Beach Houses Are Right-Sized For The Family

A 1- to 4-bedroom house on the beach can be the perfect-sized accommodations for your family’s vacation

When planning a vacation to the beach, it is often more cost-effective to choose a beach house over a hotel room. In a nutshell, you get more space for your money.

A typical hotel room is only 325 square feet in size and has a tiny bathroom. When you’re bringing the family, all their beach gear, sunscreen, swimsuits, flip flops, coolers and more, you’re shoving an awful lot of stuff into a pretty cramped space.

In a family-sized beach house—one with anywhere from 1-4 bedrooms—there’s room for the adults and kids to spread out and enjoy their own private spaces.

No tiny bathroom for everyone to share, no pool noodles and skim boards strewn across the entryway, no sharing one single closet, no piling on beds in wet swimsuits to watch TV, no sharing a tiny table or countertop to eat meals, and no packing wet and dirty clothes in a bag to take home or haul down to the Laundromat.

Unlike hotels, beach houses not only feature private bedrooms and bathrooms, but they also have fully equipped kitchens with full-sized appliances, a washer and dryer, their own balconies, multiple TVs, comfortable living areas and more.

A recent search of two- and three-bedroom houses in Meyer Vacation Rentals’ inventory of 1,100+ condos and beach houses during summer yielded some interesting results.

We found that during a peak summer week in June, vacationers could rent a three-bedroom beach house in Fort Morgan that sleeps up to 10 people for just a few dollars more than a typical hotel room with two queen beds. “So, for a few dollars per night more, Meyer offers two more bedrooms, a living room and a kitchen. That’s a pretty good deal,” said Meyer Vacation Rentals Operations Specialist Sarah Kuzma. “It’s definitely worth the time for vacation shoppers to take the time to compare.”

Meyer offers many one- to four-bedroom houses with a variety of view options. These houses sleep anywhere from two to 15 people. Some even feature their own pools and other fun amenities.

To sleep up to 4 people, browse one-bedroom houses.

To sleep up to 10 people, browse two-bedroom houses.

To sleep up to 13 people, browse three-bedroom houses.

To sleep up to 15 people, browse four-bedroom houses.

For larger groups, browse five- or more bedroom houses.

Come To The Beach For The 2017 Wharf Uncorked Food + Wine Festival

The 2017 edition of the Wharf Uncorked Food + Wine Festival will be held at The Wharf in Orange Beach Sept. 14-16.

The fun three-day event features tantalizing wines, live entertainment, a pinch of Southern flair and a dash of Gulf Coast hospitality.

This festival raises raise funds for Make-A-Wish® Alabama—an organization devoted to granting wishes to Alabama children with life-threatening medical conditions. The 2016 Wharf Uncorked Event raised $15,251 for Make-A-Wish® Alabama through generous donations, live and silent auctions, and the Chef Table Raffle.

The Wharf Uncorked featured demos from renowned chefs, cuisine and wine tasting tents, live and silent auctions, and wine auctions and sales.

There will be 150+ wine labels on hand, and guests will be able to sample and purchase fine wines from vineyards ranging from local to domestic and imported.

Chefs will be on hand for cooking demonstrations, food tastings, cookbook signings and cooking competitions.

Tickets may be purchased to customize the guest experience.

SCHEDULE

Thursday, Sept. 14
VIP Kickoff + Chef Showdown
The weekend will begin on Main Street from 6:30-8:30 p.m. with a roster of high profile guests, an open bar with a signature cocktail, an auction preview and of course, high-end wine tastings and food samplings. Guests will see Chef Brody Olive of Perdido Beach Resort face off against two local chefs in a battle to defend his title at the Chef Showdown. Early bird tickets are $30. Regular ticket pricing begins July 7 at $35 and last minute pricing is $40 starting Sept. 1.

Friday, Sept 15
Local Wine Dinners
The Wharf offers a wide variety of fare from more than 10 restaurants on property. Several of these chefs along with others along the Gulf Coast will curate dinner menus and signature wine pairings for the Local Wine Dinners. Guests can make a reservation directly through the restaurant of their choice.

