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!

5 Instagram Spots in Gulf Shores

Your Vacation Rental

Get the postcard of your dreams from your very own vacation rental in Gulf Shores. You’ll post pics of the places you’re visiting, so why not give your followers a glimpse of where you’re staying?

Gulf Shores is a place of sun, sand, history, and fun. You’ll be an Insta-hit as your Instagram followers fawn over your feed. Mara Ashford lives for adventure. She has traveled to 56 countries (and counting!), climbing every mountain and kayaking every river she found along the way. She shares her passion for the great outdoors with the world through her photos and writing

By Mara Ashford

Looking to up your Instagam? Focus on Gulf Shores, a glittering gem on Alabama’s Gulf Coast, with plenty of places to make your feed pop. The beaches, of course, are picture-perfect, but you want more than beautiful sunrises and sunsets and white sand.  

We’re here for you with our picks for the five most awesome Instagram spots in Gulf Shores. A fun fact before we get started: Gulf Shores is one of the fastest-growing cities in Alabama. People love the mild weather, white sand beaches with turquoise water, and a lower cost of living than other parts of the country.

Now, onto the list….

Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo

Picture yourself getting up close and personal with the animals at the zoo made famous on “Animal Planet.” The show captured the zoo’s survival story after the staff was forced to mount the first off-site evacuation of zoo animals in the U.S. ahead of Hurricane Ivan in 2004.

“The Little Zoo That Could” captures the zoo’s survival story and relocation to a larger, safer location further inland. The new 25-acre site houses more than 600 animals. The entrance on its own is Insta-worthy. From the parrots’ brilliant plumage to the sloths’ adorable antics, you’ll have plenty of pictures to post. 

Ft. Morgan Historic Site

Add a little history to your Insta-feed. At the tip of Scenic Ft. Morgan Peninsula, you’ll find plenty of scenery with a rich past.

Construction on Ft. Morgan started more than 200 years ago. It played a crucial part in the Battle of Mobile Bay during the Civil War in 1864. The U.S. military also used it during the Spanish-American War, World War I, and World War II. It became a historic site in 1946 after the U.S. government ceded it to Alabama. If history isn’t your thing, head to the white sand beaches or visit the wildlife areas. This is an excellent spot for bird watching, and the dunes and marshes make for unique photos.

Gulf State Park Beaches

You’ll find 3.5 miles of beautiful beaches stretching before you here. Access the public beach at the Beach Pavillion, which is a pretty picture on its own.

Hit the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail to explore the 6,150 acres of the park. It takes you through the nine different ecosystems within the park, with photo ops in every direction. Get there early if you want pristine, people-free pictures on the beach.

Gulf State Park Pier

This is the second-longest pier on the Gulf Coast and Alabama’s only public pier. Hurricane Sally did heavy damage here in September 2020, but the pier is partially open again for fishing and photographs.

If you don’t want to drop a line, you can watch the fish swim by. From May through October, sea turtles nest and lay eggs on the sandy shores, and the pier is a great place to see them in the water. From fall through spring, the pier is one of the best sunset spots in Gulf Shores.

Fall will soon be here!

Fall is an excellent time of the year where everything cools down just a wee bit.  The evenings make you want to just sit out on your vacation rental balcony with your favorite beverage and watch the sun set!  What a GREAT time to be lounging on the beach in your vacation rental!  Can’t you just image YOU sitting on this balcony?  You need this and FAST!!  In this time of extreme stress, we all need a little get-a-way.  Alabama Beach Vacation Rentals has your back!  You can also save money by booking direct through our website.  Some other booking companies charge you high fees to use their services.  Not at Alabama Beach Vacation Rentals.  We care about you having a really good vacation and not having to spend extra money to do so!

Come visit the beautiful Gulf Coast!  The beaches at Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are simply amazing!  If you are looking for things to do while you are resting at one of our many vacation rentals, you can take a peek here by clicking on this link:  THINGS TO DO

Here is just a few of the events that are scheduled for the fall.  Of course, all events are subject to change and you must abide by all state laws concerning Covid-19.  Let us know if you have any questions.  Simply Contact Us today!


