4 Must Try Alabama Seafood Dishes

In last week’s post we highlighted 10 Things to Expect When Vacationing on the Gulf Coast.  Number seven on the list is the fact that every restaurant claims to have the best seafood in town.  The fact is you really can’t go wrong at any of the local seafood restaurants if you’re looking for fresh Gulf seafood, but some dishes stand out more than others.  Here are four local seafood dishes you must try on your next Gulf Shores and Orange Beach vacation. Continue reading “4 Must Try Alabama Seafood Dishes”

Watts Up on the Beach

Spectrum Resorts has something we want you to see including sugar-white beaches, panoramic Gulf views, resort amenities, area attractions and much more.

Spectrum Resorts in going “out in the field” with the locals and visitors with our new vlog called “Watts Up on the Beach”.  We are highlighting amenities around Turquoise Place and The Beach Club along with activities and restaurants around the Orange Beach and Gulf Shores area.

We want to give you an inside look of what it’s like on the Gulf Coast and how Spectrum Resorts helps our guests create happy memories.

Our first vlog is a preview of the beach club and kicks off our series for the summer. Next we will be heading to the Gulf Adventure Center zipline in Gulf Shores. Follow me along my summer journey through the Gulf Coast area on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! Share your vacation pictures with us at marketing@spectrumresorts.com, and we will feature you at the end of our next vlog! Have any questions or comments about Spectrum Resorts or the area? I’ll answer them all!

Danielle Watts

#wattsup

Spectrum Resorts Marketing

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Tips for Planning a Hassle-Free Summer Vacation

Tips for Planning a Hassle-Free Summer Vacation

Today’s technology makes planning a vacation a lot easier and stress free. When it’s time to book your beach getaway, try using the many available resources to save time and money. Let us help you find the best accommodations, show you the best places to dine, and help you plan an unforgettable Alabama Coastal Getaway.

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Travel Apps

Use the multipurpose mobile apps provided by Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism to help you navigate your way around Coastal Alabama. Download the app to find specials on beach houses and condos, to find live music, and to learn about the area’s history or to just find a peaceful walking trail.  Apps include the Gulf Beaches App, the Scenic Byway App, and the Backcountry App.

Alabama Gulf Coast Vacation Guide

Enjoy hassle free planning with the Alabama Gulf Coast Vacation Guide. Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism makes it easy with two options including the online version or a free copy that can be sent to you by mail. They also offer the Alabama Civil War Trail Guide, Orange Beach Fishing Association Charter Directory, Gulf Shores Golf Guide, and the E-Tiding Newsletter.

TripAdvisor

Read reviews on TripAdvisor to see what experiences other people have had. Find inside information from previous patrons on accommodations, entertainment, and attractions. All contributors are unpaid, and TripAdvisor has one of the largest collections of user-contributed pictures from more than 45 countries. Look for the owl of approval at your favorite destinations.

Travel Bloggers

Ask the experts. Do your research and find travel bloggers and writers who are social media enthusiasts. Bloggers are bloggers because they can tell you about their experiences and relay them in a manner in which you can almost picture yourself there. The art of penmanship is great when looking for the perfect vacation.

We also recommend looking at social media outlets including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.  Most businesses have at least one social media channel and general response times are quick and informative. Have a relaxing summer and please let us know your tips for planning a hassle-free vacation.

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Must Do’s for the 100 Days of Summer

Visitors will be flocking to the beaches this summer for a little rest and relaxation. The 100 Days of Summer are a time to create happy memories while swimming, basking in the sun and enjoying spending time with family and friends.

Start planning your summer today so you don’t miss out on area activities and attractions. In order to see and do as much as possible during the 100 Days of Summer, we have composed a list of Must Do’s for your Coastal Alabama 100 Days of Summer beach getaway.

C Spire Concert Series – With acts like Dave Mathews Band, Eric Church and The Steve Miller Band, The Wharf is going to be jamming all summer long.  The C Spire Concert Series is presenting a lineup that is sure to entertain.

Independence Day – The skies in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach light up during July 4th with stunning fireworks from The Beach Club on Fort Morgan Road all the way to Perdido Beach Resort in Orange Beach. The Gulf State Park and The Wharf also host extravagant firework displays.

