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The Top 5 Extraordinary Spots to Go Picnicking in Gulf Shores

When you visit Gulf Shores, you won’t want to skip out on enjoying our phenomenal weather—especially during the temperate months of the spring season. Take full advantage of the warm and cheerful Gulf Coast sunshine by planning a picnic in one of the city’s many distinctively beautiful spots that are perfectly suited for such activities. Read on below to learn more about some of Gulf Shores’ best places to picnic.

Fort Morgan Historic Site

Pair your picnic with a side of history at the Fort Morgan, where visitors can explore the ruins of a key battle site of the Civil War (sometimes with the added effect of costumed reenactments), as well as the rugged bluffs overlooking the scenic splendor of the Gulf of Mexico. You will likely get a glimpse of some of the huge cargo freighters that deliver goods from around the world to the Port of Mobile each day!

Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail

Consisting of over fifteen miles of trails interspersed amid six different ecosystems, each trail in this extensive network offers distinctive sights for your viewing pleasure, from towering sand dunes to aromatic magnolias and a butterfly garden. You can hike off your meal as you go!

Lake Shelby Recreation Area

Shaded by immense oak trees, Lake Shelby offers serene picnicking conditions for those who wish to take their meal next to the idyllic backdrop of a 900-acre freshwater lake. Beyond sitting on the grass or by the shoreline, pavilions are also provided for picnics. Activities like kayaking and paddle boarding make for fun post-meal pursuits. Remember to bring your pooch because the waterfront dog park at Lake Shelby is just a few steps away!

Orange Beach Waterfront Park

Nestled against Wolf Bay, Orange Beach Waterfront Park has a number of amenities that are ideal for a picnic excursion, including shelter areas with grills, walking paths, a fishing pier, and a park for children.

Alabama Point East

Situated slightly east of Perdido Pass Bridge within the boundaries of Gulf State Park, this breathtaking locale includes pristine beaches, impressive sand dunes, tranquil boardwalks, and areas designated for picnicking, though just about any spot along Alabama Point East will provide stunning visuals to go along with your meal.

Harris Properties – Your Guide to Gulf Shores

Contact our reservations team to find out additional information on what you can expect during your time in Gulf Shores when you book your trip accommodations in one of the lovely vacation rentals that Harris Properties has to offer for your stay today!

golfball close to hole

Where to Go for the Best Golf in Gulf Shores

Nestled between windswept coastal dunes, snow-white beaches, and the glittering waves of the Gulf of Mexico, Gulf Shores is an incredible vacation destination for people who want to escape into the beauty of a tropical paradise. However, even beyond its stunning environment, Gulf Shores has an abundance of things to do for recreation and leisure—including playing a round of golf on each of its many renowned courses.

Play your way through Gulf Shores and experience the area in a completely unique fashion that no tour could offer you! Below, we’ve put together a brief list of just a handful of the many great golf courses that have earned Gulf Shores its reputation as a top-tier destination for golfers of all skill levels. Harris Properties even has special pricing available for eight local courses; be sure to contact us at 877-446-4853 for more information before you hit the course!

Kiva Dunes Golf Course

Ranked by Golf Digest as one of the Top 100 Public Courses in the country, the expansive Kiva Dunes stretches across 7,092 yards and features an excellent course coupled with exquisite scenery. Situated along the shore, this course is much windier than others in the area. The opening hole gives you a relatively easy par 4 before launching into the more difficult holes. In particular, hole 9’s shot across the water can be challenging! Anyone looking to play this course will certainly want to take a look at our 19th Hole property, which overlooks the 9th green of this course!

Cotton Creek and Cypress Bend Courses at Craft Farms Golf Club

One of the two courses at Craft Farms that was designed by Arnold Palmer himself, is Cotton Creek, which consists of a massive 7,127 yards. Twelve of the holes on this course are framed by water, while the flat sites are given definition through the mounding along the fairways. Hole 6 is where you’ll really have to step up your game, with the first shot requiring carry over water just to reach the fairway, and then a second shot over water to land on the green. Anyone who walks away with a birdie on this hole can consider themselves a pro!

Rated four-and-a-half stars by Golf Digest, Cypress Bend is the newer sister course to Cotton Creek, both of which are located at Craft Farms Golf Club and were designed by Arnold Palmer. It’s widely known for its playability for golfers of all skill levels. The toughest challenge at Cotton Creek will be found at hole 4, where a well-placed initial drive sets you up for a tough approach over the water to the green. This 4.5 star course is sure to delight all players!

