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!

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

Post-pandemic Golfing in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan – Top Five Courses

Now that the Covid-19 case numbers have decreased and we are starting to hang out with our friends again, we golfers are excited to get back out on the courses!  Here along the Alabama Gulf Coast, our amenities are starting to open back up fully in our island home.  A post-pandemic golf weekend in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Fort Morgan may be just what the doctor ordered to help you get over those pandemic lockdown blues!  There is no better time than now to make up for all the missed tee times from last year and according to Sports Show , golf ranks among the ten most popular sports in the world, so it is no coincidence that some of the best golf courses in the world are found right here along the Alabama Gulf Coast.  But how do you know which course is right for you?  To make your decision easier, we have listed the top five golf courses in our area:

  • Peninsula Golf and Racquet Club 

Located just off Fort Morgan Road, Peninsula Golf and Racquet Club is another of our local favorites.  Peninsula offers three separate 9 hold courses:  Lakes, Cypress and Marsh and we encourage you to play all three.  Combine two of the three to make an 18-hole round.  Each provides a distinctly different challenge and reward.  Finding this type of variety in one resort location is not always easy.  Make sure to visit the Peninsula Golf and Racquet Club website  to learn about tee times and fees.  Sunset Properties is proud to offer the golfer with discerning taste an elegant beach home located about ten minutes from Peninsula Golf and Racquet ClubCoquille at Martinique is a six-bedroom, five bath gorgeous beach home located in the golf cart friendly gated community of Martinique just off Fort Morgan Road.  After a day of golfing and enjoying the sun and breezes that flow through the Peninsula Golf Course, you’ll only be a short trip from a relaxing shower and a private sunroom or deck where you can enjoy your evening cocktail.

  • Craft Farms Golf Resort

Every serious golfer knowsCraft Farms Golf Resort is one of the top resorts in the country.  The Cotton Creek Course and The Cypress Bend Course were both designed by the legendary golfer Arnold Palmer, making them extremely appealing to anyone who swings a club.  With perfectly trimmed fairways and surrounding areas unmatched in beauty, these 18-hole courses are a must for any golfer, pro or otherwise.  Craft Farms, located at 3840 Cotton Creek Circle in Gulf Shores, about fifteen minutes from the beachfront luxury home Lighthouse 607, offers beautifully furnished clubhouses managed by a knowledgeable and professional staff.  These courses are both challenging and entertaining.  To book your tee time, visit the Craft Farms online.  To get a closer look at the exquisitely decorated Gulf front beach home called Lighthouse 607, visit Sunset Properties.   Make sure you give Craft Farms a serious look, too.  After all, you may find Arnold Palmer designed the perfect course for You!

  • One Club Golf

For one of the most distinctive golfing experiences around, try One Club Golf.  Along with traditional day time golfing outings, One Club Golf offers golfing after dark.  That’s right, you can experience this glowingly fun way to golf, after the sun goes down. With Sunset Golf, Glow Golf and Golf Happy Hour, we are sure everyone in your family will have a blast.  So much of what we think of when we consider visiting a beach resort town, revolves around enjoying sunny days.  Well, with this new twist on a favorite sport, starry nights are in style, too!  Conveniently located at 4000 Gulf Shores Parkway in Gulf Shores, One Club Golf is just a short drive to the Bon Secour River area where Hangar Outer is located.  If enjoying the stars is something that appeals to you, be sure to consider Hangar Outer.  This special beach home was constructed out of an old airplane hangar and it is perfectly and appropriately located for any sky watcher.  Surrounded by 380 feet of water, the views of both water and sky are unmatched!  So after a day or night of golfing at One Club Golf, come home and continue your fun experience of enjoying twenty-four hours of fun at Hangar Outer!

