Vacation Rentals 101

The use of vacation rentals vs. hotels has been growing by leaps and bounds, with 40 percent of vacationers saying they have stayed in a vacation rental.

In a few short years, the vacation rental industry is projected to nearly double in size, with some industry experts predicting vacation rentals will overtake hotels as the primary form of lodging in the not-too-distant future.

These experts say travelers today are looking for more flexibility and options when it comes to their vacation experience. They want a vacation experience that makes them feel immersed in a locale and that they “own” their vacation property—even if it’s just for a few days, a week, a month or longer.

Read on for answers to several frequently asked questions about vacation rentals in general and also about Meyer Vacation Rentals.

How is a vacation rental different from a hotel?
The experience of vacationing in a rental property differs greatly from that of a hotel. (Details)

Full kitchens are one factor that makes vacation rentals different.A typical hotel room, at an average size of 325 square feet, simply does not have much space for families to hang out and relax. On the other hand, Meyer Vacation Rentals-managed properties range in size from efficiencies to five bedrooms and almost 4,000 square feet. We have houses with one bedroom, we have houses with 20 bedrooms, and we have everything in between.

Our vacation rentals come with private bedrooms and bathrooms, a fully equipped kitchen that allows you to prepare full meals, a washer and dryer, a private balcony, deck or patio.

Each vacation rental is unique—uniquely decorated and unique in its availability of amenities. With a selection of more than 1,100 vacation rental properties, Meyer Vacation Rentals has a property to suit every taste, group size and desire for amenities.

Amenities at privately owned vacation rentals run the gamut, with some offering access to indoor and outdoor pools, a sauna, a hot tub, playgrounds, fitness rooms, wireless Internet access, game rooms and on-site restaurants. Other vacation rentals have access to different amenities but offer other unique features aimed to please vacationers.

How can I figure out which vacation rentals are available for the dates I need?
Once you are logged on to MeyerRE.com on your desktop, you will see white boxes prompting you to select your arrival and departure dates.

Meyer makes it easy to choose your dates.You may use the calendar to fill in your dates here. Or, if you are unsure of your dates, simply click the “Search” button to pull up a list of Meyer Vacation Rentals-managed properties.

Once on the results page, select your preferred filters for property type, areas, orientations, number of bedrooms, etc. Other options allow you to further refine your list by categories such as rental houses with poolschildren’s poolsdog-friendlyboat friendlyground-floor units and so on.

On a mobile search, once you select “Vacation Rentals Search,” you will be prompted to note your preferred arrival and departure dates if they are known and also your preferred property type, view and area. It is not necessary to input arrival and departure dates, however. You may choose for your results to be sorted randomly, by featured properties at the top, by price or by the number of bedrooms. Selecting “Advanced Search” will allow you to access more filters to narrow your search results. On your results page, the link “Modify Search” will return you to the “Advanced Search” option.

In what areas are rental properties located?
Meyer Vacation Rentals offers the most diverse selection of beach houses and condos on the Gulf Coast, including 900+ condos and 200+ beach houses located throughout more than 38 miles of beachfront.

Properties are available in Gulf ShoresFort MorganOrange Beach and Perdido Key.

What’s the difference between a condo and a house?
Meyer Vacation Rentals manages both condos and houses for vacationers to rent.

Houses Vs. CondosA condominium rental is located in a multi-unit complex. While units are individually owned, property owners and their guests share access to common spaces and amenities like pools, fitness rooms, etc.

Meyer manages more than 900 condos and 200 houses along the Gulf Coast area that includes Gulf ShoresFort Morgan and Orange Beach, Alabama, and Perdido Key, Florida.

The selection of houses varies in size, the number of bedrooms and the number of people they can accommodate. Some houses have only a single bedroom and are right-sized for romantic getaways or a small family, while others have as many as 10 or even 20 bedrooms and can accommodate up to 56 people.

Regardless of whether you select a house or a condo and regardless of the number of people it can accommodate, each property has its own unique features and décor and includes fully equipped kitchens, living areas, and private bedrooms and bathrooms.

Meyer-managed houses feature a range of amenities. Some have their own pools while others are located in a neighborhood and offer access to a community pool. Some have elevators for ease of loading in and out.

While all of Meyer’s beach houses focus on the essentials needed by vacationing families such as fully equipped kitchens and washers and dryers, some owners have opted to reach beyond the fundamentals and offer extras such as gourmet kitchens, barbecue grills, and icemakers.

What are my options for views?
You may select from a variety of views at Meyer-managed properties. During your search for vacation rentals, simply filter your preferred results by the view.

Gulf ViewProperties with “Gulf-front” views provide an excellent beach view from your house or condo located directly on the Gulf of Mexico. There are no condos or houses between your balcony/deck and the beach. In the majority of properties, your view will be panoramic. However, at a few condos and houses, the adjacent properties are situated close to the beach on one or both sides, making your Gulf view still direct but not panoramic. The walking distance to the water’s edge varies by property.

Gulf View

When a property is considered Gulf view,” beach views range from excellent to angled or partial from your condo located on the Gulf of Mexico. The position of the condo building or house on the beach creates the type of view from the balcony of your individual property. Your advantage, in addition to the view, is the location on the beach side of the street.

Gulf-side” view means that there is no view of the beach from your condo located on the Gulf of Mexico due to the position of the condo building. Your advantage is the location on the beach side of the street.

