Enjoy A Romantic Beach Getaway With Your Sweetheart

It goes without saying that your sweetheart will be more relaxed away from home without the pressure of daily responsibilities.

A romantic getaway is one of the best ways to de-stress and reconnect. And the beaches of Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan and Orange Beach, Ala., and Perdido Key, Fla., are among the most romantic spots in the world for a retreat with your significant other.

Here are 9 ways to enjoy a little one-on-one time during a romantic getaway to the Gulf Coast.

Paddle In The Moonlight

A moonlight paddle is a romantic way to explore the area’s backwaters or the Gulf of Mexico. With the help of a guide and rented equipment, Gulf Coast Paddle Board offers both moonlight and sunset paddles around the islands of Orange Beach. “All the couple has to do is book a tour with us and show up,” said the company’s Zach Rounsaville.

To learn how to navigate the waters via canoe or kayak, another option is to take a class the Wind and Water Learning Center in Orange Beach. Operated by the City of Orange Beach, the learning center’s classes accommodate people of all ages, skill levels and backgrounds. The Wind and Water Learning Center is an active member of US Sailing and an affiliate of the American Canoe Association.

The Wind and Water Center also offers Sail Camp sessions during the summer for children, which is open to visiting kids.

Perdido Key, Fla., also offers numerous places to enjoy the water from a canoe, kayak or paddleboard.

Fly High In A Hot Air Balloon

Hot air ballooning over the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area is certainly a peaceful activity. In fact, it’s often been the site of wedding proposals.

Passengers gently lift off into an adventure to view the area’s most scenic vistas from a whole new vantage point. You will float over the countryside with virtually no sense of motion, and the only noise you’ll hear is the occasional hiss of the burner.

Taking Off Hot Air Balloon Company, located just north of the beach, provides scenic balloon excursions or tethered hot air balloon rides.

Or, book a beach stay during the Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival, typically held in May.

Commune With Nature

There are many opportunities to explore nature during a visit to the Gulf Coast, including a visit to the seven trails that make up the 15-mile Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail complex through Orange Beach, Gulf Shores and the Gulf State Park.

Along the trails, explore the butterfly garden, freshwater marshes and coastal hardwood swamps. Maybe even catch a glimpse of a bobcat on the twin bridges or a white-tailed deer on Gulf Oak Ridge. You might even see an alligator warming itself in the sun.

In Florida, Perdido Key State Park offers a nature trail that runs along the bay side of the park, offering views of an estuary where dolphins are frequent visitors.

Or, between Pensacola and Perdido Key, Big Lagoon State Park features crisscrossing nature trails that allow you to explore the lakes and the observation tower.

Indulge In Relaxation & Pampering

A great way to enjoy some special time together is to visit a local spa for a little pampering.

Eden Spa & Salon, located in Palm Pointe center in Orange Beach, welcomes couples to enjoy an hour-long massage. Other services in addition to a full menu of massages include facials, body treatments, aromatherapy, salon and more.

Evolve Fitness & Spa, located at The Wharf, is another option for services such as fitness training, sunless tanning and relaxing massages. Massages run the gamut from Swedish to therapeutic deep tissue.

The Spa at The Beach Club, located at the Beach Club Resort, features in-spa or in-room couple massages, soothing whirlpool, steam rooms and a full-service salon. During a couples massage, enjoy a complimentary glass of wine or champagne in a candlelit private room.

Serenity at the Beach Salon & Spa at San Roc Cay shopping center in Orange Beach offers a full menu of couples services, including massages, facials, body treatments and combinations of services. “Couples massage is a great way to introduce massage to a partner who has never had a massage before in a way that makes them feel more comfortable the first time,” said Serenity owners.

A full-service Aveda hair salon and day spa, Fusion Spa Salon features services like waxing, massage, and hair and nail care. Located at The Wharf in Orange Beach, Fusion offers a wide range of services, including hair, makeup, waxing and nails; facials; massage; and body treatments.

Dinner With A View

There are numerous restaurants to enjoy a romantic dinner for two, especially for those who enjoy a glass of wine.

Located at Caribe the Resort in Orange Beach is Cobalt The Restaurant, which is accessible by car or by boat. Nestled under the Perdido Bay Bridge, the restaurant features a spectacular view of the bay from every table. Oysters, pasta, sandwiches and creative fresh fish entrees are always on the menu.

With a view of Wolf Bay, Cayman Grill features a large outdoor deck and an 8,000-gallon stingray tank inside. Wood roasted pizzas are a specialty, but so is the seafood, which ranges from jumbo Gulf shrimp, oysters, yellowfin tuna and more. Steaks and pastas are also popular here.

Featuring fresh Gulf seafood, steaks and sushi, Shipp’s Harbor Grill in Orange Beach offers an extensive menu of fish, steaks and more. The view from this restaurant is outstanding, with windows looking out over a beautiful marina. Three of seven dining areas offer waterside dining, allowing you to relax and watch the harbor lights come alive during the evening.

Breakfast For Two

There are numerous restaurants for enjoying a romantic breakfast or brunch.

A local favorite is Another Broken Egg Café in Orange Beach, where breakfast creations range from Eggs Benedict and Gourmet Omelets to Biscuit Beignets, Cinnamon Roll French Toast and more.

In Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, the morning is the perfect time to dine outdoors at Tacky Jack’s to enjoy the hearty Farmer’s Omelet, featuring potatoes, onions, green peppers, mushrooms, sausage, ham, and American and cheddar cheese inside and out. Other tasty options include the Shrimp Omelet, Pork Chop and Egg Platter, Shrimp and Cheese Grits and the Wheelhouse Pancake.

An iconic locals’ favorite for breakfast is Hazel’s Nook in Gulf Shores. Famous for its breakfast buffet and omelet station, Hazel’s has some of the best biscuits and gravy in L.A., Lower Alabama, that is. Locals and visitors alike enjoy the laid-back casual atmosphere, coupled with down-home Southern cooking.

Always a fun place for brunch (and read the clever puns on the marquee sign in front) is the Brick & Spoon in Orange Beach. Menu staples include Shrimp and Grits, Beignets and Cornmeal-dusted Louisiana Oysters. Also popular for breakfast or brunch is the Bloody Mary, where you can select from nearly two dozen vegetable garnishes and even proteins like shrimp, baked bacon strips, seafood deviled eggs and even something called a beef straw. It’s an adventure!

Ride The Ferris Wheel

A landmark on the Gulf Coast is the Ferris Wheel at The Wharf. One of the tallest Ferris Wheels on the Gulf Coast, take a ride with your sweetheart for a treetop view of the Gulf and the surrounding area.

Before or after your Ferris Wheel ride, stop by the Southern Grind Coffee House for a cup of brewed coffee, an espresso, a cup of tea or a frozen drink. Dine indoors or outside on the patio for breakfast or lunch. Or, choose from a selection of fresh Italian Gelato for a cool sweet treat.

Watch The Sunrise

One of the features that truly sets apart a beach vacation to the Alabama/Florida Gulf Coast is the prevalence of vacation rentals with private balconies.

From your balcony, enjoy the peace and solitude of watching the waves crash onto the shore, see dolphins frolic in the Gulf, and watch the sun rise or set with your special someone.

The sunsets are one of the most spectacular natural features of this region, and when you stay in Fort Morgan beach houses, you have a front row seat to this beautiful phenomenon. Fort Morgan rentals are also conveniently located near Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, which offers a serene setting in which to watch the sunset.

Linger On A Lazy Sunday Morning

Coming to the beach on Friday for a romantic weekend getaway but need to get back to your responsibilities on Monday?

Check in Friday afternoon, play all day Saturday and then sleep in late, enjoy brunch at a nearby restaurant and get back on the road Sunday afternoon at your preferred pace. This is easy to do with a three-day stay checking in on Friday and out on Monday.

A perfect way to save up to 25% at select condos and houses is by filling two- or three-day gaps between existing reservations.

Revel in the solitude of Fort Morgan in a one-bedroom condo.

Be in the middle of all the entertainment action in a one-bedroom condo in Gulf Shores.

Orange Beach and Perdido Key also offer many one-bedroom options to choose from.

Grant Money To Help Keep Gulf Coast Areas “Forever Wild”

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MONTGOMERY, Ala.—Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley announced the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) has approved more than $63 million for six Alabama projects that address high-priority conservation needs, including the acquisition and restoration of significant coastal habitats in key focal areas, and the continuation of fisheries monitoring.

“One of Alabama’s greatest natural treasures is its Gulf Coast, and it’s vital that we continue to provide the necessary funds to ensure our coastline is restored from the devastation caused by the 2010 oil spill,” Bentley said. “This $63 million from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation will support long-term recovery efforts and provide for future efforts to return wildlife populations to their normal levels. I appreciate the efforts of our local, state and federal partners who are working so hard on the continuing resurgence of the Alabama Gulf Coast.”

In 2013, a U.S. District Court approved two plea agreements resolving certain criminal charges against BP and Transocean related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The funds represent the fourth installment from NFWF’s Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund (GEBF). A total of $356 million will be paid into the Gulf Fund over a five-year period for conservation projects in the State of Alabama.

The number of awards from the GEBF in the state of Alabama now stands at 19, with a total value of more than $115 million. All projects were selected for funding following extensive consultation with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Alabama 2016 Projects

Multifaceted Fisheries & Ecosystem Monitoring in Alabama’s Marine Waters and the Gulf of Mexico – approximately $4.4 million

This project represents the third and fourth years of the fisheries monitoring effort in the state of Alabama.

The data collected will be used to improve ecosystem-based management capabilities, assess the recovery of reef fish stocks in association with other fisheries restoration efforts, and improve and expand single-species stock assessments for managed fish species.

Bon Secour-Oyster Bay Wetland Acquisition Project – approximately $12.5 million

This acquisition project will protect and restore approximately 935 acres of diverse coastal habitat in the City of Gulf Shores.The tidal marshes, maritime forests, and freshwater swamps located in this project area are important habitat for many species of conservation significance including threatened and endangered species such as the Alabama red-bellied turtle and the eastern indigo snake, and various wading birds. The tidal wetlands and swamps serve as a nursery for commercially important shellfish and finfish and play a crucial role in the water quality and ecological function of the Oyster Bay, Bon Secour, and Little Lagoon watersheds.

The tidal marshes, maritime forests, and freshwater swamps located in this project area are important habitat for many species of conservation significance including threatened and endangered species such as the Alabama red-bellied turtle and the eastern indigo snake, and various wading birds.The tidal wetlands and swamps serve as a nursery for commercially important shellfish and finfish and play a crucial role in the water quality and ecological function of the Oyster Bay, Bon Secour, and Little Lagoon watersheds.

