There’s So Much To Do at Christmas at OWA!

At this point in the holiday season, many of us are approaching the dreaded Christmas vacation planning rush. You know the feeling. You’ve been too caught up in work or bills or whatever commands your attention this time of year to plan any fun Christmas trips or events, and then suddenly you look at the calendar and it’s mid-December. You rush to the computer to find something to do with your family this season as everyone’s off-time approaches, but everything you find has already been done, has already passed, or is too soon for you to have time to plan for it. Before you give up the ghost and spend your Christmas budget getting yourself a new computer, take a look at OWA’s website and browse the recurring events that Christmas at OWA has to offer all the way through the end of December. 

OWA’s entertainment venues are split up into two main locations, the Park at OWA and Downtown OWA, and both places have holiday events and opportunities for the whole family to enjoy. Here are just a few options to help you decide how to plan your itinerary for this year’s vacation! 

The Park at OWA 

The Park at OWA is an amusement park on the OWA property that offers super fun rides, challenging games, and delicious concessions for all ages! The park doesn’t offer many specific holiday events; however, the Last Chance Season Pass Sale runs from December 10-23. If you take advantage of this sale, you can gift your whole family with passes to the Park at OWA for the entire year of 2022 plus some bonus dates in December 2021! So, not only can your crew enjoy the park fun this year, but the gift just keeps on giving into the next. 

Downtown OWA

If you’re looking for some exciting or chill events for your family to just enjoy together, then Downtown OWA has more than enough options to suit your vacation needs. If you’ve got kiddos, then you’re going to want to make a stop or several in the North Pole. I know, the North Pole in southern Alabama sounds a little far-fetched, but if you can get past the warm weather, you’ll have no shortage of holiday fun and memories to enjoy with the younglings. 

First, take them over to Mrs. Claus’ Crafty Christmas to become Honorary Elves for the day! They’ll get the whole elf experience by baking cookies and decorating Christmas ornaments. Each child will get to keep an ornament for your tree and receive their own honorary elf certificate for your scrapbook, so you’ll walk away with plenty to commemorate this family vacation. 

If you visit on a weekend, make sure to take the kids to Storytime with Santa’s Elves! This fifteen-minute story time will give you a chance to take a break and unwind in between your holiday adventures while you listen to Santa’s elves read some classic Christmas stories. The stories start at the top of the hour at 1 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm, and 4 pm on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday until December 23, so take the opportunity to get cozy with your kiddos at least once while you’re here. You may decide to go back a few times to hear other stories! 

The North Pole at Downtown OWA also gives you the quintessential North Pole Experience with photos with Santa and Christmas crafts. Don’t miss this chance to build your holiday spirit! 

Downtown OWA offers many other events for the family as well, like the Holiday Tree Show or the Tinsel Tones caroling. If all of this sounds too good to pass up, click on over to Sunset Properties to find one of the best rentals in Gulf Shores for you and your family to stay in, and let the holiday fun begin. 

2022 New Year’s Resolution You Can Keep: Make Your Mark on the Alabama Gulf Coast

With the new year rapidly approaching, many of our friends and guests are all deciding what resolutions they are going to make and the ones they intend to keep.  Here along our Alabama Gulf Coast, we are in the same boat, so to speak, as you are (although we frequently fish off our boats, but that’s “a whole nother story” as we say).  Are we going to lose weight, read more, take up a hobby or just spend more time with our families?  Seems Covid robbed so much time from us all, family time is at the top of many of our lists.  I have a suggestion, why not make your mark on the Alabama Gulf Coast in 2022?  We all want to leave our ‘mark’ somewhere without causing damage or harm, and here are five ways to do just that that range from temporary to a lifelong presence.

