10 Fun Things to do at Fort Morgan

Fort Morgan Historic Site located in the community of Fort Morgan, Alabama offers a day of fun filled opportunities for any family.  Visiting an historic fort may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you plan a vacation to Gulf Shores or Orange Beach or anywhere along the Alabama Gulf Coast, however, we think you should really consider visiting Fort Morgan Historic Site while you’re visiting the area.  Here are ten fun things to do at Fort Morgan, Alabama:

  1. Learn About Alabama and US History

Located 23 miles from the heart of Gulf Shores on Fort Morgan Road, Alabama Highway 182,Fort Morgan sits on the historical site of Fort Bowyer which was active during the War of 1812.  That sounds like a long way, but it’s really only a few songs into your Spotify playlist and the drive, which winds through old and new homes, along the lagoon, past Mobile Bay, and under the live oaks, is a super nice drive.  If you’re lucky enough to own a convertible, open your top!  This is definitely an outing for you!  Fort Morgan is perfectly placed at the far west end of Baldwin County, in an area called Mobile Point, directly across Mobile Bay from Fort Gaines in Mobile County.   Fort Morgan is a pentagonal shaped third masonry fort built between 1819 and 1833.  Fort Morgan was an important venue during the US Civil War, specifically the Battle of Mobile Bay in August 1864.  It was also operational during the Spanish American War and World War I and II.  In 1946, after World War II ended, Fort Morgan was given to the State of Alabama, and it was designated as an historical site.  Now the fort is open to the public seven days a week from 8 AM until 5 PM except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.

2. Tour the Fort

Once you arrive at the expansive venue and well-kept grounds that make up Fort Morgan Historical Site, touring the fort seems a logical thing to do.  But how?  There are two ways.  The good folks who manage the area will provide you with a detailed map and description of several interesting areas around the grounds.  A self-guided tour is a great way to spend a day.  With Covid-19 still in the back of everyone’s mind, this may be a preferable way for you to explore the area.  Gather with your friends and family and follow the map around the area.  The maps are really easy to navigate, and, as you tour the fort yourself, you may just see something the map doesn’t discuss.  Another way to tour the fort is to meet one of the skilled and knowledgeable staff members for a scheduled walk through.  Check out the fort’s website for dates and times of scheduled tours.

3. Catch the Ferry

If visiting Fort Gaines, located directly across Mobile Bay from Fort Morgan, is something that appeals to you, be sure to catch the Mobile Bay Ferry right from the entrance of the grounds, and travel across the bay to Dauphin Island.  While you’re on Dauphin Island, a tour of the Mobile Bay Estuarium should also be on your list.  This public aquarium is a part of the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and is an excellent way to spend an afternoon.  The Estuarium highlights the four key habitats of Coastal Alabama including the Mobile Tensaw River Delta, Mobile Bay, the Barrier Islands (which includes Fort Morgan, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach) and the Northern Gulf of Mexico.  The Sea Lab is home to over 31 aquariums and has more than one hundred local species of plants and animals on display.  The Estuarium is a great educational outing all wrapped up in fun things to see and do.

4. See Local Wildlife

Although Fort Morgan is inhabited almost daily by people, our local wildlife neighbors still call it home, as well.  What will you see?  Sea gulls live all around the area.  Look up and you may see a flock overhead, or you may catch a glimpse of an osprey.  Ospreys, also called sea eagles or river hawks, nest nearby.  Look down and you may be lucky enough to see an Alabama Beach Mouse.  This little mammal is named for our state because this particular species of mouse only lives here on our island.  Walk out on the fort beaches and you’re likely to see dolphins swimming just offshores.  They are avid fishers and spend a great deal of time in the warm waters of Mobile Bay where fishing is easy.  Look on the sand, just above the tide line, and you’re likely to see jellyfish, starfish, sand dollars and other saltwater dwellers who found their way onshore.  I’ve even seen a seahorse there.  Alligators, snakes, coyotes, and deer also live in this area.  The opportunities are limited only by the amount of time you spend looking.  Local wildlife is all around.  Just remember to look and not touch.  When you’re out and about in the undeveloped areas of our island, you’re in the animals’ homes.  Many of these animals are endangered.  Some are poisonous.  And some can be aggressive.  Look, but don’t touch.

5. Walk the Beach

Fort Morgan is located along the beaches that touch both the Gulf of Mexico and Mobile Bay in South Baldwin County.  Because these two bodies of water meet just outside the fort walls, beachcombers are given a unique opportunity to collect shells. Shelling is a popular pastime for locals and tourists alike.  The waters of Mobile Bay are gentler and the waves less rough than those of the Gulf.  This allows for unbroken shells to reach the shallow waters along the beaches and to be deposited up on the beach, itself.  In addition to shelling, walking the beach is a great way to get exercise without feeling like you are exercising.  Walking toward a sunset or sunrise along the fort beaches is a great experience.  Cell tower signals are sometimes spotty along the beaches, but that’s not a problem for beach goers.  As you walk along the beaches of Fort Morgan, turn off your ear buds and listen to the lapping sounds of the waves or the songs of the seagulls.  You won’t regret it.

6. Exercise Your Dog

So many guests who visit the Alabama Gulf ask us Can I bring my dog?  Where can I walk my dog? or Can I take my dog to the beach? Sunset Properties offers a number of beach homes that allow fur babies to bring their parents, so there is no reason to leave Fido at home. But where to walk him? I always suggest walking your dog at Fort Morgan.   There is plenty of beach space for puppers and their parents to run and play.  Dogs must be on a leash and parents are responsible for cleaning up after any potty breaks, but dogs are welcome on the beaches of Fort Morgan.

7. Take Great Selfies

If taking great selfies is on your vacation “must do” list, you must visit Fort Morgan.  From the brick walkway that leads inside this historic venue, to the top of the granite stairs, to the deepest parts of the brick rooms that make up the interior of the fort, the spots for great selfies are almost endless.  You’ll want to get a picture of the flags that greet you as you enter the fort.  Each flag represents a time in the fort’s history when people, other than modern-day Americans, occupied the area.  A cannon and large anchor greet you, as well.  Both make great pictures.  When you’re inside the fort, look up and around.  I bet you’ll find a perfect spot to gather your family and make a memory.  There is a nominal fee to enter the fort, but memories are literally priceless.

8. Visit the Museum and Gift Shop

What historic site would be complete without a museum?  While you’re on the fort grounds, be sure to visit the Fort Museum and Gift Shop.  Filled with relics and artifacts left by those who lived and worked in the area, the museum is a must-see for all who venture to Mobile Point.  In addition to letters and old uniforms and even the top of a lighthouse, you’ll find tons of information about the fort’s many years of service.  Many of the relics you’ll see were discovered by “treasure hunters” and scientists over the years.  Today, metal detectors are prohibited on fort grounds.  So is taking something from the structure itself, like a brick.  However, there are plenty of items inside the Museum gift shop to purchase and take home.  Souvenirs, unlike any found anywhere else on our island, are available at the Fort Morgan Museum Gift Shop.  Be sure to grab a memento marking your day trip.  Driving away without something from this special family day will surely leave you regretting that decision later.

9. Fish, Swim or Boat Mobile Bay

Fort Morgan offers water lovers a great place to launch a boat or personal watercraft.  So not to mention fishing, swimming, or boating from the fort would be a disservice to anyone looking for something to do.  Fishing and swimming are also permitted on the beaches that surround the historic site.  Bring your fur baby and some sunscreen and you guys can swim together!  No lifeguard is on duty, so you’ll enter the waters of the bay or Gulf at your own risk, but there is nothing better than to cool off in the water after a tour of the site on a hot summer day.

