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 Things to do at The Beach When It’s Raining

April Showers bring May flowers.  We’ve all heard that.  Though it probably won’t rain every day while you’re spending your April Vacation week with Sunset Properties along the Alabama Gulf Coast, you can expect rain at least one day or maybe a day and a half while you’re here.

 

A cool soggy beach is not much fun, so what do you do while it’s raining at the beach?

 

1       Enjoy some fresh Gulf Seafood.

You can’t very well fish in the rain, but you can still get some fresh Gulf Seafood.  Shop for fresh off-the-boat shrimp, fish, oysters and more at Fresh Seafood in Gulf Shores.  This locally owned seafood market has been providing locals and visitors with the freshest Gulf Seafood at some of the best prices around.  Your Sunset Properties vacation condo or beach house has a fully stocked kitchen ready for you to prepare a delicious seafood meal for your family right in the comfort of your own home-away-from-home.

 

2       Shop a local favorite for cute jewelry and henna tattoos.

Island Girl Jewelry & Souvenirs located in Gulf Shores.   Island Girl is a locally owned, unique beach shop offering year round services such as henna and temporary tattoos, hair braids and hair wraps. They also have a large selection of t-shirts, beach hats, souvenirs, cute and trendy clothes, boho-style and magic silk wrap skirts.

 

3       Visit Pelican Place at Craft Farms.

Anchored with big box stores Target, Books-A-Million, Bed, Bath & Beyond, and Publix, Pelican Place is located on Alabama Highway 59 north of the Holmes Bridge.  This trendy mall also hosts several boutiques and smaller chain retail  stores.  In addition to the fabulous retail therapy you’ll get at Pelican Place, you’ll want to stop and enjoy a wonderful meal and a cocktail while you watch the rain shower pass.

 

4       Take in a movie.

Located at Pelican Place is Cobb Pinnacle 14 , a local favorite for the latest movie releases and wonderful popcorn!  If it’s still raining and you’ve shopped till you’re about to drop, stop by Cobb Pinnacle 14.  With closed caption, assisted listening, and descriptive narration available on most films during most show times, everyone can enjoy a popular film.

 

How about visiting a museum or three?

 

5       Check out the Orange Beach Indian and Sea Museum.

Located on John Snook Drive behind The Orange Beach City Hall Complex, this local favorite is just a few minutes from the beach.  This inviting little historical building was originally built as a school in the early 1900s, but now houses artifacts relating to Orange Beach’s fishing heritage and Native American roots.

 

6       Gulf Shores has a Museum, too.

The Gulf Shores Museum is located on West 19th Avenue in Gulf Shores.  This historical building is home to both permanent exhibits relating to island life and houses seasonal rotating exhibits.   Much like the weather down here, the carefully chosen displays located within this museum change frequently.

 

7       So does Fort Morgan!

The Museum at Fort Morgan is home to a whole lifetime of memories.  Artifacts dating back to when the fort was first occupied to current day exhibits will keep you intrigued for an afternoon.  In addition to the historical aspect of the Fort Morgan Museum, there is also a quaint little gift shop area.  After your explore all that this museum has to offer, you’re sure to find the perfect souvenir.

 

8       Spend some quality family time in The Factory.

The Factory in Gulf Shores is one of Gulf Shores’ premiere indoor attractions.  The Factory features over 50 large trampolines, foam pits and an arcade.  There is also a Ninja Course located inside.  There is a rock climbing wall and trick trampolines, too.  Surely there is something for everyone to do at The Factory. Located at 18948 Oak Road West in Gulf Shores, The Factory is a great place to go play around whether it’s raining or not!

 

9       Enjoy some indoor recreation.

The  David L Bodenhamer Recreation Center in Gulf Shores has racquetball courts, indoor pools, and a full service fitness room.  This state of the art facility welcomes island guests and locals alike.  Day passes are available.  There is a complimentary fitness towel service and a game area.   The Bodenhamer Center is ADA accessible and is open from 5:30 AM until 9:00 PM on weekdays and from 8:00 AM -6:00 PM on Saturday and 1:00 PM -6:00 PM on Sundays.  It is conveniently located at 319 West 19th Avenue, about two minutes from the Gulf Shores Museum.

