Fourth of July Festivities on the Gulf Coast

Orange Beach on 4th of July is brimming with firework spectaculars and parties. While we celebrate the birth of our country and independence, we also look at ways to celebrate with family and friends. Backyard burgers and fireworks are a must, but you can upgrade your experience with a sandy Orange Beach 4th of July and let the Gulf, sand and tropical drinks be your red, white and blue for the weekend. Even our Orange Beach resort will be hosting its own celebration.

Here is a list of places along the Gulf Coast with Orange Beach 4th of July fireworks, celebrations, and more!

J4 Celebration | Turquoise Place | Wednesday, July 4th

turquoise place fireworks

Our Orange Beach resort will be hosting its very own 4th of July celebration at the Tip Tops! You’ll enjoy free live music and fireworks display at the end of the night. But when you upgrade to the Freedom Pass, you’ll get access to even more fun and excitement, including delicious All-American BBQ and unlimited access to all the fun. Family-friendly activities include a photo booth, rock wall, laser tag, a bungee trampoline, and a foam party! Freedom Passes start are $20 for kids ages 5-15 years old and $35 for adults. Kids ages 4 and under are free.

Learn more about the J4 Celebration at Turquoise Place.

4th of July Celebration| The Beach Club Resort & Spa | July 2nd – 6th

The Beach Club Resort & Spa has a week-long activity calendar chock-full of festivities, competitions and fireworks, of course, to celebrate the holiday. Guests can reserve a beach chair in advance for fantastic viewing of the 9 p.m. fireworks. Chair reservations must be made no later than Tuesday, July 3 at 6 p.m. and are $10 each. For the 2018 fireworks extravaganza, the show will take place from a barge. This will allow guests to remain on the beach for an evening of fun during the show!

Independence Day Street Party | The Wharf | Tuesday, July 3rd, 5 pm – 9 pm

Celebrate 4th of July a day early at The Wharf at Orange Beach! On July 3rd, from 5 pm – 9 pm, enjoy giveaways, children activities, live entertainment, and much more at no cost for admission! At the end of the party, stick around for a fiery display of pyrotechnics as fireworks light up the night sky at 8:45 pm in celebration of Independence Day.

 

Fourth of July Fireworks Celebration | Gulf State Park Fishing and Education Pier | July 4th, 9 pm

usa flag pin wheel on the beach

Enjoy a dazzling fireworks spectacular from the Gulf State Park Fishing and Education Pier, thanks to the City of Gulf Shores this 4th of July. Grab a spot in Gulf State Park or Gulf Shores Public Beach for excitement and fun! Admission is free; just make sure you find the perfect spot to enjoy the view!

 

Visiting the Gulf Coast this Independence Day? Reserve one of our Orange Beach vacation rentals!

 

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Vacation Extras

History buffs may find it a fitting time to tour Fort Morgan http://www.fort-morgan.org/ at the end of the scenic Fort Morgan peninsula. During the summer months of June and July, there are daily guided tours at 10 a.m. Staff dressed in period clothing will speak about the Fort’s historical significance, military occupancy and the like. Self-guided tours are also available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. Pricing is available on their website.

 

Need an extra little something for the wee travelers this holiday? Check out the Pirates and Princesses Breakfast at The Hangout! Available 8 to 10:30 a.m. through Labor Day, this all-you-can-eat breakfast feast is accompanied by skits and sword fights, as well as a search for pirate booty! Affordably priced (adults $13, ages 6-12 $7, 5 and under free), don your princess or pirate costume and head on over for a value-added vacation extra! The kids will love it (adult kids included).

 

Take advantage of the Fourth of July sale at nearby Tanger Outlets in Foley. Shop at famous brand stores from Friday, June 29 to Sunday, July 8 and download the Tanger APP for additional sale finds! If you’re a Spectrum Resorts guest, you’ll find a voucher for a Tanger Outlets coupon book in your check-in packet. Redeem the voucher at the mall office and get started shopping and saving!

 

Enjoy these Fourth of July ideas and make the most of a Gulf Shores and Orange Beach vacation!