  • Gulf Shores Golf Club 

Located in the heart of Gulf Shores at 520 Clubhouse Drive, Gulf Shores Golf Club is a semi-private club.  Guests are welcome to play this top rated Alabama golf course, along with members.   This beautifully kept 18 hole course is home to several local non-golfing residents.  Raccoons, squirrels and alligators can be found on or near the course.  The course has some challenging holes, as well.  Trees and ponds make navigating this local favorite fun and exciting. While you’re here, be sure to visit the Pro Shop and clubhouse.  Gulf Shores Golf Club, built in the 1960s, is an icon in our area and we know you will want to visit it while you’re in our neighborhood.  Speaking of neighborhoods, one of our favorites is the Fort Morgan Community.  Just minutes from Gulf Shores Golf Club, Tetherdown is a Mobile Bay front beach home just waiting for you and nine of your friends.  If a guy’s or girl’s golf weekend that includes fabulous views of the water is your goal, be sure to give this beach home a look.  Tetherdown, like Gulf Shores Golf Club, is surrounded with the natural wildlife that makes the Alabama Gulf Coast so inviting.  Be on the lookout for dolphins in Mobile Bay and possibly raccoons, squirrels or alligators near the home.  Also, if you see any of our Alabama Beach Mouse friends, please don’t disturb them.  They are endangered and we need them to help us keep our dunes intact.  

  • Kiva Dunes Resort and Golf

The Golf Course at Kiva Dunes has just over 7,100 yards of play area and is one of the top courses in Alabama.  Located just off Fort Morgan Road at 815 Plantation Road near Gulf and Golf East and Gulf and Golf West, Kiva Dunes is a completely public course.  In April 2018, it was ranked the top public course in Alabama by Golf Advisor.  The golf course, itself, as well as the professional staff, constantly receive rave reviews from guests and locals alike.  We are quite partial to them, as well!  Because of the novel location of this amazingly manicured course, which is literally between The Gulf of Mexico and Mobile Bay, the winds that pass over it change frequently.  Winds blow across the course from both the Gulf and Mobile Bay.  As every golfer knows, as the winds that blow across a course change,  the course, itself, changes.  This makes each golfing experience at Kiva a unique one. If you’re looking for a course that is constantly a challenge, well-kept and managed by super friendly folks, and is within walking distance from beautifully decorated beach homes that sleep up to seventeen of your closest golfing buddies, Kiva Dunes Resort and Golf is perfect for you!  For tee times and fees, visit Kiva Dunes online.

If you’re looking for a great place to practice and just hit a few balls around, be sure to visit The City of Orange Beach’s Orange Beach Golf Center located at 4700 Easy Street in Orange Beach.  Easy Street is just off Canal Road near The Wharf in Orange Beach.  The Orange Beach Golf Center features 9-Hole, Par-3 Course, lighted driving range, practice putting/chipping greens, practice sand bunker, and Pro Shop.  This golf venue is so lovely and well-kept.  We encourage island guests to visit The Orange Beach Golf Center for a relaxing afternoon.

Many of you have heard about the great courses in our area, but you’re not sure which one or ones to visit.  As locals, we’ve tried them all.  We are happy to recommend these courses, managed by our neighbors and friends, to you, our guests.  We believe you will fall in love with Golfing the Gulf Coast, just like thousands have before you.  And if you’re a repeat guest golfer, welcome back!

Remember, your vacation home is just as important as finding the perfect place to tee off.  Visit us at Sunset Properties and we can help you find those perfect accommodations for you and your family or you and your golf buddies.  From private pools to dog friendly options, to vacation homes with places to park your golf cart or your personal watercraft, at Sunset Properties, we have them all!  And we can’t wait for you to see them!

www.sunsetproperties.com

251.543.1370

Ten Ways to Know You Love About the Alabama Gulf Coast – Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan

Lots of us are participating in social media challenges these days.  We, at Sunset Properties, are fans of many of these.  One of our favorites is the “tell me you love (something) without telling me”.  Here’s ours:

Tell me You Love the Alabama Gulf Coast without Telling Me You Love the Alabama Gulf Coast

1.      I daydream about playing mini golf at Pirates Island.

Mini golf is something we all did as kids.  As adults, we tend to gravitate to larger courses like those at Craft Farms or Gulf Shores Golf Club.  But sometimes we do admit, we find ourselves daydreaming about those warm spring and early summer afternoons when all we wanted to do was sink a purple ball into a silly hole as we golfed our way around a pirate ship shaped mini-golf course.  Pirate’s Island Adventure Golf located just north of the Intracoastal Holmes Bridge still offers fun and silly adventures for the whole family.  Time to make your daydreams a reality!