Write Your Name in the Sand

Leave Only Footprints is a phrase you’ll see all over while you’re visiting Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan.  This is a focused effort to keep our island as beautiful for tomorrow as it is today.  We clean up after ourselves, don’t leave unsightly messes on our beautiful beaches, don’t graffiti up our walls, and we help each other out when we need to.  But we all want to make a mark on our area, right? We want to let folks know we were here.  And most of us want more than a headstone to make that statement. How about you?  Want to make a mark on our island that no one will be unhappy with?  We have a couple of ideas.  One way is to write something in the sand.  Just above the tide line, use your big toe and scribble something profound like “Jack loves Dianne” or “Killroy was here”.  Or maybe just write your own name, the year, and circle it with a big heart take a quick Snap*, and you now have the best cover picture on Facebook*.  With a Gulf front beach home managed by Sunset Properties, writing your name in the sand is so easy, you can create a new one every day.  Check out Boardwalk 1085Castaways 3B or Carpe Diem for amazing opportunities to step right out of your beach vacation home and write your name in the sand.  The views inside these units are pretty nice, too.  I am thinking you’ll find more than one opportunity to share pictures on Facebook!

Hang A Dollar at the Flora Bama

Another way to leave your mark on the Alabama Gulf Coast is to write your name on a dollar bill and hang it on the wall at the Flora-Bama.  Have you ever been to the World Famous Flora-Bama?  If you have, you already know what a cool place it is.  If you haven’t, you’re definitely missing out.  In spite of what you may have heard, The Flora-Bama is a family friendly place each day until 6:00 PM, then, at 6:00 it becomes an adult hangout.  If you haven’t yet signed your name on a dollar bill and hung it on the wall at this great American Roadhouse located on the Alabama-Florida state line, you should put that on your 2022 resolution list.  And, if you’re looking for a great place to stay near the Florida-Alabama line, you should check out Caribe B Penthouse 4.  This amazing penthouse condominium is any beach vacationer’s dream home! It sits high above the back bays of Orange Beach and is only minutes from the Flora-Bama.  This condo is family friendly and there is so much to do on the Caribe property.  If writing your name in the sand is still on your list, you’ll find easy access to the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico about two minutes away.  Gulf State Park’s Alabama Point is almost right across Perdido Beach Boulevard from The Caribe.  Whether you’re planning to make your mark on a beach covered in sugar white sand or write your name on a dollar and hang it on a wall (or both!), we’ve got the perfect beach home ready for you!

Sign the Guestbook at the Welcome Center

There are two Welcome Centers nearby.  The Gulf Shores Welcome Center is located on Gulf Shores Parkway across from The Track.  Beautifully constructed and filled with brochures containing tons of local information and some of the best Southern Hospitality you’ll find this side of Birmingham, the Welcome Center in Gulf Shores is definitely worth a look.  Stop in, sign the guestbook, meet someone nice and find out all about our island.  There is a second welcome center in Orange Beach.  Located on Perdido Beach Boulevard in Orange Beach, the Orange Beach Welcome Center is equally as inviting as its sister property in Gulf Shores.  Making your mark on the Alabama Gulf Coast is as easy as signing a guest registry.  But, while you’re inside these centers, be sure to pick up a few rack cards and make a family plan that includes visiting some place new.  Each year, new business and attractions come to our area.  We are sure that while you’re in our welcome centers, you will discover something new to do!

Get a Library Card

Both Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are home to amazing libraries.  The Thomas B. Norton Library is located at 221 West 19th Avenue in Gulf Shores.  This is near the intracoastal bridge.  This library is as modern as they come and library cards for visitors to our island paradise are easy to get.  If you need to use a desktop computer, get a copy made or want to borrow one of the latest best sellers, the good folks at Thomas B. Norton Library can fix you right up. If your vacation home is Colony Club M6 be sure to stop by the library in Gulf Shores and sign your name to a library card application. You’re not only staying close to lots of retail opportunities, but you’re only about five minutes away from some amazing opportunities you can find only at a library!   But, what if you’re staying in Orange Beach at Phoenix I 1083  and you don’t want to drive to Gulf Shores?  No problem!  The Orange Beach Public Library located at 26267 Canal Road in Orange Beach offers library services second to none in our state.  For years, this library has excelled in offering programs and services for the whole family.  So, go ahead, make your mark on our island by getting yourself one of the best souvenirs around:  a library card!

