TOP 11 THINGS TO PUT IN YOUR BEACH BAG

If you’re anything like me, you’re a list maker.  I make lists all the time.  All kinds of lists.  Everything from “to do” lists, to grocery lists, to lists of goals I have not reached.  One of the most important lists you can use when you’re planning a day or a week at the beach in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Fort Morgan is a list of things to include in your beach bag.  Staying at the beach is the easy part.  Sunset Properties  makes sure of that.  Remembering what to take, on the other hand, is a little more tricky.  First, I suggest you invest in a good, sturdy, but not-too-heavy beach bag and use the following list as a guideline of things you should include:

 

  1. SUNSCREEN

Using sunscreen while you’re on the Alabama Gulf Coast beaches is an absolute must!  The sun’s rays reflect off our sugary white sandy beaches and The Gulf of Mexico making skin exceptionally vulnerable to burning.  The CDC recommends a minimum sun protection factor of 15.  I say the higher the number, the better!  It is also a good idea to reapply sunscreen after you’ve been out on the beach for a half hour.  Don’t forget to cover the tops of your feet and ears.  I can’t think of a worse place to sunburn than on the tops of my feet!  Our local hospital sees extra cases of accidental sun poisoning during the summer months.  Over exposure can happen faster than you realize and you don’t want to spend your vacation in an emergency room.  Its easy to run out on the beach from Pat-Ti-O or  USA 2  with just your happy thoughts of enjoying the day and forget to put sunscreen on and take some with you.  Remember to cover all exposed skin with at least 15 SPF during the day so you can enjoy your sunburn-free nights, as well.

 

  1. BEACH TOWEL

Get a good beach towel.  Get a towel big enough for you to stretch out on while your toes are playing in the sand.  Get one big enough to wrap up in once your day out is done.  If you forget to pack yours, beach towels are available for purchase in shops all around Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan.  Most hotel and condo managers prefer that guests not take their towels to the beach.   If you forget to bring one from home, your new towel will make a great souvenir to take back with you!

 

  1. SHADES

Don’t forget to protect your eyes while you’re out.  You’ll be surprised how many people forget to take sunshades to the beach.  The sun can be almost blindingly bright in summer months and even on clear days in the winter, too.  Whether you’re staying at Dunes 304  or at Moorings 414, a good pair of UV blocking shades are a must for your beach bag, if you aren’t already wearing them when you head out.

 

  1. WATER  

Pack some cold bottled water.  Packing at least one bottle of water per person is a good idea.  You can dehydrate out in the sun or swimming in The Gulf before you realize it.  I like to freeze bottles of water and let them thaw while I’m enjoying the beach and The Gulf.   Small coolers with ice and water are also great to carry along on your outing.  Remember, glass is never good on the beach.  On some beaches, it is prohibited.  Plastic water bottles or cups are the way to go.

 

  1. BOOK

The beach is a great place to catch up on reading.  Whether you prefer paper or electronic reading, this is the time to do it.  The relaxing sound of the waves and feeling of the breeze coming off The Gulf make reading on the beach enjoyable.  Enjoying your book from beside the lazy river at The Caribe C Penthouse 14 is just as relaxing as being down on the sand.  So don’t forget your favorite novel or People magazine and get ready to enjoy your outdoor reading space.

 

  1. MUSIC

You’re probably going to want to listen to your favorite music while you’re relaxing in the sun.  I know I do.  Don’t forget to pack your radio with fresh batteries.  Have all your music stored on your iPhone?  That’s great!   Maybe you have a Bluetooth speaker or headphones?  Don’t forget to put those in your beach bag, too.  Remember to bring along a waterproof case or cover and a battery life extender. When you’re done enjoying the sand for the day, you will probably want to stop and swim at your pool at Island Sunrise 468 or Indies 501.

 

  1. CAMERA

Is your favorite camera on your phone?  If so, great!  If not, don’t forget to grab your camera.  So many times we hear about folks who missed the perfect vacation photo opportunity because they forgot to bring their camera or phone with them.  Check your memory card and batteries and pack this in your bag, too.  Get ready to take some awesome pics of your outing.  Don’t forget to share them on Facebook or Snapchat.  Everyone loves to see great pics of the beach!

For a perfect view of the beach, check out the view from  Dunes 709 when you make your reservation.

 

  1. LIP BALM

Often overlooked and forgotten, lip balm with a high SPF like 50, is so necessary.  Your lips will sunburn faster than you realize.  Everyone in the family needs their own lip balm and everyone needs to use it.  If this isn’t part of your everyday routine at home, don’t forget to make it part of your beach routine.  Sunburn lips are no fun.

