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My power is out in my beach home, what should I do? Can you help?

This… depends! Its always a bummer to lose power, whether at home, or at the beach. No AC, no internet, no tv… better head to the beach, or out to dinner, I suppose, but what can you do? Well, again… it depends…

Losing power is no fun. We know. We’ve had it happen to us too of course. Step one, how widespread is the “outage”?

On what does it depend Rick? Well, on whether its a power outage to just a part of your place, or all of it, and if all of it, does it affect homes around you too?

Power is out all over my beach home, now what?

First, if it seems like power is out to the entire home (and possibly ones around you), then this is like an area power outage at home, and its up to the service provider to get it up and running. Do you have to report it? Probably not, especially if you check the outage map below and see one in your area, and Baldwin EMC makes it a little challenging for guests to do so… BUT you can check the area for outages simply by going to this Interactive Outage Report from Baldwin EMC (the provider for the entire area):


Note: if the map doesn’t load in your browser, just click the link. Some browsers will not allow embedded sites to display based on security settings.

So, if there are already reports in the area, you are probably all set and just need to check them from time to time to see if they are resolved. You can try to call them to report the outage but we have found they usually require account info that you won’t have…. (251) 989-6247 (24 hours a day).

Please note loss of power due to an area power outage is NOT AN EMERGENCY and you should NOT call and trigger the emergency call line at the BamaBeachHouses office for such an event. This would ring multiple people at any hour of the day, none of whom can do anything about an area wide outage. The better thing is to check if its reported, and report it yourself too if you want to be sure its in the Baldwin EMC queue. You can also email or text us the situation so we are aware abd can assist.

Note: A power line down across the home is a true emergency that you should call Baldwin EMC and 911: see the next section.

A word about downed power lines

Per Baldwin EMC: Never touch or approach a downed power line. Always assume a downed power line is live and dangerous! Call Baldwin EMC immediately at (251) 989-6247 or (800) 837-3374. If you receive an automated message, please leave a message providing the location of the downed line. Then call 911 and report the line to them.

A few bonus things power providers have to say about steps to take during a power outage.

Your electricity provider is committed to providing you reliable electric service. But situations such as storms, accidents, animals or construction-related incidents can cause power outages. If this happens, they will mobilize crews to get your service safely restored as quickly as reasonably possible.

If your power goes out, check to see if your neighbors have power. If your home is the only one without power, check your circuit breakers or fuses (Hey, we talk about that next!) to determine if the outage is a result of a household problem. Do not assume they automatically know about your outage. Please contact them especially if you do not see your area on our outage report, (251) 989-6247 (24 hours a day).

Protect Your Appliances
Turn off lights and as many appliances and electronics as possible – including heating or air conditioning systems. You will help prevent circuit overload situations when your power is restored. You will also reduce the potential for damage to sensitive equipment such as computers, microwave ovens, televisions and recording devices.

Keep Food Safe
Help protect your food during a power outage by keeping your refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature. Your refrigerator should keep food safely cold for about four hours if it is unopened. A full freezer should hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours if the door stays closed (about 24 hours if it is half full). Make sure you have items on hand that do not require refrigeration and can be eaten cold or heated on an outdoor grill.

To learn more about keeping food safe during a power outage, visit the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service Web site.

What if only part of my power is out in my Bama Beach House? GFCIs, and circuit breakers are the usual culprit.

If all of your power is out, its probably a power outage. If power is out to some of your outlets, then let’s do some testing, and watch a great video on it!

Tripped GFCIs

This is really just a variation on tripped breakers. Many circuits in a home (especially the kitchen, bathrooms, and outside outlets) have what’s called a GFCI (or GFI). Its a “ground fault (circuit) interrupter”. The GFCI is a device that shuts off an electric power circuit when it detects that current is flowing along an unintended path, such as through water or a person. That’s a good thing! GFIs can trip for a variety of reasons and they kill the power to the circuit until the GFI is reset.To reset it, you have to find an outlet that has two buttons on it: test and reset. It will also most likely have a glowing yellow/orange light when it is tripped. Push reset.

If it immediately trips again, try unplugging stuff from the area and resetting it. If you find that it doesn’t trip after you unplug something, then there is likely something wrong with that device. It is also possible for outlets or lights to end up with a ground or neutral wire move and touching something else, creating an “unintended path.” If resetting doesn’t fix the issue and you can’t find a problem device, then submit a ticket by sending us a text or email and we can have an electrician come out and check it. Note, resetting a GFCI is like home-dweller 101, basic stuff.

gfci in bamabeachhouse beach house Gulf Shores

GFCI with tell-tale yellow light indicating it is tripped. Hit Reset.