  • Labor Day Weekend Celebration – O.W.A. – Sept. 5,
  • Sweetest Chefs – an “EAT-YALL” Signature Event – Sept. 18-20, 2020
    The Wharf in Orange Beach

  • Bama Coast Crusin‘ – Sept. 24-26, 2020
    The Wharf in Orange Beach

  • 20/20 Vision Fall Tour with Def Leppard and ZZ Top – Sept. 28, 2020
    The Wharf Amphitheater

  • 13th Annual Oyster Cook-Off and Craft Beer Weekend – Nov. 6-7-20
    The Hangout

  • 2020 Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show – Nov. 16-17, 2020
    National Museum of Naval Aviation

Hurricane Laura

Hurricane Laura roared into Louisiana yesterday as a strong category 4 hurricane and left a path of destruction that will be felt for years to come. As residents of a coastal community, we know the pain that comes with the storms all too well. The mantra here is to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. We watched both Hurricane’s Marco and Laura because we were in the path when the initial models were first released. Another saying in our community is that you never wish the storm onto anybody. The weather shifted both storms away from our coast and further to the west. Now, those communities to our west are left in a wake of destruction. Our hearts and prayers go out to all of those that felt the impact of either storm. If you’re interested in helping with recovery, here are some links that may be helpful:

Covid-19 Update: 4-28-20

Governor Ivey held a press conference today at 11 a.m. and announced that the current “Shelter at Home” order will expire on Thursday, April 30 at 5 p.m. She created a new order that is called “Safer At Home”. Here are some of the new guidelines that will go into effect on April 30:

  • Beaches will re-open with social distancing guidelines in place.
    • No gatherings of more than 10 people and must keep a 6 foot distance from one another (if you’re with people outside of your household).
    • She emphasized that mayors of the coastal communities have committed to enforcing these guidelines.
  • Retail establishments can re-open with 50% occupancy.
  • Restaurants will remain take-out, delivery and curbside pick-up only.

More details on the above “Safer At Home” order can be found at WRBL’s (Montgomery) site:  Here is the official link to her announcement, including a FAQ on beach guidelines:

We’ll continue to keep you posted as we get more details. Hopefully, by allowing our beaches to re-open, it will stimulate guest bookings. This is a good first step in re-opening our economy.

Covid-19 Local Update 4-21-20

This is a Covid-19 local update from ALBVR: Alabama is beginning to plan the re-opening of restaurants, businesses, and the beaches. They have assembled a task force to discuss the appropriate action. The City of Gulf Shores shared recommendations with that task force. Governor Ivey has not released any plans concerning Covid-19 re-opening, but, as soon as this information becomes available, we will post it on this blog. But, the idea that we are investigating how to re-open Alabama and get back to some level of normalcy is encouraging! We hope that everyone is safe and well at home. We will keep you in informed of any updates as we get them. You can see those updates through our mailing list and this blog. Please read the condensed information below from the city of Gulf Shores.

Recommendations on Reopening Local Businesses and Beaches from the City of Gulf Shores.

Officials are presently discussing plans on how to safely restart our country’s economy. So, the city of Gulf Shores began similar conversations with Governor Ivey’s office, along with the Alabama Small Business Commission Emergency Task Force Subcommittee. Lieutenant Governor Will Ainsworth appointed this subcommittee. Senator Chris Elliott joined the discussions on how Alabama can begin to recover while remaining diligent. The city of Gulf Shores provided our recommendations to these discussions yesterday, after a lengthy discussion with State Health Officer, Dr. Scott Harris. The discussions included specific issues related to safely opening our beaches and our local tourism economy.

It is our belief that we must collectively develop a gradual and measured approach that can evolve as needed. This might include requiring businesses to reopen under modified conditions, because we are concerned for people’s safety. We must all adapt to a “new normal”. Many of our local businesses, their employees and their families are barely hanging on. Their future is uncertain and federal business assistance programs are now out of money. It appears that the only chance of survival for our local businesses is for all of us to find a way to safely move forward together.

Below are the specific recommendations the city of Gulf Shores has provided subject to continued improvements related to COVID-19.

Small Businesses and Food and Beverage Establishments

May 1: All small businesses previously closed can reopen. Food and beverage establishments may offer on-premise consumption subject to social distancing guidelines as set by the State Health Officer. 

Medical and Dental Offices

May 1: All medical and dental offices previously closed can reopen. Elective procedures may resume subject to social distancing guidelines set by the State Health Officer.