2.      My favorite picture on my camera roll has my bestie getting tossed off a giant flamingo by a rolling wave.

The waves of the Gulf of Mexico are unpredictable at best.  As long as the red flags are not flying, swimming in the Gulf is usually a wonderful experience.  The warm, salty water can make most achy joints feel nice.  Floating with the kiddos or you sweetheart is a great way to pass an afternoon.  With private beaches attached to great beach home subdivisions like The Dunes, enjoying the Gulf can be a daily indulgence while you’re in Gulf Shores.  That image, however, of your best friend tipping not-so-gracefully off that giant flamingo is still one for the record books!  We know.  We all have an image similar to that one on our camera roll, too!

3.      I have walked through the mouth of a shark.

Not everyone can say they’ve walked right through a shark’s mouth without getting so much as a scratch.  If you can, you are one of the special folks who really loves the Alabama Gulf CoastSouvenir City, located in the heart of Gulf Shores since 1956, is one of our favorite gift shops.  With everything from magnets to fudge, t-shirts to coffee cups, they pretty much have something for everyone.  We can’t think of one person who loves the Alabama Gulf Coast and hasn’t walked through the shark’s mouth.

4.      I know exactly how long it takes to get from Tanger Outlets to the Intracoastal Bridge.

About 15 minutes.  That’s the answer.  It takes about 15 minutes on an average day to get from everyone’s favorite coastal outlet mall in Foley to the WC Holmes Intracoastal Waterway Bridge that leads onto the island if you enter via Alabama Highway 59 (Gulf Shores Parkway).  If you choose to stop and shop at the Tanger Outlets in Foley, you’ll find more than eighty retailers ready to help you with some retail therapy.  But if you love the Alabama Gulf Coast, you already know that!  Just like you already know that when we leave the mall, we’re only about fifteen minutes away from the most beautiful coastal scenery anywhere surrounded by 32 miles of sugar white beaches.

5.      There is still sand in my backseat floorboard from my last visit.

Speaking of beaches, if you truly love our coastal paradise, there is still some sand in your backseat floorboard from your last trip down.  We ask that you watch out for the sea oats and Alabama Beach Mice and please stay off the dunes when you visit the beaches.  Please take your trash with you and leave only footprints when you visit the beautiful shoreline in Orange Beach, but those who love the Alabama Gulf Coast tend to take flip flops full of sand home with them.  And it ends up in the backseat floorboards.  There is seemingly no way to get all the sand out of a car.  But, honestly, who would want to?  Why not carry around a few grains of one of your favorite places on earth? After all, it’s just a tiny reminder of where your heart longs to be.  You love the beach and little island just like we do.

6.      I look forward to visiting two-toed sloths.

Like those of us who live on Island Time, two-toed sloths move at their own pace.  Usually, it’s a much slower pace than everyone else.  But that’s ok.  And like you, we love our friends, the sloths, who live at the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo.  We stop by to see them as often as we can.  They remind us to slow down, chill out, and enjoy all that our wonderful island home has to offer.  Speaking of slowing down, did you know there is a lazy river at Caribe B Penthouse 4?  Enjoying that makes for a wonderful afternoon.  But, if relaxing in a penthouse condo’s lazy river isn’t your thing, how about relaxing in a beach home right on the beach in Gulf Shores?  Check out Castaways 7B.  If you want to slow it down even a little more, take a look at Tortuga Bay, which is perfectly placed in the quiet Fort Morgan community.

