5 Tips When Investing In Your First Investment Property

Investing in rental properties has become one of the top trending ways to create a revolving wheel of wealth in the residential space. Very few assets, if any, reward investors with a greater return on investment for extended periods of time.

These residential rental properties allow investors to make money passively. However, there are several things to consider when immersing yourself into the home renting experience. If you find yourself intrigued by the passive income lifestyle, use these tips when buying your first investment property.

  1. Research The Right Properties

The first step when jumping into the rental real estate market is to search for the right properties. Anyone can purchase an ordinary property and call it a rental, but the investors who do research will find the most success. It’s essential to strategically find what kinds of properties are doing the best in the current market.

Ask yourself these questions: Are you looking for a single or multifamily property? How many bathrooms? Is there backyard space? Are you looking for a property in the suburbs or the city? Is it a new house or an old house?

Before you do anything else, you should develop a solid understanding of the types of properties along with the condition and features of that property before committing. Conducting a rental real estate market analysis could also be beneficial when trying to reach your financial goals. As rewarding as rental real estate can be, investing in a non-desirable property can alter your passive income aspirations. Once you discover the right type of property for your investment, you can then consider the right location.

  • Find An Ideal Location

Another important step when buying an investment property is to consider the right location. One of the golden rules of real estate investing is focusing on the location of the prospective property. The location of your potential rental property asset is one of the most critical elements in the process. Proximity to desirable locations like restaurants, shopping malls and well-established education will contribute to demand and value, which will allow landlords to increase their rental asking prices. As a result, prospective landlords need to be aware of where they intend to buy.

The specific location of a property will determine a variety of factors, which also may dictate the opportunities your property may open. As a real estate investor, you don’t want to go for a location that has too many available properties for rent. Ideally, you need a location with reasonable supply and high demand. This will also greatly impact the types of potential clients your assets will attract. For example, if the property is acquired in a tourist destination, it may be better served as a vacation rental. Similarly, properties that are close to college campuses may be best suited for student housing. Overall, finding the right income property location is very important and will determine almost everything moving forward, so spend time studying up.

  • Start Thinking Like A Landlord

When you have ambitions to become a landlord, it’s important to start thinking like a landlord. Navigating this process can create a certain level of stress for people who aren’t familiar with best real estate practices. For some, this may mean developing handy skills around the house. If you’re serious, you should take the time to learn about the infrastructure of homes along with how you can maximize your ROI. For others, this may require more real estate assistance like hiring a third-party property manager.

More importantly, however, prospective landlords should look into third-party property managers. The assistance of a property manager can reduce the workload significantly for a landlord. Using the help of a property manager will free up more time for you to spend on more valuable things than the typical landlord assignments. Usually, investment property owners who hire property managers are able to add more estates to their rental property portfolios while avoiding additional work to their daily itineraries.

  • Consider Financing Options

In order to find prosperity in this extensive process, begin by considering the most valuable financing options for your investment aspirations. On the outside looking in, most people who are unfamiliar with owning a rental property are unaware of the funding options best suited for them. However, it’s a bit more financially complex than that. Naturally, the higher your monthly payment, the less cash flow that is available. Perhaps, the cash flow isn’t as high as you anticipated.

One of the things to consider when buying rental property is your financing options. When you apply for a mortgage loan, you’ll find plenty of options available for financing your first investment property. Should you choose a 15-or 30-year mortgage? An FHA loan or a conventional loan? Of course, different options come with different benefits and costs. Therefore, it’s important that you weigh all your financing options carefully to make sure you choose the right loan option that best suits your financial standing and real estate investment goals.

  • Budget For The Unexpected & Any Improvements

When considering your expenses before buying your first rental property, it’s also important that you budget for unexpected costs and any improvements that come with owning that property. Some of these include fees, taxes, vacancies, and damages done by previous tenants. Take the time to set aside money for revamping your projected budget. Over time, using your funds for improvements and upgrades can decrease the amount of extra expenses needed for repairs in the future. Making the proper upgrades to your rental property not only provides a safety net but also increases the value of your home as well.

