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.

Whole House, Whole Family, Whole Lot Of Room

Part of the wonder of a vacation, whether traveling alone or with family and friends, is experiencing something that takes you outside the realm of ordinary life—new destinations or exciting attractions, perhaps.

An important component of the overall vacation experience that builds anticipation and generates excitement is the joy of finding the perfect accommodations.

Vacation rental houses at the beach are gaining popularity among travelers who are in search of an accommodations experience that goes far beyond what the typical cookie-cutter hotel room can provide.

More Space, Less Money

In a Meyer Vacation Rentals beach house, you and your friends and family can stay under one roof, with everyone able to enjoy more space at a lower price than they would in a hotel room. When you rent a house from Meyer, you will pay up to 50% less per square foot than you would in the average hotel room, making traveling with others even more economical when costs are shared.

A typical hotel room, at just over 300 square feet, simply does not offer the space that a Meyer Vacation Rentals house, ranging from just under 1,000 square feet and one bedroom like Plum Cute all the way up to more than 10,000 square feet and 20 bedrooms like Pearl, can offer.

Some of Meyer’s houses with numerous bedrooms even have multiple master suites and balconies or decks, giving family branches the opportunity to enjoy scenic views of the Gulf, lagoon, bay, golf course or other vistas in the privacy of their own spaces.

In a beach house, vacationers may also huddle in spaces like the living room, kitchen, dining room, media rooms, private balconies or other spots designed especially for allowing friends and family to catch up, play games or even do nothing at all.

Making Meyer’s beach houses so unique is that each one is individually owned and decorated, with owners taking great care to incorporate a coastal themed decor.

With the ability to accommodate more guests comes the need for everyone to be able to wash clothes, towels and swimsuits. All Meyer houses are furnished with washers and dryers and sometimes even multiple units.

Cook In Or Have A Meal Catered

In a beach house, it’s easy to dine in or prepare meals in your fully equipped kitchen. Or, if you have a large group and have rented a house with a sizeable kitchen, you might even want to consider having a special meal catered, perhaps for a wedding party.

Many of Meyer’s houses feature kitchens that are caterer friendly, with more than one refrigerator, stove, icemaker and dishwasher, and lots of countertop and cabinet space.

The Extras

Beach houses often have many of the same amenities you would find in a resort-styled condo complex, either on site at the house or within the community.

Some have private pools and hot tubs, game rooms, Jacuzzi tubs, exercise rooms and more, while others offer access to amenities like golf courses, pools, hot tubs and tennis courts.

For example, vacationers staying at one of Meyer’s houses within the Cottages at Romar neighborhood in Orange Beach enjoy access to the community zero-entry, saltwater pool; a cozy fire pit; bathhouses; a private access beach with walkover; and gated entry.

If you want to bring your dog, Meyer has more than 50 houses that are dog-friendly, including many in Fort Morgan, where leashed dogs are allowed on the beaches.

Another bonus when renting one of Meyer’s beach houses is that the majority of them are equipped with coded keyless entry locks, meaning you are able to bypass the rental office and check in directly to your house. Key codes are provided via text or email for participating houses.

Meyer’s beach houses in Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan, Orange Beach and Perdido Key fill quickly for popular vacation weeks. Make your selection now for your preferred week.

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31-50+ people

Exclusive Events For Meyer Vacation Rentals Winter Guests

 

Join us in 2017 to celebrate Meyer’s 50-year tradition of family-focused fun, as we host “Stay Golden” activities, exclusively for you. Meyer Vacation Rentals has been trusted with millions of vacation memories….so let’s make more memories together! 

Once registered your name and number of attendees (up to 4 people) will be listed on a registration list for each event. Note: No tickets are issued. You will receive a confirmation of your registered events via email and a phone call from one of our team members within a few days of registration to process your credit card payment (if applicable).

Registration Options: Online: www.MeyerRE.com/WinterGuest Phone: 866-269-6914.

