Monday, July 20, 2015

Eight Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Resorts Featuring Lazy Rivers

Floating along on my inner tube past the rides and slides on Waterville USA’s Crystal River is my idea of a relaxing time in the sun. The lush tropical setting of this soothing ride even includes a refreshing waterfall to cool off when a splash is just what I need. Of course most of the waterpark visitors are scurrying around to capture the thrills of the 17 water slides, the wave pool and Flowrider but I’m perfectly content to relax on the 1/3 mile of lazy river that never ends.

But the waterpark is not the only opportunity to relax on a lazy river on Alabama’s Gulf Coast. In fact, there are now eight condominium resorts featuring this family-friendly amenity. Here’s my guide to your coastal lazy river adventure:


Turquoise Place
Turquoise Place is the address for luxury on the coast, so it’s quite natural that a 450-foot lazy river is a featured amenity at this upscale Orange Beach resort. No doubt the entire family will savor the experience of the peaceful, slow-moving waters overlooking the bright white sands and gorgeous blue waters of the gulf beach from this unique vantage point.

Phoenix West provides an upscale, spacious backdrop for beachside fun and relaxation with its lazy river that includes an exciting slide and overlooks the sugar-white beach in Orange Beach.

Phoenix West II is the newest addition to coastal condominiums in Alabama and just like its sister property a lazy river with a waterslide is a feature of this luxurious resort. Pools and hot tubs complete the beachfront amenities that provide a world-class view.
 Crystal Tower

Crystal Tower is quite exceptional since the actual condo dwellings are situated on the north side of West Beach Boulevard along the coast in Gulf Shores. No worries about crossing from the condo to the beach since an air conditioned pedestrian bridge delivers you directly to the pool, hot tub and the largest lazy river on Alabama’s Gulf Coast. So you have the views and advantage of gulf-front amenities and your accommodations are priced a little lower than the gulf-front rental rate.


Caribe Resort built its 18-inch deep, 980-foot-long lazy river to the upper deck, where you’ll also find more pools and slides for the young and the young at heart. Located where Ole River intersects with Terry Cove at Perdido Pass in Orange Beach, you have the opportunity to pick your view of the calm, backwaters to the north of the resort or the sand and surf of the gulf to the south. In fact there’s even a shuttle when you are ready to trek over to the gulf beach. I guess you could say it’s the best of both worlds.

Phoenix on the Bay
Phoenix on the Bay I offers an opportunity to slide into a water-filled adventure where you can experience spectacular views of Terry Cove from the lazy river at this beautiful resort in Orange Beach.

Phoenix on the Bay II is another choice for family fun on the lazy river ride where the waterfront views of picturesque Terry Cover in Orange Beach are never boring.


The Wharf rises above the Intracoastal Waterway with its bustling marina, boutique shopping, exhilarating night life, movie theatre, thrilling ferris wheel, excellent seafood restaurants and an amphitheater bringing popular entertainment to our coast. A tram conveniently moves you and your family from the condo buildings along the waterfront to the inland Oasis at The Wharf. There you will not only find the lazy river, complete with a waterslide, but also a zero-entry pool, lagoon pool with waterfalls and even a sandy beach at Hammock Island at this charming Orange Beach destination.
Oasis at The Wharf

Even though the waterpark at Waterville USA closes at the end of summer, the adventures along our beautiful coast extend year-round. I hope this lazy river guide will assist you to plan your next coastal trip.

See you at the beach.