If saving money and budgeting is an issue for you, try to think of other ways to gather funding. For example, if you’re a homeowner yourself, there are additional ways you can collect money to make upgrades. A HELOC is a reliable way to gather funds in order to tend to certain projects on your property. This is a secured loan where you can qualify for lower interest rates than you would for an unsecured personal loan. Ultimately, use your updated budget to restore any items to the condition they were in before they stopped working. For example, a landlord who replaced old, broken wooden flooring with fresh hardwood has  made an invested improvement, thus increasing the lifespan and value of that property.

Like any occupation, becoming a real estate investor has its ups and downs. It’s essential to work strategically and mindfully to generate a cash flowing rental portfolio. In order to find success, use these tips to build your rental real estate knowledge.

What the PEOPLE Are Saying About the Most Popular Rentals in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, and Fort Morgan

By: Raven Hunter

If you’re new to the vacation rental game, or even if you’ve been at it for a while, you probably know what it’s like to be faced with dozens, maybe hundreds of rentals on any given website and have no idea which one fits best for your vacation. I know it can be time consuming and taxing combing through all of the options, ascertaining their amenities, and trying to fit each person’s interests to the perfect rental for your next beach vacation. That’s why I found the highest rated Sunset Properties rentals that had the most buzz in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, and Fort Morgan and figured out what previous guests liked so much about them to help you narrow down your search. 

Gulf Shores – Lighthouse 607

Starting in Gulf Shores, Lighthouse 607 has an average rating of 4.5 stars, and people had the most to say about it in 36 glowing reviews. A recurring praise for this luxury rental was centered around the optimal space provided by the two bedrooms and bunkbed room. Each bedroom comes equipped with a king-sized bed, so whether you and your spouse are looking for room to spread out or you need some extra space to squeeze in a few of the kiddos, Lighthouse 607 has more than enough room. Multiple guests were excited about the bunkbed room having a door rather than a curtain because it kept noise out of the room after the kids had gone to bed. Enjoy some adult time and conversation with no fear of waking the kiddos after bedtime! Many guests testified to having big families stay in the rental or to their kids being able to bring friends and still stay comfortably. Lighthouse 607 is perfect for that big trip where everyone is invited! 

In addition to space, Lighthouse 607 also comes with a lot of extras that renters thought made the stay worthwhile. Many people loved the jacuzzi tub in the master bath and access to the two large pools and two hot tubs. This rental offers means of relaxation for people of all ages! People were also impressed by the large balcony accessible from both the living room and the master bedroom. This amenity allowed for these guests to enjoy the equally praised view of the beach, which is just a boardwalk trip away from the rental. Flashlights, boogieboards, and nets are also included as extras, giving the kids and grownups every opportunity to make the most of the easy beach access. After the beach fun, Lighthouse 607 is ready and waiting for the renters to use the fully stocked kitchen and wind down with some of the rental’s family games! For those who don’t feel like cooking, iconic restaurants like Sea n Suds and the Hangout are right nearby!  

If I’ve sold you on Lighthouse 607, you better hurry. Many renters stated that they would rent again, had already booked their next stay, or even extended their initial stay! People are rushing back to Lighthouse 607, so go ahead and place your dates while you have the chance! 

Orange Beach – Grand Caribbean 215

One of Orange Beach’s most popular Sunset Properties rentals, Grand Caribbean 215, offers a relaxing getaway for families just looking for some calming time together at the beach. The trend in the twenty reviews placed on this rental is praise of the condo’s cleanliness and comfort. When people’s favorite thing about a rental is the atmosphere, you know you’ve got the perfect place to relax and unwind. The location of Grand Caribbean 215 furthers the opportunity for relaxation this rental offers as it’s right across the street from the access to Cotton Bayou State Park. Most guests were appreciative and impressed by this aspect, but one reviewer did express frustration of having to cross the street with a young child. If you have young children and don’t want to take your car to the beach, then you may want to consider one of Sunset Properties venues closer to the beach accesses. Otherwise, enjoy the crosswalk interlude to your rejuvenating experience in one of the most beautiful beaches Orange Beach has to offer. 