May 1: All beaches may reopen for limited recreational use only. The following will be permitted: Walking, running, swimming, surfing, fishing or other similar activities. The following will not be permitted: Congregating and the use of chairs, tents and/or umbrellas. All of these options are contingent on following social distancing guidelines.

May 15: All beaches can reopen for normal activities while being subject to compliance with social distancing guidelines as set by the State Health Officer.

Covid-19 Virus News:

A beautiful sunset on the beach at Orange Beach, AL.

Covid-19, Go away! 

Come see us when it’s gone.


Covid-19 virus has presented us with unprecedented challenges. Because of this current state of affairs, I’m confident that a vacation rental is the last thing on everyone’s mind. We completely understand. We want you to know that we will be here when you are ready. We all hope we can return to our normal lives very soon, but we understand that none of us know exactly what the future holds.

As we wait for the Covid-19 Virus to pass, I have caught myself thinking a little bit about my next vacation. It helps me get through these tough times. Someday soon, I hope to be sitting with my toes in the sand while surrounded by my family and watching the waves roll ashore! It’s these kind of thoughts that help me and I am sure most of you, keep going. It’s a nice distraction from watching the news about this virus that has changed all of our lives. Visions of white sandy beaches and the turquoise waters are inspiring me to pull through these surreal times. The thought of a really nice vacation is where my thoughts are right now. If you have any questions about changing your reservations or making new reservations, please do not hesitate to Contact Us.

Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo now open in new location!

The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo became famous after several hurricane’s in 2004 and 2005. Each storm forced the zoo to evacuate the animals. Because of the storms, a need for a safer environment became apparent. Several local residents, Clyde Weir and his daughter Andrea, were gracious enough to donated 25 acres to the zoo. The new property is located on a much higher and drier location.

The plight of the Zoo was so well publicized that Animal Planet turned the story into a prime time TV series. They called the series: “The Little Zoo That Could”. This title seemed very appropriate due to the many hurdles the zoo had to be overcome.

Getting Fundraising for a not-for-profit organization is hard enough, but the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo had to combat the financial recession of 2008. The BP Oil Spill in 2010 was also a factor. Still, the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo persevered and reopened to the local community and vacationers this past Saturday (March 11th). The new Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo features nearly 500 animals, 118 species and 22 critically endangered, vulnerable, or near threatened species.

As the zoo starts a new chapter in its history, they welcome people back! Spring breakers, snowbirds, local residents and tourists are a large part of the zoo’s visitors. Visit Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo on your next vacation and come see what all the fuss is about! If you have any questions about Gulf Shores or our vacation rentals in Gulf Shores, please do not hesitate to Contact Us.

The Bridge Petition: They want your feedback.

The Convention and Visitor’s Bureau has issued a petition in support of the Alabama Department of Transportation’s proposed new bridge spanning the Inter-coastal Waterway. This effort is endorsed by the Cities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. You can view an aerial map of the potential road improvement through the link provided below.

You can read and sign the petition through the link provided. Support for this project will show our elected officials that we support and need an additional bridge for the communities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.

Please note: Through the signing process, you will be asked to donate to, but this is not a requirement. No funds come to our area directly through this effort. Do not feel obligated to contribute.

An additional bridge has been discussed in the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach communities for more than a decade. The need to alleviate traffic on and off of the island is becoming more pressing as tourism to the island continues to grow year after year. It’s important to note that the current petition and plan is to have NO toll for the bridge!

Here’s the link to the petition, if you would like to sign it:


Hiking the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail

Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan all have their fair share of trails and adventures, but maybe the most notable of all trails in our beach communities is the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail. Its 15-plus miles of paved trails are great for biking, jogging or walking. There are seven trails among six distinct ecosystems that make up the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail complex that winds through the Gulf State Park that sits between Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, Alabama.

Take time to explore the timeless beauty of the Butterfly Garden, the mystical Freshwater Marshes and the Coastal Hardwood Swamps. Catch a glimpse of a Bobcat on the Twin Bridges, a White Tailed Deer on Gulf Oak Ridge or an Alligator basking in the sun. On your trek, you can come across all sorts of wildlife that share the diverse habitats of swamps, old pine forests, a pitcher plant bog and a coastal ecosystem that has been evolving for centuries. Children will like Boulder Park for rock-climbing.

Come on down to the coast and have an adventure along the way.Pelican flying across the water