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

Top Three Ways to Enjoy Running in Gulf Shores

When you think of a  beach getaway and all the fun things you can do on the Alabama Gulf Coast, running might not be the first thing you think of.  Sure, we all know about swimming, fishing, boating and other water related sports, but did you know there are numerous opportunities for runners, as well?  Yep!  The Alabama Gulf Coast area is a runner’s paradise, too!  There are so many options for runners, in fact, we think even ole Forrest Gump would have a ball! Get ready to Run Baby, Run!

 

Run the Beach

The beaches of Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan are a runner’s dream!  Whether you like running into the sun, away from the sun or directly into the surf, your breeze filled sandy path is just ahead.  Access to a public beach in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Fort Morgan is super easy if you stay with Sunset Properties!  In Gulf Shores, the public beach located at the intersection of Alabama Hwy 59 and Beach Boulevard is only minutes away from Island Sunrise 468, a fabulous condo that sleeps 6.  In Orange Beach, public beach access is located at Cotton Bayou, which is right across the street from Grand Caribbean 215 and Grand Caribbean 425.  You will love the Gulf view from either of these units.  If you would prefer Alabama Point’s beach, we’ve got you covered there, as well.  Check out Caribe B Penthouse 4, a lovely penthouse in a perfect location!  Does the less crowded beach in the Fort Morgan community appeal to you?  With condos at The Dunes and The Indies and houses like Shore Beats Work and A Little Bit of Heaven, Sunset Properties is sure to have the perfect place for you to rest your head after your run.

 

Run the Trail

Run the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail, to be exact.  Keep your fitness routine alive while you’re on vacation and explore the local environment at the same time.  The Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail is a great place to run.  The trail complex, located within Gulf State Park, consists of 25 miles of 15 paved trails.  While you run this route, you’ll pass through up to six distinct ecosystems and explore almost 6200 acres of wildlife.  That’s a lot of exploring!  And a lot of running!  We wouldn’t be surprised if you happen to run up on an alligator or two.  Don’t feed or molest any gator! Just admire them from afar and keep focused on your run.  You’ll probably want to plan a couple of outings on the trail while you’re enjoying your time in South Baldwin County.  There is really a lot to see.

 

Run a Race

If you’re more of an event runner, well, you’re in luck, too.  The Run the Coast Summer Series is gearing up and kicking off with the Zydeco Crawfish 5K Run in Gulf Shores to be held Saturday, April 14.  This series consists of four races, including the Paradise Island 5K, that are held throughout the spring and summer months in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.

Take a short trip up Alabama Hwy 59 to Robertsdale in March and run the 2018 Armadillo 5K.  This event has something for everyone.  With options from one mile to 5K, walking or running, kids and adult races, we know you and your family will find the perfect race option.   If an armadillo run doesn’t appeal to you, how about a Leprechaun Chase?  Also held in Robertsdale in March, the St. Patrick’s Leprechaun Chase 10K, 5K and 2 Mile Color Run/Walk should prove to be a blast!  In addition to the races, a small local festival will follow.  While a pot of gold isn’t listed as a prize this year, participants will enjoy t-shirts and snacks while supplies last.  Make sure you bring your camera so you can snap some pics after the color run.  And who knows?  Maybe you’ll spot a Leprechaun or two!

The Spring Fever Chase, held March 17, is a 10K and 2 mile fun run/walk and takes place in beautiful downtown Fairhope overlooking Mobile Bay. Race participants will receive t-shirts while supplies last.  Prizes include ribbons and medals.  Both children and adults will enjoy this family friendly event!

 

With so many options for runners including 32 miles of sugar white sandy Alabama Beaches, coupled with so many great places to stay, what are you waiting for?  Sunset Properties has your home away from home ready and waiting for you.  So go ahead, pack up your favorite shorts, shoes, shades, and sunscreen, and come on down.

Whether you run to be fierce, run to break a sweat, or just run for fun, you’re sure to find exactly what appeals to you along the Alabama Gulf Coast this Spring 2018!

 

And don’t forget, at Sunset Properties, we’re on your team!

So get ready…set… 3…2…1…Run baby, run!

 

www.sunsetproperties.com or call us at 251.543.1370

Top 5 Reasons to Attend the 2018 Alabama Gulf Coast Mardi Gras Celebrations

Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Everyone along the Alabama Gulf Coast is getting ready to “Let the good times roll!”  As we put away our holiday trimmings, we get out the purple, green and gold of Mardi Gras.  Most folks know about Mardi Gras in Mobile and even more famous is Mardi Gras in New Orleans.  But did you know we have our own kind of Mardi Gras here in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach?  We may not be as famous as the others, but we love the carnival season here along the Gulf Coast and invite you and your family and friends to come and celebrate with us.