Attractions

Friday, Jan 6, 9:00 am-11:00 am: Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo (Free—Limit 120)

Alabama Gulf Coast ZooLocation: 1204 Gulf Shores Parkway, Gulf Shores
Zoo Tour: The fun begins as soon as you enter the quaint, small zoo made famous in the Animal Planet series “The Little Zoo that Could.” Join us at the picnic tables for coffee and doughnuts and tour on your own until we come together at 10:00 for an animal show located at the pavilion. You are also welcome to continue your tour after the show.

Wednesday, Jan 11, 1:00 pm-2:00 pm: The Hot Shop (Free—Limit 50)
Location: 26389 Canal Rd (at the Coastal Arts Center), Orange Beach
Glass Blowing Demo: It’s great fun to see the artists hard at work on their colorful creations at The Hot Shop – Alabama’s premier hot glass blowing facility. You will want to bring your camera to capture images of the process. Glass Blowing classes can be scheduled as well as pottery classes at The Clay Studio next door. Spend some time browsing thru the art gallery, which is temporarily housed in trailers while the new art center is under construction.

Tuesday, Jan 24, 10:00 am-11:30 am: The Gulf Bowl ($9—Limit 40)
Location: 2881 S Juniper St, Foley (behind Tanger Outlet)
Bowling: Thanks to your suggestions, we have added bowling to our fun activities. Three games and shoe rental is included in the price. Enjoy free coffee at Chic n’ Classy at Tanger Outlet beginning at 9 a.m. before bowling. Also you may wish to stay for lunch at The Gulf Bowl to sample their delicious menu items. 

Tuesday, Feb 21, 10:00 am-11:30 am: The Gulf Bowl ($9—Limit 40)
Location: 2881 S Juniper St, Foley (behind Tanger Outlet)
Bowling: Thanks to your suggestions, we have added bowling to our fun activities. Three games and shoe rental is included in the price. Enjoy free coffee at Chic n’ Classy at Tanger Outlet beginning at 9 a.m. before bowling. Also you may wish to stay for lunch at The Gulf Bowl to sample their delicious menu items.   

Cetacean CruisesFriday, Feb 24, 9:30 am-12:00 pm: Cetacean Cruises – MORNING ($22—Limit 44)
Location: 4673 Wharf Pkwy W (at the entrance to Springhill Suites by Marriott at The Wharf), Orange Beach
Dolphin & Nature Cruise: No trip to the coast would be complete without a water adventure. This 40-foot pontoon boat is designed to slip into some of the creeks and swamps of the back bays while your knowledgeable tour guide points out the local flora, fauna and wildlife of course including dolphins.

Friday, Feb 24, 12:30 pm-3:00 pm: Cetacean Cruises – AFTERNOON ($22—Limit 44)
Location: 4673 Wharf Pkwy W (at the entrance to Springhill Suites by Marriott at The Wharf), Orange Beach
Dolphin & Nature Cruise: No trip to the coast would be complete without a water adventure. This 40-foot pontoon boat is designed to slip into some of the creeks and swamps of the back bays while your knowledgeable tour guide points out the local flora, fauna and wildlife of course including dolphins.

Day Trips

Wednesday, Jan 18, 8:00 am-8:00 pm: New Orleans WWII Museum ($90—Limit 52)
Bus departs from Meyer rear parking area at 1585 Gulf Shores Parkway, Gulf Shores
We will immerse ourselves in history during this all day trip to the National WWII Museum including a matinee lunch show at BB’s Stage Door Canteen. Buffet lunch 11:45 – 12:45 then Vic Tones dynamic vocal trio until 1:45. A self-guided museum tour is next, and then we gather at the Solomon Victory Theater at 4:00 pm for Beyond All Boundaries, a 48-minute 4-D experience narrated by Tom Hanks. Fee includes bus fare, buffet lunch, matinee show, museum admission, and movie experience.

Thursday, Jan 19, 9:30 am-5:30 pm: Wind Creek Casino ($15—Limit 52)
Bus departs from Meyer rear parking area at 1585 Gulf Shores Parkway, Gulf Shores
During our five-hour casino visit, you will receive a $15 food credit and $10 free play to try your luck at the games such as “Wheel of Fortune,” “Sizzling 7’s,” “Double Diamond,” and many more.