Buy Your Own Piece of Paradise

For years, each of us traveled down here to the Alabama Gulf Coast on vacation and said, “one of these days, I’m gonna get my own place here.”  Well, “one of these days” came for us, and it can for you, too!  There are a variety of properties available to purchase year round and we at Sunset Properties are not just in the rental management/vacation home business, we are in the “let us help you buy your vacation home” business, too!  The process is easy really.  We learn as much as we can about our clients, then we keep our eyes and ears open and help them find and buy the exact right beach home.  What better way to make your mark on our area than to sign your name to a deed and actually own your own personal piece of paradise?  I’ll tell you:  none!  Become a local! Make that a resolution in 2022!   It’s as simple as reaching out to us and allowing us to find you your perfect place.  All that’s left after the paperwork is done, is your signature.  So go ahead, make a plan to make your mark on the Alabama Gulf Coast in 2022 by buying yourself a beach home.  And, if you choose to use a rental program to help you with expenses, we are absolutely ready to help you do that, too!

There are truly many ways you can make your own mark on the Alabama Gulf Coast in 2022, either as a guest or a parttime or fulltime resident.  At Sunset Properties, we are always happy to see our guests come visit us, but when they become our neighbors, we really celebrate!  It’s time to make our resolutions for 2022, and we hope you’ll put us on your list.  Go ahead, make your mark on the Alabama Gulf Coast, and let us help you do it the right way!  See you soon!  Happy New Year from all of us at Sunset Properties.

251.543.1370

info@sunsetproperties.com

www.sunsetproperties.com

Reasons to Head to Gulf Shores, Alabama for Your Thanksgiving Vacation

Thanksgiving seems to be one of those holidays that has unique implications for every family that celebrates it. For some, it means piling in the car to traverse to a large family get together, for others it’s an intimate dinner at home with family or friends, and for many it’s an annual rotation of all of the above. But what if we could take Thanksgiving outside of the home and intermix the best of both beach vacation time and family holiday time? Well, fortunately, Sunset Properties and businesses out in Gulf Shores, Alabama are working to make this possible! Give me a chance to tell you why mixing up your traditions (and possibly creating some new ones) could be exactly what your family needs this holiday season! 

  1. Possibility for Cost Distribution

You’ve probably looked at some of Sunset Properties’ larger luxury homes and thought, “That’s nice, but not a chance on our budget.” I can’t speak to your personal budget, but I can say that costs can be mitigated by sharing them with your family. How long has it been since everyone in your family got to be together on the holiday? Probably since you all had your own families, right?! It’s just so hard nowadays to find times that everyone’s available all at once, and you never know when you’re going to be able to afford that big vacation. But, if everyone in the clan can squeeze a few days off for Thanksgiving weekend, the kids will already be out of school and every family unit can split the cost of the flat rate to lessen the financial burden on everyone. Take advantage of some of Sunset Properties’ 15+ guest rentals and grab some family vacation time that’s kind to everyone’s expense budget! 

  1. Less Pressure

Now that we’ve established that vacationing in a Sunset Properties rental in Gulf Shores could allow for more people to be included at a lower price, we can also figure that this destination could alleviate the stress of other aspects of the holiday, too! For example, you no longer have to worry about hosting anyone in your house. Now, instead of making up a map of where everyone is going to sleep and having arm wrestles for who gets the floor, you can let everyone choose their rooms and move on to vacation fun! Many Sunset Properties rentals also come with fully-stocked kitchens, so you’ll have everything you need to tag team your family Thanksgiving feast! And, since it’s not anyone’s personal kitchen, there will be no worries about letting someone else use your favorite skillet or mixer. It’s new territory for everyone, so let the different family units come together and blaze a new pathway to your favorite part of the holiday. 

To take even more of the pressure off, The Hangout offers an option for people who don’t feel like cooking to enjoy all that a traditional southern Thanksgiving dinner has to offer! The Hangout is hosting Thanksgiving Dinner on November 25 from 11 am to 4 pm. Adults eat for $29.99, kids 5-10 eat for $14.99, and your little ones under 5 will eat for free! This event offers reserved time slots for families to enjoy delicious Thanksgiving delicacies with a little bit of Gulf Shores flair. Register today to reserve your slot and add some seaside spice to this year’s Thanksgiving meal.  

