Top Strategies to Help You Prepare for and Handle Sickness While Traveling

Vacationing is the perfect way to break free from your normal routine and discover something new. Depending on the type of travel you prefer, a trip can be anything you want: educational, relaxing, eye-opening, exhilarating, and entertaining.

However, what happens if illness strikes you in the middle of your trip? Luckily, while sickness can happen to anyone, there are precautions you can take to reduce your chances. Moreover, if you do get sick, there are actions you can take to minimize the disruption and get you back on your feet in no time.

Get Prepared

During the vacation planning stages, take steps to prepare for the unexpected. First and foremost, always purchase travel insurance. An insurance policy covering medical expenses can help you if something unfortunate happens.

For example, a comprehensive policy can protect you before you’ve even left home because it refunds your travel expenses if you have to cancel due to illness or injury. Moreover, if you need emergency medical treatment on your trip, the insurance can save you money by paying for medical care not covered by your regular health plan.

It’s also wise to digitize any important medical records. You can upload your files, use a PDF editor to make necessary changes (you won’t even have to convert to another format), and save the files to the Cloud. That way, if you need to share your records or download them for any reason, you’ll be able to gain access from anywhere in the world.

If you have any prescription medications, you should take photos of the prescriptions and bring along enough medicine to cover you for the duration of your trip plus another week or so (delays can happen!). Also, pack a small emergency medical kit in your carry-on luggage that includes health essentials, such as a thermometer, pain reliever, basic first-aid items (like band-aids and antibiotic ointment), anti-diarrhea medication, cold medicine, and a COVID-19 test.

Prioritize Health

Whether you are on a family vacation or traveling for work, prioritize wellness by integrating healthy activities into your itinerary. For example, many travelers like to take advantage of hotel fitness centers, so look for accommodations that offer one. Additionally, you can get your steps in by taking a walking tour around town.

Also, try to eat nutritiously. Studies show that a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals can help your body ward off infection. Moreover, drinking plenty of water can help you stay hydrated and keep your digestive system working well. If the water quality in the area you’re visiting is questionable, drink bottled water rather than tap.

Take Action

If you get sick despite your best efforts, don’t panic. In most cases, you’ll feel better by getting extra rest, drinking plenty of liquids, and using the items from your first-aid kit.

If your illness is severe, use your smartphone to locate help. In most areas, there will be a nearby pharmacy with plenty of options to help you recover. Moreover, you can find walk-in clinics, doctors, and hospitals almost anywhere in the world.

Whether you’re traveling for vacation or work, prepare before you embark and prioritize your health during the trip by eating well and staying physically active. And if sickness strikes, remember that most locations have a health infrastructure that can give you the help you need to recover quickly and resume your vacation activities. Ready to hit the beach to relax and unwind? Book a vacation rental through Alabama Beach Vacation Rentals!

Top 12 Excursions to Try On A Rainy Day in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach

Planning the perfect beach vacation can be difficult enough! But, when the weather takes a turn for the worst, this can make it even harder to live out your dream vacation. Typically, the weather in the Gulf Shores is sunny and warm. However, if your vacation includes some rainy days, this doesn’t have to ruin your trip!

Families and other visitors of the Gulf Shores who have Orange Beach vacation rentals can still enjoy the area’s top indoor activities. We’ll talk about some of the best things you can do on a rainy day in the Gulf Shores here. So keep reading!

1. Shopping At Tanger Outlet

Tanger Outlet is the perfect destination for a rainy day! Located in Foley, AL, this massive shopping outlet has a wide array of shops and restaurants to choose from.

Visitors can stay out of the rain while getting major discounts on name-brand products like Nike, Reebok, Ralph Lauren, North Face, and other popular retailers. Just check out the Tanger Outlet website for discount codes and deals here.

2. Foley Art Center (Art Lessons and Crafts)

The Foley Art Center offers classes for all age groups and skill levels. Families and other vacationers can unlock their creative side during bad weather with classes on pottery making, painting, drawing, and many other art mediums.

Parents should also consider enrolling their children in classes to take some downtime for themselves! The Foley Coffee Shop is right next door, and the Art Center includes some great exhibits and a gift shop, as well.

3. Visit The National Museum of Aviation

The Naval Aviation Museum is outside of the Gulf Shores in Pensacola, FL. Still, this is a great way to learn about our nation’s naval aviation history!

Packed full of restored aircrafts and tons of attractions, the fun won’t stop here, it goes full throttle. We recommend trying out the flight simulators and 4K theater shows offered at the museum, as these are some of the best indoor activities to try out while you are in the Gulf Shores area.

4. Try An Escape House

Escape houses can get your brain buzzing and your adrenaline levels pumping. These exciting attractions are a ton of fun for families and adults visiting the area. Try out the Escape House located in Waterville. They have some awesome themes for their rooms which include escaping a hurricane and a magic-themed escape room.

5. The Factory ( Indoor Trampoline Park)

The Factory is another excellent indoor location for a rainy day. Situated in the Gulf Shores, this trampoline park is ideal for families with young children and even teens.

The Factory features a whopping 12,000 square feet of trampolines. Guests can also explore foam pits, a ninja obstacle course, a trapeze, climbing walls, an arcade, an HD simulator room, and a dodgeball room. Tickets for The Factory start at $7 per person. For more information, contact (251) 202-0900.

6. Exploreum Science Center

Exploreum Science Center is located in Mobile, AL, and provides a hands-on learning approach to STEM topics. This state-of-the-art facility has an IMAX theater, tons of interactive exhibits, and plenty of areas for children and adults to explore! 

7. The Track (Arcade)

If you have any avid gamers in your family, or you just love classic arcades, this next destination is for you. The Track has over fifty arcade games that range in difficulty and style.

You can shoot hoops, play some skeeball, try your hand at a claw machine, or play some of the more high-tech arcade games available. Call this number if you want to learn more about The Track: (251) 270-0210.

8. Take A Trip To The Movies

Watch the latest blockbuster films on the big screen. Orange Beach and Gulf Shores have two nearby cinemas where you can munch on popcorn and enjoy a great flick while you wait for the weather to clear up.