Tuesday, Jan 31, 8:30 am-3:000 pm: Mobile Historic Homes ($44—Limit 52)
Bus departs from Meyer rear parking area at 1585 Gulf Shores Parkway, Gulf Shores
Travel through time as you experience two of Mobile’s oldest and grandest homes. Our tour begins at the Oakleigh mansion in one of the cities many historic districts. Next, we will journey for lunch in the tea room and a tour of the Bragg-Mitchell mansion, all included in admission. Note: We will contact you for your sandwich and side order prior to the trip. 

Wednesday, Feb 15, 7:30 am-7:30 pm: New Orleans French Quarter ($30—Limit 52)
Bus departs from Meyer rear parking area at 1585 Gulf Shores Parkway, Gulf Shores
Spend the day exploring the sights, sounds and tastes of New Orleans in the historic French Quarter. Take a horse and buggy tour of the area or walk to the nearby Aquarium of the Americas if you wish. Food, art, and music are the main attraction in this quaint part of the city that feels very European. Beignets at Café Du Monde, shopping at the French Market flea market, the fortune tellers in Jackson Square and a stroll on Bourbon Street are not to be missed.

Thursday, Feb 16, 9:30 am-5:30 pm: Wind Creek Casino ($15—Limit 52)
Bus departs from Meyer rear parking area at 1585 Gulf Shores Parkway, Gulf Shores
During our five-hour casino visit, you will receive a $15 food credit and $10 free play to try your luck at the games such as “Wheel of Fortune”, “Sizzling 7’s”, “Double Diamond” and many more.

Bellingrath GardensWednesday, Feb 22, 9:00 am-4:00 pm:Bellingrath Gardens & Home ($31—Limit 52)
Bus departs from Meyer’s rear parking area at 1585 Gulf Shores Parkway, Gulf Shores
Comfortable shoes and a camera are a must for your leisurely stroll through one of the finest gardens in the country, featuring 65 acres of year-round blooms and beauty.  Admission includes a tour of the preserved home of Walter and Bessie Bellingrath built in 1935. Lunch is on your own at the Magnolia Café located near the entrance. Your choices are soup, sandwiches and salads served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Be sure to save time to browse through the gift shop before boarding the bus for home.

Property Tours

Thursday, Jan 12, 9:00 am-12:00 pm: Tour of Rental Properties (FREE—unlimited attendance)Tour of Properties
Beginning Wednesday, Jan 11 pick up your tour map at Meyer offices at 1585 Gulf Shores Parkway; Gulf Shores or 13700 Perdido Key Dr, Perdido Key, AL
Discover new rental possibilities when you take the self-guided tour of a few of the other Meyer Vacation Rentals monthly rental choices. Our professional rental staff will be on hand at each property to assist you with any questions.

Thursday, Jan 26, 9:00 am-12:00 pm: Tour of Properties for Sale (FREE—unlimited attendance)
Beginning Wednesday, Jan 25 pick up your tour map at Meyer offices at 1585 Gulf Shores Parkway; Gulf Shores or 13700 Perdido Key Dr, Perdido Key, AL
If you enjoy being our guest maybe it’s time to be our neighbor. Check out the homes we are featuring for sale. A member of our CENTURY 21 Meyer Real Estate sales team will be on hand at each property to assist you with any questions.

Thursday, Feb 9, 9:00 am-12:00 pm: Tour of Rental Properties (FREE—unlimited attendance)
Beginning Wednesday, Feb 8 pick up your tour map at Meyer offices at 1585 Gulf Shores Parkway; Gulf Shores or 13700 Perdido Key Dr, Perdido Key, AL
Discover new rental possibilities when you take the self-guided tour of a few of the other Meyer Vacation Rentals monthly rental choices. Our professional rental staff will be on hand at each property to assist you with any questions.

