Supplies, Grills, Coffee, Crock Pots, Warm Fridges, Can we get in Early?, and more

A quickie FAQ page. You also receive this and much more via emails from our beachtrip email account. Be sure to whitelist our email address, otherwise stuff you REALLY need to know (entry codes anyone!?) may go to spam!

Guests often ask similar questions about some key items when they are planning for their big trip, or for guests new to vacationing in a vacation home versus a resort or hotel, some things are new to them. Here’s a quickie primer on common questions. Feel free to ask about other things and we will respond rapidly and also add it to the list!

Who should I contact?

We own all our properties and check-in, check-out and guest relations during your stay are handled by a third-party local Gulf Shores based property management company, listed on your lease agreement and in the several check-in emails you will receive. This management company varies by home. You will check in as an OWNER GUEST. The name of our primary renter will be on file with them so they can identify you. If you have any issues with entry to the home, or need on-the-ground guest support, they are your first point of contact. We can help too, but we (the owners, and Bama Beach Houses, our brand) don’t staff 24×7 and hire the local mgt cos to ensure you have a great experience. Definitely reach out to us too and let us know how things are going.

“We are here (or we may come in early). Can we get in early?”

No. 🙂

Pretty much all homes on the beach turnover in summer on the same day. Homes as big as ours take a considerable amount of time to turn over and the local management companies will not allow early arrivals or late departures during summer. In fact, it bears repeating, as is noted in the lease and elsewhere, that check-in begins at 4pm, but the homes may not be ready at that time. The local management companies that handle our homes have actually been sending notes to us about how busy it will be, how they are still working on fully staffing cleaning and so on, and that we relay that every effort will be made to have them ready, but to ask your support and patience if the homes are not ready at 4pm and that there will be no refunds in those cases. Please be patient, go grab a bite to eat, or park at the property and enjoy the beach. Your code will work at 4pm, but if its not ready, please allow the cleaning crews and support staff to do their jobs, and please don’t enter while they are there–they may say okay but may feel rushed and we want them to feel comfortable completing their jobs.

Starter Pack of Toiletries and Supplies

As with most beach homes in the area, the local mgt co provide what they call a “starter supply” of soaps, toilet paper, and paper towels, etc. Enough for the first night to get you going! Please plan to bring or purchase additional supplies, and any cleaning or pantry supplies you may need (cleaning and pantry staples are actively removed between questions), or to make a quick run to the store (or have it delivered!).

Speaking of cleaning. There should be vacuums, brooms/dustmops and dustpans. If not, they walked away. Reach out and the management co, or we, can have one delivered if so.

Oh, and since it sometimes comes up, and there’s no other applicable section: you will want to bring a hair dryer along, curling iron, whatever your hair needs may be!

Since check-in day is usually CRAZY in summer in the area, its better to snag things before you reach town, or wait a while. Everyone thinks it is an awesome plan to arrive a little early and to hit the stores. Seriously, we suggest not doing that… stopping outside town will ensure you can get anything you may need and hopefully in a more chill environment. Sure you can do it, it will just be chaotic and might not be the best start to a chill vacay!

Kitchen Gear: Pots, Pans, Dishes, Crock Pots, Coffee!

Speaking of supplies. The kitchen should be well stocked with dishes, silverware, and a large array of pots and pans. If inventory of something is low and wasn’t caught by cleaning, let us know as things sometimes disappear, either thrown away if guests have “something” happen, or sometimes they will migrate to the other side of a duplex (this, shockingly, sometimes happens with furniture too so if it feels like a piece is missing or isn’t a match to other pieces… well, let us know!)–not unheard of especially when a group vacations on both sides. When supplies are missing, e.g. not enough forks?!, the local management company is happy to replenish or we can too!

Note: paper plates and disposable plastic cups are not provided. Grab a batch of red solo cups for your trip (and a magic marker to mark ownership of course!) if its something you think you’ll want.

There will be a crockpot, usually more than one, in the home. Blender too. And Coffee Pots! What kind? Drip for sure, and all of our locations now also have a normal Keurig machine.

Fridges! Warm beverages and empty fridges: Don’t do it!

