Flexcation. Workcation. Schoolcation. Staycation. Vacation. With so many variants of the word, we thought you might want to try a Maycation! How about doing it for Memorial Day Weekend 2021. Extend your weekend stay out just a bit and kick off summer the right way: in beautiful Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Fort Morgan, Alabama. Looking for something fun to do while you’re staying with us, check out these ten suggestions:
1. Go Shelling
Shelling is something we’ve all done for years as we visited the beaches of Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan. What is Shelling? Simply put, it is the act of collecting sea shells. The beaches that surround our island are varied and wonderfully decorated with so many different shells. Finding two alike is usually a challenge. While no two are exactly alike, there are similarities. Mollusks, animals like clams and oysters, who live inside shells, create their shell homes by using calcium carbonate. Similar mollusks create similar looking shells. These shell homes grow with the animals as the animals get larger. However, the shells are never actually alive. When the animal dies, the shell is left behind. We ask visitors to our beautiful Gulf coast beaches to be mindful of animals who are still living in their shells. When you’re shelling, please do not take ones with marine animals living inside. Instead, look for the empty ones. Most days, you’ll find lots of abandoned clam and oyster “houses” all up and down our beaches. Stop by one of our Alabama Gulf Coast Visitor Centers for more information on shelling.
2. Tour the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo and Dine at the Safari Club
How many times have you driven past the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo and thought about stopping? Well, this should be the year you stop in! But we need to remind you, the zoo moved! It is now located at its new home at 20499 Oak Road East in Gulf Shores. Instead of being located on the island, the zoo moved just a bit inland. Actually, it’s only about ten minutes north of the intracoastal bridge, just off Gulf Shores Parkway (Alabama Hwy 59). Did you notice we tell distance in time? It’s kind of a locals thing. You’ll get used to it! Anyway, this new location allows our “Little Zoo That Could” for many years, be all it can be… today! Did you know our zoo is home to over 300 animals? In fact, more than 20 of those are listed on the endangered or threatened species lists. Preservation of our wildlife and our surroundings is so important to us all. That brings us to The Safari Club. You’ll want to stop in and dine at this unique restaurant that is Alabama’s first certified “Green Restaurant”. But what’s an eco-friendly restaurant without a great menu, right? The good folks at The Safari Club have one of the most mouth-watering menus around! Go ahead, take a peek here and plan your Memorial Day Weekend outing to include not only a visit to the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, but also to one of our favorite dining spots, The Safari Club.
3. Enjoy a Dolphin Cruise
Dolphin cruises are one of the most entertaining ways to spend a weekend afternoon! This unusual outing is something most people cannot do where they live. So, while you’re visiting our little piece of paradise here on earth, be sure to book your family a dolphin cruise. Most dolphin cruises leave out of marinas in Orange Beach. The friendly folks at our Alabama Gulf Coast Convention and Tourist Bureau can help you make an educated decision on which kind of cruise will work for your family and your schedule. Some dolphin cruises are sunset cruises. Some are in glass bottom boats. And some are just a couple of hours out in a boat watching these super smart, very entertaining mammals play in our back bays. No matter which dolphin cruise you choose, be sure your phone battery is charged! You’ll want to take lots of pictures or even a few videos.
4. Visit the Gulf State Park Pier
The world famous Gulf State Park Pier is open! It was damaged last year during Hurricane Sally and has been under reconstruction ever since, but the first 725 feet of our favorite public pier is now ready for your visit. Covid prevention restrictions remain in place and the number of guests who can use the pier at one time is lower than we are all accustomed to. But to a real fisherman (or fisher lady) this absolutely does not matter. Any chance to fish off the pier is worth not passing up! Folks who just want to walk out on the pier and get a view of the Gulf unlike any other on the island are also welcome. Again, the number of pier visitors at any one time is limited, so you may have to wait a bit for folks to come off this amazing, suspended walkway, but we assure you it’s worth the wait! Looking down over the waves of one of the most powerful bodies of water on earth is quite awe inspiring. You’ll be able to see lots of fish, rays and maybe even a small dolphin or two. Be sure to plan your visit to our Gulf State Park Pier while you’re in Gulf Shores for Memorial Day Weekend 2021.
5. See the Fireworks at Owa
Speaking of awe inspiring, have you ever seen the fireworks at Owa? Owa, our Alabama Gulf Coast’s own family amusement park venue, is planning to have an amazing fireworks show on the night of Saturday, May 29, 2021. Owa is located in Foley at 1501 South Owa Boulevard, about fifteen minutes north of the intracoastal bridge. It’s really not that far past the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo if you go there by way of Gulf Shores Parkway. If you get to the Tanger Outlets, though, you went too far. It’s super easy to find Owa from the Foley Beach Express. You can see it just off that highway. No matter how you get to Owa from your Sunset Properties beach home, you’re sure to enjoy the fireworks show. But don’t just go for the fireworks. Owa is one of the nicest family entertainment venues anywhere. Go for the day! The amusement park has rides for the whole family. The big kids will love the Rollin Thunder coaster. The little guys will laugh and giggle as they ride The Tea Cups. And, with so many great places to eat at Owa, the whole family will enjoy this Memorial Day adventure!