Thursday, Feb 23, 9:00 am-12:00 pm: Tour of Properties for Sale (FREE—unlimited attendance)
Beginning Wednesday, Feb 22 pick up your tour map at Meyer offices at 1585 Gulf Shores Parkway; Gulf Shores or 13700 Perdido Key Dr, Perdido Key, AL
If you enjoy being our guest maybe it’s time to be our neighbor. Check out the homes we are featuring for sale. A member of our CENTURY 21 Meyer Real Estate sales team will be on hand at each property to assist you with any questions.

Signature Events

Friday, Feb 3, 2:00 pm-4:00 pm: Ice Cream Social and Fashion Show (Free—Limit 100)Ice Cream Social and Fashion Show
Location: Meyer office at 1585 Gulf Shores Parkway, Gulf Shores
Join us for a festive afternoon filled with delights. We begin with delicious ice cream from Matt’s Homemade Alabama Ice Cream and treats from Yummy’s Bakery, followed by a parade of fashions from Chic ‘n Classy at Tanger Outlet.

Wednesday, Feb 8, 10:30 am-5:00 pm: Golf Tournament at Peninsula ($45—Limit 100)
Location: 20 Peninsula Blvd.; Gulf Shores (5 miles west of Hwy 59)
The Peninsula Golf and Racquet Club is one of the most picturesque courses on the Gulf Coast. Located beside Mobile Bay this popular course features live oaks, cypress and other native plants. Plan to arrive around 10:30 to get in a little putting and driving range practice prior to the shotgun start at 11:00. After play, we’ll gather for a hamburger cookout and an awards celebration. Cash bar for beer and cocktails.

Wednesday, Feb 28, 8:00 am-11:00 am: Mardi Gras Day at Meyer (Free—Limit 250)
Location: Meyer office at 1585 Gulf Shores Parkway, Gulf Shores
Laissez lesbons temps rouler, which translates to “let the good times roll,” and that’s our plan for Mardi Gras day. Join us for hot coffee and delicious donuts while gathering on our front lawn to watch the Gulf Shores parade that starts at 10. You are welcome to bring a lawn chair if you wish. The parade ends in time to head to Orange Beach to claim your spot along Perdido Beach Blvd (Hwy 182) for the afternoon parade starting at 1:00 p.m.

Workshops

painted-rock-turtleMonday, Jan 9, 1:00 pm-3:00 pm: Painting – Turtle Paperweight ($15—Limit 30)
Location: Meyer office at 1585 Gulf Shores Parkway; Gulf Shores
Becky from Hobby Lobby will provide instructions and materials to paint a turtle design on a rock ideal as a paperweight or garden decoration. It may sound a little weird but it’s really cute and clever.

Friday, Jan 13, 10:00 am–11:00 am: Fishing Tips (Free—Limit 75)
Location: Meyer office at 1585 Gulf Shores Parkway; Gulf Shores
Susan from Reel Surprise Charters will provide tips on what’s biting, where to fish and what bait to use to catch your dinner.

beaded-braceletMonday, Jan 16, 1:00 pm-3:00 pm: Beading ($35—Limit 30)
Location: Meyer office at 1585 Gulf Shores Parkway; Gulf Shores
Tara from Blue Girl Beading has created a project exclusively for you. The fee includes instructions and all materials to create your very own souvenir jewelry.

painted-wine-glassesMonday, Jan 23, 1:00 pm-3:00 pm: Painting – Wine Glasses ($20—Limit 30)
Location: Meyer office at 1585 Gulf Shores Parkway; Gulf Shores
Becky from Hobby Lobby will provide instructions and materials to paint a beach scene on a pair of wine glasses, complete with palm trees swaying in the breeze. Plan to return Feb. 27th to complete your set of four glasses.

painted-shell-candy-dishMonday, Jan 30, 1:00 pm-3:00 pm: Painting – Shell Candy Dish ($15—Limit 30)
Location: Meyer office at 1585 Gulf Shores Parkway; Gulf Shores
Becky from Hobby Lobby will provide instructions and materials to paint a crab and a colorful design on a seashell. This unique décor item can be used as a small candy dish, soap dish or whatever you wish it to be.