Peninsula Golf & Racquet Club

Located near Bon Secour Wildlife Preserve, this Earl Stone-designed golf course showcases twenty-seven holes and a stunning natural backdrop. The three different 9-hole courses—Cypress, Lakes, and Marsh— combine to make one of the most unforgettable golf experiences in the country! Each of the 9-hole courses offers completely different challenges, so you’ll need to break out all your skills (and maybe some luck!) to come away with a low score.

Gulf Shores Golf Club

Established in 1960’s, The Golf Shores Golf Club was the first course established in Gulf Shores. It underwent renovations in 2005 that added bunkers, upgraded fairways, and water features, as well as raised the total yards to 6,812. This beautiful course is also home to an abundance of wildlife. It creates an experience that no golf enthusiast will want to miss.

Plan the Tropical Vacation of a Lifetime with Harris Properties

Even though Gulf Shores is an amazing destination for lovers of golf, we also recognize that Gulf Shores is a paradise for all visitors—not just for golfers. Contact our team of reservation specialists to learn more about all that Gulf Shores has in-store for you during your time here when you book your trip accommodations through Harris Properties today.

Get Your Blood Pumping and Maintain that Beach Body During Your Gulf Shores Vacation!

Everyone dreams of escaping to a tropical paradise like Gulf Shores, Alabama, but how many people actually plan out what they’re going to do before they get there? Whether you’re the type of person who plans ahead or the type who likes to “go with the flow,” chances are good that you’ll want to do something fun and active at least once during your vacation.

A healthier you is a happier you, and nothing inspires confidence on the beach like keeping your body toned. With that in mind, we present to you our handpicked list of some of the best fitness-related activities that you can do during your time in Gulf Shores!

The 5 Best Fitness Activities in Gulf Shores

Below, we’ve put together a list of a handful of fun and exciting activities that you can do to keep in shape and not let your vacation derail your fitness routine. We hope that you enjoy these suggested activities as much as we do!

1. Hike or Run Along the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail

One of the most extensive networks of paved trails in not only Gulf Shores but the entire United States, the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail is the perfect place to get your run on while exploring and sightseeing around Gulf Shores. Several trails are even pet-friendly, meaning your dog can join in on the fun!

2. Challenge Yourself by Biking to Fort Morgan and Back

A fun and lengthy biking path, the paved trail along Highway 180 is ideal for people who want to soak up the gorgeous sights of the Gulf of Mexico while pushing themselves. The trail begins at Gulf State Park and goes five miles westward through Gulf Shores, ending in secluded Fort Morgan.

3. Take a Dip in the Water

Gulf Shores has a ridiculous amount of options for water sports enthusiasts. There’s always swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving, but you can even take it a step further by trying your hand at kayaking, canoeing, or paddleboarding!

4. Run and Play with Your Dog at a Local Dog Park

Orange Beach Dog Park permits dogs to run off-leash, but Gulf Shores Dog Park and The Dog Pond at Lake Shelby do not. Gulf State Park also has a number of dog-friendly trails that require leashes, while Orange Beach Waterfront Park is a great place to walk your dog.

5. Attend One of the Popular Fitness Events in Gulf Shores

Gulf Shores is home to a variety of fitness events, including 5Ks, half-marathons, triathlons, and more all year long! From For a-Bama’s Beach Run/Walk for America’s Warriors in late March to the Brett Robinson Alabama Coastal Triathlon in September, it’s easy to sign up for a fun fitness event during your vacation!

6. Glow Yoga in Gulf Shores

If you’re looking for an activity that offers a bit of relaxation, check on some of the Gulf Shores Glow Yoga options. It is a style of Vinyasa Yoga, that focuses on establishing synchronization of both breath and movement. During this type of yoga, a specific arc form is followed, and while classes may be challenging, they are a great option for both beginners and novices. It should also be noted that rooms are heated during this particular style of yoga! It is a great option for a beach vacation activity!

7. Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Recreation Center Day/Week Passes

In the event that you’re not around the Gulf Shores area for long, there are some great day pass options available! For under ten dollars, you can spend a whole day at the Gulf Shores recreation center, getting your much needed workout in. For a day pass that includes aerobic classes, the fee is a mere $8. All other day passes are $5, and children under the age of 2 are free. If you’re in Gulf Shores for longer than a week, fear not! There are options for that as well. Not only are there weekly passes available, but there are monthly options as well. You can check online for more details on pricing! So even if you get the vacation lazies but know you have to do something, or even if you really just need to get some exercise in, there are always some great options available at Gulf Shores!