Tripped Breakers

Ah, so, in most cases, if some, but not all, of your houses/apartments power is out, you have most likely tripped a breaker. Perhaps too much stuff was plugged into an outlet, or a surge caused an overload. Find your circuit breaker panel (in the beach homes its often behind a door in a bedroom or laundry area), and see if one of the breakers is partially flipped back. If so, push it all the way off, then all the way back on, and see what happens. It should reset the part of the house without power. If it trips again, then a couple things can be going on. The most likely is that something attached to that breaker is shorting out and caused it to trip. In rarer cases, a breaker can be bad, but this is not very frequent.

This video covers everything from the GFCI to circuit breakers, and a bit more.

circuit breaker beach house BamaBeachHouses Gulf Shores

Circuit panel. Look for a breaker that is either off, or partially off, then push it all the way off, then back on.

Lost Phase

There is also a very rare situation where power can be apparently out in part of your house and it is still the energy provider’s responsibility. Its possible for something to happen to one “leg” of the line (“one phase”) to your home, causing the home to essentially operate on half the voltage. If this happens, most lamps and similar devices will still work, but big appliances that require more juice will not…. Yes, I had this happen on my home…

If power is out for part of your home and you can’t figure it out, just open a ticket by sending us a text or email (be sure to note the exact home/unit, your name, and a brief description of the issue) and we will have an electrician come check it out.

Television Troubleshooting — All about TV in our Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, and Fort Morgan Beach Homes

TV not working? Oh no! Let’s figure it out… a quick overview, then we will look at services based on where you are staying (as they vary!).

The TV won’t turn on at all…

Is it plugged in securely? Does it happen to be plugged into a switched outlet (a lot of our homes have switched outlets where 1/2 the outlet is switched from a wall switch). Will it turn on with a power button on it but not with the remote? Probably the wrong remote or dead/dying batteries.

TVs turn on, but NO TVs have channels.

Bottom line here: If NO tvs have channels, there is likely a service outage in the area. You can send an email or text, just so we are aware. The provider will have to address the service issue, just like at home when you lose services.

Some TVs won’t show channels… ah, here we go…this is where we can help most! Usually this is just from someone changing something to meet there needs and messing it up for you, or… a device needing a kick in the head (er, a reset). 🙂 Lets see if we can get them going!

First, WHERE are you staying? Services vary by location.

Night Heron or East 11 Cottages

If you are at Night Heron or East 11 Cottage A & G, then your television and internet are provided by a third party network services provider, SecureVision, and for ALL support simply call them at 251-967-4455 24/7 or, for those with phones provisioned at the home, you can also press the Contact/Help button. SecureVision is contracted to provide all support for these homes.

The Cottages at Romar: Diamond, Emerald, and Sapphire

If you are staying in Emerald, Diamond, or Sapphire in Orange Beach, at the Cottages at Romar, then your television is provided by DirecTV Stream, as part of our gigabit networks there. Each TV has a DirecTV streaming device which provides access to local, regional, and national channels. To see the channel lineup, Go to DIRECTV STREAM. From the home screen, select Guide to see your channels. A PDF Guide is available, and our service is the Entertainment Package.

Troubleshooting DirecTV Stream at Cottages at Romar. Step 1: Is the internet working?

First, do you have internet services? If not, check out our Internet troubleshooting guide. Because DirecTV Stream is a streaming service, it requires internet to be functioning. Fortunately, we have a very solid, fiber-based, gigabit connection, delivering high speed (up to 1GB!) internet which is delivered over a robust Eero-based mesh network. Things work well. If not, try the troubleshooting guide for Internet… because again, no internet at all… no tv. Gotta fix the internet first! Pay particular attention to the Cottages at Romar bit about “not unplugging things…”

Have internet at Cottages at Romar but a DirecTV stream isn’t working?

DirecTV stream troubleshooting goes here… How do we ‘tune’ into the DirecTV stream boxes from the TV (i.e. what input/channel has to be set?). TV is one. TV is set to X input. It should be HDMI 1 but check the tv to be sure that’s what its plugged into because people unplug things to use their own devices…

Set to the right input but something wonky/not working with the DirectTV Stream?

  1. Confirm your device cables are securely connected.
  2. Restart your DIRECTV STREAM device. You can:
    1. Press and release the red button on the side.
    2. Unplug your device for at least 30 seconds, and then plug it back in.

Gulf & Golf at the Plantation

Gulf & Golf has internet and television services provided by XXX. The internet is generally completely separate from the television services, so it is possible for one to be up while the other is not. If your internet is not working, see our Wifi and Internet Troubleshooting Guide, the section on Gulf & Golf. For television, this is very rare to be down, and likely is a service outage in the area. You may report it to us.