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Waterville USA

Monday, July 13, 2015

7 Tips for Gulf Shores Shrimp Fest Fun

When 250,000 people converge on one beautiful beach for four days of great seafood, awesome arts and crafts and toe-tapping music, the atmosphere is filled with excitement at the annual National Shrimp Festival in Gulf Shores, Alabama. As a local I rarely miss an opportunity to spend some time (and money) at this unique festival each October. This year the 44th annual event happens October 8-11, 2015.
I’m happy to share my personal tips for enjoying the Shrimp Fest to its fullest.
1. Take Me There – Parking is almost non-existent because this festival is held along the beach boardwalk at the public beach in Gulf Shores. Your best bet is riding the BRATS shuttle for $5 per day and leaving the driving to the bus personnel. If you are staying in an outlying area such as Fort Morgan or Perdido Key simply drive to one of the shuttle stops to park and ride.
2. Musical Chairs – As you enter the festival grab a program from the information booth to select your music for the day and evening. Then stake your claim on a prime spot by setting up your folding chair in front
of either the East or West music stage. This allows you to roam freely around the festival grounds until your favorite band begins playing. There are no worries about your chairs being available when you are ready to return to them.
3. Arrive Day One – If your schedule allows, I recommend arriving on Thursday (Oct. 8) for a less-crowded opportunity to scope out all the shopping possibilities and the seafood selections. We call it “Local’s Day” but all visitors are welcome.
4. Shopping Times Three – A diverse selection of items for sale range from comical signs for your garden, to elegant pottery, to leather hats and much more in the three distinct vendor areas:
a. Fine arts (center booths between The Hangout and the public restrooms)
b. Arts and crafts (rows of booths to the west of the public restrooms)
c. Commercial (rows of booths to the east between The Hangout and Pink Pony Pub)
5. Much Munching – Of course shrimp is king at the National Shrimp Festival and you’ll find it up and down the boardwalk prepared in a variety of dishes. Other seafood and non-seafood delights include gumbo, Cajun pistols (yeast rolls stuffed with creamy sauce and seafood), crawfish, oysters, sausage and more. Save room for the sweets that include ice cream, Italian ice, and even old fashioned soda. Pace yourself as you pick out what you’ll eat on subsequent days and nights of the event.
6. Sunglasses + sunscreen – You are exposed to the sun 100% of the day, so sun protection for your skin and eyes is essential. Dress in lightweight resort-style clothing for comfort and wear shoes comfortable enough to navigate the asphalt walkways. Take along a light jacket for evening when the gulf breezes cool down the shore.
7. Little ones – Kids activities all four days include free arts and craft projects, inflatables and entertainment in the Children’s Activity Village. On Saturday (Oct. 10) be sure to enter the little ones and not-so-little ones in a Sand Sculpture Contest (11 am to 3 pm) for age categories 5-10, 11-15 and 16+. If you register as a family you can all dive in to help.
Save on Shrimp Festival accommodations at Meyer Vacation Rentals by using promo code 15SF to receive a 3rd night free in condos or a 4th night free in houses at in Fort Morgan, Orange Beach and Perdido Key (Gulf Shores properties are excluded). Condos and houses include a balcony or deck, kitchen and living room area plus private bedrooms and baths that are great for a family or a family of friends to share.

See you at the beach.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

It’s a Zoo in Gulf Shores This Winter

When you make your list of things to do in Gulf Shores, a trip to the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is a real treat in all seasons. And this winter Meyer Vacation Rentals is once again treating our guests to a free Meyer Zoo Day at the famous “Little Zoo That Could” in Gulf Shores.

Our adventure will begin at 9:30 a.m. on January 8, 2015 with refreshments and a self-guided tour of all of the zoo exhibits. Mid-morning our guests will gather for an interactive animal show, that includes behind the scenes tidbits about the animals from their loving trainers and care takers.

One fun fact about our charming zoo is the recent addition of two young kangaroos, Dingo and Dundee, who can be petted at the Outback Exhibit for an extra fee of $5. The Kangaroo Encounter is open on weekends all winter, while the zoo itself is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Over the years Meyer Zoo Day has been one of the most popular of our winter guest events and the number of currently registered guests for the upcoming activity indicates this will be true in 2015 as well. There are a few spots left for guests of Meyer to claim if you wish to register.

Additional events planned for our Meyer guests include a lively golf tournament at Peninsula Golf Course and an entertaining fashion show by Private Gallery. If you are not yet a guest of Meyer Vacation Rentals for January or February 2015, it's not too late to book your winter retreat and join us for the sun and fun.

See you at the beach.