Let the Vacation Experts at Harris Properties Help You Plan Your Tropical Escape!

Curious to learn more about what there is to do and see during your time in Gulf Shores? Our friendly reservation specialists can help! Contact our office to find out further information on the awesome attractions and activities that are waiting for you here when you book your stay in one of the incredible vacation rental properties that are available through Harris Properties today!

The 5 Best Things to Do During Your Visit to Alabama State Park

One of the most gorgeous places to visit in Gulf Shores, Alabama State Park has a variety of incredible sights and activities for everyone to enjoy. Below, we’ve compiled a list of just a handful of the many top spots and activities to check out in Alabama State Park. We hope that you enjoy them as much as we do and that you find this information helpful during your time in Gulf Shores!

Walk Along the Largest Paved Trail Network in the U.S.

Alabama State Park is home to the Hugh S. Branyon Back Country Trail, which weaves its way throughout the Gulf Shores area on a series of fantastic trails for hiking and biking. Some of the trails are even pet-friendly!

Fish on the Largest Pier in the Gulf Coast

Alabama State Park is also home to the Gulf State Pier, known as a scenic place for visitors to eat and fish ‘til their heart’s content. When you stop by, you’ll find that day licenses, equipment, and bait area all available for rent or purchase here.

Spend Some Time on Lake Shelby

This beautiful lake area has paddleboard and kayak rentals for those who want to get out on the water, as well as bike rentals and segway tours for those who want to stay on dry land. Lake Shelby also has a waterfront dog park and hosts the annual Paws in the Park event every September.

Play a Few Rounds on the Golf Course

The golf course at Alabama State Park has a great value on their playing prices. For beginners or players looking to improve their game, free lessons are also provided on the course on Thursdays. Golfers who are interested in lessons should call the pro-shop for details.

Pair Your Fun with a Dash of Education

The Nature Center at Alabama State Park has a ton of fun educational programs that nature and animal lovers of all ages will enjoy. The center also offers guided tours, and has plans to bring on an on-site marine biologist for additional sea-based educational programs.

Harris Properties – Your Gateway to the Wonders of Gulf Shores, Alabama

For further information on Alabama State Park and other must-see attractions located all throughout the Gulf Shores area, contact our reservations team and learn more when you reserve your trip accommodations in one of the lovely vacation rental properties that Harris Properties has to offer today!

(Photo by faungg via Flickr, https:[email protected]/4099737286)

Plan your Wedding in Gulf Shores, Alabama

Celebrate the Beginning of Your “Happily Ever After” in a Tropical Paradise

Nothing puts you in the perfect carefree mindset for the happiest day of your life quite like having your wedding somewhere warm, tropical, and lovely. No matter what time of year you decide to plan your special day, chances are good that the weather and the scenery in Gulf Shores, Alabama is better than any other venue you might be considering at home.

Situated along the pristine white sand along the Gulf of Mexico, the beachside city of Gulf Shores is replete with wonderful locales for holding your ceremony and reception. It’s the ultimate seaside destination for a wedding on the beach!

However, if you’re considering having your wedding in Gulf Shores, there are a few insider tips that you may want to consider to make your life easier! Continue reading on below to learn more!

Tips for Planning a Destination Wedding in Gulf Shores

If you’re an Alabama resident and are planning your wedding in Gulf Shores, you’ll need to get your license in your home county or at the Baldwin County Courthouse in Bay Minette. The address for the courthouse is 220 Courthouse Square, Bay Minette, AL 36507, and the phone number is (251) 937-0260. To receive your license, you’ll need to bring two forms of identification, such as a certified copy of your birth certificate and a valid driver’s license. The marriage license itself costs $70.00.

Location

If you are having a smaller ceremony, 10 – 20 people, renting a beach front home and having the wedding right there may be the best option. The beaches of West Beach in Gulf Shores and the beaches out in Fort Morgan are perfect for this because they are more secluded and uncrowded.

