Make the Alabama Gulf Coast Your Fall 2020 Virtual School Science Classroom

When most people think about visiting Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Fort Morgan, they think about a summer trip because school starts back in the fall.  But 2020 has given us a whole new perspective on how school should look.  Traditional classrooms and desks are being replaced with kitchens and dining tables and chalkboards with laptops.  These days all you need is a laptop or tablet, a peaceful place to study and some Wi-Fi, right?  Well then, why not spend at least part of your 2020 fall school year in South Baldwin County, Alabama?  The Alabama Gulf Coast has so much to offer curious minds.  

Here are five great virtual school science report topics for fall 2020:

 Monarchs

Many of our traditional fall guests were disappointed to learn the Annual National Shrimp Festival was cancelled this year due to concerns about the possibility ofCOVID-19 virus spread in the large crowd.  We urge you to come on down to the beach in October anyway to see a different kind of crowd:  Monarchs.  That’s right!  They will be everywhere!  Monarchs, as majestic as their name implies, by the thousands could be passing through our area.  Often overlooked because of all the other fun things going on down here in October, this year the Monarchs can have the spotlight.   Monarch butterflies, the ones with the pretty yellow, orange and black colorful wings, are migratory insects.  They actually travel from the US to Mexico and back twice each year.  Monarchs that reside in the Eastern parts of America during the spring and summer travel to Mexico in October to begin their winter season there.  Our little part of the Alabama Gulf Coast just happens to be in the migratory path of some of these insects.  As they pass through our area, thousands of them can be seen along Fort Morgan Road and all around our island.  They spend their winter months in the Sierra Madre Mountains in Mexico.  From Gulf Shores, by way of Interstate 10 West then south into Mexico, it’s about 1500 miles to these mountains where the Monarchs spend their winters.  Because many of the butterflies spend their springs and summers along the East Coast of the US, their total trip can be as far as 3000 miles.  These little guys fly three thousand miles just to hang out for a few months!   According to the US Forest Service, the Monarchs follow the magnetic pull of the earth and notice the sun’s location in the sky for directions to their winter home.  According to AL.com, these butterflies can be seen in South Alabama from late September through early October.  What better science project than to write a report about the migration of these magnificent insects after seeing the migration first-hand?  

Ospreys

Another great science report topic is to observe and write about ospreysOspreys, also called fish hawks, are sometimes mistaken for eagles.  They are actually large raptors (we love that word:  “raptors”) and they live along the Alabama Gulf Coast.  Some of them migrate further south in the winter, while some choose to stay here with us.  With their pretty brown wings and white bodies, they are easy to spot.  As you travel around our island, look up at the tops of old dead trees or on special platforms that resemble power poles with little board floors nailed to the top of them.  That’s where our local ospreys build their nests.  These platforms can be seen from Fort Morgan to Orange Beach and all points in between.  There are a few of these near Lake Shelby in Gulf State Park.  Ospreys are amazing fish hunters and can often be seen soaring over Mobile Bay fishing.  Their talons (or toes and toenails) are super sharp and so is their vision.  Ospreys are protected animals and we are blessed to have so many around our little island home.

Alabama Beach Mice

The Alabama Beach Mouse is another protected animal who shares our island home with us.  This nocturnal little mammal is covered with buff and white fur and he is almost camouflage against the dunes in which he lives.  The Alabama Beach Mouse primarily feeds on seeds from sea oats and other coastal plants and small insects at night.   The mouse is a tiny little guy, weighing less than about three nickels.  You may catch a glimpse of them running in and out of dunes around your vacation home.  But remember, the Alabama Beach Mouse is an endangered species and it is illegal to catch or kill them.  Instead, they are fun to watch from a distance as they scurry along their little ways.  The mouse is an important part of our coastal ecosystem.  He makes his home among our sea oats which help hold our dunes in place.  The Alabama Beach Mouse is the coastal cousin to most other field mice found in our state.  Our tiny neighbor, however, makes his home exclusively from Ono Island in Orange Beach to Fort Morgan.  We, at Sunset Properties, happen to think he has exquisite taste!