Here are five reasons why you should plan to attend Mardi Gras on the Alabama Gulf Coast:

 

  1.   Lodging Choices are Something to Cheer About

Gulf and bay front homes in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan welcome late winter guests for the Mardi Gras season.  Whether you’re planning a couple’s getaway, family vacation or group outing, Sunset Properties has your perfect vacation home ready!  When booking your Mardi Gras rental with Sunset Properties, use Promo Code #lovevacation and save 10%.

 

With daytime highs in the 50s and 60s and very little rain during the month of February, Mardi Gras is the perfect time for a beach getaway.  The beaches are much less crowded than in the summer months and beach treasures are typically abundant.  Don’t forget to bring your sunscreen and shades.  It may be late winter, but the sun shines brightly on the Alabama Gulf Coast all year long.

 

  1.  No Hassle Parking

You’ve heard the horror stories about folks having their cars towed in Mobile and New Orleans. Here on the Alabama Gulf Coast, parking for a Mardi Gras parade in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach is a breeze!  Because the main parade routes of Alabama Hwy 59 / Gulf Shores Parkway and Hwy 181 / Perdido Beach Boulevard are lined with business and retail parking lots, parking as easy as eating a Moon Pie!

 

  1.  Kid and Family Friendly Fun

Fat Tuesday in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach is a family friendly, fun-filled day.  Our parades feature high school marching bands, colorful creative  floats, and masked revelers.  We have something to entertain each family member.  Mardi Gras here is such a family day, in fact, our kids even get a school holiday just so they can attend!

 

 

  1.  Lots of  Throws

What would a parade be without throws?  After all, that’s what it’s all about, right?  We believe in showering revelers with lots of beads, cups, Moon Pies, stuffed toys and other surprises. With so many treasures raining down from the floats, you’re going to need a big bag to carry them all.

Practice yelling this phrase:  “Hey Mister!  Throw me somethin’!”  and grab your traveling buddies and come on down!

 

  1.  More Than Just a Parade

Sure parades are the backbone of Mardi Gras, but here on the Alabama Gulf Coast, we do it just a little different. We will celebrate together with both night and day parades, as well as our own Mardi Gras balls.  There is even a boat parade planned!  In addition to these organized celebrations, several of our favorite restaurants are offering special food, music and fun all day long on Fat Tuesday.  Visit http://www.gulfshores.com for more details.  And don’t forget to visit our sugar white sandy beaches while you’re in town.  Colorful sea shells are perfect Mardi Gras treasures to take home!

When making your Mardi Gras plans, be sure not to miss:

Night Parades

Mystical Order of Mirams Parade      Feb 9, 2018  6:30 PM – 7:30 PM

Mystics of Pleasure Mardi Gras Parade   Feb 10, 2018  6:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Day Parades

Gulf Shores Mardi Gras Parade   Feb 13, 2018  10:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Orange Beach Mardi Gras Parade   Feb 13, 2018  2:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Mardi Gras Balls

Birds of Paradise Mardi Gras Ball   Tuesday, February, 6, 2018 7:00pm

We hope you will book your Mardi Gras stay right away.  Sunset Properties has rentals available in both Orange Beach and Gulf Shores.  Some are so close to the parade routes, you could even walk to the parade!  If you’d rather stay just a short drive away from the noise of the revelry, make sure to book your vacation home in the Fort Morgan area.  Remember to pack your sunscreen, bring a big ole goodie bag to take home all your treasures and plan to have the time of your life at Mardi Gras 2018 on the Alabama Gulf Coast!

 

From all of us at Sunset Properties:

Happy Mardi Gras and Laissez les bon temps rouler!

www.SunsetProperties.com  or call 251.543.1370

#LoveVacation 10% discount Promo code good for week of Mardi Gras.  Some restrictions may apply.

Top 3 Reasons to Take Your Valentine to the Alabama Gulf Coast

So Valentines is just a couple of weeks away and you’re trying to come up with something original to wow your Sweetheart.   Sure, chocolates, wine and roses are nice.  But why not plan a fun and romantic getaway for you and your Valentine?  Why not make Valentines 2018 a destination holiday this year?

The Alabama Gulf Coast is a wonderful place to visit for the most romantic of all days!