10. Enjoy the Tranquility

Ahhhh…. the tranquility.  While you’re visiting Fort Morgan, be sure to take a minute and just stop.  Listen to the sounds of the wind through the sea oats.  Take in the melody of the gulls.  Absorb the peacefulness of the lapping waves.  On cool fall days, sit down on the grass and feel the warmth that blankets the fort grounds. And on summer days, breathe in the breeze that blows off the Gulf.  It may sound ironic:  looking for tranquility at a military fort.  But without the sounds of gunfire and no one yelling, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” (General David Farragut) you’re sure to find a few minutes of relaxing, soothing “me time”.  Everyone needs a little “me time”.  You’re sure to find that here!

Fort Morgan is so much more than just a spot on a map.  Even though it has not been actively serving as a military fort for 75 years, it continues to serve visitors each day.  And Sunset Properties is proud to be a neighbor to this structure that has stood so proudly for almost a century and to have rental homes located nearby.  We offer you the convenience of being close to a family friendly venue, uniquely placed along the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico and Mobile Bay, while providing you with all the luxuries you need to enjoy your vacation home.  We hope you’ll take some time and explore this timeless masterpiece, named for Revolutionary War Hero General David Morgan, that sits grandly at the end of the road that shares its name.  And we hope you’ll go home each evening to a beach vacation home managed by your friends at Sunset Properties.

www.sunsetproperties.com

251-543-1370

The Beaches in Gulf Shores, Alabama, ARE Open!

By: Raven Hunter

            Before I write an article, I like to research our search engine metrics to find out what the people want to know about the Gulf Shores area. When I searched popular topics, I was struck with overwhelming sympathy for all of the people asking “Are the beaches in Gulf Shores open?” Being in hurricane alley, there’s always the chance that fun on Gulf Coast beaches could be threatened by sporadic and extreme weather changes; and let’s face it, the past two years has just added to the unpredictability of your favorite attractions being open. If you’re experiencing hurricane season or pandemic-related FOMO, rest assured that the best beaches the Gulf Coast has to offer are open for business and ready to provide you and your family with a safe, healthy, and fun vacation experience for the books, whatever your interests are.

Gulf Shores Main Public Beach (Gulf Place)

            While there are many ways to experience the beach in Gulf Shores, traveling to the Gulf Shores Main Public Beach, or Gulf Place access, is for you if you and your family are looking for a wave jumping, sandcastle building day of fun. This access provides parking with no long haul, making it perfect for families to unload and carry their skim boards, boogie boards, buckets and pails, or whatever else they brought to make their beach trip memorable. And, along with four of the other seven beach accesses to Gulf Shores’ beautiful beaches, Gulf Place offers an affordable parking system that guarantees your family a spot for four hours or the whole day! You can come, park your car, set up your spot, and when hunger strikes, enjoy lunch at one of Gulf Shores’ convenient picnic areas! These are just a few of the amenities offered by Gulf Place and other beach accesses along Gulf Shores’ coast.

            Say you’re staying for a few days and don’t want to have to lump parking into the already extensive list of expenses to consider. Sunset Properties is ready and waiting to provide you with one of their twenty eight beach front rentals to give you easy access to the beach of your choice. Click on over to see which rental option best suits you and your family for your trip to Gulf Shores!

Gulf State Park

If you prefer hiking along the flora and fauna of the beach to sitting out in the sand or swimming in the gulf, this article has probably bored you up onto this point. Props to you for continuing to read it! Your patience has paid off because Gulf State Park is exactly where you want to be to feed your outdoor spirit while appreciating all that Gulf Coast beaches have to offer.

When you’re looking to escape from the beach entirely, you can go kayaking or canoeing in Lake Shelby, go hiking on one of the many nature trails, or take the kids to the nature center or butterfly garden for some hands on educational fun! Many of the trails do eventually lead back to the beach, so you can take a break and refresh yourself before getting back to your beach adventures with fresh eyes!

            Gulf State Park is encouraging social distancing, but with all the space the site offers, that shouldn’t be too hard! The park’s website offers plenty of information about the current COVID-19 preventative measures to help you decide how to keep your family safe and healthy on your beach retreat.

Gulf State Park Beach Pavilion

            When you do make it back to the beach, the people at Gulf State Park know that sometimes you want to have the experience while still having the option of a roof over your head, especially during the season of five-minute torrential downpours that can happen at a moment’s notice. If that’s you, the Gulf State Park Beach Pavilion is here for you! This beautiful site offers close beach access from a pavilion that includes picnic tables for clean and easy family lunch breaks and bathrooms and showers for long, fun-filled days. So, if your view of the picturesque gulf is suddenly darkened by an oncoming storm, you and your crew can quickly run back to the pavilion and huddle for shelter, enjoying lunch from your picnic bag or the pavilion’s seasonal restaurant as you wait for the storm to pass by.

            If you’re looking to get a little more out of your vacation than just fun in the sand, Pure Aloha Adventures also offers paddle boarding lessons at the pavilion. All ages are welcome, so enjoy some quality family time as you all learn a new skill that you can enjoy for years to come. The pavilion is also available for wedding rentals. So, if this beach trip is more a celebration than a vacation, the beach pavilion is still the place to be!

 Gulf State Park Fishing and Education Pier

            In addition to family fun and exploration, Gulf State Park also provides a space for anglers to take advantage of open access to the beach. The Gulf State Park Fishing and Education Pier offers sightseeing and fishing passes for twenty four hour access to the pier. Take the kids down to learn how to bait a hook and cast a line, or head out early with your fishing rod for some solo vacation time with Gulf Shores’ underwater biodiversity. You’ll be the hero of the day when you come home with lunch! The pier also offers Angler Academy if you or your family are new to fishing. Schedule a couple of hours into your vacation itinerary to learn from some of the experts, and the whole family could be reeling ‘em in like pros in no time!

Accessibility

            The city of Gulf Shores is very dedicated to ensuring that all patrons have open and available access to its beaches. For this reason, the Gulf Place Public Beach access offers Access Mats, the Gulf State Beach Pavilion provides accessibility ramps, and the Gulf State Park Fishing and Education Pier is equipped with wheel-chair accessible rail fishing. No one wants to miss out on awesome experiences, so Gulf Shores opens opportunities for disabled patrons to seize the day!

            As you can see not only are the beaches in Gulf Shores open, but they also have something for everyone to sink their teeth into and enjoy. Skip the FOMO and take advantage of the endless opportunities at your disposal in Gulf Shores, Alabama. We look forward to having you join us!

Six Tips to Make the Most of Orange Beach, Alabama’s First Ever Freedom Fest

When we heard the Annual National Shrimp Festival in Gulf Shores was cancelled due to Covid-19 concerns this year, we were just as disappointed as you were.   Then we realized Orange Beach’s Freedom Fest is just a few days away.  While it is not as big as the Shrimp Festival, we believe it is certainly worth attending!  But where is it?  What should you expect?  Will there be music, food, art?  We, at Sunset Properties, did a little research for you and we believe we have the answers you need.  Here are six tips to help you navigate this newly formed Freedom Fest scheduled to be held at The Wharf Saturday, October 9, 2021, from 9:00 AM until 4:00 PM.  

1. Get there early and plan to stay all day.

This is the first ever Freedom Fest and it will be held at The Wharf, located off Canal Road in Orange Beach where there is plenty of free parking so plan to come early.  The Freedom Fest will be held at the west end of The Wharf, in the same location Orange Beach’s annual Seafood Fest is held in February.  If overflow parking is needed, The Orange Beach Sportsplex is available.  Oh, and if you are coming early, be sure to bring your sunglasses and sunscreen!  Fall days along the Alabama Gulf Coast are usually clear and sunny.  And fall sunburn skin is just as painful as any summer sunburn.  To get an idea of what our weather is like each month, check out this link to our local tourism bureau’s weather page.  We like to say, “it’s always sunny and seventy-five,” but sometimes we’ll admit, we can be a bit off.  Our friends at the Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism bureau are more accurate for monthly averages. And, for a current check on our local weather, follow this link for daily and weekly information.