​​Cobb Pinnacle 14 Theatres offers stadium seating, IMAX, and 3-D screenings. It’s located within the Pelican Palace, so you can also enjoy high-quality dining and shopping after your movie. Alternatively, if you are in Orange Beach, you can visit AMC Wharf 15 which also has plenty of seating and top-notch amenities.

9. Holmes Medical Museum

The Holmes Medical Museum features medical equipment from the late 1930s to the 1960s and other medical exhibits. Adults and children can learn about the history of the local hospital, and its doctors, and even see some interesting medical oddities!

The museum is free to enter and open six days a week from Monday-Saturday. Visit the Holmes Museum Facebook page if you have any questions.

10. Mobile Carnival Museum

You don’t have to visit Louisiana to get a taste of Carnival! At the Mobile Carnival Museum, you can learn all about Mardi Gras and its rich history. From Carnival costumes to exhibits there is plenty to do at this colorful museum. You can find out more about this location by calling this phone number: (251) 432-3324.

11. The Village Hideaway

The Village Hideaway has everything you need to stay entertained during a rainy day. This Eatery has classic foods like pizza, burgers, and wings. But it also serves fresh seafood options along with craft beers and wines.

Located in the Beach Club Spa and Resort, families and visitors can play at the arcade, enjoy bar games like billiards, and even take a trip to the creamery. There is plenty to do here! 

12. Visit The Spa

Finally, visitors with Gulf Shores vacation rentals can relax and rest at one of the many Spa locations in the area. As you wait for the rain to stop, you can get a facial, a deep tissue massage, manicures, and many other spa services. This is an ideal activity no matter the weather conditions, but a visit to the spa can be even more relaxing on a rainy day. We recommend visiting The Beach Club Spa located in Spectrum Resort. You can find out more here.

Best Oysters on the Beach

Booking your next Gulf Shores vacation rental isn’t just about great accommodations and services, it’s also about proximity, and whether you’re staying close to some of the best restaurants and dive bars that serve local cuisine, including locally sourced oysters. Oyster bars in Orange Beach and Gulf Shores are plentiful with many of them being seaside and serving up a view that adds just as much to the experience as the seafood and freshly harvested oysters. Here are 5 local restaurants serving up some of the best oysters you’ll find while on vacation in the Orange Beach or Gulf Shores areas.

  1. Original Oyster House Boardwalk – Located on Gulf Shores Parkway, this location sits on the edge of Little Lagoon and serves up Cajun specialties and classic seafood platters, as well as fresh oysters with options like Oysters Rockefeller, Parmesan Garlic Oysters, and a Shell-Shocked Oyster Sampler that allows you to try it all.
  • Acme Oyster House – This New Orleans-inspired restaurant serves up more than a million oysters a year for returning guests, including a few famous faces that come to dine whenever they visit. They are also known for their Cajun-creole classics, gumbo, and po’boys.
  • Sea N Suds – Sitting on the Gulf of Mexico, this family-owned restaurant Sea N Suds is a legendary hotspot you don’t want to miss. Whether you’re looking for some freshly shucked oysters, a seafood platter of the day, or a dish from the kid’s meal, Sea N Suds has something for everyone. They are also one of the few who take part in the Alabama Oyster Shell Recycling Program, a program that works hard to build new reefs along the coast by recycling oyster shells and placing them back in the ocean to create habitats for shrimp, oysters, and fish.
  • The Tin Top Restaurant & Oyster Bar – This award-winning restaurant hiding away in Bon Secour is known for some of the best steak and seafood in Alabama. Even though you’ll experience more casual dining at Tin Top, they take their food pretty seriously. They have a large variety of specials, oysters, steaks and mouthwatering appetizers.
  • Lunas Eat and Drink – Combining southern comfort food with eclectic seafood dishes, Lunas is somewhere you gather to have a good time. You get two choices when it comes to oysters, raw, and Southern parmesan, as well as other delicious menu options like Crab Artichoke Melt and Creole BBQ Gulf Shrimp. Happy Hour is from 3-5 every day and their extensive drink menu will have you staying for the night.

Locally Sourced Oysters:

The Alabama Shore has made it a priority to start farming their own oyster’s thanks in large part to higher demand from tourists in recent years. Restaurants and organizations are starting to take part in projects that seek to create oyster farms that not only meet the rising demand for oysters but that also benefit the local reefs and wildlife that rely on oysters to keep the waters clean. Not many people know that oysters are nature’s own water filtration system. They filter about 30 gallons of water a day by removing excess nitrogen from the water that they then incorporate into their own shells and tissues. You can learn more about what oysters do and how they’ve been locally farmed by researching the Alabama Oyster Shell Recycling Program and by visiting Shellbank Selects Oyster Farm, where you’ll be taken through the process of oyster farming and harvesting. This year, while you’re browsing for your summer Orange Beach Vacation rental, make sure you add one of these delicious oyster bars to your itinerary, as well reserving some time one afternoon to learn all about the Sea to Table oyster farming experience in Alabama.

Keep Your Vacation Safe For Wildlife And Guests

With the reopening of most travel destinations, there is going to be an influx of tourists as studies show that 81% of adult Americans plan to travel for summer this year, most of whom aim to travel locally. This is good news, marking the recovery of local tourism. However, with this influx of tourists comes the need to revamp your properties and make sure that these are managed properly.

For property owners who offer home rentals for vacation goers, it’s important to keep your property wildlife safe. Not only will this keep your guests safe from wild animals, but it will also ensure that the natural ecosystem surrounding your area remains a haven for local animals and birds. Here are the things you can do to keep your property safe for guests and wildlife.

Avoid Harmful Cleaning Chemicals

One of the often go-to ways to make sure that your home rental is clean is to use chemical solutions, which often promise quick effects in removing stains and dirt on the visible areas of your property, such as your counters, floor, and windows. However, some chemicals used for cleaning external areas, such as windows, are linked to bird infertility. As well, some cleaning products also contain chemicals that accelerate plant growth, which leads to dense vegetation that can interfere with animal life. More so, even humans are affected by these compounds, given that volatile organic compounds found in these chemical cleaners can exacerbate allergies and asthma.