 

10     Chill out with some tasty ice cream.   

Scoops ice cream shop located on Alabama Highway 59 in Gulf Shores is a must for any vacationer.  Scoops has been a staple in Gulf Shores since 1980.  You don’t make it in a small town for that many years unless you truly have something great to offer.  Scoops ice cream is definitely a treat!  From banana splits, to malts, to milkshakes, to just a scoop of your favorite flavor, this little ice cream shop is sure to brighten any rainy day!

 

When the rain stops, we hope you enjoy your visit outside to our sugary white sandy beaches and all the attractions Fort Morgan, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach have to offer.  For a list of several outdoor activities, check out our blog on New Years Resolutions you can keep!

 

www.sunsetproperties.com

251.543.1370

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.

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

5 Things Every Tween Should Do While in Gulf Shores

Tweens:  the kids who aren’t quite teenagers but they’re not babies anymore, either.  They’re kind of stuck in “b-tween”.  We love those guys! When you’re too old for baby stuff but not quite old enough to enjoy the things teenagers do it can sometimes be hard to find activities to entertain you.

We want you and them to know they will not be bored while vacationing in Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan and Orange Beach.   Our Island Paradise is a great place for families and we are surrounded with lots of things for tweens to do.

Additionally, Sunset Properties features condos and beach homes all over the island making it easy for your family to lodge near all the fun.

We know you’re here to play on our sugar white sandy beaches and swim in The Gulf of Mexico, but then… after that… then what?  Here are 5 Things Every Tween Should Do While in Gulf Shores:  

Hang Out at The Hangout

Only minutes from Island Sunrise 468  and Lighthouse 607, The Hangout in Gulf Shores has always been a great spot for kids of all ages to play.  First opened back in the 1950s, the Hangout in Gulf Shores is one of the original places to go to have fun.  The Hangout is conveniently located at the Public Beach in Gulf Shores at the intersection of Alabama Hwy 59 and Beach Boulevard.

The location encompasses two and a half acres and has a 50 foot tower.  You can’t miss it and tweens won’t want to!   In addition to super easy beach access, The Hangout features ping pong, foosball and a Wish Wall.  They also have a foam bubble party every hour on the hour.  Tweens love that!  The food is amazing and so is the live entertainment.   Opportunities for great Snapchat and Facebook pictures are all around.  Don’t forget to visit one of the tee shirt shops, to while you’re hangin’ out.  After all, every tween needs a great tee to take home and show their friends!

Spend a Day at Adventure Island

Adventure Island, located on Beach Boulevard in Orange Beach, is a tween’s dream!  If you’re staying in Orange Beach at Moorings 414  or at the Grand Caribbean 425, you’ll love just how close Adventure Island is to your condo!   This fun-filled attraction is only a few minutes away.  It is really easy to find.  Just look for the only volcano in Orange Beach!  When you’re planning your day outing to Adventure Island, you’ll want to plan to visit for at least half a day to let your tween do it all.   Go-karts, bumper boats and paddle boats are a great way to start off your day of fun.  Then you’ll want to play a round of mini golf and laser tag.  And don’t forget about the arcade at Adventure Island.  More than 100 games will keep you tween happy and entertained for hours!  Your tween can win and redeem tickets for prizes.  Inside the arcade is a rock wall and there’s even a roller coaster simulator.

