Words cannot express how Dauphin Island is the ideal island getaway, with ivory white sand and azure Gulf Coast waters. You should go see it for yourself; there are many fun things to do on Delphin Island. Continue reading to find out.
Dauphin Island is one of the Mississippi-Alabama barrier islands in the Gulf of Mexico, located off the coast of Alabama, south of Mobile and Mobile Bay.
The Dauphin Island bridge, officially known as the Gordon Persons Bridge, connects the island to the mainland. Gordon Persons Bridge is a massive concrete bridge that spans three miles of two-lane traffic from Alabama State Route 193.
The bridge connects the island and the mainland by crossing the Gulf Intercoastal Waterway.
Visit Dauphin Island, a town known for its white beaches, magnificent sunsets, and a bird sanctuary teeming with all kinds of birds, including migratory ones.
You can see the town’s forests, dunes, beaches, and marshes. This location offers a panoramic view as well as a rich culture and history, making it one of Alabama’s most popular vacation destinations.
On Dauphin Island, you will find a plethora of options for making the most of your vacation. There are seafood restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shops, and outdoor activities both on land and in the water.
Best Time to Visit the Dauphin Island
When would you like to visit Dauphin Island? You can visit Dauphin Island all year, but the best months to visit are from March to the end of October.
Temperatures will be warm to very hot from spring to fall, allowing for great beach days and ocean swimming.
The summer months of mid-June to August will have the highest temperatures and the most humidity. But it’s not so bad if you’re near or in the water!
Be aware that tropical storms and hurricanes are possible during the summer months, but most of the time the weather will be perfect.
Because you never know when a storm will strike, check the weather forecast ahead of time and consider purchasing travel insurance.
The temperatures are much cooler but still pleasant to enjoy during the winter months, and there are fewer people on the island!
Winter temperatures will range from 48 F to 63 F (9 C to 17 C), while summer temperatures will range from 83 F to 90 F (28 C to 32 C), plus humidity.
Important Things for your Trip
Get a light travel towel that is ideal for the beach.
Have a cute pair of wet-weather sandals on hand!
Keep a packable hat, sunglasses, and reef-safe sunscreen on hand to avoid sunburn.
If you don’t want to get sunburned on your scalp, try this amazing sunscreen spray for hair and scalp!
Cool your drinks with a collapsible travel cooler or a reusable water bottle.
Do you want to keep your clothes and electronics dry? Then get this fantastic dry bag!
If you’re looking for a great beach bag, this bag comes in a variety of patterns.
Put some baby powder in your bag to rub on your feet to easily remove sand!
Carry some mosquito wipes or spray with you to keep those pesky mosquitos at bay.
A portable waterproof Bluetooth speaker is the ideal beach companion.
Always use a portable power bank to keep your phone charged.
Even if you’re traveling alone, a travel tripod can help you take great photos.
If you are staying in a beach rental, buy groceries before arriving on the island because there aren’t any on the island.
Things to do at Dauphin Island
There are a ton of things to do on Dauphin Island, and while you might not get a chance to do them all, you should still visit most of them because you will have a ton of fun doing so.
1. Dauphin Island Beaches
Visiting the Island Beaches is a lot of fun because you get to play with the water and sand, which brings back memories from your childhood…
When there were fewer or no worries, sure, you needed that; remove your painful memory and replace it with the fun you will have at Island Beach.
Dauphin Island, being an island, has no shortage of beaches! There are 17 miles of beaches to choose from, but only a few stand out and are worth visiting.
If you arrive by ferry, it is only a short drive or bike ride to Pelican Point Public Beach. Because it is the most eastern point of Dauphin Island.
The warm temperatures and crystal-clear water make swimming a necessity.
Dauphin Island Public Beach is the most popular and largest beach. It is situated with the Gulf of Mexico in view on the island’s southern side. Parking costs $5, but if you intend to spend the day at the beach, it’s not too bad.
