Hi Jill, You would probably be looking at Gulf Shores or Orange Beach. While I consider Fairhope to be close to the gulf beaches, (thirty minute drive most days), I think you would be more interested in Gulf Shores or Orange Beach.
I have lived in Fairhope my whole life, and I love Point Clear and Fairhope. All the amenities you list are there, as well as down by the beach. I consider Fairhope and Point Clear, well heck the whole eastern shore, to fit your bill and be close. Depends on what you prefer. The Eastern Shore has tons of water activities, and if you have a boat, then all these communities are boater friendly, with public access, free launching and convenience.
If you want to chat, please feel free to call anytime.
Coldwell Banker United Realtors - Daphne
You need to use homes comparable to yours ("comps") located in the general area of your home to challenge your property taxes, not your entire zip code. If you have a Realtor you know, ask him or her to provide comps for your general neighborhood for you. If you don't want to ask your Realtor, you can do it yourself. Think of homes that sold in your neighborhood recently (the sales can be in 2009). With those addresses or the owners' names you can go on line to your local Assessor's/Auditor's Office website & obtain the info you want for each home.... more