Make a Splash at Waterville

If you’re staying in Fort Morgan, you’re only about twenty-five minutes away from Waterville USA, the island’s only water amusement park.  Since 1986, Waterville has been offering up fun for kids and adults.  Perfect for a day out with your tween, Waterville has 12 water attractions including The Flowrider, Jet Scream and Screamin’ Demon.  In addition to water rides and slides, there is the Cannonball Run roller coaster, a super cool arcade, and bungee trampoline call The Trampoline Thing.  Waterville is also home to some of the best go-karts around.  Recently, the folks at Waterville added an Escape House mystery game.  While tweens will certainly enjoy this thrill-filled attraction, folks under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

Get Tagged at Arena The Next Level

If you’re staying at Endless Summer, located in Fort Morgan, you’re going to experience an amazing vacation home that sleeps up to 18 people.  And if you’re looking for nearly endless fun, you’re need to take your tween to Arena The Next Level.  Located at The Wharf in Orange Beach, Arena The Next Level, is one of our island’s newest attractions.  This 4000 square foot arena showcases a super cool sci-fi laser tag arena with lights, sounds and lasers.

While you’re at Arena The Next Level, give Bazooka Ball a try, too.  This electronic glow-in-the-dark combat game features two inch round foam balls that can be shot out of low impact toy guns and travel up to 100 feet.

And Visit the Zoo, Too

Only a short drive from About Time, an amazing beach home that sleeps 10, The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is an outing no tween should miss!   Famously deemed “The Little Zoo That Could” The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo has been an island favorite since 1989 when it was called Zooland Animal Park.  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.  Today, the zoo is home to 500 animals.  Pathways that wind through the zoo campus allow up close and personal (as we say down here) access to many of the animals.  Expect to see lions, tigers and bears (oh my!), in addition to leopards, monkeys, wolves, birds, and snakes.  There are so many animals to visit, we encourage you to plan at least four hours for this adventure.  Bring your sunscreen and insect spray.  The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is an outdoor attraction and we’re sure you and your tween will want to stay for a while without getting sunburned or being some bug’s dinner.  We know you’ll enjoy all the indoor attractions and the water park, but don’t forget to visit the zoo, too!

 

The Alabama Gulf Coast has something to offer every member of your family.  While we penned this blog with the focus on tweens, we know all of the ideas we shared here will appeal to the adults in your family, too.  After all, how can you not have fun if you’re hangin’ out, on an adventure, making a splash, tagging your bestie or watching monkeys play?  If you’d like some more ideas for fun things for your whole family, check out our Convention and Visitors website at www.gulfshores.com or just call us at 251.543.1370.  Our vacation rental specialists here at Sunset Properties will be happy to make attractions recommendations while they help you book your vacation condo or beach home.

 

 

 

 

7 Things to Know About The Orange Beach Festival of Art 2018

There is so much to do while you’re vacationing with Sunset Properties in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Fort Morgan.   The wonderful vacation homes and pristine beaches of the Alabama Gulf Coast call to your spirit all year long.  Spring is an especially nice time to visit our area and enjoy the welcoming beaches and soothing waters of The Gulf of Mexico.  Along with all the year-long attractions that we never seem to tire of, The Orange Beach Festival of Art, held in March, is one event you won’t want to miss.

Here are 7 things to know about The Orange Beach Festival of Art 2018 to help make your outing a fun and memorable one:

  1. Dates and Location

For more than 40 years, this arts festival has been an island staple and a local family favorite.  Mark your calendar for March 10-11, 2018 and plan to attend the Orange Beach Festival of Art 2018.

The setting for this festival is unmatched.  Held at Waterfront Park located at 26389 Canal Road and nestled among the hundred year old oaks that line Wolf Bay, this year’s event features not only the fine art mediums, but performing arts, as well.  The Orange Beach Festival of Art will be open from 10-5 on Saturday and 10-4 on Sunday.

 

  1. Artists

Expect to see potters, watercolorists, glass blowers, wood carvers and textile artists, just to name a few.  This is a juried show with spaces for 100 artists so you can be sure you’ll see the best of the best artists displaying and selling their wares.   Musical guests including Lisa Zanghi, Roman Street, Three Bean Soup and Strickly Isbell are scheduled for Saturday.  Island Youth Band, Poarch Ninjas, and All Star Band are slated to perform on Sunday.