Gulf-oriented” view means your condo or house is located in close proximity to the beach but not on the beach side of the street. Your beach views will be either excellent, good, angled, partial or no view depending on how the buildings on the beach side of the street are positioned. In most cases, you will have easy beach access nearby.

WaterfrontA “Waterfront” view means your house or condo building is located directly on one of the bays, lagoons or bayous on the island. Views of the backwaters will be excellent from houses. Water views from condos will be excellent, good, angled, partial or no view depending on how the buildings are positioned on the backwaters. In most cases, you will have easy beach access nearby.

Course-oriented” houses or condos are located on or near a signature golf course with excellent or partial views of the course.

How do I search for rentals large enough for my group?
When searching for vacation rentals, you may sort your results by criteria such as the number of bedrooms or by people you need to sleep.

Can I see photos of vacation rentals?
Yes, photos can be accessed on the individual house and condo pages as well as pages that highlight the shared amenities of condo complexes.

I’ve found some vacation rentals I’m interested in for my dates. How can I share these properties with my group or request more information?
Email to a friendFrom the individual property page, look below the main photo for icons that indicate you may email a friend, request more information or print a listing.

When you click the email a friend icon, a window will pop up prompting you to provide your name, email address and friend’s email.

Once you click “send,” your friend will receive a message directing them to click the link to view the property page.

The property I’m interested in is not available for my selected dates. How can I find something similar?
From your desktop computer, you will see that properties with similar attributes to the one you have selected appear on all property pages. Above the “Vacation Rentals” bar at the top of your results page, you will find “breadcrumbs,” or navigation links, that will identify your location within the website and allow you to return to a previous results page.

Do you ever run any specials?
Specials can be found on your mobile device on a tab at the bottom of the MeyerRE.com homepage. On the full site, specials and properties with hot deals can be found under the “Vacation Rentals” tab in the navigation bar at the top and also on the homepage in the “Vacation Rentals Special” block.

Joining our mailing list (click “Register” link at the top right of the homepage) and following Meyer on Facebook will alert to ongoing specials.

Can I book my selected rental online, or do I need to call your office?
You can book and pay for your vacation directly on MeyerRE.com. You may also call one of our vacation planners 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-866-382-9635.

Do you offer trip insurance?
Trip InsuranceYes, Meyer offers trip insurance that can be added to your reservation to protect your vacation investment.

Two options are available, “Cancel for Any Reason” and “Sun Trip Preserver,” both of which help protect your vacation investment in case of unforeseen circumstances such as illness To learn more about how the insurance options work, click HERE.

How do I obtain trip insurance coverage?
It’s easy! At the time you make your reservation online, select the checkbox for the desired travel insurance coverage and travel insurance will be included in the total cost.

If you are making your reservation by phone, please ask your vacation planner to add the desired travel insurance coverage to your reservation. You may choose to opt-out of this coverage online or by phone at the time of your reservation.

What are my payment options?
An Initial Reservation Payment is required prior to arrival and is specified in Meyer’s Rental Policies. A non-refundable processing fee to cover expenses associated with the initial reservation is due at reservation time and applies to all reservations.

Final payment, which is the balance due after the Initial Reservation Payment has been paid, is required prior to arrival. See Meyer’s Rental Policies for specific details.

Payment may be made by online or by calling 1-800-382-9635 via MasterCard, Visa, Discover or American Express. Final payment may also be paid by cashier’s check, money order or certified funds. Personal checks are not accepted.

What are your rental policies?
It is very important to carefully read and understand the Rental Policies, as this document is binding and detailed and addresses a variety of frequently asked questions.

What happens if something goes wrong with the pool or elevator at my vacation rental?
Just as in your own home, sometimes breakdowns occur. Availability of on-site amenities, such as pools, is not guaranteed. No refunds will be issued for changes made by individual property owners or unavailable amenities.

What if I need to cancel my reservation?
To cancel your reservation, you will need to call one of our vacation planners at 1-866-382-9635.

Cancellations may be made and refunds issued (excluding non-refundable processing fee) within a certain number of days prior to reservation check-in date. 

See the Rental Policies for details.

Are there plenty of attractions, grocery stores and shops, and restaurants near my rental?

Shopping while on vacationGulf Shores and Orange Beach have the most restaurants, attractions, grocery stores and shops to choose from.

Perdido Key and Fort Morgan are a bit less concentrated with vacation rentals and thus do not have quite as many options to choose from. But the Alabama/Florida Gulf Coast is a small enough destination where nothing is very far away. (Condo & House Maps)

What’s the best way to access the destination?
The Alabama/Florida Gulf Coast is typically thought of as a drive-in destination, with easy access from U.S. Interstates 10 and 65.

If driving, once exiting I-10 or I-65, you’re only about an hour’s drive or so from the beach! (Driving Directions & Maps)

Most fly-in visitors use the Pensacola International Airport, which is a 45-minute drive east, or Mobile Regional Airport, which is an hour’s drive west. (Details)

Can I bring my pets with me to my rental?
Dogs are the only pets allowed in Meyer’s dog-friendly properties. Certain weight and seasonal restrictions apply to some of these properties. Details may be found on each property page within our dog-friendly collection.

According to local laws, dogs are not allowed on beaches except in Fort Morgan, where they must be on a leash. In addition, dogs must be on a leash outside of the property. (Details)

There are three dog parks where dogs may be unleashed, one of which is a dog pond located at Gulf State Park. (Details)

Are there any vacation rentals that welcome weddings?
Wedding-friendly propertiesYes, we have a select few wedding-friendly vacation rentals. (Details)

Wedding-friendly properties allow weddings outside the property (not inside) with certain restrictions and guidelines as noted on our wedding-friendly properties page.