To make sure that your property is wildlife safe, make sure that you use environmentally-friendly cleaning products to clean your interior and exterior spaces. Use a homemade solution to clean surfaces outside your home, such as a paste made from baking soda and water, or a disinfectant made with white vinegar and water, to clean tough spots on windows and doors. To further protect local avian life, you should also consider having windows that are designed to reduce bird strike since birds can get injured or killed from flying into windows. Consider replacing ordinary glass windows with UV-reflective glass, which is visible to birds but still look clear and transparent to the human eye. 

Plant Native Species

If your property has a lawn or a backyard, one way to make sure that the wildlife surrounding your area is safe is to plant native species of trees and bushes. Often, some non-native plant species are introduced to an area to serve as a form of pest control. However, these non-native species of plants tend to reproduce rapidly, which can have damaging effects on the local flora and fauna of your property. One example of this is the beach vitex, introduced in Gulf Coast around 2004 and 2005 as a decorative plant, which rapidly overtook native plant species and has since been a cause of several environmental problems.

The Gulf Coast is an ideal place for a lot of local plant varieties, and planting these not only beautifies your property but also ensures that the local wildlife surrounding your area remains safe. You can check the list of recommended and prohibited plants by the Gulf Coast’s Beautification Board as a reference. These native plants can support a healthy environment as well as serve as food and shelter for your local wildlife. As well, local plant species can withstand the local climate, so maintenance remains relatively easy, too.

Keep Your Property Litter-Free

Finally, one of the simplest ways to keep your property wildlife free is to ensure that it is free from any form of litter. Littering can have severe effects on wild animals, as they may end up being poisoned by soiled food or food containers that can be ingested. As the littering rate of cigarette butts is over 60%, it goes to say that littering is also a fire hazard. Keeping your property litter-free does not only benefit the wildlife around your area, it also ensures that your guests are safe from any unwanted animal encroachment.

As such, make sure that you have a strict no-littering policy in your house rental. Also, one reason why people litter is the lack of trash receptacles in the vicinity. Make sure that trash bins are visible and accessible to your guests. This way, you make it easier for them to put their trash away without littering. This will also benefit you, as clean-up of your property becomes easier.

Making sure that a property is wildlife safe should be a priority for owners of vacation home rentals. Not only will this benefit your immediate environment, but it will also make your property more appealing to guests. 

Ways To Make Your Vacation Rental More Accessible

There are 56.7 million Americans living with a disability – that is 26% of the population. If you own a vacation rental in the Gulf Shores and Fort Morgan area, taking steps to make it more accessible will mean that you can rent to more people. Outside the property, you can widen pathways and make sure that driveways have even surfaces. Inside the property, consider how to make every day tasks easier for wheelchair users. Even simple adjustments such as lowering cupboard door handles or moving appliances can make all the difference. With some readily achievable changes, your vacation rental will be suitable for everyone to stay in, while they enjoy the beautiful Alabama coast.  Accessibility is extremely important to that portion of our population and it should be important to us as well!

Outdoor landscaping

A safe and inclusive environment around your vacation rental will make it a lot easier for people living with accessibility issues. Landscaping your front yard with large pathways and a wide driveway is best to accommodate wheelchair users. Distinct curbs in the parking area will make it easier to navigate, and you should make sure that patio areas have a smooth surface. Pathways should be clearly lit, so that they can be easily traversed in the evenings and at night, and it is important to consider carefully the materials that you use for your pathways – gravel and wood chips may look nice, but they create an uneven surface. Concrete or wooden pavers gives your property that needed accessibility.  Please consider making some changes soon!

The bathroom

There are several modifications that you can make in the bathroom of your rental property to increase it’s accessibility. Make sure that the flooring that you have laid down is non-slip, this applies to shower floors too. You can also provide your guests with a bath or shower mat to help, as well as a bath seat. Installing a roll-under sink will make the bathroom better for wheelchair users, and fixing hand rails and grips to the wall helps people living with those accessibility issues. 

The kitchen

Kitchen accessibility is essential, as the kitchen is the heart of the home. Firstly you should consider the height of all door and cupboard handles – can these be adjusted to make things easier? You should also think about the height of appliances – having a cooker that is built into wall units high up may make it unusable for some guests. Tall countertops, like breakfast bars, are also not practical for wheelchair users. Check your kitchen regularly for obstructions and any sharp or jagged edges, so that you know it is always safe for your guests and those with accessibility issues. 

Making some simple, reasonable accessibility adjustments can make a difference in your vacation rental, and make it will make your vacation rental more comfortable to stay in. You will then be able to attract more guests to your property, so that they can enjoy the beauty of the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area. 

How to Plan The Ultimate Vacation with Alabama Beach Vacation Rentals

As the pandemic has slowed, you’ve finally decided to take that must-needed vacation you’ve put on the back burner for the previous two years. You’re busy planning your stay at in one of our beautiful Gulf Shores vacation rentals, but you’re not exactly sure where to start when it comes to planning your activities, excursions, dining, and nightlife.

The whole purpose of a vacation is to get away, enjoy some new scenery and feel refreshed from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. We’ve crafted the ultimate guide to help you plan your Gulf Shores vacation rental with ALBVR.

This guide will walk you through our most suggested activities, excursions, and the local’s favorite restaurants, all in one direction so you can sit back and enjoy your vacation once you arrive.

What are you waiting for? Let’s dive in!

What Does The Ultimate Gulf Shore Vacation Look Like to You?

Before you start planning your stay at ALBVR, it’s a good idea to sit down and iron out your must-see attractions here in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

Maybe you’ve never been to Gulf Shores before and aren’t sure what to plan, or you come every year but haven’t been since the pandemic. 

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How much time will you spend in your accommodations?
  • Are you looking for a relaxing vacation or an active vacation?
  • Have you heard of any must-see excursions or restaurants in the Gulf Shores area?

Review your calendar and do your best to book a few things in advance without overloading yourself with too many pre-planned activities. We all know what it’s like to go on vacation, only to arrive at our destination with far too many activities planned. Remember, a holiday is a little more fun when not so scripted!

Top 5 Things to Do In Gulf Shores, Alabama

If you’ve never been to the Gulf Shores before, you’re in for a treat. Below we’ll explore some of our favorite activities and local dining hot spots. Don’t forget to bookmark this blog so you know where to start your planning!

#1 Gulf State Park

Gulf State Park Vacation Spot.