Book Direct: What Does it Mean, and Why Should You Do it?

While shopping for your next vacation you may have come across articles and ads encouraging you to “Book Direct”, but may have been unsure of what that means.  Booking direct means booking your vacation directly with the rental management company rather than through booking sites like VRBO, Booking.com, or Airbnb.

So why should you book direct with a vacation rental manager for your next vacation?

You Get a Better Price by Booking Direct  

Booking sites don’t actually manage any vacation rentals.  Any vacation rental you view on a booking site has been listed there by the vacation rental management company that actually manages the rental.  The booking site allows the vacation rental company to list their rooms in exchange for a commission on the rental amount, usually anywhere between 15% or 20%.

  • To offset that commission, vacation rental managers increase their rates for their listings on VRBO, Booking.com and Airbnb.
  • Plus, some of these sites, like VRBO, also charge a booking fee on their reservations that make the total price even higher.

You’ll always avoid higher prices and fees and get the best available rate by booking your vacation directly on the vacation rental company website, and that’s before you arrive.

Once you arrive for your vacation, you may find that certain amenities and activities are not included with your stay since you didn’t book directly with the rental management company.  If that’s the case, you’ll end up paying more fees to gain access to things that would have been included if you had booked direct.

You Learn More about What You’re Booking by Booking Direct

Since booking sites don’t manage the rentals that are listed on their sites.  They are not as familiar with the rooms or resorts that they offer for rent.

  • Let’s say you’re looking at renting a room at The Beach Club on Booking.com. You’d be able to see photos and some kind of description of the room you are looking at, but that’s all the information that Booking.com would be able to provide you.
  • What if you wanted to know more about the restaurants or activities at The Beach Club or even just in the Gulf Shores area? com would be unable to help you.

When you deal with the vacation rental company directly, you are dealing with the people that are involved in running the resort everyday so they have firsthand knowledge about the resort you are looking at plus they will have feedback on all the fun things to do in the local area.

You Get a Better Vacation Experience by Booking Direct

Booking sites exist for one reason – booking your vacation.  That doesn’t seem like a big deal, until you think about.  When you book your vacation on a booking site, as soon as your reservation is confirmed their job is done and you’re on your own until you arrive for your vacation.  This means that you’re missing out on things that vacation rental companies offer prior to your arrival to make your vacation more enjoyable.

  • Want to reserve a set of beach chairs before you arrive to make sure you get a front row view of the water?
  • What about make your restaurant reservations before you arrive?
  • How about doing an express check-in so you can skip the front desk and go straight to your room when you arrive?

Well if you didn’t book direct you’re probably out of luck, you’ll have to wait until you arrive and just hope there are still some beach chairs still available on the back row.

There you have it, booking direct is the best way to get the best vacation possible at the lowest rate.  Many people looking to book a vacation don’t realize they have so many options when it comes to making their reservation, but doing the research before you book, and knowing the difference in your options, could make you the hero of your next vacation by saving it before it even starts.

 

What exactly is the Clean Bed Guarantee?

You’ve seen it in all of our marketing. You’ve heard it over and over again mentioned in the Spectrum Experience, but what exactly is the Clean Bed Guarantee? You might be thinking, “Oh you have clean beds, well I sure hope so!” Spectrum Resorts has taken the Clean Bed Guarantee much further than just a simple promise. Cleans beds are pretty much expected during any vacation stay, so how can Spectrum Resorts be any different? We are glad you asked.

The Vacation Rental Industry’s Dirty Little Secret

There is a dirty little secret in the vacation rental industry. As much as we would all like to pretend it is not true, fact is that comforters/ bedspreads are only washed, at the most, once or twice per year in most vacation rentals. Hard to swallow? It is one of those topics that no one wants to talk about. Most vacation rental companies do not address this at all. What about the children’s beds? Would you be able to completely relax knowing that yours or your children’s bedding was being shared by honeymooners or spring breakers before you?