 

  1. Admission and Parking

Admission to the festival is free, but there is no vehicle parking on site.  All parking for the Art Festival will be located at the Orange Beach Sportsplex on Williams Silvers Parkway.  Baldwin Regional Area Transit Service (BRATS) will provide a shuttle service and will offer rides to the festival site throughout the entire two-day event.  Why walk when you can catch a ride and get dropped off right at the festival site?   A daily BRATS pass can be purchased for $5. If you prefer to ride your bike to the festival, there will be an area for bicycle parking within the festival grounds.  You are encouraged to bring your own bike lock.

 

  1. Family Friendly

All of us here along the Alabama Gulf Coast love family friendly events.  This festival is no exception!  A Kids Art Alley will open at noon on Sunday.  Your little guys and girls will get the opportunity to have some hands-on fun while you all enjoy your weekend outing.  The newly renovated Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach will also be open.  This 10,000 square foot art gallery is definitely an island attraction worth a visit.  Adjacent to the gallery, you’ll want to check out the Hot Shop and Clay Studio.  Throughout the year, the Coastal Arts Center offers classes in glass blowing and pottery.

 

  1. What to Wear

The average high temperature in Orange Beach in March is 71 degrees.  That’s a perfect shorts-and-flip-flop-perfect-day if there ever was one!   You’ll need to bring some sunscreen, too.  It’s probably a good idea to thrown on a ball cap and your shades.  While it is not nearly as hot as the summer sun, the springtime sun’s rays in our area can quickly burn winter skin.

 

  1. Volunteer Opportunity

If you’re looking for a volunteer opportunity while you’re vacationing, the staff at The Orange Beach Festival of Art may be looking for you.  For more information on volunteering, visit Festival VolunteersVolunteers will receive a tee shirt and a special gift from the Clay Studio, while supplies last.  Please remember to register with the festival folks if you’re planning to donate 4 or 5 hours of your time to help make this event continue to be the first class festival it is.

 

  1. Snacks, Potties, ATMs

Festival planners will have food booths on site and have sodas and snacks available.  Restrooms will be conveniently located, as well.  You’re should also plan to take a look at the festival merchandise stand while you’re visiting the venue.  We’re sure they will have the perfect tee for each member of your family.  Forgot your cash?  No problem!  ATMs are also scheduled to be available.

 

Spring is truly a magical time on the Alabama Gulf Coast.  Azaleas and oleanders adorn yards and streets.  Sea oats are starting to reach new leaves toward the sun.  And the animals are starting to come out from their winter habitats.   If you haven’t ever visited our beach neighborhood in the spring, now is the time to do it.  Plan on staying with Sunset Properties in one of our stylishly decorated and fully stocked condos or beach houses located in Fort Morgan, Gulf Shores and Orange BeachWe even have pet friendly rentals available, so you can bring the whole family!  With so many options available, we know we have your perfect vacation home ready.

We look forward to helping you make your March 2018 Beach Reservation and to seeing you at The Orange Beach Festival of Art 2018.

Top 10 Most Romantic Things To Do in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach

One of the most romantic places on earth is the beach.   Beaches offer a natural ambiance unmatched by any other venue.  The beaches that wrap the Alabama Gulf Coast are no exception.  The sugary white sandy beaches that stretch 32 miles along the Alabama Gulf Coast are a remarkable site.  Just beyond the dunes covered with sea oats blowing in the Gulf breeze, the lapping waves of the Gulf of Mexico kiss the shore.  Whether you prefer long walks into the sunset holding your sweetheart’s hand or a brisk jog at dawn before your morning coffee, for romance, you’ve come to the right place!

Have you made your reservation yet?  Let’s start there!  For an incredible view of the beaches of Fort Morgan, check out The Dunes or The Indies. Consider Beachview 223 if you want to stay in Gulf Shores.  Would you prefer Orange Beach?  Check out Moorings 414Sunset Properties also has beach homes and cottages available if that’s your preference.  Truly, the beach is for lovers and these condos are sure to please!

But what do you do if you want to kick it up a notch? What can you and your sweetie do to make something that’s already great just a tad bit better?  Well, we have a few suggestions that we believe might make your romantic getaway one neither of you will soon forget.