 

  1. SNACKS

Snacks!   Don’t forget to pack some healthy snacks.  I bring fresh fruit or veggies in a ziplock.  A nice cool snack can be so refreshing after you’ve spent some time out in the sun.  Not into healthy snacks?  How about some Cheetos?  You’ll be surprised how yummy these cheesy snacks are on the beach.  I actually think everything tastes better on the beach, but Cheetos are a personal favorite.  Oh, and seagulls love them, too.  I definitely do not recommend feeding seagulls.  Once you do, you will have made friends for the whole day.  Seriously, they will not want to leave once you share your Cheetos with them.  And who can blame them?  Cheetos are the best!

 

  1. MONEY

While I don’t recommend bringing a lot of cash to the beach, it is a good idea to have ten or fifteen dollars handy or maybe just take your debit card.  There is almost always something you find that you’d like to buy while you’re out for the day.  Maybe some ice cream or a tall cold beverage from one of the local beach bars sounds good.  In any case, it is a good idea to have just enough buying power to cover that little unexpected expense that’s sure to pop up.  Don’t forget to bring your driver license along, too.  And of course, you’ll need to bring your room key or key card.  If you have trouble with your room key or need any help at all while you’re staying with us, stop by one of our office locations or contact us at info@sunsetproperties.com or just give us a call.  We will be happy to help you!

 

  1. TRASH BAG      

You’ll see “leave only footprints” reminders all around the beaches of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.  Leaving trash on the beach is not cool.  No one likes to visit a dirty beach.  Keeping our beach clean is everyone’s responsibility.  I suggest bringing a small plastic grocery store bag to collect your personal trash from the day in and drop it in one of the many large trash cans located near the road.  Leave your footprints, but please take your trash with you when you go.

 

Welcome to the beautiful Alabama Gulf Coast Beaches!

 

www.sunsetproperties.com

251.543.1370.

TOP 10 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD HAVE A BEACH DESTINATION WEDDING IN GULF SHORES, ORANGE BEACH OR FORT MORGAN

So you just got engaged and you’re looking for the most perfect place on earth to have your wedding.  Most will agree the beach is indeed at the top of a very short list of amazing places.  Whether the beach is made of stones, pebbles, or soft sugar white sand like the 32 miles along the Alabama Gulf Coast, the beach is undeniably a place where Cupid can usually be found.  Love seems to blossom and thrive among the sea oats and palms that grow in coastal environments.  With seagulls serenading from overhead and the occasional dolphin school splashing just off shore, the beach is definitely romantic by nature.  Having your wedding ceremony in this perfect outdoor chapel will take a little planning, but it is not out of reach.

 

Here are ten reasons why you should make the beach your wedding destination location::

 

 

1       A BEACH WEDDING IS ROMANTIC AND NATURALLY ELEGANT

The beach is simply romantic by nature.  There’s nothing quite like spending a day on the warm sand, feeling the Gulf breeze on your skin as the waves kiss the shore.  It’s a bit like a fairy-tale venue, but its  located right here in Alabama.  Who wouldn’t want to say “I do” in such a special place with the Gulf of Mexico as the perfect backdrop?  Whether you’re planning to hold your ceremony on a beach in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Fort Morgan, be sure to check to see if there are any reservations or permitting requirements.  There are a few guidelines for using Alabama State Park beaches.  They aren’t unreasonable, but brides-to-be should definitely start here when making plans to hold a wedding ceremony on a state park beach.  If you plans include holding a wedding on a private beach near your beach house or condo, you should first check with your rental management company and be sure to follow their guidelines.  Sunset Properties will be happy to quickly get you in touch with the right folks when you stay with us.

 

2       YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER WILL CAPTURE SOME FABULOUS PICTURES

They say there’s a time and place for everything under the sun.  Beach weddings are no exception!  You already know the beach is the perfect place for your destination wedding, but what about the timing?  And the sun?  Although there is actually no bad time to take pictures at the beach, great photography often depends on lighting. And what is a better form of lighting than the sun?  Whether you’re wanting a morning, mid-day or evening wedding, we want your wedding photos to be amazing!  To help make sure your pictures reflect all the love you and your partner share on your special day, contact the good folks at Sun Shots Photography  or Chasing the Son Photography.  They will work with you to determine your goals for your wedding album.  They will meet you at the beach or your location of preference and make every effort to capture your memories just the way you want them done.