Related articles:
Visit the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo for a World of Wonder
Go Wild at Gulf Coast Zoo

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Get the Trash out of the Splash Sept. 20th in Gulf Shores

Undoubtedly our greatest assets are the clean, sugar-white sandy beaches and turquoise-blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Beyond the beaches we have a multitude of lakes, creeks, bays, bayous, lagoons and rivers. Maintaining these waterways and beaches in pristine condition is a year-round commitment with one day in particular devoted to opportunities for volunteers to join in this effort.

The nationwide Coastal Clean-up is scheduled for Saturday morning, September 20th from 8 am til noon and Alabama's portion will take place along the shores of the Gulf in Fort Morgan, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach as well as inland waterways. Over the course of 26 years that the State of Alabama has participated in this event nearly 72,000 volunteers have removed 70 tons of trash from the beach and waterways in the state according to the official Alabama Coastal Clean-up website.

I'm proud to be a volunteer along with my co-workers at Meyer Vacation Rentals and CENTURY 21 Meyer Real Estate as we spend one morning each year removing and documenting foreign objects from the beaches and waterways. Each year our group of Meyer volunteers meets on our designated area of the beach where we receive a t-shirt, documentation paperwork, garbage bags and gloves to begin scouring our stretch of paradise. After a few minutes of determining our strategy we quickly get underway not only removing the unwanted items but also documenting each item.

If you want to join us in the 27th Annual Get the Trash Out of the Splash endeavor on September 20th, we welcome your contribution to our efforts. Simply email and let us know you wish to participate as we focus on maintaining the beauty of our amazing coast.

My tip for Coastal Cleanup attire is tennis shoes, lightweight clothing, sunscreen and a hat since the weather is warm and sunny in September. And my tip for spending a great weekend at the beach this fall is to use promo code 14FALL to receive a 25% discount on 3 nights in a condo or 4 nights in a beach house.

See you at the beach.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Golf in February? Absolutely! Meyer Winter Guest Golf Tournament in Gulf Shores

In the winter of 1993 Meyer Vacation Rentals began hosting a February golf tournament for our winter guests. The venues have changed over the years but not the fun. This year we returned to Peninsula Golf and Racquet Club, where the golf course is impeccable and the staff is always friendly and helpful. Todd Edwards and his team do an amazing job facilitating our golf tournament and awards dinner following play.

Since the winter weather has been particularly challenging this year in the areas where our winter visitors live the balance of the year, they were especially grateful to play golf in February. The day we played (Feb. 13, 2014) it was chilly in the high 50's but sunny, so there were no complaints. The next day the weather warmed to the mid-60's and the following week we saw a warming trend to the mid-70's. I'm quite sure our golf tournament was not the last time our winter visitors played golf at Peninsula or one of the other nine championship courses in the Gulf Shores area in February.

The Fort Morgan peninsula is the location for this spectacular golf course - thus the name Peninsula. It is a beautiful 27-hole course designed by Earl Stone. This course features abundant nature since it is set along Mobile Bay and is also adjacent to the 7,000-acre Bon Secour Wildlife Preserve. You'll find natural vegetation native to Gulf Shores, Alabama along with live oaks and cypress trees.

My tip when playing the Cypress course is to take a few moments and travel on the boardwalk leading to Cabana Beach. This area is Peninsula's private beach on Mobile Bay, where you can enjoy the serenity of this special place on the Gulf Coast. It is a relaxing delight to all of your senses.

All of our guests who came out to play in the golf tournament were winners. The tournament competition for first place ended up with two teams scoring a 66 in this 4-person scramble. Todd Edwards held a scorecard playoff for 1st place, which went to Gary and Nancy Briggs from Wisconsin, John Hieberger from Iowa, Keith Mortenson from Minnesota. Congrats to our top team and all of our players.

See you at the beach.

Related articles:
Tee off during your Gulf Shores vacation
Fort Morgan: An idyllic golfing experience
Three golf courses to check out in Gulf Shores
Now's the time to yell "Fore!" on Alabama's Gulf Coast