10 Things To Do (And Love) About Dauphin Island, Alabama

Plan a trip to the Sunset Capital of Alabama.

Set your watch to island time on a trip to Dauphin Island, Alabama. It's a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico with all the Southern style, coastal charm, and picturesque sunsets you dream of on vacation. With a population of under 2,000, it's a cozy spot with plenty to do and see.

Located three miles south of Mobile Bay, Dauphin Island has clear blue water and powdery white sand galore. It's connected to mainland Alabama by a bridge, and ferry rides take you to and from the island. Keep reading because when you visit Dauphin Island, Alabama, there are a few places you can't miss.

Dauphin Island, Alabama

Dauphin Island Public Beach

You're on an island, so scope out the beach. There's plenty of public beach on Dauphin Island, so you'll need to bring sunscreen and umbrellas. The island is 14 miles long and very narrow so take time to explore it all. Take in the seaside oasis, and expect plenty of sunshine on these stretches of serene sand.

Dauphin Island Marina

This marina is your go-to, one-stop shop for all ocean adventures. Contact Dauphin Island Marina to schedule a chartered fishing trip with your family and friends. They also offer kayaks, paddleboard rentals, and pontoon boat charters. Try booking a ship and tour guide to help spot some dolphins swimming deep in the ocean.

Audubon Bird Sanctuary

Birdwatchers should take advantage of Dauphin Island's Audubon Bird Sanctuary, an ideal place to watch migrating birds, especially in the spring. The 164-acre sanctuary is a bustling spot with a half-mile nature interpretive trail loop. This nature trail includes educational signs explaining the surrounding ecosystems, including the freshwater lake, dune systems, Gulf beach, and swamp.

Dauphin Island Sea Lab and Estuarium

The Dauphin Island Sea Lab and its public aquarium, the Estuarium, is a marine research and education destination. Plan your visit to the Estuarium to learn about coastal Alabama habitats, see the sting ray touch pool, and explore the Living Marsh Boardwalk. You'll see more than 100 species and leave with plenty of marine memories.

Shell Mound Park

Stop by the island's north shore to see Shell Mound Park, a beautifully preserved archaeological site with shell mounds dating to 1100-1500 AD. Archaeologists believe that the shell mounds are oyster shells. Other layers of plant species were transported by Native American tribes hundreds of years ago for medicinal and culinary purposes.

Isle Dauphine Complex

This family-friendly entertainment center, open to the public, houses a clubhouse designed in the mid-century architectural style. Enjoy a golf course overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, or stop by the Pirate's Bar & Grill for brunch, lunch, or dinner. The Isle Dauphine Beach and Pool feature live music on the poolside stage on certain days.

Historic Fort Gaines

Check out the island's campgrounds at Historic Fort Gaines, which has guarded Mobile Bay for over a century. The unique fort, located on the Gulf of Mexico, began construction in 1821, finishing in 1861, and stands as one of the best-preserved examples of 19th-century bread seacoast fortifications in the east. During your visit, see actual cannons used in battle, an original blacksmith shop, a bakery, and Officer's Quarters building.

Arts of Dauphin Island

Stop by the Arts of Dauphin Island gallery to discover artwork created by local and regional artists. This gallery features art classes and exhibits depending on the time of the year, so contact the center before your trip to see what is available. Artists feature a range of items, including paintings, photography, and items made from clay or wood.

Bayou Heron Lake

Stop by Bayou Heron Lake for a picnic at one of the waterfront tables. There is a small dock for fishing but check with Alabama's Fish and Wildlife department to ensure it is open to the public during your visit.

Island Golf

It's hard to resist a family-friendly game of mini-golf while on vacation. Island Golf is a course suitable for beginners and just as fun for adults. This activity is excellent for the entire family when you need a break from the beach (if you ever need one).

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