 

3       OBTAINING A MARRIAGE LICENSE IS SIMPLE AND CLERGY ARE AVAILABLE

Because Bay Minette is the Baldwin County Seat, our courthouse is just a short drive from our fabulous beaches.  Licenses are issued Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:00AM and 3:00PM.  It’s a good idea to check out all the guidelines on getting a marriage license in Baldwin County, Alabama by following this marriage license information link.  Do you need a minister?  With so many churches around the island, Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan are sure to be home to a minister or clergy member who will fill your need.  For a list of local churches, check with churchfinder.com or contact our Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau to find the perfect person to lead your ceremony.

 

 

4       AWARD WINNING CATERING IS JUST A CLICK AWAY

You can’t plan a wedding without planning a reception.  And what’s a great reception without great food?  Orange Beach Concierge  and Chef David Pan area ready to help you.  Chef Pan, First Place winner of the 11th Annual National Shrimp Festival Restaurant Challenge, and his team are not only local favorites, but favorites among island guests, as well.  In addition to winning the Restaurant Challenge, Chef Pan and his team will host  the 47th Annual National Shrimp Festival Wrap Up Party. Need a place to hold your rehearsal dinner or reception? Check with Tillie at Orange Beach Concierge.  They have an event space at The Wharf that just may be the perfect venue for your gathering.

 

 

5       ACCESS TO THE BEACH BY CAR OR AIR IS EASY

With Interstate 10 about 30 miles away and Interstate 65 only about 60 miles away, accessing the Alabama Gulf Coast by automobile is pretty easy from just about anywhere. Once you exit off an interstate, Gulf Shores Parkway (AL Hwy 59) and the Baldwin and Foley Beach Express Highways make getting onto our island a breeze.  Did you know we have an airport, too?  Yep!  That’s right.  Gulf Shores is home to a wonderful airport.  If your favorite mode of transportation is by air, Jack Edwards International Airport may just be your first stop in our area.  No matter how you get here, we know that once you arrive with your special day just ahead of you, you will not be disappointed.  Will you need transportation once you get here?  Limousine and taxi services are available on our island.  Contact Luxury Limo if you need an elegant ride for you or your wedding party.  If a not-so-formal mode of transportation is what you desire, consider any one of fine taxi services .

 

 

6       YOUR DRESS CAN BE AS FORMAL OR AS LAID BACK AS YOU ARE

One of the most special things a bride does in preparation for her wedding day is choose her dress.  So many times, her dress sets the tone for the whole affair.  One of the coolest things about a beach wedding is you dress can be as individualized as you are and your wedding will still be perfect.  What do I mean?  Well, if a formal wedding is what you’re heart is wishing for, then you’re in luck.  Reach out to one of our local wedding planners, get your chairs and red carpet aisle scheduled and wear that spectacular formal gown as you cross a beautiful Alabama beach like a princess on your way to meet her prince.  If your style is a bit more laid back and you’d rather be barefooted on the warm sand as you say your vows with your sweetheart, well, that will work great, too!  About the only thing I haven’t seen (so far) is a mermaid wedding.  Would you like to have a mermaid wedding?  If that appeals to you, again I say:  the beach is the perfect destination wedding location to make your special dream come true!

 

 

7       FLOWERS AND WEDDING DECORATIONS ARE AVAILABLE LOCALLY

While the beach, itself, sets a perfect backdrop for a fantasy wedding, you’re probably going to want to dress it up (even if only just a tad bit) with some flowers and maybe a few candles.  You’ll probably want to get some gift baskets for your wedding party or special guests, too.

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are home to some of the most talented florists anywhere.  The skilled staff at Flowers by the Shore has been serving the Gulf Coast for over 20 years.  Check out their website for pictures of their colorful bouquets, cut flowers, fine wines and gift baskets.  The staff there is so accommodating!  After all, you don’t stay in business for 20 years in a small town if you don’t have excellent customer service.

Another option for flowers and gift baskets is All Island Flowers.  Browse their website to see the most popular floral arrangements currently trending on the Gulf Coast.  If you want to add a little color to your special day, either of these florists should be able to get you just what your heart desires.