The tidal wetlands and swamps serve as a nursery for commercially important shellfish and finfish and play a crucial role in the water quality and ecological function of the Oyster Bay, Bon Secour, and Little Lagoon watersheds.

Dauphin Island Conservation Acquisition – approximately $3.5 million

This project proposes the acquisition of approximately eight acres of remaining undeveloped beachfront (1,200 linear feet) on a mid-island section of Dauphin Island.This primary barrier island provides important nesting, loafing, stopover, and foraging habitats for a variety of coastal birds, shorebirds, neotropical migrants, and other avian species, as well as nesting habitat for endangered sea turtles. In addition to the acquisition, funding is included to design and construct a dune walkover and fencing to protect habitat while allowing limited and appropriate public access.

This primary barrier island provides important nesting, loafing, stopover, and foraging habitats for a variety of coastal birds, shorebirds, neotropical migrants, and other avian species, as well as nesting habitat for endangered sea turtles.In addition to the acquisition, funding is included to design and construct a dune walkover and fencing to protect habitat while allowing limited and appropriate public access.

In addition to the acquisition, funding is included to design and construct a dune walkover and fencing to protect habitat while allowing limited and appropriate public access.

Lightning Point Acquisition & Restoration Project – Phase I – approximately $6 million

This project will protect and restore a key stretch of coastal shoreline at the mouth of Bayou La Batre River.Specifically, the project includes the acquisition of more than 100 acres of coastal habitat and the engineering and design for restoring approximately 28 acres of marsh and 1.5 miles of

Specifically, the project includes the acquisition of more than 100 acres of coastal habitat and the engineering and design for restoring approximately 28 acres of marsh and 1.5 miles of intertidal nearshore breakwater.The acquisition targets represent more than 2 miles of nearly contiguous undeveloped waterfront adjacent to existing protected lands owned by the State of Alabama, Mobile County, and the City of Bayou La Batre.

The acquisition targets represent more than 2 miles of nearly contiguous undeveloped waterfront adjacent to existing protected lands owned by the State of Alabama, Mobile County, and the City of Bayou La Batre.

Fowl River Watershed Restoration: Coastal Spits & Wetlands Project – Phase I – approximately $1 million

Restoration of important coastal spits and wetlands within the lower reaches of Fowl River is a significant priority action identified in the recently completed Fowl River Watershed Management Plan, funded under a prior GEBF award.

This project will fund engineering and design studies to develop a solution to stabilize and protect four priority in-river wetland spits and restore marshland throughout the intertidal portions of lower Fowl River.

Additionally, this project will fund hydrologic modeling and a marsh health and recovery study for the watershed to provide managers a valuable tool to guide and prioritize future restoration projects throughout the Watershed.

Gulf Highlands Conservation Acquisition – approximately $36 million

This project proposes to acquire, conserve, and manage 113 acres with 2,700 feet of Gulf frontage beach/dune habitat – the largest, privately held, undeveloped beachfront parcel remaining in coastal Alabama.Protection of this key habitat would benefit nesting sea turtles, migratory

Protection of this key habitat would benefit nesting sea turtles, migratory birds and shorebirds, as well as the endangered Alabama beach mouse.

In addition to the direct acquisition cost, the project includes funding to support future management and stewardship of these important coastal habitats, including but not limited to invasive species control, boundary postings, and human disturbance management via strategically placed dune walk-overs, fencing, and interpretive signage.

Once acquired, the parcel will be deeded to the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, State Parks Division for long-term management and inclusion in their Fort Morgan Parkway management area with limited public access.

Once acquired, the parcel will be deeded to the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, State Parks Division for long-term management and inclusion in their Fort Morgan Parkway management area with limited public access.

“This announcement today concludes over nine months of continued interaction with NFWF and our grant recipients to develop these outstanding projects,” Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Commissioner N. Gunter Guy, Jr. said. “They are the products of several of our watershed management plans funded in an earlier NFWF phase, as well as projects which build on the priorities outlined in the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program’s Coastal Conservation and Management Plan. It is exciting to be able to actually realize the benefits of those planning efforts which are designed to create a stronger, healthier coastal Alabama.”

Enjoy the diverse and beautiful coastal habitats found in and around Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan and Orange Beach, Ala., and Perdido Key, Fla., by bringing the entire family to the area to stay in a five-bedroom house.

Places to explore the unique landscapes of the area include Gulf State Park, Gulf Islands National Seashore, Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, Weeks Bay Reserve, and more.

Explore The Beach & Other Natural Wonders Of Gulf State Park

gulf state park gulf shores

Beaches, a lake, a fishing pier, a golf course interwoven into the natural landscape are a few of the things you’ll find at Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

While vacationing in your gulf-front condo in Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan, Orange Beach or Perdido Key, make time to explore the beautiful beaches and the other wonders of Gulf State Park.

And, while the park is known for its two miles of white-sand beaches fronting the Gulf of Mexico, it also boasts a new dog pond, a championship golf course, a covered beach pavilion, tennis courts, hiking trails, and a fishing pier that is 20-feet wide and extends 1,512 feet into the Gulf.

Beach & Fish

The beaches of Gulf State Park are some of the most beautiful ones in the world, boasting sugar-white sand and emerald-green waters. Park at the pavilion for only $5 and enjoy the convenience of restrooms, showers and a covered picnic area.