The nearby Gulf State Park is packed with wildlife, and coastal birds, set alongside stunning white beaches and pristine emerald water. You’ll find plenty of lush hiking trails with nine different ecosystems to explore.

In general, the Gulf Shores area is a diverse vacationing spot with the best mix of outdoor activities, amusement parks, dolphin cruises, dining, and more.

#2 Dolphin Cruise Or A Deep Sea Fishing Trip

A favorite activity visitors and long-time residents love is an afternoon dolphin cruise. Grab your day bag and explore the nearby bay on the Gulf of Mexico on an afternoon dolphin cruise.

Your kids will marvel in amazement, and you’ll enjoy the time spent as a family exploring unchartered territories, helping you build memories that last a lifetime. If you’re a large group, Orange Beach Dolphin Cruises should be able to accommodate your special event, or you can always attend one of their regular afternoon cruises.

If you’re looking for more of an adult adventure, you may want to try your luck at some of the many great deep sea fishing in the area.

#3 Show Off Your Golf Game

If you’re looking for the perfect golf getaway, Gulf Shores is the place for you.

A little on the pricier side, we recommend booking one of the less expensive afternoon golf packages like the Pure Palmer at Craft Farms; when you’ve hit your last hole, head up to the 19th Hole and enjoy this picturesque grill with your spouse or favorite players.

#4 Enjoy A Family-Friendly Dining Experience

Friendly Dining Experience

Lucky for you, Gulf Shores is home to some of the best family seafood restaurants that are locally owned and frequented by residents and tourists alike.

Starting with casual fare, try the Beach House Kitchen & Cocktails. You’ll love the vast array of seafood happy hour servicing the best selection of cocktails and lighter bites.


Second on our must-visit dining list is the Fish River Grill. This result is the self-proclaimed funky junky redneck joint, known for the Cajun gator dishes. They’re famous for their Cajun gator bites. The atmosphere here is welcoming to the local crowd, which means it’s one of the best places to grab a bite.

#5 The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo Or Waterville Amusement Park

What family doesn’t love a good zoo? Take your family on an afternoon to remember at the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo. Partake in the extraordinary sloth encounter and discover the world’s slowest furry friend’s attractive lifestyle and habitat details.

If your kids are looking for some waterpark fun, Waterville Amusement Park is a staple attraction. Located approximately 1/4 mile from Gulf Shores beach, the amusement park is in the heart of Gulf Shores and offers easy access for a whole day of fun. Choose from the waterpark or amusement park; you can’t go wrong.


Your time spent here in Gulf Shores will be a time to be remembered. Soon you’ll be itching to come back for more of our pristine beaches, beautiful nature and hiking spots, and those infamous golf courses dad just can’t peel himself away from.

We hope you love it here as much as we do!

Comment below, and tell us your favorite activity to do while in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

Top 5 Off The Beach Activities In Gulf Shores And Orange Beach

The beaches in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are absolutely gorgeous. The aquamarine water hits the pure, white sandy as the sun beams down on the coast. It’s truly a gorgeous sight to see. But, let’s be real, you don’t want to spend your entire vacation sitting on the beach. You’ll want to find other things to do.

Well, you’re in luck! The Gulf Coast of Alabama offers plenty of attractions, some giving you a whole new view of nature, and others giving you fun for the whole family. Whatever you are looking for, you’ll find plenty to do in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.

Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo

Sure, the beaches and the wildlife preserves of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach have plenty of fun critters to see, but do they have a kangaroo? Voted by patrons as the number 1 zoo in Alabama, Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo provides guests with a number of animal experiences from the truly wild to the truly exotic.

With over 112 species on display, 22 of which are endangered, you won’t be disappointed by the options that the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo has. Furthermore, for a little bit more, you can upgrade your experience to have one on one experiences with kangaroos, lemurs, and sloths! And, unlike many zoos and attractions of the sort, parking is completely free!

Outer Limits VR Game Room

Maybe you are looking for something a little more high-tech. With VR technology at a new height of popularity, everyone will have a blast at Outer Limits VR Game Room. Each game experience lasts for 8 to 10 minutes and will cost about $12 a play (though upgrades are available to make the per-game price cheaper). With over 35 games to play, hours of fun can be had at the Outer Limits VR Game Room, where fully immersive entertainment is the norm.

Just bear in mind, there is a 44” height requirement and a 300-pound weight limit on all rides, and the rides are first come first serve, and cannot be reserved.

Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail

Maybe you want more time in nature, but you just want a change of scenery from the beach? The Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail provides over 15 miles of trails, with 7 distinct trails taking you through 6 different ecosystems. On the trails, you are likely to see White-Tailed Deer, Alligators, and even Bobcats, and with a butterfly garden and primitive campsites spread all over the park, you’ll find that you can enjoy an afternoon, a day, or even several days on the Backcountry Trails.

Waterville USA

Want to stay cool and experience great thrills? Try the 20-acre amusement park known as Waterville USA. A multitude of thrilling water slides, 17 to be exact, can be enjoyed, or you can lounge around on the lazy river. Tired of being wet? Air-dry yourself with the go-karts! Want to get out of the sun and give your brain a little test? Give the Escape House a test!

The park is generally open from noon to 8 PM and will cost you about $33 per person. You can rent your own private cabana for a little more (good for up to 8 people), and there are 5 different dining experiences with beverages for refreshing and food for nourishing.

The Wharf

The beach will make you hungry, and the sun will make you hot. Take a break from all of that with great shopping and great food in an air-conditioned environment. The Wharf provides some great local shopping with all kinds of charming mom-and-pop shops. The Ginny Lane Bar and Grill is a great spot for seafood at lunch or dinner, or you can enjoy some fine wine at Red or White.

However, outside of the restaurants and shops, there are some great attractions as well. The aforementioned Outer Limits VR Room is in this area, but you can also find, and ride, the tallest Ferris Wheel in the southeast, enjoy laser tag and bazooka ball at Arena: The Next Level Arcade, or enjoy some fun photo ops at the Selfie Museum! While the beaches are nice, there is way more to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach than just beaches.

Shop ’til You Drop In These Orange Beach Shopping Areas!

Orange Beach has been a popular shopping destination for quite a long time. And with the current supply of shopping malls, shops, and outlet stores, shopping has become nearly as popular a pastime as lazing on the beach. What does the Orange Beach shopping scene have that makes it so popular among shoppers? There is one word that describes it best: variety.

