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 Resort. They 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.
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.
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.
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!
*Facebook and Instagram are owned by Facebook, Inc.
*SnapChat is owned by Snap, Inc.