Nearby, the Gulf State Park Pier is a fishing hotspot for vacationers and local residents. Bring the family and fish from the 20-foot-wide, 1,512-foot long pier. The only thing you need to remember is to make sure that you have your fishing license, which can be purchased at the pier or online before you arrive.

Cotton Bayou Beach is another public beach nearby Gulf State Park. It is 5.1 miles east of Alabama Hwy. 59 and offers a limited amount of free parking. The restrooms, outdoor showers and parking area are conveniently close to the beach, so no need to lug all that heavy beach equipment too far!

Another state park beach option is Alabama/Florida Point, where parking is free, and there are miles of beaches to enjoy the sun and surf. A picnic area, outside showers, and restrooms are located on site.

Golf

Combining the natural scenery of Gulf State Park and the design of Earl Stone, Gulf State Park’s 18-hole championship golf course offers an exceptional experience and the natural beauty found only on the Alabama Gulf Coast.Opened in 1974, the Refuge Golf Course, part of the Refuge Golf Club & Grill, boasts 6,593 yards of landscaped courses, a driving range, a putting green, a pro shop, and the convenient Refuge Grill.

Opened in 1974, the Refuge Golf Course, part of the Refuge Golf Club & Grill, boasts 6,593 yards of landscaped courses, a driving range, a putting green, a pro shop, and the convenient Refuge Grill.

Bring The Pup

While most Gulf Coast beaches do not permit dogs, the new Dog Pond at Lake Shelby is a great place for your puppy to stretch his legs.

Enjoy the Dog Pond from 8 a.m. to sunset. If you want to bring your dog along as you explore the nature trails, the park welcomes you to do so as long as he’s on a leash.

Find dog-friendly vacation rentals.

Nature Center & Trails

Snakes, opossum and turtles are just a few of the animals you might see at the Gulf State Park’s Nature Center and also on a hike through the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail system.

The Nature Center is a living museum with animals and plants that call the Gulf Coast home and was built to inspire visitors to care about the Gulf Coast environment and its animal residents. The Nature Center also offers fun and interactive programs like guided nature walks.

Kristal from Indiana commented after her stay at Royal Palms that her family enjoyed the location near the state park, condo had everything they were looking for and it wasn’t crowded.

Parker J. of Ashland, Mo., said they visited for a month last February not only to escape the cold but also to “bike the trails at the Gulf State Park.”

Gulf State Park I Do’s

The Gulf Coast is an amazing place to stage weddings, receptions and honeymoons. Gulf State Parkoffers a number of locations suitable for wedding ceremonies and receptions, including the Gulf State Park Pavilion. Suitable for 50 or 200 guests, the pavilion is located directly on the beach and provides a covered venue with tables and plenty of room for celebration.

Meyer Vacation Rentals is a terrific resource for those planning a Gulf Coast wedding. Find a list of wedding-friendly houses, photographers, event planning services, caterers, rental companies and more service providers whose goal is to make your day even more special.

Visit Gulf State Park from your a four-bedroom beach house or a three-bedroom vacation rental condo.

 

Fabulous Fall Festivals & Fun This October On The Gulf Coast

Visit the Alabama/Florida Gulf Coast in the fall and you may find so many fun adventures you could end up staying for the whole month.

The month of October, especially, is full of opportunities to explore festivals like the Alabama Coastal Birdfest, the Festival of Flavor, the Annual National Shrimp Festival and fun fall activities like corn mazes, hayrides and pumpkin patches.

Alabama Coastal BirdFest

Alabama Coastal BirdFestBird lovers rejoice in the annual John L. Borom Alabama Coastal Birdfest, which is held every October.

In 2016, the festival will be held Wednesday, October 5, through Saturday, October 8.

On Wednesday will be a Hummingbirds Workshop, where Fred Bassett, certified master bird bander, will present an overview of hummingbirds’ habitat, food and migration and discuss how to attract hummers to your yard.

A second workshop will provide an overview of the basics of birding for those who want to enhance their experience during BirdFest and beyond.

Festival events the following days take bird lovers on a variety of excursions and visits:

Wednesday, October 5
o  Hummingbirds Workshop
o  Basics of Birding Workshop
o  Orientation, Presentation & Welcome Reception

Thursday, October 6
Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge
o  Bayou La Batre, Forever Wild Grand Bay Savanna, Grand Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Point aux Pins
o  Mobile Bay, DISL Research Vessel Alabama Discovery Cruise
o  Blakeley Island Mud Ponds & Battleship Park
Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve/Weeks Bay Explorer Cruise
o  Lagan Park & Environmental Study Center
o  Eagle’s Nest Kayak Tour
o  Weeks Bay Paddle
Bon Secour River EcoCruise
o  Alligator Alley Adventure
o  Weeks Bay Sunset Cruise

Friday, October 7
Dauphin Island/Trans Gulf Migration Flyaway
o  Mobile Bay, DISL Research Vessel Alabama Discovery Cruise
o  Splinter Hill Bog
o  Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and Weeks Bay Explorer Cruise
Gulf State Park & Perdido Pass
o  Middle Bay Lighthouse Boat Tour
o  Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge Kayak Tour
o  Delta Discovery Cruise
o  Bird & Nature Photography Workshop
o  BirdFest Social with Speaker & Silent Auction

Saturday, October 8
o  Dauphin Island Shorebirds
o  Blakeley Island Mud Ponds & Battleship Park
o  Fort Morgan Peninsula/Trans Gulf Migration Flyway
o  Bayou La Batre, Forever Wild Grand Bay Savanna, Grand Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Point aux Pins
o  Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve/Weeks Bay Explorer Cruise
o  Delta Discovery Tour
o  Alligator Alley Adventure
o  Wolf Bay Dolphin Cruise
o  Bon Secour River Paddle
o  Fairhope Fly Creek Exploration Paddle
o  Delta Sunset Wine Tasting Cruise

Annual Festival Of Flavor

Festival of FlavorThe Festival of Flavor, scheduled for Oct. 8 in downtown Foley, celebrates local and regional foods and this year is a qualifying event for a Golden ticket to the World Food Championships – The Ultimate Food Fight Experience.