  1. You Can Still Enjoy the Beach! 

I know most people don’t associate winter weather with walking out on the beach, feeling the cooler air blow in from the gulf, but hear me out here. In Alabama, it doesn’t really get as cold as it does in more northern parts of the country. We’re generally lucky if it stays in the mid 60’s for more than a few days at a time by late November. So, even if you’re not wanting to get in the somewhat chilly water, you and your family can still enjoy a nice walk with a beautiful view, and the kiddos can build sand castles (or sandmen!) as a memorable pastime. Gulf Shores beaches are open all year, so don’t miss the opportunity while you’re down here for your family Thanksgiving get together! 

As you can see, there are many benefits to meeting up with your family on Gulf Shores gorgeous coast this Thanksgiving. Don’t wait! Those luxury rentals won’t stay open forever, so secure your spot this Thanksgiving weekend for unforgettable family memories on the most beautiful beaches in the Emerald Coast.

10 Fun Things to do at Fort Morgan

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

  1. Learn About Alabama and US History

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

2. Tour the Fort

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

3. Catch the Ferry

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

4. See Local Wildlife

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

5. Walk the Beach

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

6. Exercise Your Dog

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

7. Take Great Selfies

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

8. Visit the Museum and Gift Shop

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

9. Fish, Swim or Boat Mobile Bay

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

10. Enjoy the Tranquility

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

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

www.sunsetproperties.com

251-543-1370

The Beaches in Gulf Shores, Alabama, ARE Open!

By: Raven Hunter

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

Gulf Shores Main Public Beach (Gulf Place)

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

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

Gulf State Park

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

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

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

Gulf State Park Beach Pavilion

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

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

 Gulf State Park Fishing and Education Pier

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

Accessibility

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

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

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

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

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

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

2.  Be sure to try the food.

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

3.  Visit with the artists and crafters.

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

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

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

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

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

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

6.  Make your accommodations reservations now!

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

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

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

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

www.sunsetproperties.com

251-543-1370

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

By: Raven Hunter

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

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

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

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

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

Choose the Alabama Gulf Coast for Your Next Homeschool Fieldtrip

By: Raven Hunter

            Homeschooling offers many appealing advantages to a child’s education, among those being schedule flexibility and creative license. Not only can homeschool families organize schoolwork around family plans without having to worry about makeup work or excuse notes, but they can also use those family plans as educational opportunities to broaden their students’ learning horizons! With the COVID-19 pandemic making virtual school a popular schooling option, many public school families are also experiencing these benefits, and Alabama’s Gulf Coast gives all at-home learners the opportunity to make the most of them. If your student is learning at home, here are some destinations in the Gulf Shores and Fort Morgan area that will make your next educational vacation one to remember:

            Fort Morgan State Historic Site

            Fort Morgan is a historical preservation of the fort built to refortify its predecessor, Fort Bowyer, in 1819. The site offers a detailed account of the site’s complicated history from the war of 1812 to World War II through a series of information panels spread throughout the site that will allow you and your students to absorb the history while being immersed in the location itself. As a result of COVID-19 restrictions, tours of Fort Morgan are currently self-guided. While this change may seem disappointing initially, this independence will give your at-home learner the opportunity to explore and learn at their own pace. What better way to develop a love of learning? Sunset Properties offers several rentals on Alabama State Highway 180 that are just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Fort Morgan, making the site perfect for an early morning start to a full day of educational fun! Admission is only $5 for children and $8 for adults with a $20 deal for families of two adults and two children. Prepay for your family’s tickets today!

            Nature Exploration

            If at-home learning has you always looking for opportunities to explore the outdoors, Alabama’s Gulf Coast offers many places for you and your kids to connect with nature! Also on AL 180 is Bon Secour Wildlife Refuge. This refuge contains four different nature trails and offers your young learners multiple different avenues to experience the coastal wildlife, such as birdwatching (seasonal for spring and autumn), interpretive material and activities, photography, and fishing if you have anglers in the bunch! Over in Gulf Shores, Gulf State Park also offers many opportunities for your children to discover a love for wildlife with attractions such as the Interpretive Center, the Nature Center, and the Forest Pavilion & Butterfly Garden as well as many trails with rest stops to make for a relaxing and bonding nature experience. The park also encourages you to teach your children about the importance of conservation with their many initiatives! Make sure to include a day immersed in the wonder that the coastal flora and fauna has to offer to your family’s learning vacation!