 

 

8       ENTERTAINING YOUR GUESTS AT YOUR RECEPTION IS A BREEZE

So you have the perfect reception in mind.  You secured your venue or outdoor space and you have the caterer all lined up.  What about the music?  Sure a live band would be great, but if that’s not quite the option you were looking for, how about a live DJ?  Gulf Shores’ own Damon Collins – Event Disc Jockey has been entertaining wedding parties for over 20 years along the Gulf Coast.  As an owner of three FM radio stations, he has the experience to help make your event fun and entertaining.  And boy does he bring the music!  He has more songs in his music library than most of us can count.  He also offers a karaoke option and is very easy to work with.  Lighting and speakers are all provided.  Check out his interactive website and, go ahead, start to choose your special music for your special day.

 

 

9       YOUR HONEYMOON STARTS THE MOMENT YOU SAY “I DO”

Think about it.  Your honeymoon really does start the moment you say “I do”.  No traveling required.  You’re already here!  And you’re married to your best friend in the whole world!  Most people have their weddings somewhere else and drive to the beach for their honeymoon, but you made the great decision to do it all in one place.  You chose to share your special beach destination wedding with your guests and now it’s time for you and your spouse to have your special time together.  Sunset Properties has an extensive list of rental properties available for your stay both before and after your wedding.  Would your whole wedding party like to stay together?  Check out Wit’s Inn or Fort of Fun or Sea Turtle . These amazing beach homes sleep from ten to twenty people comfortably.  Would you prefer your guests stay in the same building but not in the same home?  Consider reserving several condos at The Dunes or The Indies.  But what about your own special place for after your wedding?  We have a couple of suggestions for that, too.  Of course you could reserve your own private one bedroom condo at The Dunes or The Indies.  You might like Beachview 223 or Moorings 414.  If you’d rather spend your first week as a married couple in a beach home instead of a condo, give Rookery 1902 and the Boathouse a look.  Need more suggestions?  Just contact us directly at info@sunsetproperties.com and we will be happy to help!

 

 

10     YOUR BEACH DESTINATION WEDDING IS MORE AFFORDABLE THAN YOU MAY THINK

So I’ve given you a list of reasons why you should hold your beach destination wedding in Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan or Orange Beach.  You’re probably saying, “That all sounds nice, but what about my budget?”   I know every wedding has a budget and every bride and her family face those issues.  What if I were to tell you that your Alabama Gulf Coast Beach Destination Wedding may be more affordable than you think?  Consider this:  no matter where you say your vows, you’re probably going to hire a caterer, buy some flowers, and plan a reception with a special venue and entertainment.  You have to buy a marriage license and you’re probably going on a honeymoon.  I propose to you that with careful planning that you can have it all right here in south Alabama and you can have the wedding of your dreams.  If checking out all the links in this blog seems like too much work, I have one more suggestion:  Gulf Shores Wedding Chapel.  This wonderful little venue located in north Gulf Shores has it all.  Maybe all you need to do is contact the good folks here, let them guide you in your planning, and dress up, show up, and get married.

 

Planning a wedding is a stressful time for any bride.  Destination weddings can be a challenge for anyone.  Here in Gulf Shores, Alabama, however, we are ready to help you make your special day an amazing dream come true.  At Sunset Properties, we are interested not only in making sure your accommodations are perfect for you and your wedding guests, we also want your wedding day and honeymoon stay to be the absolute best they can be.  If you’re looking for some memorable romantic things to do while you honeymoon with us, check out our blog Top 10 Most Romantic Things to do in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan for suggestions.

 

From all of us at Sunset Properties, congratulations on your engagement and we look forward to seeing you on your happy day!

5 WAYS TO MAKE A FATHER’S DAY BEACH TRIP EXTRA SPECIAL FOR YOUR DAD

Father’s Day is right around the corner and you’re wondering what to get for Dear Old Dad.  What do you get for the guy who is your family grill master, your Mr. Fixit, your go-to-guy when your $20 short?  Dad pretty much has everything he wants.  If he sees something he needs or likes, he just buys it.  Makes it tough for a kid to get him anything new and original.  And we understand.   You’ve probably already tried all the standard Father’s Day gifts – ties, tools,  things for his truck, those tiny little pool tables for his desk.  This year you want to do something extra special for him, but you’re fresh out of ideas.  Well, we have the perfect gift plan!  Take Dad to the beach for Father’s Day Weekend!  He might never ask to go to the beach in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Fort Morgan, but we’re pretty sure he will have a blast if you just follow these simple suggestions:

 