Here are the Top 3 Reasons to take your Valentine to the Alabama Gulf Coast this February 2018.

 

  1. The Weather

The weather in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama during the month of February is perfect for day outings and a few evening snuggles!  The normal high temperature is around 65 degrees and lows are usually in the mid 40s.  On average, it only rains about 4 days during the month, so chances are, you will enjoy beautiful sunny days.  Talk about perfect!

 

  1. Great Dining & Entertainment Options

There are many options available for Valentines adventures.  Here are a few of our favorites:

Dinner at Cobalt.   Cobalt, The Restaurant, located in Orange Beach offers so much more than just a great menu. It is an experience.  With a super nice staff and choices including tuna, catfish, oysters, burgers, salads and chicken, there is something for everyone at Cobalt.

Picnic at Gulf State Park Pavilion.  If dining out isn’t your idea of romance, how about packing a picnic and taking your love for a nice romantic dinner for two at the pavilion at Gulf State Park?  There is literally no better view of our wonderful beaches and The Gulf of Mexico anywhere on the island.  Remember how great we said the weather in February is?  This is one of the best places to experience a really nice late winter day.  And by the way, lots of folks get married here, too, so be on the lookout for Cupid.  He might be visiting the same day you do!

Play a round of golf.  Mini – golf, that is.  Remember how much fun you had as a kid playing mini-golf?  Grab your bestie and visit Pirate’s Island on Highway 59 in Gulf Shores or Adventure Island in Orange Beach for 18 holes of flirty fun!

Take in a movie.  Cobb Pinnacle 14 Theatres, located on Gulf Shores Parkway, features 14 auditoriums with stadium seating and Dolby digital sound.  Share some popcorn and a large soda with your Valentine while you enjoy one of the latest releases on the big screen.

Visit a museumThe City of Gulf Shores Museum, located on West 19th Avenue in Gulf Shores, provides a perfect venue for some hand-holding time.  You and your honey can take a leisurely stroll back through the history of this Alabama beach town.  Be sure to check out their calendar for upcoming book signing and any special video series, too.

 

 

  1. Wonderful Accommodations

Visiting Baldwin County’s Alabama Gulf Coast in February has some definite advantages when it comes to rental accommodations.  The Island is less crowded than in the summer months and rental choices are usually pretty great!  Sunset Properties offers accommodations rental options in Orange Beach, Gulf Shores and in Fort Morgan.  Beach houses and condos are available.  We even have penthouses available.  How romantic would it be to sit on your private balcony with your sweetie and look out over The Gulf of Mexico from the 14th floor of The Caribe?  Break out the wine, chocolate and roses.  Romance is definitely in the air here!

 

To help you celebrate Valentines with your special someone, Sunset Properties is offering a rental discount for the week of Valentines.  Book a three or four night stay in a qualifying rental and mention offer code #lovevacation at checkout and receive 10% off your stay. Some restrictions apply.

 

If you’ve never experienced the Alabama Gulf Coast in mid-February, you really are missing out.  The weather is great.  There is so much to do.  And a 2018 Valentines stay discount code is available.  So what are you waiting for?  Go ahead!  Give us a call at 251.543.1370.  We would LOVE to help you plan your Valentines Trip!

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 Reasons to Vacation in Fort Morgan for Spring Break 2018

Spring Break 2018 is only a few weeks away and you haven’t made your vacation reservations yet.

Most folks know there are a lot of things to do and see in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.  We want to tell you about one of our favorite Alabama Gulf Coast communities:  Fort Morgan.  Fort Morgan, Alabama located between Mobile Bay and The Gulf of Mexico is one of Alabama’s unsung treasures.  Here are 5 reasons why Fort Morgan should be on your short list of places to stay for Spring Break 2018.

  1.    Accommodations are Amazing

Whether you choose to rent a Beach House or a Condominium, your choices are amazing and views unparalleled!  Only a short 15 or 20 minute drive from the hustle and bustle of Gulf Shores, perfect vacation homes are waiting for you and your family.  Many homes offer pet options, so no one in the family gets left behind.  WIFI, grilling stations, hot tubs and pools are just a few of the amenities you will find in these tastefully decorated and fully stocked vacation homes.   Consider sitting on your balcony, listening to your favorite iTunes, sipping a cool drink and looking out across the Gulf right to the place where it seems to drop off into the horizon.  Get ready to take it all in.  You’re ready to break for spring and your Sunset Properties vacation home in Fort Morgan is waiting for you.