            Family Fun, Dinner, and Dessert

            After a long day of learning and fun, you may be looking for a fun place to unwind as a family. Alabama’s Gulf Coast has no shortage of family-friendly hangout spots! Hangout, appropriately named, in Gulf Shores offers live bands and seafood for the whole family. Come and attend an event, or just relax and enjoy dinner accompanied by the sounds of the band of the evening. For dessert, you can head over to Chocolate Corner & Ice Cream for a quick to-go treat of ice cream or chocolate. Rated five stars on Yelp, this parlor offers takeout and delivery services for sweet treats from milkshakes and frappuccinos to truffles and chocolate bark! These delicacies will be perfect for you and your family to wind down and remember the fun times you had on your family field trip.

If you’re looking to seize the creative spontaneity made possible by at-home learning, then Alabama’s Gulf Coast is the place to go to give your family relaxing and educational fun!

Should I rent a beach home or a hotel room in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Fort Morgan?

Someone who knows I write blogs for Sunset Properties asked me, “Do you always stay in a condo or house when you go on vacation? Don’t you ever stay in a hotel?”  To answer honestly, I had to say “yes”.  Like everyone else who has ever traveled and stayed overnight somewhere, I have stayed in a hotel.  Do I like it for longer than one or two nights?  Absolutely not.  I like to spend my money wisely.  I like having my privacy and I enjoy the luxury of staying in a home away from home instead of just having a bedroom.  For business travel, a hotel is ok, I guess.  But for vacation, I much prefer having all the amenities I am accustomed to in my personal home available to me in my vacation home.

Here are five reasons why staying in a beach house or condo can be a better choice than renting a hotel room:

1.      Comparing the costs, beach homes are the better deal.

Oftentimes we are fooled into believing a hotel room is cheaper and therefore it is the better deal.  For years, our brains have been conditioned to think that way.  The fact is, that when we compare apples to apples (I mean, as close as we can compare said apples) the beach condo or house is the better deal.  Let me prove this.  For the week of August 9-13, 2021, which would be for four nights, we have the following options.  A large internet booking site posts a hotel that is right on the beach in Orange Beach for $1226 total cost including estimated 13% taxes and fees.  That sounds pretty good, right?  This is probably a nice hotel, too.  It’s part of a well-known chain with a great reputation.  And this room has a pool view.  Can’t beat that, can ya?  So for right at twelve hundred dollars, you can rent a two-bed room (not a two bedroom) right on the beach in Orange Beach.  Breakfast is not included with this reservation.  Then I searched Sunset Properties for the same time period.  I found this: for about $1263 (all fees included) only about $40 more than the hotel room I mentioned, you can book a one bedroom condo with a sleeper sofa and a private balcony that overlooks the beach in Gulf Shores.  That’s right!  For almost the same amount of money, you can bookIsland Winds West 177 in Gulf Shores.  Like the hotel room, this condo doesn’t come with breakfast, either, but, unlike the hotel room, it does come with a fully stocked kitchen that has full size appliances.  All you have to do is stop by Rouse’s and get some breakfast groceries or go out to eat breakfast. But let’s face it, you were going to have to do that anyway, if you rented the hotel.  So, maybe you can beat the hotel deal!