Everywhere else: Gulf Shores (West Beach), and Fort Morgan (all except the above)

Most of our homes are in Gulf Shores or Fort Morgan, and almost all of those use Mediacom for TV and Internet. TV and internet are mostly unrelated at these homes. However, if NO televisions are showing any cable channels, that is a strong indication that there is a service outage in the area (or at least outside the home). Moreover, if there are no channels, there will be NO internet. Why? Because Mediacom is a cable tv provider, and their internet comes in on the same cable as the television stations and generally speaking the television signal is more able to handle connection issues than internet, so if you don’t even have television, you will not have internet. And if you don’t have television (and don’t have internet) there is ZERO you will be able to do to get the internet up and running. No amount of resetting, whatever, will fix it. The cable tv issue (ie. the underlying signal problem) has to be fixed, and THAT involves the cable tv provider. Let us know if your internet is out AND all your tvs have no channels, and we can file a trouble ticket with Mediacom.

That said, the rest of this is for those of you who have channels and operational tvs in some rooms, but some are ‘misbehaving.’ Let’s see what we can do to get those working!

To begin troubleshooting the T.V. Please determine whether there is a black Mediacom box attached to the tv. If so, Please follow the directions below. If not, skip down to the next section: “No Mediacom Box”

Mediacom box is provided

First, Is the light on the Mediacom box SOLID GREEN, BLINKING GREEN, or NO LIGHT


If there is NO LIGHT (as shown in picture), check that the power cord is plugged into the Mediacom box AND into the wall. If not, please plug them in. If they are, please unplug them and plug them back in to reset the Mediacom box. It should start blinking and then become solid green. If it does not light up, it is not receiving power, which could be a bad plug, a bad outlet (not likely) or a shorted out cable box. Please send us a service request.


If the green light is BLINKING, check your cables (both the power and the cable tv cable) and make sure that they are attached correctly at both ends (wall and device). Unplug the Digital Adapter, plug it back in, then wait five minutes for it to reset. The green light should be solid at this point. If not, Please contact the office.


If the light is SOLID (as shown Below) and you still are not getting channels, Check that the TV is set to the proper HDMI input or tuned to the proper channel (Ch 3 or Ch 4).

If it is using an HDMI cable from the DTA to the TV, check which HDMI input it is in, and be sure the TV is set to that HDMI input (using the TV remote).

If it is NOT using an HDMI cable from the DTA to the TV (that is, if it uses a ‘cable’ cable), please make sure the tv itself is on CHANNEL 3 and that the switch on the back of the Mediacom box is ALSO set to Channel 3. Both need to be on 3 in order to have a signal. (They can ALSO both be on 4, but… they need to match, and cannot be one on 3 and one on 4…). Make the channels match!

DTA GUIDE: More than you ever wanted to know about Mediacom’s DTA

You must use the Mediacom remote

If you have Signal, and are wondering how to change the MEDIACOM CHANNELS, you have to use the MEDIACOM REMOTE. IF YOU USE THE REGULAR TV REMOTE, THAT CHANGES THE MAIN CHANNEL ON THE TV AND WILL CAUSE SIGNAL TO BE LOST (as it will no longer be on Channel 3 or the correct HDMI input and you’ll have to put it back).

NO Mediacom Box

Does the TV turn on at all?

Be sure you have the correct remote and it is controlling the TV. You may be able to find a manual power button on the TV. If the remote isn’t working but the power button does, then its either the wrong remote OR the batteries are dead. Although housekeeping tries to put remotes back, sometimes the go walkabout in the homes–we have no idea why they decide to walk around on their own… and the right remote may be elsewhere.

TV won’t power on, even with the correct remote or a physical power button (not all tvs these days have these, or channel selectors, etc, which is kind of annoying)? Check the power cord to the TV and wall to be sure they are securely connected. ALSO, you might change the outlet the tv is in, from the top to the bottom one or the bottom to the top. Why? Because some of our homes have switched outlets (from a light switch at the entry) and if it happens to be plugged into one of those (usually HALF an outlet is switched), then if the switch is off, it won’t work…).

TV turns on, but no signal?

Please make sure the coax cable on the back of the TV is connected securely to both the TV and the wall, that is is not loose.

Once tv is on, and you are sure it is connected to the cable securely, Please make sure the tv is on the Correct Input (WHICH SHOULD BE TV) or IF you have RokuTV, Please make sure to choose LIVE TV.

-If the TV is not a Smart TV, and TV is showing no signal, please do a Channel scan by going to

  1. MENU
  4. CABLE
  5. START

-If the TV is a Smart ROKU tv, Please choose the following to restore Signal TV Inputs

  1. Live TV
  2. Scan for channels

If  you have completed either the TV or RokuTV channel scan (as applicable to your tv), and after scanning is complete, you are still showing NO SIGNAL or have no channels, and you checked that the RG6 cable is securely connected to both the TV and the wall, then please send the office a note.

If after troubleshooting the above, things still are not working, send us an email or text, and we can open a trouble ticket. Be sure to include

We will have someone reach out to assist you.

Trash Pickup Varies by Location and Time of Year. And NO you don’t have to roll the cans out (or back!).

Trash pickup varies by location. Generally, trash pickup on the days specified below is often quite early in the morning. You do not have to do anything with the trash cans. We handle having them rolled out and returned for you!