Grand Caribbean’s location continues to minimize renters’ stress by being centrally located between grocery and shopping areas. Former guests were ecstatic about this feature, and it’s no question why! The last thing you need on a restful family vacation is to run out of or realize you’ve forgotten an essential and are miles from the nearest store. This rental was also praised for having an easy check-in/checkout process, so no front desk nightmares for these renters! The general consensus on Grand Caribbean 215 seems to be that it’s the perfect environment for much needed R&R. 

Fort Morgan – Out of Office

As Sunset Properties’ top rated rental in Fort Morgan, Out of Office has provided past renters with everything necessary for family vacation fun! Almost every review praised the rental for close proximity to the water, and many people enjoyed walking on the pier to experience the local wildlife. One family even saw dolphins! A few renters also made use of the rental’s extra kayaks, taking beach fun to a whole new level. And, once the sun goes down, Out of Office also comes with crab traps! This rental offers everything necessary for families to enjoy beach time at any time of day.

When the beach becomes too much, Out of Office also comes equipped with extras for family fun that doesn’t involve even leaving the property. Former guests were thrilled with the grills and fully stocked kitchen with everything they needed for indoor or outdoor family mealtime. Renters also loved the board games and cornhole set up, so the fun just continues! However you and your crew kick back, Out of Office is where you want to be for your next family vacation. 

In addition to all of these amenities, a common theme throughout reviews on all of these properties commended the Sunset Properties management for being friendly and attentive during the rental process. This stellar customer service is also on display in the review section of all of these rentals in management’s engaged replies to renters’ comments. Even on the rare occasion that there was a complaint, management was gracious and responsive. These renters know firsthand that there’s nothing to fear in turning to Sunset Properties for your next getaway, so click or call to start your journey with them today!

Make Spring Break 2022 Count in Gulf Shores, Alabama!

By: Raven Hunter

It’s finally time for Spring Break! I remember my school years years of counting down the days till the middle of the spring semester when we got that glorious span of nine whole days with no classes, assignments, or obligations. Once high school came, you’d have homework assignments due the day classes returned, so you’d have to portion out some of your fun time to make sure those things got done, but otherwise, you were free. The perfect solace to hold you over until the end of the year! For all of the students out there, I’m sure this is an exciting time; but, for parents, this time may be more stress than excitement because now you have to face the inevitable question of  “What do I do with my children without school during the day?”

Worry not! Gulf Shores is here to answer that question for you with plenty of options for you to tire your kids out over their long-anticipated break from school. And, this can be a chance for you to get a break for a few days as well. With the kids at school all day and you working or busy otherwise, it can be hard to squeeze in some family time. You want to make the most of this time you have together, and the Gulf Shores area is exactly the place to do that. 

Events

At this point, you may be wondering, “What is there to do that’s so special Gulf Shores that will keep my kids entertained?” And that’s a valid question. While some kids love the beach, many can find it boring. Especially if they live near a beach themselves. But, Gulf Shores has many events happening this March that will surely bring the fun that you and your family are looking for with this trip.

The Ballyhoo Festival

I remember school as a time for growing and learning new ideas and perspectives as I got older and learned more about different kinds of people. If your kids are like me and love that part of the school, then the Ballyhoo Festival gives them the opportunity to take it on vacation with them. The Ballyhoo Festival is an arts festival and cultural exchange that showcases all kinds of art from across the southeast. Held in the Lake Shelby picnic area of Gulf State Park, this event offers diverse art, live music, and food for your whole family to feast on while broadening your perspectives with the cultural sights and sounds. If you’ve got some musicians among the group, sign them up for the Fiddle and Banjo Competition. It’s fun and free for people of all ages to enter, just make sure you’re all ready to bring the heat! 

