It’s Fall along the Alabama Gulf Coast! It’s Shrimp Feastival Time!

Like y’all, we at Sunset Properties were all pretty bummed when we heard the 2020 Annual National Shrimp Festival in Gulf Shores was cancelled due to the pandemic and amidst COVID-19 concerns.  We love supporting our Coastal Alabama Business Chamber and gathering with our besties and hanging out for hours at the Shrimp Festival and it hit us pretty hard when we found out this year’s event was cancelled.  But, here on the Alabama Gulf Coast, we always try to make the best of any situation and we started thinking about finding other ways to celebrate our favorite local crustacean and still manage to stay within the CDC guidelines for social distancing.

We decided to have our own Shrimp Feast-ival!  And we think you might like our idea…so here goes:   You were planning on coming to Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Fort Morgan anyway with your family or closest friends, right?  So, go ahead and come on down and spend a weekend with us Feasting on our favorite local seafood Alabama Gulf Shrimp!  But, where should we go?  Well, that’s easy thanks to Sunny 105.7 FM, our local radio station.  Each year, they hold a People’s Choice Awards allowing locals to choose their faves, and this year’s winners were just announced.  Here are some great places to have your own 2020 Shrimp Feast-ival by visiting our 2020 Sunny 105 People’s Choice Award Winners:

Duck’s Diner

This year’s winner of the People’s Choice Award for breakfast and lunch is one of our faves, too. We have to give a big ole shout out to the fine folks at Duck’s Diner in Orange Beach.  Start your Shrimp Feastival at Duck’s for breakfast. This fun restaurant is located at 4560 Easy Street, right off Canal Road in Orange Beach.  We love their shrimp and cheese omelet and we think you will, too. Pair it with a side of French toast and a slice of tomato and you’re talking about a plate full of island goodness!  If coffee is your breakfast drink of choice, you can have it with or without Bailey’s Irish Cream.  And if a Bloody Mary rounds out your perfect morning meal, make sure to order one while you’re dining at Duck’s.  Congratulations to Duck’s Diner for being named a Sunny 105 People’s Choice Award Winner!

DeSoto’s Seafood Kitchen

If you haven’t been to DeSoto’s Seafood Kitchen, before now, you have really been missing out!  DeSoto’s was voted this year’s People’s Choice Winner for the Dinner Restaurant category, but this isn’t their first win.  DeSoto’s has been consistently providing great food and a wonderful atmosphere for more years than we can count.  They are located a block off Gulf Shores Parkway at 138 West 1st Avenue.  They offer inside and outside dining.  But what will you eat while your Feastival-ing?  That’s easy!  Steamed Royal Reds!  (Royal Red Shrimp 1 lb).  You may not know it, but you do want this! (thank us later!) What are Royal Reds, you ask? Royal Reds are beautiful crimson shrimp.  They are larger than other shrimp, much sweeter and have a texture like a lobster.  They can be harvested all year long, but their actual “season” is from mid summer to late fall, making October a great month to enjoy them.  How perfect is that?  You’re planning on coming to your own Shrimp Feastival and we believe you’re coming at the exact perfect time to enjoy the best our island has to offer!  Congratulations to the whole crew at DeSoto’s, 2020 Sunny 105 People’s Choice Winner, for yet another thumbs up from your island neighbors and friends!

Papa Rocco’s

This year’s winner for best place to eat pizza should surprise no one.  Papa Rocco’s (home of warm beer, lousy pizza–not really!)  since 1985, is one of our favorites, too.  How will you celebrate your Shrimp Feastival with these guys?  We don’t even have to ponder that a second…order Papa Rocco’s Seafood Primavera Pizza.  Don’t even think about it, just do it.  Then pair it with a seriously cold beer and enjoy!  Your pizza will be slam full of perfectly cooked seafood, including your little celebratory crustacean, and overflowing with melty-gooey-cheese.  If that doesn’t make your mouth water just thinking about it, your tongue must be sleeping!  Wake it up and don’t miss an opportunity to stop by Papa Rocco’s located at 101 West 6th Avenue, right off Gulf Shores Parkway, while you’re in Gulf Shores.  Congratulations to our buddies at Papa Rocco’s Pizza for being named a 2020 Sunny 105 People’s Choice Award Winner!  

Tacky Jack’s

You cannot really have the complete Shrimp Feastival experience without enjoying the best atmosphere along the Alabama Gulf Coast, so you definitely need to stop by Tacky Jack’s and you’ll quickly see why they were voted this year’s Sunny 105 People’s Choice Award Winner for Island Atmosphere. And while you’re at Tacky Jacks, you can have your choice of “feastible” shrimp.  We love the Firecracker Shrimp.  But it comes with a bit of a bang!  So, if you’d rather enjoy something a little less explosive, go with everyone’s favorite Peel & Eat Shrimp.  No matter which you choose, if you’re in the mood for an adult beverage, we suggest having a bushwacker while you’re there. Tacky Jacks has three locations on our island, so no matter if you’re staying with Sunset Properties at the Caribe in Orange Beach, or at Lighthouse 607 in Gulf Shores or at Dream in Fort Morgan, there is a Tacky Jacks, complete with the best Island Atmosphere around, near you!  Congratulations to all our friends at Tacky Jacks for being one of this year’s Sunny 105 People’s Choice Award Winners!  We are definitely fans, too!

Flora-Bama

What kind of festival or Feastival would be complete without a trip to the World Famous Flora-Bama Lounge, Package and Oyster Bar?  It just so happens that our friends at our favorite local beach bar/honky tonk won the People’s Choice Awards for Best Live Music.  We were so not surprised to hear this.  After all, The Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival starts and ends with the Flora-Bama.  You can hear some of the best music anywhere when it’s Songwriters Season!  But for your Shrimp Feastival, what do we recommend?  Visit the Ole River Grill and order Key Lime Shrimp and enjoy this unique appetizer outside on their open air deck.  The food and service are fantastic and the view is phenomenal!  The Old River Grill is located at 17400 Perdido Key Drive in Perdido Key, Florida, which is (as we say) just on the other side of Orange Beach right across the Florida State Line.  No Shrimp Feastival weekend would be complete without at least one stop at the Flora-Bama! Congratulations to the whole team at the Flora-Bama for being chosen this year’s Sunny 105 People’s Choice Award Winner for Best Live Music!