7.      I have library cards for both the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Public Libraries.

While we’re on the topic of relaxing, we know sitting on a balcony overlooking the gleaming waters of the Gulf of Mexico, listening to the melody the waves make while reading a great book makes you smile.  The beach and books just seem to go together.  But, there’s no need to bring a book from home when you can borrow one from the Orange Beach Public Library or the Gulf Shores Public Library.  You already know the good folks at both the Orange Beach Public Library and The Gulf Shores Public Library only require a valid form of identification (a driver’s license) to get your library card.  We know your library cards have been safely parked in your wallet since last year and you’re itching to use both!  Our local libraries have great hours and are serving patrons in spite of the pandemic.  Check out The Gulf Shores Library’s website for their hours and The Orange Beach Public Library’s website for their hours.  

8.      My all-time favorite gumbo comes from Sea-N-Suds.

Your mouth starts to water each time you think about an ice cold beer perfectly placed beside a big ole bowl of Sea-N-Suds gumbo.  Admit it:  you can almost see that super cold condensation rolling right down that superbly chilled bottle as the amazing aroma of your favorite gumbo floats by your nose.  Inhale the goodness!  Since 1975, this uniquely styled restaurant has been serving up some of the freshest Alabama Seafood and coldest beers around.  Parking is sometimes a challenge for this wonderful local eatery, so why not consider staying at Lighthouse 607.  You can walk to Sea-N-Suds from that impeccably decorated beach front luxury condo.

9.      I know swimming at Alabama Point East can be challenging, but the fishing is amazing.

Fishing is more than a sport. It’s a lifestyle.  If you are a professional angler at heart, but choose to make your living some other way, we know you love to fish on the west side of the bridge at Alabama Point.  The swift waters that rush into and out of our back bays of Orange Beach offer some of the best fishing anywhere.  The beach at Alabama Point East Park is also a great place to spend a day with your family.  We don’t recommend swimming too far out in the swift waters, but the easy waves that touch the sandy shore are always perfect.  With restrooms nearby, you know you can’t go wrong enjoying a day here.  You might even catch a hermit crab or two.

10.    When I pass Shell Banks Baptist Church, Fort Morgan is just a few more songs away.

Fort Morgan Historic Site is a place locals and guests fall in love with after just one visit.  It may seem a long drive from the heart of Gulf Shores out Fort Morgan Road to the Fort, but if you pass the trip by enjoying our local radio station Sunny 105.7FM and noticing local landmarks, the drive doesn’t seem so long.  One such landmark is Shell Banks Baptist Church.  About eight miles west of the intersection of Gulf Shores Parkway and Fort Morgan Road, is the location of Shell Banks Baptist Church and Cemetery.  This particular place is extremely special because before any Europeans inhabited our island home, the Native American (Indian) village of Achuse was located on the site.  The first Spanish Explorers recorded a visit with these early inhabitants in 1539.  But anyone who loves our Alabama Gulf Coast already knows this.  Once you pass this landmark, you know you’re almost half-way to Fort Morgan. Turn up your radio and sing along as you finish your drive to the end of Fort Morgan Road.  Just outside the fort gates, you’ll pass The Dunes and The Indies.  Your perfect vacation home might just be inside one of the condo complexes.  Once you reach the fort, get ready for a fun-filled day of exploring both inside and outside the historic walls.  Inside the fort, you already know you’ll find years of history and memories just waiting to me made.  Outside, the beaches of magnificent Mobile Bay await you.

We know you love our family-friendly Alabama Gulf Coast just as much as we do.  If some of these ways don’t ring true with you, we’d love for you to tell us You Love the Alabama Gulf Coast Without Telling Us.  Use our comment section below for your thoughts!  At Sunset Properties, we listen to our guests.  We listen and respond.  We are a family-owned company and our guests become our extended family.  When you’re ready to return to your Island-Home-Away-From-Home, give us a call and we will be happy to help you find the perfect place to stay!  And if you’d like to own your own Island-Home-Away-From-Home, we can help you with that, too!

www.sunsetproperties.com 

251.543.1370

Let Your Imagination Blossom as You Tour Gulf Coast Museums This Spring 2021

Spring along the Alabama Gulf Coast is one of the nicer times of the year to visit.  The flowers are blooming and the sand is starting to warm up.  The weather is wonderful!