Wedding-friendly properties also require a non-refundable fee ranging from $250 to $500 per property.

Does my rental have entertainment options?
Your vacation rental includes basic service cable- or satellite-connected TVs and DVD and/or BluRay players.

What about Internet access/Wi-Fi?
Each individual property details page lists available amenities, including whether Internet access is available. The majority of Meyer-managed properties are Internet access enabled.

Do we need to bring our own linens?
Beds are made with linens in all vacation rentals, and bath towels and washcloths are provided in bathrooms. Hand towels, however, are not provided for the bathrooms.

 
Do you provide toiletries such as soap, shampoo, conditioner, etc., and paper products?
You will need to bring these items to your rental. A complimentary starter kit of supplies is provided for the kitchen, including a dish sponge, two dishwasher tabs, a roll of paper towels and a kitchen trash bag placed in the can.

Each bathroom is equipped with a roll of tissue, a small and a larger bar of soap, and a small trash bag placed in the can.

What does my vacation rental kitchen come equipped with? Should I bring extra kitchen equipment?
Fully equipped kitchensKitchens in vacation rentals include glassware, flatware, and dinnerware based on the number of guests the rental can sleep. A variety of utensils is also included, such as a basting spoon, bottle opener, butcher knives, can opener, colander, corkscrew, grater, measuring cups and spoons, storage containers and more.

Small kitchen appliances that come standard in vacation rentals include a blender, automatic drip coffeemaker, hand mixer, microwave, and toaster.

The kitchen will also contain cookware such as a broiler pan for the oven, casserole dish, cookie sheet, baking dishes, fry pans, mixing bowls, muffin tin, pizza pan, saucepans and a shrimp pot.

General cleaning equipment such as a broom and dustpan, iron, ironing board, mop and vacuum cleaner are also available within the property.

Can I bring my boat or personal watercraft?
A select few vacation rentals are considered boat friendly and welcome guests who wish to bring boats or personal watercraft. Boat-friendly properties will feature an icon on the property page indicating that boats are allowed. Please be sure to review the amenities list on the property page for more information. (See Boat-Friendly Properties)

In properties not noted as boat friendly, boat trailers or trailers of any kind are not allowed.

How many cars can we bring and park at our vacation rental?
Parking is limited at ALL Meyer-managed properties, especially condos, where the number of parking passes is limited to the number allowed by the property owner association—typically one or two per reservation.

To find out the number of parking passes your selected rental permits, check the amenities list on each property details page.

Trailers are not allowed in condo parking lots and may be towed by the property owner association.

Extra cars may be parked in Meyer’s Gulf Shores parking lot at your risk and subject to availability.

Parking at houses is limited to the number of vehicles that comfortably fit within the driveway space.

When are the times of highest demand for vacation rentals?
Summer on the Gulf CoastVacation rentals vary in occupancy during seasonal timeframes. The period of highest demand is “peak summer,” when vacationers tend to reserve most properties in a Saturday-to-Saturday pattern.

Peak summer demand is followed by late spring and early summer. Demand tapers somewhat during spring, late summer and ending summer, while fall and winter seasons offer vacationers the greatest selection of properties. (See current Seasonal Calendar)

If you are interested in reserving a house for a summer week, is important to book early, as they tend to book a year or even two in advance.

What is the weather like there?
The weather on the Alabama/Florida Gulf Coast is temperate year round.

View Meyer’s weather page for a snapshot of the current weather, the forecast and average monthly temperatures and precipitation. (Weather)

What are some of the top festivals and activities in the area I can plan a visit around?
Fun festivals are held year round on the Alabama/Florida Gulf Coast. Some of the most popular are held during the fall.

FestivalsFor example, the Wharf Uncorked Wine and Culinary Event is held in September, and the World Food Championships and the Hangout Oyster Cook-Off and Craft Beer Weekend are held in November. 

But perhaps the most well-known festival held all year is the Annual National Shrimp Festival. More than 300,000 people come to browse 300+ art vendors, listen to music on multiple stages, entertain the young and young at heart at the Kids’ Zone, run in the 5K or 10K race, and so much more.

With the Shrimp Festival so popular, it is wise to make your vacation rental reservation as soon as possible so your group is near the Gulf Shores Public Beach festival grounds.

How do I learn more about what there is to do in the area?
MeyerRE.com is a wealth of information about fun things to do in the area. Click the “Area Information” tab for info about beach areasrestaurantsattractionsconcertscalendar of events, etc.

Where do the locals go to eat?
Locals love to eat! And that means seafood, burgers, gourmet cuisine, and everything in between.

If seafood is your choice, check out this list of popular seafood restaurants. (Seafood Restaurants)

See our Dining and Nightlife page for more options. 

Are there usually long wait times for restaurant dining?
There can be a bit of a wait for seating at restaurants during the busy summer season. But, during the spring and fall, getting into your favorite places to eat is no problem.

Some in my group enjoy exploring nature and seek out activities that thrill during vacation. What are the options for them?
Nature trails offer adventureThere are nature trails winding throughout the Gulf Coast area for hiking and biking. Kayaking is another popular activity, and there are several options for renting the needed equipment.