Our Guarantee to You

We are definitely not one of those companies to keep topics in the dark. We encourage our guests to bring all concerns “to the table” and that is exactly why we created the Clean Bed Guarantee. Spectrum Resorts doesn’t feel that our guests should have to share their beds with strangers. We guarantee to promote wellness with a clean environment by eliminating the spreading of germs with freshly laundered white duvets for every arrival. We are proud to say this service is offered exclusively in the vacation rental industry along the Alabama Gulf Coast by Spectrum Resorts only.

Insider Tricks

In those instances where you consider booking a vacation rental not managed by Spectrum Resorts, we want you to be prepared on how to ensure the duvet/comforter will be clean. The first trick is to simply ask. Simple questions such as “How often are your duvet/comforters laundered?” can help you to determine if this booking is the best fit for your family. Secondly, keep in mind when booking that most hotels follow this policy, but unfortunately not all resorts do. Last but definitely not least, use your senses. Yes, your senses of sight, smell, and touch can be useful in determining if the duvet provided for your family is clean and germ-free.

There are so many things to worry about when booking for a vacation. Where to go, what to do, the weather – cleanliness should not be one of them. Relax and get your best night’s sleep on a freshly laundered duvet when you book with Spectrum Resorts.

Five Reasons to Book Your Vacation Early

Seriously, stop reading this blog immediately and go ahead and book your vacation.  Ok, maybe not right this second, but definitely soon.  Why would you wait?  There are several advantages for the planners that book their vacation months in advance rather than waiting until the last minute.

  • You’ll Have More Available Rentals to Choose from

You don’t want to end up in a condo that hasn’t been updated since shag carpet and fake plants were all the rage.  The best condos fill up fast.  You’ll have much better luck finding a room that’s been updated with modern décor and technology (I’m talking flat screen TVs and Blu-ray players instead of box TVs and VCRs) if you’re doing your research in January instead of June.

  • You’ll Save Money

It’s simple supply and demand.  As more and more reservations come in, vacation rental companies increase the price on their remaining inventory.  That means the longer you wait to book your vacation, the more money you’ll end up paying.  Make your reservation earlier in the year to lock in the lower prices before they start to go up.

  • You Won’t Have to Put Down a Huge Deposit

So this varies by rental company, but generally speaking if you book your reservation more than a month in advance you’ll pay a smaller deposit that you would if you book at the last minute.  Most rental companies require a 50% deposit for reservations booked more than a month in advance and full payment for reservations made within a month of the arrival date.  Some companies even let you book with $0 down if you’re booking far enough in advance. For example, Spectrum guests are not required to pay anything until 30 days from their booking date. So you can lock in a great rental at a low rate and not even have to spend a penny to do it!

  • You’ll Have More Time to Plan Your Trip

Booking early allows you to better plan your vacation.  Once you know where you’re going to stay, you can search the amenities in the area for you and your family to enjoy while on vacation.  It also gives you more time to coordinate with friends and family members that may want to come along on the trip too.  You could even look at bunking up and staying in a larger condo (there are four and even five bedroom options available) to split the cost and save some money.

  • You’ll Have a Vacation to Look Forward to

Wouldn’t you rather take your time and plan out your vacation or be stressed and scrambling to book something last minute?  Think about it, you could have everything planned and reserved before winter is even over and you’ll have a vacation to look forward too.  It’s much less stressful than waiting until June to try and pull a summer vacation together.

Things to Do During Inclement Weather on the Gulf Coast

The sun is shining and there’s not a cloud in the sky. Picture perfect weather is what everyone is expecting during their beach vacation. Unfortunately, sometimes rain and sleet do happen. In that case, you shouldn’t have to stop your dream vacation from continuing just as planned. We have created a list of the top activities to do to entertain your guests during your beach vacation along the Gulf Coast.

The National Naval Aviation Museum is a quick drive along the coast into Pensacola, FL and is an ideal location for rich history and historic displays. The 350,000 square feet museum is the largest Naval Aviation museum. The best part of a visit to the museum is that it’s FREE!

The David L. Bodenhamer Recreation Center  is located in the heart of Gulf Shores, AL and offers a variety of recreational activities. Even though the center is membership based, daily passes can be purchased for only $10 per day per person and include access to the indoor pool, basketball/racquetball courts and game room.