It’s warm enough to get outside and enjoy all that our coastal Alabama home has to offer.  When folks visit us in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan in the spring, they often ask what to do to pass their time as  days lengthen.  Everyone loves the beach in the middle of the day, but what about the longer afternoons and early evenings?  We, at Sunset Properties, love to suggest visiting our local museums!  Filled with our unique history and enticing ideas about the future of Coastal Alabama, the museums in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Fort Morgan and surrounding areas should definitely be part of your spring trip to the beach.  Local museums are open and taking precautions to keep down the spread of COVID-19, so this will be a great way to social distance with your family!  While you’re visiting us this Spring Season, we hope you will let you imagination blossom as you tour our local museums.

Gulf Shores Museum

Located in the heart of Gulf Shores at 244 West 19th Avenue,  in a house that predates World War II, the Gulf Shores Museum, itself, is of historic value.  The home once stood proudly on West Beach and belonged to the Cole family of Mobile. After Hurricane Fredric ravaged our Gulf Coast in 1979, the Coles graciously donated the house to the City of Gulf Shores.  For years, the former beach home served as the public library for our little town, but in 1999, it was converted into the museum we love to visit now. Additionally, when the museum was created, the Oyster Bay Baptist Church donated their steeple and it adorns the garden surrounding the museum.  Since 1999, the museum has been filled with artifacts and information about the history of Gulf Shores from its small beginnings to the thriving little beach town it is today.  Local families and families who love for our local area have made invaluable contributions of time and resources to this museum.  Museum guests will find information about industries in our area.  Insightful details about storms that have impacted us is readily available.  And there are always a few hidden treasures that we do not want to spoil here.  Take our word for it, a trip to the Gulf Shores Museum will be a great way to spend a warm spring afternoon!

Orange Beach Indian and Sea Museum

Located at 25805 John M. Snook Drive, not far from Orange Beach City Hall, is The Orange Beach Indian and Sea Museum Right off, you may be asking who is John M. Snook and what is an “Indian and Sea” museum?  Well, John McClure Snook was an entrepreneur, businessman, and forward-thinking resident of South Baldwin County who led and grew our very first telephone company.  Snook’s father, Ward Snook, founded Gulf Telephone in 1929.  For more information on the Snook family, check out The Snook Foundation’s website. The contributions this family made and continue to make to our area are irreplaceable.  And why Indian and sea?  Those two entities are the foundations on which Orange Beach was built.  Our first settlers inhabited an area near what we know as Caswell, near modern-day Bear Point.  These Native Americans preceded any European settlers and were the first to live in and love our beach home.  As for the “sea” part of the museum, that is a little more obvious.  Orange Beach is known for professional and recreational fishing, as well as being a great place to enjoy other water sports.  The Orange Beach Indian and Sea Museum is located in what was formerly a one-room schoolhouse built in 1910.  Today the museum houses many Native American artifacts, information about the farming industry that once thrived on our island, and plenty of information about the Gulf.  Make sure you stop by and visit the Orange Beach Indian and Sea Museum.  The building may be small, but the information inside is way bigger than you can imagine!

Baldwin County Heritage Museum

The Baldwin County Heritage Museum is a great place to spend an afternoon discovering the history of our whole county.  Located at 25521 US Highway 98

Elberta, Alabama (home to the world famous Elberta German Sausage Festival), which is about an hour drive from Gulf Shores, The Baldwin County Heritage Museum is filled with local history.  In addition to our fishing and water-based businesses, Baldwin County, Alabama, historically and even today, boasts a strong agricultural economy.  As is evident by all the beautiful flowers all around our island home, we just love to grow stuff!  We grow satsumas, lemons, cotton, beans, peanuts, potatoes, tomatoes, strawberries and even grass (sod) for homes and golf courses.  This tradition and love for the land started with the earliest families who lived here.   Our love of the outdoors extends from the Gulf to the far northern tip of our county.  The Baldwin County Heritage Museum allows visitors to step back in time and see displays of some of the most common household items and farm equipment that many folks used years ago.  Set up like little rooms, complete with everything you’d commonly find in each, the museum is such fun to explore.   If you like antiques, you will absolutely love this place!  The folks at the museum are friendly and knowledgeable about all that they showcase and they love educating locals and visitors alike about life in the 1900s in what was largely rural South Alabama.  If you’re a homeschool parent, this outing would make a great field trip.  If you’re working from home due to COVID-19, this outing will offer a bit of stress relief.  And we’re pretty sure you’ll not only learn something from this visit, but leave with a happy feeling, as well.  Make sure to put the Baldwin County Heritage Museum on your ‘must-see’ list as visit our Coastal Alabama Museums this spring!