If your party is going to be larger, you will want to consider having the ceremony at one of the State Park beaches. You will need to contact them for a permit at (251) 948-7275. They also have venues to host the wedding ceremony and/or the reception. Please provide a hyper link that will load in a new-tab: http://www.alapark.com/Gulf-State-Park-Beach-Weddings

Photography

If you’re planning a wedding on the beach, the best time to hold the ceremony is generally around sunset, when you’ll encounter the best light for photography. Local photographers like the ones listed below can help you plan the perfect shots for your wedding.

Paisley Studios Photography
Julie Adamson:
Paisleystudiosphotography.com
(251) 622-8085

Andrea McDaniel Photography:
ajmphotography.net/
(850) 687-5773

Shore Shooters Beach Photography:
232 Professional Court, Gulf Shores, AL 36542
(866) 856-2435

In Gulf Shores, you’ll also find a number of ministers, wedding planners, and photographers eager to assist you with your big day. Below, we’ve put together a list of a few great businesses to help you get started.

A’Gape Wedding Service:
(251) 709-8220

Tammi May – Ordained Minister:
800-215-6695

Gulf Coast Wedding Minister:
(251) 709-5007

Event Rentals

Southern Sass Weddings & Events – Intimate Beach & Vintage Weddings:
Tammi May
[email protected]

Big Day Weddings:
orangebeachgulfshoresweddings.com
(251) 223-7430

Sand Dollar Beach Weddings & Receptions:
sanddollarbeachweddings.com
(251) 223-9013

Let Harris Properties Help You with Your Dream Wedding!

Contact our reservation specialists to find out more information on the best spots in Gulf Shores for breathtaking sightseeing and other extraordinary touches to your special day when you book your stay today in one of the gorgeous vacation rental properties that are available through Harris Properties.

Make the Resolution to Travel More and See the Splendor of Gulf Shores This Year!

As people around the world begin to tally up their list of New Year’s resolutions, you may find yourself searching for a resolution that will provide you with the change of pace that you need to make life more exciting and enjoyable. This year, instead of focusing on just losing weight and living healthier physically, why not resolve to treat yourself to something fun and good for the soul as well?

Weight-loss, exercise, and living healthier are fine and all, but nothing beats the experience of sharing fun-filled vacation memories with your loved ones in a beautiful tropical locale like Gulf Shores, Alabama. Now more than ever, Gulf Shores is the perfect place to plan the vacation of a lifetime. Continue on to learn more about why 2017 will be the best year to visit Gulf Shores!

5 Reasons Why 2017 Will Be the Best Time to Plan Your Gulf Shores Vacation

Below, we’ve put together a list of just a handful of the many reasons why this year will be an exciting time to visit Gulf Shores. If you’ve been waiting for the right time, consider these reasons as a motivation to plan your vacation here now instead of later!

Festivals, Events, and Attractions Year-Round

No matter what time of year you decide to come visit, 2017 has plenty to offer in terms of Gulf Shores entertainment. Watch college football at the 2017 Reese’s Senior Bowl, live it up at the Gulf Shores Mardi Gras Parade, or angle your biggest catch yet at the Blue Marlin Grand Championship. The options are endless!

Great Weather in Every Season

All year long, Gulf Shores experiences fantastic weather, complete with sunshine-filled days and clear, breezy nights. Never too hot or too cold, it’s the ideal place to make your tropical getaway. Book your stay in September or October and see why the locals call this the best time to be at the beaches. The fall season features weather in the mid 80’s, low humidity, and lower prices!

Outdoor Activities Galore

In such a warm and sunny place, you’ll find that there are all sorts of fun things to do outside. Boating, fishing, kayaking, and lounging in the sand are some of the best ways to take advantage of the wonderful weather.

Incredible Music Heading Your Way

You don’t have to drive all the way to Coachella to encounter good times and great tunes! With musicians like Luke Bryan coming into town this March, Gulf Shores will be a concert hotspot. The annual Hangout Music Festival held each May is also a hit. This year’s lineup will feature artists like Weezer, Band of Horses, MGMT, Mumford & Sons, Twenty One Pilots, Young the Giant, Bishop Briggs, Joseph, The Strumbellas, and Franz Ferdinand.

Awesome Vacation Rentals for You to Enjoy

Gulf Shores is home to a multitude of incredible vacation rentals, such as those offered by Harris Properties. In a vacation rental, you can have more space and privacy than a single hotel room could possibly offer, all situated in the tropical beauty of Gulf Shores.

Harris Properties – Your Guide to Gulf Shores

Contact our reservations team to find out more information about what you can expect during your time in Gulf Shores when you book your stay in one of the fabulous vacation rentals available through Harris Properties today!