Gulf Bowl is not your ordinary bowling alley. Located in Foley, AL, the owners of Gulf Bowl focus on family entertainment that includes state-of-the-art lanes, laser tag, ropes course, interactive arcade, dining and even private parties.

Fat Daddy’s Arcade is in Orange Beach, AL and offers over 80 different arcade games. Catering to all ages, Fat Daddy’s offers something for everyone. Many of the larger-than-life size games award tickets that can be redeemed for sought after prizes.

The Factory in one of Gulf Shores newest additions for family fun. With so many different activities under one roof, they encourage everyone to play now and grow up later. Guests can jump around on over 12,000 square feet of connected trampolines. Other activities include an obstacle course, foam pits, dodgeball, flight simulator and an arcade.

The Gulf Coast Escape Room is great for all ages and is designed to get you out of your comfort zone. Work together as a team to make your great escape in under 60 minutes. Each room has a different theme where you have to crack codes, solve ciphers and decode clues for an unforgettable adventure.

 

Don’t let a little bit of inclement weather put a damper on your visit to the Gulf Coast. Visit one of the establishments listed above and leave us a comment on how much fun you had.

How to Make the Best of Valentine’s Day When You Are Single

It’s Valentine’s Day, and that means those lucky enough to be in love with that special someone will be doting or doted upon with gifts, heart shaped candy, flowers, romantic dinners and the sort. For those who chose the single life or the single life chose you, you can still have fun and not hate yourself for being single. Shake off those “I hate this day” blues and go out and have some fun. Who said this day is just for relationships, what about your relationship with yourself and your friends?

Dinner. I know, I know. Dinners on this night are grossly romantic for those who have a significant other, but that doesn’t mean you don’t still get a great meal at a great deal. Check out all those “romantic” Valentine’s Day specials and see what you will enjoy for yourself or with friends. There are places that offer a single price versus a couple’s price. Coast Restaurant at The Beach Club has a select three course menu, with a single and couples pricing. Choose your favorites and create your own custom meal. And who knows, when you go out to dinner by yourself you might meet a fellow “single” diner and let the magic happen.

Flowers. Everyone has flowers on their desk from someone else. Who said you can’t be your own secret admirer? Sometimes it feels great to love yourself and no one else needs to know those kind words of empowerment were your own, and besides you might make the girl in the cubicle next to you jealous over your “Secret Admirer’s” great taste.

Pamper yourself. There are so many stresses in this world and in the “single” universe there are even more. Treat yourself to some much needed alone time and pamper yourself with a spa day. The Spa at The Beach Club is a full Salon and Spa offering facials, massages, body wraps, and an in ground hot tub to relax before and after your treatments. Go in looking drab and come out looking fabulous and glowing. Show your ex you don’t need them with a change of hairstyle and a confident relaxed attitude. The best thing about Valentine’s Day is the discounts; The Spa at The Beach Club has 20% off this week for the love struck day.

The Beach. This goes without saying, but we all need a beach day. Why not grab a group of your single girl friends and make this a girl’s weekend? Dote on each other with drinks and dinner and a weekend you desperately need with a change of scenery and without the exes you left behind. Spectrum Resorts offers weekend rates and holiday specials for your perfect weekend that’s worth every moment at Turquoise Place and The Beach Club.

During this romantic holiday there is something for those that are famously in love and those that relationships just aren’t their thing. Either way, make this day enjoyable to you. Love yourself and loving others will come in time. Make life worth every moment and #creatinghappymemories a priority.

Reasons to visit the Gulf Coast in Winter

Spring is coming and down on the Alabama Gulf Coast, Spring is already here. Why should I take my vacation a little early and not wait for Spring Break? Well you can freeze for a few more months and miss the sounds of the waves on the beach or take an impromptu vacation when the beaches are not crowded.