There is a 5- to 10-minute walk from the parking lot to Dauphin Island Public Beach before you reach the shore.
However, it is a lovely stroll along the pier boardwalk before going down some stairs to get to the beach.
Other trails are available, but the majority leave from the Dauphin Island Pier’s elevated boardwalk.
The West End Beach, which is also a gorgeous beach, is at the western end of the island. There are picnic tables, beach chair rentals, and a stunning beach at this location.
Even though Dauphin Island’s beaches are generally not too crowded, West End Beach has fewer visitors.
Although the island has other beaches, these three stand out and are the easiest for visitors to get to.
2. Look Around Fort Gaines
For more than 150 years, Fort Gaines, which is located on the eastern tip of Dauphin Island, has guarded Mobile Bay’s entrance.
Fort Gaines has experienced years of erosion from water, winds, and bad weather because of its location close to the coast.
It is among the most vulnerable historical sites in the United States. The area includes a museum, a gift shop, a blacksmith shop, and the fort itself.
Visitors can explore the fort’s well-preserved tunnels that connect its various sections. All year long, with the exception of some holidays, Fort Gaines is open.
Up until 1946, Fort Gaines guarded Alabama and the entrance to Mobile Bay for more than 150 years.
Together with Fort Morgan across the street, the fort was crucial to the outcome of the Battle of Mobile Bay in 1864.
Fort Morgan protected the entrance to Mobile Bay and Fort Gaines from any potential assaults.
3. Estuarium At Dauphin Island Sea Lab
You can get confused about what to do on dauphin island because they are a lot, it’s actually fun! The Estuarium at Dauphin Island Sea Lab is located on Bienville Boulevard directly across from Fort Gaines.
The Sea Lab is an aquarium, research facility, and educational facility that emphasizes the four primary habitats found along Alabama’s coast.
The Barrier Islands, Mobile Bay, the Northern Gulf of Mexico, and the Mobile Tensaw River Delta are the four habitats. The fourth-largest estuary system in the country is made up of these four habitats.
Views of how local species live in their natural habitats are provided by the various aquarium exhibits.
In addition to the many ways to learn about the fascinating habitats surrounding Dauphin Island, there is a stingray touch pool and a boardwalk through a living marsh!
The Mobile Bay Estuary, which is regarded as the fourth-largest estuary system in the country, is the subject of one aquarium for a different aspect of the ecosystem.
For school groups, the Estuarium also provides scheduled tours and educational materials.
Twice a month, a series of lectures called Boardwalk Talks is held to educate attendees on the ecology of the Mobile Bay Estuary. The public can attend these educational seminars for free.
4. Shell Mound Park
Shell Mound Park is one of the best-preserved archaeological sites in the southern United States. The mounds in Shell Mound Park suggest that between AD 1100-AD 1550, Native Americans consumed seafood.
The mounds may have been created during the winter when Native Americans traveled to Dauphin Island from nearby Bottle Creek to cook oysters together, according to archeological evidence.
5. Take a Fishing Trip
Great fishing can be found all along the Gulf Coast, even off Dauphin Island! You can always catch enough to eat for the day or engage in catch and release.
On Dauphin Island, you can go surf fishing or fish directly from the beaches. You might catch Amberjack, Bluefish, Cobia, Snapper, Redfish, Tuna, and Seatrout from the surf, to name just a few.
Alternately, if you’d like a little more action and the chance to catch some larger fish, you could charter a deep-sea boat. Wahoo, Yellowfin Tuna, Snapper, Amberjack, Mahi Mahi, and much other fish are among the fish you could catch!
A fishing license is required, which can be obtained from the Alabama Department of Conservation & Natural Resources online or at any bait and tackle store.
6. A Sunset to Behold
Watching a sunset is the ideal way to cap off a long day of beach fun, fishing, or Fort Dauphin Island exploration. Sunsets have a way of making people smile.
Watching a sunset is the ideal way to cap off a long day of beach fun, fishing, or Fort Dauphin Island exploration.