We know 2020 has been a year of uncomfortable changes resulting from the pandemic.   Having a year without the Annual National Shrimp Festival is unlike one we’ve seen in over 45 years.   We, at Sunset Properties, want you to know that even though we are saddened by all the cancellations that have happened this year, that we take your health and the health of our team seriously.  The Alabama Gulf Coast is open.  Our beaches are open.  Fun places to play are open.  Great places to eat are open.  Sunset Properties is open.  We are open and operating under the guidelines set forth by health officials.  And you are welcome to come hang out with us.  If your kids are attending school virtually this year, why not come on down?  Use the Wi-Fi in our vacation homes and enjoy the view of the pristine Alabama Beaches as the kiddos learn.  If you’re working remotely, go ahead and pack up your laptop and head south.  Why not set up your office right on a balcony facing the Gulf? And if you had planned time off to attend the Shrimp Festival, why not come anyway and have your own Shrimp Feastival?!  Give us a call, and we’ll get your reservation ready.  See you this fall in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Fort Morgan!

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Helpful links:

For more information on this year’s Sunny 105 People’s Choice Award Winners, check out Sunny 105’s website and Facebook page.

For more information on The Annual National Shrimp Festival or to shop their online store,

check out their website and

to virtually visit our Coastal Alabama Business Chamber click here.

www.sunsetproperties.com

251.543.1370



Make the Alabama Gulf Coast Your Fall 2020 Virtual School Science Classroom

When most people think about visiting Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Fort Morgan, they think about a summer trip because school starts back in the fall.  But 2020 has given us a whole new perspective on how school should look.  Traditional classrooms and desks are being replaced with kitchens and dining tables and chalkboards with laptops.  These days all you need is a laptop or tablet, a peaceful place to study and some Wi-Fi, right?  Well then, why not spend at least part of your 2020 fall school year in South Baldwin County, Alabama?  The Alabama Gulf Coast has so much to offer curious minds.  

Here are five great virtual school science report topics for fall 2020:

 Monarchs

Many of our traditional fall guests were disappointed to learn the Annual National Shrimp Festival was cancelled this year due to concerns about the possibility of COVID-19 virus spread in the large crowd.  We urge you to come on down to the beach in October anyway to see a different kind of crowd:  Monarchs.  That’s right!  They will be everywhere!  Monarchs, as majestic as their name implies, by the thousands could be passing through our area.  Often overlooked because of all the other fun things going on down here in October, this year the Monarchs can have the spotlight.   Monarch butterflies, the ones with the pretty yellow, orange and black colorful wings, are migratory insects.  They actually travel from the US to Mexico and back twice each year.  Monarchs that reside in the Eastern parts of America during the spring and summer travel to Mexico in October to begin their winter season there.  Our little part of the Alabama Gulf Coast just happens to be in the migratory path of some of these insects.  As they pass through our area, thousands of them can be seen along Fort Morgan Road and all around our island.  They spend their winter months in the Sierra Madre Mountains in Mexico.  From Gulf Shores, by way of Interstate 10 West then south into Mexico, it’s about 1500 miles to these mountains where the Monarchs spend their winters.  Because many of the butterflies spend their springs and summers along the East Coast of the US, their total trip can be as far as 3000 miles.  These little guys fly three thousand miles just to hang out for a few months!   According to the US Forest Service, the Monarchs follow the magnetic pull of the earth and notice the sun’s location in the sky for directions to their winter home.  According to AL.com, these butterflies can be seen in South Alabama from late September through early October.  What better science project than to write a report about the migration of these magnificent insects after seeing the migration first-hand?  

Ospreys

Another great science report topic is to observe and write about ospreysOspreys, also called fish hawks, are sometimes mistaken for eagles.  They are actually large raptors (we love that word:  “raptors”) and they live along the Alabama Gulf Coast.  Some of them migrate further south in the winter, while some choose to stay here with us.  With their pretty brown wings and white bodies, they are easy to spot.  As you travel around our island, look up at the tops of old dead trees or on special platforms that resemble power poles with little board floors nailed to the top of them.  That’s where our local ospreys build their nests.  These platforms can be seen from Fort Morgan to Orange Beach and all points in between.  There are a few of these near Lake Shelby in Gulf State Park.  Ospreys are amazing fish hunters and can often be seen soaring over Mobile Bay fishing.  Their talons (or toes and toenails) are super sharp and so is their vision.  Ospreys are protected animals and we are blessed to have so many around our little island home.

Alabama Beach Mice

The Alabama Beach Mouse is another protected animal who shares our island home with us.  This nocturnal little mammal is covered with buff and white fur and he is almost camouflage against the dunes in which he lives.  The Alabama Beach Mouse primarily feeds on seeds from sea oats and other coastal plants and small insects at night.   The mouse is a tiny little guy, weighing less than about three nickels.  You may catch a glimpse of them running in and out of dunes around your vacation home.  But remember, the Alabama Beach Mouse is an endangered species and it is illegal to catch or kill them.  Instead, they are fun to watch from a distance as they scurry along their little ways.  The mouse is an important part of our coastal ecosystem.  He makes his home among our sea oats which help hold our dunes in place.  The Alabama Beach Mouse is the coastal cousin to most other field mice found in our state.  Our tiny neighbor, however, makes his home exclusively from Ono Island in Orange Beach to Fort Morgan.  We, at Sunset Properties, happen to think he has exquisite taste!

Sea Turtles

Three main types of sea turtles have been known to nest along our Alabama Gulf CoastLoggerhead Sea Turtles seem to be the most common in our area, although Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtles and Green Sea Turtles have also been seen.  Another protected animal, we want you to know about these magnificent creatures, but urge you not to go near them.  Mama Loggerhead turtles, who normally spend their days swimming, floating and hunting for crabs and shrimp (two of our supper favorites, too!)  in the salty waters of the Gulf of Mexico or one of our back bays, find their way onto our sandy white beaches to dig a hole and lay their eggs.  Sea turtle nests can be found from May to October and there are ways to observe them without disturbing them.  For more information on sea turtle conservation, follow this link to Share the Beach, a great group of folks who monitor sea turtles all year long.  You might get invited to participate with the Share the Beach folks and help baby turtles find their way back to the Gulf.  Doing this outside of a conservation group is a really bad idea.  Damaging a sea turtle nesting site is not only illegal, it’s just mean.  These turtle moms travel for miles across the Gulf and choose to lay their eggs along our Alabama Gulf Coast and we consider it a privilege they picked us.  To disturb these baby turtles as they grow inside their shells and prepare for their journey back to the Gulf is something no local would ever do.  Instead we work together to help them start their new lives safely.