The World Food Championship will be held Nov. 9-13 and highlight some of the most iconic cuisines around the world in categories like barbecue, chili, sandwich, burger, dessert, bacon, seafood, steak and recipe. The recipe category is based on a theme of food, which, this year, is “breakfast.”

A highlight of the Festival of Flavor is the farm-to-table dinner, which is held by the Chicago Street Supper Club. This ticketed event is the first of the festival, happening about two weeks before the actual weekend, and it features a special arrangement of expertly prepared foods for guests who purchase tickets to the meal.

In addition to the food displays and dinners, there are also a number of street vendors on hand to show off crafts and other works of art. Jazz performers and similar live entertainment provide the perfect background music for a relaxing day at the festival. Face painting and other kid-friendly displays are planned as part of the festival.

The Festival of Flavor will be held on October 8 and is open to the public. The festival will have sample tastes not only from competing chefs but also from local breweries, wineries, restaurants, mom-and-pop shops and much more.

45th Annual National Shrimp Festival

National Shrimp FestivalSlated for the second full weekend in October, the Annual National Shrimp Festival is always held Thursday through Sunday.

Free to attend, the festival was started in 1971 and today draws more than 250,000 people to the main Gulf Shores Public Beach area to browse exhibits, arts and crafts vendors, enjoy live music, enjoy kids’ interactive games and, best of all, indulge in the astounding variety of shrimp dishes. Those who don’t like shrimp will be able to enjoy foods like chicken, burgers, pizza, hot dogs, pasta, salads, nachos and even the now famous Cajun Pistol!

Kids are given the royal treatment at the Children’s Activity Village. Open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., this area features a sand sculpture contest on Saturday, interactive games, make-and-take arts and crafts, face painting, kids’ musical and dance performances, and more.

Locals weigh in on how to make the most of the Shrimp Festival experience.

Bring your best friends down to the beach for the weekend and reserve a three-bedroom condo in Orange Beach.

There are shuttle stops along the way making it easy to catch a ride to the festival site at your convenience.

Or, if the whole family would like to enjoy the festival, which is consistently rated among the top festivals in the country, consider a five-bedroom house in Gulf Shores.

There are plenty of conveniently located beach vacation rental options to suit every taste and size of group in Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan, Orange Beach and Perdido Key.

See our Shrimp Festival deals and specials here.

The Original German Sausage Festival

Elberta German Sausage FestivalAnnually attracting an estimated 30,000 visitors, the Original German Sausage Festival is always held the last Saturday in October and March in nearby Elberta.

The festival is a town fundraiser spearheaded by the Elberta Volunteer Fire Department. Proceeds are used for improving the operations of the fire department as well as the quaint German heritage town located a few miles north of the beach.

Festival organizers sell about 7,000 pounds of German Sausage (with or without sauerkraut – your choice!) at each festival as well as German-inspired and American foods such as cabbage, potato salad, goulash, red beans and rice, hamburgers, hot dogs, barbecue, ice cream, popcorn and peanuts.

Vendors at the festival feature everything from homemade crafts and jewelry to art and even clothing. Music is a big part of the festival, with polka, country, contemporary and German music entertaining festivalgoers. Don’t be surprised if you are invited to join in the dancing fun during for a Waltz or the Schuhplattler!

More October Delights

Magnolia Springs Corn Maze and Pumpkin PatchIn the weeks leading up to Halloween, the Gulf Coast area comes alive with opportunities to celebrate fall.

For example, the Magnolia Corn Maze this year will celebrate its eighth year as a fun local attraction.

Open from Oct. 1 through Nov. 5, the Magnolia Corn Maze is located at Magnolia Farms, a few miles north of the Gulf Shores beaches.

Families can enjoy

o  2 challenging corn mazes
o  Pumpkins
o  A hayride and cow train
o  A petting zoo, pig race and pony rides
o  Knocker ball
o  Jump pad
o  Bazooka ball
o  Corn cannons and duck races
o  Parties and campfires
o  Playground areas for all ages
o  Zombie paintball and the Field of Terror

All Aboard The Pumpkin Patch Express

Pumpkin Patch ExpressOpen from Sept. 30 through Oct. 31, the Wales West Light Railway invites visitors to board the authentic steam train to the kid-friendly pumpkin patch or the haunted barn maze.

Kids will enjoy Wales West’s mini train ride, hayride, refreshments, bounce house, pumpkin cannon, petting zoo and pony rides, café and gift shop.

Kids can also select their own pumpkin at other local pumpkin patches, including Hillcrest Farm, Magnolia Farms and Sanders Pumpkin Patch, for example.