West beach homes as well as East 11 Cottages

(This is most of our homes, except those specifically noted below)

For Summer Months, Trash pickup is Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, and the trash cans will be pulled out for you the day before, and returned after pickup occurs.

For the rest of the year: Trash pickup is on Mondays and Thursdays, with pullout occurring the day before, and pull back after pick up occurs.

For all West Beach locations, the trash cans will be rolled out for you the afternoon before pickup day and returned after pickup.

Fort Morgan (Gulf & Golf at the Plantation, Beach Castle and Fort Sun only)

For Summer Months, Trash pickup occurs on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays.

For the rest of the year, Trash pick up ion Wednesdays and Saturdays.

At all Fort Morgan locations, the trash cans will be rolled out for you the afternoon before pickup day and returned after pickup.

Cottages at Romar, Orange Beach (Diamond, Emerald, & Sapphire)

For Summer Months, Trash is picked up on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Note, unlike West Beach, trash cans will be pulled out for you the morning of pickup for the Cottages (Diamond, Emerald, and Sapphire).

For the rest of the year, trash pickup occurs Tuesday and Friday. Trash cans will be rolled out those mornings for you.

Keep in mind:

For non peak times of year, trash pickup may vary based on occupancy levels and is often reduced to a single day per week.

The Saturday pickup is according to Republic Services’ schedule and is generally before guests leave and before cleaning arrives, so it is not unusual for arriving guests to find bins that have items in them when they arrive. These will go out the next scheduled pickup.

Departing Guests–A little help is much appreciated
If you are departing on a trash collection day and have lots of trash, we ask that you get most of it into the bins before they are rolled out, or take it out to the curb if the bins have not been emptied by Republic before you leave. This will ensure the arriving guests don’t have full bins.


Night Heron Additional Entry Instructions: Be sure you are at the right door!

In addition to our general instructions on how you will receive your entry code and how to use our KABA locks, sometimes guests get confused at Night Heron and try to open the wrong door!

IMPORTANT FOR NIGHT HERON. Each unit of Night Heron HAS TWO DOORS. Be sure you are trying to open the HOUSE door with the entry code for the HOUSE and the extra fridge closet with with its own code.

THE HOUSE LOCK is a KABA Lock, and says KABA on it. The first door as you walk back is the closet door which holds an extra refrigerator. Please keep going straight and you’ll find the main entry door with a KABA lock.

CARPORT FRIDGE DOOR CODE! Your code for the extra fridge in the door in the carport is 1590# The lock buzzes and turns green for about 5 seconds. You have to open the door in this time frame, or reenter the code. When the door shuts, you have to enter the code again for entry.

Entry Code Help: Getting into the vacation home!

ALL our homes are equipped with electronic locks. You are provided an entry code ahead of time, via email, for the times and dates of your stay, and you use this code to open the door. You do not need to meet anyone!

BUT FIRST: Guests staying in a Southern Vacation Rentals Managed Home

IMPORTANT: Are you staying in a home managed for us by Southern Vacation Rentals? Your information from us will clearly state they are the local management co, along with providing Southern’s contact info. This includes Beach Castle, Fort Sun, Gulf & Golf at the Plantation, The Pearl, Sea Monster, Sea Urchins, and Wits End.

For these homes, you will receive your entry code directly from Southern Vacation Rentals. We, unfortunately, do not have access to your codes and we cannot look them up or generate them. Southern handles all access, maintenance, and other issues for our guests in the homes they manage for us. For SOUTHERN guests, you will have received an email from them inviting you to their portal. Your code will be in their portal and you may be able to use that link and your email and arrival date to access it. If you have any issues with your stay in one of their managed homes, please contact them:

Southern Vacation Rentals
866-290-8214. Also 24 hour text line: (850) 367-7256

But… check junk or spam for the note from them. That’s one of the most common problems…

For everyone else! How to get into your beach home? We can help!

Entry to the homes we, as Bama Beach Houses, manage (that is, everywhere but the Southern homes noted above), we send you the codes directly.

Kaba Beach Home deadbolt used at all BamaBeachHouses Gulf Shores homes

We use the Kaba 460 deadbolt at all Gulf Shores vacation homes managed by BamaBeachHouses.

All these homes use industry standard Kaba electronic deadbolt locks. Let’s hit a few of the most common issues we hear when guests reach out:

1. Are you at the right home, at the right date and time?

Seriously… it happens. Especially mixing up East and West on duplexes, etc. Right Home? East/West? Address? Double check! Let’s make sure you are actually at the right place! And that you are not too early (the codes are tied to times and dates of stay).

