulling of the surf coupled with the songs of seagulls, and even that soft crackling sound sea oats make when the breeze passes through them are interpreted as non threatening, even relaxing, noises.  These soft repetitive noises encourage deep and beneficial sleep.  The next time find yourself tired from a long day at your office, but having a hard time falling asleep at home, try thinking about the sound of the surf and you may find sleep comes a bit easier.  Better yet, plan a trip down to the Alabama Gulf Coast and experience this first hand for yourself.

 

  1. LOCAL SEAFOOD IS NUTRITIOUS

While you can find most anything on a menu at a beach restaurant, seafood is by far the most prevalent item.  So why not enjoy some?  Seafood is an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids.  Omega-3 fatty acids, often missing from American diets, are shown to help reduce the risk of heart disease, arthritis and even cancer.   They also help with brain and behavioral functions.  So, go ahead and enjoy some fresh Alabama Gulf Shrimp or have some grilled grouper while you’re vacationing at the beach. Load up on Omega-3s.  They’re good for you.

 

  1. A SLOWER PACE REDUCES STRESS

It has often been said that we, at the beach, live on “Island Time”.  What does that mean?  It means everything’s a bit slower, more relaxed.  Away from the busy streets of bigger cities, you’ll find folks on bicycles or driving slowly in convertibles.  You’ll see colorful kites flying and parasailers behind boats.  On Island Time, your day will start when you wake up naturally.  There’s no need to set an alarm.  You can watch the sunrise or set and take time to appreciate both.  There isn’t any pressure to dress up or to impress anyone.  In fact, shorts, shades and flip-flops are acceptable attire at most places.  Leaving deadlines and voicemails behind, even for just a short time, will reduce your stress level.  Without all the demands of work and school and the things that hurry you along daily, you’ll be able to find inner peace and relaxation at the beach.  You’ll feel your stress level drop almost as soon as you get here.

 

  1. YOU CAN UNPLUG AND RECHARGE

Electromagnetic radiation, also called EMR, refers to the electromagnetic waves emitted from our televisions, laptops, communications and other devices.  While the notion of going somewhere without our phone or ipad is foreign to most of us, after days and weeks and months of continued use, that EMR exposure can start to have negative effects on our bodies.  As a result, taking a break from our electronic devices is never a bad idea.  How about putting down your phone and picking up a Frisbee or football and playing a game of catch on the sand?   Go for a swim in The Gulf or enjoy a paddle board ride over the waves.  Give your body an EMR break as you walk the beach at Fort Morgan from Mobile Bay all the way around to the place where it meets The Gulf.  Go ahead, unplug and recharge yourself on the beach!  The benefits to your health may be greater than you think.

 

So we’ve given you nine reasons why a beach trip would benefit your health.  What are you waiting for?  At Sunset Properties, we already have your beach home ready for you.  Whether you’re looking for a one, two or three bedroom condo, beach house, or penthouse, we have just the right vacation home to fit your needs.  We have homes with pools, workout rooms,  and boat slips.  We have properties adjacent to the public beaches and some on private beaches.  All you need to do is give us a call, then pack up and head down.  Your healthy beach vacation is just a call away.

 

We look forward to hearing from you soon….and remember….your whole body will thank you for it!

 

www.sunsetproperties.com

251.543.1370

5 REASONS TO TAKE MOM TO THE BEACH IN GULF SHORES FOR MOTHER’S DAY

So you let Mother’s Day slip up on you again, huh?  And you find yourself unprepared to celebrate one of the most important women in your life.  Now you’re scrambling trying to think of something amazing to give Mom for her special day.  Last year you got her that great hanging flower for her patio.  The year before you got her a gift card to her favorite store.  And just a few short years ago, you made her that really cute construction paper card and macaroni necklace.  Now what?  What do you get for the woman who gave you everything, but she already seems to have all she wants?  You’re at a loss!  Don’t fret!  We understand.  We’ve all been there.  Lucky for you, we have an idea!  We think Mom needs a beach trip and we have compiled a list of

5 Reasons to Take Mom to the Beach for Mother’s Day 2018.

 

  1. Moms need downtime, too

Mom needs a day or two at the beach.  Every Mom needs this.  She needs a day to enjoy a beach stroll, putting her toes in the edge of the water, and just relaxing.  She needs a chair in the sun and an umbrella and her favorite tunes on her radio.  She needs to be able to put on her shades and kick back and watch the cotton white clouds float by.  Mom worked hard all year taking care of everybody’s everything. And for every little emergency that popped up, she found a solution.  She’s everyone’s super warrior, prayer queen and in-house doctor.  Her kisses are magic and her food unmatched.  She’s a laundry beast and the taxi driver for her kids and grandkids.  But this super lady needs some downtime sometimes, just like you do.  Mom needs a weekend at the beach.  And what better weekend is there to celebrate Mom than Mother’s Day Weekend?