As you watch the sunset, an array of colors emerge. Everything simply seems to slow down. There are vivid colors in various hues of orange, pink, purple, and blue, much like in a painting.
7. Go to Fort Morgan
Between Dauphin Island and Fort Morgan on the peninsula of mainland Alabama, ferries are available.
Fort Morgan isn’t technically on the island, but I like to list it as a must-see sight for travelers to Dauphin Island.
About 40 minutes are needed for the ferry ride from Dauphin Island to Fort Morgan, which is entertaining in and of itself.
During the War of 1812, it was a sizable fort called Fort Bowyer. Fort Morgan was given its current name in 1833 in honor of General Daniel Morgan, a hero of the American Revolution.
To defend Mobile Bay, the fort was strategically placed on Mobile Point.
8. Visit the Sand Island Lighthouse
The magnificent Sand Island Lighthouse, off the coast of Fort Morgan, has been standing for more than 150 years and is one of Alabama’s most historically significant lighthouses.
The renowned Winslow Lewis originally built the lighthouse in 1838, but it was destroyed during the Civil War and rebuilt nine years later. The area on which it now stands has also decreased over time, from 400 acres to less than one acre.
The people of Dauphin Island have made efforts to preserve the lighthouse, including moving tons of granite, rock, and sand to expand the area around the tower.
Although admission to the lighthouse is free, getting there requires a boat rental or tour.
9. Visit Audubon Bird Sanctuary
Visit the Audubon Bird Sanctuary to see a variety of birds in all shapes, sizes, and colors.
The island is well-known for being a Southeast hotspot for birding. The island is home to over 350 species of migratory and resident birds.
With a lush maritime forest, this Dauphin Island attraction is made up of marshes, lakes, swamps, dunes, and beaches.
In addition to acting as a stopover for migratory birds in the middle of their long flight from north to south or vice versa as the seasons change, the sanctuary provides a natural habitat for many species of birds.
Halfway through their journey, a lot of the birds become hungry and worn out, so they stop here to rest, recover, and find food before continuing on to their destination.
Follow the National Recreational Trail, a haven for people who love bird watching.
Visitors can take the lovely boardwalks and trails on the eastern end of the island through the marshland, coastal forest, and along the beach to observe birds.
There are roughly 164 acres in the Audubon Bird Sanctuary. Likewise, keep an eye out for any potential alligator sightings!
10. Go to the Indian Shell Mound Park
Indian Shell Mound Park is on the list of the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.
Archeologists discovered shell mounds in the 1990s that contained layers of oyster shells, fish bones, charcoal, and potsherds dating back to the Mississippian Period (AD 1100 to 1550).
The Park is not only historically significant, but it also serves as a haven for many birds and island wildlife. Don’t miss out on the beautiful coastal forest trails.
For many years, shells and fishbones accumulated in the area, forming mounds. Some of them are now covered in moss and foliage, and their remains can be found if you dig a little bit.
Aside from these amazing archaeological discoveries, the park also has some rare plants that are thought to have originated in the Yucatan Peninsula and were planted by Native Americans for medicinal purposes.
The Coastal Birding Trail is also nearby.
Bring your camera when you come to visit to photograph the various types of birds that can be found in the area.
11. Go to the Goat Tree Reserve
Beautiful giant oak trees are at the Goat Tree Reserve. Back in the day, wild goats to climbs the trees to avoid being eaten by alligators!
Migratory birds can also be found in the reserve. Keep an eye out for small green lizards as well!
12. Chill at Pelican Pub
After exploring the historic and fascinating island of Dauphin, you might feel tired, hungry, and thirsty. The Pelican Pub is a great place to unwind and refresh.
Recharge your batteries at Pelican Pub, where you can quench your thirst with a cold beer.
Order your food and beverages downstairs and your drinks upstairs. Find a seat and sip your beer while you wait for your food to arrive.