Lemurs

The first four animals we listed are native, at least in part, to our area.  Some are protected by law, and, although you can find some pretty great pictures of the areas in which they live, and maybe even catch a glimpse of one of them, it is not necessarily a good idea to handle them directly.  The non-native Lemur, however, is a totally different option.  Lemurs, as we all learned in the hilarious movie Madagascar, are natives to that African island and those surrounding Madagascar.  However, our Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo has a small lemur population and those little primates are super friendly and you can actually hold them, pet them and play with them.  The word “lemur” is taken from the Latin word “lemure” which means ghost or spirit.  Their little faces and white ringed tails give them the appearance of a spooky supernatural spirit being.  They are, instead, quite social and fun to interact with, far from spooky!  The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo offers a Lemur Encounter experience and we urge you to visit.  Operating under CDC guidelines for social distancing, our Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is open and the Lemur Encounter is one you won’t want to miss.  We cannot think of a better way to expertly submit a virtual report on lemurs than to have an actual visit with them.  Be sure to contact the good folks at the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo for times and specifics on your encounter, but don’t miss the opportunity while you’re visiting us this fall!

We, at Sunset Properties, know you were probably disappointed when you learned the Annual National Shrimp Festival was cancelled for October 2020.  We were, too!  But we want you to know that there is still plenty to see and do on our island home.  So come on down, anyway.  Instead of booking a short weekend trip, go ahead and pack up the virtual school supplies and come stay with us for a week!  We have affordable fall pricing for families and vacation home options that range from one bedroom condos to luxury beach houses that sleep up to 20 people.  Bring your small dog, too, and choose one of our fur baby friendly rentals.  If you need more ideas for virtual school reports, check out our blog on Five Great Ways to Watch Dolphins Play.  Dolphins always make great topics!  We are looking forward to seeing you this fall and will help out your schoolers any way we can!  

www.sunsetproperties.com

251.543.1370

Ten Important Things to Bring on Your Beach Vacation in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan This Summer 2020

With all the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, we know you are wondering about your long awaited and eagerly anticipated beach trip to Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Fort Morgan.  If you’re wondering what to bring, you’re not alone.  Many of you have called and asked us at Sunset Properties and Anchor Vacations what to bring.  While we are happy to make suggestions on the phone, we thought we’d just post a blog to help you guys out.  We pride ourselves on providing you, our guest families, with well-stocked beach vacation homes.  Having said that, however, there are still a few things you’ll need to bring from home to ensure you have the best possible beach experience during this Covid-19 cautionary time.

Here is a list of our ten important things to bring to the beach this Summer 2020:

  • Your Family

Pack up as many members of your tribe as you can fit into your vehicle and come on down!  The weather on our little island home is perfect and the rolling waves of theGulf of Mexico are spectacular.  Can’t find a boarding spot or doggie hotel for your fur baby?  No worries!  Bring him or her, too!  More than 25 of our beach rental homes are dog friendly (with some restrictions) and your four-legged friend is just as welcome as any other member of your family. If you get here and need a local dog sitter, just reach out to the good folks at Sea Paws Dog ResortThey will love on your furry family members while you’re out doing human things.   As you embark on your vacation rental search, check out our dog friendly home named Sea Turtle, a delightfully decorated beach home in the Bay to Breakers Community in Fort Morgan.  This magnificent home features six bedrooms and five full baths (and 1 half bath) and sleeps up to 17 humans and 2 dogs.  Like we said, pack up all your family members and come on down.

  • Sunblock 

We think bringing sunblock goes without saying for most folks, but we always list it anyway.  A bad sunburn can quickly ruin a great vacation for everyone!  Our local hospital is accustomed to treating folks with burned skin, and we have complete confidence in the good folks at South Baldwin Regional Medical Center, but we hope you won’t have to visit them while you’re here.  While the FDA recommends an SPF of at least 15, the AAD (American Academy of Dermatology) recommends a sunscreen with at least an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of at least 30. Sunblock is available in many stores around our island if you forget to pack it before you leave home.  Just remember to apply and reapply it all day long while you’re out enjoying our island paradise.  Even if it’s cloudy, apply sunblock.  Take it from us Locals, you can still get a pretty bad burn on a cloudy day. 

  • Shades

And pack your sunshades.  Protecting your eyes is always important, especially at the beach.  The sunlight creates glare off large bodies of water and things that reflect its light.  For example, our beautiful sandy white beaches can cause glare on bright days.  Glare is actually defined as sunlight that hinders sight.  It’s not a good thing.  Protecting your eyes, however, is always a good thing.  In addition to eye wear, think about adding a visor or ball cap to your bag.  These will help shade your eyes and the delicate skin on your face.  Remember to bring shades that protect against UVA and UVB rays, just like your sunblock will do for your skin.  And remember the kiddos!  They need shades, too!  

  • Toilet Paper

We urge you to bring toilet paper.  Your condo or beach home will have a starter roll in each bathroom.  To elaborate, Dunes 204 is a one bedroom, two bath condo overlooking the pool in The Dunes condominiums near Fort Morgan.  This home, with its super comfy sofa and fun bunk beds, will have toilet paper in each bathroom, but will likely not have extra rolls for you.  And keep in mind: our housekeepers do not restock that for you during your stay.  Even before the pandemic and Covid -19 issues that we have all faced this year, we asked our guest families to bring toilet paper from home.  It is more important this year than ever that you guys do that.  Pack your extra toilet paper along with all your other personal toiletries.  While our local grocery retailers have done a great job of keeping us stocked with toilet paper, we all know there can be shortages.  