Whatever your kids’ artistic interest, there’s something for all of them to enjoy and learn from at the Ballyhoo Festival. The dates are March 5th and 6th, so make sure to mark your calendar and get a few days off. You’ll be glad you did. 

Legends of Country in Concert

Got some country lovers in your crew? Then ride on down to OWA in Foley, AL, to see Legends of Country! At this seasonal event, you can familiarize your kids with legends Martina McBride, Shania Twain, Garth Brooks, and Elvis Presley while reminiscing about the days of their fame yourself! This event runs all spring, so no matter when your kids’ Spring Break starts, you’ll have the opportunity to experience tribute performances to some of country’s biggest stars. You won’t want to miss it! 

St. Pawtty’s Day

Reading through all of this, you may be concerned that some of your friends might have to miss out on the fun; that is, your furry friends. Finding a rental that accepts your beloved pet probably seems like enough of a blessing; but the people over at OWA want your pups to feel welcome, too, so they’ve got a whole holiday event just for them! On March 12th, take your kids’ best furry friend down to the OWA theater for the St. Pawtty’s Day celebration! There, they can enjoy music, a parade where your kids and pups can strut their stuff, and a costume contest to show off a little extra flare! Attendance is free! Registration for the parade and costume contest is available for $15 the day of, and it’s only $10 to register ahead. What better way to commemorate Spring Break 2022 than by making memories with your kids and pets to enjoy for years to come? 

The Beach 

Okay, okay, I know I lured you into this talking about things to do in Gulf Shores that weren’t the beach, but in the middle of your exciting event hopping, why not take a stroll with the whole family on one of eight public accesses to the most beautiful beaches on the Gulf Coast? If your kids object, remind them that a change in scenery is always nice, and your high school students might enjoy the chance to walk the beach without the possibility of running into that teacher they owe a reading assignment to. Once they see the beautiful coastline and crystalline blue water, it won’t take long to win them over. 

Andrew’s Cottage

At the end of the day, when your kids need time to finish that one lingering assignment, or, you know, sleep, Sunset Properties is ready to offer you Andrew’s Cottage, a two bedroom, dog friendly rental.  Even with only two bedrooms, this rental sleeps six. Depending on the size of your family, you can all fit in this beautiful house with easy access to trails to give your furry friends a chance to stretch their legs. As an added plus, this rental has two bathrooms, one for you, and one for the kids!

If you’ve got a bigger family, Sea-Rae, Hangar Outer, Happy Clam might be more suitable for your needs. 

Your kids are another year older this break, but you’ve still got time to make these years special. I hope you all enjoy the chance to seize the moment on your Spring Break trip to Gulf Shores, Alabama.

Head to Gulf Shores for a Romantic Valentine’s Day You’ll Never Forget!

By: Raven Hunter

            When was the last time you and your spouse got away without the kids? And I don’t mean to buy Christmas presents. If it’s been a while, then Sunset Properties is ready to make a private, romantic getaway possible for you and your sweetheart. Get someone to watch the kids and make your way down to Gulf Shores for a Valentine’s Day weekend to tell the grandkids about!

Dunes Condo Rentals

            The first thing you’re going to want to know about how to make this magical weekend happen is where you and your honey are going to stay. Fortunately, you’re only going to need space for the two of you! No worrying about if the place you’re looking at has enough space for the kids or how the two youngest are going to get along sharing the bunkbed room. It’s just a quiet place for you two to get away this time, and Sunset Properties has you covered at Dunes! Sunset Properties owns many highly rated one bedroom condo rentals in this wonderful complex that they’re ready to offer you and your spouse for a weekend of feeling the love this Valentine’s Day!