If you’re going to be at the beach over Halloween, there are numerous neighborhoods that love opening their doors to trick-or-treating kids.

Tanger Outlets Foley: Shop For Great Deals, Apparel, Shoes, Accessories & More During Your Gulf Coast Beach Vacation

Rated as a top attraction on the Alabama/Florida Gulf Coast, Tanger Outlets in Foley, Alabama, located just a hop, skip and a jump north of the Gulf Shores beaches, is a great place to spend the afternoon or a full day in search of all kinds of bargains.

Shoes, casual wear, business attire, luggage, kitchenware – whatever you need in the latest styles, Tanger Outlets has it.

Make your first stop the guest services desk at the Food Court to pick up a coupon book. At a cost of only $5, this coupon book is chock full of deals that are valid through the end of the year. The 2016 coupon book offered more than $1,700 in savings.

In fact, there are more than 100 money-saving coupons inside, with everything from tennis shoes at Adidas jewelry and watches at Zales The Diamond Store Outlet featured.

“I love shopping at Tanger Outlets in Foley,” said one Google reviewer. “We take a trip to the beach every year with the kids. The adults shop and take turns watching the kids on the playground, splash pad and carousel. The kids enjoy it, and so do the adults. We also go to Peachwave and cool off with frozen yogurt.”

Said another: “Most of the time I go to an outlet, I’m not blown away by the bargains. This outlet seems to be an exception to that rule. The facility is sprawling and carries almost every major brand such as Nike, Reebok, Under Armour, Gap, Old navy and Polo Ralph Lauren. It also has unique outlet shops like Le Creuset.”

“Great outlet mall with all the premium shops you’d expect. Expansive parking, reasonable food court and a playground area for little kids,” commented one more.

Accessories and jewelry can be found at stories such as Claire’s, Coach, Crocs Outlet, Kate Spade new York, Van Heusen Izod Golf, Vera Bradley and Zumiez.

Apparel runs the gamut from workout gear to fine design and can be found at stories such as Aeropostale, Banana Republic, Charlotte Russe, J. Crew Factory, Michael Kors, Motherhood Maternity Outlet, New York & Company Outlet, Old Navy, PacSun and more.

Housewares and home furnishings can be found at Corningware Corelle & More, Kitchen Collection, Le Creuset and T.J. Maxx.

Specialty items are available at numerous places, such as Vitamin World, Yankee Candle, Bath & Body Works (coming soon), Cellphone and Tablets Repair, Fragrance Outlet, Girlie Girl Originals, Sand Dollar Lifestyles and Toys “R” Us Outlet.

There is a food court on site with several options as well as a Harry & David, Rock N Roll Sushi, Starbucks Coffee and The Fudgery. Don’t forget to visit Peachwave for a froyo! With toppings galore (add as much as or as little as you want), it’s a great way to cool off any time of year.

Tanger also offers a Best Price Promise, allowing visitors to shop with confidence, according to company leaders. “If you purchase merchandise from any store at Tanger Outlets and find it advertised for less anywhere else within 14 days, we’ll gladly refund the difference to you in cash,” the company states.

Visiting Tanger Outlets in Foley is a perfect activity for a girls’ getaway beach vacation or a visit before school goes back in session. Stay in a three-bedroom condo in Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan, Orange Beach or Perdido Key next time you come to the beach and go to Tanger.

Indoor Adventures Abound On The Gulf Coast

Even though most days on the Gulf Coast are sunny, an afternoon rain show is not uncommon. And, while your beach condo or house is a perfect spot to relax and wait until the sun emerges once again, your family may want to get out a bit and explore some of the area’s fantastic indoor activities.

From arcades to museums and movies to shopping, there are plenty of adventure-filled indoor activities to explore on the Alabama/Florida Gulf Coast.

Arcades

Looking for a fun rainy day activity? An arcade can fill the bill for vacationers of all ages.

Arena The Next Level
Play in more than 10,000 square feet of fun on the upper level at The Wharf in Orange Beach.

Get competitive with your friends during a round of laser tag. Or, play Bazooka Ball, which is a combination of laser tag and paintball. While safe for younger players, the game provides an adrenaline rush for seasoned players too.

Fat Daddy’s Arcade
Open daily at 10 a.m., Fat Daddy’s Arcade is located in Orange Beach and offers more than 100 arcade games, interactive rides, a photo booth, food and more.

Interactive games include Guitar Hero, Jumping Jackpot, Big Buck Hunter Open Season, Terminator Salvation and The Fast and the Furious. Other games include coin pusher games, prize claws, Barber Cut, Deal or No Deal and more. There are even more traditional arcade games like Skee Ball, Hoops, Pac Man and Air Hockey.

Shrimpy’s Mini Golf & Arcade
Located at 204 East 2nd Ave., in Gulf Shores, Shrimpy’s Mini Golf and Arcade is a colorful spot to play. And, right next door is a seafood restaurant, making for a perfect evening of fun.

The Track Recreation Center
In Gulf Shores, just north of Gulf Shores on Ala. Hwy. 59 is The Track Recreation Center, where a large arcade is a perfect spot for a rainy afternoon of fun. In addition to fun arcade games, there are also interactive thrill rides inside as well.

Waterville USA
Waterville USA is more than just water slides and wet and wild fun. An on-site arcade and the House of Bounce stand ready to welcome the entire family.