2.      Privacy matters for private matters.

So, we’ve all been in a hotel room when we overheard our neighbors.  Maybe they were talking, or singing or the kids were playing loudly.  It happens, right?  We sort of expect it.  But when we are on vacation, do we really need to know what our neighbors are doing?  As for me, I’d rather not.  And hotel turndown service and restocking the toilet paper is great for a couple of days.  But after that, when I’m on vacation, I don’t always want to pre-clean my room before the housekeeper comes.  I’d rather just relax a bit and leave my clothes on the floor if I am tired from a long day of beaching.  A beach home is definitely the way to go for longer stays!  When you book a beach home, house or condo, you get so much more privacy during your vacation.  When you reserve a condo, like Gulfside Townhome 31, much like an apartment, some neighbor noise does filter through.  But when you reserve a beach house, like Alta Vista, for example, it is like being in your own home.  When you’re cooking that great local Alabama Seafood you purchased right off the boat from one of our amazing seafood retailers and you are singing along to your favorite Jimmy Buffett song, your neighbors won’t be able to hear you.  No one will come and turn down the covers for you each day while you’re away and no one will come and restock the toilet paper, but the overall benefits really outweigh the inconvenience of having to buy your own restock roll.  And, once your seafood is ready, you can enjoy it right on your own balcony overlooking some of the most beautiful beaches that surround the Gulf of Mexico.

3.      Amenities like well-stocked kitchens with full size appliances alleviate stress.

I love to dine out when I travel.  I love to dine out in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan.  That’s no secret.  I actually will admit to being a Destination Dinner Diner ( a little term I coined which is actually quite fitting!).  Like a lot of folks I know, I will look ahead to find the best places to eat before I travel.  And we do have some great places here along the Alabama Gulf Coast!  Want to know where to have a memorable breakfast or brunch?  Check out my breakfast/brunch blog.  How about a great place for a Bushwacker?  I have a Bushwacker blog. The list goes on.  At Sunset Properties, we are happy to make recommendations on our favorite local spots.  But what about those days when you don’t want to wait in line at a restaurant to be seated?  When you’re not feeling especially people-ly and you just want to go in for the night and cook your own seafood and have your own adult beverages?  In vacation peace and serenity.  We can’t really do that in a hotel, can we?  But if you were staying a few days in Happy Clam, located just two streets from the beach, you can have it all.   This lovely beach house has a great kitchen, stocked with everything you need to cook any meal, except your menu items.  It also has a grill for your use.  And if you have too much of your favorite adult beverage, you won’t have to drive home after dinner, because you’ll already be there!  So to review, you can get a really nice private beach home, with a great kitchen and grill, that’s a five minute walk to the beach, for about the same cost as a hotel.   I’d say that’s a win, win, win, win, stress-free WIN!

4.      Everyone, including the dog, has their own space.

Most of us like to travel with our dogs.  They are as much a part of our family as our human relatives are.  Frequently, unless your dog is a service animal, this is not an option when staying in a hotel.  Leaving our dogs at home while we go away on vacation can get expensive.  If you have to rent a space at a doggie spa or vet, your vacation cost can go up exponentially.  If you have to get a neighbor, friend or relative to doggy-sit, you also face extra charges.  Both are great options, and we have all tried them, but they also cause stress on our fur babies.  Not only are they sad because we are away from them, but they are left in the care of semi or total strangers, and that can make them terribly uncomfortable.  Why not pack up Spot’s favorite toys and bed and bring him with you?  When your family stays in adog friendly Sunset Properties beach home, everyone can enjoy their vacation.  When I say everyone, I actually literally mean “everyone”.  Check out the dog friendly breath-takingly beautiful beach home Grace.  Up to twenty humans can stay here.  And dogs, under certain restrictions, are welcome, too.  There are so many things you can do with your dog along the Alabama Gulf Coast, I can’t think of one reason to split up the family and leave your fur baby at home.

5.      The staff gets to know you by name and can help you customize your vacation.

While some hotels do have consistency in staffing, many, many do not.  When you call in to check on a reservation or for assistance at your hotel, often you’re just a “last name and a room number”.  But at Sunset Properties, a small family-owned company, our staff turnover is very low.  That works to our guest’s benefit!  We get to know you by name and many of our guests become our friends.  We learn about your family’s wants and needs and are able to help you customize your reservations to line up with your vacation goals.  Where do you want to stay in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Fort Morgan?  Do you prefer a condo or a house?  Pool or beach front or both?  Bay front or boat slip needed?  These are things we learn about our guests, and we are able to offer vacation homes to meet each of these wants and needs.  Again, for a less personal experience and for a quick on night stay, a hotel is probably the way to go.  But if you want a vacation that specifically meets your family’s lifestyle, reserving a beach home from Sunset Properties is probably going to provide you with the memories you’re hoping for.  