  • Your Favorite Foods and Snacks  

Do you have something special you like to snack on?  We all do!  We suggest you pack your favorite snacks for your trip to visit us in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan.  Again, our local grocery retailers like Rouses Market in Gulf Shores have done a great job of keeping their shelves stocked for locals and guests alike, but with the uncertainty that seems to be going on all around us, you cannot go wrong bringing your favorite non-perishable foods from home. All of our vacation destination homes feature fully stocked kitchens.  Take a look at the pictures of Shellchase.  In addition to the updated kitchen, you will find pictures of five bedrooms.  This home has sleeping accommodations for 12 people. This home also has plenty of outside living space, too.  Whether you will be enjoying your snacks on the private beach, in front of the TV or in your own personal deck space, we know you’ll love all that Shellchase has to offer!

  • A Beach Blanket

Social distancing is still important to us along the Alabama Gulf Coast.  Beach blankets, for the most part, provide a space large enough for a few of the same family members to enjoy sunning and watching the waves safely together.  Our Safer at Home guidelines for the state of Alabama, encourage a six foot space between non-related families.  Enjoying your own beach blanket will be a great way to help you determine proper spacing.  We want everyone to enjoy their trip to our beautiful beaches and stay healthy both here and when you get back home.

  • Your Phone, Camera and Selfie Stick

Most of us have become dependent on social media to keep us up to date on local happenings and current events including our friends’ lives.  Just as we have come to rely on Facebook*, SnapChat* or Instagram* to help us keep up with our friends, they use it to see what we’re up to, as well.  Don’t forget your phone, camera and selfie stick.  We know you will find lots of opportunities to share how much fun you’re having while you’re in our neighborhood and we know you’ll want to post the best pics you can.  What better way to record your memories of your days and nights of fun in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan than by sharing them on your social media?  You’ll want to visit the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, the Ferris Wheel at The Wharf and eat breakfast at Ruby Slipper Cafe.  All of these will give you great opportunities for some fun pics!

  • Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizer is something everyone needs these days.  Be sure to pack some for your beach trip.  We encourage you to remember what the CDC recommends about handwashing and sanitizing.  For a refresher course,  follow this link to the CDC website for their latest recommendations.  You will most likely find sanitizer available in some of our retail shops and restaurants, but it’s always good to have a small bottle of your own with you.  And you might as well go ahead and pack a face covering or cloth mask.  While many of our retailers are not requiring you to wear one to enter their business, you can’t go wrong by sticking one in your purse or backpack, just in case. Be sure to pack one for each member of your family.  As of now, face coverings are not required on the beach areas or to use our pools or swim in the Gulf, nevertheless, having one handy is a great way to be prepared. 

  • Beach Towels

When you lease a vacation rental home from Sunset Properties, you will arrive to find meticulously sanitized bathrooms stocked with bath towels, wash cloths and kitchen towels for your whole crew.  It will not, however, have any beach towels.  We strongly suggest you bring at least one beach towel for each person in your group.  We ask our guests not to use our linens on the beach or at the pool.  Brightly printed, happy themed beach towels are a great way to display your personality on the beach and at the pool.  Your beach home will have a washer and dryer, so you’ll be able to do your laundry while you’re staying with us.  Be sure to bring your favorite laundry detergent, too.

  • Patience

And lastly, don’t forget to pack your patience.  We know you and the kiddos are super excited to be going to the beach.  This year, the excitement is especially strong because we have all been cooped up inside for much of the spring.  But the simple fact is, there are only a couple of ways to reach our Alabama Gulf Coast by car and they will most likely be heavily congested.  Expect delays.  But don’t think of them as delays.  Think of them as opportunities to make memories with your family as you travel.  Take a few minutes and stop and visit our neighboring cities on your way down.  Maybe plan a stop at Buc-ees in Loxley or Tanger Outlets in Foley to break the drive.  Maybe even stop and have a roll thrown at you at Lambert’s Cafe.  After all, you’re on vacation and the best part of your trip is literally just ahead!

At Sunset Properties and Anchor Vacations, we are so glad to invite you back to your vacation home!  We know once you get to Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Fort Morgan, all your troubles will just float away with the Gulf breeze.  No matter what’s going on in the world around us, the waves of the Gulf are always calming, the pristine white sandy beaches are always inviting, and your company is always welcome.  So, go ahead, pack up the family (don’t forget furry Miss Speckles and friendly Mr. Spot!), gather a few necessities, and come on down!  Your perfect vacation home is just a call or click away!

www.sunsetproperties.com

251.543.1370

*Facebook and Instagram are owned by Facebook, Inc.

*SnapChat is owned by Snap, Inc.

Celebrate New Year’s Eve 2018 in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach

Celebrate New Year’s Eve 2018 in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach

With Christmas only a short time ahead and a brand new year following quickly just behind, you’re probably already thinking about where you’ll be when the ole clock strikes midnight on December 31.  Why not make some amazing memories with you family or just your sweetheart right here on the Alabama Gulf Coast?  We are proud to have some of the best night spots anywhere in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach and we, at Sunset Properties, hope you will make plans to visit one or all of them on New Year’s Eve 2018.

  • The Wharf

The Wharf is so much more than just a shopping mall.  It is an entertainment district unlike any other we’ve found.  It’s like a mini-city located inside one of our favorite beach towns, Orange Beach. We all know what Main Street at Disney looks like, but have you ever spent New Years on Main Street at The Wharf?  With attractions like one of the the largest Ferris Wheels in the southeast and a seasonal ice skating rink just a few minutes from The Gulf, holidays at The Wharf are unmatched.  This year you can expect to find kids activities beginning at 11 AM and ending at 9 PM.  Bring the kiddos out to see the confetti drop at noon, stay for face painting, a bouncy house and even a mechanical bull, along with so much more!  Adults can expect to have a blast, too!  Live music begins at 7PM and lasts til midnight, when the best fireworks show on our island will blow you away!  With coffee shops and dress shops, fireworks and music, food and fun; with a giant marlin drop at midnight, it should come as no surprise, that we recommend spending some or all of your New Years Eve at The Wharf in Orange Beach.  

