For millions of people, the beach is their true “happy place.” It’s a special location that allows them to relax, spend time with their loved ones, and enjoy a break from all of their hard work throughout the year. It’s no wonder the vacation experience in Alabama Gulf Shores can make for a time-honored, annual tradition.
Some families take their annual vacations to the next level by inviting friends and extended family along for the trip. Kaiser Realty by Wyndham Vacation Rentals has had the honor of helping countless families build the perfect vacation for more than 35 years. Here are some of our favorite vacationer stories from Alabama Gulf Shores:
From College to a Lifetime
Mike S. and three fellow fraternity brothers began their beach vacation tradition in 1978, with their very first trip to the Gulf Coast. Each being lucky enough to marry their college sweethearts, the 4 Delta Chi brothers and their families started a tradition they still cherish and practice today -- although their group has grown considerably since. In 1981, Mike and his crew began a new tradition, choosing a vacation rental home on West Beach that perfectly suited their growing families.
Throughout the years as their families continued to grow, Mike and his group made their way to the Nordic Villas, one of the most long-standing vacation rental communities. Originally staying in Viking, which was the largest home on the beach at the time, the group soon needed even more space and moved to Dalarna, where they have continued to stay for the last 11 years and counting.
Their 40th beach trip anniversary was extra special this year with the newest addition to the group, Mike’s youngest grandchild. “Celebrating life at the beach is what it’s all about,” shared Mike. “We don’t need fancy entertainment or tons of excitement to be happy during our stay; we all come to the beach year after year because it’s our time to relax, and spend time with each other.”
Mike admits to wondering if the group would say together as their children grew up and began building families of their own; however, nothing has changed since their early trips. “Gulf Shores & Orange Beach and the lifelong friendships strengthened along the coast are why we call Kaiser Realty every year and let them know we are coming back.”
Four Generations Under One Roof
Another fellow beach lover, Charlie T. and his late wife Sarah began their relationship with Kaiser Realty through a connection they had with the Reservations Director at the time. Assisting them personally year after year, the Kaiser team has been able to watch their vacation group grow. What began as Charlie and Sarah staying with their friends in a Fort Morgan condo quickly evolved into stays in various homes across Orange Beach and West Beach.
Since 2006, they’ve made the Dalarna home in Orange Beach their special spot. Now touting nearly 40 people in the vacation group, Charlie’s dedication to his relationships are evident after spending only a few minutes with his “family.” The family’s vacation group started growing as Charlie and his friends’ families got bigger. Charlie and Sarah even welcomed their children’s first grade teacher to the mix nearly 18 years ago, who continues to join year-after-year with her family.
“Family is the reason we gather in Orange Beach every year,” shared Charlie. “We come from all over the United States, as far as Corpus Christi, Texas, to share a week in paradise together.” In addition to Charlie and his family, his 85-year-old mother-in-law continues to make the trip with them, rounding out a total of four separate generations of beach lovers who congregate annually on the sugar-white sands of the Alabama Gulf Coast.
Vacation rentals for large groups may seem like a lot of work, but Mike and Charlie believe it’s what makes life “worth it.” A common tip both vacationers share is the ritual of switching off cooking duties, with one family cooking for the entire crew each night. Charlie’s culinary highlight of his annual trip is making the drive into Pensacola to Joe Patty’s Seafood and whipping up what he calls his “Seafood Extravaganza,” bringing his Louisiana flavors to fresh Gulf seafood caught just a few miles offshore. Mike recalls so many wonderful meals around the dining table with friends and family, and his children remember their pilgrimage to the original Wolf Bay Lodge as one of their most celebrated family memories.
To begin your own tradition, explore beach vacation rental homes along the Alabama Gulf Coast.