Saturday, Sept 16
Grand Tasting
All festival activities lead up to the Grand Tasting that will take place from noon-4 p.m. Main Street and Wharf Parkway will be lined with vendors offering samples of food and wine. Guests will have the opportunity to cast a vote for their favorite, and the night will close with a ceremony of awards. This year, the champion of The Wharf Uncorked will be an automatic Elite Qualifier for the World Food Championships in November back at The Wharf.

When not sipping on wine or enjoying all the fun associated with the wine event, make time to play at the Wharf. And bring the whole family.

There are concerts at the 10,000-seat outdoor amphitheater held throughout the spring and summer, miniature golf, a brand new zip line course, the largest Ferris wheel east of the Mississippi River, a movie theater, plenty of dining and boutique-style shopping, and more.

Bring a few friends and stay right in the middle of the fun at The Wharf condos. Or, to stay nearby, reserve a two-bedroom beach condo in Orange Beach.

New Things To Do In Gulf Shores

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New developments in Gulf ShoresOrange BeachPerdido Key and Foley are making headlines and further enhancing the visitor experience. Here is a brief rundown of some of the latest Gulf Coast happenings that are giving visitors even more fun things to do.

Gulf Shores & Orange Beach

Major tourism projects are continuing in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, including improvements at the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo’s 25-acre facility that will open in 2018. With five themed areas, an event center, a full-service restaurant, rides and playgrounds, the zoo will relocate from its current spot in Gulf Shores to just north of the Intracoastal Canal Waterway.

Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo: 1204 Gulf Shores Parkway, Gulf Shores, AL 36542

Also under way is the $15 million Gulf Place Revitalization Project in Gulf Shores that will create new beach access points, public sidewalks and green spaces, walking paths, shaded structures, restrooms and more.

Gulf Shores Public Beach: West Gulf Place, Gulf Shores, AL 36542

Public Beach EnhancementsWork is progressing on the Gulf State Park Enhancement Project, an $85.5 million project that is creating additional access points, a new lodge and conference center, restoration and enhancement of dune habitat, and an interpretive and education center. A beautiful new boardwalk over Lake Shelby has recently opened.
Gulf State Park: East Beach Blvd., Gulf Shores, AL 36542

Authentic TacoThe Authentic Taco reopened at the Flora-Bama Lounge & Oyster Bar. Formerly located inside a gas station on Ala. Hwy. 182, the restaurant’s regular patrons were heartbroken when it closed. You can once again can get your fresh taco or tamale fix at the Flora-Bama. Oh, and get a Bushwacker on the side.

Authentic Taco: 17401 Perdido Key Dr., Perdido Key, FL 32507

The owners of the former Hot Spot Restaurant at The Wharf have moved into a larger, waterfront location at The Wharf and renamed the restaurant the Hot Spot Intracoastal. With a menu featuring everything from Intracoastal Kickin’ Shrimp to fried and grilled seafood, burgers, steaks and wings, this restaurant is making waves for seafood lovers.
Hot Spot Intracoastal: 4815 Wharf Parkway, Orange Beach, AL 36561

Barefoot Island Grill has opened on Canal Road across the street from the Orange Beach Recreation Center. Sandwiches, salads, steak and unique seafood dishes top the menu here, where every dish is made from scratch.

Barefoot Island Grill: 27370 Canal Road, Orange Beach, AL 36561

GT’s On The Bay also opened on Canal Road in Orange Beach. Overlooking Wolf Bay, the restaurant serves a variety of foods, including Cajun empanadas, chicken carbonara, pizza baked in a stone hearth oven, fresh Gulf yellow fin tuna, shrimp-n-grits and much more. The large dining room is able to accommodate large groups, and the large wooden deck overlooking Wolf Bay is a fun place to dine, relax and listen to live music.

GT’s On The Bay: 26189 Canal Road, Orange Beach, AL 36561

The Yard Milkshake BarA hot new spot at Pelican Place in Gulf Shores is The Yard Milkshake Bar. The Yard serves edible cookie dough, ice cream and specialty milkshakes with typical toppings like sprinkles as well as crazy toppings like glazed doughnuts, a birthday cupcake or a chocolate dipped smores. Order your milkshake in a pint or a quarter size.