  • Lulu’s

Lucy Buffet’s Lulu’s in Gulf Shores is an entertaining place to go all year, so the fact that we recommend it for New Years fun should come as a shock to no one.  With great food, fabulous beverages and actual cool stuff for the kids to do, Lulu’s in Gulf Shores should be on your short list of places to visit holiday season!  The New Year’s Eve Celebration at Lulu’s starts at 10AM on December 31st and lasts all day til 3PM.  What’s different about New Year’s Eve at Lulu’s?  We for starters, their beach ball drop.  Have you ever been under a beach ball drop?  Not just one beach ball, hundreds of colorful beach balls drop from the ceiling at Lulu’s at noon on New Year’s Eve.  Just to be there to see that should be in your plans!  Along with that super fun event, there will be face painting, live music, sand castle building and crafts.  And lets not forget Lulu’s great food!  It’s the holidays and what is a must-have dessert in the south during the holidays?  Bread pudding!  Lulu’s has bread pudding with a wonderful twist:  they make theirs with Krispy Kreme brand donuts.  If that doesn’t make your mouth water, your tongue must be dead!  Lulu’s also has menus to accommodate folks with allergies to gluten, shellfish, eggs, dairy and more.  If a family friendly, affordable event is what you’re looking to do for New Year’s Eve, go to Lulu’s.  We think you’ll be glad you did!

  • The Hangout

Everyone who has ever been to the heart of Gulf Shores knows The Hangout is a groovy place to go!  You may have heard about the world famous Hangout Music Festival, but did you know they also host fabulous New Year’s Eve events?  That’s right!  They have a family friendly event that starts on December 31st at 2PM and lasts for five hours.  At The Hangout, on New Year’s Eve afternoon, your family can enjoy a yummy buffet, movies on a big screen, hair braiding, football playoff previews, and a colorful balloon drop with prizes in every balloon.  This is truly a fun event for the whole family!  With the public beach right in front of The Hangout, what better way is there to watch the last sunset of 2018?  After the sun goes down, the fun doesn’t stop!  Evening events at The Hangout are geared more toward adults.  Beginning at 2PM and lasting til at least midnight, The Hangout will provide a buffet, complimentary champagne at midnight, a balloon drop with great prizes and, of course, football playoff previews on TV.  So get a group of your favorite kiddos together to enjoy the afternoon events at The Hangout and stay with your adult friends to ring in the New Year in the heart of your favorite Small Town with a Big Beach!

  • Flora-Bama

If an adult-only New Year’s Eve is more your thing, you have to get to state line before the calendar flips!  New Year’s Eve in one of America’s most celebrated road house bars The Flora-Bama Lounge Package & Oyster Bar is like nothing you’ve ever done before.  The celebration and music will begin at 7PM and last until 3AM on New Year’s Day.  For one all-inclusive ticket, you’ll get an all-you-can-eat buffet starting at 7PM an lasting until around midnight, breakfast sandwiches starting at midnight, champagne, party favors and music music music!  We strongly encourage you to purchase your tickets in advance.  This party is a big party and folks come from all over to be at the Flora Bama when the clock strikes twelve!  Tickets can sell out and we don’t want you to miss out, so if this party on the beach sounds like something you will enjoy, go ahead and get your tickets now!   And don’t forget to come back to the Flora-Bama at noon on New Year’s Day 2019 for the Annual Polar Bear Dip.  Join a couple of hundred of your next best friends for a dip in The Gulf of Mexico followed by a traditional New Year’s Day lunch of black-eyed peas, cornbread and ham.

  • Cosmos or Cobalt

So you don’t really care about face painting and fireworks.  You rode the Ferris Wheel back in the summer and climbing a rock wall just isn’t your idea of ringing in the New Year.  Instead you have a nice romantic evening in mind. Or maybe you just want to have a really great dinner with your family.  You want to get dressed up in your favorite new holiday clothes and go out to eat where a friendly, professional staff serves you amazing food that makes your eyes shine and your mouth happy.  We totally understand.  For you, we suggest Cobalt, The Restaurant located on Perdido Beach Boulevard in Orange Beach or Cosmos Restaurant & Bar located on Canal Road.  Both of these wonderful restaurants have special menus planned for New Years Eve.  During the summer, reservations are not customary for these places.  However, for New Years Eve, reservations are not only accepted, but strongly encouraged.  A limited number of walk-in guests will be seated, but we can’t stress enough how important a reservation for December 31st will be.  Seating will begin at 4PM and the last guests will be seated at 9PM.  A full bar will be available and you can expect specially prepared menu items like a seared filet or creme brulee.  We know champagne is the drink of choice for New Year’s Eve, but you are on Island Time and you can never go wrong with a great rum drink.  At Cosmos, try Momos Rum Runner and at Cobalt, try a Dragonfly.  If you’ve eaten at either or both of these great dinner spots during the summer, expect something totally different for New Year’s Eve.  At Cosmos and Cobalt they believe a special night deserves a special menu and they are creating one only available on this date.  

We know how you choose to send out the old year and ring in the new one is an event as individual and exceptional as you are.  We have given you a list of our five favorite ways to do it and we hope one of these works for you!  Don’t forget to check out our list of New Year’s Resolutions You Can Keep and when you’re planning your vacations, large or small, in 2019, give us a call at 251-543-1370 or hit us up online at info@sunsetproperties.com.  We will be thrilled to help you find just the perfect vacation home to fit your needs. 


Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from all of us at Sunset Properties and we wish for your family much joy and prosperity in 2019.

Come back and see us again real soon!

How to Have the Most Fun at the Track Family Recreation Center in Gulf Shores AL

 

Track Family Recreation Center in Gulf Shores AL

Are you looking for the perfect way to let the kids run wild and have some fun during your next vacation to Alabama’s Gulf Coast? Then, you’re in luck! At the Track Family Recreation Center in Gulf Shores AL, you’ll have the chance to make sweet, fun memories that will last. Everything from go-karts to mini-golf to bumper cars make for a great time full of family fun! The Track Family Recreation Center in Gulf Shores AL is waiting for you. Plan an afternoon here during your next family vacation to the Gulf Shores.

The area’s most exciting experiences are just a click away when you download the free Vacation Guide from Sunset Properties. Let our expertise guide you to the most incredible things to see and do on Alabama’s Gulf Coast. And, our beach houses and vacation rentals are just minutes away from all the fun!

What You’ll Find at the Track Family Recreation Center in Gulf Shores AL

At the Track Family Recreation Center in Gulf Shores AL, there’s loads of fun just waiting to be had! Your kids won’t want to leave! Here’s what you’ll find at the Track in Gulf Shores.

Go-Karts

The “Wild Woody,” the Track’s three-story wooden racetrack, offers an exhilarating opportunity for kids and parents alike to fly through the course on their own go-kart. Drivers only need to be four years old to drive Kiddie and Rookie Karts! What’s more fun than a family race?