2. Do you have your entry code?

Check junk folders! We EMAIL the codes from beachtrip@bamabeachhouses.com ahead of time, actually several times! If you do not have them, 99 out of 100 times its because our email is landing in a junk or spam folder. Some of the email message titles include:

“BBH: Entry Code and Wifi Reminder” and “BBH: Check in Instructions”– NOTE the email entitled “BBH: Initial Check in Instructions” (the word INITIAL in it), will NOT have the entry code. Only the other ones will. Under very rare circumstances, older copies of these messages may not actually contain the code. If the latest ones do not have the code, please text us (251.202.7145, text only) and we can get it sent right out to you. This only happens on (1) relatively last minute stays and (2) occasionally with stays that have rented BOTH sides of a duplex under one name.

3. Need help opening the lock?

How to open? (1) Enter the code. No # or anything else. (2) Then turn the knob to unlock.  Note, if you pause entering the code (like, say, if you look up the rest of the code while entering it), then the lock can time out. Try again!

Enter the Code. Detailed version.

As you enter the code, it should beep and flash a green light with each digit. It MIGHT flash both green and red with each digit. That is okay, but you should tell us when you have a chance as it means the batteries are getting low. They will operate for weeks but we definitely want to change them out as soon as possible. If when you finish entering it, it beeps and flashes red, then the code was not accepted. Double check the code and re-enter it, and double check… right house, right time, right date… 🙂

Turn the Knob!

Almost all of our Kaba locks are deadbolts. You enter a correct code, it provides access by enabling the deadbolt to be turned open. It does NOT turn it for you (this is actually great because the ones that turn for you tend to chew up batteries and have alignment issues). This does however mean that just like one you might use a key on at home, you have to turn the knob AND you have to do so before the valid code that you entered times out (about 5 seconds)… if not, you have to restart.

4. Lock it?

No code needed: Turn the knob. Done.

However, very occasionally these locks can misbehave and require the code. If the battery is okay (entering a key flashes green), and you cannot turn the knob to lock the lock as you leave for the beach… then you can try using the code. If this happens, send us a note and we will fix it for you so you don’t have to do that!

Advanced Kaba Lock Stuff: Can I change my code?

Why yes you can actually. You can’t change it per se, but, with a valid code, you can create an alternative code for your stay. The one we provide you will still be operational, but this might be useful if you want to provide one to your gang that might be easier to remember.

PLEASE NOTE: WE DO NOT PROVIDE SUPPORT FOR THIS. It will NOT mess up your existing code, but if you don’t get it to work, staff cannot assist you. I am including this because it is pretty easy and might be handy.

That said…  to add an additional code for your stay: enter the system generated code on a lock and then hit the “#” button followed by the personal 6 digits. Test it out. As with everything else, delays in entering things can time out the lock.

Contact us if you cannot get in after trying all the above! (And are not in a Southern managed home)

Text us at 251.202.7145 (txt/sms only).

For entry related issues for anyone staying directly with us who is NOT in a home locally managed by Southern Vacation Rentals (see above), the quickest way to reach us will usually be to text to 251.202.7145 and state the specific home and side (if a duplex) as well as the last name on the reservation.

Please also note anything specific about the problem. It will usually be one of two things:

  1. I do not have my code. Be sure sure if this is it that you checked junk, because as noted above 99 out of 100 times, we will be grabbing the code OUT OF THE EMAIL you were sent… 🙂  OR…
  2. My code isn’t working (and I did try all the troubleshooting above, and turned the knob…).

251.202.7145 is NOT a voice number. You cannot call it and get through. However, multiple people will see the relayed text message and can reply via text or call you back. These are the folks most likely to be able to rapidly assist with access.

You can also email us by replying to any of our messages or emailing beachtrip@bamabeachhouses.com. These are usually seen pretty quickly, but text will be faster.

As a last resort, you can call our 251.732.4020 number too; however, please try the text first and give folks at least a few minutes to reply. Emergency phone calls (specifically after 5pm Eastern and you choose ’emergency’) will route to a lot of our people’s mobile numbers but most of them will not be able to assist with entry as rapidly as those who will see the text message.


What is your policy regarding renter age and restrictions?

Glad you asked! We have a very strict policy regarding the age and nature of guests that stay in our homes.

You must be at least 25 years of age to reserve our homes. The 25 year old must be present for checkin and throughout the stay. For some homes, and under some pre-approved circumstances, we may, at our sole discretion, and only in advance, agree to allow those under 25 to rent our homes subject to additional terms and conditions to include a co-signer over 25, an additional security deposit generally no less than the greater of $3000 or the full rental rate of the home, whichever is greater, payable by check only and directly to us, and provision of a list and identification of all guests prior to check in. We do NOT rent to large groups of unrelated adults under 25 regardless of the age of the primary renter.
Abrogation of any of these terms is a breach of agreement subject to all terms and conditions herein, including immediate cancellation with no refund of monies paid or due and payable.

Two key rules come into play and are in our terms and conditions of rental, and the rental agreement:

  1. You must be 25 or older to be the primary renter of one of our homes AND that person must be present throughout the stay
  2. Regardless of the age of the primary renter, we do not rent to large groups of unrelated adults under 25. Having a few over 25 does not make this acceptable without pre-approval.