The Yard Milkshake Bar: 3800 Gulf Shores Parkway, Gulf Shores, AL 36542

Surf’s up at Big Wave Dave’s Kitchen & Beach Bar, which opened in June near Ron Jon Surf Shop in Orange Beach. The restaurant serves a variety of tropical drinks, sandwiches, tacos, salads and entrees. Be sure to try the Bali-Pops, hand-rolled bites featuring Gulf shrimp, pineapple, black beans, jasmine rice and sweet and spicy chili sauce.

Big Wave Dave’s Kitchen & Beach Bar: 22703 Perdido Beach Blvd., Orange Beach, AL 36561

Big Mike's SteakhouseA busy restaurant from the very start, the new Big Mike’s Steakhouseopened in Orange Beach in the former Diamond Jim’s and Mrs. Donna’s restaurant. This is the third location for the owners, who also operate steakhouses in Thomasville and Andalusia. Big Mike’s offer seafood selections in addition to its signature items like its Canal Road Strip, Ribeye and Filet Mignon. Incidentally, Big Mike’s Steakhouse in Thomasville was recently named the best steakhouse in Alabama by al.com.

Big Mike’ Steakhouse: 25638 Canal Road, Orange Beach, AL 36561

A new barbecue joint opened at The Wharf, Blue Water BBQ now operates in the former Hot Spot’s location. Here, you’ll find pork, chicken, brisket, ribs, sausage and more.

Blue Water BBQ: 4780 Wharf Parkway, Orange Beach, AL 36561

There’s also a new oyster shack in town. Royal Oyster House opened its doors in the heart of Gulf Shores on Gulf Shores Parkway. The menu right now focuses on raw oysters and a great burger.

Royal Oyster House: 807 Gulf Shores Pkwy., Gulf Shores, AL 36542

Located on Loop Road between the Walmart Neighborhood Market and Winn-Dixie Shopping Center in Orange Beach is the new Buns in the Sun restaurant, serving Asian-style steamed buns, also known as a pork bun or a bao bun. Steamed buns are handmade fresh daily and filled with beef and cheese, barbecue pork, chicken, vegetables, grilled seafood and more.

Buns in the Sun: 3099 Loop Road, Orange Beach, AL 36561

Vacation in a beach condo or house in Gulf ShoresFort Morgan or Orange Beach to be near all the new fun places!

Foley

In Foley, work continues on OWA, an entertainment destination expected to open this month. The 14-acre park will feature 21 rides (including the Rollin’ Thunder rollercoaster as well as kiddie rides), food vendors, 154,000 square feet of retail, dining and entertainment space, and a 14-acre lake with a 1.5-acre island. The amusement park will be located adjacent to the City of Foley’s indoor event center, multi-use sports fields and a 150-room Marriott TownePlace Suites hotel.

Wahlburgers in FoleyOWA unveiled the first in a series of major retail and dining tenant announcements, including Wahlburgers, with locations in Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Ohio.

Wahlburgers is a comfortable, family-friendly restaurant designed to appeal to every generation. The restaurant, which serves a variety of fresh burgers, housemade condiments and more, is the brainchild of Chef Paul Wahlberger and his family. The Foley operation will be the brand’s second largest U.S. location.

Other tenants announced recently include Sunglass World, Fairhope Soap Company, Alvin’s Island, Hershey’s Ice Cream Shop and Utopia.

The Park at OwaWith OWA opening in July, new access roads have been completed. An entrance to OWA has been created on Foley Beach Express and also Baldwin County Road 20. At the same time Pride Drive has been extended to the east to the new sports complex and event center, creating access directly from Ala. Hwy. 59.