Though there are too many to list them all here, this little blog outlines some reasons why I prefer staying in a vacation home instead of a hotel.  If you have questions about a home you’re considering booking, reach out to us.  At Sunset Properties, we are very familiar with all of our available homes, and we are happy to answer questions you may have.  Remember, if you’re looking for someone to turn down your covers and restock your toilet paper during your stay in one room, that’s not us.  But if you’re looking to be the King or Queen of one of the nicest “Sand Castles” on the Alabama Gulf Coast, reach out to us at Sunset Properties.  We can definitely get you a key to a castle that will fit your whole family’s needs.

www.sunsetproperties.com

251.543.1370

What to do if a Hurricane Threatens Your Gulf Shores Vacation Fun

Now that the Alabama Gulf Coast is open for business and we are all rebounding from last year’s pandemic closures, we know you are ready to book your beach vacation getaway or flexcation soon!  Your friends at Sunset Properties want you to make the most of your beach vacation experience.  We want you and your family to enjoy all the great restaurants and attractions available here on our Alabama Gulf Coast.  We want you to dip your toes in the welcoming waters of the salty Gulf of Mexico and enjoy listening to the seagulls chatter and watching the dolphins play in our back bays of Orange Beach.  We want you to enjoy walking on our sugary sandy white beaches in front of the Hangout in Gulf Shores.  We hope you get to go boating and fishing and parasailing in Mobile Bay, if those things appeal to you.  But we also want you to be prepared just in case the weather doesn’t cooperate.  Here are some tips on What to do if a hurricane threatens your vacation fun in Gulf Shoes, Orange Beach or Fort Morgan:  

  • Know where you are

Keeping up with exactly where you are on a map is so important. Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico tropical weather, whether you’re dealing with a tropical storm or a hurricane, may not affect all parts of the Gulf Coast with the same severity.  What can be considered a major storm in one area of the Northern Gulf can be little more than a rain event just a few miles away.  Know where your vacation home is in relation to any severe weather that may be in the expected or affecting the Northern Gulf Coast.  Just because there is tropical weather in The Gulf of Mexico doesn’t necessarily mean your vacation has to be altered.  Sometimes, all it means is there is no swimming allowed in The Gulf for a day or so due to rip currents/tides.  And if that’s the case, you will still have a great time staying with Sunset Properties.  Most of our vacation homes have pools either right on site or only a short walk away.

  • Know exactly what you’re dealing with

Tropical weather can appear in several different forms.  The ones that seem to catch our ears here on the Alabama Gulf Coast are tropical storms and hurricanes.  What’s the difference?   As defined by www.weather.gov a tropical storm is a tropical cyclone that has maximum sustained surface winds ranging from 39-73 mph (34 to 63 knots). And a hurricane is  a tropical cyclone that has maximum sustained surface winds of 74 mph or greater (64 knots or greater).  Both usually only last a day or so.  It’s the strength of a storm that determines whether our island roads and businesses remain cautiously open or have to close temporarily for safety.  While no one likes to deal with tropical weather, knowing what you’re dealing with will make things more manageable.  And understanding that when authorities determine the situation is severe enough to ask residents and guests to leave or delay returning to our island home, we all must comply.

  • Be weather aware

Weather reports are often available a week or so out and it’s a good idea to check out our local weather within a couple of weeks of your arrival.  Not only will this help you plan what to bring to wear, but it can give you an idea if severe weather is possible or likely during your vacation.  While we love to say it’s always sunny and 75 here sometimes, we have to admit, it’s neither sunny nor seventy-five.  We urge you to get a weather app for your phone that will allow you to not only track out local weather here in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan, but will also allow you to get alerts that follow you while you’re in our neighborhood.  Sometimes the weather at The Dunes near Fort Morgan is perfectly sunny under breezy blue skies, while the weather in Gulf Shores at Lighthouse 607 or Harbor House 30 can be rainy and over in Orange Beach, at Seaside Beach and Racquet 2104 or Caribe C Penthouse 14, they may be looking at the brightest rainbow in memory.