            These rentals come with full kitchens, access to the community pool, a washer and dryer, and a gorgeous view of the beach. Once you and your honey step through the doors to your Dunes condo rental, you may never want to leave!

Valentines Dances

Beyond long walks on the beach, there are many things for couples to do in Gulf Shores this Valentine’s Day weekend, including some dances! On February 11th, the Gulf Shores Recreation Department is holding a Valentines Dance & Chocolate Affair at the Erie Meyer Civic Center. For only $20 per person, you and your sweetheart can enjoy a night of music and dancing with a pasta and chocolate bar! What’s more romantic than going back to your high school days of flirting and fun with a little sophisticated twist this time? You have to pre-register for attendance, though, so don’t miss this opportunity to fall in love all over again!

If you and your person are looking for a more relaxed environment, The Hangout is the place for you to be! On February 12th, the Hangout is hosting their own Sweetheart Dance for the two of you to have a great time. From 6-8 pm, you and your spouse can enjoy dancing to live music and games offered by the wonderful people at the Hangout. This restaurant is a local favorite, so they’ve been making people’s evenings for years! Why not let them create the perfect casual atmosphere for you to make memories with your sweetheart that you’ll cherish for years to come?

Dinner For Two

            Let’s get down to the real reason you guys are trying to take this trip: alone time. The day after your fun night of dancing, when you’ve slept in late at your secluded rental and used your kid-free time to just relax however you and your partner choose, you’re going to want to find somewhere to enjoy dinner, just the two of you.

            If you guys are the creative types in the kitchen, then Dunes is definitely ready for you. As mentioned before, the rentals come with full kitchens, so you’ll have lots of room to cook up a Valentine’s Day meal that you two can share in your condo’s beautiful dining room while enjoying some peace and quiet and adult conversation. Rouses Market and Target are both conveniently located just over on Gulf Shores Parkway, so you can head over there to get your ingredients. Why not make a game of it by setting a price limit or adding a theme? The possibilities are endless to make this simple Valentine’s dinner a real adventure!

            If you’d rather have someone do the cooking for you, Gulf Shores is packed with great restaurants that will give you and your partner the couples time you need to unwind this Valentine’s Day. Sassy Bass Amazin’ Grill is just up Fort Morgan Road from Dunes and offers fresh options of all kinds, from pizza to their fresh seafood. The place also has an awesome market and gift shop, so you can grab a souvenir for the kids, or just for you two! If you guys are looking for a calmer atmosphere, then head down further to Sassy Bass Island Grill, where you’ll get the same quality with a more ambient setting to enjoy the gorgeous view of Gulf Shores beaches.

We hope to see you this Valentine’s Day in Gulf Shores to get some time just for you and your partner. If this sounds like exactly the place for you, click over to Sunset Properties website to take the first step in making your romantic Valentine’s Day weekend happen!

Welcome Home with Sunset Properties Rentals and Lulu’s Gulf Shores

This long after the holidays, I bet you’re missing that “at home” feeling that comes with gathering around the fire — or maybe your AC – with your family to just relax. I know I am! You might be looking at the calendar counting down the days to the next holiday, wondering if you can get a good deal if you start booking and planning now. Well, I have good news! You don’t have to wait! Sunset Properties and the Gulf Shores area are ready to make you feel right at home for a quick getaway that will give you the exact refreshment you need to make it to the next holiday season! 

Sunset Properties House Rentals

Okay, I know you’re probably ready to pipe up and ask me, “How am I supposed to feel more at home on a vacation?” And that’s a fair point. While we over here at Sunset Properties can’t do anything to replace the home you share with your family, we can give you the chance to get away from the stressful demands of everyday life to a place where your whole family is welcome and can feel comfortable. Two of the highest rated house rentals in Gulf Shores, Out of Office and Sea Turtle, are ready to provide that space for you. Out of Office is a three bedroom house that comes equipped with a fully stocked kitchen, a beautiful dining room, and a relaxing living room with a TV and beautiful view. Enjoy some calming family time on the couch without having to think about those bills on the table that have to be paid or that report you’re going to have to revise in the morning. If you and your family do get the itch to go for a walk or enjoy the beach life that Gulf Shores has to offer, there are multiple ways you can access the beach from Out of Office, so no worries about long walks or car drives. Best of all, Out of Office is pet friendly! Every member of your family is truly welcome, even the furry ones. 