Weather. On the Alabama Gulf Coast, winter is usually mild. I’m talking 40s is the low and the high can be as high as 80 on some days. Why freeze where you are, when you can walk the beach when your feet aren’t blistered by the beach and don’t have to worry about sweat ruining your clothes or make- up. Lay out and get a bronze glow and make all your friends jealous, because it is January/February and they are still pale.

Activities. There are still lots of activities to do on the Gulf Coast in between summer and spring break. In the winter season there are so many “snowbird” activities that are not just for the older folks who retire to the beach for the winter. Don’t forget Mardi Gras too, did you know it was born just up the road in Mobile, Alabama not New Orleans? That makes for a great Mardi Gras and even greater parades and parties.

Crowds. Let’s not forget during spring break and summer, you can never find a parking spot and the beaches are so crowded it’s hard to find a place to set your beach towels down let alone enjoy a nice peaceful day on the beach. In the few months before spring break the beaches are quiet and relaxing and the temperature is perfect for a tan without the sweat. Spend your whole day being lulled to sleep by the waves with the perfect small breeze blows your hair.

Price. This is a big one! It is the off season and that means low prices, you can get an amazing vacation for less and make your vacation worth every moment. That means a little extra money to spend on that beautiful dress you’ve had your eye on that would look great at the beach, a massage to unwind and a new hairstyle that you have been dying to make the change.

There are so many reasons to visit the Gulf any time of year, but these are some really good ones for the 2017 mild winter. I guess the Gulf Coast has decided to skip winter this year, will you? Make every vacation worth every moment and make a change that you won’t regret when you visit the Alabama Gulf Coast and stay with Spectrum Resorts.

3 Ways to Get Your Family Out of the House on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is only a couple of days away and with that being said, so is family filling your house and the cleaning spree you have been on for the past week is about to end only to have your house turn into a disaster zone with the amount of people milling around. We all love our families and look forward to the holidays, but sometimes we need some time to ourselves. Get them out of the kitchen and out of the house exploring while you take a breather and a big sip of wine.

Go Ice Skating. Ice skating at The Wharf in Orange Beach has started again, from November 18 until January 14 you can skate around a winter wonderland even if you are wearing a shorts and a t shirt. It’s $10 to skate and that includes skating rentals, if you forget your socks they have you covered for a $3 fee of course. If you are a skating pro or you just love the rink you can purchase a frequent skater pass for $80 for 10 skates, it’ll save you $20 in the long run. If you really want your family to have fun you can do a skating and Ferris wheel combo for $13 and see the sights after you skate around.

Go to the Beach. While it may be a little crisp outside, you can still head down to the beach and let the waves work its magic and relax you and the kids. Bring some hot Cocoa or hot apple cider and let the sound of the waves rock you into serenity.

Go out for Thanksgiving Dinner. There is nothing more stressful than cooking for Thanksgiving, if things go wrong or you just don’t have the energy to get everything done, there is a second option and it is stress free. Head to The Beach Club for Thanksgiving Buffet and Dinner. Call ahead at 251-224-3600 to make your reservation and relax knowing that your kitchen will somewhat stay clean and everyone will be happy. The Buffet starts at $32.95 per person kids 6-12 is $10.95 per person and kids 5 and under eat free. Enjoy a classic Thanksgiving dinner from 5pm until 7pm for $16.95 per person.

Whatever your plans are for Thanksgiving, spend it with family and friends and cherish the time, traditions and memories you have with them. Start a new tradition; it’s never too late to start #creatinghappymemories.

Fall Fun and Activities on the Alabama Gulf Coast

The weather is getting cooler and the crowds are thinning out on the Gulf Coast, at least for a little while. While you are choosing your pumpkins for carving and costumes for Halloween there is more fun to be had that can be spooky and creative.