Whether you are interested in buying the latest trendy duds, discount shoes, unique artwork, or souvenirs and shells, you will find it in Orange Beach. On top of that, there are also lots of smaller, local stores that offer everything from fun and eccentric to fashionable, elegant, and refined. The opportunities to window shop (and buy) in Orange Beach and the nearby Gulf Shores are truly endless.

The brief introduction below should give you a good idea of what to expect from the Orange Beach shopping scene when you embark on a vacation to Alabama’s Gulf Coast this summer

The Wharf Shopping Mall

At the Wharf you can not only pamper yourself with a fresh hairstyle, rejuvenating spa treatment, or a massage at a variety of salons and spas, if you are desperately in need of a little retail therapy you will have more than enough opportunity at the Wharf. There are many unique stores and boutiques, so you should have no problem finding something that genuinely excites you. Shopping opportunities at the Wharf include birthday gifts, sports gear, and home decor. This shopping center is situated on Canal Road.

Sanroc Cay

Sanroc Cay is literally bursting with shopping opportunities. The courtyard is the ideal destination for tired moms who need some retail therapy. But there’s also more than enough to keep the dads happy. The variety is amazing, from a luxury spa to gifts and home accessories, jewelry, shoe boutiques, and clothing stores.

The Emporium

If you are desperately searching for one-of-a-kind souvenirs to take home to your less fortunate family members and friends who could not join you in Orange Beach, this is a great option. At the Emporium, you will be able to buy truly unique gift baskets with Orange Beach and Alabama memorabilia. Apart from these. there are also a good variety of locally manufactured jewelry, beautiful purses, and sports jerseys.

This charming shopping location will take care of all your apparel needs. If you would like to buy a one-of-a-kind swimsuit that will forever remind you of this magical travel destination, there is no need to look any further than Private Gallery. While you are there, why not match that with the right kind of flip-flops, sunglasses, and other accessories? You will walk out feeling like a celebrity and when you show your purchases to your loved ones back home, they are bound to envy you.

Souvenir City of Orange Beach

This long-time favorite Orange Beach shopping destination offers everything you can possibly think of – made into a local souvenir. The list includes beach toys and beachwear. The isles here are wide so there’s more than enough space to walk without bumping into fellow shoppers all the time. Online reviews also indicate that the prices here are quite reasonable and that they always clearly mark items that are on sale.

Beach Jerky

At this Orange Beach shopping location you have a choice of more than 100 different types of specialty craft jerky products from all over the United States. Do you have a taste for exotic jerky? You will find it here. There’s also beef, buffalo, alligator, deer, wild boar, elk, salmon, and ahi tuna to mention just a few. If your family and friends are jerky lovers, these will form wonderful gifts for any (or all) of them.


Start Your Day With A Breakfast On These Orange Beach Restaurants.

Picture it. You’ve woken up bright and early, before the sun even, so you can get to the beach and watch the sunrise over the gulf. It’s a beautiful sight, quiet and peaceful, with cascades of oranges, yellows, and the occasional purple shining on the endless ocean. Maybe you’ve even taken in some early morning fishing, and now your cooler is filled with dinner for when you return to your vacation rental later that night. Either way, it’s beautiful, peaceful, and perfect.

And then your belly rumbles, interrupting the early morning quiet. It’s time to satisfy that appetite. But where should you go? Don’t worry! Orange Beach has some great options to satisfy that freshly awoken hunger.

The Southern Grind Coffee House at The Wharf

You need food being up this early, sure, but you’re going to need something else to fuel all your adventures later in the day (because the Gulf Coast of Alabama offers a lot of places to visit). You may even be the ‘don’t even talk to me till I’ve had my coffee’ type. Well, how about a place that makes their own coffee?

The Southern Grind Coffee House at the Wharf is a top-tier place to kick your morning off. Not only can you enjoy fresh, homemade coffee (as well as lattes and cappuccinos), but you can also enjoy the waffles that various patrons rave about. The Southern Grind Coffee House also boasts some amazing pastries, so the biscuits are also a must-try. Open for breakfast from 7 AM to 11 AM, 7 days a week, The Southern Grind Coffee House is a delightful way to start your day. You may even be so impressed that you stop there again for lunch, which many a visitor to Orange Beach has been lured into before. There are also a multitude of vegan and vegetarian options if that is what you need.

BuzzCatz Coffee & Sweets

While on the subject of coffee, there are other options to get your roasted bean caffeine fix, and some of them are downright fun options. Enter BuzzCatz Coffee & Sweets! Making a strong, but reasonable, claim as being one of the best breakfast locations in all of Alabama, BuzzCatz is satisfied to just offer one really good menu. From 7 AM to 11 AM, every day, BuzzCatz offers daily deals to entice all kinds of tastebuds into the door. Waffle Wednesday, where a savory Belgian Waffle is served with creole gravy is absolutely wonderful, and the breakfast burrito and quesadilla on Tortilla Tuesday will definitely leave you satisfied.

The best part is how cheap BuzzCatz is. The daily breakfast specials are sometimes as low as $5. Patrons definitely rave about the sweet treats, especially the cookies, but there are many an Alabaman who will fight you over BuzzCatz having the best breakfast, especially for the price.

The coffee also gets rave reviews, so get your morning buzz on with BuzzCatz Coffee & Sweets!

Brick & Spoon Orange Beach

Who says breakfast can’t be a little fancy? If you are looking for something a bit more trendy, but still with some down-home, Southern creole fare, you should check out the Brick & Spoon in Orange Beach. Serving up classic, lowland Southern cuisine with a little bit of that creole kick, the Brick & Spoon is consistently praised for their variations on eggs benedict, including an Oyster Benedict, a lovely way to wake up with some of that ocean salt.

Open at 7 AM and closed at 2 PM, the Brick & Spoon has great service, great food, and a cozy environment that will make you feel at home, but with food that feels like it is coming out of a five-star restaurant.

Orange Beach has lots of options to satisfy your breakfast cravings, and while these three are excellent, you’ll find many options to satisfy your early morning palette.

Summer Vacation!

Plan Your Summer Vacation Here In Orange Beach Or Gulf Shores, AL.