2.  Be sure to try the food.

Many of us are accustomed to attending the Annual National Shrimp Festival during this first full weekend of October.  With the postponement of this year’s Crustacean Celebration until 2022, we encourage you to plan to enjoy some of your favorite food vendors who will be at the Freedom Fest.   Be on the lookout for delicious festival cuisine including Cajun pistols, jambalaya, barbeque, shrimp tacos and kettle corn.  Is your mouth watering yet? Pepsi is a sponsor, so you should be able to find plenty of one of South Alabama’s favorite sodas there, too!  If you just cannot find something at the festival you like, there are plenty of great places to grab a delicious meal, snack or cup of coffee at The Wharf.  The friendly folks at the Villaggio Grill and The Southern Grind would love to see you!  There will be so much to choose from, no one should leave hungry!

3.  Visit with the artists and crafters.

We are expecting to see nearly 100 artisans at the festival.  With fine artists, crafters and those who fall somewhere in between, we are sure you will find something that makes your heart smile.  Take a little time to stop and get to know the artists and crafters.  They are such interesting folks!  And, why not do your Christmas shopping while you’re here?  In addition to the fine retail shops whose home is at The Wharf year round, during Freedom Fest, you’ll find booths containing unique and one-of-kind art pieces on display and for sale at the festival.  What better souvenir is there from the Alabama Gulf Coast than a handmade original piece of art?  We can’t think of one!   And for the best view of the whole festival, catch a ride on the Wharf Ferris Wheel.  The Ferris Wheel is 112 feet tall, one of the tallest in the Southeastern United States.  The view from the top is spectacular.  Fall skies are always picturesque along the Alabama Gulf Coast and the view from this Ferris Wheel is one everyone should enjoy.

4.  Plan to enjoy a day filled with great live music.

What is a festival without live music?  Pretty boring, huh?!  Well, Freedom Fest planners agree.  Be sure to put on your dancing flip flops because the music starts early and lasts all day!  Here is the lineup and a little about each entertainer:

  • 9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. – Strickly Rivers – an entertaining and fun local duo – get ready to sing along!
  • 10:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m. – Tres Amigos – an enjoyable and upbeat band – get ready to merengue!               
  • 12:30- 2 p.m. – Brown Barnes Band – a wonderful performer – sit back and let the sweet sound of Brooke Brown’s voice fill the air around you.
  • 2:15-3:45 p.m. – Cole Sitzlar – an amazing country music entertainer from Southeast Tennessee – a perfect ending to a perfect festival day!

5.  Come for the festival.  Stay for Brooks & Dunn!

That’s right!  Brooks & Dunn will be performing at The Wharf Amphitheatre after Freedom Fest.  We know you are going to really enjoy all the music during the festival, but who can resist a Brooks & Dunn Concert?  Not us!  We have our tickets!  Do you have yours?  Check out all the latest information on the Brooks & Dunn Concert at The Wharf Box Office website.

6.  Make your accommodations reservations now!

Many people thought that because the Shrimp Festival was cancelled this year, that they should not come to Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan.  Because of this, some wonderful beach homes have opened up.  As fast as they become available, however, they seem to get reserved again!  Don’t wait!  If you want to stay near The Wharf in Orange Beach, check out take a look at Moorings 414.  This gorgeous one bedroom, one bath condo has a fabulous view of Alabama Point and is only a few minutes away from The Wharf.  

If staying a bit farther away appeals to you, give Island Sunrise 468 a look.  Located right on the Gulf of Mexico in Gulf Shores, your living room is only steps from the pristine white sandy beaches our island paradise is known for.  Evening walks on the beach in the fall are certainly ones for the memory books.  Did we mention how beautiful the fall skies are?  (I think we may have).  Be sure to bring along a beach blanket or two.  It’s always nice to have one to sit on, and sometimes in the fall, you’ll need one to wrap up in, too.  The air just feels nicer, and the waves seem to sound clearer in the fall.  When you’re lounging right outside your beach home, see you if you get those vibes, too.  It’s easy to see why we love it here all year long!

A third option you should consider is The Dunes condos and neighborhood.  Located all the way at the end of Fort Morgan Road, this area is perfect for a calm, relaxing evening following a busy day of activities!  The Dunes condominiums sit back just a bit from the water and will leave you in awe as you watch the sun rise and set over both the Gulf of Mexico and Mobile Bay.  The views are truly unmatched.  The Dunes subdivision is filled with welcoming, cozy beach homes like Dolphy Dunes East, a three bedroom, two bath home that sleeps up to eight people and Shellchase, a stunning five bedroom home that sleeps up to twelve.  Some of these beach homes allow dogs to stay with their people.  If you’re just coming to enjoy a quick weekend getaway, as a last-minute decision, this may be just the thing you need to make your stay a little easier.  Pack up your pup and come on down!

We hope you are planning to come to our little island paradise this fall.  If you’re not coming to the Freedom Fest, remember Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival is right around the corner!  We, at Sunset Properties, hope your fall is filled with toe tapping, knee slapping, art and crafting fun!  Let us be a part of your fall vacation and we know we will see you again next summer!

www.sunsetproperties.com

251-543-1370

Sunset Properties Has the Perfect Rental for Your Gulf Shores Couple’s Weekend

By: Raven Hunter

So, you and your spouse are planning a weekend to get away from the constant demands of everyday life and have some long needed “us” time. Good for you! But you may be asking yourself, “Now what?” Sunset Properties is way ahead of you with the perfect beachfront rental to give you and your sweetheart your own place to fall in love all over again. Boardwalk 1085 is a beautiful, well-located property that provides a stunning view of Gulf Shores’ gorgeous beaches. The convenient location of the rental will allow you and your sweetheart to kick off your quality couple time with a long, romantic walk in the soft, pure white sand. If the weather isn’t cooperative, Boardwalk 1085 also comes with a full kitchen, living room, and dining area if you two want to hone your cooking skills together or just enjoy each other’s company!

            When the sun starts to go down, it’s time to take advantage of Boardwalk 1085’s accessibility to Gulf Shores’ nightlife. You two will be looking for somewhere to eat after spending some time settling into your rental and soaking in the beach’s irreplaceable sights and sounds as a couple. Fortunately, highly rated Sea and Suds Restaurant and Oyster Bar is just down the boardwalk from Boardwalk 1085. You lovebirds can take a leisurely stroll down to this homey restaurant for a night of enjoying the local color over fresh seafood and drinks. As a bonus, Sea and Suds also allows you to keep the beach view as you watch the sunset on your beautiful night in Gulf Shores.  If you two are looking for a more lively atmosphere for the evening, The Hangout Restaurant is just down the road! You can take a quick ride down the street from the rental and show up for a night of good food and entertainment. You might even catch an event or a live show!

While nightlife is good, you and your honey might be looking for a more intimate place for your couple’s night away. If that’s the case, The Wharf has you covered! Just a short drive over to Orange Beach will take you to The Wharf’s myriad of places to spend the evening. For your relaxing dinner date, Mile Marker 158 Dockside is the perfect restaurant with indoor and outdoor dining and a wonderful view of the marina. This quiet and casual atmosphere will provide the ideal place for your much needed one-on-one, adult conversation. Once you’ve finished up dinner, the Wharf also provides many shops and boutiques for you and your love to peruse. Depending on your taste, you can treat each other to a new outfit or maybe a new tea blend to commemorate your magical couple’s weekend in Gulf Shores!

At the end of the night, you two will likely want to unwind. That’s where your rental comes in again. Boardwalk 1085 comes with a wonderful balcony for you and your sweetheart to sit together and reflect on the wonderful times you had while immersed in the quiet, serene nighttime atmosphere of the beach. Listen to the crashing of the waves sweep through the night air as you two recharge for another day of time to yourselves.

 If you’re wanting all of the fun of Gulf Shores but not looking to stay directly on the beach, Sunset Properties also offers Beachview 223, another one-bedroom condo rental just a few blocks from Boardwalk 1085 that’s just as central to many beloved locations (and right across the street from the beach!). Either rental is just a click away to begin planning your weekend getaway in the beautiful Gulf Shores, Alabama.