6. Eat Breakfast at The Ruby Slipper Cafe
One of the best ways to start off one of the best days of your 2021 Memorial Day Weekend is to have a great breakfast. One of our favorite places to enjoy a blend of Coastal Alabama hospitality and New Orleans cuisine is The Ruby Slipper Cafe. This family friendly restaurant in Orange Beach has one of the most varied menus this side of Lake Pontchartrain. In fact, you’d have to drive west about 198 miles to get a breakfast that compares with The Ruby Slipper Cafe. What should you order? The Peace Maker is a favorite choice. With this, you get your choice of two eggs benedict mini meals. This is a must-try for someone who has a hard time making up their mind. Kids will love eating here, too! The Cinnamon Swirl Pancake is usually a hit with the under-18 crowd. And while we don’t suggest overindulging in adult beverages so early in the day, we do suggest trying at least one. A Ruby Mimosa is not only a pretty drink sitting beside your Peace Maker, it’s also delicious.
7. Attend a Church Service at the Flora-Bama
Speaking of adult beverages, did you know your favorite coastal roadhouse has church services each week? That’s right! The World Famous Flora-Bama Lounge and Package Store holds weekly worship services on Sundays at 9:00AM and 11:00AM. Yes. Church. In a bar. Under a tent. And, yes, you are invited. This is probably one of the most unique Bible studies and praise music experiences you’ll ever have. Put Central Church at Flora Bama on your list of things to do while you’re in our area. And if you go one time, we’re pretty sure you’ll want to go back again. Attend with an open mind. And leave with a blessed heart. What a great way to start off your summer season and what a great Memorial Day memory to take home.
8. Race Around The Track
Ahhhh…The Track. Just as you’re about to cross the Holmes (intracoastal) Bridge onto our little island home in Gulf Shores, you’ll see a huge go-kart park off to your left. The Track. It’s big. It’s fun. And it’s fast. The Track looks like a place just for kids. But don’t let looks fool you. The Track was built with the whole family in mind. If you’ve never raced your kids around a go-kart track, you’re missing out on some of the funniest memories you could ever make! And after your second grader pulls ahead of you in that last curve, and leaves you in her dust, you’ll definitely want to go inside the arcade and cool off. Have a soda, win a few arcade games. (It’ll help build your ego back up after being smoked by an 8-year-old in a pink go-kart!) Collect your tickets and choose your favorite prize option. When we tell you, The Track is for the whole family, trust us. When we tell you it’s genuinely fun, trust us again. You all are sure to have a family adventure like no other and make unmatched memories here.
9. Take a Sand Castle Building Class
So we know no trip to the beautiful white coastline that borders Fort Morgan, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach is complete without at least one sand castle construction. Most of us take our little yellow dollar store buckets to the beach and work for hours and construct something that looks like…well, an upside-down bucket. Despite our most determined efforts, we somehow lack the engineering skills we need to construct a bona fide, award-winning sandcastle. What if we told you there’s a class for that? Yep! There are a few experts around our island home who will show you how to make something remarkable out of sand. While you’re visiting with us and staying in your welcoming Sunset Properties beach home, your whole family can take a sandcastle building class from our friends at Sand Castle University. The good folks at Sand Castle U will meet you and your family on the beach and give you expert lessons on how to build the perfect sand art creation. You’ll need to register online. Follow this link to Sand Castle University to get your group class set-up. Then get ready to experience something uniquely beachy this Memorial Day.
10. Get a Family Photo
One of the most important things you can do this year is take a family photo. 2020 and
Covid -19 were terrible. Between lockdowns and sickness and the seemingly endless restrictions that kept us away from our loved ones, we all experienced some kind of loneliness. Thankfully, this year seems to be moving more toward happy times and happy memories. We want to remind you to take pictures. Take lots of pictures with your family. Those smiling sun kissed faces need to be photographed. Professional beach portraits are always a good idea. We suggest giving our friends at Chasing the Son Photography a call. They will treat you like they’ve always known you. They will meet you at the beach and help you and your family get the finest possible shot. Capturing memories is what they do all day every day. These experts treat their clients like family, and they tend to make quite a few friends along the way.
While having the perfect beach vacation home makes any trip wonderful, we at Sunset Properties, want to help you have one of most pleasurable vacation experiences imaginable. Whether you’re staying in one of our Alabama Gulf Coast Luxury Beach Homes, a one, two or three bedroom beachy condos or a perfectly placed Mobile Bay front home with a boat slip, we know what you do away from your paradise address is just as important as where you sleep. Knowing where to go, how long it takes to get there, and having some idea of what to expect when you arrive is always helpful. We hope you will consider staying with us for Memorial Day Weekend 2021. Starting your Maycation is just a phone call away!
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