 

  1. Mom won’t have to cook to get fabulous food

With so many great choices for seafood and steaks in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan, you’re sure to find the perfect place to take Mom for her special outing.  For great seafood, try local faves Tacky Jacks or King Neptunes.  Want a delicious steak?  Check out Cosmos for great food and a super friendly staff.  How about some gumbo to brag to her friends about?  Sea-n-Suds is the place for gumbo.  Think Mom would enjoy a Bloody Mary?  Bills by the Beach has a Bloody Mary that’ll make her whole mouth happy.  What’s the best part about taking Mom out to dinner?  She doesn’t have to do the dishes!  Who will be a winner in her eyes?  You will!

 

  1. Mom will be surrounded with amazing shopping and spa opportunities

So you gave Mom a gift card last year?  That’s a thoughtful gift, but this year you’re ready to take it up a notch.  Instead of just a gift card to one store, give her so many shopping opportunities, she won’t be able to do them all in one day.  By bringing her to the beach, you give her malls like SanRoc Cay and Pelican Place at Craft Farms to shop.  She will love the shops at The Wharf at Orange Beach and she may even need to ride the Ferris Wheel while she’s there.  Don’t forget about The Shops at The Boardwalk in Gulf Shores next to The Original Oyster House where she’ll find great appetizers when she needs a shopping break.

 

Would she rather spend the day at a spa getting her hair or nails done?  Or maybe she needs a massage?  You can arrange for Mom to have a massage done right in her vacation home. Check out Austin Massage Therapy  for details and booking an appointment.  For hair, skin and nail pampering, visit Spas of Eden or Serenity at the Beach.  Either of these salons are sure to make Mom look and feel like the special beautiful person we all know she is.

 

  1. Mom can experience a fun night out filled with music and cocktails

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach night spots are known for cold beverages and great live local entertainment.  LuLu’s is always a great place to start.  With the last name “Buffett” Lucy Buffett is certainly an expert when it comes to great music and cold drinks! Another fun place Mom is sure to enjoy is Live Bait.  With fabulous cocktails, great music you can sing along with and a unique appetizer menu, Live Bait has been an island favorite for years.  Make sure you try the Greek Seafood Nachos at Live Bait.  Mom will love these!

 

  1. Mom can stay in a beach home fit for a queen

You know how picky Mom is about staying in nice places.  She likes clean and well-stocked vacation homes when she’s away from her own home.  You’re in luck!  Sunset Properties has an array of tastefully decorated and fully stocked beach homes and condos ready for Mom’s arrival.  Some of our homes are located in the quiet Fort Morgan area.  Check out The Dunes and The Indies if this area appeals to Mom.   How about a beachfront cottage in Gulf Shores or maybe a beach home with a boat slip for her jet ski?  Or is Mom more of the ‘let’s-go-float-the-lazy-river” type?  Well, we have penthouse condos at The Caribe in Orange Beach with one of those, too. We, at Sunset Properties, have you taken care of no matter what Mom’s preference is.  Would you rather stay home and get some of Mom’s friends to come with her?  We’ve got you covered on that, too!  How about a three bedroom condo or multi-bedroom beach home?  No problem!  Call us and we’ll make you the hero of Mother’s Day!

 

Convinced yet?  Well, we have one more reason you should take Mom to the beach for Mother’s Day 2018.  We are going to save you 15% off your two-night booking with code* MOTHER18.

Mom will be so proud of you for being so frugal.  After all, she always told you to spend your money wisely.

 

So go ahead!  Make Mom proud!  Be her hero!  Call or click Sunset Properties today and get Mom’s special weekend booked before we are all sold out!

 

www.sunsetproperties.com 251-543-1370

For code* MOTHER18 – restrictions may apply; contact us for more details

10 Things to do at The Beach When It’s Raining

April Showers bring May flowers.  We’ve all heard that.  Though it probably won’t rain every day while you’re spending your April Vacation week with Sunset Properties along the Alabama Gulf Coast, you can expect rain at least one day or maybe a day and a half while you’re here.