OWA: 10113 Foley Beach Express, Foley, AL 36535

New restaurants in Foley include Mama Mia’s Pizzeria (246 W Laurel Ave., Foley, AL 36535), Grumpy’s (214 W Laurel Ave., Foley, AL 36535), Yummy’s Bakery & Café (105 W Orange Ave., Foley, AL 36535) in the courtyard at Orange Blossom Square, the Copper Kettle Tea Bar (106 N Chicago St., Foley, AL 36535), Portabella’s (321 S McKenzie St., Foley, AL 36535) and Gelato Joe’s (202 E Michigan Ave. A, Foley, AL 36535).
Find your perfect beach vacation rental. Condos are perfect for many families, while some houses can accommodate large groups of up to 50+ people.

Perdido Key

New to Perdido Key is the Islander Food Shack, located between Villagio Shopping Center and Dave’s Snow Balls. The restaurant is known for its casual dining atmosphere and menu of sandwiches, burgers, seafood and hand-cut fries. Also popular are its baskets, featuring grouper, chicken fingers, vegetables and shrimp.

Islander Food Shack: 13818 Perdido Key Dr., Pensacola, FL 32507

A new shop at Villagio is the Barefoot Gypsy Boutique. A “minimalist Bohemian-style” boutique, Barefoot Gypsy features laid-back clothing, one-of-a-kind accessories and a variety of unique gifts.

Barefoot Gypsy Boutique: 13700 Perdido Key Dr., Pensacola, FL 32507

Stay in a Perdido Key beach condo or house vacation rental.

Red Snapper Season Extended For Alabama & Federal Waters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MONTGOMERY, Ala.—The United States Department of Commerce today announced an extension of the federal red snapper season. Gov. Kay Ivey was notified yesterday evening of the decision.

“I am proud to report that President Trump and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross have granted my request to extend the federal red snapper season. The announcement comes after twice last week, once through a letter and once in person while at the White House, I asked President Trump to add to the season,” Ivey said.

On June 2, Ivey sent a letter to President Trump asking him to review the data collected by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and to consider elongating this year’s red snapper season. Ivey specifically requested that the 2017 Gulf of Mexico red snapper private recreational season in federal waters be open for 39 more days than originally provided by the federal agency.

The Department of Commerce announced that the federal red snapper season has been extended for a cumulative additional 39 days. Alabama state and federal waters will be open for red snapper harvest every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from June 16 through September 3. The waters will also be open July 3 and 4 and Labor Day.

“This is a historic collaboration with the Department of Commerce and the five Gulf states to reset the framework of federal red snapper management,” said Chris Blankenship, Acting Commissioner of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. “Secretary Ross and his staff have been very open. This accord is only for the 2017 season, but we are diligently working with our Congressional delegation and the Department of Commerce for a long-term fix.”

Fishermen are reminded that they are still required to report their red snapper harvest through the Alabama Snapper Check Program. The data collected through the Alabama Snapper Check Program the past three years were critical in securing the additional red snapper fishing days. Only one report is required per vessel trip, and anglers can provide details via a smartphone app available under “Outdoor Alabama” in the iTunes or Google Play app stores, online at www.outdooralabama.com, or by paper forms available at select coastal public boat launches.

Both state and federal waters will be closed to the taking of red snapper Monday-Thursday each week. A list of public artificial and natural reefs can be found at www.outdooralabama.com/artificial-reefs.

Hire a charter boat for a red snapper fishing expedition and stay at a vacation rental in Gulf Shores or Orange Beach for a long weekend or a week.

7 Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Resorts Featuring Lazy Rivers

Gulf Shores Pools With Lazy Rivers

When vacationing in the Gulf Shores area, you’ll find many wonderful pools, including several with lazy rivers.

 

 

 

 

By Sarah Kuzma

Floating along on my inner tube past the rides and slides on Waterville USA’s Crystal River is my idea of a relaxing time in the sun.

The lush tropical setting of this soothing ride even includes a refreshing waterfall to cool off when a splash is just what I need.

Of course, most of the waterpark visitors are scurrying around to capture the thrills of the 17 water slides, the wave pool, and Flowrider, but I’m perfectly content to relax on the one-third-mile of lazy river that never ends.