There are also high-adrenaline activities to enjoy, such as roller coaster rides at the brand new The Park at OWA, located in Foley. Or, check out The Track Family Recreation Center to ride the Wild Woody or the Spinning Coaster. An on-site arcade is lots of fun.

There are also plenty of mini golf courses to play, and the Hummingbird Ziplines at The Wharf at Orange Beach.

Some in my group prefer a more relaxing vacation experience. What are the options for them?
Shopping is always a fun activity, especially with the Tanger Outlets Foley just north of Gulf Shores.

There are also several spas for those who enjoy being pampered on their vacation.
 
Once I book, is there a spot on your website I can find more information I should know before I go?
Get ready to relax! Our “Know Before You Go” is designed to provide you with everything from a Meyer Vacation Rentals Vacation Handbook to details about special events, restaurants, beach tips and paying your final balance. (Details)

In addition, you will automatically begin to receive emails and text messages not only confirming your reservation but also providing important check-in instructions, payment details, area information and more.

A vacation rental is an ideal way to offer your family plenty of gathering space, privacy, a fully equipped kitchen for preparing meals, and the opportunity to live like a local during vacation. After all, you’ll be staying in someone’s beach home!

Make your family’s beach vacation reservations today at a beach house or condo.

Free & Fun Things To Do In Orange Beach

There are many ways to explore Orange Beach during a beach vacation without shelling out lots of cash. Here are a few places the locals said you should try:

Orange Beach Indian & Sea Museum

Operated by the City of Orange Beach Parks and Recreation Department, the Indian and Sea Museum was originally built in 1910 as a schoolhouse. It has served as a museum since 1995 and was moved to its present location across from City Hall in 1999.

Open Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on Wednesday during the winter months from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the museum houses local artifacts and memorabilia relating to the area’s Native American and fishing heritage. Families of early fishermen have donated supplies and collectibles that remind of the challenges and achievements of the earliest days of the local fishing industry.

Gulf State Park Beaches

There are two public beach accesses in Orange Beach, both falling within the operation of Gulf State Park.

Romar Beach, with a limited amount of free parking, is perfect for a quick beach stroll or last-minute lunchtime break. The access is located 6.8 miles east of Ala. Hwy. 59. Future plans call for construction of restrooms and rinsing showers.

Cotton Bayou is located at the intersection of Ala. Hwy. 182 and Hwy. 161. Nestled between condominium buildings, this access is a busy spot that offers restrooms and outdoor showers on site as well as ample free parking.

Alabama Coastal Birding Trail

The Alabama Coastal Birding Trail takes visitors throughout the region, including Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, which begins at the Perdido Pass bridge on Ala. Hwy. 182 and east of Ala. Hwy. 59.

Beginning at Perdido Pass – Alabama Point East, enthusiasts might see a Snowy Plover, a species of conservation concern, which nests in the area. Alabama Point also provides critical habitat for the Perdido Key beach mouse, and a wide variety of shorebirds are commonly seen in summer. In winter, common loons feed in the pass during changing tides.

Other spots to visit on this loop include Boggy Point, which offers an excellent view of Robinson Island, a roosting site for herons and egrets, the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trails, where there are 11 miles of paved trails providing access from six entry points to habitats such as sandy oak hammocks, pine flatwoods, relict dune swales, seepage swamps and a pitcher plant bog. Interpretative signs placed along each trail identify many of the natural features of the maritime forest.

The loop also takes visitors to the Gulf State Park Pavilion, the Gulf State Park Nature Center/Education Center, Marsh Bridge, Shelby Lake Picnic Grounds, Gulf State Park Fishing Pier, Little Lagoon Pass and Wade Ward Nature Park.

From the loop sites in Gulf Shores, you would continue north on Ala. Hwy. 59 to the intersection of Ala. Hwy. 180/Fort Morgan Road to continue onto the Fort Morgan Loop.

SPECTRA Light Show at The Wharf

Take the kids to The Wharf for the SPECTRA Sound & Light Spectacular at 7:30, 8 and 8:30 p.m. SPECTRA incorporates sophisticated choreographed lighting effects with popular music to deliver an enlightening entertainment experience. Palm trees light up to the sound of the music.

Before, during and after the show, browse shops, stop in for a gelato or a cup of coffee from Southern Grind or enjoy dinner at one of many restaurants.

National Naval Aviation Museum

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

At just over 20 miles from Orange Beach, the museum is located on the grounds of Naval Air Station Pensacola and contains more than 150 restored aircraft representing Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard Aviation displayed in 35,000 square feet of exhibit space and outside on the 37-acre grounds.

On-site attractions include the Naval Aviation Memorial Giant Screen Theater, flight simulators, Flight Deck Operations exhibit, cockpit trainers, Kiddie Hawk play area, Flight Deck store and Blue Angels 4D Theater.

Watch The Blue Angels Practice

The world-famous U.S. Navy Blue Angels are based at NAS Pensacola and can be seen practicing over the museum at NAS Pensacola most Tuesday and Wednesday mornings from March to November. Practices typically begin at 11:30 a.m., and last about 55 minutes. Admission to practice is free and open to the public.

The outside viewing area for the Blue Angels practice is located on the museum flight line north of the museum. Signs are posted to direct visitors to viewing and parking locations, including limited parking for handicapped visitors. Open bleacher seating is available for 1,000 people.

Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach, Clay Studio & Hot Shop

The Coastal Arts Center, located just east of the intersection of Canal Road and Hwy. 161, is home to a temporary gallery and gift shop in the construction trailer located at the front of the cultural campus. Once construction is complete on the center’s brand new building on Wolf Bay later this year, the gallery will become part of the permanent structure. Local and regional artists featured include watercolorists, potters, painters, photographers, sculptors and textile artists.

The Clay Studio showcases the work of in-house ceramics artist Maya Blame-Cantrell. The public is invited to make their own clay pieces. Call (251) 981-ARTS for reservations.

Enjoy a visit to the Hot Shop by appointment only. You can make your own glass creation during sessions at 9 a.m., Monday through Friday. The session includes a 30-minute live glass-blowing demonstration of an ornament, flower and paperweight. Then, choose which one you would like to create for yourself.

Kayak Or Canoe In Wolf Bay

There are 10 designated canoe trail sites posted along the shores of Wolf Bay, Bay La Launch, Arnica Bay, Bayou St. John and Cotton Bayou.

Load up your canoe or kayak and dock from one of the sites on Gulf Bay Road, Cypress Avenue, Waterfront Park, Palmetto Extension, Harrison Park, Mississippi Avenue, Look Rook Road, Wilson Boulevard, Boggy Point or Cotton Bayou.

Keep your eyes peeled to see dolphins or a variety of birds, like the brown pelican, egrets or herons.

Curl Up With A Good Book

If you came to the beach and forgot a book, stop by the Orange Beach Public Library to pick up a library card; residency is not required.

There are cozy spots indoors and outdoors at the library to read your selections. Check out the calendar for story time, book club meetings, and other gathering times and special events.

Perdido Key State Park

Perdido Key is a 247-acre barrier island near Pensacola on the Gulf of Mexico. White sand beaches and rolling dunes covered with sea oats make Perdido Key State Park a favorite destination for swimmers and sunbathers. Surf fishing is another popular activity. Boardwalks from the parking lot allow visitors to access the beach without causing damage to the fragile dunes and beach vegetation. Covered picnic tables overlooking the beach provide a place for family outings.

The park is open for daily use from 8 a.m. to sunset and features tow parking areas and eight covered pavilions. Big Lagoon State Park, just across the bridge on the mainland, is open for camping and hiking.

Walk, Jog or Bike Backcountry Trails

Orange Beach is a great place to explore the 16 miles of the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trails.

A collaborative effort between the City of Orange Beach, Gulf State Park and property owners along the trail’s alignment, the trails were historically used by the area’s indigenous people as well as explorers and settlers.

With maps available at all trailheads, it’s easy to pick out a few trails to explore.

Along the (all paved) trails you will find restrooms and water fountain, bridges, interpretive signage, bike stands, places to stop and relax and a picnic pavilion.

You might even see a “Lefty” the alligator mom and her three babies along Rosemary Dunes Trail.

And, at the intersection of Cadman Road and Rosemary Dunes Trail is the new Boulder Park, which invites kids to climb on large boulders to enhance coordination, strength and flexibility. Located next to the Pavilion and Butterfly Garden about 1½ miles from the Catman Road Trail, Boulder Park is a favorite of local children.

Play At Waterfront Park

Located a quarter of a mile east of County Road 161 on Canal Road, Waterfront Park is a family park on scenic Wolf Bay.

Amenities include a 400-foot fishing pier with covered pavilions and seating, a bayfront beach, picnic shelters with grills, restrooms, a paved walking path and parking.

Enjoy A Round Of Disc Golf

On Canal Road adjacent to the dog-friendly “Unleashed” Dog Park, play a round of disc golf at the City of Orange Beach disc golf course.

The trees, shrubs and terrain changes located in and around the fairways provide challenging obstacles for players. There is no greens fee, and you won’t need a golf cart to enjoy this course. Bring your own discs, though.

Go Boating

The City of Orange Beach purchased Robinson Island and Bird Island in 2003 to preserve them from development. Today, the islands are a sanctuary for birds and wildlife and is used by residents and visitors as a gathering spot.

There are two public boat launches in the city, both of which offer paved parking and are operated by Gulf State Park: Boggy Point Launch at the end of Marina Road off Hwy. 61 and Cotton Bayou Launch on Hwy. 182 just east of the Hwy. 161 intersection.

The Boggy Point launch is the nearest to the Perdido Pass Bridge and is directly adjacent to the main channel with lots of marine traffic.

When visiting Orange Beach, bring the entire family and book a beach house. Or, if it’s a smaller crew, a condo could fill the bill.

Major Amusement Park To Open Near Gulf Shores This Summer

OWA, a 520-acre, $500 million entertainment destination/amusement park, is coming to Foley, Alabama, this summer.

Located just seven miles from the beaches of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, the “city within a city” entertainment complex will feature a 14-acre lake; 154,000 square feet of retail, dining and entertainment space; and a 14-acre amusement park with 20 rides (including one major roller coaster).

Italian company Zamperla is providing three of the roller coasters, a number of thrill rides and a range of family attractions for OWA.

One of the coasters will be a clone of the 125-foot-tall looping steel coaster Thunderbolt at New York’s Coney Island, which features a 110-foot vertical lift and four inversions, including a dive loop, a corkscrew and a heart-line roll.

OWA will give vacationers the sense they are strolling the streets of a small Southern town evolving through time.

