Memorial Day is one of the most important national holidays. It is the day on which those who died in active military service are to be officially remembered.

Memorial Day has been observed since 1868 with a long list of activities, such as barbecues, family gatherings, town parades, speeches of remembrance and the display of American flags on streetlights and front doors.

Memorial Day is a day to connect with the family and remember those who gave their lives in service of their country.

Because so many families choose to celebrate the day together in a patriotic spirit, the day—and the week, really—has grown into a popular family vacation time.

When Memorial Day rolls around on the last Monday in May, the children have completed their school year and parents are ready to break the grind in favor of a little family fun time.

This year, why not enjoy a family barbecue at your Gulf Shores vacation rental? Many beach houses and condos are equipped with grills. Many condos have them in the common areas on the grounds, while many beach houses offer grills just outside the door.

If you choose not to grill, why not treat the family to a traditional low country boil featuring fresh Gulf shrimp and corn, potatoes and other vegetables?

Don’t want to cook at all? There are many fresh seafood markets that will prepare a meal for you. Or, restaurants throughout the 38-mile stretch of beach delight taste buds with the freshest of seafood.

There’s even a local delivery service that will bring dinner from a variety of restaurants right to your front door.

When you're not hanging out at the beach or barbecuing with your family, visit one of the area's many amusements and attractions.

Because this is a busy family weekend at the beach, experts recommend booking early for the best possible selection.

There’s no better place to get the family together to observe the holiday than the beaches of Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan, Orange Beach and Perdido Key.