Five Reasons to Plan a Flexcation in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Fort Morgan

With all the Covid stuff we’ve had to deal with for over a year now, much of our daily home and work life has changed.  In fact, the two seem to have begun to overlap.  Many of us are working from home and our kids are virtual schooling in order to keep down the spread of that nasty virus.  A lot of us are doing some sort of a hybrid schedule that includes working at home and in our offices. We, at Sunset Properties, happily suggest you incorporate a Flexcation into your schedule before the busy summer months hit.  What’s a Flexcation?  Well, simply put, a Flexcation is a combo work-vacation time (usually a long weekend in an offseason) that your whole family can enjoy.  You can squeeze in a couple of workdays alongside a weekend and get the best of both worlds.  It’s a kind of virtual office and an on-site vacation all rolled into one.  If you haven’t yet tried out this new family-friendly workable concept that is keeping bosses happy, it’s time you did.  

And here are five reasons why you need to plan a flexcation soon:

1.      You Don’t Have to Be Walled In to be Productive

Aren’t you tired of staring at four institutionally painted gray walls? Close your eyes, just for a minute, and imagine escaping from that prison you call your office.  Now open your eyes and follow this link to see what A Little Bit of Heaven here on earth looks like.  Looks pretty good, huh?  Now check out this link to Boardwalk 1085 to see what a Gulf Front Home/Office view looks like.  Maybe a view of Mobile Bay appeals to you.  Wouldn’t popping open your laptop on your balcony as you watch the seagulls play out over the bay be a perfect backdrop for a Friday?  If that sounds good, Navy Cove 2113 is where you need to be!  There are only a few short weeks left to make these daydreams a reality before all the tourists flood the Alabama Gulf Coast?  The time is now for you to book your weekend long Flexcation in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Fort Morgan!

2.      WiFi is Available, Dependable, Fast, and Reliable

Now that you’re considering our flexcation suggestion this spring in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Fort Morgan, you’re wondering if the tools you need to work will be available.  You’re in luck!  Your primary need is WiFi and it is available and, more importantly, it is dependable.  After all, we know you have to work in between your relaxation time.  And the kiddos still have schoolwork that needs to be done before Summer Break.  Our beach homes offer excellent WiFi service and the password for your specific guest account will be provided to you with your check-in information.  If you will need some extra space away from the family to help you concentrate on work or for Zoom meetings, consider securing a beach home with an extra bedroom.  The cost to add a bedroom where no one will sleep, but you can spread out your office materials, is really reasonable.  Check out our two and three bedroom condominiums at The Dunes and The Indies.  With the pool just downstairs, your family can enjoy a day of swimming and splashing in the sun and you’ll be just a few steps away.  So, taking those 15-minute breaks at the pool will be… well… they will literally be a breeze! (A Gulf Breeze, even!)

3.      Eating Lunch on the Beach is a Great Option

Speaking of breaks, how does enjoying your lunch break on the beach sound?  It probably sounds like something in your best-ever daydream.  Let’s make that a reality!  Most of the beach homes managed by Sunset Properties are either located on the beach, facing the beach or are just a few steps from the beach.  Let’s think about that for a minute.  Where are you sitting now?  Where are you going to have lunch today?  Are you going to have that same old ham sandwich and half of an apple again?  Tell me eating at the beach doesn’t sound like a much better option!  If you choose to spend your flexcation in Island Sunrise 468 in Gulf Shores, you are right on the beach!  Just pack your picnic lunch in your condo and walk out and enjoy!  How about Castaways 7B?  This two-bedroom condo is located near one of our favorite places: Sea-N-Suds.  Talk about a great lunch plan!  Walk down the beach to Sea-N-Suds for some of the best gumbo anywhere.  And if you choose to have an adult beverage with your gumbo, we won’t tell!

4.      The Best Meeting Spaces are Outside

“I love to go to meetings!” said NO ONE…. ever!  But, if you have to meet, and you can meet virtually, then you can meet from anywhere.  And, if you can meet from anywhere, why not choose to meet from your own private deck of your fabulous beach home located on the Alabama Gulf Coast?  What would this look like?  Check out the perfect virtual meeting space located on the deck of the amazing beach home called USA 2.  The view is spectacular!  All you need is your laptop and some sunscreen!  No need to greenscreen yourself in front of a pleasant background.  You’re already in it!  Or how about attending your meeting from the beautiful Eden’s Waters?  We think if you have to attend a meeting, you should at least be in a place where you can enjoy yourself.  Any one of our tastefully decorated beach homes will offer the best possible surroundings for a productive outside meeting.  Your amazing background is ready.  All that’s missing is you!

5.      There’s Plenty to do When You’re Not Working

Now that we’ve covered all the working aspects of your flexcation, we need to address the most important part.  A perfect Flexcation must appeal, not only to your boss, but to your whole family.  The boss is happy when you get your assigned tasks done and the family is happy when they are entertained.  Along the Alabama Gulf Coast, there is so much to see and do!  We are sure your whole family will love you for bringing them along on this “work trip”!  If continuing education and school studies is a vital part of your flexcation, be sure to visit the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo.  In between the excitement of visiting the animals, you’re sure to learn something!  Put at least one museum on your list of educational places to visit.  If you just want to have some down-time and enjoy family fun, visit any one of our mini-golf attractions, go on a dolphin tour, or eat at Lulu’s.  All of these are great ideas for entertainment for the whole family.  If you need some more suggestions, call us at the Sunset Properties office 251.543.1370 or email us at info@sunsetproperties.com and we will be happy to offer ideas.

At Sunset Properties, we are always looking for the best ways to accommodate our guests.  With all that Covid threw at us, like you, we had to get pretty creative.  We think this new flexcation concept is a win-win for everyone!  We would love to help you plan your long weekend so that you can accomplish your work while having the freedom to make a few memories with your family.  Short term rentals are available on a limited basis and sometimes we offer last minute specials.

Let us help you get outside those gray office walls and escape, even for just a short time, into your best daydream!  

www.sunsetproperties.com

251.543.1370

Dog Friendly Places in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan

Most of us take our furry children with us when we travel.  They have become such an important part of our families, we just can’t bear leaving them behind.  Our team at Sunset Properties is just like you!  We take our furry kids with us on trips, too. Everyone needs a vacation break sometimes! Because we understand the need for this kind of companionship, we make sure we have dog friendly rentals available.  We offer a variety of vacation homes that allow guests to bring their four legged babies with them.  But once you get down to our beautiful beach paradise home, where can you take your fur baby?  What can you guys do to hang out together?  Dogs are not allowed on the public beaches in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, so where can you go for a playdate with your adorable little rescue who rescued you?  We suggest trying out the following local spots:

Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail

Established in 2003, the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail is one of our favorite places to go when we want to visit all the ecosystems our island has to offer.  It’s kind of a “one-stop-shop” for hikers, bikers and fur babies who want to see a variety of wildlife habitats right here along the Alabama Gulf Coast.  You’ll be sharing the trail with other folks, so be sure to have pup properly leashed.  This is as much for your safety as for the safety of others.  With more than fifteen miles of trails to explore, this is one outing that’s sure to please everyone in your group.  Be on the lookout for herons, gators, bobcats and turtles.  You and your pretty pooch will travel through marshes, along old hunting trails, and through one of the last remaining maritime forests in South Alabama. There’s a lot to see and sniff!  The trails are well maintained and great for travel on foot or bicycle.  Because the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail is a part of Alabama State Parks, there are also plenty of convenience stops for visitors, too.  You’ll find restrooms and picnic areas spread throughout.  So go ahead and pack a lunch for your and your buddy and make it a day outdoors!  Don’t forget to clean up after your canine cutie.  We expect you’ll find the trails clean and ask that you leave them that same way.