Sea Turtle offers similar amenities to Out of Office, but this house rental comes with six bedrooms and can easily sleep seventeen! So, if you’ve got a large family who likes a lot of space or you’re teaming up with friends for this homey vacation, we’ve got you covered with all of the room you could need for everyone to be comfortable. Sea Turtle also has a large deck perfect for enjoying the beautiful view the rental offers. This house is also pet friendly, but there are some limitations, so make sure you read the description thoroughly before booking. 

These are just two locations that can make your family feel comfortable and welcome while still providing a getaway. Click over to Sunset Properties’ rental search to find the spot that’s right for you and your family – and when you do, make yourself at home. 

Lulu’s Gulf Shores

This past holiday season, I made a discovery of a holiday staple that before I tried it sounded like a prank: oyster stuffing. I had no idea that people were putting oysters in stuffing, but when I tasted it, I was pleasantly surprised by the tang it gives to the classic homey taste of southern dressing. And that’s coming from someone who doesn’t like oysters. 

I think that that homelike comfort was a result of Lucy Buffett’s recipe. If you’re not familiar with Lucy Buffett’s story, she is famous singer Jimmy Buffett’s sister and an Alabama native who after a long time in Hollywood returned to the South to bring the joys of her upbringing to her community with her restaurant, Lulu’s. Lulu’s has a few great locations, but the Gulf Shores location has a myriad of events and activities to bring the whole family together. Take the kids over to have a cute, colorful hair braid put in or let everyone get matching henna tattoos! Lulu’s also has an arcade for the whole family to play in while you’re waiting for a table or for some after dinner fun. It’ll be just like playing together at home, only here you can earn prizes! If you’ve got a outdoors-loving, adventurous crew on your hands, you can head out to the Mountain of Youth to enjoy a three-story ropes course. Race each other to the top or just give each other the courage to get up onto the high levels. After spring of 2020, little ones can climb on Munchkin Mountain, so get some pictures of your younglings braving the elements for some special sibling bonding time. 

With all this talk of the things to do at Lulu’s, I’ve almost forgotten that it’s also a restaurant. Lulu’s not only serves great food, but they’ve also crafted menus for the dietary needs for almost everyone. In addition to the main menu which includes all of the staples like Lulu’s Famous Seafood Gumbo and Crazy Sista’s Crab Dip, Lulu’s Gulf Shores has allergy friendly menus that cater to those with dairy, egg, gluten, shellfish, soy, and seafood allergies and those who observe a vegan diet. Lulu’s offers options for everyone, and they want you and your whole family to feel safe and welcome eating with them. With all that Lulu’s has to offer, you and your crew may feel tempted to stay all day. And why not?!

Sometimes, we need to get away from our physical homes where our work and chores and family disagreements happen to really get back to the heart of having a home, which is being with and taking care of the people you love. Even if you just book a rental for a day or two for your kids’ long weekend to have a fun day at Lulu’s or take a walk on the beach, don’t wait until the summer or winter break to make some time to just “be.” None of these days you’re going to get back, so make sure you take time to just enjoy them. 

Gulf Shores, Alabama, is the Destination for Your Winter Wonderland Vacation!

By: Raven Hunter 

It’s that time of year again! Soon, Christmas music will be playing on the radio (if it hasn’t started already), you’ll be rushing out to stores (or to your computer!) to find this year’s perfect gifts for your loved ones, and, most importantly, you’ll be deciding where or if you and your family will be travelling this year. Before you stress out trying to find that perfect family vacation spot or give up because all of the conventional options have been done to death, consider the Gulf Shores/Orange Beach/Fort Morgan area for this year’s winter getaway. 