The Summer is here, and for many couples and families, it is time to start thinking about a vacation. But where are you going to go? The beach sounds like a fun way to spend your summer, lounging in the sand, soaking up the rays, enjoying water sports and fishing, or even just being lazy with a refreshing beverage in your hands. But where do you go? Florida can be overcrowded, Hawaii is so expensive, and some beaches just don’t seem…sanitary to lounge on.

You’ve maybe not thought about it before, but a hidden gem when it comes to summer vacations on the beach is Orange Beach and Gulf Shore Alabama. With beautiful beaches, lots of fun things to do, award-winning food, and lovely, affordable vacation rentals that will make you feel like you live in the absolute lap of luxury.

The Beaches

White sandy beaches spread out for miles, the type of soft sand that cradles you like millions of tiny pillows. All kinds of wildlife can be seen, from dolphins to stingrays to blue crabs to sea turtles, and the coziness of the beaches will make it hard not to dose off as you catch those rays (just remember your sunscreen). There are also plenty of charter boats that will take you out on fishing and dolphin-watching excursions.

The Nature Preserves

Want to enjoy nature, but want a break from the beach? You don’t have to go far. Orange Beach has a massive wildlife management program with all kinds of hiking and biking trails for the outdoorsmen and women in you. From Alligator Alley to Gulf Park’s Nature Center, if you want to get out in the wild, Orange Beach and Gulf Shore have plenty for you, and in the summertime, the critters may be particularly active.

The Food

One of the most wonderful things about Gulf Shore and Orange Beach, Alabama is the mixture of fresh seafood and Southern cuisine. From creole to lowlands cooking, you’ll find some of the finest delicacies the south can offer.

From delectable waffles at The Southern Grind Coffee House and outstanding eggs benedict at the Brick & Spoon to fresh seafood from Latrigue Seafood Market and wonderful Cajun offerings at Louisiana Lagniappe, there are a plethora of dining options that are well-reviewed, award-winning, and beloved by visitors and locals alike. The Flora-Bama Lounge, a charming little watering hole and live music venue, is a staple in the community and has a history going back to 1964!

The Shopping

You’re probably going to want to take a break from all that sun at some point, and a nice, air-conditioned store can be a welcome reprieve from the heat. With that said, it’s always nice when the shopping breaks actually provide great shopping, which the Gulf Shore and Orange Beach region can provide.

If you are looking to shop local, The Wharf is a wonderful spot for health and beauty, jewelry, clothing, and all kinds of wonderful wares that local merchants are offering at reasonable prices.

If doing your shopping on a marina sounds up your alley, Sanroc Cay has some great local shops to enjoy, and you may even catch a professional fishing tournament or a pod of dolphins while you shop.

The Vacation Rentals

Of course, you’re going to have to think about where you are going to stay. Forget the hotels and get yourself a vacation rental. Entire homes and condos can be rented, on the beach, for pennies on the dollar. You can live a life of pure bliss and luxury for the price of a standard hotel or even a motel. Don’t crowd your entire family into a single room for a week. Enjoy a full home or condominium for a similar price. Most of the vacation rentals are also conveniently placed near major golf courses and other major attractions, so the convenience alone makes this worthwhile. So, as you plan your summer vacation, just think about all the wonderful things you can enjoy in Gulf Shore and Orange Beach, Alabama.

Top 4 Golf Courses along the Alabama Gulf Coast

Ace Your Golfing Skills on These Top 4 Golf Courses in Alabama’s Gulf Coast  

Alabama’s Gulf Coast is a popular vacationing spot for its white-sand beaches, scenic trails, and unique wildlife reserves. Unbeknownst to many, it’s also home to world-class golf courses, some of which are frequented for their breathtaking views of the Gulf of Mexico. And no matter your level of experience, you’ll find an array of holes designed for both the experienced golfer and fun-loving adventurer.

Kiva Dunes Public Golf Course  

Kiva Dunes is an 18-hole, award-winning course rated the number one public golf course in Alabama in 2017 and given 5 stars by Golf Advisor and Golf Pass. Being on the Fort Morgan peninsula of Gulf Shores, its main attraction is the fact that it’s a natural beach golf course with balmy winds, white sand dunes, and 7,100 yards of play area for the avid golfer.

It’s great for those looking for a relaxing experience, as the course’s design is very forgiving to those who’re just getting started. It ensures that you finish feeling as though you had a great experience despite your score, harnessing the spirit of the game and location. If this entices you, be sure to check out the signature Par 3-5 holes, including the Par 4, 9th hole!

Peninsula Golf and Racquet Club  

This course is peculiar for its three 9-hole courses: the Marsh, Lakes, and Cypress course. Each offers a unique experience from the other as well as differing challenges. The 7,000-yard course underwent renovations, which makes it more accommodating to golfers of all skill levels. What’s more, it’s group-friendly, handicap accessible, and offers free parking to the public.

A big downside is that this course is a part of a club and therefore newcomers may be limited in what they can do and when they can do it. There should be no problem getting into the game itself otherwise, as this course is rated favorably by Golf Digest as one of the “most memorable and enjoyable” courses in the Southeast.

Craft Farms Golf Club 

Craft Farms Golf Club brings a golfing adventure to the public that embodies the beauty of the coast in its design. It features a 36-hole layout, that’s two golf courses just minutes away from Gulf Shores! Both courses provide a challenge with balanced Par 3-5s and a collection of hazards that’ll make you rethink your choice of club and speed.

The cotton creek course is 7,000 yards, a thrilling 4-star course according to Golf Digest, and accented with gentle hills, peaceful lakes, and lush oak trees. It’s geared towards low handicappers, but playable for all under certain conditions.

The cypress bend course, on the other hand, received 4.5 stars from Golf Digest. This 6,800-yard course captures the appeal of coastal golfing better than its sister with its wide layout, stretched white sand bunkers, and seemingly endless views of the water.

Gulf Shores Golf Club  

Gulf Shores Golf Club is an award-winning course and the first ever established in the Gulf Shore area. And though there’s an attached golf club, the public is welcome to putt. You can do so as a vacationer on this course’s 18-hole, classic layout. It’s open 7-days a week, so you won’t feel the pressure of squeezing it into your vacation schedule. However, the practice area is reserved for members only, and those who wish to observe will be charged a cart fee.

