Thinking About Renting a Boat During Your Vacation? Here’s Where to Go

Charter fishing and dolphin cruises are great family activities for Gulf Shores and Orange Beach vacationers, but sometimes you want to be the captain instead of a passenger.  No worries, there are several boat rental options available, and we’ve combed through them all to let you know which are the best in the area to save you time and money on your next vacation.

Wallace Boat Rentals, Your One Stop Shop

Wallace Boat Rentals in Orange Beach offers the most convenient rental experience at the lowest prices.  They offer pontoon, fishing, and runabout rentals all starting at just $185 for four hours.  Life jackets, boating instructions and even a map of the waterways are all included in your rental.  If you’re new to boating they
will even give you a boating tutorial before you hit the water, and a boating license is not required for rentals.

If you’re looking to do some fishing, Wallace Boat Rentals has you covered there too.  Rods and reels are available with your rental for $7 each.  And if you have a dog that loves the water as much as you do, you can bring them along as well.   Reservations are recommended, but not required.  Overnight rentals are also available upon request.

Legacy Boat Club, Great for Repeat Visitors

Legacy Boat Club in Orange Beach offers a membership plan specifically designed for vacationers that is a little pricier upfront, but can help you save big over the years.  Legacy charges a one time initiation fee of $990, but once the initiation fee is paid members enjoy unlimited boat usage for only $690 per week.  This is a great option for serious boaters that vacation on the Gulf Coast every year.

The Legacy fleet consists of jet boats, deck boats, pontoon boats and waverunners.  And Legacy employs a professional team of boat detailers and mechanics so the boats are always clean and ready to go when you are.  There is even an option for members to purchase the boats from the club as new models are added.

There are other rental options available in the area, but Wallace Boat Rentals and Legacy Boat Club both offer some upside over the competition.  Enjoy exploring the waterways and back bays surrounding Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, and if you’re getting ready to take your summer vacation be sure to check out our post on tips for dodging traffic on your way to the beach.


What Steps Should You Take to Treat a Jellyfish Sting?

Picture yourself on a bright sunshiny day enjoying an afternoon swim off the sugar-white beaches of the Gulf Coast and before you know it, something brings you to tears. What could possibly be interrupting your relaxing beach day? It looks as if you have fell victim to the long tentacles of a jellyfish.

Most beach goers have experienced a jellyfish sting at one time or another. The stings of jellyfish native to the Alabama Coast are rarely life threatening and there are as many as sixty different kinds of jellyfish found in the area. According to Jellyfish Facts found on the website, sea nettles, the comb jelly, moon jellies and the cannonball are often found in our local waters.

Jellyfish tentacles have tiny spine covered tubules called nematocysts that anchor themselves to the skin and inject you with chemicals. It is like being stung by multiple ants or bees at the same time. Here are 3 steps for first aid if you or anyone you are with becomes a victim to a jellyfish sting.

Step 1

If there are tentacles still attached to the skin; try to remove them before additional toxins are released into your body. Be cautious and use thick clothing or gloves if they are available. Be sure not to touch the tentacles with your bare skin because the nematocysts can still produce toxins even when they have been detached from the jellyfish. Scraping the area with a flat surface such as a credit card helps clear the skin by removing any remaining nematocysts.

Step 2

Some guides suggest pouring vinegar on the stung area for at least 30 seconds and then soaking the area for 30 minutes. This remedy does not work on Portuguese Man o’ War stings which are not considered a jellyfish but a colony. Saltwater is an alternative if vinegar is not available.

Step 3

Dry the infected area and apply Benadryl or antibiotic ointment. The pain should subside after 5-10 minutes of treatment and within 24 hours most of the pain should be gone.

Things to Avoid

One problem with the treatment of jellyfish stings is the old wives’ tales. Contrary to popular belief, victims of a sting should not pour fresh water on the sting because it can cause additional venom to be released. Rubbing sand on a jellyfish sting can cause severe irritation to the already aggravated skin. Pouring alcohol or spirits on a jellyfish sting may cause negative effects and can also prompt the release of venom.

After being stung, if you show signs of breathing problems, chest pain, loss of consciousness, hives, dizziness, irregular heartbeat, nausea or muscle spasms occur, call for emergency assistance right away.

Most jellyfish stings are minor and get better when treated promptly. We recommend knowing your surroundings when swimming and adhering to the purple beach flag warning when there is a dangerous marine life advisory. Be safe and cautious when swimming and have fun!


3 Beach Safety Tips You Should Know Before Entering the Water

Family vacations are a time to relax, unwind and let loose and the best location to do that is Alabama’s Gulf Coast.  The beaches are beautiful and there is an abundance of restaurants and local activities to keep everyone entertained and well fed.  Even in paradise, precautions should still be taken to keep everyone safe, and Gulf Shores and Orange Beach have systems in place to ensure beach safety.  Here are the things you should know about the beach safety in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach to keep everyone in your party safe while on vacation.