Summertide Theatre presents: Ring of Fire – The music of Johnny Cash will be performed by The University of Alabama’s professional summer theatre, SummerTide.  Performances are every Tuesday through Sunday evening from June 5- July 3. ‘Walk the line’ to Gulf Shores to see Johnny Cash’s music come to life at the George C. Meyer Performing Arts Center in Gulf Shores.

The Blue Marlin Grand Championship – The greatest show in sportsfishing will once again present the over-the-top weigh-in for The Blue Marlin Grand Championship a the Wharf July 7-12.  Named one of the top 20 events in the Southeast, The Grand Championship befits the St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

100 Days of Summer at The Wharf – The Wharf is hosting an entertaining summer filled with events and concerts including the nightly Spectra light shows beginning at 8:30pm. Kids’ night is every Wednesday night in the Palm Plaza next to the Ferris wheel. It is Free to the public with bouncy houses, face painting, hair wraps an
d more.

We suggest you retreat to the beautiful beaches of Alabama for the 100 Days of Summer.  Create happy memories in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach and take advantage of the many coastal activities and events. Please let us know what is on your must do list for the summer.

Fireworks TBC Clubhouse

 

5 of Our Favorite Water Sports

Where is the best place to go when the temperatures are on the rise and school lets out? Most people say the beach, and we do too! There is something refreshing about submerging yourself in the cool waters of Coastal Alabama on a hot summer day.

As we all know too well in the Southeast, humidity goes up along with the summer temperatures and it’s hard to keep the kiddos entertained outside when it is so hot. You can have the best of both worlds with a few of our favorite Water Sports.

Paddle boarding – Stand up paddling (SUP) has taken the Gulf Coast by storm. Even though it is an excellent source of exercise, it is also fun for the entire family.  Paddle boarding is best in water with unbroken swells and can be operated by sitting, kneeling or standing.

Fly boarding – If you haven’t heard of fly boarding, then you are missing out. A foot mounted board connects to a wave runner with a hose that redirects the water to propel two jets on the bottom of the board creating lift off! Let Flyboard Bama fly you through the sky.

Kite Boarding – Although Kite Boarding requires some skill, there are classes and courses you can take so you can have a bird’s eye view of the Gulf Coast. We recommend kite boarding for thrill seekers and water sport adventurers who aren’t afraid to soar through the sky at the mercy of the wind.

Parasailing – It is a beautiful site to see as a participant and as on onlooker.  It is like watching a hot air balloon but a completely different experience. The rush associated with gliding through the air with your feet dangling is incomparable.

Kayaking – For the water lovers who are less adventurous, we recommend a quiet kayaking trip to enjoy the peaceful surroundings of Mother Nature. Coastal Alabama is known for the Back Bay fishing and water sports like canoeing and kayaking.

We hope everyone has a fun and safe summer. Remember to adhere to the beach flag safety warnings, apply sunscreen several times a day and stay hydrated.

flyboarding TBC

 

What is the Clean Bed Guarantee at Spectrum Resorts?

What is the Clean Bed Guarantee at Spectrum Resorts?

We have stayed in many hotels and resorts on our travels and growing up I always rented a condominium on the beach but I have never stayed at a nicer, friendlier resort than with Spectrum Resorts. One might ask how do you make a difference with something that you are already leading the industry. They have done it again with the Clean Bed Guarantee! 

What is it? 

The Clean Bed Guarantee is where Spectrum Resorts will have a fresh, comfortable white duvet that has been laundered upon your arrival. The secrets behind the scenes at other resorts would probably shock us all, however one of the things that I always look for when booking a stay somewhere are the styles of the linens. You can usually get a pretty good idea from the pictures displayed on the resorts website or across third party sellers.

Of course you are not going to know if the linens are clean and at your expected standards until you arrive. Spectrum Resorts takes out the guessing and they guarantee that you will have a clean bed and a comfort level unlike anything else you have experienced before.

What it feels like? 

When we walked in the door at Turquoise Place everything was bright and clean and very modern. Our bed was gorgeous and so comfortable. I can tell you, now that I know the difference, when you walk into a room that doesn’t have fresh and clean linens you will know it!