Gulf Shores, AL Travel Guide: The Best Places for Eating, Sightseeing, and Hitting the Beach

Nestled along the Gulf Coast of Alabama, Gulf Shores is a lively beach town with plenty to do and see, making it the ideal vacation destination for when you want to escape to the beach for a long weekend. While you’re here, be sure to check out some of the area’s best restaurants, sightseeing hotspots, and scenic beach locales! Below, we’ve put together a brief list of just a few of the many great places that you should visit when you want to have a great time in Gulf Shores. We hope that you enjoy these spots as much as we do!

Restaurants

Bahama Bob’s Beach Side Café has some of the freshest, most delectable seafood around. When you’re feeling peckish for cuisine straight out of the ocean, try Bahama Bob’s coconut shrimp, fried crawfish, or the fresh shrimp salad po’ boy sandwich. Wash it all down with the restaurant’s signature cocktail, the Bahama Bob.

If you’re in the mood for something other than seafood, try the hearty breakfast and brunch options at Kitty’s Kafe. Their eggs benedict and country breakfast dishes are to die for, and their Bloody Mary cocktails are a steal for only two dollars.

Attractions

For a taste of local natural environment of the Gulf Coast, you’ll want to visit the beautiful and tranquil Wade Ward Nature Park. Between its breathtaking views of the wetlands from the boardwalk and its fascinating wildlife, Wade Ward Nature Park is a fun way to experience Gulf Shores outdoors. If you have your pet with you, you may also want to check out the Gulf Shores Dog Park, where your furry companion can explore to their heart’s content.

Beaches

No trip to Gulf Shores is complete without soaking up the warm Alabama sunshine on the beach! Gulf Shores Public Beach is renowned for its pristine, soft white sand and its idyllic views of the Gulf of Mexico. Stretching for over six miles, this beach connects to West Beach, both of which provide unbeatable sightseeing opportunities. Here, you can gaze out over the crystal-clear waters and let the tide wash your cares out to sea.

Plan the Vacation of a Lifetime with Harris Properties

Contact our dedicated reservations team to learn more about what awaits you in Gulf Shores when you book your stay in one of the fabulous beach homes available through Harris Properties!

Museum Day Trips in Gulf Shores, AL

Top Gulf Shores Museum Day Trips

Gulf Shores, Alabama is a treasured stretch of acreage, filled with white sand beaches framing turquoise waters, charming architecture, and some of the friendliest people you will ever meet! We love our small town and aren’t afraid to show it, and one of the many things that makes Gulf Shores so wonderful is its proximity to other larger towns.

We can spend a day in the city, eating gourmet meals, shopping at high end boutiques, exploring museums that are exciting and interesting, and still go home at the end of the day, thankful to be able to sleep in our own beds. If you’re staying in one of our charming Harris Properties vacation homes, you might find one or more of these museums an interesting addition to your vacation itinerary—enjoy!

Bellingrath Gardens & Home – 12401 Bellingrath Gardens Road, Theodore

Located in idyllic Theodore, Alabama, this charming home and the gardens surrounding it, offer a chance to get a glimpse of 1930’s Southern life. Used as a weekend home at first, it was the most modern house in all of Theodore, even without electricity. Built in 1935, electricity did not come to the area until 1940; a generator provided power for the five years between.

The American Sport Art Museum & Archives – One Academy Drive, Daphne

Sports fanatics and history buffs will all enjoy a trip to Daphne, Alabama, and the opportunity to explore this museum filled with sports art, literature, and history. Filled with media of all types—photography, sculpture, paintings and more—their collection of Olympic posters is particularly interesting to us, but it’s all fascinating!

Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum – 2081 Radford Boulevard, Pensacola

When you’re this close to the Florida border, you are almost expected to cross the line, and a visit to the Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum is a perfect excuse to do so! The 177 steps you must take to arrive at the best view in town may not be for everybody, but the views from below are still wonderful enough to take your breath away while offering a unique photo opportunity!

USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park – 2703 Battleship Parkway, Mobile

Military history buffs will never want to leave the deck of this fascinating Mobile, Alabama Memorial filled with historic aircraft, submarines, and a genuine battleship. This just might be the coolest museum EVER!

Book with Harris Properties Today

Explore the world around us when you visit museums in Gulf Shores, Alabama. We can promise this will be your best vacation choice you’ve ever made!