  • Buy travel insurance

When you book with Sunset Properties, long before you check in to Navy Cove 2113 or Hangar Outer, we will offer you the option to purchase travel insurance.  Get it.  Go ahead and purchase the insurance.  You insure everything else important in your life, why would you not insure your vacation?  This is the one big leisure expense you saved for and planned on all year.  Make a small investment in travel insurance and guarantee yourself a financially secure vacation.  For details on all the different travel insurance options, take a look at our blog detailing reasons you really do need this.

  • Develop a Plan B

All business savvy folks have a Plan B, just in case Plan A falls through.  Great vacation planners do this, as well.  We cannot overstress the importance of purchasing travel insurance.  You save all year for your  beach vacation;  the kids are so excited and hyped up; you have your four legged baby all vaccinated and ready to roll, then you realize the weather will just not cooperate with your plans.  If you cannot check into your vacation rental because it is simply not available, check with Sunset Properties about rescheduling for a different date.  Call as soon as you know you cannot arrive on time!  Do not delay notifying our staff with this request.  With some restrictions, this may be an option.  Also, try not to get fixated on only one of our great properties.  Be sure to look at all of our inventory, just in case you have to change your beach home address.  While this may never happen to you, and we sincerely hope it doesn’t, it is always good to have your Plan B in place.  After all, no one likes an unfamiliar, unexpected vacation surprise.  Book your favorite home, but go ahead and take a look at all we have available, and decide which of our amazingly family and dog friendly beach homes could be your second or third choice.

  • Expect the unexpected

Expect the unexpected and plan for it.  No one likes that guy Murphy who has all those gloom and doom (if-it-can-go-wrong—it-will-go-wrong) “laws” and we are convinced he is related to Mayhem, because he seems to pop up at the most inopportune times.  We don’t like him and most of our guests don’t care much for him either.  But there’s no harm in preparing for the worst.  While none of us can stop a hurricane or a tropical storm, we can at least prepare.  And tropical weather or not, it is always a good idea to throw in a rain poncho when you’re coming to your beach home.  While it doesn’t rain all day every day during the summer months along the Alabama Gulf Coast, it usually rains for a few minutes, most days.  Be prepared for afternoon showers as you enjoy your stay with us.  Ponchos and flip-flops are totally normal in our neighborhood!

  • Understand your cancellation or rescheduling options

We know that sometimes you just have to cancel or reschedule your vacation.  Things come up.  While we do our best to accommodate our guests and make changing plans as easy as possible, we hope our guests will do their part, as well.  Ask your reservationist for specifics on rescheduling your trip if the need arises.  Know your options.  There may be fees associated with this and the property you were initially hoping for may or may not be available for your new dates.  Get all the details when you make your initial booking.  We, at Sunset Properties, are only a click or call away and we will be happy to help you understand all of the options that are available to you when you make your reservation.

  • Consider changing your destination city

If vacation home choices in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Fort Morgan become unavailable during your scheduled time, how about considering visiting an alternative location?  Sunset Properties also has a lovely vacation home in Park City, Utah.  While Park City is obviously a long, long way from the Alabama Gulf Coast, our vacation home Silver Saddles is as spectacular a home as you have come to expect from us.  It is a three bedroom, three and a half bath 2,000 square foot ground floor condo located in this beautiful mountain resort area.  Vacations in Park City, in both summer and winter, are memorable!  Rescheduling your summer trip away from the Gulf of Mexico and visiting Park City, located about thirty miles from Salt Lake City, Utah, may just be one of the best vacation decisions you and your family ever make!

If you have questions or need suggestions on what to do while you’re staying with us on the Alabama Gulf Coast, check out or blog on Romantic Things to Do in Gulf Shores or Things to do With Your Kids in Gulf Shores.  We live, work and play right here in beautiful south Alabama and we would love to offer suggestions on how to make the most of your time in our area.  And if a summer stay in the stunning Utah mountains appeals to you, we can help you get your Park City vacation set up, also!  See you soon!

www.sunsetproperties.com

251.543.1370