Lake Shelby Dog Park

Within the expanse that is Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail is beautiful Lake Shelby.  Located just north of the beach road within Gulf State Park, Lake Shelby has long been one of our favorite places to go for picnics, swimming and just watching nature.  Dogs are welcome to enjoy Lake Shelby, too.  Your furry friend must be leashed when entering and leaving the park and must be current on all vaccinations.  While we recommend Lake Shelby as one of our favorite outing spots, we caution you to be watchful over your fur baby.  Alligators live in and around this ancient lake and they can be aggressive towards dogs.

Orange Beach Waterfront Park

Located on Canal Road in Orange Beach, Orange Beach Waterfront Park is a perfect place to take the kiddos and the Fidos!  The kids will find a wooden playground unlike any other on our island.  Parents will notice this is a great spot to snap some fun vacation pics, too!  The City of Orange Beach planned well when they added a 400 foot fishing pier to extend the park out into our beautiful back bay area.  Take a walk out on the pier and you may just see a family of dolphins swimming by.  Your hound will be happy with all the open space to stretch his legs.  Restrooms are provided and a pavilion is available so bring your picnic supplies.  Remember to keep your fur baby on a leash and clean up after if he goes potty in the park.

Unleashed Doggie Park

Are you and your cheerful canine will find plenty to wag your tails about at Unleashed Doggie Park!  Plenty of open space, that is.  Unleashed Doggie Park, located at 27920 Canal Road, opened in 2010 and it has become a favorite place of locals and visitors, alike!  In addition to plenty of open space to play, you’ll find a nicely kept, fenced-in large play area.  Watering stations are also available.  For everyone’s safety, this park has a very specific list of guidelines for visitors and we encourage you to check them out here.

The Fort at Fort Morgan

Have you ever visited the actual fort located at the end of Fort Morgan Road?  Turn off Alabama Highway 59 and head west about 22 miles and you’ll find Fort Morgan.  Its just past The Dunes subdivision and condos.  On the site of this historic landmark dating back to 1812 and formerly called Fort Bowyer, Fort Morgan historic site is a great place for a family outing!  All members of your family, including your furry bestie kept safely on a leash, are welcome to tour the fort grounds during daylight hours.  Historic Fort Morgan is located at the most western tip of Baldwin County where the Gulf of Mexico meets Mobile Bay making it’s beach area unique in several ways.  First, because the salt and fresh waters that surround Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan meet here, you’re sure to see several forms of marine life.  Dolphins tend to swim pretty close to the beaches that surround the fort.  Coastal birds like seagulls, blue herons, and sandpipers are visible almost daily.  Sand crabs love this largely untraveled beach and you may even see a gator somewhere nearby.  Another thing you’ll most likely see off shore is the Mobile Bay Ferry.  The ferry transports automobiles from Fort Morgan to Dauphin Island in Mobile County.  The ferry schedule may be altered a bit due to COVID-19 concerns, so we suggest you check their website for an up-to-date schedule listing.  Lastly, you might find your furry friend sniffing something that was left at the old fort site for decades.  Artifacts found on fort property are naturally the property of the fort.  So, if you guys unearth something, be sure to take it to the gift shop located on the fort grounds.  Speaking of artifacts, if you’d like to see something really cool, that has been unearthed by the Gulf’s might power during a hurricane, but is too big to put in your pocket, travel about 5 miles east of the fort along the beach.  If the tide is just right, you may get a glimpse of The Rachel.  A ship from long ago, her remains are beached in the Fort Morgan area for all to see.

Fort Morgan Community

Our fur babies are not allowed to traipse their toes across the sandy white public beaches in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, but they are allowed on the sand in the Fort Morgan community.  That’s right!  You and your four-legged jogging buddy can stretch your legs in the warm sand in Fort Morgan.  If you are a guest of Sunset Properties and your vacation home is located in this area, you will love the convenience of this.  The beaches in Fort Morgan, Alabama have less restrictive guidelines than those in other places on our island.  Consider reserving a vacation home in The Dunes Condominiums.  Check out Dunes 602 if you and your canine companion enjoy watching sunsets from a private balcony facing the Gulf of Mexico.  Dunes 202 may be more in line with what you’re looking for if you want to be poolside.  Several other condos located within this complex are also dog friendly.  Would you rather stay in a single-family beach house?  Give Dunesberry a look.  This spacious beach home is located in The Dunes subdivision and is literally just yards from the sandy white beaches of The Gulf of Mexico.  You and your pupper will enjoy sipping your cold drinks on private balconies as you plan your daily outings.  For a complete listing of our dog friendly rentals, follow this link.  Remember there are some restrictions associated with bringing your furry family member and we will be happy to answer any questions you have!  

When you’re ready to head down to our beautiful Alabama Coast, don’t leave your snuggle buddy at home.  Bring him or her with you, too.  There’s lots you can do together as a family and lots of great places to choose to stay.  We are looking forward to your arrival!

www.sunsetproperties.com

251.543.1370

Choose a Local Pro to Manage Your Vacation Home in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan

So, you just purchased your dream vacation home in your favorite escape-to city and you want to open your home up for vacation renters when you’re not using it.  Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan are great places to vacation!  We applaud your choice!  But do you manage your rental by yourself and use a national website that folds your property into tons of other similar homes for rent or do you hire a local professional rental management company to help you market your investment?  At Sunset Properties, we believe knowing the pros and cons of this big decision are a must for any new or experienced vacation home owner.  We also know we can help you manage your investment to its fullest potential while keeping your personal goals for your property in mind.  We are going to list the “pros” for using us, Local Pros in vacation rental management, and let you determine the “cons” for yourself.

Here are five reasons you should choose Sunset Properties to manage your vacation investment in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan:

1       We are local and we are family

Our team at Sunset Properties lives, works and attends school in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan.  We have roots here.  We are local and we love our area.  It’s our home and, as a vacation homeowner, it’s your home, too.  We are a family company with family values and we welcome the opportunity to have you join us. We know buying a vacation rental home is a huge investment and we understand the need for owners to profit from it.  We also know owners want to be able to enjoy their purchases.  Because we live here, we are able to make recommendations to owners about dates and times to visit the Alabama Gulf Coast and still make their specific desired income from their rental home.  We can also make suggestions on changes or upgrades to properties based on the requests of renters.  We can even arrange those changes or upgrades with the owner’s permission. As for our guests, we listen to their wants and needs for their vacation experience and we match them with the home based on their specific vacation goals.   It is our intent at Sunset Properties to meet the needs, not only of our owner families, but of our guest families, too.  When we say, “we are local and we are family”, we are including you, as well!

2       We are available

We are always available.  We are available to assist our owners and guests 24/7 and then some (remember, we are on Island Time!).  While we have primary point people to serve our Sunset Properties families, our team is cross-trained, benefitting both our owners and guests.  We may not have the answer you need at the time you ask it, but we will find it and get back to you.  We are available by phone, text, email and social media messaging.  We are often available to meet with guests and owners by request.  Unlike owners who try to manage their properties from a remote location, we live here.  While renters may be okay with booking a property online without any personal interaction, when they actually arrive at their vacation home, sometimes they want to know a real live human is available for them.  We are!  We are real live humans and we are personally available!

3       We have been in the rental management business for a while

Actually, that’s a bit of an understatement.  In fact, we have over 35 years of vacation rental management experience and expertise.  We are also realtors and vacation rental owners, ourselves.  We know how to manage an owner’s rental calendar in a way that will make the property stand out.  We know which questions to ask guests to ensure their vacation needs are met and how to match up those needs with the exact right place for them to stay.  We know how to handle almost any situation that may arise, because we have been doing this for so long.  We don’t know everything about the rental management business and we are learning and growing and changing every day to meet new and unprecedented circumstances (like the COVID 19
Corona Virus Pandemic), but we do know quite a bit and we are pretty good at what we do.  To be in the same career field for this many years, you have to love what you do.  And we do love our jobs, our community and our neighbors… and it shows!