Fall Festivals. When October and November roll in, so does fall festivals including Shrimp Fest, Oyster Cook-Off and this year World Food Championships. While these are just the big name events, there are lots of small local food tastings that gives your inner foodie a chance to find your new favorite local restaurant. Shrimp Fest is a giant festival of fun filled with art, clothes, gifts, music and more, even a kid’s area to tire them out before going home with all your goodies. Of course you come for the shrimp and you can taste all your favorites as well as some new creations. Oyster Cook-Off is another favorite on the Gulf Coast with a craft beer tasting and live music on opening night for you to try all the local brews before you dive into the oysters the next day. Enjoy selections from award winning chefs and Food Network stars and learn a thing or two about oysters. Shuck your heart out in the shucking competition or just sip on a Bloody Mary. World Food Championship is brand new to the Alabama Gulf Coast and is taking over the Wharf for a week in November. Watch fierce competitors battle to be the next World Food Champion and taste all their creations in the process. Learn tips and tricks for your own kitchen and take home some tasty treats.

Pumpkin Carving. It’s a traditions that families do not miss, instead of going to the grocery store this year and picking out the picked over pumpkins, take the whole family to Wales West for the Pumpkin Patch Express and Scary Night Train. Ride an authentic steam train to the Haunted Barn Maze to the kiddie friendly pumpkin patch and pick that perfect pumpkin. While you are carving your new creations, keep the seeds and the guts to make a pumpkin pie and roasted pumpkin seeds for a healthy fall treat. Before you light that candle, put a wash of bleach on the inside so that your jack o lantern will last all the way to Halloween.

Fall Treats. What’s better than Fall festivals and pumpkin carving? Those sweet treats that make Fall the best time of year. Candy apples, caramel apples and hot apple cider, these are a few of the sweet treats that you can make at home and have fun for all those Fall parties. Candy apples are fun and perfect for this time of year, but why not make them spooky for Halloween? While you are making your signature candy apples, add a little black food coloring for poison apples even Snow White would know were poison but delicious. Or make a bloody chocolate candy apple. Simply dip the base in white chocolate and drip your red candy coating on top for a bloody delicious treat. If you love candy apples, but don’t want the little ones to have that much sugar, simply take a melon baller to your apples and turn them into mini candy apples, perfect for a small snack and portion control. With all these apple, hot apple cider is the best drink for Fall. If you can’t find that perfect mullen spice to make your apple cider just like home, try using chai tea as your spices and add that to your hot apple cider for a treat that will warm your heart.

Fall is the perfect time of year to relax and spend time with your family, there are so many crafts and activities that will keep you busy until the holidays and will keep you #creatinghappymemories that will last a lifetime and maybe start a tradition for the next generation.

 

What to do? Water Sports

It’s hot outside and most days you end up at the beach, playing in the sand, building sand castles and goofing off in the water. For those adventurous types, a day at the beach is much more than you think and a little sand and water is not enough for a relaxing good time. These people need adventure in the water in the form of water sports.

Paddle boarding and Kayaking. Those people you see out in the ocean standing on a board just going about their business and getting a good workout. Looks easy right? Wrong. Good luck standing on that board the first couple of tries. It makes it so much fun to get out, put your brave face on and stand. You will fall, a lot, if this is your first time, but you will get the hang of it eventually and it is the best thing. If your balance is not great, kayaks are a great way to explore and not have as much difficulty and no standing required. Both of these relaxing adventures are a great workout and you will feel so accomplished when you tell your friends.

Parasailing. If you’ve ever been to a public beach, chances are you have seen those parachutes carrying people behind a boat. You think “Oh, that looks fun,” and decide to try it. Yes, try it and try it with friends. It is so much more fun to do a double or triple parasail and experience it with friends. You will get a bird’s eye view of everything and it is very peaceful when you are in the air. The best part is if there are multiple groups going at the same time. You not only get to parasail, but you get a speed boat ride too and that’s always fun.

Jet Skiing. Jet Skiing on the Gulf is harder than you think, but more fun than you could imagine. If you have ever been jet skiing on a lake or in the river you have an idea, but the Gulf is a different story. Just getting out past the waves is the best part. Make waves and jump waves, be free and see the beach from a different point of view and rev up your adrenaline in the process.

There are so many options and ways to have an adventure on the beach and on the Gulf. Whether you want a relaxing workout, an adrenaline rush or something in between, water sports is the way to go and no matter what the only thing that matters is #creatinghappymemories.

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