But unlike most courses on the list, this course is built for a challenge. If this seems like the perfect place to putt, remember that golf clubs usually have a separate tee time for their members and the public and you’ll likely need to book a time rather than walk in. So be sure to plan ahead!

Top Fishing Sites – Gulf Shores & Orange Beach.

Fishing Trip? Try These 3 Fishing Sites in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach 

Nothing’s better than coastal catches in the Gulf: you could be casting off the side of a boat, braving the vast waters, witnessing a variety of aquatic life underneath you that you can’t find inland. Or surf fishing on white sandy beaches, enjoying a panoramic view of the sea, surf, and sunset.

With miles of shoreline for marine activities, both Gulf Shores and Orange Beach draw in such a large crowd of experienced fishermen from all year round, you’re bound to return with the perfect catch to brag about back home. The question is where to cast your line.

The Wharf Marina in Orange Beach  

The Wharf Marina in Orange Beach, Alabama is Gulf Shore’s largest nautical site facility for fishermen and boaters. Packed with restaurants, bars, shopping, and event spaces, the Wharf is built for the sojourner’s convenience. And since it’s a marina, you can get services like fishing tours, long and short-term slip rentals for deep-water excursions, fishing supplies, and boating essentials from nearby shops.

The Wharf is also home to the most prominent sportfishing tournaments in the Gulf, the most popular sportfishing tournament of them all being the Gulf Coast Triple Crown Championship Series. It’s a multi-tournament group competition that takes place along the Gulf Coast annually between May and July.

This is appealing for those familiar with handling billfish like spearfish, swordfish, and marlin. And for those wanting a relaxing fishing experience, they’ll be glad to know that the tournament is overall lighthearted and designed for fun; All fish are released immediately after.

Gulf State Park Fishing and Education Pier  

You can find both freshwater and saltwater fishing at Gulf State Park Pier. The lakes there – Lake Shelby, Middle Lake, and Little Lake – offer freshwater fish like catfish, bream, and bass. But before you go, you’ll need a freshwater or saltwater license, which you can purchase online. If deep water fishing is what you want, Lake Shelby and Lake Middle have ramps that you can use for a small fee.

The park is home to more than just fishing, though, as the name suggests. The ‘education’ part of the name refers to the informational signs regarding the native birds and aquatic life, including warning signs about alligator sightings. Please remember to review Gulf State Park’s Wildlife Safety Recommendations for how to stay safe while there.

The pier itself is grand, with comfort stations at the midway point, wheelchair-accessible rail fishing, rod/reel rentals, and daily fishing permits attached to daily parking pass purchases. It’s home to the longest pier on the Gulf of Mexico, after all: an impressive 1,540 feet, which stands over large king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, speckled trout, ladyfish, and bluefish populations.

Moreover, it makes room for over 2,000 feet of fishing space, which means there are quite a few kinds of fish to find in several areas. Local anglers advise bringing more than a single change of tackle. Luckily there are bait and tackle shops nearby. Just be careful if you’re new to saltwater fishing: some saltwater fish there are known to bite!

Fort Morgan Fishing Adventures  

Fort Morgan sits at the westmost tip of Gulf Shores. It’s an ancient piece of history that’s surrounded by shores, which makes way for plenty of marine activities. If considering a beach rental, not only can you experience fishing at Fort Morgan in several ways, it’ll be more convenient to travel to and from and thus open up additional space in your vacation schedule.

You should know Dixie Bar and Navy Cove are hot spots for Redfish, though if you’re looking for a quieter place away from Mobile Bay’s ship channel, Navy Cove is recommended. The Cove is east facing South Bank and is serviceable for kayak and canoe fishing. For spotted seatrout, the shore at Fort Morgan’s fishing beach provides a scenic view of the Gulf as well as some traditional surf fishing. Look to your east and you’ll see Fort Morgan, where additional boat and kayak ramps are. But don’t forget about Fort Morgan Fishing Marina along South Bank. Charter fishing services are available for those looking for deep-sea catches.

Feel Like A “Local” While Exploring These Destinations In Gulf Shores and Orange Beach

Gulf Shores Beach

The Gulf Coast is an underrated stretch of beach that can provide a multitude of fun destinations for families or young couples, depending on what you are looking for. Along this beautiful stretch of white, sandy beaches are the two largest coastal cities in Alabama, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Only 15 minutes from each other, there is a lot of destinations to be found for anyone looking. But what do the locals do, and what is guaranteed to be a good time? Take a look at these local options to decide what is worth your time and what might be wasting your time.

Restaurants and Lounges Destinations

Okay, first things first, how do you start your day if you are in the Orange Beach or Gulf Shores area? Well, thankfully, there are two wonderful destinations for breakfast. Open at 7 AM, you could check out the highly-rated Southern Grind Coffee House. Not only does this little local spot make their own coffee (that you can buy in bags), but they offer all the classic Southern breakfasts favorites, like biscuits and gravy.

Also well-reviewed is Buzzcatz Coffee and Sweets, a cute little coffee shop with a lively, fun decor that some have called the best breakfast in Alabama. Super affordable with lots of weekly specials, the cinnamon rolls at Buzzcatz come highly recommended.

Now, when it comes to lunch and dinner destinations, let’s be real. You’re on the coast, and you’re going to want good seafood. Lartigue’s Seafood Market is a great option for some delicious, really fresh seafood, and the tuna dip and the gumbo are absolute must-tries. If you are looking for a bit more of a cajun flavor, Louisiana Lagniappe will also give you some wonderful, fresh seafood with a little bit of that bayou heat. People rave about the blackened grouper, so maybe give that a look.

If you are looking for a destination that is a bit more non-traditional, Blue Water Charters offers a 6-hour lunch cruise where the captain of the vessel will grill you up burgers, sausages, and hot dogs while you revel in the dunes of Robinson Island. It’s a little pricey at $875 for a group of 6, but a cookout on an island in the gulf is going to provide hours of memories.

Finally, if you are looking for a party destination, check out The Hangout. The food is good, with simpler fare from burgers to po’boys to seafood, and there are a bunch of fun frozen drinks for the adults, but what makes this place really fun is all of the events. Live music, outdoor games, foam parties, and more, The Hangout is dining with attitude.

