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 find your piece of paradise by searching properties with lazy rivers.

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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