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 at one of our Orange Beach vacation rentals.  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 are More Orange Beach Vacation Rentals 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 our Orange Beach 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 Orange Beach vacation rental.

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?

What exactly is the Clean Bed Guarantee?

You’ve seen it in all of our marketing. You’ve heard it over and over again mentioned in the Spectrum Experience, but what exactly is the Clean Bed Guarantee? You might be thinking, “Oh you have clean beds, well I sure hope so!” Spectrum Resorts has taken the Clean Bed Guarantee much further than just a simple promise. Cleans beds are pretty much expected during any vacation stay, so how can Spectrum Resorts be any different? We are glad you asked.

The Vacation Rental Industry’s Dirty Little Secret

There is a dirty little secret in the vacation rental industry. As much as we would all like to pretend it is not true, fact is that comforters/ bedspreads are only washed, at the most, once or twice per year in most vacation rentals. Hard to swallow? It is one of those topics that no one wants to talk about. Most vacation rental companies do not address this at all. What about the children’s beds? Would you be able to completely relax knowing that yours or your children’s bedding was being shared by honeymooners or spring breakers before you?

Our Guarantee to You

We are definitely not one of those companies to keep topics in the dark. We encourage our guests to bring all concerns “to the table” and that is exactly why we created the Clean Bed Guarantee. Spectrum Resorts doesn’t feel that our guests should have to share their beds with strangers. We guarantee to promote wellness with a clean environment by eliminating the spreading of germs with freshly laundered white duvets for every arrival. We are proud to say this service is offered exclusively in the vacation rental industry along the Alabama Gulf Coast by Spectrum Resorts only.

Insider Tricks

In those instances where you consider booking a vacation rental not managed by Spectrum Resorts, we want you to be prepared on how to ensure the duvet/comforter will be clean. The first trick is to simply ask. Simple questions such as “How often are your duvet/comforters laundered?” can help you to determine if this booking is the best fit for your family. Secondly, keep in mind when booking that most hotels follow this policy, but unfortunately not all resorts do. Last but definitely not least, use your senses. Yes, your senses of sight, smell, and touch can be useful in determining if the duvet provided for your family is clean and germ-free.

There are so many things to worry about when booking for a vacation. Where to go, what to do, the weather – cleanliness should not be one of them. Relax and get your best night’s sleep on a freshly laundered duvet when you book with Spectrum Resorts.

Five Reasons to Book Your Vacation Early

Seriously, stop reading this blog immediately and go ahead and book your vacation.  Ok, maybe not right this second, but definitely soon.  Why would you wait?  There are several advantages for the planners that book their vacation months in advance rather than waiting until the last minute.

  • You’ll Have More Available Rentals to Choose from

You don’t want to end up in a condo that hasn’t been updated since shag carpet and fake plants were all the rage.  The best condos fill up fast.  You’ll have much better luck finding a room that’s been updated with modern décor and technology (I’m talking flat screen TVs and Blu-ray players instead of box TVs and VCRs) if you’re doing your research in January instead of June.

  • You’ll Save Money

It’s simple supply and demand.  As more and more reservations come in, vacation rental companies increase the price on their remaining inventory.  That means the longer you wait to book your vacation, the more money you’ll end up paying.  Make your reservation earlier in the year to lock in the lower prices before they start to go up.

  • You Won’t Have to Put Down a Huge Deposit

So this varies by rental company, but generally speaking if you book your reservation more than a month in advance you’ll pay a smaller deposit that you would if you book at the last minute.  Most rental companies require a 50% deposit for reservations booked more than a month in advance and full payment for reservations made within a month of the arrival date.  Some companies even let you book with $0 down if you’re booking far enough in advance. For example, Spectrum guests are not required to pay anything until 30 days from their booking date. So you can lock in a great rental at a low rate and not even have to spend a penny to do it!