If drinks are what you are looking for, The Flora-Bama Lounge has been a local favorite since 1964. With five stages for local music, craft drinks, and delicious food, The Flora-Bama Lounge is a great spot for mommies and daddies after the children have gone to sleep.

Nature, Beaches, and Attractions

So, now you have an idea of what to eat, but what other destinations have things to do? Well, there are lots. A close walk to a lot of the restaurants is the expansive Gulf Shores Public Beach. Recently renovated, the miles of sandy white beach is perfect for a day of fun in the sun, and there is even a recently built playground for the kiddies. If you are looking for something less crowded, though, Lagoon Pass can be a great spot, especially if you love hermit crabs.

The Wharf is a wonderful spot for shopping and eating, so if you are looking for some time out of the sun, the shops, restaurants, and bars of The Wharf provide a nice relief from the heat.

If you are looking for hiking and biking, the Hugh S. Branson Backcountry Trails are a great place to get in touch with nature. With miles of trails for walking and biking and a plethora of wildlife, from alligators to tortoises to an assortment of birds, the Hugh S. Branson Backcountry is most beloved for how well maintained the trails and facilities are.

Charter boats are also a big attraction in the Gulf Shore and Orange Beach, and the one that is so popular it sells out fastest is the Orange Beach Dolphin Eco Boat. This hour and a half boat trip will take you to the local dolphin pod, where as many as 50 to 70 dolphins will get up close and personal with you.

These are just a few examples of some of the great destinations that wait for you on your trip to Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, but take some of these examples and really live like an Alabama local.

4 Things You Should Know About Mardi Gras in Gulf Shores & Orange Beach, AL

“Laissez bons temps rouler”, or, if you don’t speak French, let the good times roll! On Alabama’s Gulf Coast, most people are always down for a good party, and Mardi Gras is the ultimate party of parties! While many people might think of New Orleans when they think of Mardi Gras, real Alabamians know that Alabama is the home (Mobile, specifically) of this festive, colorful celebration. In Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, AL, there are plenty of good times to be had. So, here are a few tips you should know when planning your Mardi Gras trip to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, AL.

The Parade and the Traffic

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach both have their own parades on Fat Tuesday, March 1st, and the good news is you can make it to both if you want. The Gulf Shores parade starts at 10 AM, with regular traffic resuming around 11 AM. The Orange Beach parade starts at 2 PM, with roads closing down around 1 PM. With Gulf Shores and Orange Beach being only about 15 minutes apart from one another, the window between streets closing and parades starting gives you two hours to get to your spot, or you can always take advantage of ride-sharing like Uber (which might make things easier, as the roads in Orange Beach can stay closed up to 4 PM on parade days).

Both parades are must-see, as the revelers will be tossing everything from doubloons and beads to the Alabama favorite, the Moon Pie! If the earlier parades aren’t fitting your schedule, then you can enjoy the Mystics of Pleasure parade in Orange Beach on Feb. 26th at 5:30 PM or

The LuLu’s Mardi Gras Anniversary & Boat Parade in Gulf Shores on March 1st at 4 PM.

His Royal Highness, King Cake

While you are letting the good times roll, make sure to experience a wonderful treat known as the King Cake! This seasonal, sugary, delectable pastry is served between Jan. 6th (Three Kings Day) and Fat Tuesday. The classic Kings Cake is a cinnamon pastry, but other flavors like praline and cream cheese have become quite popular as well. The thing these cakes have in common is the wonderful, yet almost clownish color scheme of green and purple. However, people don’t just eat this cake in order to enjoy its decadent flavors; legend has it that, if you find a plastic baby in your King Cake, you’ll have good luck all year. Rouse’s in Gulf Shore is particularly well known for its King Cake, so swing by and have a slice or 3!

Kid-Friendly Options

When most people think of Mardi Gras, they think of debauchery and drunkenness, but that is not all the celebration has to offer, and in Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, there are plenty of kid-friendly, family-friendly options to be enjoyed. For starters, the Fat Tuesday parades are great for all ages. Not only that, but in Orange Beach, you can head down to The Wharf for Moon pies On Main! Not only will you experience that above-mentioned Southern sweet treat, but also petting zoos and even a pet parade!

Adult Options

Let’s not kid ourselves, though. Mardi Gras was started as a final celebration of rich foods and good drinks before the days of fasting came. You have nothing to worry about there: Gulf Shores has you covered. The LuLu’s Mardi Gras Anniversary & Boat Parade is not just a fun parade: it’s a celebration of the anniversary of LuLu’s Restaurant! LuLu’s has some amazing seafood, a full bar serving up some excellent Margaritas and craft beer, and live music almost every night. Once the parades are over and the night has come, get your decadence on and enjoy the moonlight breeze from the ocean! These are just a few suggestions of how Gulf Shore and Orange Beach, AL can make your Mardi Gras a great time!

Best places for you & your dogs on Alabama’s Beaches!

Plan on getting away to an awesome vacation rental on the beach?  We all need a break from this virus.  Concerned about a clean rental?  You’re probably wondering if you can bring your furry friends along if you rent a condo for the week?  Well, you don’t have to look any further.. Yep, Alabama Vacation Rentals has your back!  However, It is important to note that the beaches in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach each have ordinances against dogs on the beach. But, that doesn’t mean that you have to leave your best friends behind while you visit our beaches.

The City of Gulf Shores has a dog park where you can let your four-legged friends run and play. The Hugh S. Branyon Trail is also pet friendly and includes a dog park at the southwest edge of Middle Lake.  So there are plenty of places for your pets to run and have a good time.  Both Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are excellent places to vacation with your pet!

Another destination that we need to mention is the Fort Morgan peninsula. Located just west of Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan is in an unincorporated zone of Gulf Shores and does not have a pet ordinance, so you can have your dogs on the beach. Obviously, it’s very important that you tend to and clean up after your dogs for everyone’s comfort and safety.

Many dog owners love the idea of having their dogs by their side as the explore our beautiful beachside communities. So, with a little planning and understanding of the rules, you can bring your best friend along on your next beachside vacation.  Alabama Vacation Rentals wants to help you make your beach vacation with your pet come true!  If you have any questions, please feel free to Contact Us today!