4       We will market your property effectively

We coordinate directly with our local Convention and Visitors Bureau, as well as our local Chamber of Commerce.  We attend local meetings with other island professionals, such as restaurant owners, photographers, and attractions managers.  We actually know our government leaders in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach and consider them to be some of our best friends.  This kind of local, face-to-face marketing creates word-of-mouth recommendations for potential renters and, oftentimes, someone’s personal recommendation is the best marketing you can get.  We also manage our website in-house.  Let’s face it, more people are shopping online now than ever before. Forget that national “big box” impersonal rental management site!  We are able to physically visit each home to keep the most current information about each posted on the web.  We provide our owners with professional photography, detailed home descriptions and provide extra services, like this blog, to draw potential guests in.  Further, we have created online partnerships with groups like Xplor!e and RedSky, giving our guests extra options for discounted attractions and vacation insurance. This hands-on approach from our team allows owners the freedom to just enjoy their purchase without the worry of keeping up with the day-to-day details of managing it.  We promote your home, so you don’t have to.

5       We take the hassle out of your rental management business

Did we say “hassle”?  Well, what we meant was we will do things like take those midnight calls from late arrivals.  We will make sure they get inside your vacation home when they are supposed to.  When a water heater leaks (and it will!) we will send the repair team out to fix it.  You don’t have to hear the upset voice from a guest and you don’t have to follow up with the repair company.  We will help make sure the pool attached to your property is clean and well maintained.  We will send a quality control team behind our cleaning experts to verify your home is ready between guests.  We will make every effort to ensure only small dogs are allowed inside our pet friendly homes and only renters who are age appropriate lease from us.  We will handle the issues when these guidelines are stretched (and they will be!).  These are just a few examples of the issues we tackle for our owners and guests.  We handle them professionally and in a manner that keeps our guests coming back to your home time and time again.  We take the guesswork and potential fraud out of online booking. But, most of all, as your rental home guest liaison, we will collect your rental fees for you and ensure you are paid fairly, completely, and in a timely manner.  

We know deciding whether or not to let a rental management company oversee the daily operations of your vacation home is a challenge.  We know it is appealing to try to do it yourself and maybe save yourself a little money.  But are you really saving?  How much is your time worth?  Why not let us handle the day-to-day business part of managing your rental home and allow you the pleasure of enjoying your vacation home?  Let us put our family oriented vacation rental management expertise at Sunset Properties to work for you.  After all, you just bought your dream vacation home in your favorite escape-to place, right? 

Well, go ahead!  Grab a Pina Colada and escape!  And just sit back and look for your rental income check in the mail!

www.sunsetproperties.com

251.543.1370

Ten Important Things to Bring on Your Beach Vacation in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan This Summer 2020

With all the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, we know you are wondering about your long awaited and eagerly anticipated beach trip to Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Fort Morgan.  If you’re wondering what to bring, you’re not alone.  Many of you have called and asked us at Sunset Properties and Anchor Vacations what to bring.  While we are happy to make suggestions on the phone, we thought we’d just post a blog to help you guys out.  We pride ourselves on providing you, our guest families, with well-stocked beach vacation homes.  Having said that, however, there are still a few things you’ll need to bring from home to ensure you have the best possible beach experience during this Covid-19 cautionary time.

Here is a list of our ten important things to bring to the beach this Summer 2020:

  • Your Family

Pack up as many members of your tribe as you can fit into your vehicle and come on down!  The weather on our little island home is perfect and the rolling waves of theGulf of Mexico are spectacular.  Can’t find a boarding spot or doggie hotel for your fur baby?  No worries!  Bring him or her, too!  More than 25 of our beach rental homes are dog friendly (with some restrictions) and your four-legged friend is just as welcome as any other member of your family. If you get here and need a local dog sitter, just reach out to the good folks at Sea Paws Dog ResortThey will love on your furry family members while you’re out doing human things.   As you embark on your vacation rental search, check out our dog friendly home named Sea Turtle, a delightfully decorated beach home in the Bay to Breakers Community in Fort Morgan.  This magnificent home features six bedrooms and five full baths (and 1 half bath) and sleeps up to 17 humans and 2 dogs.  Like we said, pack up all your family members and come on down.

  • Sunblock 

We think bringing sunblock goes without saying for most folks, but we always list it anyway.  A bad sunburn can quickly ruin a great vacation for everyone!  Our local hospital is accustomed to treating folks with burned skin, and we have complete confidence in the good folks at South Baldwin Regional Medical Center, but we hope you won’t have to visit them while you’re here.  While the FDA recommends an SPF of at least 15, the AAD (American Academy of Dermatology) recommends a sunscreen with at least an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of at least 30. Sunblock is available in many stores around our island if you forget to pack it before you leave home.  Just remember to apply and reapply it all day long while you’re out enjoying our island paradise.  Even if it’s cloudy, apply sunblock.  Take it from us Locals, you can still get a pretty bad burn on a cloudy day. 

  • Shades

And pack your sunshades.  Protecting your eyes is always important, especially at the beach.  The sunlight creates glare off large bodies of water and things that reflect its light.  For example, our beautiful sandy white beaches can cause glare on bright days.  Glare is actually defined as sunlight that hinders sight.  It’s not a good thing.  Protecting your eyes, however, is always a good thing.  In addition to eye wear, think about adding a visor or ball cap to your bag.  These will help shade your eyes and the delicate skin on your face.  Remember to bring shades that protect against UVA and UVB rays, just like your sunblock will do for your skin.  And remember the kiddos!  They need shades, too!  

  • Toilet Paper

We urge you to bring toilet paper.  Your condo or beach home will have a starter roll in each bathroom.  To elaborate, Dunes 204 is a one bedroom, two bath condo overlooking the pool in The Dunes condominiums near Fort Morgan.  This home, with its super comfy sofa and fun bunk beds, will have toilet paper in each bathroom, but will likely not have extra rolls for you.  And keep in mind: our housekeepers do not restock that for you during your stay.  Even before the pandemic and Covid -19 issues that we have all faced this year, we asked our guest families to bring toilet paper from home.  It is more important this year than ever that you guys do that.  Pack your extra toilet paper along with all your other personal toiletries.  While our local grocery retailers have done a great job of keeping us stocked with toilet paper, we all know there can be shortages.  

  • Your Favorite Foods and Snacks  

Do you have something special you like to snack on?  We all do!  We suggest you pack your favorite snacks for your trip to visit us in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan.  Again, our local grocery retailers like Rouses Market in Gulf Shores have done a great job of keeping their shelves stocked for locals and guests alike, but with the uncertainty that seems to be going on all around us, you cannot go wrong bringing your favorite non-perishable foods from home. All of our vacation destination homes feature fully stocked kitchens.  Take a look at the pictures of Shellchase.  In addition to the updated kitchen, you will find pictures of five bedrooms.  This home has sleeping accommodations for 12 people. This home also has plenty of outside living space, too.  Whether you will be enjoying your snacks on the private beach, in front of the TV or in your own personal deck space, we know you’ll love all that Shellchase has to offer!

  • A Beach Blanket

Social distancing is still important to us along the Alabama Gulf Coast.  Beach blankets, for the most part, provide a space large enough for a few of the same family members to enjoy sunning and watching the waves safely together.  Our Safer at Home guidelines for the state of Alabama, encourage a six foot space between non-related families.  Enjoying your own beach blanket will be a great way to help you determine proper spacing.  We want everyone to enjoy their trip to our beautiful beaches and stay healthy both here and when you get back home.

  • Your Phone, Camera and Selfie Stick

Most of us have become dependent on social media to keep us up to date on local happenings and current events including our friends’ lives.  Just as we have come to rely on Facebook*, SnapChat* or Instagram* to help us keep up with our friends, they use it to see what we’re up to, as well.  Don’t forget your phone, camera and selfie stick.  We know you will find lots of opportunities to share how much fun you’re having while you’re in our neighborhood and we know you’ll want to post the best pics you can.  What better way to record your memories of your days and nights of fun in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan than by sharing them on your social media?  You’ll want to visit the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, the Ferris Wheel at The Wharf and eat breakfast at Ruby Slipper Cafe.  All of these will give you great opportunities for some fun pics!

  • Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizer is something everyone needs these days.  Be sure to pack some for your beach trip.  We encourage you to remember what the CDC recommends about handwashing and sanitizing.  For a refresher course,  follow this link to the CDC website for their latest recommendations.  You will most likely find sanitizer available in some of our retail shops and restaurants, but it’s always good to have a small bottle of your own with you.  And you might as well go ahead and pack a face covering or cloth mask.  While many of our retailers are not requiring you to wear one to enter their business, you can’t go wrong by sticking one in your purse or backpack, just in case. Be sure to pack one for each member of your family.  As of now, face coverings are not required on the beach areas or to use our pools or swim in the Gulf, nevertheless, having one handy is a great way to be prepared. 

  • Beach Towels

When you lease a vacation rental home from Sunset Properties, you will arrive to find meticulously sanitized bathrooms stocked with bath towels, wash cloths and kitchen towels for your whole crew.  It will not, however, have any beach towels.  We strongly suggest you bring at least one beach towel for each person in your group.  We ask our guests not to use our linens on the beach or at the pool.  Brightly printed, happy themed beach towels are a great way to display your personality on the beach and at the pool.  Your beach home will have a washer and dryer, so you’ll be able to do your laundry while you’re staying with us.  Be sure to bring your favorite laundry detergent, too.

  • Patience

And lastly, don’t forget to pack your patience.  We know you and the kiddos are super excited to be going to the beach.  This year, the excitement is especially strong because we have all been cooped up inside for much of the spring.  But the simple fact is, there are only a couple of ways to reach our Alabama Gulf Coast by car and they will most likely be heavily congested.  Expect delays.  But don’t think of them as delays.  Think of them as opportunities to make memories with your family as you travel.  Take a few minutes and stop and visit our neighboring cities on your way down.  Maybe plan a stop at Buc-ees in Loxley or Tanger Outlets in Foley to break the drive.  Maybe even stop and have a roll thrown at you at Lambert’s Cafe.  After all, you’re on vacation and the best part of your trip is literally just ahead!

At Sunset Properties and Anchor Vacations, we are so glad to invite you back to your vacation home!  We know once you get to Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Fort Morgan, all your troubles will just float away with the Gulf breeze.  No matter what’s going on in the world around us, the waves of the Gulf are always calming, the pristine white sandy beaches are always inviting, and your company is always welcome.  So, go ahead, pack up the family (don’t forget furry Miss Speckles and friendly Mr. Spot!), gather a few necessities, and come on down!  Your perfect vacation home is just a call or click away!

www.sunsetproperties.com

251.543.1370

*Facebook and Instagram are owned by Facebook, Inc.

*SnapChat is owned by Snap, Inc.

Leave Only Footprints in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan

For more than a thousand years, locals have left proof of their lives on our little Island Paradise.  Its actually hard to imagine our island had locals and guests that long ago.  But its true!  Our Alabama Gulf Coast has seen its share of different people, professions and lifestyles over the years.  Evidence of them is still obvious if you know what to look for.  Native Americans once lived all over our island and we celebrate them by remembering and by looking forward.  Today, we ask guests who visit Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan to Leave Only Footprints, when you walk in the same places these first beach loving Alabamians lived.  We suspect that if you take the time to listen, you can hear their spirits still whispering in the oaks.

  • Native American Canal

Not long ago, a group of archeologists from around the state of Alabama gathered in Gulf Shores to research a 1400 year old canal that existed between Oyster Bay and Little Lagoon.  That’s right!  Beneath part of what is our modern-day Fort Morgan community, there once existed a canal that connected those two bodies of water.  Presumed to be built by ancient Middle Woodland Era Native Americans who inhabited the area, this canal was eight feet deep and thirty feet wide and about a half of a mile long.  Today, that would take little more than a backhoe and a couple of days to complete, but in AD 600, this canal was built entirely by the hands and handmade tools of determined people.  Known to many older residents as the “Indian ditch”, it is believed to have been used by ancient fishermen to make their trips to and from the Gulf easier than land travel.  The canal has since been filled in either by men or nature or both, but relics dating it back to about 600 years after Jesus lived have recently been discovered.  The land where the canal is located today is owned by the City of Gulf Shores.  Researchers hope to have it linked to a hiking trail and one day in the near future, have it preserved for all to enjoy.

  • Bear Point

Bear Point is located at the far east end of what is now Orange Beach.  Until the early 1800’s, this area was home to a group of Creek Indians. These early settlers were descendants of the people of the Mississipian period and were known for their strong social structures and for building large mounds in or near their villages.  They were among the most respected Native Americans by European settlers.  In fact, in 1775, author and trader James Adair remarked about the Creeks that they were:  “more powerful than any nation” in the American South.   The Poarch Band of Creek Indians continue to contribute to our local history and future.  In addition to constructing OWA in Foley, a wonderful family recreation amusement park, they sponsor the annual Ballyhoo Festival in Gulf Shores.  Along with being known for its Native American inhabitants, Orange Beach was later known for its fishermen, turpentine producers and abundance of orange groves.  Although theweather on our island is perfect for growing citrus fruits, today Orange Beach is more widely known for being a leader in fishing and water recreation sports.  Everyone along the Alabama Gulf Coast knows that if you want to catch great fish, Orange Beach is the place to start.  

  • Shell Banks Cemetery

Located behind Shell Banks Baptist Church on Fort Morgan Road, historic Shell Banks Cemetery sits beneath the ancient Live Oaks just inland from Mobile Bay.  While cemetery markers prove a timeline of Americans who lived near here, including some grave markers from the American Civil War, this was once the location of the Native American village of Achuse.  A nearby historical marker states that in 1539 this location hosted a Native American settlement that was visited by one of Hernando DeSoto’s men.  This initial meeting was the first ever recorded encounter with Native Americans by any European explorer.  Native Americans were then referred to as “Indians”.  To elaborate, this meeting was 81 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth in what is now the Commonwealth of Massachusetts  and 68 years before the English settlers founded Jamestown located in Virginia.  A Native American village called “Achuse” was listed on an old Spanish map from the 16th Century proving the community existed and verifying the location was near the modern-day Shell Banks Baptist Church.

In this time of social distancing along the Alabama Gulf Coast, we know you are looking for things to do and places to see that won’t involve being in crowded areas.  We, at Sunset Properties,  invite you to tour our island, enjoy our sandy white beaches, and consider those who lived here before us.  Take a ride through our Fort Morgan Community or over to Bear Point.  Along the way, you will see some of the most beautiful coastal landscaping anywhere.  You will also pass several of our rental homes and one just might be perfect for you and your family.   Located near Fort Morgan along and near the calm waters of Mobile Bay, we have several vacation homes ranging from condos to single family luxury homes available.  In Orange Beach where the seafood is amazing and the fishing non-stop, we invite you to look at our selection of dog friendly homes.  Or if you prefer to stay in Gulf Shores just a short distance from the world famous Hangout where there is fun for kids and adults alike, or a quick drive to the Flora-Bama where the bushwackers are always cold and the music always exceptional , we’ve got some fabulous beach homes available there, as well.  Please enjoy all our island has to offer, the things that are obvious to everyone and the ones that are a little more hidden.  Come stay with us and enjoy our beautiful beaches, back bays and rich history.  

And please… Leave Only Footprints.

www.sunsetproperties.com

251.543.1370

10 Ways to Social Distance and Still Have Big Fun at the Beach in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Fort Morgan

Social Distancing has become the new norm for many of us.  In order to fight COVID-19, we have been told to stay inside our homes except for essential travel for a couple of months now.  We either missed Spring Break or our Easter vacation because of the COVID-19 cautions that were recently put in place.  We have been working from home, homeschooling our kids and eating supper at home every night.  We are completely Netflixed out and we have watched everything interesting on Prime.   We haven’t been able to go non-essential shopping. Or tan or get our nails done.  We’re so over it. We have Covid-lag.    We have cabin fever.  We need a vacation from our lockdown.   We need some good old fashioned vitamin D, some nice warm sun on our faces and some sand between our toes.  If this is you, Sunset Properties which serves Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan has you covered!  With some restrictions, the Alabama Gulf Coast is open and we are ready to help you Social Distance your way to a great vacation!