Here are 10 Romantic Things to do while you’re staying with Sunset Properties in Fort Morgan, Gulf Shores or Orange Beach:

1     SAVOR A GOURMET DINNER

You drove all this way down to the coast and you’re too tired to cook.  It happens.  We know and we understand.  You want to rest, relax, unpack and enjoy your time with your honey.  How nice would it be to have a gourmet meal available or a bag of snacks and fruit waiting on your when you arrive at your beach home?  Orange Beach Concierge Services located at The Wharf offers both.  If you’d like to have your dinner prepared, they have an extensive list of menu items including lasagna, New Orleans dishes, salads and seafood to choose from.  In addition, they offer grocery shopping and will deliver your groceries right to your condo or beach house.

If you’d rather go out for dinner, we suggest Wolf Bay Lodge located in Orange Beach. The folks at Wolf Bay Lodge have been preparing local seafood dishes since 1973. With menu items like lump crab cakes, rib eye steaks, and oysters rockefeller, you cannot go wrong with a dinner from Wolf Bay Lodge.

2     STOP AND SMELL THE ROSES

There isn’t a much more romantic gesture than giving your true love a bouquet.  It really doesn’t  matter if your prefer roses or a pretty vase of mixed seasonal flowers, we know just who to call to arrange your delivery.

The talented 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.  Order early and have your special arrangement ready to be delivered when you arrive.

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.  They also offer a great selection of snack and fruit baskets ready for delivery.

3     FEED YOUR SWEET TOOTH

You have a craving for something sweet and you don’t know where to go.  Visit the Chocolate Corner located near the intersection of Fort Morgan Road and Gulf Shores Parkway for delicious homemade butter fudge, pecan caramel paws, gourmet truffles and other chocolates.  And we have to mention their barks.  They have the best barks!  From Sea Salted Almond Bark to Peppermint Bark to their famous Beachy Bark, they have you covered.   They also serve Blue Bell Ice Cream, Frappuccinos, fruit smoothies and espresso.  Stop by and try a treat or two, your whole mouth will thank you.

If you happen to be on Beach Boulevard in Orange Beach, stop by Kayden’s Candy Factory for so “oh-my-goodness-yummy” treats!  From truffles, to fudge, to coconut clusters to caramel apples, Kayden’s has something for everyone’s sweet tooth.  They also serve ice cream and shakes.  Gift boxes available, as well, and we know you’ll want to grab one of those to take back home.

4     WATCH THE SUN SET FROM THE SKY

Have you ever seen the sun set from 500 feet above the ground?  What an amazing site!  Contact the folks at Orange Beach Helicopters and book your evening outing. You’ll fly over the beaches and waters near the Caribe Resort for about 30 minutes as you watch the sun’s rays fade and the evening’s darkness take over.  This ride is a special way to end a day of romance or begin an evening of enchantment.

Ever considered skydiving with your sweetie?  The good folks at Lost Bay Helicopters, a veteran owned and operated Gulf Shores company that leaves out of Jack Edwards National Airport in Gulf Shores, will fly you up and allow you to skydive down.  You don’t have to skydive if you choose to ride with these guys, but if you want to give it a try, skydiving could be a lot of fun!  Beach tours and special occasion tours are also available.  Contact them for reservations and details.

5     PAMPER YOURSELVES

You’re at the beach.  You just went skydiving with your sweetie, took some amazing pictures on the way down, and now you need to relax a bit.  It’s time to book a couples’ massage or salon outing.  It’s time to pamper yourselves.   To have a massage right in the comfort of your own beach house, contact Austin Massage Therapy located on Gulf Shores Parkway in Gulf Shores.  They have a 5.0 rating from TripAdvisor and, with an appointment, they will come to you.  If you’re in Orange Beach, visit Spas of Eden for a day of pampering.  They offer facials, skin, nail and hair services from their location at Palm Pointe Shopping  Plaza.   Serenity at the Beach, located in Orange Beach, features Aveda products.  For deep tissue or hot rocks massages, check out this lovely salon.  If your romance happens to lead to a marriage, they also offer wedding services.