Now, at this point you’re probably wondering, “What could there possibly be to do on the Gulf Coast in December?” And trust me, I feel you. If you don’t live on the Gulf Coast or even anywhere in the South, a place where the only “White Christmas” you’re going to get is in the pure-white sandy shores typically isn’t going to be on your radar when seeking winter vacation destinations. But trust me when I say that there’s plenty on the coast to help you enjoy all that the chilly season has to offer without being too chilly. 

Events

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach both offer several events to get you in the holiday spirit while you enjoy the tropical climate! Depending on when the kids get out for break, you can take them over to Gulf State Park for Gulf State Park Very Merry Christmas on December 5th or 12th! And, if your vacation starts earlier in the month, you can enjoy a seasonal concert by the Baldwin Pops on December 7th at 7 pm. For those of you who are wanting a performance experience on your vacation to-do list but have to wait until later in the month to start your vacation, the family-friendly Wingbeat Christmas Spectacular might be the place for you on December 11th or 12th. Also on December 11th, Lulu’s Buffet is offering a lighted boat parade. So, if indoor performances aren’t your thing and you want to spend some time outside, head on down to Lulu’s at dusk to watch an armada of masterfully decorated boats, or register your own if you’d like to participate! Either way, it’s fun for the whole family. 

Over in Orange Beach, the Wharf is really showing up with lots of fun options available through the whole month of December! Believe it or not, you can indeed ice skate in the South, and an awesome rink is available for the whole family to show off their skills! And, while you’re there, why not take the kids to have their pictures taken with Santa to capture the wonderful holiday memories you’re making on Alabama’s Gulf Coast? For you active types, the Yo Ho Ho 5K and Fun Run is to be held on December 11th. Click on over to register you and your crew for a fun time to exercise and push your limits!

In addition to the opportunities in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, OWA is offering lots of events for Christmas at OWA including  Brunch with Santa and the Holiday Tree Show to give your holiday a little extra pizazz.  So, if you and your crew are wanting to make a trip to Foley, you can take your vacation on the road for a bit to take advantage of all the area has to offer! 

Fort Morgan

Let me guess, you’ve got some kiddos at home that love to learn. And, I bet they’re SUPER bummed that school’s gonna be out until the new year… right? Well, maybe not. But, a trip to Fort Morgan could still be the perfect addition to your vacation to keep your students’ brains stimulated even through the winter school hibernation. Fort Morgan is enriching for the whole family to learn about its roles in the Spanish American War, World War I, and World War II, and you can take your kids on a journey through time on this historic structure with a self-guided tour. The grounds are open 7 days a week from 8 am – 5 pm except on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Years Day, so regardless of when you choose to squeeze a little learning fun into your vacation, Fort Morgan is waiting there to make it possible. 

Still the Beach!

Okay, I know I’ve been showcasing all of the opportunities to enjoy the Gulf Shores area without the beach, but hear me out on this one. Gulf Shores beaches are open year round, and there’s a lot you can do on the beach without going in the water. Be the only ones in your friend group to build sandmen instead of snowmen, or just bundle up and take a nice walk in the cool, crisp winter air. The weather promises to be warmer than any area with four seasons, and if you’re from farther north, then you might have a better cold tolerance than us southerners down here. Take advantage of the possibly less crowded beach this season for a relaxing, unique beach experience that you’ll tell of for ages to come. 
If this southern winter wonderland sounds too good to be true and you’re wondering how you can possibly make it work, rest assured that Sunset Properties has you covered. On the website, you can find over a hundred rentals that house from four guests to twenty-four. No matter the size of your family, Sunset Properties can help you find the perfect place to unwind after a day of seizing the holiday spirit and making irreplaceable memories.

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.

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!