  1.    A Beach Day Your Way

Spend all day sunning and reading your favorite new novel on a private beach facing the Gulf of Mexico.  Many of the beaches in Fort Morgan are a lot less crowded than those in the surrounding municipalities.  If lazily letting the day go by under an umbrella doesn’t appeal to you, how about a little fishing?  You can fish right from most beaches in this area.   Did we mention the shell collecting?  Sea treasures found on Fort Morgan beaches are wonderful!  Lots of colorful shells and pretty white sand dollars seem to find their way onto the fabulous Fort Morgan Beaches.  

  1.    Boating Anyone?

Several of the rental homes in Fort Morgan come complete with boat launches and boat slips for their guests to use.   Why would you leave your favorite watercraft at home when you’re planning to vacation where you’ll be surrounded by water?  Treat your family to a day out on Mobile Bay in your own boat!  Be sure to bring your camera, too, because you’re probably going to see a few dolphins, gulls and herons, and perhaps even an osprey, along the way. Check out our Navy Cove Rentals to see exactly what’s available.

  1.   Let’s Eat!  Seafood!

You’re vacationing at one of the best beach communities on the Alabama Gulf Coast, so you’re probably going to want some awesome seafood, right?  Well, you’re in luck!  Whether you want breakfast, seafood or steaks, Tacky Jacks 2,  located right across from The Dunes and The Indies has you covered. Trip Advisor rated Fort Morgan’s own Tacky Jacks as the Number 1 restaurant in Fort Morgan.   We’re kind of partial to their menu items, too!

  1.    Fort Morgan

The fort at Fort Morgan was constructed in 1812 and was originally 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 the beach directly in front of the Fort.  Some of the largest ocean-going vessels that leave Mobile Bay pass right in front of the fort.   Speaking of watching boats, if you keep an eye out, you’ll probably see the Mobile Bay Ferry making its way across the bay from Fort Morgan to Dauphin Island.

We hope you will follow some of the links we provided and give this charming little beach community a look and solid consideration when you book your Spring Break 2018 accommodations.  After all, sometimes it’s the overlooked treasures that make the strongest impacts on our hearts!

Top 5 Ways to Spend New Year’s Eve on the Alabama Gulf Coast

Top 5 Ways to Spend New Year’s Eve on the Alabama Gulf Coast

Any day at the beach is a good day, but New Year’s Eve is a great day to be on the Alabama Gulf Coast!  There are so many fun things to do as you say “so long” to 2017 and “hello!” to 2018.  The hard part won’t be finding a place to go to take your family or meet some friends.  The tough part will be deciding which place to choose!   As you plan your annual countdown to midnight, consider these five options:

#5  Lucy Buffett’s LuLu’s

The fun starts at 10 AM at Lulu’s in Gulf Shores.  For those of you who are not looking for a late New Year’s Eve Celebration, but an early one, this is for you!   Grab your camera, throw on your shades and flip flops, and bring the kiddos to Lulu’s early on December 31.  They will be getting ready for their massive Beach Ball Drop at noon.  Expect kid friendly events and lots of entertainment for the whole family.  Oh, and about the flip flops, you might want to bring along some warm shoes, too, just in case!

#4 Moon Pie Drop in Mobile

Yep!  You read that right!  There is a giant 600 pound Moon Pie that shines over downtown Mobile on New Year’s Eve and it drops at exactly midnight!  If you’ve experienced an Alabama Mardi Gras, you know the significance of the Moon Pie in Mobile.   However, if you’ve never seen the giant pie in the sky, you’re in for a treat that can only be rivaled by catching the real thing during carnival season.  This is the 10th year for this fun event where you can expect to see fireworks, hear live music and get some great local food and drinks as you look forward to all that 2018 has to offer.  This event is fun for families, friends and couples, alike.

#3 Marlin Drop at The Wharf

If seeing a Moon Pie lowering over the Port City isn’t your idea of an amazing way to  ring in the New Year, how about seeing a giant Marlin lower at The Wharf?  The Wharf in Orange Beach is known for its fabulous lights, amazing ferris wheel, superior retail shops,  and superb resturaunts all year long.  Seeing it all aglow with holiday lights while listening to the sounds of live music is a celebration no one should miss!  Plan on attending kid friendly activities early in the evening and adult-centered fun as midnight draws near. Get ready to raise your glass and welcome 2018 as you watch The Wharf’s own Giant Marlin lower as the clock ticks down.