6     DELIGHT IN A DOLPHIN CRUISE

You’ve heard about dolphin cruises.  Your friends have been out on the bays and coves that surround Gulf Shores and Orange Beach to see the dolphins up close, but you haven’t.  Well, it’s time to take the plunge, so to speak.  While you can’t swim with the dolphins when you book an outing on The Southern Rose, you will surely see a few swimming alongside.  This double-decker cruiser has both inside and outside seating.  Choose from an open-air view or an air conditioned one.  Cruises last from one to two hours and there is a snack bar on the boat offering sodas, chips, wine, beer and other snacks.  We know you will have a delightful time watching some of our area’s most playful and friendly local wildlife.

7     LET OUR LOCAL THEATRE CAPTIVATE YOU

You don’t have to be in NYC to see a great live performance.  Gulf Shores is home to the South Baldwin Community Theatre.   That’s right!  You and your honey can experience a well directed, tastefully staged, live play right here.  Our actors are locals from all around South Baldwin County and, though we’re probably a little biased, we believe they are every bit as good as those guys in the big cities.  The theatre is located at 2022 West 2nd Street in Gulf Shores.  Upcoming plays this year include:  Picasso at the Lapin Agile, The Snow White Variety Show, and Disney’s The Lion King Jr.  Give them a call.  The box office folks are waiting to make your reservation now!

8     WISH UPON A STAR

It is so hard to see the stars when you’re surrounded by city lights.  We often miss meteor showers, too.  They happen all year long, but we’re just too busy to even notice them.  How about doing a little star gazing while you’re in our neighborhood?  Grab your sweetheart, you favorite blanket and something cool to sip on.  Then kick back and watch the night sky from a perfect vantage point:  the beach.    Let the sound of the Gulf waves lull you into relaxation, while the sky flickers and dances with the natural lights of the stars, planets and meteors.  EarthSky.org provides a list of all the meteor showers and their visibility times.  We suggest paying special attention to the Leonid, Orionid and Perseid Meteor Showers.  Those star shows are usually pretty awesome!  Oh, and don’t forget to make your wish!

9     CREATE YOUR OWN SOUVENIR

Creating something together is a great way to make a special memory.  Visiting an art gallery is also a great way to spend a day.  Why not do both in one place?  The Coastal Art Center of Orange Beach, located on Canal Road, is a 10,000 square foot art gallery overlooking Wolf Bay.  The center itself is a sight you won’t want to miss.  This art center is not only a gallery, but also a place to create.  Visit The Hot Shop and make your own blown glass sculpture or visit the The Clay Studio to create a personal piece of pottery.  Instructional classes on watercolor painting, mixed media and acrylic are also available throughout the year.  We know the quality time you spend together here, coupled with the personal treasure you make and take home, will make an imprint on your heart that will last a lifetime.

10   PHOTOGRAPH YOUR MEMORY

Your stay has been an amazing one.  You’ve made some great memories and you know the time is coming when you’ll have to go back to your busy job and home life.  Why not take a professional snapshot of your trip back with you?  Sure your phone takes nice pictures, but wouldn’t you love to have a professionally done, beautiful portrait reminder of your special romantic getaway hanging in your family room?  The good folks at Chasing the Son and Sun Shots Photography can work with you in an effort to get you exactly the portrait you want.  They will meet you at your desired location and make every effort to get the exact pictorial memory you can see in your mind’s eye.  Both of these local companies offer extensive information about their services on their websites and, as you’ll see, their photography is wonderful!

Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan towns and beaches are spectacular all year long.  Any time is a great time to visit them.  Sometimes, though, we know the best time to go is when you’re celebrating the love you share with someone special.  We also know planning a romantic getaway can be a challenge and we hope these ideas are helpful. We, at Sunset Properties, will be happy to offer any assistance we can when you contact us to make your accommodations reservation and we’re looking forward to seeing you when you arrive.

When you visit, we ask that you leave only footprints.  However, when you leave, we hope you take home romantic memories that will last a lifetime.

www.sunsetproperties.com

251.543.1370