1       BOOK DAD A FISHING CHARTER OR WATERSPORTS OUTING

Dads like to fish.  And dads like fast boats.   Your dad may have never been on a charter trip or he may have been on several. Most dads like to fish. Being out on the open waters of The Gulf of Mexico just seem to make guys happy and your dad will probably be no exception.  Orange Beach is home to some of the best charter boat services along the Gulf Coast.  Whether you’re looking to book a short trip or a long one, we are confident you will find the right outing if you follow this Charter Boat Link.  Red Snapper Season opens June 1st, so if you hurry, you can get him registered to go on a great fishing trip!  Do you think he’d rather just spend the day on a boat or jetski?  Maybe your dad is the self navigating type.  Consider reserving him a jet ski or boat from Flora-Bama Marina located on Perdido Beach Boulevard in Orange Beach or Alabama Extreme Watersports located on Bay La Launch Avenue in Orange Beach.  Either of these will make the thrill-seeker in your dad as happy as a seagull with a french fry!

 

2       SET DAD UP WITH A ROUND OF GOLF

Gulf Shores is home to some of the best golfing anywhere!  With perfect golfing weather in early June, you can’t go wrong with a golf package.  Peninsula Golf and Racquet Club located on Fort Morgan Road is a local favorite.  Nestled in the Peninsula subdivision, this pristinely kept course will surely make Dad smile.  How about trying one of the Craft Farms courses?  Designed by golf icon Arnold Palmer, Craft Farms’ Cypress Bend and Cotton Creek courses offer 36 holes of amazing golf.

 

3       GO ON A GUY SHOPPING SPREE WITH DAD

Contrary to what some would have us believe, most dads like to shop.  The trick is to find the right shopping venue.  We have some pretty good suggestions that make our dads smile, and we think you should give them a try, too.  Harbor Freight located on South McKenzie Street in Foley is a guy’s paradise!  This store is chock full of everything from great tools, to car parts, to lawn equipment and it is all at great prices.  Once Dad gets in this store, we wish you luck getting him out!  Maybe Dad would rather shop for a golf cart, boat, motorcycle or even a new generator.  If that sounds more like something your Dad would enjoy, visit Gulf Shores Power Sports.  This is one of the coolest stores around!  Or maybe your dad is more of an all around sports fan.  Some Dads are!  Some dads love everything sports related.  If that sounds like your Dad, Academy Sports and Outdoors is the place to go.  Also located on McKenzie Street in Foley, this is one store you don’t need to miss.  They have everything from balls, to goals, to guns, to socks.  Yep!  They even have socks! Your Dad may not act like he likes to shop, but we’re pretty sure if you take him to one or all of these local retailers, he’ll surprise you!  You might just see your Dad shop til he drops!

 

4       TAKE DAD TO THE FLORA-BAMA

What guy’s weekend would be complete without a trip to the original beach front roadhouse?  The Flora-Bama Lounge, Package and Oyster Bar has something fun going all the time.  It doesn’t matter what time of the day or night you visit this coastal landmark, you and Dad are sure to have a blast!  The Flora-Bama was voted America’s #1 best beach bar in 2017.  Live music, great seafood and cold drinks are always available at The Flora-Bama.  Make sure to put this on your list.  You and Dad will make a fun memory that’ll last a lifetime!

 

5       RESERVE DAD A CONDO AT THE DUNES OR THE INDIES

Of all the great places you could rent for Dad, why would we suggest The Dunes or The Indies? Two reasons:  no crazy traffic for him to fight and great food is right across the street.  Because The Dunes and The Indies are perfectly placed near the end of Fort Morgan Road away from all the busy early summer traffic in Gulf Shores, we know Dad will like staying here.  He will enjoy a slower pace, a private uncrowded beach, a super clean pool or lazy river, and he won’t even have to drive to get his supper.  We all know he is not going to cook while he’s on his Mini-Dad-Vacation for Father’s Day Weekend anyway, so staying at one of these condos is perfect.  He is literally right across the road from Tacky Jacks 2 where they have great food and cold drinks every night.   What makes Dad happier than a clean cozy place to sleep, good food in his tummy, and a bill his kid covers?  We’re betting there isn’t much!

 

So now you have some really good suggestions on how to make this Father’s Day special for your Dad.  What are you waiting for?  Go ahead and call us at Sunset Properties today to make your condo reservation.   If you need other suggestions on how to give Dad the perfect Father’s Day in Gulf Shores, just ask us.  We have plenty more we will be happy to share with you.  We want your Father’s Day gift to your Dad to be the best it’s ever been and we are excited to help you plan it!

