SportsEvents Magazine

FEB 2017

SportsEvents is edited for those who plan tournaments or other sports events.

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February 2017 18 www.sportseventsmagazine.com t SPECIAL Feature said. "I would say that most of our family vacations were combined with sports events. And I was happy to do that." On a Budget With limited free time and tight financial budgets, families don't go on vacation as much as they did in years past, when the two-week family summer vacation appeared to be the standard fare. According to an AAA survey last year, only 35 percent of American families planned to take a family vacation of 50 miles or more away from home. A survey by Allianz Travel Insurance backed that up, showing that in 2016, only 36 percent of Americans were very confident they would take a vacation, while 26 percent said they were not at all confident they could take a vacation. "With so many tournaments and games throughout the summer, there just isn't time for a typical family vacation," said Robert Oliver, who spent years coaching his daughter on travel softball teams. "It's such a time crunch, so we would take a few extra days here and there whenever we could." The cost of youth sports continues to 4 lighted baseball/softball fields that 3 basketball courts (21,000 sq. ft. of Tables, chairs and bleachers 2 multi-use fields available for can be transformed into soccer fields exhibit space for events) available for events and tournaments Wi-Fi throughout the building soccer, lacrosse and football 100 year old Charles Carmel carousel 509.585.4293 www.playsouthridge.com Experience The Beauty Of The Gulf Coast Gulf Shores and Orange Beach present a plethora of opportunities for visitors to experience the Alabama Gulf Coast and its stunning sugary-white sandy beaches. The beach can be a launching point for countless adventures from soaring over the shimmering deep blue Gulf of Mexico while parasailing or flyboarding, to skimming its surface on kayak, canoe or paddle board, to splashing into its warm waters to scuba dive, snorkel or just take a dip. You can also head out on a nature cruise to see dolphins or a deep sea fishing expedition to catch dinner. Speaking of food, the local cuisine offers seafood from the Gulf as well as local produce. "If a family comes for a three-day sporting event, they usually stay a week," said Beth Gendler, vice president of the Gulf Shores & Orange Beach CVB. "It's just a perfect area for everyone." There are plenty of opportunities to get out on the links, with golf courses designed by Arnold Palmer, Jerry Pate and Earl Stone. For more hearty outdoor adventurers, Gulf State Park combines two miles of beaches with miles of area to roam, and the 14-mile Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail System brings nature up close as it connects Orange Beach and Gulf Shores through the park. If your timing is right, you could join 250,000 at the National Shrimp Festival in October or the Orange Beach Seafood Festival and Car Show in February, not to mention many other festivals throughout the year. "The beach here — it's the big draw," Gendler said. "We see the sporting events that we host here grow because people want to use it as a vacation spot. It works out so great, then they can have just one trip to plan that includes their sports event as well as a vacation." n Waterville USA in Gulf Shores

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