Thursday, Feb 2, 10:00 am–11:00 am: Photography (Free—Limit 75)
Location: Meyer office at 1585 Gulf Shores Parkway; Gulf Shores
Lori from Dillon Photography will provide information about unique coastal venues to photograph nature along with helpful photography tips.

Monday, Feb 6, 1:00 pm-3:00 pm: Beading ($35—Limit 30)
Location: Meyer office at 1585 Gulf Shores Parkway; Gulf Shores
Tara from Blue Girl Beading has created a project exclusively for you. The fee includes instructions and all materials to create your very own souvenir jewelry.

painted-sailboatMonday, Feb 13, 1:00 pm-3:00 pm: Painting – Sailboat Picture ($20—Limit 30)
Location: Meyer office at 1585 Gulf Shores Parkway; Gulf Shores
Becky from Hobby Lobby will provide instructions and materials to paint a sailboat scene on canvas.

beginner-knittingMonday, Feb 20,10:00 am-12:00 pm: Knitting – Beginner (Free class, materials $18—Limit 30)
Location: Meyer office at 1585 Gulf Shores Parkway; Gulf Shores
Pam McNeely a.k.a. McNeedles welcomes you to the fun, fabulous world of knitting. Learn to knit, purl, cast on, and bind off in this beginner knit class. The class is free, and the kit costs approximately $18.

Monday, Feb 20, 2:00 pm-4:00 pm: Knitting – Mica Tam (Free class, materials $38—Limit 30)
Location: Meyer office at 1585 Gulf Shores Parkway; Gulf Shores
Pam McNeely a.k.a. McNeedles teaches the art of knitting a Mica Tam (hat). The class is free and the kit costs approximately $38.

Monday, Feb 27, 1:00 pm-3:00 pm: Painting – Wine Glasses ($20—Limit 30)
Location: Meyer office at 1585 Gulf Shores Parkway; Gulf Shores
Becky from Hobby Lobby will provide instructions and materials to paint a beach scene on a pair of wine glasses, complete with palm trees swaying in the breeze.

 

MARK YOUR CALENDARS

Activity registration will begin Wednesday, December 7, 2016, at 10:00 a.m. (CST)

  • Register online at MeyerRE.com/WinterGuest. Or call 866-269-6914 and Meyer Vacation Rentals staff will assist you with registration.
  • Winter Guest events are exclusively for Meyer Vacation Rentals guests.
  • Reservations may be made for up to four people for all activities.
  • You will be contacted following your registration for payment for the paid activities, so that we may also gather more information.
  • Activity fees are not refundable.
  • No tickets are issued. Your name and number of attendees will be listed on a registration list and checked off when you arrive.

More Area Info

For area happenings, you can also check our Gulf Shores/Orange Beach Calendar of Events and Gulf Shores Music Calendar.

Book up to 24 months in advance
We accept reservations up to 24 months in advance. Note: An initial payment of 10% is due at the time of booking with the remaining 20% due one year prior to arrival.

Single Month Rentals
You can reserve the single months of October, November, December, January or February up to 24 months in advance, when arriving and departing on the 1st day of the month.

Hot Deals
If you are still searching for a spot for winter sun and fun, check out the Hot Deals for the latest price reductions on remaining condos and houses.

Reminders, Hints & Tips
Mail—Mail CANNOT be delivered directly to your vacation residence. Only property owners have access to onsite mailbox keys, which are government property, not transferable, and cannot be duplicated. Your mail may be forwarded by renting a Gulf Coast area mailbox from your local Postmaster prior to your arrival.

Phone calls—Local phone calls are free. Long-distance providers charge an access fee.

Local newspaper subscriptions:
The Islander and The Onlooker—251-947-7712
Press-Register (Mobile)—888-779-7759
Pensacola News Journal—800-288-2021, ext. 500.

Internet connection—Some properties are equipped with Internet connections; however, cables to connect to computers are not provided.

Wireless Internet hotspots—There are numerous wireless hotspot connections in the area, including the welcome centers, libraries, recreation centers, coffee shops and restaurants.

Be safe, and drive carefully. We look forward to welcoming you to the beach. If you have any questions, call us at 866-269-6914.

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

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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.

 

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