We were so exhausted from driving 8 hours to Orange Beach that the minute we got to Turquoise Place we relaxed in bed and the smell of freshness and the comfort level of the bed was immaculate.

After staying at Turquoise Place, I can now say that long gone are the days where I walk into a hotel room expecting anything less than a Clean Bed Guarantee. Unfortunately not all resorts follow this policy, but thankfully we experienced Spectrum Resorts and can now attest that this is a huge selling point for any prospective visitors.

Summary 

We had an amazing stay at Turquoise Place and no I don’t think it was just because they laundered our sheets. However, I think that when you stay somewhere that has a policy like the Clean Bed Guarantee in place, you know that cleanliness will not be an issue.

Of course Turquoise Place is so much more than just a clean resort. Instead it offers a variety of amazing amenities and features that will make you not want to leave! I would highly recommend making a reservation here to see exactly what a ‘concerned resort’ looks like, and how differently you are treated than any alternative accommodation.

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5 Kid Friendly Coastal Alabama Restaurants

One of the benefits of going on vacation is the luxury of dining out. Most people dread the everyday routine of cooking and cleaning on vacation and going out to eat while out of town is the easiest way to experience the local cuisine. And you don’t have to clean up afterwards makes it even more appealing.

Picture this… you spend the day relaxing on the beach or by the pool and the kids play their little hearts out. Right before dinner, everyone decides on a restaurant, gets ready and goes out. Once you arrive, you realize that you did not account for the wait time and everyone is getting ill because they are tired, sunburned, thirsty and hungry. What next?

When traveling with children, we suggest choosing a kid friendly restaurant when dinging out, especially during high volume seasons like summer and holidays. As many parents will agree, it is exhausting trying to entertain kids that are hungry, thirsty, tired and sunburned.

We see this all too often so here is a list of five kid friendly restaurants on the Alabama Gulf Coast.

  1. LuLu’s This family-friendly open air restaurant caters to all ages.  Kids can watch the boat traffic on the Intercoastal Waterway, browse the gift shop, hit the ropes course or visit the Fountain of Youth.
  1. The Hangout Located directly on the beach, The Hangout offers convenient beach access, foam parties, a wish wall, sand pit, a wall collection of unique treasures, courtyard games and much more
  1. Lambert’s Café The home the throwed rolls, Lambert’s Café is located in Foley just south of the Tanger Center.  With generous portions and throwed rolls, kids love to eat at Lambert’s.  Children are taught not to play with their food, but at Lambert’s, it is perfectly acceptable.
  1. The Village Hideaway Located at The Beach Club, The Village Hideaway has interactive video games, pool tables, shuffleboard and a High Definition Golf Simulator. Kids can share a pizza and even play life size chess on the front lawn.
  1. The Original Oyster House It is no secret the Oyster House loves kids. Located in the Bayou Village Shopping Center, The Oyster House is a great location for kids to watch for alligators and feed the fish. And, kids really appreciate the toy served with all of the kid’s meals.

For additional information on area restaurants, please visit Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism.

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You Should Book Your Summer Vacation Today – Here’s Why

Now that Spring Break is over, many families are turning their attention back towards work and school until Memorial Day.  This means that most families will also wait until late May or June to book their summer vacation.  Many vacationers believe that better deals can be had by waiting and booking a reservation at the last minute.  While that may be true for hotels, travelers looking to stay in a vacation rental are better off booking their trips further in advance.

There is More Inventory to Choose From

Privately owned condos and beach houses are usually decorated to the owner’s taste.  Even within the same building, the quality and comfort of vacation rentals can vary widely.   Savvy travelers know that the most desirable vacation rentals book earlier in the year when there is more inventory to choose from.  By waiting until the last minute to book your summer vacation, you will be limiting your available options and reducing the chances of finding the perfect location for your stay.

Rental Rates are Lower

Summer rates are typically lower the earlier you book.  That’s because management companies offer lower starting rates early in the year to encourage more guests to book in advance.  As inventory fills up and the demand for summer reservations increases, rental rates increase as well.  You can take advantage of lower starting rates by booking your vacation earlier and locking in a lower rate.