Foley Railroad Museum

Everyone seems to know about the Tanger Outlets located just north of Gulf Shores in Foley.  But did you know that just to the north of the Tanger Outlets, Foley has one of the nicest railroad museums around?  That’s right!  At the intersection of Alabama Highway 59 (Gulf Shores Parkway) and Highway 98 (Laurel Avenue) is The Foley Railroad Museum and Model Train Exhibit.   This unique collection is housed inside the historic depot which was built in 1909, because the first depot built in 1905 was destroyed by fire. The Foley Railroad Museum should definitely be on your list of stops as you discover Baldwin County’s history.  At the turn of the 20th Century, railway travel and transport in Alabama was booming.  Train tracks were being constructed to connect our coastal towns to the ones far north of the beach.  Mr. John B. Foley, a businessman who was originally from Chicago and the person for whom Foley is named, made a personal investment to help build the railroad from Bay Minette to Foley.  This later became known as the Louisville and Nashville or  L & N RailroadThe Foley Railroad Museum also houses one of the most in-depth model train displays anywhere.  Some modifications have had to be made to this exhibit’s schedule due to the pandemic, so you should reach out to them directly for dates and times this part of the museum is open to the public.  And, hey….while you’re in Foley, why not go ahead and visit the Tanger Outlets, as well? 

Fort Morgan Museum and Gift Shop

So, we have given you a simple way to tour the history of Baldwin County, Alabama by visiting the museums in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Elberta, and Foley.  But what about Fort Morgan?  No museum tour would be complete without a stop at the beautiful Fort Morgan Historic Site.  And no fort visit would be complete without a visit to the Fort Morgan Museum and Gift Shop.  Located at the far west end of Fort Morgan Road just outside Gulf Shores, just past The Dunes Subdivision, is the pristinely kept fort, itself, surrounded by a picturesque nature-filled part of our island.  We mention the fort frequently in our blogs, because there really is a lot to see and do year-round here.  Any day is a good day to visit Fort Morgan.  You can fish from the beaches, walk your dog inside the historic walls of this former battleground or just take some time and stroll around and learn about Coastal Alabama HistoryFort Morgan’s Museum and Gift Shop is filled with memorabilia from the wars that affected Alabamians.  Personal letters, uniforms and even household utensils are on display.  We love this museum and gift shop because there are not only eye-catching things to look at and learn from, but also unique little souvenirs you won’t find anywhere else in our area.  We believe that if you visit Fort Morgan, you will come to love it, just as we do!

We know most folks come to south Alabama to visit our sugar white sandy beaches, enjoy the Gulf breeze and float in The Gulf of Mexico and visiting a museum isn’t always the first thing folks think of.  But beautiful coastal Alabama is so much more than a great place to enjoy the beach.  It is an all-around great place to visit!  And no matter what time of year you’re planning on coming, there is always something great to do.  

At Sunset Properties, we offer our guests vacation homes that become more than just ordinary places to stay.  From one bedroom poolside condos, to multi-room Gulf front luxury houses, we offer our guests an Alabama Beach Home.  We hope you will take some time this Spring to explore the museums that are all around your beach home.  We hope you will let your imagination blossom as you discover the bright history that led us all to today.  And when you’re making your vacation home decision, we hope you will keep Sunset Properties in mind.  You’re already on ours!

www.sunsetproperties.com

251.543.1370