Here are ten ways to social distance and still have fun at the beach in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan:

  1.  Go for a walk on the beach

Social distancing stipulates we stay 6 feet apart.  That is an easy thing to do when you have 32 miles of beautiful sandy white beach to walk on.  What’s better to cure cabin fever than a walk along the Gulf of Mexico while you watch the sunrise or sunset?  How about collecting shells?  Have you missed seeing the sandpipers run around in the tide pools?  Alabama Beaches are open to families and groups of 10 or less.  This means you can take a walk on the warm sand you’ve been missing, enjoy watching the coastal wildlife that makes you smile and spend time outside with your family.  Sunset Properties manages condos and beach homes that either face the beach or are right on it.  Located near Fort Morgan, Dunes 204 faces the beach, but sits back a little from the Gulf.  Lighthouse 607 is right on the beach in the heart of Gulf Shores and Crystal Shores West 1201 located in the West Beach area of Gulf Shores is also right on the Gulf.  The beach walk you’ve been craving will literally be just steps from your own vacation backdoor.  Remember when you visit our beaches, leave only footprints.

  • Swim the tides in the Gulf

The Gulf of Mexico never technically closed during this time of flattening the curve, but access to it from many locations did.  We are happy to report, however, that now access is open and if the Gulf of Mexico is where you find happiness, happiness is ready to see you!  The beaches in Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan and Orange Beach are open and ready for guests.The Haley House Beachside 12, located in Beachside Romar Gated Community in beautiful Orange Beach  has a boardwalk through the dunes, making access to the Gulf a breeze.  While community pools may remain restricted in accordance with the Safer at Home Order issued by the State of Alabama on 4/29/2020 and expires 05/15/2020, the Gulf of Mexico is open and is perfect for a swim.  It is super easy to social distance here!  Bring your favorite float and plenty of sunscreen and enjoy the pleasure of swimming in the rolling waves of the beautiful Gulf of Mexico.

  • Feast of fabulous seafood take-out

While dining inside a restaurant is not approved by the State of Alabama’s Safer At Home Order, take-out and delivery are.  Many of our local restaurants are offering pick up/carry out services.  Eating fresh Alabama Seafood is one of the many pleasures of vacationing along the Alabama Gulf Coast.  If you’re staying in the Fort Morgan area, perhaps at Coquille at Martinique, a wonderful six bedroom, five bath home, we suggest you call ahead for a take-out order.  Coquille’s sunroom or deck would be a great place to enjoy some freshly prepared seafood from Sassy Bass Amazin Grill or Behind the Pines, both conveniently located just minutes from Coquille.  For a list of all restaurants in our area and the services they are providing, visit our tourism folks’ website at  www.gulfshores.com or take a look at their current restaurant public information  SmartSheet.

  • Host a family picnic

Here along the Alabama Gulf Coast, we love to picnic!  We love to dine out by literally eating outside and enjoying our wonderful Island weather.  We hope that while you’re our guest, you’ll do what the locals do and have a family picnic, too!  To create the best possible coastal picnic, visit Rouses Market in Gulf Shores.  Rouses sells only the freshest of veggies, hand cut meats, amazing seafood and they have a great selection of craft beers.  Several local parks are open and, in accordance with the Safer At Home Order,  we know you and your family will enjoy dining out at Orange Beach Waterfront Park located on Canal Road or Wade Ward Park located on Gulf Shores Parkway.   Both of these wonderful city parks are easily accessible from Colony Club M5 at Drake’s Landing.

  • Shop, shop, shop

Have you missed retail therapy as much as we have?  Though our Safer At Home Order restricts the number of folks who can be inside a retailer at one time, it does allow us to shop again for items recently considered “non-essential”.  Items like clothing, shoes, jewelry and fishing supplies are now, once again, available to us in our Island Paradise.  We hope to see you at SanRoc Cay, Pelican Place, The Wharf and The Original Oyster House Boardwalk shops soon!    Once you’re done with your retail therapy, how about some balcony therapy?  The view from Crystal Tower 706 located in the West Beach area of Gulf Shores is breathtaking!  Fix yourself a tall, cool tropical drink and relax on your balcony with a great book.  This condo also has a lazy river and game room for the kiddos.  Remember to remind the kiddos, social distancing applies to any pool or condo amenity that is open.  We want you all to have a great vacation and enjoy your stay.

  • Explore Fort Morgan

School has been out for a while and field trips probably got cancelled.  How about taking a family field trip to our favorite local historical spot:  Fort Morgan Historic Site.  Located at the end of Fort Morgan Road, where Mobile Bay meets the Gulf of Mexico, Fort Morgan Historical Site offers a great opportunity for learning and relaxing.  Located just past The Dunes Condos and Subdivision, and originally built in 1813 and called Fort Bowyer, a fort has occupied this site for more than one hundred years.  While the museum remains closed due to COVID-19 concerns, the fort itself and its beaches are open to the public.  Fishing in these brackish waters can yield one of the freshest suppers around!  Dogs are also allowed to tour the fort with their humans.    Did you know Sunset Properties offers more than 25 properties that allow dogs?  Certain restrictions apply, but if you’ve been in lockdown with your fur baby and you think a beach trip will not only benefit you, but sweet little Fido, as well, give us a look!  We might just have the perfect vacation home that suits you both!

  •  Bike around our island

Biking is always a great way to see the sights and follow social distancing guidelines.  With bike trails that circle most of our island, you will pass through and beside multiple ecosystems.  You will most likely see several different local wildlife species.  One great place to explore our ecosystems is the Hugh Branyon BackCountry Trail.  With seven trails that cover about 15 miles of our island, you’re sure to see something different each time you ride.

  •  Enjoy a bushwacker or some ice cream to go

That’s right!  The world-famous bushwacker is now available, so to speak, in a to-go version.   The folks at Doc’s Seafood Shack and Oyster Bar in Orange Beach have created a wonderfully delicious ‘to-go’ version of your favorite island drink.  Because of the innovative way they are serving this delicious island treat, it could be for adults or kids.  Check out their facebook page for details.  

  •  Check out a library book from the Orange Beach Library

The Orange Beach Public Library has begun to offer curbside service.  Books can be reserved online and you can call ahead and have someone deliver it right to your car!  How cool is that?  Whether you’re staying at Moorings 302 or Caribe C Penthouse 14, you’re just a short drive to the library.  Reading on vacation is one of the most relaxing things we can do.  Reading from a balcony with a fabulous view is a dream come true!  Maybe you want to tell your kiddos a bedtime story while you’re making new memories on this vacation.  This is a great way to accomplish that without breaking any social distancing guidelines.

  1.  Go boating, skiing or fishing

Have you ever thought how great it would be to bring your own personal watercraft from home and enjoy it while you’re on vacation?  What better time to find out than when social distancing is expected?  After all, there is a lot of water surrounding our island and keeping six feet between you and the next guy should be pretty easy if you’re on your own boat.  We have three rental homes that have dedicated boat slips located in Navy Cove on Mobile Bay in the Fort Morgan Community.  Check out Navy Cove 1207, Navy Cove 2113 and Navy Cove 2114So go ahead, bring your own boat down and enjoy social distancing while you ski, fish or just explore the waters that surround our island home.

With many of our attractions still closed, we know your entertainment options seem limited now.  We say they are only as limited as your imagination.  There really is a lot going on around our little island.  We are so glad you’re choosing to stay with us at Sunset Properties while you’re here.  If we can help you in any way, just call or text us!  Remember, we’re all in this together! 

www.sunsetproperties.com

251-543-1370  



For more information on COVID-19, go to www.cdc.gov