We do make exceptions from time to time when people make open and honest requests ahead of booking. These are evaluated on a case by case basis, and subject to additional terms and conditions. Please inquire if you have a special situation.

Under no condition will house parties, over occupancy, or other issues be allowed. Immediate discontinuation of occupancy, no refunds, and damages will be recouped, including any potential loss of rents and good will for incoming guests.

We are well behaved… yada yada… will you consider?

So, you can ASK but…

Although we have had very positive experiences with many groups of young adults looking for a place to unwind, I want to avoid any potential misunderstanding: our home is NOT A PARTY PAD, and there cannot be any house parties. No parties, period. While drinking, spilling stuff everywhere, general mayhem? This you? Or even remotely like what you want to do? Don’t. It will not end well. Don’t lie when asking. Don’t let it get out of hand if you are allowed. Again, it won’t end well.

Most people looking for a trip like yours understand this but from time to time we run into a group that does not treat our homes respectfully. Nothing good comes of that for anyone involved!

In fact that’s why we mostly shut down doing this… but I do have 2 kids in the same age group as you… so I get that not everyone is going to trash my home… but the heartache is pretty significant when folks do because we usually spent a ton of time and money getting them ready during winter…

That said, I am happy to consider hosting groups of well-behaved young people needing a break! So I will consider a request.

I do have several rules and restrictions to allow those under 25 to stay in the home. This protects my home from the small minority of problem groups, while giving everyone else the opportunity to rent a home–something you likely are finding is not very common.

1. We ask that someone over 25 sign onto the lease agreement prior to checkin. This person does not need to stay in the home and in almost all cases should be a parent. Sometimes we require more than one…. depends on the situation, size of home and group, etc.

2. A Refundable Damage Deposit. While most of the groups we agree to allow stay in our homes leave them as they found them, we do have problems occasionally, and those problems can be expensive. Historically, we have required guests such as yourselves to pay a Refundable Damage Deposit equal to the amount of the rental, or $3000, whichever is greater (so a $6000 rental has a $6000 refundable damage deposit). Expenses add up quickly. Damaging a couch alone in a rental unit can cost > $3000 to replace. Trashing a home is often $10s of thousands of dollars to fully clean and repair, and can impact incoming guests too, which is expensive if we can’t accommodate them on time, or it impacts their experience….

This refundable damage deposit is an additional payment of a damage deposit made only by check or e-check directly to us as part of reserving the home. This is FULLY REFUNDABLE PROVIDED THERE IS NO DAMAGE OR EXCESSIVE CLEANING OR WEAR AND TEAR. Please understand that this is not a get out of jail free card. If you cause a lot of damage and exceed the amount of the deposit, you and all guests will be held responsible. Provided there is not a problem with your stay, your deposit will be accounted for and returned approximately 2 weeks after your stay.

3. To protect everyone involved, we require, prior to check in, information on all guests staying in the unit (and subject to occupancy limits).

4. The stay generally must be for a minimum of 6 nights and preferably start OR end on a Saturday. No 4 night, over the weekends. And summer must be Sat to Sat.

5. Generally I will NOT allow a max occupancy on a home for these exceptions and if folks show up above an agreed to occupancy when I approve it, you will be asked to leave. Why? 22-26 young adults in a 6 bedroom home is just not a great idea.

I hope it also seems reasonable given you are asking to stay in a home often valued over $1 million dollars and that we know little about you! If it seems harsh or unfair, then all I can say is… look elsewhere as most folks won’t even consider these requests.

In short: “Good news! YES, sometimes we will still allow folks under 25 in my home. We need someone over 25 to sign, pay a refundable damage deposit, and provide guest identification” easy peasy.

In the end, because Gulf Shores is also a family friendly destination, you have to ask yourself whether, if you happened to be in a place right next door to families, you would be compatible? This doesn’t mean you have to be quiet and I do understand that some folks are just not reasonable, but… would you be compatible with a reasonable family with say younger kids. I try to avoid putting potentially incompatible groups next to each out… but it could happen…

OR… well… sorry! As much as I’d like to help, these are not party pads, and the heartache and hassle is simply not worth it!


Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Vacation Home Elevators, the 411

Do any of your Gulf Shores beach vacation homes have elevators? How do the beach house elevators work? What if elevator is not working? We have the 411 on a whole lot of common questions and situations regarding private elevators in our vacation homes!

Does your beach home have an elevator? Yes, in some limited cases, we do have elevators!

We have a page with our homes with elevators. They are The Pearl duplex (2×10 bedrooms), and the Diamond (10BR), Emerald (12BR), and Sapphire (12BR) at the Cottages at Romar.

How to use the elevator!

So… this seems like a no brainer… they aren’t all that different in terms of buttons and so on that any elevator you may have used. BUT there are some key differences in how they actually work, and things that can go wrong!