Mini-Golf

This isn’t just any old mini-golf course. This is River Boat Adventure Golf! Test your putt-putt skills in one of the most creative mini-golf courses around. Putt through long, dark tunnels and cascading waterfalls to earn the title of family mini-golf champion!

Bumper Rides

Show who’s the boss in the Blaster Boats, the Track’s family-friendly bumper ride. These bumper boats carry water cannons to soak your competitor in an intensely fun water battle. Think you’ve got what it takes to be the best blaster?

Kids Country

At Kids Country, the Track Family Recreation Center has the most kid rides around! These are perfect for the younger kiddos, so hop aboard the Rio Grande train, the airplanes, the carousel, the spin tops, the swings, the Ferris Wheel, and the Kiddie/Rookie karts!

Big Thrills

The adrenaline-rushing, thrilling ride that is the skycoaster, Big Thrills, shoots you through the air at 70 miles per hour! The freefall from 110 feet will have you screaming with fun, and it will give your kids a great story to tell their friends!

Plan a Fun Family Thrill from a Beautiful Beach House

When you’re planning your next family vacation to the Gulf Shores area, you definitely want to plan a visit to the Track Family Recreation Center in Gulf Shores AL. And, when you’re in search of the best family-friendly beach houses and vacation rentals, let Sunset Properties be your host. Our beautiful properties will be the site of your best vacation memories because the comfort and relaxation you’ll find here is like nowhere else. So, browse our available rentals and see for yourself the kind of quality you can afford! And, if you need more ideas for incredible Gulf Shores experiences, then download our free Vacation Guide today!

Gulf Shores Alabama Grocery Stores You Need to Know

Gulf Shores Alabama Grocery Stores

When you take the trip to the Gulf Shores of Alabama, you’ll love the sugar white beaches, incredible things to do, and gulf breeze. And, if you’re staying in a vacation rental with a full kitchen, you may want to skip the restaurants for a night and cook!  Here are the best grocery stores in the Gulf Shores.

Are you looking for the best things to do in the Gulf Shores area? Then, look no further than the Activities page provided by Sunset Properties. It’s full of the best ideas for ways to spend your time. You’ll love everything on the list, and we guarantee it will give you the best Gulf Shores vacation you’ve ever had!

Gulf Shores Alabama Grocery Stores

Rouses Market

You’ll love the selection at the Rouses Market in Gulf Shores. The chain grocery store offers great quality deli meats and cheeses, sushi bar, seafood, and an extensive wine and beer selection will satisfy you. You’ll love how close it is to the beach, as well!

Pier 33

Convenience is the name of the game at Pier 33. Located within walking distance from the beach, Pier 33 is a quick and easy place to get anything from basic groceries to bait and tackle to beach toys to souvenirs. This is the perfect place to plan your beach day!

Winn-Dixie

Located on Gulf Shores Parkway, the easy-to-get-to Winn-Dixie will impress you with its clean store and quality selection. Friendly, helpful staff await you and the high-quality meat selection means grilling out is a breeze!

Publix Super Market

The Gulf Shores Publix is one of the highest rated grocery stores in the area and with good reason. Publix’s selection far outweighs the smaller grocery stores in the area, and with their BOGO sales, you’ll save money. It’s the perfect place to fill up the cooler before a day on the beach!

Waves Groceries & Beach Apparel

At Waves Groceries & Beach Apparel, you’ll have convenient access to beach necessities and fast! While the grocery store doesn’t have an extensive selection, it has the necessaries for you to have the best beach day! It’s perfect for grabbing a drink or ice cream or here and there things.

Cook in Your Beach House or Vacation Rental

Load up on groceries from any of these great grocery stores and come home to a Sunset Properties vacation rental! Our kitchens are spacious and ready for you to cook, all with the luxury of being just minutes from the beach. You’ll love our comfortable rentals and luxurious amenities so much, you won’t want to leave! We guarantee you’ll feel right at home, so contact us today to book your stay! And, if you need more ideas for how to spend your time in the Gulf Shores, then check out our Activities page today!

18th Annual Orange Beach Billfish Classic

Are you ready for a new adventure?  Join the top anglers in the country and lots of cheering fans at the 18th Annual Orange Beach Billfish Classic.  This event takes place out of the marina at The Wharf.  The events start on the 18th of May and go through the 22nd.  You can keep track of your favorite team and check often for their weigh-ins.  The fishing starts at noon on the 19th and goes until weigh in on at 11 AM on the 22nd. There is a Weigh in on Saturday also on Saturday from 6 until 10 PM.  So come enjoy all the fun activities at The wharf and then see if your favorite team won the big prize!  Below are all the details from the Orange Beach Billfish Classic Website.

First of the Gulf Coast tournament season and the kickoff tournament of the Gulf Coast Triple Crown Championship series.  The Orange Beach Billfish Classic was formed in 1998 for the express purpose of providing financial support for organizations that speak effectively for all recreational fishermen. The OBBC quickly became a top event on the Gulf Coast tournament circuit and serves as an important fundraiser for The Billfish Foundation and the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA). In 2011, over $50,000 was donated to these organizations, bringing the total contributed over the history of the tournament to over $500,000.

2014- Triple Crown trophy
2014- Triple Crown trophy

The OBBC is the country’s only non-profit billfish tournament with 100% of all net profit donated to qualified 501(c)(3) conservation organizations. The OBBC is an all-volunteer effort so there is no overhead to deduct from the financial support that’s provided to our conservation beneficiaries.

Beginning in 2013, The Wharf Marina Entertainment Complex hosted the Orange Beach Billfish Classic for the first time, and hosted the tournament again in 2014 and 2015. Over the course of the four day event, the crews, anglers and participants enjoy a series of fun and food-filled events, with a Captain’s Meeting on Wednesday evening and culminating with an awards brunch on Sunday morning. The organizers look forward to a big turnout this year in order to continue to support the organizations that fight for our resources.

10361061_634166736676009_1355216962380415182_n“I’d like to take a minute to personally invite everyone to join us for the 2016 Orange Beach Billfish Classic,” Dorland said in a recent interview. “Our staff will welcome you with open arms and we’ll all do our best to show you what a great experience this event has become, from the great fishing to our world-famous Gulf Coast hospitality. Come fishing with us this year — you won’t be disappointed.”

