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Gulf Shores Memorial DaySummer fun unofficially kicks off with Memorial Day weekend, and for many that means sun, sand and surf in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama. While the calendar gives us three days to soak up the sun, build sandcastles and enjoy the company of friends and family, it’s really only the beginning to a summer season filled with long weekends at the beach or even week-long adventures on Alabama’s white-sand beaches. But, for this one weekend each year, a whole different level of excitement is in the air as families leave the school books behind and embark on their annual trip to Alabama beaches.

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Memorial Day Entertainment

You can feel the energy and promise of a memorable summer the moment you drive over the bridge into Gulf Shores. From toe-tappin’ tunes to cannons firing to celebrate our military history, there’s something for every member of the family.

The Wharf Concerts and Dining

Plan ahead and get your tickets now for the Dave Matthews Band concert at the Amphitheater at The Wharf in Orange Beach on Sunday, May 27. Arrive early and have pre-concert cocktails and appetizers at Ginny Lane Bar & Grill. You can’t go wrong with the Fried Green Tomatoes and Blackened Shrimp or the Loaded Nachos! If you decide to start your Memorial Day vacation early, arrive early on May 24 to see Dwight Yoakam in concert at The Wharf.

While you’re still at The Wharf, stay for the SPECTRA Sound and Light Show. It’s like no other on Alabama beaches and incorporates choreographed lighting effects with music. The Wharf closes down Main Street so the kids (and adults) of all ages can dance to music from their favorite movies and bands. Shows are held nightly at 7:30 and 8 p.m. and are the cherry on top of a family-friendly Memorial Day weekend. There’s plenty more to do at The Wharf, too! Play a round of miniature golf, laser tag, shop or just watch the boats come and go at the marina.

Orange Beach Vacation Rentals near The Wharf

Just a short drive from The Wharf is Coastal View in the Tradewinds complex in Orange Beach. You and your crew can enjoy incredible Gulf-front views from the 10th floor in this one-bedroom condo. Despite being a one-bedroom condo, you can still sleep six comfortably with the hallway bunk beds and a sleeper sofa in the living room. You may never want to leave, but with the beach just steps from your door, we do encourage venturing out!

Historic Fort Morgan

Fort MorganHistory will come alive at historic Fort Morgan during its annual Memorial Day Tribute on May 26 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Interpreters in full military uniform will perform demonstrations of period drills, including artillery demonstrations at the water battery. It’ll be an exciting day to relive history and celebrate the memory of those who gave their lives during battles at the historic fort.

Fort Morgan Vacation Rentals

Stay close to the action, but enjoy the quiet seclusion the Fort Morgan area offers at Brainstopper, a luxurious eight-bedroom Fort Morgan beach house. Your stress will melt away as you kick off summer with up to 26 of your closest friends! Brainstopper is ideal for multi-generational family vacations with grandparents, aunts and uncles.

Memorial Day Beach Eats

If there were ever two things that went together perfectly, it would be holidays and food. Add the beach into the mix and you’ve got a trifecta of goodness! What could be more perfect than a hearty helping of barbecue on Memorial Day weekend? Stop by Hog Wild BBQ in Gulf Shores for eats you’ll want to write home about. Our must-try dish is the Tantrum sandwich. This delish dish is piled high with signature pulled pork under French fries and topped with white barbecue sauce.

If you’d rather relax on your balcony than wait in a restaurant, you’re in luck! You can order your barbecue to go through Gulf to Go, a restaurant delivery service that makes house calls in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan.  Gulf to Go offers delivery from more than 20 Gulf Shores and Orange Beach restaurants. It’s perfect for those days when you’ve had a little too much fun and sun and a Gulf breeze in a comfy patio chair is calling your name.

Orange Beach seafood marketNo Memorial Day beach vacation would be complete without a heaping helping of seafood. Prior to your arrival at your Gulf Shores vacation rental, ask if your rental’s kitchen comes equipped with a stock pot or other large pot. Plan a low country shrimp boil with all the fixings – Gulf shrimp, sausage, corn and potatoes. Stop by a Gulf Shores seafood market like Blalock Seafood & Specialty Market to purchase shrimp directly off the boat. Insider tip! Pick up a container of smoked tuna dip, and prepare to share it! You’ll want to pick up a pint to take back home with you, too! Consider it an edible souvenir from your Memorial Day beach vacation!

Orange Beach and Gulf Shores Beaches

We’ve talked about Memorial Day events and eats, but what you’re really coming for are the beaches! Park your flip flops in the sand and enjoy the sun and surf of a Gulf Shores and Orange Beach vacation. Pack your star-spangled swim trunks, and spend the day playing beach volleyball, building sandcastles and relaxing with an ice-cold drink.

Alabama beachesThe Gulf State Park pavilion and pier are both popular spots to set up camp for the day. However, you can also have your own slice of paradise when you book a Gulf Shores rental. Gulf-front beach houses are great options for those who want to spread out and take in the view. Somewhere in Time 1 and Somewhere in Time 2 are quaint beach houses just steps from the Gulf of Mexico. Both comfortably accommodate up to 12 guests and are pet-friendly rentals, as well. You’ll have no trouble celebrating the summer from the deck of a beachfront, Gulf Shores vacation rental.

What else should you check out while you’re toasting the summer on Alabama beaches? Be sure to read our blog and explore these 4 Hot New Beach Attractions in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.

Rental Tip!

Don’t miss this top tip for saving money on your next vacation rental, too.