Children MUST be supervised and should not be allowed to use the elevators alone. 

We have kids too. We get it. Tempting to play with the elevators too, right? What could go wrong? Plenty! Seriously… not a toy, and not as bullet proof (er child friendly) as commercial ones in hotels etc)… and most of the things that CAN go awry with the elevators, will go awry if kids are messing with them. Doors not shut all the way and on all levels. Getting on and off 6+ times without going anywhere (see below, this ones a big one!). We appreciate your cooperation on this.


First things first, home elevators have lock outs. Getting on and off 6 times (or more) without going anywhere will cause it to LOCK OUT and be unusable until it is manually reset. What’s the first thing you might do? Load a bunch of luggage? If you do that by getting on and off 6 times, or if someone wanders on and off that many times, or a child is playing and does the same thing…. then it will lock out. You will not be able to use it until it is reset. Please avoid this! Its standard on home elevators and is a safety and mechanical precaution.

What about 7 times? Yeah, anything 6 or more. Just don’t do it. What about 5? Okay smarty pants… 5 might not do it, but unless you are sure someone didn’t hop on and off first, then lets not push it! In the end, open the doors, get on, and head out. So how does that work you ask? Glad you asked…

Operating Instructions

  1. Press the button beside the door.
    This “calls” the elevator to you, and initiates unlocking the door.
  2. Wait for light to illuminate and a click.
    When lit, the elevator has arrived and the click means the door has unlocked!
  3. Open the outside door and interior bifold door.
    There are too doors. Open both. Now you can go inside.** BUT DON’T GO IN AND OUT 6 times or more** 
  4. Close BOTH the outside and bifold doors COMPLETELY after entering elevator.
    BOTH doors must be securely closed for the elevator to go anywhere. This releases the safety interlock.
  5. Choose Destination.
    Ground = 1st floor. Bonus tip. If it won’t go anywhere, check the doors AND the red ‘stop’ button on the back wall.
  6. Open BOTH doors. Get off! 🙂
    ** Same deal as #3. When its open, do not get on and off repeatedly!
  7. CLOSE BOTH Doors behind you SECURELY.
    ** This is important. If any doors are even slightly ajar, the elevator cannot be called to another floor. Worse. Its possible to get the interior door sort of closed, then close the outside one, and it will lock the outside one, and be stuck because the inside is then “not locked” even though you sorta closed it. 🙂

OR How about a quick video about how to use….

Help! The elevator isn’t working….

Most elevator issues are related to either getting on and off 6 times without going anywhere OR not getting all the doors securely closed on all levels.

Releasing a door/Doors ‘stuck’

Never ‘force’ any door. It could be quite costly….

It is also possible that if someone failed to fully securely latch the interior door on any level and then shut the outer door, that you will end up in a ‘stuck’ situation where you cannot open the external door to get to the internal door to secure it. A bit of a catch 22! We do not recommend trying to release the external door manually, even though there IS a hole on each one, much like a passage lock, that will override it. If there is no elevator at that level though, it is a drop, and dangerous. The moral is CLOSE THE BIFOLD DOOR SECURELY.

If you checked the red stop button, checked all the doors as best you can, and even reset the elevator, then please contact us and we will have someone provide assistance. Please note that 95% of elevator issues are related to users either doing the ‘on/off’ thing or not getting the doors closed, and elevator service is not generally considered an emergency.

Troubleshooting Video!


If you are staying in our Diamond, Emerald, or Pearl, please contact Southern Vacation Rentals. They are your local management company. Your check in email from us (and from them.. where you got your entry codes!) will have your reservation number and their contact information too. But… just in case:

Southern Vacation Rentals
866-290-8214. Also 24 hour text line: (850) 367-7256 guestservices@gosouthern.com

If you are staying in our Sapphire home, then reach out to us. The BEST way to do that is by replying to any of our emails, so we have your stay information, but just in case:

Bama Beach Houses
251.732.4020 (Voice)
812.269.2543 (Txt)

Please note that although issues with residential elevators are usually easy for you (see above) or us to troubleshoot, sometimes it requires a service visit from the manufacturers rep, and they are not under our control and often days out. Generally an elevator not working is not considered an emergency, unless someone is stuck inside; however, we understand the loss of this amenity can be an inconvenience and will do our best to get you up and running. If you avoid the issues we note above (getting on and off, not securing doors, etc) then they usually work rather well!

Worth repeating: Please do not let children use the elevator by themselves. Adults must be with children when in use.

Are pets allowed in your homes? Sometimes, some places, and only with PRE-APPROVAL

Do we allow pets in our homes? Generally, no. But we do have some homes were we consider polite requests for furry friends to tag alone. Generally speaking, we only allow dogs, with a limit of 2, and subject to requests for more information, usually starting with AGE and BREED.