#2 The Flora-Bama

How about spending New Year’s Eve at the best bar on any state line?  The World Famous Flora Bama Lounge located on the AL/FL state line will be hosting their annual New Year’s Eve bash.   With live music on three stages, a buffet from 7-midnight and party favors, this is sure to be one for the record books!  The Flora-Bama New Year’s Eve Bash is a ticketed event and it will most certainly sell out, so if you’re planning to attend this celebration, buy your tickets early! Sunset Properties rents two Penthouse Condos at the Caribe, which is only a half mile away from the Flora-Bama! 

#1 The Hangout in Gulf Shores

We round out our countdown of the top 5 things to do for New Year’s Eve on the Alabama Gulf Coast with one of Gulf Shores’ own original beach destinations:   The Hangout.  Located at the intersection of Highways 59 and 181 in the heart of Gulf Shores, The Hangout will be hosting a New Year’s Eve celebration for both families and adults.   Bring the wole family and come early for movies, face painting and a balloon drop.   Or wait a little later for the 21 and up celebration to enjoy a delicious buffet, complimentary midnight toast and balloon drop with great prizes.

If you have a little too much fun and decide you don’t need to drive yourself back to your condo or beach house, remember to call one of our taxi services to take you home.  Before your head out, check out www.gulfshores.com and search Taxi for a list of our fine transportation service companies.  We want to have a great time celebrating, but we also want you to arrive safely back at your vacation home when the party’s over. We also rent a studio condo directly across the street from the restaurant and one just a couple of blocks down! 

Wherever you choose to spend the last day of 2017, as long as you’re on the Alabama Gulf Coast,  we’re sure you’re in for a day and night filled with great food, music, laughter and lots of happy beachgoers.  Happy New Year from all of us locals on the Alabama Gulf Coast!  We hope your 2018 is filled with sunny days, perfect waves and a little sugar white sand between your toes!

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!

What You Need to Know About the Dauphin Island Ferry

When you visit the Gulf Coast of Alabama, you’ll find that not everything you want to see is accessible by car or foot. Thankfully, the Dauphin Island Ferry makes it possible to explore beyond the beach! The ferry is on the route of the Mobile Bay Ferry and stops at Fort Morgan. Here we’ll cover the basics of the Dauphin Island Ferry!

The Dauphin Island Ferry is a great way to get to some of the things that make our area so great! You’ll find Dauphin Island and much more when you download our free Vacation Guide! Here at Sunset Properties, we’re just steps from the Dauphin Island Ferry stop at Fort Morgan and just minutes away from the best things to do along Alabama’s Gulf Coast.

The Dauphin Island Ferry Information You Need

As a part of the Mobile Bay Ferry schedule, the Dauphin Island Ferry operates as an extension of the Alabama Department of Transportation. So, the ferry is entirely professional, reliable, and safe. They operate on a schedule dependent on demand, which means one to two vessels operate seasonally.

2017 Ferry Schedule

Single Ferry

Depart 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.*

Depart 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.*

* These departures will only operate during Daylight Savings Time.

Second Ferry

Second Ferry scheduled Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Depart Dauphin Island
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.

Depart Fort Morgan
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.

Where Can You Board the Ferry?

Fort Morgan Address
110 State Highway 180
Gulf Shores, AL 36542

Dauphin Island Address
111 Bienville Blvd
Dauphin Island, AL 36528

How Much Does It Cost?

Vehicles
Autos, pickup trucks, vans and RVs under 21 feet with one driver: $16.00
Motor homes and 5th wheels 21 to 40 feet with one driver: $35.00
Motorcycles with one rider: $10.00
Each additional passenger per vehicle (Covers all same-day rides.): $5.00
All trailers or boats under 21 feet, add: $12.00
All trailers or boats OVER 21 feet, add: $18.00

Pedestrians
Adults (Covers all same-day rides.): $5.00
Children under 6: Free
*Bicycles are no extra charge.

Frequent Floater Discount Card
$140.00 (10 rides for one vehicle – under 21 feet and driver. Good for one year.)

The Best Place to Stay is Just a Mile Away from the Ferry

Plan your stay right here at Sunset Properties, and you’ll be just a mile from the ferry! Our beautiful condos and beach houses are the perfect spot for your next beach getaway to Alabama’s Gulf Coast. Browse our available properties and see for yourself how memorable a vacation here can be! With all the great things to do you’ll find in our free Vacation Guide, you won’t run out of incredible memories to make. So, contact us today to book your summer getaway to the Gulf Shores of Alabama. You’re going to love it here!