The House of Bounce is a 2,500-square-foot indoor playground that dares the family to tackle the obstacle course, dare the giant drop slide and play in the inflatable play area. Parents can hang out in the arena as the kids bounce to their hearts’ content.

Browse & Learn At Museums

The Alabama/Florida Gulf Coast is blessed with numerous museums and learning centers that help tell the story of the area.

Baldwin County Heritage Museum
Located in Elberta, only a few miles from the Gulf Coast Beaches, the Baldwin County Heritage Museumcontains exhibits that were collected from the daily lives of the men and women who built Baldwin County.

The museum’s exhibits are located within 20,000 square feet of space and allow visitors to reconnect with the early history of Baldwin County.

The museum also features special exhibits and events, and is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday.

Gulf State Park Nature Center
Gulf State Park’s Nature Center is a living museum of plants and animals that are native go the Gulf Coast region.

Weekly programs include guided nature walks, beach walks, pier walks and a nature time.

The center, located within the state park campground area, is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

Orange Beach Indian & Sea Museum
Originally a schoolhouse when it was built in 1910, the Orange Beach Indian & Sea Museum has been a museum since 1995.

The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday, but group tours may be booked at other times.

The museum houses local artifacts and memorabilia related to Orange Beach’s Native American and fishing heritage. Families of early fishermen have donated supplies and collectibles that show the challenges and achievements of the early days of the area.

National Museum of Naval Aviation
Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the National Museum of Naval Aviation is the world’s largest Naval Aviation museum and one of the most-visited museums in the state of Florida.

The museum contains more than 150 beautifully restored aircraft representing Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard Aviation. Historic and one-of-a-kind aircraft are displayed both inside the museum’s nearly 350,000 square feet of exhibit space and also on the 37-acre grounds.

A 325-seat giant screen theater presents a variety of films, including “The Magic of Flight,” offering a “Fly with the Blues” experience that tells the story of human potential and the importance of training and importance.

Admission and parking are free. Visitors to the museum 16 years of age and older must have a valid photo ID and all bags are subject to search.

Fort Morgan Historic Site
Located 23 miles west of Ala. Hwy. 59 on scenic Fort Morgan Road, the museum at the Fort Morgan Historic Site is filled with displays of artifacts portraying the artillery, uniforms and history of the area for more than 200 years.

The museum and gift shop are open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., daily.

Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center & IMAX Dome Theater
The Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center, located in Mobile, features exhibits that explore science, math and technology in an effort to provoke innovative and critical thinking that leads to discovery.

The center features a variety of permanent as well as special exhibits. Permanent exhibits are housed in three galleries: Hands On Hall, Wharf of Wonder and My BodyWorks. There are also live demonstrations held in the ChemLab and BioLab.

Special exhibits have included solving a murder mystery at the Sherlock Holmes and the Clocktower Mystery exhibit, the Da Vinci: Machines & Robotics exhibit and more.

The J.L. Bedsole IMAX Dome Theater shows films on a variety of topics, such as great white sharks, mummies, the Hubble telescope, airplanes, Greece, Everest, space and more.

The Exploreum is open daily, and admission prices depend on age.

Gulf Shores Museum
Housed in a World War II-era home on land donated by one of the founders of Meyer Vacation Rentals,Claude O’Connor, the Gulf Shores Museum first opened in 1982 as a library and later as a youth center. Today, it tells the story of Gulf Shores with a variety of artifacts that appear in permanent exhibits. Seasonal programs and events are also offered.

The museum is located on 19th Avenue in Gulf Shores, near the public library and city government buildings.

USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park
Named Alabama’s 2015 Attraction of the Year, USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park offers self-guided tours of the USS Alabama, USS Drum submarine, the Aircraft Pavilion, park memorials, military equipment and a recreational area.

The USS Alabama, a South Dakota-class battleship, was commissioned in 1942 and served in World War II in the Atlantic and Pacific theaters. She was retired in 1962 and in 1964 taken to Mobile Bay and opened as a museum ship the following year. She was added to the National Historic Landmark registry in 1986.

The park is open 364 days a year.

Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
Located in Fairhope, the Weeks Bay Reserve encompasses more than 6,000 acres of land and water in and around Weeks Bay and along Mobile Bay.

The Reserve has a free educational interpretive center and two boardwalks. One boardwalk is behind the Reserve Interpretive Center and leads to Weeks Bay; the pitcher plant bog boardwalk connects to Fish River.

The Reserve is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

Get Adventurous

A little teamwork and an adventurous spirit go a long way for these next rainy day options.

Breakout Orange Beach
Not your average outing, Breakout Orange Beach invites visitors to solve mysteries. With different rooms that follow unique storylines, you and your friends have 60 minutes to escape your adventure of choice by cracking codes, solving puzzles and following clues.

Themes at this uniquely adventurous spot include “Kidnapping,” “Operation: Casino,” and “Hostage.” Escape themes are periodically changed.

Breakout Orange Beach is located on the second story of The Wharf at Orange Beach, so when you’ve “escaped,” there are plenty of restaurants, shops and other attractions to explore.

Gulf Coast Escape Room
Escaping is also the key at the Gulf Coast Escape Room, located at the Bayou Village shopping center next door to Matt’s Ice Cream shop.

Visitors have 60 minutes to solve puzzles, find clues and escape a themed room. Players are advised to communicate and cooperate with one another to maximize the experience created by this sophisticated code-cracking adventure game.