Cancellation Penalties are Small if you Cancel Far Enough in Advance

Most management companies have a 30 day cancellation policy.  That means that you will forfeit anywhere from 50% to even 100% of the reservation cost if you cancel within 30 days of your arrival date.  If you’re making your reservation within 30 days of your planned arrival, then you are locking yourself into your selected dates and rental unit the moment you book.  By booking further in advance though, you allow yourself more time to plan and adjust your reservation if need be.  Some rental companies even allow travelers that book more than 30 days in advance the ability to reserve a room risk free with no money down and no cancellation fee if the reservation is canceled more than 30 days in advance.  The rental companies that do require a deposit at the time of booking will typically still refund your deposit less a $50 cancellation fee if you cancel 30 days in advance.

The bottom line is that it doesn’t pay to procrastinate when making your summer vacation plans.  Booking your summer vacation in advance means that you will get the best room at the best price without the risk of a last minute vacation.  What do you have to lose?

Girls Getaway: Setting Sail to the Beach


Blog written by Heather Boothman

A Brit and a Southerner

Planning a girl’s getaway can be difficult especially when trying to come to an agreement on the best destination. Whether it’s shopping sprees or relaxing with spa day treatments, identifying a perfect location is critical before hitting the open road.

After much discussion, we all agreed that our chosen location required a beach, good shopping, fun attractions and of course great food! I soon realized that the choice was not difficult at all and the question had been answered in record time – Gulf Shores and Orange Beach in Alabama. Having visited this stretch of coastline previously with my husband, I knew that taking my girls here was the perfect choice.  All we have to do now is plan our itinerary in an area that has endless possibilities.

Where to Stay

During my last visit to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, we stayed at The Beach Club by Spectrum Resorts and had an amazing experience there. We researched various other alternatives in the area but many of the resorts just didn’t compare to Spectrum Resorts high quality accommodation. A word of caution if you are planning a getaway for early May. Book early because this is the start of the peak season and this is a much sought after destination and you certainly don’t want to settle for something if it is not at the beach.

Spectrum Resorts has the ‘best of the best’ along the Gulf of Mexico so when we stumbled across another property of theirs I didn’t think twice. Turquoise Place is a luxurious resort that is located in the heart of Orange Beach. All the best amenities like a gas grill and your own private Jacuzzi are included, in addition to their Clean Bed Guarantee that is revolutionizing the market.

Have you ever wondered how frequently hotels and resorts actually wash your bed linens? Sometimes comforters may only be washed twice each year. However thanks to Spectrum Resorts, “Each guest bed will be made with a freshly washed duvet and linens prior to your arrival.”  Turquoise Place here we come! 

What are our Plans

When you make a trip to the beach of course there will be morning runs, gorgeous sunrises and sunsets and that amazing beach smell with the waves crashing while we are relaxing. What do you do when you venture away from the beach? 

We are hoping to save time for a little retail therapy in the nearby Tanger Outlet mall in Foley, as well as the local markets and boardwalks within the area.

There is something to be said for being one with the ocean and we are excited to have booked a sunset cruise with Sail Wild Hearts. The cruise will last around 1.5 to 2 hours on a 53-foot catamaran. Tickets are $35 to cruise around while we sooth our souls and embrace the moments with the ocean.

The Waves of Wine Festival will be taking place during our visit, featuring live music, food from a variety of local restaurants as well as craft beer and of course over 120 different wine selections to try. Tickets are also $35 and that includes a cruise around the bay during the event for you to enjoy the breathtaking scenery in the Gulf. An added incentive is the inclusion of a wine glass and bag to help cherish your memories from this experience. The festival will be at a Caribe The Resort, which is in close proximity to Turquoise Place.

Where to Eat 

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach is spoiled for choice when it comes to fine restaurants and cuisine options. Seafood here is delicious and the hardest part is choosing which of the many establishments to sample.

One restaurant that I am really excited about trying is The Gulf, which is located directly on the beach. Serving food inspired by the Gulf of Mexico, this outdoor venue is just a really cool looking restaurant. Did you know The Gulf is made out of repurposed shipping containers? This beach bar has much to offer in terms of atmosphere and of course food selection, from burgers to tacos this place looks like it has it all and dinner is going to be amazing.

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