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.

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!

Have Fun & Stay Healthy Playing Tennis At Gulf Shores Condos With Tennis Courts

A beach vacation is a perfect time for the whole family to relax, have fun, eat well and, yes, even stay fit.

One way to both have fun and stay fit is to play tennis while on vacation. A sport that can be enjoyed for a lifetime because it can be played at any age regardless of ability, tennis offers many physical, social and mental benefits.

And a beach vacation is the perfect place to enjoy the sport of tennis thanks to the variety of tennis facilities available.

Physical Benefits Of Playing Tennis
When you play tennis for just one hour, men are likely to burn up to 600 calories and women up to 420. That’s because tennis provides a full-body, aerobic workout.

One of the sport’s newest trends is “cardio tennis,” a high-energy fitness activity that conditions your heart and lungs. A fun game played in a group headed up by someone who feeds players a special cardio tennis ball, cardio tennis sessions feature drills to give players of all abilities an ultimate, high-energy workout.

A typical cardio tennis program includes a short dynamic warm-up, a cardio workout and a cool-down phase. The majority of the program is the workout phases, which lasts anywhere from 30 to 50 minutes. Most of this portion includes fast-paced drills designed to feed balls to players based on ability and fitness levels.

If traditional tennis play is your preferred cardiovascular workout, traditional doubles or singles are good choices and are considered as effective as jogging or participating in an indoor cycling class.

In addition to the cardiovascular benefits of playing tennis, the game also works to strengthen legs, arms, and upper body.

Social & Mental Benefits
A recent study performed at Southern Connecticut State University tested the psychological benefits of several sports and among non-athletes. Tennis players scored higher in self-esteem, vigor, and optimism as well as lower for factors like confusion, tension, anxiety and depression.

It’s easy to motivate friends and family to play a friendly match or two during vacation since there are so many sunny days to enjoy at the beach.

More than 300 Meyer Vacation Rentals properties feature access to community tennis courts.

For properties that do not have tennis courts on site or nearby, there are public tennis courts.

The Orange Beach Tennis Center, located at 4851 Wilson Blvd., is open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and features eight lighted medium speed hard courts. The on-site Pro Shop offers Wilson rackets, tennis shoes, apparel, and accessories.

The George C. Meyer Tennis Center in Gulf Shores is located at Johnnie Sims Park and is composed of six soft courts, 12 hard courts, an indoor clubhouse and a pro shop. Lighted outdoor courts are available daily until 10 p.m.

Reservations may be made 48 hours in advance.

The Perdido Key Tennis Center, located at 16880 Perdido Key Dr., is a public facility featuring 10 lighted outdoor courts.

Tennis lessons are available at these public facilities.

Click here to browse Meyer’s inventory of vacation rental properties with on-site or community tennis courts.

Places To Visit On The Way To Gulf Shores

For many, the Alabama/Florida Gulf Coast is the closest beach to home.

In fact, the Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan, Orange Beach and Perdido Key Gulf Coast region is only about a five-hour drive from Birmingham, Ala.; a 6.5-hour drive from Atlanta; a 4.5-hour drive from Baton Rouge, La.; and a nine-hour drive from Houston.

Just for fun, we’ve condensed the drive on U.S. Interstate 65 from Birmingham into a two-minute video, noting a few fun stops at landmarks along the way.

Next time you’re planning a beach trip, remember, we really are just a short trip away! Journey to the beach in the video below. Then, read on to learn more about these Alabama landmarks.

Priester’s Pecans – Fort Deposit

Visible from U.S. Interstate 65 in Fort Deposit, Ala., Priester’s Pecans is a major landmark south of Montgomery for those headed to the beaches of Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan, Orange Beach and Perdido Key.

It’s worth pausing your journey to pick up a sweet pecan roll, a pecan pie or brownies, or even a bag of honey glazed pecans for the family to enjoy as a special treat while at their condo or beach house.

You’ll feel like you have taken a trip back in time when you step up onto the porch of the quaint Country Store. Here, you can purchase anything from pure virgin pecan oil, homemade jams, jellies and preserves, snack mix, pies and so much more.

Priester’s Pecans got it start back in the early 1900s when L.C. Priester decided to offer refreshments and a little taste of the South at his Texaco gas station that serviced travelers headed between Mobile and Montgomery. When customers began asking for the pecans to be cracked, L.C. had to begin hiring some helpers who sat on his back porch cracking pecans. Soon, the back porch could no longer handle the volume, and a larger facility was purchased, and the rest is history.

Fort Deposit is only 2 hours and 45 minutes from the beach.

Bates House Of Turkey – Greenville

You know you’re about halfway between Birmingham and Gulf Shores when you see Bates House of Turkey in Greenville, Alabama, just south of Montgomery.

Bates House of Turkey serves free-range turkey raised right on the nearby Bates Turkey Farm. The farm has been in the Bates family since 1923.

The family’s landmark restaurant opened in 1970 and serves only turkey from their farm and all the tasty “fixins.”

Enjoy an old-fashioned roast turkey dinner with cornbread dressing, gravy, cranberry sauce, vegetables, rolls or corn muffin. Or, a Southern-style hickory smoked turkey sandwich or hot open-faced turkey sandwich may be more to your liking.

Whatever your preference, Bates House of Turkey is a great place to stop for a healthy, tasty meal. You can even pick up a whole turkey, sliced ham, turkey sausage, peppered turkey jerky or a smoked turkey breast for sandwiches at the beach.

This is one down-home dining experience you won’t want to miss on your way to the beach.

Greenville is only two hours and 35 minutes from the beach.

Hank Williams Boyhood Home & Museum – Georgiana

Just east of U.S. Interstate 65 in Georgiana is the Hank Williams Boyhood Home and Museum, where you can see the church pew where Hank Williams stood and sang as a child and the front porch where he learned to play guitar.

The facility is dedicated to the memory of Hank Williams Sr. and contains memorabilia and artifacts such as the country and western singer and songwriter’s cowboy hats, album covers, newspaper clippings, sheet music and more.

This 1850 house is the only home remaining that Hank Williams lived in prior to becoming a Nashville star. It opened as a museum in 1993.

Georgiana is only two hours and 22 minutes from the beach.

Burris Farm Market – Loxley

If you’re looking for fresh fruits and vegetables to take to your beach house or condo, be sure to stop by Burris Farm Market on your way.

You won’t be able to miss this family-owned and operated local farm-fresh produce market, as it is in the center of town in Loxley.

Rick and Jeanine Stewart, owners of Burris Farm Market pride themselves on their constantly changing products and the opportunity to provide fresh quality, healthy meals to locals and visitors alike.

Burris Farm Market also offers homemade jams, preserves, pickles, sorghum, molasses, cheese, salads, and baked goods for sale.

Burris Farm Market will open a new location at The Wharf in Orange Beach on Memorial Day weekend.

You’re almost here! Loxley is less than an hour’s drive from the beach.

For a quick beach getaway, book a two-bedroom condo in Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan, Orange Beach or Perdido Key.

For a longer visit and a larger group, a four– or five-bedroom house could fill the bill.

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