“My refrigerator isn’t working.” 9 times out of 10 this message comes in when someone arrives with a bunch of food, especially WARM/HOT beverages and loads up the refrigerator. Not only will it take a REALLY long time, like overnight or longer, it will likely cause the fridge to condensate inside and potentially outside. Refrigerators simply are not designed to work going from empty to a large amount of warm products and to cool those products takes lots of time as there is a lot of mass to cool down and none already in the fridge to help hold the cold. Normally, at home, you have all the other already cold stuff that retains a temperature and “helps” the new stuff cool down. Not so when empty. This also means that if you put some milk, eggs, and lunchmeat (perhaps already cool) but with a lot of hot beverages then they may very well not be kept at at a good temp too until everything is cooled down.

Key takeaway?! If you are bringing beverages, buy them cold if you can, or put them on ice in a cooler for that first day or so. 

Worth noting: this should NOT affect the freezer except in extreme cases, so your freezer portion should work regardless of what kind of crazy you have going in the fridge (unless of course you stuck a lot of hot beverages in the freezer….).

If on the other hand, you put cold stuff in and its not staying cool. The freezer isn’t working. The lights don’t come on in either compartment. You don’t hear fans or compressors. Reach out so we can get someone out asap!

Stay frosty my friends!

Towels and Linens, check. Beach Towels, Chairs, and Toys, bring them along!

Bath towels and linens are provided for your stay: a bath towel per occupant for the maximum number of occupants per home (regardless of how many you may have listed in your reservation), and if not, reach out to the management co. You will want to bring beach towels or beach chairs and any beach toys you may want, or just pick some up at the many gear stores in the area. Things do accrue over time so you might score a boogie board or something else. Either way, a quick trip to Island Outfitters or Walmart can you you new stuff for the kids to play with! As unique beach homes, we do not have a beach chair/umbrella services at the locations; however, two outfits in the area that guests have worked with are:

Excel Beach Service. Brandon Kortum, owner/operator. 850.586.8975.

Ike’s Beach Service. (251) 948-3757

We’ve not rented equipment, so if you choose to use one of them—or someone else!—please let us know what your experience is so we can better assist other folks with our suggestions!

“Baby Gear”

We do not provide “baby gear” at any of our homes. If you have a little one, you will want to bring along any gear you may need, whether that is pack n plays, cribs, high chairs, or gates for stairs. If you arrive and find any gear, such as gates, please be aware that we have not provided them, and do not support them, and using them is at your own risk. We also do not rent gear. However, there are local folks in the area that appear to do so. We do not have any direct experience with them, so if you DO use one, please let us know about it so we can recommend them (or NOT!) from real-world use.

BabyQuip. This is a national aggregator. It lists several local providers when you do a search. Several appear well-reviewed.

Baby Beach Rentals.

Gulf Coast Rental Co

NOTE: Sort of related: ALL POOLS will have child resistant gates on the fencing around them. As always, don’t rely on such things when the safety of your little one is involved. They are often super smart…

Unmade Bunks and other Beds

Speaking of linens: at many locations, you may find the bunk beds (and certain other beds) are not fully made–instead a cover is usually in place and a bedding pack is provided. This is a common practice for the local management companies, which is both green (if the bedding is not used, it doesn’t have to be laundered) AND more sanitary–housekeeping does not have to crawl on the bunks and so on to make the beds.

Also, some of our homes now have a more standardized top bedding, all white! This allows the management co to swap out the comforters/top bedding when they swap the rest.

Also also…  all our homes have drip coffee makers and Keurigs as well. Think I said that elsewhere but I’m a coffee guy… so wanted to reinforce it!

Grills are not provided unless specifically noted in the listing

Because mgt cos will not generally support them… and guests sometimes abuse them, grills are not provided at most of our homes. The exceptions to this are Diamond, Emerald, Sapphire, and Pearl, all of which have gas grills, and Gulf & Golf at the Plantation that has community charcoal grills across from the home. However, at many homes a grill of some sort is sometimes inherited from prior guests and won’t be removed: your mileage may vary on this but its usually a small kettle type charcoal grill. Usually what we do is either bring a Coleman with us, or just wait and see what’s up on location and go snag an inexpensive kettle type from a local store if we end up actually wanting to grill, versus it seeming like a great idea ahead of time! We don’t know which homes, and can’t check, and it changes from week to week! If you really want to grill, and your home isn’t in the list above, bring one!