 

www.sunsetproperties.com

251.543.1370

 

 

5 REASONS TO VISIT FORT MORGAN

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

 

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

 

1         HISTORY NEVER GETS OLD

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

 

2         PETS ARE WELCOME TO BRING THEIR PEOPLE

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

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

 

3       THE BEACH IS FULL OF TREASURES

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

 

4       HISTORY AND PRESENT DAY MEET RIGHT BEFORE YOUR EYES

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

www.sunsetproperties.com

251.543.1370

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

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

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

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

Top 5 Gulf Shores Family Outings for Memorial Day 2018:

 

  1. Visit Owa

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

 

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

 

  1. Experience Waterville USA

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

 

  1.  Delight in a Day Out at The Wharf

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

 

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

 

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

 

  1. Immerse Yourself in History at Fort Morgan

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

 

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

 

  1. Tour the USS Alabama

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

  1. Your Family is Important

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

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

 

  1. Your Vacation Needs are Important

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

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

 

 

  1. Your Vacation Wants are Important

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

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

 

  1. Your Correspondence With Sunset Properties is Important

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

 

  1. Your Satisfaction When You Arrive is Important

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

 

  1. Your Fun is Important

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

 

  1. Your Next Stay With Us is Important

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

  1.  SALT WATER IS GOOD FOR YOUR SKIN AND BODY

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

 

  1. SAND IS A NATURAL EXFOLIANT

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

 

  1. SEA BREEZE IS GOOD FOR YOUR BRAIN

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

 

  1. SUNSHINE IS A GREAT SOURCE OF VITAMIN D

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

 

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

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

 

  1. BEACH SOUNDS ENCOURAGE HEALTHY SLEEP PATTERNS

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

 

  1. LOCAL SEAFOOD IS NUTRITIOUS

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

 

  1. A SLOWER PACE REDUCES STRESS

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

 

  1. YOU CAN UNPLUG AND RECHARGE

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

 

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

 

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

 

www.sunsetproperties.com

251.543.1370

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

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

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

 

  1. Moms need downtime, too

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

www.sunsetproperties.com 251-543-1370

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

10 Fun Wheelchair Accessible Things to Do in Gulf Shores

Restricted mobility can present challenges most people don’t realize.  For folks who aren’t able to walk, accessing a beach or vacation attraction may be difficult or impossible.  The City of Gulf Shores recently installed a wheelchair accessible beach mat that will make accessing The Gulf from the public beach parking lot a great deal easier for those in wheelchairs, on scooters, or pushing strollers.

 

In addition to visiting the pristine beaches of the Alabama Gulf Coast, there are several other fun activities around our Island Paradise we’d like to suggest:

 

1       Explore the Hugh S Branyon Backcountry Trail

The Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail is a great place for folks with limited mobility to spend a day.  The trail complex, located within Gulf State Park, consists of 25 miles of 15 paved trails.  While you’re on the trail, you’ll pass through up to six distinct ecosystems and explore almost 6200 acres of wildlife.  That’s a lot of exploring!  The paved pathways are easy on wheels, as well as on feet, so anyone can enjoy a day outing on The Trail.  Remember to bring your camera.  You’re going to see our local wildlife and we’re pretty sure you’re going to want to share what you see with your friends back home.

 

2       Take a Dolphin Cruise aboard the Sunny Lady

The Sunny Lady , a fun family tour boat, offers tours of the back bays of Orange Beach and leaves out of The Wharf.   While this cruise does not go into The Gulf of Mexico, you’re still set to enjoy an outing filled with fun, waves and wildlife viewing.  Dolphin cruises last about an hour and a half.  The Sunny Lady has a ramp available making it easy for folks in wheelchairs to board.  Guests are permitted to bring a small six-pack cooler but if you forget yours…no worries!  Light snacks like sodas and chips are available for purchase during the cruises.  Bring your camera and sunscreen and prepare to see some dolphins!

 

3       Ride the Ferris Wheel at The Wharf

After your dolphin cruise, stay at The Wharf for a little while longer and ride the Ferris wheel!  The Ferris wheel at The Wharf has a 4.0 rating from TripAdvisor and has become a local landmark.  The Ferris Wheel at The Wharf is wheelchair accessible and we love the view from the top.  With its great location at The Wharf, this incredibly tall ride will provide a view of our island you won’t soon forget.  Give it a try and don’t forget let us know what you think.