Some things to keep in mind:

Emotional Support Animals/ESAs

Emotional Support Animals/ESAs are NOT service animals and are considered a ‘pet’ for the purposes of short term vacation homes. If you have an ESA, you are welcome to make a request for your ESA to come. Such requests are subject to all approval and fees.

Service Animals (Dogs)

Service animals (dogs), as defined by federal regulations, are always welcome, and we ask you let us know ahead of time that you will have a service animal, that you confirm that the service dog is required because of a disability and to let us know what work or task your service animal has been trained to perform.

What is the cancellation policy? Can we cancel and get a refund? All about cancellations!

Our cancellation policy generally follows that of our third-party local management companies and does not provide refunds for unforeseen developments such as illnesses, mandatory hurricane evacuations and similar events that can affect your trip. We strongly suggest that you purchase travel insurance.

NO REFUNDS are issued for cancellations or early departure due to inclement weather or personal circumstances or for any other reason. This includes, but is not limited to, beach closures, hurricane closures, loss of job, or the family pet passing away. Many of these are, however, covered by travel insurance.

Our cancellation policy is strict on our big homes and we do not provide for cancellations. This is because most of them rent 6 months, and more commonly, more than one year out.

People who want a big place plan way ahead and aren’t so much last minute shoppers so it becomes significantly harder, if not impossible, to re-let them in a shorter time frame, and certainly not at normal rates.

We strongly suggest trip insurance if you have any reason to believe you will have to cancel. Some people opt to self-insure by basically never getting insurance and knowing they have to use that savings toward a big expense if it ever happens.

All moneys remain due and payable if you cancel a trip. However, we will try to help, and if you cancel, and we are able to re-rent the home, we will work with you to reschedule. If you have an issue, definitely reach out as early as possible so we are aware and may be able to assist. And, of course… travel insurance… but you have to get it BEFORE whatever might happen to scuttle the trip actually happens (otherwise they won’t pay for it). See our travel insurance link for more info.

Travel Protection Insurance (“Trip Insurance”) may be a good option

Most third-party trip insurance agencies will allow you to add trip insurance to a trip up to your last payment, though those policies are up to the individual agencies. They cover a wide range of issues, so be sure that whatever you main concern is that it is in fact covered. Most will not allow cancellation for any ol’ reason, and you will need to meet their criteria for death, injury, weather, but they can protect you against loss if they are a god fit for your group.

We do offer travel insurance too, through a third party provider. Check it out. You may find it helpful. You are of course welcome to shop around and choose any provider you like. Thanks again!

People often want to know what is and is not available at one of our places. Here’s the 411!

This list is in addition to our own FAQs and is gathered from the various local management companies that work with us. Please keep in mind that provided/not provided may vary slightly by home and could vary a bit. If you arrive and their is something we said isn’t provide, don’t freak out. Seriously, we’ve had people ‘complain’ because they bring something along and it was there–people leave stuff, we do nice things. We won’t remove those things unless there are issues, but that won’t make it to the “we always provide” list either. It happens. Relax. Enjoy! 🙂 Similarly, if a “we provide” item is awol, which also happens, shoot us a note.

What’s Provided

All rental properties are equipped with the following unless otherwise indicated:

What You Should Bring

While all rental units are set up for normal housekeeping, the properties will NOT have hairdryers; clothes hangers; cleaning products; or toilet paper, paper towels, and soap intended to last for the duration of your stay.

Each rental property is equipped with a starter set of essentials for your first night, including 1 roll of paper towels, 1 sponge, 2 dishwasher tabs and 2 kitchen towels in the kitchen and 2 bars of soap and 1 roll of toilet tissue for each bathroom. Trash can liners are placed in the kitchen and bathroom trash cans. You are responsible for replenishing your supplies as needed.

A Useful Shopping and Packing List

Some Common Questions about specific items

Do you provide a grill?

Grills are not provided. With the exception of our Jewels by the Sea (Sapphire, Emerald, Diamond), we do not provide grills. In some locations, we are precluded from doing so by code or HOA, although you are able to have them yourselves. They CANNOT be under or next to the home when in use. Sometimes a home will have inherited a grill from a previous guest. We cannot guarantee that, nor the functionality or safety of anything you may find. When one of our family’s goes down, we simply plan to snag a low cost kettle grill or similar from an area store like Walmart.

Do you provide beach chairs or umbrellas?

We don’t provide beach chairs or umbrellas. They tend to disappear, especially if guests leave them out and Gulf Shores collects all of the stuff every night! And then guests show up and are upset about ‘where are the beach chairs and umbrellas!’ — to which I always think… grr… good question! Easier to just not try to provide! However, depending on what you want, you can purchase some rather cheaply once in town OR there are several places that rent chairs, umbrellas, even volleyball sets.

Just remember… Gulf Shores requires all stuff be brought in. If you leave it out, it will disappear overnight!

Anything else?

Have a question about something else? Let us know and we will respond… and add it to the FAQ!

Thanks again for choosing to stay in our homes!