Summer Concerts at The Wharf

Have you missed the concert scene? Being able to listen to your favorite band or artist perform the song you have listened to for years is a feeling you just can’t describe. Or, you get to town and realize there’s a concert playing near you and you just go. Then, the next day you’re back at the beach getting a tan. If these sound like things you’re interested in you should check out The Wharf Amphitheater in Orange Beach, AL. On their lineup this year you will see names like Dierks Bentley, Phish, Jimmy Buffet, and Morgan Wallen.

Check out our two condos at The Caribe for a place to stay! Caribe B Penthouse 4 is a 3 bedroom condo with a beautiful view overlooking the bay. While Caribe C Penthouse 14 has a view of the gulf! Bring the family and enjoy the amenities that the caribe has to offer. 6 pools total, 2 water slides, fishing docks, tennis courts, a putting green, and even his/her saunas. Cobalt is located right next to the condos and has some of the best food you could imagine. It’s popular so make sure you show up early! If you don’t feel like waiting for a table at the actual restaurant you can check out the poolside Cabana Menu. The best part is that it is located only 15 minutes from The Wharf! Perfect for those that are wanting to shop, explore, or see a concert. Plus, if you just want to stay in you can always check out all the cool things the Caribe has to offer. Interested in taking a Dolphin Cruise? Check out the Caribe Marina for all things boats. They have dolphin cruises, bay cruises, and even private charters!

For a full list of concerts and events at The Wharf click here!

6 Things to do when you get rained out

So, you came to the beach and spent a few days in the sun and now you either A. Need a Sun break or B. It decided to rain for a few hours. If it’s rain, don’t worry, it doesn’t normally stick around for long! But, here’s a few things to do in the meantime;

1. Shop Til’ you Drop at Tanger Outlets

The tanger outlets are nice if you are wanting to get some shopping in while you are in town! They have stores like Kate Spade, Coach, Polo Ralph Lauren, and so many more. Once you get tired of shopping there are so many places surrounding the outlets with places to eat.Lamberts is “home of the throwed rolls” and is almost always a must stop for many families. It is so much fun for the whole family.

2. Take the kids to The Factory

The factory is a jump park located in Gulf Shores. Not only can they jump around in a room full of trampolines, but they also have a climbing tower that is 30 feet tall! If those aren’t your thing either they have an arcade room where you can play endless amounts of games, a flight simulator, and even a batting cage! They really do have something for the whole family!

3. Bring home customized luxury At High Cotton Bath Co. you can customize your own personal fragrance for lotions, scrubs, and oils. Not only can you choose the fragrance you want, but you can also choose the color as well! They have a large variety of fragrances to choose from. Includes some “wannabe” scents, so if you have a perfume you like you may can get lotion to match it! If you need to update your loungewear be sure to check out their selection made from bamboo that keeps you cool while you sleep.

4. See a Movie at the Wharf Is your family always quick to see movies as soon as they hit the theaters? The Wharf has an AMC movie theatre right in the middle of their shops. It has the perfect shops if you are needing to get souvenirs for people back home. So, while half the family sees a movie the other half can shop and eat!

5. Give yourself the gift of ultimate relaxation The Magnolia Float Spa is a zero gravity floating experience that helps to relieve stress, reduce inflammation, and improve sleep! You get into the tub and free float for 1 hour while your body decompresses from all the stress of making sure your family’s vacation is perfect. To really get the full benefits they recommend adding on a massage to the beginning of your float. Don’t worry about how you’re going to get ready after your float. They provide all the amenities you need, so all you need to bring is yourself! Totally stress free. The Magnolia Float Spa is by appointment only, so make sure you give them a call before hand.

6. Put your skills to the test with an escape room Come and visit Breakaway the #1 Escape room in Orange Beach, AL. With 5 different rooms to choose from it shouldn’t be hard to find something everyone will like! You have an hour to escape before its game over for your group. Escape rooms are great for bigger families for large groups since you can take up to 10 people with you. Do you think your group has the brains for this immersive experience?

What Renovations Are Best For Your Rental Property

Ultimately, every rental property owner wants to maximize their profit. But in order to do so, there are several things that every rental property owner has to do to make this goal a reality. Investing in your first rental property can be intimidating at times, but it’s important to be open to renovations that will benefit your property.

Exploring funding options for your rental property and evaluating where improvements can be made, you can get a better sense of which renovations will be the most beneficial. Although almost every estate is unique, it’s important to consider a variety of upgrades that will generate the best resale value for your unique property.