 

4       Fish from Gulf State Park Pier

The Gulf State Park Pier , located on Beach Boulevard in Gulf Shores has always been a favorite stop for locals and guests, alike.  Whether you’re on a date, a fishing outing or just wanting to spend a day listening to the lapping of the waves, Gulf State Park Pier is sure to please.  On extra warm days, visit the indoor seating at the concession area.  You’ll also be able to purchase fishing tackle and souvenirs while you’re on the pier.  Comfort stations are located at the midpoint of the pier. The pier has 2,448 feet of fishing space available along the rails.  The pier office and bait shop hours are 6am until 6pm only, but the pier itself is open 24 hours.  There is an honor box to pay fees if you want to go out on the pier when the office is closed.  Did we mention how cool the moon looks as it rises over the Gulf when you’re watching it from the pier.  If you’ve never witnessed this, you should definitely put it on your “to do” list!

 

 

5       Ride the Mobile Bay Ferry

Want to visit Dauphin Island while you’re nearby?  One of the most enjoyable ways to get there is to cross Mobile Bay from Fort Morgan to Dauphin Island inside your own vehicle on the Mobile Bay Ferry.  If you’ve never ridden a ferry, now’s the time!  You’ll probably pass large ocean going vessels, fishing boats and maybe even see someone on a kayak.  Did we mention dolphins?  Yep!  You’re probably going to see a few dolphins along the way.  The Mobile Bay Ferry runs all day, most days, weather permitting.  The trip takes about 40 minutes.  Once you’re on Dauphin Island, check out the Sea Lab Estuarium.

 

6       Peek inside aquariums at the Estuarium

Once you depart the ferry on Dauphin Island, you must visit The Estuarium.   It is located at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab.   With 31 aquariums and hosting more than 100 species of sea life, The Estuarium, is sure to entertain and educate your whole family.  It showcases plants, animals and natural resources found all around the Mobile Bay Area.  The Estuarium is open most days and does have an entry fee.  Enjoy your time at the Sea Lab, but keep a watch on the ferry times!  You don’t want to miss your ride back!

 

7       Tour Fort Morgan

When you arrive back at the ferry landing, you’re at the gates of Fort Morgan.  Go ahead and take some time to tour this Alabama Landmark. The original fort at Fort Morgan was constructed over 200 years ago in 1812 and was called Fort Bowyer.  Now an Alabama State Historic Site, Fort Morgan is one attraction you won’t want to miss.  Family events are planned throughout the year, but even on days when there is no organized event, we suggest checking out all of the fort’s grounds including the paved walkway that leads out to the fort beaches.  No outing at Fort Morgan is complete without a trip through the museum.  In addition to all the great historical artifacts housed there, you’ll find a gift shop unlike any other in this area.  Take home a piece of history from the museum gift shop when you finish your day at Fort Morgan.

 

8       Visit The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo

Did you have fun at the Estuarium?  How about seeing a larger and more diverse group of animals?  Did you know there is a zoo right here in Gulf Shores?  Famously deemed “The Little Zoo That CouldThe Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo has been an island favorite since 1989 when it was called Zooland Animal Park.  Home to more than 500 animals, The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo has well-kept pathways that wind throughout making wheelchair access easy.  Special “encounters” are available.  If you’re a fan of snakes and gators, check out the Reptile Garden encounter.  The Lemurs are sure to have you laughing and the Tamanduas are a treat for everyone!

The zoo sits on 17 acres located on Gulf Shores Parkway in the heart of our little beach town and welcomes visitors every day except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

 

9       Shop in the Shark Store

You’ve seen it right?  “The Shark Store”, better known as Souvenir City is located in the heart of Gulf Shores right across from the public beach.  You’ve wondered what could possibly be inside a store with a giant shark mouth as its entrance.  Souvenir City has been a Gulf Shores favorite since 1956, but it isn’t your average souvenir store.  After you literally pass right through a giant shark’s mouth to get inside this locally-owned store, you’ll find rows and rows of fun things to see, touch and buy.   You’ll find everything from shells, to tees, to Hermit Crab pets.  Whether you’re looking for a gift to take back to your bestie or just a little souvenir memorabilia for yourself, don’t miss a chance to spend some time in Souvenir City.

 

10     Visit the Public Beach in Gulf Shores

As we mentioned in the header of this blog, the City of Gulf Shores has literally rolled out a wonderful new addition to the public beach.  Just west of the Hangout, the wheelchair access mat is welcoming beach goers each day.  The mat eliminates the struggle of navigating wheels over and through sand, thus making accessing and enjoying The Gulf of Mexico so much easier!  Reviews by users have been great and we encourage you to give it a try.  Don’t forget your sunscreen and shades.  We’re pretty sure once you get so close to The Gulf, you’re probably going to want to stay a while and enjoy the sound of the lapping waves as you watch the gulls splash and dive for their dinner.