Themes at this experience include “Zombie Autopsy,” “The Doll Room,” and “Stop the Oil Spill.”

For either of these venues, reserve tickets in advance online for the experience of your choice.

Catch A Movie

Two movie theaters are located in close proximity to Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan, Orange Beach and Perdido Key: Carmike Cinemas Wharf 15 in Orange Beach and Cobb Pinnacle 14 Theatres in Gulf Shores.

The Wharf 15 is located at 23151 Wharf Lane in Orange Beach. Call (251) 981-4444 for show times.

The Cobb Pinnacle 14 is located at 3780 Gulf Shores Parkway. For movie times, call (251) 923-0100.

Explore The Arts

There are lots of opportunities on the Gulf Coast to peruse beautiful works of art and also to make your own.

Blue Girl Beading Company
A “bead boutique,” Blue Girl Beading Company is located at 2200 East 2nd Street in Gulf Shores.

Owner and designer Tara Gifford teaches visitors how to design their own jewelry using wire, metal work and intricate stitching. Drop by to design your own piece, or register for a class. Classes are taught for a fee, which also includes materials.

Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach
Love the arts? There is plenty to see at the Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach. A gallery and gift shop showcase watercolorists, potters, painters, photographers, sculptors and textile artists. Artwork is frequently changed so there is always something new to see!

Also on site is a hot shop, where you may visit to see glass blowing in progress. There are also glass blowing lessons, group demonstrations, glass fusing and lamp work done on site.

The Clay Studio features the work of ceramics artist May Blame-Cantrell. You might also enjoy creating your own pottery Monday through Friday.

Make reservations for the Hot Shop or Clay Studio in advance by calling (251) 981-2787.

More Fun Stuff

Looking to let the family blow off some steam during a rain shower? The below activities are pretty high energy!

The Factory
Open jump sessions are held throughout the day at The Factory, where participants are invited to play now and grow up later.

The park features 12,000 square feet of connected trampolines – more than 50! The famous angled wall trampolines and a series of launching decks from different heights create even more fun.

The Factory also offers air dodgeball, a basketball goal to dunk on, and foam pits to soar into.

A flight simulator allows you to experience air-to-air combat, stunt flying and interactive roller coaster rides. Combined with patented, fully interactive, 360-degree pitch and roll technology, kids and adults will find this indoor attraction very exciting!

Gulf Bowl Family Entertainment
Need to keep everyone busy for a few hours? Bring them to Foley to play at Gulf Bowl Family Entertainment, which is more than just a bowling alley.

Call ahead – (251) 943-4575 — to reserve a lane.

Come early to eat at Captain’s Choice, which serves everything from fried pickles to oysters Rockefeller. A full bar is also available, featuring specialty drinks as well as premium or import draft beer.

Combine your bowling excursion with a game of laser tag at the multi-level laser tag arena on site. Or, enjoy playing arcade games and winning prizes.

Shop

When the rain showers come, many visitors gravitate toward shopping. After all, you don’t want to return home empty handed!

Pelican Place at Craft Farms
Located just north of the Intracoastal Canal Waterway bridge in Gulf Shores and anchored by Target, Cobb Theatres, Books A Million, Bed Bath & Beyond, Publix and a Courtyard by Marriott, Pelican Place at Craft Farms is a lifestyle center featuring a streetscape intersected by a pedestrian restaurant plaza and splash fountain.

Several restaurants and boutique-styled shops are located at Pelican Place. It’s a great place to explore, enjoy an ice cream, watch a movie and browse the shops.

Tanger Outlets
Looking for great deals on your favorite designer or brand name clothing? Check out Tanger Outlets in Foley. Shops are open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday.

At Tanger, you’ll find accessories and jewelry, apparel, children’s apparel, food, footwear, housewares and home furnishings, and specialty goods.

Some of the popular stores include American Eagle, Charlotte Russe Outlet, Coach, Golf 4 Less, New York & Company, Nike Factory Store, Old Navy Outlet, Under Armour, Levi’s Outlet, Polo Ralph Lauren, Claire’s, Michael Kors, Journeys, T.J. Maxx, Le Creuset, Bath & Body Works, and Yankee Candle.

The Wharf in Orange Beach
The Wharf in Orange Beach is a diverse entertainment destination featuring a 112-foot-tall Ferris wheel, a music and lights show, uniquely coastal shops, restaurants, an amphitheater and a marina.

Restaurants featuring everything from burgers and pub food to steaks and fresh Gulf seafood.

The Wharf Putt-Putt is an 18-hole mini golf course open seven days a week. The Arena offers indoor fun for kids with arcade games, Bazooka Ball, Mission Impossible and Laser Tag. New at The Wharf is Breakout Orange Beach, where you and your friends and family work together to escape a themed room.

Also on site is a 15-screen movie theater, and a 10,000-seat amphitheater that headlines artists such as Keith Urban, Miranda Lambert, Twenty One Pilots and more.

The marina at The Wharf is located on the Intracoastal Canal Waterway and offers everything from boat slip rentals to excursions to see dolphins play or watch the sun set. Charter a fishing boat, rent a boat for a day, tour the bayous and marshlands on a nature tour or relax on a cruise.

50 Years Of Making Your Memories Our Business

Meyer Vacation Rentals has been helping families create forever memories at cool pools across the Gulf Coast since 1967.

These fun indoor activities are near Meyer’s condos and beach houses in Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan,Orange Beach and Perdido Key.

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