 

A cool soggy beach is not much fun, so what do you do while it’s raining at the beach?

 

1       Enjoy some fresh Gulf Seafood.

You can’t very well fish in the rain, but you can still get some fresh Gulf Seafood.  Shop for fresh off-the-boat shrimp, fish, oysters and more at Fresh Seafood in Gulf Shores.  This locally owned seafood market has been providing locals and visitors with the freshest Gulf Seafood at some of the best prices around.  Your Sunset Properties vacation condo or beach house has a fully stocked kitchen ready for you to prepare a delicious seafood meal for your family right in the comfort of your own home-away-from-home.

 

2       Shop a local favorite for cute jewelry and henna tattoos.

Island Girl Jewelry & Souvenirs located in Gulf Shores.   Island Girl is a locally owned, unique beach shop offering year round services such as henna and temporary tattoos, hair braids and hair wraps. They also have a large selection of t-shirts, beach hats, souvenirs, cute and trendy clothes, boho-style and magic silk wrap skirts.

 

3       Visit Pelican Place at Craft Farms.

Anchored with big box stores Target, Books-A-Million, Bed, Bath & Beyond, and Publix, Pelican Place is located on Alabama Highway 59 north of the Holmes Bridge.  This trendy mall also hosts several boutiques and smaller chain retail  stores.  In addition to the fabulous retail therapy you’ll get at Pelican Place, you’ll want to stop and enjoy a wonderful meal and a cocktail while you watch the rain shower pass.

 

4       Take in a movie.

Located at Pelican Place is Cobb Pinnacle 14 , a local favorite for the latest movie releases and wonderful popcorn!  If it’s still raining and you’ve shopped till you’re about to drop, stop by Cobb Pinnacle 14.  With closed caption, assisted listening, and descriptive narration available on most films during most show times, everyone can enjoy a popular film.

 

How about visiting a museum or three?

 

5       Check out the Orange Beach Indian and Sea Museum.

Located on John Snook Drive behind The Orange Beach City Hall Complex, this local favorite is just a few minutes from the beach.  This inviting little historical building was originally built as a school in the early 1900s, but now houses artifacts relating to Orange Beach’s fishing heritage and Native American roots.

 

6       Gulf Shores has a Museum, too.

The Gulf Shores Museum is located on West 19th Avenue in Gulf Shores.  This historical building is home to both permanent exhibits relating to island life and houses seasonal rotating exhibits.   Much like the weather down here, the carefully chosen displays located within this museum change frequently.

 

7       So does Fort Morgan!

The Museum at Fort Morgan is home to a whole lifetime of memories.  Artifacts dating back to when the fort was first occupied to current day exhibits will keep you intrigued for an afternoon.  In addition to the historical aspect of the Fort Morgan Museum, there is also a quaint little gift shop area.  After your explore all that this museum has to offer, you’re sure to find the perfect souvenir.

 

8       Spend some quality family time in The Factory.

The Factory in Gulf Shores is one of Gulf Shores’ premiere indoor attractions.  The Factory features over 50 large trampolines, foam pits and an arcade.  There is also a Ninja Course located inside.  There is a rock climbing wall and trick trampolines, too.  Surely there is something for everyone to do at The Factory. Located at 18948 Oak Road West in Gulf Shores, The Factory is a great place to go play around whether it’s raining or not!

 

9       Enjoy some indoor recreation.

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.  There is a complimentary fitness towel service and a game area.   The Bodenhamer Center is ADA accessible and is open from 5:30 AM until 9:00 PM on weekdays and from 8:00 AM -6:00 PM on Saturday and 1:00 PM -6:00 PM on Sundays.  It is conveniently located at 319 West 19th Avenue, about two minutes from the Gulf Shores Museum.

 

10     Chill out with some tasty ice cream.   

Scoops ice cream shop located on Alabama Highway 59 in Gulf Shores is a must for any vacationer.  Scoops has been a staple in Gulf Shores since 1980.  You don’t make it in a small town for that many years unless you truly have something great to offer.  Scoops ice cream is definitely a treat!  From banana splits, to malts, to milkshakes, to just a scoop of your favorite flavor, this little ice cream shop is sure to brighten any rainy day!

 

When the rain stops, we hope you enjoy your visit outside to our sugary white sandy beaches and all the attractions Fort Morgan, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach have to offer.  For a list of several outdoor activities, check out our blog on New Years Resolutions you can keep!

 

www.sunsetproperties.com

251.543.1370

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.

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.

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