But the waterpark is not the only opportunity to relax on a lazy river on Alabama’s Gulf Coast. In fact, there are now eight condominium resorts featuring this family-friendly amenity.

Here’s my guide to your coastal lazy river adventure.

4 GULF FRONT LAZY RIVERS

Turquoise Place is the address for luxury on the coast, so it’s quite natural that a 450-foot lazy river is a featured amenity at this upscale Orange Beach resort.

No doubt the entire family will savor the experience of the peaceful, slow-moving waters overlooking the bright white sands and gorgeous blue waters of the Gulf beach from this unique vantage point.

Phoenix West provides an upscale, spacious backdrop for beachside fun and relaxation with its lazy river that includes an exciting slide and overlooks the sugar-white beach in Orange Beach.

Phoenix West II is the newest addition to coastal condominiums in Alabama and just like its sister property a lazy river with a waterslide is a feature of this luxurious resort. Pools and hot tubs complete the beachfront amenities that provide a world-class view.

Crystal Tower is quite exceptional since the actual condo dwellings are situated on the north side of West Beach Boulevard along the coast in Gulf Shores.

No worries about crossing from the condo to the beach since an air-conditioned pedestrian bridge delivers you directly to the pool, hot tub and the largest lazy river on Alabama’s Gulf Coast.

At Crystal Tower, you have the views and advantage of gulf-front amenities and your accommodations are priced a little lower than the Gulf-front rental rate.

2 LAZY RIVERS ON THE BAY

Caribe Resort built its 18-inch deep, 980-foot-long lazy river to the upper deck, where you’ll also find more pools and slides for the young and the young at heart.

Located where Ole River intersects with Terry Cove at Perdido Pass in Orange Beach, you have the opportunity to pick your view of the calm, backwaters to the north of the resort or the sand and surf of the Gulf to the south.

In fact, there’s even a shuttle when you are ready to trek over to the Gulf beach. I guess you could say it’s the best of both worlds.

Phoenix on the Bay II is another choice for family fun on the lazy river ride where the waterfront views of picturesque Terry Cove in Orange Beach are never boring.

A LAZY RIVER ON THE INTRACOASTAL WATERWAY

The Wharf rises above the Intracoastal Waterway with its bustling marina, boutique shopping, exhilarating nightlife, movie theater, thrilling Ferris wheel, excellent seafood restaurants and an amphitheater bringing popular entertainment to our coast.

A tram conveniently moves you and your family from the condo buildings along the waterfront to the inland Oasis at The Wharf. There, you will not only find the lazy river, complete with a waterslide but also a zero-entry pool, lagoon pool with waterfalls and even a sandy beach at Hammock Island at this charming Orange Beach destination.

Even though the waterpark at Waterville USA closes at the end of summer, the adventures along our beautiful coast extend year-round. I hope this lazy river guide will assist you to find your piece of paradise by searching properties with lazy rivers.

See you at the beach!

Alabama’s Beaches: Pristine, Playful, Refreshing & Relaxing

We hear it all the time. “Alabama has beaches?” Why, yes, as a matter of fact. Alabama DOES have beaches—and they are some of the most stunning white-sand beaches in the world.

Our little slice of pure paradise, recognized as one of the best Gulf Coast beaches according to the Travel Channel, stretches east nearly 40 miles from Fort Morgan to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama, and to Perdido Key, Florida.

Each beach community has its own distinct personality and is uniquely appealing to vacationers, making the area perfect for a quick weekend getaway, a weeklong vacation or even a month-long (or longer) stay in the wintertime.

Gulf Shores (Search Available Properties)
Gulf Shores, AlabamaWith its earliest beginnings as a sleepy beach town that was home to local fishermen, Gulf Shores today is a friendly, bustling beach community known for its welcoming locals; family-oriented amusements; variety of on- and off-beach boutiques for shopping; hiking and biking trails; Gulf State Park; and other opportunities for exploration.

One of the most popular areas is the main Gulf Shores Public Beach area, located at the intersection of Ala. Hwy. 59 and Ala. Hwy. 182, also known as the Beach Road.