  • You’ll Have More Time to Plan Your Trip

Booking early allows you to better plan your vacation.  Once you know where you’re going to stay, you can search the amenities in the area for you and your family to enjoy while on vacation.  It also gives you more time to coordinate with friends and family members that may want to come along on the trip too.  You could even look at bunking up and staying in a larger condo (there are four and even five bedroom options available) to split the cost and save some money.

  • You’ll Have a Vacation to Look Forward to

Wouldn’t you rather take your time and plan out your vacation or be stressed and scrambling to book something last minute?  Think about it, you could have everything planned and reserved before winter is even over and you’ll have a vacation to look forward too.  It’s much less stressful than waiting until June to try and pull a summer vacation together.

Things to Do During Inclement Weather on the Gulf Coast

The sun is shining and there’s not a cloud in the sky. Picture perfect weather is what everyone is expecting during their beach vacation. Unfortunately, sometimes rain and sleet do happen. In that case, you shouldn’t have to stop your dream vacation from continuing just as planned. We have created a list of the top activities to do to entertain your guests during your beach vacation along the Gulf Coast.

The National Naval Aviation Museum is a quick drive along the coast into Pensacola, FL and is an ideal location for rich history and historic displays. The 350,000 square feet museum is the largest Naval Aviation museum. The best part of a visit to the museum is that it’s FREE!

The David L. Bodenhamer Recreation Center  is located in the heart of Gulf Shores, AL and offers a variety of recreational activities. Even though the center is membership based, daily passes can be purchased for only $10 per day per person and include access to the indoor pool, basketball/racquetball courts and game room.

Gulf Bowl is not your ordinary bowling alley. Located in Foley, AL, the owners of Gulf Bowl focus on family entertainment that includes state-of-the-art lanes, laser tag, ropes course, interactive arcade, dining and even private parties.

Fat Daddy’s Arcade is in Orange Beach, AL and offers over 80 different arcade games. Catering to all ages, Fat Daddy’s offers something for everyone. Many of the larger-than-life size games award tickets that can be redeemed for sought after prizes.

The Factory in one of Gulf Shores newest additions for family fun. With so many different activities under one roof, they encourage everyone to play now and grow up later. Guests can jump around on over 12,000 square feet of connected trampolines. Other activities include an obstacle course, foam pits, dodgeball, flight simulator and an arcade.

The Gulf Coast Escape Room is great for all ages and is designed to get you out of your comfort zone. Work together as a team to make your great escape in under 60 minutes. Each room has a different theme where you have to crack codes, solve ciphers and decode clues for an unforgettable adventure.


Don’t let a little bit of inclement weather put a damper on your visit to the Gulf Coast. Visit one of the establishments listed above and leave us a comment on how much fun you had.

Reasons to visit the Gulf Coast in Winter

Spring is coming and down on the Alabama Gulf Coast, Spring is already here. Why should I take my vacation a little early and not wait for Spring Break? Well you can freeze for a few more months and miss the sounds of the waves on the beach or take an impromptu vacation when the beaches are not crowded.

Weather. On the Alabama Gulf Coast, winter is usually mild. I’m talking 40s is the low and the high can be as high as 80 on some days. Why freeze where you are, when you can walk the beach when your feet aren’t blistered by the beach and don’t have to worry about sweat ruining your clothes or make- up. Lay out and get a bronze glow and make all your friends jealous, because it is January/February and they are still pale.

Activities. There are still lots of activities to do on the Gulf Coast in between summer and spring break. In the winter season there are so many “snowbird” activities that are not just for the older folks who retire to the beach for the winter. Don’t forget Mardi Gras too, did you know it was born just up the road in Mobile, Alabama not New Orleans? That makes for a great Mardi Gras and even greater parades and parties.

Crowds. Let’s not forget during spring break and summer, you can never find a parking spot and the beaches are so crowded it’s hard to find a place to set your beach towels down let alone enjoy a nice peaceful day on the beach. In the few months before spring break the beaches are quiet and relaxing and the temperature is perfect for a tan without the sweat. Spend your whole day being lulled to sleep by the waves with the perfect small breeze blows your hair.