Distinct districts punctuate the landscaped grounds. Guests strolling around the lake will encounter the Warehouse District, which is made up of larger-scaled structures that appear to have been used for manufacturing or as a train depot. These structures are meant to evoke the image of historic buildings in Foley and at OWA will house shops and dining establishments.

As guests continue around the lake, they will come upon Main Street, where they may shop for homemade goods and apparel, enjoy a cup of coffee at the coffee shop, or taste delicious candy at the candy store.

At the edge of town is a city park and the amusement park area, where guests will find everything from carnival rides and games to thrilling roller coasters and other major attractions.

All along the way are benches or structures to relax beside the water. There’s even an island in the center of the lake to unwind and enjoy the scenery.

Future plans call for the addition of an indoor/outdoor waterpark with attached hotel and resort-level RV Park.

OWA is adjacent to the Foley Sports Tourism Complex, which is composed of 16 multi-use fields for soccer, lacrosse, football and sand volleyball. The complex also includes a 90,000-square-foot indoor events center for gymnastics, cheerleading, basketball and indoor volleyball tournaments.

A three-bedroom house in Gulf Shores or a three-bedroom condo in Orange Beach would be a perfect spot to call home for a visit to the beaches of the Gulf Coast, area attractions and amusement parks such as OWA.

Best Seafood Restaurants In Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan, Orange Beach & Perdido Key

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A huge part of the appeal of a Gulf Coast vacation is dining out at local restaurants that serve the fruits of the Gulf of Mexico—seafood.

Below is a list of some local favorites that offer everything from grilled and fried shrimp and oysters from a top-rated seafood shack to Tasso-encrusted grouper over Yukon gold feta mashed potatoes from a waterfront fine dining restaurant.

Acme Oyster House

216 E 24th Ave., Gulf Shores

Acme Oyster HouseFirst opening in 1910 on Royal Street and later on New Orleans’ Iberville, where it still operates today, Acme Oyster House has begun a new tradition of tastiness in Gulf Shores in the new Waterway Village District along the Intracoastal Canal Waterway.

On any given day, you’ll find raw or chargrilled oysters sold by the dozen and half-dozen, along with entrees featuring a New Orleans flair (jambalaya, seafood etoufée, oyster Rockefeller soup, red beans and rice, po-boys). Platters are generously sized and feature everything from crab cakes to fried or grilled shrimp, fish and oysters.

Cayman Grill

26189 Canal Road, Orange Beach

Cayman GrillCayman Grill in Orange Beach sits on the Intracoastal Canal Waterway and has plenty of space for groups of all sizes.

When you walk in, you’ll see an exhibition kitchen with a wood burning grill and open-hearth oven. Chefs use ingredients from local farmers and fishermen as well as regional sources to ensure they serve the freshest selection.

If you want something simple, try a wood-roasted pizza. Or, enjoy the fresh catch of the day, soft shell crab, jumbo Gulf shrimp or select oysters. House specialties range from Gulf fish to filet mignon.

Cosmo’s Restaurant & Bar

25753 Canal Road, Orange Beach

Cosmo'sLocated in Orange Beach in a village-like setting, Cosmo’s is a local favorite.

Here, you’ll find local seafood, pasta dishes, sushi, hand-cut steaks and more. One of the local favorites is the banana leaf wrapped fish, named by the Alabama Tourism Department as one of the “Top 100 Dishes To Eat Before You Die.”

Of course, if you’re looking for fried fish or shrimp, you can find it here. But, if you’re looking for something just a little different, try the pecan redfish or the shrimp and Andouille pasta. If you prefer a steak, the Tournedos are twin four-ounce medallions of beef tenderloin grilled and served over sweet potato cakes, grilled green tomatoes and Portobello mushrooms. Then, it’s topped with roasted tomato relish. Hungry yet?

Doc’s Seafood Shack & Oyster Bar – Gulf Shores & Orange Beach

26029 Canal Road, Orange Beach
1140 Gulf Shores Pkwy, Gulf Shores

Doc's Seafood ShackIf you’re looking for a true locals dining experience, stop into Doc’s Seafood Shack in Orange Beach for a meal.

For 32 years, this place has welcomed visitors who are looking for great food in a not-so-fancy atmosphere.

Enjoy a cup of the highly regarded seafood gumbo and a platter of oversized onion rings to start. Then, move on to a plate piled high with shrimp or oysters (or both).

There are also grilled and baked fish and shrimp dishes. And, if you want to bring in your own catch, the good folks at Doc’s will cook them up for you!

Fisherman’s Corner

13486 Perdido Key Dr., Perdido Key

Fisherman's CornerWhile meat lovers will find steaks seasoned and cooked to impress, the cuisine at Fisherman’s Corner, just as the name implies, focuses on seafood.

Creole linguini, pasta Cioppino, fresh seafood dinners, seafood platters, shrimp and grits, crawfish etoufée, New Orleans barbecue shrimp and more highlight the menu here.

Proprietors at Fisherman’s Corner are also proud of their award-winning wine list, recognized as one of the best in the nation by Wine Spectator magazine, so be sure to give it a look. Then, consider a piece of their decadent bread pudding. You won’t leave hungry!

Flora-Bama Yacht Club

17350 Perdido Key Dr., Perdido Key

Flora BamaEnjoy some chargrilled oysters at the Flora-Bama Yacht Club before moving onto one of the house specialties.

House specialties include blackened trigger, chicken Pontchartrain, hand-cut certified Angus beef filet mignon, sesame-wasabi pea crusted yellowfin tuna and more.