Things to Consider

Conduct A Home Evaluation or Appraisal

The first step when considering the most optimal renovations is to accurately evaluate your property. Conduct a thorough walkthrough to determine what areas need the most revival. A home appraisal may also help to analyze the potential market value, along with identifying which parts of your property are the most run down. From there, you’ll get a better sense of the what upgrades will provide the most resale value.

Analyze Ways To Pay

Home renovations can be pricey, but by keeping the long-term value in mind, you can get the best return on your investment. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to pay for these projects. Two reliable funding options include finding the best credit card or personal loan. In your efforts, perform additional research to find the lowest interest rates possible.

Other ways to fund your renovations include using a home remodel loan or a home equity loan. A home remodel loan is an unsecured personal loan that you can receive from a bank or credit union. On the other hand, a home equity loan uses your current home as funding provided in a lump sum. This option often has lower interest rates than a credit card or personal loan. By analyzing the pros and cons of each of these funding options, you will find peace of mind when deciding which projects will generate the best returns. Below are some renovations that will help increase the value of your home one way or another.

What Generates The Best Returns?

A Kitchen Remodel

Conducting a minor kitchen renovation is one of the best ways to not only revamp your property, but to also add a personalized touch to the home. This type of remodel is quite popular amongst homeowners and rental property owners alike. Since the kitchen space is an essential part of your property, it is typically a focus for prospective buyers. By upgrading your kitchen space, you can recoup up to 70% of the cost of the renovation.

Some of these potential updates include: switching to modern cabinets, changing the flooring, and implementing a new kitchen island. Modern kitchen cabinets can be aesthetically pleasing, while also providing sufficient functionality. Changing the floor will also make your kitchen space more attractive and functional to walk through. Adding a new kitchen island in quartz or granite is a reliable way to add luxury to your property; these attractive patterns not only appeal to the eye but also provide a durable surface for cooking and other kitchen activities.

Vinyl Siding

Adding vinyl siding to your rental property can provide a variety of advantages. However, the main reason vinyl siding is a valuable option for homeowners is because it’s cost effective. For its lower price point, vinyl siding is surprisingly durable, which is why it’s become so popular. In terms of returns, you can recoup practically up to 68% back for the installation.

Additional benefits include increased home exterior protection, enhanced curb appeal, and reduced heating and cooling costs. Also, this material is practically maintenance free and eco-friendly. There is a large selection of styles, colors, and trims when it comes to implementing vinyl siding. The installation process is also relatively easy, however, if you do want to ensure best practice, try hiring a siding contractor to professionally install it for a fee.

Garage Door Replacement

When it comes to curb appeal, replacing your garage is one of the most popular ways to instantly improve your rental property. Not only does this provide reliable functionality when opening and closing your garage, but you can also use this space for insulation and storage purposes. Be mindful of garage door materials. Some popular features include steel, wood and plastic. Consider garage spring systems and insulation effectiveness when deciding which door is best. For the smoothest and safest installation, hiring a garage door installer is best practice.

This specific property renovation will retain a higher value than the previous two updates. At the end of the day, you could recoup approximately 94% of your initial investment. This project initially costs less, and you will retain practically everything you spent in the first place while improving the value of your real estate asset.

Although choosing the right renovations for your property is subjective, it’s equally important to consider which ones will provide the best return financially. Be proactive and decide which upgrades are the most ideal for your rental property. Using these general renovations tips will help increase the value of your home one way or another.

Interested in more advice for Rental Property Renovations?

Contact Sunset Properties at info@sunsetproperties.com for more information on what your property needs! Looking to sell? Contact John 251-979-4100

5 Tips When Investing In Your First Investment Property

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

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

  1. Research The Right Properties

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

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

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

  • Find An Ideal Location

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

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

  • Start Thinking Like A Landlord

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

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

  • Consider Financing Options

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

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

  • Budget For The Unexpected & Any Improvements

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

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

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

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

By: Raven Hunter

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

Gulf Shores – Lighthouse 607

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

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

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

Orange Beach – Grand Caribbean 215

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

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

Fort Morgan – Out of Office

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

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

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

Make Spring Break 2022 Count in Gulf Shores, Alabama!

By: Raven Hunter

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

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

Events

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

The Ballyhoo Festival

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

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

Legends of Country in Concert

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

St. Pawtty’s Day

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

The Beach 

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

Andrew’s Cottage

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

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

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

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

By: Raven Hunter

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

Dunes Condo Rentals

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

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

Valentines Dances

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

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

Dinner For Two

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

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

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

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

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

By: Raven Hunter 

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

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

Events

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

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

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

Fort Morgan

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

Still the Beach!

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

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