Interested participants are welcome to contact Dorland personally at (251) 402-8190 for more information.

Orange Beach Billfish Classic schedule of events is as follows.
Wednesday, May 18th• 4-11 pm: Registration and Optional Cash Awards open under the big tent • 6 pm: Cocktails and Hors d ’Oeuvres • 7 pm: Dinner • 8-11 pm: Optional Cash Awards Pot Party 2016

Schedule Of Events Thursday, May 19th • 10:00 am: Mandatory Captain’s Meeting under the big tent • 10:30 am: Boats may leave The Wharf through Perdido Bay to Perdido Pass • 12 noon: Boats may leave Perdido Pass. Any boat choosing to leave through Sailboat Bay may not leave The Wharf Marina until NOON, May 19th • 12 noon: Fishing Commences Friday, May 20th • 7-10 pm: Weigh in at The Wharf Saturday, May 21st • 6-10 pm: Weigh in at The Wharf Sunday, May 22nd • 9-11 am: Tournament Awards Breakfast

 

Delta Wildlife Boat Eco Tour

A don’t miss trip for nature lovers big and small take a Delta Safari!  This charter departs daily from Tacky Jacks in Gulf Shores and tours the scenic and historical and Mobile Delta system.  You can learn local history enjoy beautiful scenery and learn about our unique ecosystem and the animals that live here on this family friendly hour and a half trip.

Experience the swamps of the lower Mobile-Tensaw Delta on this highly rated wildlife tour. This is the “must do” tour for all avid lovers of nature and its creatures when visiting Mobile, Alabama. The Mobile-Tensaw Delta is Mobile’s biggest jewel – If you do nothing else, take this trip!

TOUR COST: Adult: $19.99, Child (6-15): $14.99, Under 5: FREE.20160328_165924
DEPARTS: Daily. Charters available 7 days.
LENGTH: 1.5 hours. Reservations suggested.

As we float among the open Marsh watching for a variety of wildlife including Alligators, Bald Eagle, Osprey, Heron, Cormorant, Pelicans, Nutria and more, learn about these unique animals of the swamp and how they live. Commentary includes points on the history, geology, ecology and characters of the Delta, as well as Alabama State Lands mission in the Mobile-Tensaw Delta and the ‘Forever Wild’ program.

Perfect for children of all ages, Delta Safaris operates over 100 school field trips annually – we know kids and welcome yours aboard. For Children 5 and Under, please email us after booking and we will add their FREE tickets to your booking.

All commentary provided by experienced Delta Nature Guides.

Includes: The best eco-tour in Alabama, showing off the best delta eco-system in the USA. As seen in National Geographic – Adventure Magazine, Southern Living Magazine and on National Morning Shows.

Operates: Additional tours are offered on busy days. This public tour operates 5 days a week from February 15 – December 31st each year. From January 7 – February 14, it operates on Saturdays and Sundays only. Closed on Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Private Group Charters available year round. Book Online above, Call: (251) 259-8531 or Email: info@5RDS.com for more information.

Delta Safaris is the only State of Alabama authorized Concessionaire offering tours of the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, Bottle Creek Indian Mounds and Champion Cypress. We believe in a Leave No Trace policy, in educating and preserving these amazing jewels for future generations.

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Policies & Disclaimers:
Cancellation Policy: Rainchecks will be provided in the event of inclement weather. Unsafe passage call will be made by Captain on day of event. All other cancellations require 24 hour notice for refund.

What to Bring: Comfortable clothing, cameras and binoculars. Packed food and drink is welcome on board – no glass containers please.

Should I Tip?: Tips are not required but are graciously received. Our guides strive hard to educate and entertain. Please let your guides know how they did.GS Sunset

Cancellations: Rainchecks will be provided in the event of inclement weather. An unsafe passage call will be made by Captain on day of event. All other cancellations require 24 hour notice for refund.

Be sure to call and book your trip to enjoy this unique trip with your family!

12th Annual Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival

Balloon_Festival0
May 5th until the 8th enjoy all of the fantasy and adventure that follows hot air balloons. I know as a child it was such a special even to get to see even one hot air balloon floating along. In early May you have a chance to see up to 30 hot air balloonists from across the country floating through and around our area to celebrate the 12th Annual Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival.

Of course It is not just balloons that are at this festival. The big events are as follows.
May 5 – Balloon Glow at Tanger Outlets from 6pm – 7pm
May 6 – Festival Grounds from 2pm – 10pm (open to public)
May 7 – Festival Grounds from 9am – 10pm (open to public)
May 8 – Enjoy the balloons from afar as they soar through the sky! (NOT open to public)
This is just a taste of what is happening at the balloon festival that weekend.

Take a look at all the fun you and your family can enjoy.  Information provided by The Foley Chamber of Commerce

Thursday, May 5

Balloon Glow at Tanger Outlets in Foley, Alabama. Come get up close and personal with 10 hot air balloons as they light the sky! Talk to pilots and crew and see the inside of balloons!
6:00 pm – 7:00 pm17653977852_96b456f226_c

Friday, May 6

Color Dash 5k. Run under 40 balloons and get colorful! Run begins at the Chamber office and ends at the Festival Grounds! Learn more and register today by clicking here. Also check out where to park.
Registration begins at 6:00am Race starts at 7:00am
Festival Grounds open to the public
2:00pm
Disconnected K’9s Frisbee Dog Show presented by Papa John’s
3:00pm, 5:00pm, 7:00pm
Interactive Hot Air Balloon Display (weather permitting). Walk inside a hot air balloon!
5:00pm – Dusk
Tethered Rides. Purchase tickets here to go up in a hot air balloon! (weather permitting)
Dusk
Balloon Glow and Mass Ascension! Watch the balloons glow and soar through the night sky! (weather permitting)
Dusk
Have fun with the kiddos at the carnival that will be available all day! (rides for the whole family!) Purchase your tickets early by clicking here.
2:00pm – 10:00pm
Live Music featuring Mustache The Band! Check out their band here.
8:00pm – 10:00pm