Nearby, you will find the iconic Hangout Restaurant and entertainment venue, numerous large surf and beach shops, the always fun Pink Pony Pub, and several restaurants.

This main public beach entrance is also where the annual Hangout Music Fest, the National Annual Shrimp Festival, and sporting events, such as NCAA Beach Volleyball Championships, are held. With a pedestrian-friendly boardwalk, plenty of parking and green spaces, visitors are drawn to this area all year long.

Gulf Shores is also home to restaurants to suit every palate and budget, golf courses, Gulf State Park, and fun attractions like Waterville USA and The Track Family Recreation Center, to keep kids of all ages busy.

Fort Morgan (Search Available Properties)

Fort Morgan, AlabamaJust west of Gulf Shores is Fort Morgan, an area some like to call “the quiet side of paradise.”

At the end of the Fort Morgan peninsula, where Mobile Bay meets the Gulf of Mexico, is a historic Civil War fort, inviting visitors to walk where soldiers lived and worked. Go at the right time, and you might even get to hear the cannon fired and see living history actors perform the duties of soldiers and those who supported their efforts. It’s a must-see when you visit this area for sure.

Fort Morgan is also home to several laid-back seafood restaurants, beach accesses, charter fishing operations and the 6,000-acre Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, a great spot to experience nature and see coastal wildlife up close and personal.

Orange Beach (Search Available Properties)
Orange Beach, AlabamaWith its roots in fishing, Orange Beach is a fisherman’s paradise. The city is home to one of the region’s largest fleets of charter fishing boats, so it’s a breeze to book a fishing trip either on the Gulf of Mexico or in the area’s beautiful back bays.

There are also numerous dolphin, nature and even dinner cruise excursions to enjoy.

A favorite activity of locals and visitors is a boating trip out to the “islands” of Robinson Island and Boat Island. Purchased by the city of Orange Beach to protect them and the wildlife that nests there from being developed, the islands are sanctuaries for nesting birds and have sensitive grass beds. While people must avoid certain sensitive areas, there are beach areas where boaters are welcomed to dock, grill and play. On busy days, it is not uncommon to see a line of boats anchored just off the islands.

Restaurants in Orange Beach range from camp-styled seafood shacks like Doc’s to fine dining restaurants like Cobalt or Cosmo’s.

Orange Beach also features numerous amusements and beach shops for boutique browsers. Perhaps the pinnacle of entertainment is The Wharf, where restaurants, a movie theater, shops and restaurants may be explored. Also on site at The Wharf is a 10,000-seat outdoor amphitheater, where entertainers ranging from Jimmy Buffett to Alabama perform. See concert schedule here.

Perdido Key (Search Available Properties)
Perdido Key, AlabamaJust east of Orange Beach and across the Florida state line is an area known for its abundant federal and state parklands. The barrier island of Perdido Key is peaceful and consistently ranks among the nation’s top 20 beaches as named by “Dr. Beach.”

A little busier part of the Key is the spot where you’ll find the famous Flora-Bama Lounge, Package and Oyster Bar, home of the annual Interstate Mullet Toss, an event that is truly unlike any other! Always held in April, this event draws thousands to the beach in front of the iconic gathering spot to toss a mullet (dead, of course) across the state line. Throw it the farthest in your category, and you win!

Other unique must-do events in Perdido Key include the Frank Brown International Songwriter’s Festival, the New Year’s Polar Bear Dip and the Perdido Key Wine Festival.

Places to explore the bountiful natural beauty of Perdido Key include Lost Key Golf Club, a designated Audubon Signature Cooperative Sanctuary golf course, and Gulf Islands National Seashore, where you’ll find Fort Pickens and Fort McRee, which defended Pensacola Bay during the Civil War.

Whatever type of beach experience you are looking for—quiet, busy, fun-filled, focused on nature—the beaches of the Alabama/Florida Gulf Coast will fill the bill.

Read more about Alabama’s Beaches.

Browse properties in Gulf Shores.

Browse properties in Fort Morgan.

Browse properties in Orange Beach.

Browse properties in Perdido Key.

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