You’ll also find staples like burgers, grilled fish sandwiches, fried baskets and po-boys. A variety of salads rounds out the menu at this favorite locals’ hangout.

Ginny Lane Bar & Grill at The Wharf

4851 Wharf Parkway, Orange Beach

Ginny LaneIf you are going to be here on a Sunday, stop by the Wharf in Orange Beach for Ginny Lane’s champagne brunch. Southern-style eggs Benedict, Cajun omelet, biscuits and gravy, crab cake Benedict, steak ‘n eggs, Southern comfort, and shrimp and grits are on the brunch menu.

Come for lunch or dinner, and you’ll find everything from bayou grouper to crab cakes and bacon-wrapped shrimp. There are also fried, broiled and steamed platters, pasta dishes, and kid favorites.

You’re sure to enjoy your dining experience at Ginny Lane, but you might also want to check out the proprietors’ other restaurants, Villaggio Grille at the Wharf and Gilbey’s Seafood & Steak at the Publix Shopping Center in Orange Beach.

Mikee’s Seafood

205 E. 2nd Avenue, Gulf Shores

Mikee's SeafoodTuesdays and Fridays are all-you-can-eat mullet or whitefish days at Mikee’s Seafood, a casual dining favorite of local residents. Enjoy all the fish you can stand prepared fried, broiled or blackened along with sides like beans, greens, and jalapeno cornbread cakes. Yum!

Po-boys, burgers, oysters, shrimp and a host of specialty entrees round out the dining experience at Mikee’s, so named for the chef. And, be sure to save room for a delicious slice of peanut butter pie.

Original Oyster House

701 Gulf Shores Parkway, Gulf Shores

Original Oyster HouseAlways attracting a crowd who enjoys a quality dining experience, the Original Oyster House is located at the quaint Bayou Village shopping center in Gulf Shores.

When you get here, you’ll learn about the seafood specials of the day before you order. Some greater starters include fried alligator bites or crawfish tails. The fried green tomatoes are also super yummy!

Of course, there are the deep-fried favorites, but you might also enjoy blackened Mahdi topped with fried crawfish tails and Tasso and Conecuh County sausage cream sauce. Or, how about bourbon grilled Ahi tuna and fried shrimp. You can also create your own platter or indulge in shrimp Florentine or a hearty steak.

Enjoy a homemade dessert (key lime pie or mile-high peanut butter pie) from the Oyster House or walk a few steps over to Matt’s Homemade Ice Cream for a cool treat.

Sea-N-Suds

405 East Beach Blvd, Gulf Shores

Sea-N-SudsThe only truly on-the-beach (or should I say “above” the beach) dining experience in Gulf Shores, Sea-n-Suds restaurant is an iconic spot for a meal or a cold beverage. Walk up the boardwalk, and you’ll find yourself high above the white-sand beach and looking out over the Gulf of Mexico.

For lunch or dinner, a personal favorite is the shrimp sandwich, loaded with fried shrimp and tartar sauce. If you want something a bit more substantial, you can also enjoy stuffed crabs, fried oysters or shrimp, a seafood platter, a crab claw dinner, a full salad bar, sandwiches and one of the best hamburgers on Pleasure Island.

Shipp’s Harbour Grill

27842 Canal Road, Orange Beach

Ship's Harbor GrillFor a unique waterfront dining experience, head over to Shipp’s Harbour Grill, where you can eat outside or on the top deck and see the beautiful marina just outside.

Visit Shipp’s for lunch, dinner or Sunday brunch. Or, if you’re too early for dinner, try one of their small plates for a quick snack.

House specialties feature blackened tuna, grouper Pontchartrain, Gulf Coast snapper, black sesame tuna, coconut grouper, snapper pesto, Creole grouper, jumbo lump crab cakes and much more.

You can also indulge your taste for fried seafood, sushi or hand-cut, USDA-certified Angus beefsteak.

For dessert, try the Southern Comfort bread pudding, pina colada cake, drunk brownie or crème brulée. Oh. My. Goodness. This stuff is good!

Shrimp Basket

Hwy. 59, Gulf Shores
26651 Perdido Beach Blvd., Orange Beach
14600 Perdido Key Dr., Perdido Key

Shrimp BasketOwners of Mikee’s Seafood also own the Shrimp Basket restaurants, where you’ll find the usual fried, grilled or blackened dishes.

Order a fried basket served with shrimp slaw, hushpuppies, fritter and another side. Add a fried stuffed crab for a little extra cash.

Here, you’ll also find seafood gumbo, shrimp etouffee, red beans and rice, raw oysters and more. They’ll even top a salad with some of their seafood delights or provide a steamed platter with new potatoes, corn on the cob and shrimp slaw. Po-boys are stuffed with fried, grilled or blackened shrimp, whitefish, catfish, chicken strips, oysters or crawfish. You can’t go wrong with that!

The Steamer & Baked Oyster Bar

124 W. 1st Ave., Gulf Shores

The SteamerWith the same owners as the Shrimp Basket and Mikee’s Seafood, there is a major commitment to providing quality seafood at the Steamer Baked Oyster Bar.

Located behind Souvenir City in Gulf Shores, The Steamer serves raw, steamed and baked oysters along with a full menu of steamed and grilled seafood.

On the menu are baked parmesan oysters, baked alfredo oysters, baked blue cheese oysters, baked Mexican oysters, baked Bama oysters, baked Rockefeller oysters, baked Cajun crawfish oysters, or a combination.