Price. This is a big one! It is the off season and that means low prices, you can get an amazing vacation for less and make your vacation worth every moment. That means a little extra money to spend on that beautiful dress you’ve had your eye on that would look great at the beach, a massage to unwind and a new hairstyle that you have been dying to make the change.

There are so many reasons to visit the Gulf any time of year, but these are some really good ones for the 2017 mild winter. I guess the Gulf Coast has decided to skip winter this year, will you? Make every vacation worth every moment and make a change that you won’t regret when you visit the Alabama Gulf Coast and stay with Spectrum Resorts.

Tips and Tricks for Beach Days

For most of us the beach, sand and waves are our happy place. For those who do not frequent the beach often, here are a few tips that beach goers should know.

Jellyfish and wildlife. Anyone who goes to the beach notices the beach flag warning system, but a lot of people don’t know what the flags mean. When you see a purple flag flying, there are potential dangerous marine life in the area. Now, this does not necessarily mean sharks, this means jellyfish and other creatures that can sting too. If you do swim, make sure you bring with you some meat tenderizer or vinegar. Sounds weird right? Well, the acid in the vinegar calms the affected area after a sting and the meat tenderizer breaks down the affected skin and removed toxins. You don’t have to have both, you can use one or the other, just make sure you scrape the sting with a credit card before applying these remedies or they will make it worse.

Sand. It’s the beach, sand is everywhere and you cannot get rid of all of it even if you wash off. Try bringing with you baby powder and a large bristled paint brush. The baby powder will get the sand off feet easily and the paint brush for the rest of the body. A lot of public beaches do not have wash stations when you come off the beach so this helps keep the sand where it belongs, on the beach and not in the car.

Beach toys. If you have kids these are essential for a day at the beach. Instead of bringing them in a beach bag, try a mesh laundry hamper. Put everything in and turn it sideways, the sand falls through the mesh and not in your bag or car.

Coolers. It’s not a beach day without a cold drink in hand. Whether its waters and drinks for the kids or something stronger for adults, it’s always difficult to carry a cooler to the beach. Don’t bring a wheeled cooler, you may think “oh, it’ll roll in sand,” no, it will not. If anything this will make it much harder. Try a small over the shoulder cooler if you can and if it is completely full of food or drinks and pretty heavy there’s a fix for that too. Use a boogie board and put your heavier items, i.e. your cooler, on the board and use it as a make shift sled. It’s a lot easier to carry and the kids can help pull.

There are a ton of tips for beach days, but the only one you really need is have fun and enjoy the day, after all you are there to #createhappymemories.

How to Help a Sunburn

We all have those days where you go to the beach or pool and you apply sunscreen in the beginning, but you were there for three hours without reapplying. Things happen, you forget, you run out or you can’t keep the kids out of the water long enough for the sunscreen to set in. Then, you get sunburned. Here are a few ways to take the sting out and help you sleep better at night.

Mild sunburn. This will typically heal in about two days, usually they don’t hurt, but you are radiating some heat. Put some Aloe Vera in the fridge and apply to the affected areas. This will cool, sooth and prevent it from peeling later on.

Medium sunburn. You are red, and the shower hurt. You’ve definitely got a sunburn. Cold Aloe Vera always helps so apply liberally and use any lotion with Shea Butter, Coconut Oil, Vitamin E or Aloe. Use lotion as often as possible to prevent peeling for at least a week or two. If it hurts, dab white vinegar on the sunburn because this will take the sting out. Usually this will take about a week or two to heal depending on your skin type.

Severe Sunburn. You can’t move, it hurts a lot and only your softest clothes will not irritate it. Unfortunately, there is not much you can do, but Aloe, lotion, and vinegar may help. Take a luke warm bath with oatmeal in it and relax as much as you can. Sometimes the sheets will irritate your burn, so put some baby powder between your sheets to help you sleep. Apply Aloe and lotion liberally and continue for at least a month. Most likely you will peel, do not try to peel any part that is not easy, this is how you get scars. You should go to the doctor and get their recommendations and hang in there.