Rip Currents

Rip currents are strong channels of water that flow outward from the shore into the Gulf of Mexico.
These currents typically flow at 1 – 2 feet per second, but speeds up to 8 feet per second have been measured.  There is a common misconception that the current pulls swimmers underwater, but the current is actually strongest at the surface and does not pull swimmers downward.  Rip currents themselves are not necessarily dangerous, but the fatigue that comes from trying to fight the current is.  In order to escape the current, swimmers should remain calm and swim parallel to the shore.  Rip currents tend to be narrow, so escaping by using this method is very effective.  Swimmers can think of the current like a treadmill, and the best way to escape is to simply step off to the side.  You can visit the NOAA website for more information on how rip currents form and how to identify them.

Beach Flag System

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach have adopted a beach flag system to keep beach-goers informed of water conditions along the coast.  The flags are displayed at all public beaches, and at most condominium rental complexes along the coast.  The system is very simple and easy to remember.  Green flags are displayed when conditions are calm and favorable for swimming.  Yellow flags mean there is a slight hazard and extra caution should be used when entering the water.  Red flags are displayed when conditions are rough and there is a high swim hazard.  On occasion, double red flags are displayed, and during these times it is
illegal to enter the water.  Swimmers will be ticketed if caught swimming when the double red flags are flying.  Purple flags are flown when there is a dangerous marine life advisory, which usually means there is a high concentration of jellyfish at that time.  Lifeguards are only stationed at the main Gulf Shores public beach (in front of The Hangout), and caution should always be exercised when swimming in the Gulf of Mexico.

Be Aware of the Waves

Waves can be much more powerful than you may think.  While most injuries are minor (simple scrapes and sprains) they can still put a damper on your vacation.  Luckily, it’s fairly easy to avoid these injuries while swimming.  Always be aware of where the waves are breaking and never turn your back on the waves and you’ll never be caught off guard.

Being informed is the first step in ensuring that everyone will be safe on your next trip to the beach, so be sure to share these tips with friends and family members.  And most importantly, remember to always exercise caution when swimming in the Gulf so you’ll be able to experience a safe and fun family vacation.

Don’t forget to check out our free 2014 Vacationer’s Guide for information on local restaurants, activities and more!


7 Tips to Plan Your Summer Vacation

Some people love to set off on a vacation with no plans in mind. But, if you’re traveling with a family or have a budget to adhere to this style likely isn’t for you. Instead, take some time to plan ahead of time and save you from a headache on the road. These 7 tips will get you started.

Set a Budget

This is the most important step. It’s hard to plan when you haven’t established what you can spend. Be honest with yourself and don’t go into debt to make a vacation happen – you’ll be surprised what you can find to do when you have parameters. Give yourself a little wiggle room for unexpected expenses but plan to stick as close to the budget as possible.

Consider all Options

Now that you know what you can spend it’s time to decide where to go and what to do. Maybe you already know the destination. If you don’t, take some time to generate a brainstorming list. Encourage all family members to participate. Don’t limit yourself to the places “you think” fit in your budget.

Timing is Everything

It’s not a secret that travel during the summer months is more expensive than other times of the year.
However, in certain places summer months are the low season and you may be able to find amazing deals. If you have flexibility over when you can travel in the summer you’re also going to open up more options.

Let Everyone Share their Opinion

Get everyone involved in planning from the beginning. Teaching your children about budgeting, researching destinations, and planning activities and meals will get them excited about the trip and also teach them valuable life skills. While the parents may have the final say you may be surprised to discover what they come up with.

Transportation Tips

Will you drive? Fly? Take a bus or train? There are numerous ways to get to your destination and get around once you arrive. Maybe renting an RV and driving is more cost effective. Really, consider everything.

 Don’t Over Schedule

Of course you want to see and do as much as possible on your vacation, but there’s something to be said for slowing down and just enjoying your time. Will your kids really love being shuttled from one attraction to the next, or would a day at the pool or lake be just as fun? There’s nothing wrong with doing nothing!

Eating In or Out?

One of the biggest benefits of having a home or cabin rental is that you have access to a kitchen. If you have picky eaters or want to save some money, preparing your own meals can save a huge amount of money. Decide when it makes sense to enjoy a meal out and when you’d be better served by a simple meal in.

A special thank you to Maria Sinclair with Blogging, Babies, and the Bayou for writing this guest blog post!  Be sure to check out her blog for a post detailing her recent stay at The Beach Club in Gulf Shores.