You’ll also find sandwiches, lobster, steak, crab cakes, chicken and pasta.

Tacky Jacks

27206 Safe Harbor Dr., Orange Beach
1577 Hwy. 180, Fort Morgan
240 E. 24th Ave., Gulf Shores

Tacky Jack'sOne of the coolest things about the Tacky Jacks restaurants is that you can drive to the restaurant or arrive by boat. All three locations are waterfront.

When you arrive, order an appetizer of Mexican Garbage, which is the ultimate in beef and cheese nachos. Tortillas are piled high with meat, cheese, tomato, onions, black olives, sour cream, jalapeno peppers and salsa.

Then, order one of their famous Bushwackers, a creamy concoction known as an “adult milkshake.” This specialty drink features silver rum, coconut rum, coffee liqueur and a 151 floater. Oh, and ice cream. Or, if you’d rather get in your vegetables, Tacky Jacks Bloody Mary is made with Whiskey Willy’s and garnished with lime, lemon, olive and picked green beans.

Entrees and platters feature everything from steak and grilled mahi-mahi to oysters, Ahi tuna, shrimp and grits and steamed royal reds.

Wolf Bay Lodge Orange Beach

26619 Perdido Beach Blvd.

Wolf Bay Lodge Orange BeachA local seafood tradition since 1973, Wolf Bay Lodge opened a new restaurant in Orange Beach a few years ago at Zeke’s Marina. The menu is varied, and the food always good.

Start off with an appetizer of Cha Cha’s crab dip, featuring a sweet Bourbon sauce served hot. Or, some fresh smoked tuna dip. Or, maybe even an order of coconut shrimp. You won’t be disappointed.

Homemade soups include seafood gumbo or lobster chowder. And there’s an extensive salad bar featuring the expected vegetables along with bonus potato and pasta salads.

Sandwiches run the gamut from po-boys to burgers, while entrees feature generous portions of seafood, shrimp and grits, fish of all kinds, chicken, steaks, pasta and more.

Save room for dessert, as it will be hard to pass up the coconut cake or chocolate lava cake.

Eat at a different restaurant every night while you are on the Gulf Coast. Stay in a beach condo or house in Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan, Orange Beach or Perdido Key.

Stay On Top Of Gulf Coast News With Meyer Vacation Rentals

 

Sea Star

Stay on top of the latest headlines and issues affecting Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Fort Morgan, Fairhope, Perdido Key and the surrounding areas on Meyer Vacation Rentals’ News Page.

Here are a few recent headlines and news snippets from around the area:

 

Orange Beach Tops List For 2016 Vacations

TripAdvisor reviewers have named Orange Beach No. 2 on its top 10 list for travelers’ choice destinations on the rise. (MORE)

 

Poseidon’s Playground Gets A Little More Fun

A pyramid, a rocket and a steel structure were deployed at Poseidon’s Playground, an artificial reef located in Orange Beach, giving divers more unique statues to explore. (MORE)

 

2016 Hangout Fest Tickets On Sale

Want to attend Hangout Fest 2016? Buy your tickets and reserve your preferred accommodations before both run out. (MORE)

 

Shorts & Flip Flops For The Christmas Tree Lighting At The Wharf

It was a festive—and warm—scene at The Wharf in December as people enjoyed the annual Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony. Bands played, children sang and wrote letters to Santa, and more. (MORE)

 

Dune Restoration Underway At State Park

The Gulf State Park Enhancement Project team has begun work to restore the equivalent of more than 50 football fields of dunes flattened in 2004 during Hurricane Ivan. (MORE)

 

Stay tuned to our News Page for regular updates on local news.

Attention, 3-D Artists!

The Hangout in Gulf Shores—yes, you know the place, located at the main beach—needs your help. Well, maybe more appropriately, they would like your participation or your assistance to spread the word.

2012 art contest winning sculpture, orange beach arts center, the hangout, gulf shores

Pictured is the 2012 winning sculpture “When I Visit Your Home.” Maybe your entry will be the 2013 winner!

Partnered with Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach, The Hangout is asking artists to consider submitting an entry for the 2nd Annual Hangout Public Art Competition. Your work should be a large-scale, weather-friendly, 3-D sculpture relating to this area. If your work is chosen, you will receive a $3,000 stipend and the displayed art will become property of The Hangout.

While last year’s contest was open to college/university students, this year it is open to all artists.

If you are interested in taking part in this competition, email your contact information to Juli Jordan at jjordan@cityoforangebeach.com. Be sure to include “Hangout Public Art Competition” in the subject line. Deadline for this initial contact is October 14, 2012.

November 18 is the deadline for a written concept design plus photos of detailed sketches or models. Your presentation of the model—including why you chose the design and the requirements of installation—is due December 16. Announcement of the winning design will be January 15, 2013.

For further information, contact Juli Jordan at the email address above or 251-981-4111.

Be sure to stop by The Hangout to see the winning sculpture from 2012 or 2013. If you need a place to hang your hat while doing so, consider staying a few days or a few weeks at a condo in Gulf Shores. Meyer Vacation Rentals has a wide selection of condos and houses to fit your budget and number of guests.

Stay informed of local activities, vacation rental specials and more by subscribing to this Discover Alabama Beaches blog and Meyer Muse, and by following Meyer Vacation Rentals on TwitterFacebook and MySpace.

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