Sunburns are inevitable for most skin types, the best way to prevent is to always use the proper SPF and reapply every hour. If you are playing in water, always use sunscreen that says water/ sweat resistant on the label and always read the directions.

3 Ways to Improve your Beach Photography

Settings, time of day and weather are a huge part of creating some of the best beach pictures. Always keep this in mind whether it’s a family portrait, couples pictures, or getting beach shots of the kids.

Settings. The water is always a great setting or backdrop. If you have kids make sure you let them play and wear something you don’t mind getting wet. Don’t be afraid to get in the water if the waves are calm, we don’t want any cameras to get wet! The best pictures come from them not paying attention to the camera and them just being themselves.

Any time you can find a little fence or a large piece of drift wood, do a sitting family portrait. It’ll make it easier to get everyone where they need to be and a little sand never hurt anyone. If you have a tripod, bring it. You can always do the 10 second setting and run into the picture, sometimes those create the best smiles from laughing.

Time of day. Time of day is very important for what you want to do. Depending on where the sun is and how hot it is will determine people’s mood and their willingness to cooperate, especially children. Hot and fussy do not make good pictures. Early morning or sunset will be the best times of day to get people to cooperate. It’s not too hot and the sun is not in their eyes. Make sure that when you are taking pictures if you are facing the sun tell people to close their eyes, count to three and open. That way they won’t be squinting in the pictures. Or make sure that the sun is behind your people, but adjust your light setting accordingly or your people will be dark.

Weather. Okay, okay we all know not to take our cameras out in the pouring rain, but did you know that the best time to take pictures is when it’s overcast and not sunny? When the sun is bright, you sweat, you can’t see and everything comes out way too white. When it is overcast, it is even light, you tend to be a little cooler and you aren’t squinting in pictures.

Don’t be afraid to zoom in on hand holding or having people look away, sometimes those are the best pictures and remember always let them be themselves, candids capture personality and soul and #createhappymemories.

5 Reasons to Visit the Gulf Coast in July

5 Reasons to Visit the Gulf Coast in July.

July is one of the best and busiest times of the year to head down to the Gulf Coast and spend your summer days. But, why Orange Beach and Gulf Shores?

Concerts – There are a ton of concerts throughout the summer at The Wharf, with big names like Florida Georgia Line, Jimmy Buffet, Dierks Bentley and so much more. Music from all genres and great opening acts too.

Independence Day – What better way to spend your Fourth of July than getting sandy playing with sparklers, eating barbeque on the beach and watching fireworks light up the sky along the Gulf Coast? Some great places offering fireworks shows include The Gulf State Park, The Beach Club down Fort Morgan Road in Gulf Shores;  The Wharf on Canal Road, and in the heart of Orange Beach, Turquoise Place.

Blue Marlin Grand Championship – This is the biggest event in Fishing for the year, line up and watch fisherman weigh their monster catches and see the biggest fish on display. This fishing tournament separates the men from the boys. From beginners to professionals, all are welcome to participate. The Wharf in Orange Beach hosts the tournament from July 12 to July 17.

Sunny Days and Tropical Drinks – The Alabama Gulf Coast is known for its beautiful sunny days and a nice breeze. What better way to cool off those hot sunny days than with a colorful tropical drink. Enjoy a blue Shark Attack or Surf’s Up at The Hangout or a Loopty Lu at LuLu’s, or go for something more traditional like a Piña Colada or Strawberry Daiquiri.

Sun Kissed Tan – You can’t go to the beach without coming back without a “been to the beach” tan. Whether it’s a golden brown glow or sun kissed tan, there’s no denying the relaxation and color that comes with relaxing on the beach.

No matter where you go in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, there will always be good seafood, good tropical drinks and sandy beaches. So, join us on the Gulf Coast this July and #createhappymemories with your family and friends.