Gates/Cribs, etc.

We do not provide cribs, pack n plays, or stair gates, etc. Sometimes you’ll find some, but if protecting small kids is in your trip itinerary, then bring the gear along. ALL pools have tamper-resistant gates and/or lockable doors into the pool areas. Please check operation of them prior to letting little ones roam free.

WIFI, Entry Codes

You should receive several messages with these, generally starting 24 hours in advance. Wifi SSID and Password will be in those notes. In some rare cases, your entry code may not be in the message. If it is more than 24 hours in advance AND a business day, feel free to reply to the message and we can see what the hold up is–these are sent to us by the management company to smooth your visit and to make it contactless. However, in any event, and especially if it is the day of your stay, call the local management co (see section above, and in the check in message) as they actually control the codes and can most rapidly assist.

Other Stuff?

You can also check out this list we provide and this FAQ too, though we try to hit it all in this email for you!

Where’d my stuff go?

Orange Beach and Gulf Shores beaches are awesome! And we all want to keep them that way, for us, and for our turtle and other wildlife friends!

Please remember that Orange Beach and Gulf Shores have the Leave Only Footprints initiative. All gear must be removed from the beach before dusk, or it will be removed (and likely never seen again!). These regulations do not apply to Fort Morgan area properties, but they are great practices anyway so please Leave Only Footprints wherever you may be!

Read more about Leave Only Footprints and what you can do to keep our beaches clean and safe for turtles too! For more information:

Other Beach Rules?! Yes indeed. Tents & Canopies. No pets, no fires or fire pits, sometimes no alcohol, and more

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach generally have more restrictive rules than Fort Morgan. Beyond the Leave Only Footprints (so don’t leave your stuff overnight), there are a number of other local beach rules, even in front of our private homes…because the beach is public in Alabama. Here’s a link to the Gulf Shores beach rules! The Orange Beach ones are similar. Note the wording regarding alcohol is different, with the current web info saying not allowed at all in Gulf Shores (even beyond the normal spring break ban) and Orange Beach saying just no glass containers. When in doubt, we suggest calling the GSOB Visitors Bureau for any information about what you’d like to do!

Things to try in Gulf Shores

Food? #1 in our book? Bahama Bobs. Seriously. This one is so important we will send it in the welcome message too! You have to eat here once. Or, How about Lulus? Great vibe, sand volleyball, often has music too. Plus its owned by Jimmy Buffett’s sister. How about hanging out right on the beach at The Hangout? Good food, live music. Or, eat a great pizza buffet (lunch) or order ‘za delivered from Cricos, maybe pick up steamed (cajun) shrimp at Gulf Shores Seafood, Lartigues (Orange Beach), or Blalock’s. Cook it yourself? A little further off, but well worth the trip, are the two family operated seafood markets on the bayou: Billy’s Seafood and Aquila’s. Not too far, and worth the run…  Oh, and for FRIED shrimp (that actually travels surprisingly well back to the house…), try Doc’s Seafood on Canal–just be sure you are calling the right one as it is not unusual to be standing at one waiting for pickup and hear someone discover the food is at the other location. Oops. That’s a you thing, not a them thing, so don’t be upset if it happens!

Breakfast? Try either of Hazel’s locations in Gulf Shores or Orange Beach. Buffett, homestyle goodness.

Something different? Take a walk or bike ride around the Gulf State Park. It is truly an awesome set of trails, and even has a coffee shop near one trailhead location (by Indigo Hotel in Orange Beach) and a great little restaurant inside it. Or… Work out at the Bodenhamer, or check out the animals at the Little Zoo that Could (subject of an animal planet series). Be sure to say “Hi!” to Chucky. Lot’s more all around the area… day trips to the Fort Morgan fort (yes, there is one) or the National Air Museum or to see the USS Alabama in mobile… happy to toss more ideas your way if you send a note!

As with all things these days, call ahead as hours and opening may vary!

Thanks again, and enjoy the white sands and beautiful waters of your upcoming vacation!