Sea Turtles

Three main types of sea turtles have been known to nest along our Alabama Gulf CoastLoggerhead Sea Turtles seem to be the most common in our area, although Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtles and Green Sea Turtles have also been seen.  Another protected animal, we want you to know about these magnificent creatures, but urge you not to go near them.  Mama Loggerhead turtles, who normally spend their days swimming, floating and hunting for crabs and shrimp (two of our supper favorites, too!)  in the salty waters of the Gulf of Mexico or one of our back bays, find their way onto our sandy white beaches to dig a hole and lay their eggs.  Sea turtle nests can be found from May to October and there are ways to observe them without disturbing them.  For more information on sea turtle conservation, follow this link to Share the Beach, a great group of folks who monitor sea turtles all year long.  You might get invited to participate with the Share the Beach folks and help baby turtles find their way back to the Gulf.  Doing this outside of a conservation group is a really bad idea.  Damaging a sea turtle nesting site is not only illegal, it’s just mean.  These turtle moms travel for miles across the Gulf and choose to lay their eggs along our Alabama Gulf Coast and we consider it a privilege they picked us.  To disturb these baby turtles as they grow inside their shells and prepare for their journey back to the Gulf is something no local would ever do.  Instead we work together to help them start their new lives safely.

Lemurs

The first four animals we listed are native, at least in part, to our area.  Some are protected by law, and, although you can find some pretty great pictures of the areas in which they live, and maybe even catch a glimpse of one of them, it is not necessarily a good idea to handle them directly.  The non-native Lemur, however, is a totally different option.  Lemurs, as we all learned in the hilarious movie Madagascar, are natives to that African island and those surrounding Madagascar.  However, our Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo has a small lemur population and those little primates are super friendly and you can actually hold them, pet them and play with them.  The word “lemur” is taken from the Latin word “lemure” which means ghost or spirit.  Their little faces and white ringed tails give them the appearance of a spooky supernatural spirit being.  They are, instead, quite social and fun to interact with, far from spooky!  The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo offers a Lemur Encounter experience and we urge you to visit.  Operating under CDC guidelines for social distancing, our Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is open and the Lemur Encounter is one you won’t want to miss.  We cannot think of a better way to expertly submit a virtual report on lemurs than to have an actual visit with them.  Be sure to contact the good folks at the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo for times and specifics on your encounter, but don’t miss the opportunity while you’re visiting us this fall!

We, at Sunset Properties, know you were probably disappointed when you learned the Annual National Shrimp Festival was cancelled for October 2020.  We were, too!  But we want you to know that there is still plenty to see and do on our island home.  So come on down, anyway.  Instead of booking a short weekend trip, go ahead and pack up the virtual school supplies and come stay with us for a week!  We have affordable fall pricing for families and vacation home options that range from one bedroom condos to luxury beach houses that sleep up to 20 people.  Bring your small dog, too, and choose one of our fur baby friendly rentals.  If you need more ideas for virtual school reports, check out our blog on Five Great Ways to Watch Dolphins Play.  Dolphins always make great topics!  We are looking forward to seeing you this fall and will help out your schoolers any way we can!  

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

Fort Morgan Escape Room!

Do you love escape rooms? Do you love history? Well, our very own historical Fort Morgan now has an escape room! This new experience is a great way to interactively learn the history of Fort Morgan.

It is perfect for those older children that love history, but need a fun way to learn. As of now, they are offering this escape room Wednesdays at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.  and recommended for people 12 and older. It takes around 40 minutes to complete. With this escape room you are placed directly in the Fort as an enlistee just like you were part of the three different wars it was used for. Fort Morgan was used off and on throughout the Spanish American War, World War I, and World War II. Every clue you find that is leading you closer to the escape also informs you of some of the rich history in Fort Morgan. This is one of the most interesting ways to learn about the defenses of the Mobile Bay and is a definite must-do for you and your family. Fort Morgan’s website says, “It is the summer of 1864 and you are Federal Spies captured by the Confederate soldiers. The Battle of Mobile Bay was one of the most decisive battles of the war. Can you help the union forces understand the defenses of mobile bay? Does the fort have an effective method of attack? Your job is to find the defensive map and escape route.  LISTEN carefully! Wise captives have been known to escape. Step back in time to discover your fate.”

You have to book this experience in advance at escaperoom@fort-morgan.org or go to their website for more information, http://www.fort-morgan.org/escape-room/ this fun escape room is only $25 per person! When you are booking your beach vacation to Fort Morgan, don’t forget the historic escape room! We at Sunset Properties have many properties in Fort Morgan, from one bedroom condos to seven bedroom houses! When you’re thinking about booking a Fort Morgan vacation remember you can reach us at 251-543-1370 and e-mail us at info@sunsetproperties.com. Our website, www.sunsetproperties.com , has many options for you to choose from. Don’t delay and book today! 

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.