17050418414_0e2cbce9b7_cSaturday, May 7

8:00am – 10:00pm
Arts & Crafts Vendors, Retail Vendors and Food Vendors (open at 8am for Color Dash 5k runners only. Open at 9am to public)
8:00am – 10:00pm
Disconnected K’9s Frisbee Dog Show presented by Papa John’s, Faulkner State, Global Marketing Solutions and Bon Secour Fisheries
10:00am, 3:00pm, 7:00pm
Interactive Hot Air Balloon Display (weather permitting). Walk inside a hot air balloon!
5:00pm – Dusk
Tethered Rides. Purchase tickets here to go up in a hot air balloon! (weather permitting)
Dusk
Mass Ascension! Watch the balloons all take off at the same time! (weather permitting). Check out all the balloons and their pictures by clicking here.
Dusk
Have fun with the kiddos at the carnival that will be available all day! Purchase your tickets early by clicking here. (open at 8am for Color Dash 5k runners only. Open at 9am to public)
Live Music featuring The Molly Ringwalds! Check out their band here.
8:00pm – 10:00pm

Sunday, May 8

Unfortunately the grounds are not open but we would encourage you to be on the lookout for the balloons in the sky!
7:00am
Balloons Fly
7:00am
Cote’s Music Factory (formally known as the Bamaboys Band)
3:00pm – 5:00pm
Dancing Story Lady (provided by “The Melting Pot”, a multicultrual experience presented by the Snooke Youth Club and a grant from the Alabama State Council on the Arts)
2:00pm – 2:50pm
Winners from BCCA Baldwin Star Search (provided by “The Melting Pot”, a multicultrual experience presented by the Snooke Youth Club and a grant from the Alabama State Council on the Arts)
1:15pm – 1:45pm
Snook Youth Club Angel Bells and Fiddlers (provided by “The Melting Pot”, a multicultrual experience presented by the Snooke Youth Club and a grant from the Alabama State Council on the Arts)
1:00pm – 1:15pm
Color Dash Runners end at the festival grounds. Grounds open ONLY to those who ran!!
8:00am
9:00am
Festival Grounds open to public
Arts & Crafts Vendors, Retail Vendors and Food Vendors17468590078_c4e2cb04e4_c
2:00pm – 10:00pm
Festival Grounds close
10:00pm
Check out these other fun things going on…
Tara McMeans with Design Print Promote designed our beautiful 2016 poster and t-shirts. Click here to view and purchase merchandise. She will be onsite both days signing posters and shirts as well as painting the scenery. Come meet the artist!

Our VIP tent is new and beautiful with incredible appetizers from Wolf Bay Lodge Foley, a full bar and beautiful new furniture. Also, don’t miss out on meeting John and Johnna from 97.5 WABD Cumulus Radio. Our VIP tent is sponsored by: Cumulus Radio, South Baldwin Regional Medical Center, Meyer Vacation Rentals and Southern Linc Wireless. Click here to purchase passes.

Check out some really cool trucks provided by Southern Comfort!

Want to keep the kids entertained while you enjoy yourself? No worries, we have a gaming truck that is over 50′ long and has all your kids’ favorite games inside. For a small fee, drop the kids off and let them enjoy their favorites; from x-box, wii, x-box 360 and more!

Kewl Kites will be joining us this year! Check out their HUGE kites and come to the festival both days to watch them fly!

Our interactive balloon, provided by Taking Off Hot Air Balloon Company and our very own Balloonmeister Tommy Rachel and powered by the Foley Fire Explorers, will be at the Festival Grounds both days. Walk inside the balloon and get great pictures!

Rainy Summer Vacation

It is that time of year  We are getting tons of calls from people planning their summer vacation.  It is also the time of year for us to get tons of rain. Unfortunately, travel insurance does not cover if you have a rainy summer vacation , but just because its rainy does not limit your fun things to do in the area.  We wanted to give you a few hits and helpful tips over the next few weeks so you will be completely prepared for your trip no matter what happens. This week I just wanted to talk to you about an alternate plan.

You never know from one day to the next what will happen on your vacation so the biggest tip is to be FLEXIBLE…  Flexibility will save hurt feelings, and bad attitudes from taking over the trip.  A little extra planning will allow for seamless transitions if it rains or if your group has just had enough sun for that week. Lucky you are on the Gulf coast it is the place to be when its rainy outside!

If you are just a group of adults looking for some great activities when it rains on your vacation.  Everything from shopping at the outlet mall or beach souvenir stores to Local cultural experiences at one of the many theaters or museums in the area.  Of course there is always a choice of movies and we have two movie theaters in the area  The Cobb Pinnacle Theaters, and Carmike Cinemas at the Wharf.  

When it rains on your summer vacation and you are planning for the ever-board teens that are here with you try Blond Johns for all of their surfing dreams.  Or if surfing and skating are not on their radar and movies or shopping is not their thing visit Adventure Island they have indoor laser tag and an arcade.  Or you could try Arena Next Play at the Wharf, or the indoor arcades at Waterville, or The Track.

Children have the most selections by far on rainy summer vacation days.  So when planning if you have little ones all you need to know is what they are interested in.  Of course just like above there are movie options shopping and arcades.  But specifically for kids or anyone interested in science or animals check out the Esturairum at The Dauphin Island Sea Lab. The Esturarium is just a quick ferry ride away over to Dauphin Island.  If you are up for a little bit of a car ride take a day trip to Mobile or Pensacola.  In Mobile those science lovers in the family would enjoy The

Rainy Summer Vacation ideas
Rainy Summer Vacation ideas

href=”https://www.exploreum.com/”>Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center.  With rotating exhibits throughout the year this is a fantastic place to spend the day for the entire family.

Our all time favorite spot to direct families to is the Naval Air Station in Pensacola Museum.  It is free to the public although they always accept donations.  The museum has more planes that you can see in a day in every corner and even hanging from the ceiling.  History surrounds you at every turn and even in the cafe.  They have flight simulators, cockpit trainers, and a virtual flight deck.  Not to mention the Blue Angel’s practice here.  The 325-seat giant screen theater features the latest in state-of-the-art motion picture projection. The theater has upgraded from 70mm film projection to stunning premium laser-illuminated 2D projection system boasting full 4K resolution—nearly 9 million pixels on-screen—the first of its kind installed in an institutional theater.

So no worries!  There is plenty to do on rainy summer vacation it just takes a little planning ahead.  You will be sure to have the best vacation no matter what the weather happens to do while you are on vacation.