3 Surprising Things You May Not Know About Travel Insurance

If you’ve ever booked a Gulf Shores or Orange Beach vacation through a rental management company you were probably offered optional travel insurance through CSA Travel Protection.  Most renters only consider adding this protection for stays booked during hurricane season, but travel insurance can be a wise investment and it covers much more than just mandatory evacuations.  Here are three surprising things that you probably don’t know about travel insurance as well as some general information on the insurance offered in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.

Travel Insurance Covers Accidents That Occur During Your Vacation

Accidents can occur at anytime, even during your vacation.  If you are involved in a traffic accident during your vacation, travel insurance can reimburse your for any lost rental days that occur as a result.  It even covers medical expenses if there are any injuries.  CSA even offers vehicle return services to help make arrangements to have a designated person or provider return your vehicle to your home if the vehicle is not able to be driven at the time of your departure.

 Travel Insurance Covers Illness and Pre-Existing Medical Conditions

Everyone should be a part of the family vacation, but sometimes travelers have medical conditions that make it difficult for them to be away from their physicians.  Travel Insurance can reimburse you for lost rental days if you must return home due to illness or a pre-existing medical condition.  And this coverage applies to everyone in your travel party, even if they are not a family member.

Travel Insurance Covers Job Relocations and Military Activation

If you or a travel companion are relocated at least 250 miles due to employment and need to change your vacation destination or dates of travel, travel insurance will reimburse any lost money due to canceling or changing your reservation.  The insurance also covers any cancellation or change fees that occur if you or a travel companion are called into active military service and must change your reservations.

Travel Insurance General Policies

Travel insurance can be added at anytime, but will only cover situations that arise after the insurance was purchased.  The insurance offered in the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area costs 6.5% of your total reservation amount, so for a $2,000 reservation you would only pay an additional $130 to protect your vacation investment.  CSA also offers a 10 day free look, so you have 10 days from the date you purchased the insurance to cancel for a full refund.  CSA will not issue refunds after the 10 day period.

As with any insurance policy maximum limits and exclusions apply, and each claim is different.   You can find a detailed description of coverage on the CSA website, but if you have questions on what may and may not be covered it’s always best to contact CSA directly with any questions.

Travelers can also minimize the risk or forfeiting money due to cancellation or change fees by booking with companies that offer guest friendly rental policies.  To find out more about what to consider when looking for guest friendly rental policies follow the link below.

The 4 Best Family Friendly Spots for a Night Out on the Gulf Coast

Gulf Coast vacationers spend their days relaxing on the beach, parasailing or splashing in a pool, but there are also many family activities that can be enjoyed when the sun goes down.  For attractions that offer activities ranging from bowling and laser tag to live music and mini golf, here are the four best places for a family night out on the Gulf Coast.

The Track

The Track in Gulf Shores has plenty of activities to keep everyone entertained for hours.  Small children will love Kids Country which is tailored for little ones with rides like The Rio Grande Train, a ferris wheel and swings.  They even have Kiddie Karts that children at least three and a half feet tall can take for a spin.  Older children can enjoy the bumper boat attraction, and the more adventurous members of your family can take a ride on the Skycoaster which drops riders from 110 feet at speeds up to 70 mph!  The Track also has an arcade and mini-golf that the entire family can enjoy together.

The Hangout

The Hangout in Gulf Shores is a great spot for families to….. well, Hangout!  The food is great and reasonably priced, and the atmosphere is very festive and fun.  After dinner you can find a spot to relax out back and enjoy some great live music from local bands while the children busy themselves by playing on the sand hill.  Everything is family friendly, so there’s no need to worry about finding a sitter.  Everyone can enjoy a night out at this popular restaurant.

The Wharf

The Wharf in Orange Beach truly has something for everyone.  There are great restaurants like Compleat
Angler and Ginny Lane, unique boutiques like Archipelago and Ooh La La and a Rave Motion Pictures movie theater.  Children will love making their own souvenir at Build-A-Bear Workshop, and teens can check out Arena The Next Level for laser tag, bazooka ball and arcade games.  Be sure to check out the Spectra light show which takes place on Main Street and features three shows each night during the summer season.  The Night at The Movies show begins at 8PM, Patriotic Spectra at 9PM andAqua Spectra at 10PM.

Gulf Bowl

The Gulf Bowl in Foley is a well worth a little extra time in the car for families seeking a fun evening.  This is another spot that has everything you need for a good time.  Captain’s Choice restaurant has been a local favorite since it opened in 1959 and continues to serve Southern favorites like corn fritters, fried pickles and fried crab claws.  The new 24 lane bowling alley features state-of-the-art technology and a friendly staff to deliver a fun and family-friendly bowling experience.  The arcade has something for the entire family with old favorites like ski-ball and new additions like Deal or No Deal and Big Game Hunter, and the newly added laser tag arena has been an immediate hit among travelers and locals alike.

What does your family most enjoy on a night out during your beach vacation?  If there are any other area attractions that you would like to see covered in a future post, please let us know in the comments below.