 

We, at Sunset Properties, hope you find some of these suggestions helpful when you’re planning your beach vacation.  While there are many more attractions with wheelchair and stroller accessibility in our area, these are just some of our favorites.

 

Do you already have a place to stay while you’re in Gulf Shores?  Sunset Properties has two vacation rental properties that are wheelchair accessible.  Before you finalize your vacation plans, we would love for you to see Grace and Endless Summer.

Grace, located in the Fort Morgan community has 6 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms. Grace will comfortably accommodate 20 people and has its own elevator.  With amazing views, Grace stands magnificently among her neighbors.

Endless Summer, also located in the Fort Morgan area, has 6 bedrooms and 6 baths.  Endless Summer sleeps up to 18 people comfortably and also has an elevator.  With a roll-in shower and extra wide doors, this vacation home is sure to please.

 

If you need additional information about these homes or other properties we manage, please reach out to us at info@sunsetproperties.com or call us at 251.543.1370.

Top 5 Nightlife Entertainment Spots in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan

After a day filled with shopping,  sun, sand and sea, you’re looking to cool off with a perfect cocktail and have some great local seafood while listening to a live band.  We totally understand!   Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan offer some of the greatest venues for food, fun and music!

Here are a few of our favorite night spots and we hope you will love them as much as we do!

#1  Tacky Jacks

Tacky Jacks is a great place to go unwind.   With a menu sure to please almost anyone and drinks that’ll have you texting pictures to your buddies back home, Tacky Jacks is a definate stop while you’re in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Fort Morgan. If you are staying in the Dunes community in Fort Morgan (Dunes Condos, Indies Condos, Dunes Subdivision or even Bay to Breakers) you can even walk to Tacky Jacks! Known for their family friendly atmosphere, Tacky Jacks is a great choice for adults and kids, alike.  With three locations around the Island, Tacky Jacks is convenient to almost every vacation rental home.  Come hungry and expect to not just get a great meal and hear some great music, but to make a great memory.  Don’t forget to get yourself a Tacky Jacks tee before you leave!  You’ll be the envy of your friends back home!

#2  Live Bait Food & Spirits

Speaking of cool tees, do you have your Live Bait tee yet?  You have to get one of those!  In addition to fun colored  tees,  Live Bait has an amazing menu and a fun staff!  They offer some of the coldest drinks on the Island and the live music can’t be beat!  Whether you choose to sit inside or enjoy your evening on one their decks, you’ll be glad you put Live Bait on your must-do list.

#3 Flora-Bama Lounge & Oyster Bar

The Flora-Bama is a timeless roadhouse that just keeps getting better!   If enjoyable musicians that’ll have you singing along and cold beers are what helps you unwind, then this is a definate stop for you.  After a short drive to the Al/Fl state line, you’ll find yourself at one of the most famous lounges around.  The Flora-Bama has been featured in Southern Breeze, The New Yorker, Bon Appetit, Boston Globe, The Huffington Post and CNN Travel, just to name a few.  You don’t stay around for 55 years unless you’ve got something special to offer your guests.  After you visit the Flora-Bama,  you’ll see what we mean! Keep in mind, we have properties located just a few short minutes from this establishment. 

#4 The Hangout

Serving specialty drinks and a menu all their own, The Hangout in Gulf Shores is so much more than just a bar.  Home of the World Famous Hangout Music Festival,  The Hangout is located right off the public beach facing The Gulf of Mexico in the heart of Gulf Shores.  What better way is there to end a great day of shopping, fishing, or beach strolling than to bring your old friends or meet some new ones at The Hangout?

#5 Bills by the Beach

After a long day of fishing, you must visit Bills by the Beach where they will cook your catch as you listen to live music on the open air deck.  West Beach Boulevard never sounded or tasted so good!  If you didn’t have much luck catching your own supper, don’t worry.  Bills by the Beach has a menu that is second to none.  Come hungry for the cuisine and stay for the tunes!

From fishing and shopping and sunning all day, to relaxing and eating some great local seafood and listening to some fabulous music all evening, we hope you enjoy Island Life as much as we do.  Remember its always the right time to have a good time when you’re living on Island Time!