Pelican Pub is a popular stopover for visitors to Dauphin Island because of its efficient and friendly staff, excellent service, cold drinks, and delicious food.
13. Play Golf at Gulf Side Golf Course
Are you the type who enjoys interacting with others? You’ll enjoy it because you’ll get to see how good you are at golf with others.
You may consider yourself a genius, and you may be, but there may be a greater genius out there, so go try out and see who is the greatest genius!
Gulfside Golf Course is one of the best golf courses on Dauphin Island for golf enthusiasts.
The course follows the beach and is surrounded by beautiful scenery. If you’re in Fort Gaines, come here and watch some professionals play.
If you enjoy golf, you can unwind and relax by playing a round or two.
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14. Dauphin Island Heritage and Arts Council Gallery
View some outstanding works by Dauphin Island artists and craftsmen at the Dauphin Island Heritage and Arts Council gallery.
The organization promotes the history and heritage of Dauphin and its people, which are highlighted in the gallery’s exhibits and performances. The council also sponsors art classes and a summer art camp for both children and adults.
15. Have a Good Time with Dauphin Island Marina Inc.
Do you want to have some fun and relax on Dauphin Island? Rent a boat from Dauphin Island Marina Inc, a facility that has everything you need for a fun boating or fishing trip.
When it comes to the type of sea vessel you require, you have several options: a pontoon, a fishing boat, something that will allow you to fish in deep waters, or simply cruise along the shoreline.
You can refuel at the marina, purchase fishing equipment and bait, dine at the restaurant, drink in the bar, and even take a shower on-site to freshen up.
Sail into the sea and watch dolphins play in the water, seabirds dive for food and the spectacular sunset.
16. Try out Mexican Food at Miguel’s Beach’n Baja
If you have a craving for Mexican food, don’t wait to try it; if you haven’t had it before, it might end up being the best meal you’ve had in a long time. This restaurant specializes in authentic Mexican cuisine.
Delicious burritos, spicy tacos, nachos, taquitos, and quesadillas are served with the restaurant’s homemade salsa.
To ensure that customers can always enjoy fresh food, all dishes are made fresh
17. Pay a visit to the West End Public Beach
West End Public Beach is one of Dauphin Island’s two public beaches. This one, located on the island’s western tip, provides basic beach amenities such as shower rooms and comfort rooms.
Enjoy a picnic with your family in a breathtakingly beautiful setting. Chairs, beach umbrellas, and other beach equipment can be rented.
There are also plenty of shells on the beach, and the kids will enjoy the water slide.
18. Open Beach
This lovely beach is located on a peaceful stretch with stunning scenery. This location is ideal for travelers and tourists looking forward to shelling and outdoor recreational enjoyment.
There are many activities available to tourists in this location, and trail exploring is one of them. The trails in this picturesque area are in great shape and ideal for exploration.
This is a good option if you want to go for a quiet stroll, jog, or even work out. Furthermore, it welcomes pets, so you can walk or exercise with your dogs there.
History of Dauphin Island
Dauphin Island is an island town in Mobile County, Alabama, United States, located on the same-named barrier island (split by the Katrina Cut) in the Gulf of Mexico.
It was founded in 1988. The population was 1,778 at the time of the 2020 census, up from 1,238 at the time of the 2010 census. The town is located within the Mobile metropolitan area.
The island was renamed in honor of Louis XIV of France’s great-grandson and heir, the dauphin, the future Louis XV of France.
The island’s name is frequently mistranslated as Dolphin Island; the word dauphin is French for dolphin, but historically, the term was accepted as the title of the French monarch’s heir apparent.
The island is a barrier island between Mississippi and Alabama, with the Gulf of Mexico to the south and Mississippi Sound and Mobile Bay to the north.
The eastern end of the island helps define the mouth of Mobile Bay. Dense stands of pine trees shade the eastern, wider part of the island and saw palmettos, whereas the western, narrower part of the island has scrub growth and few trees.
How Big is the Dauphin Island?
From east to west, Dauphin Island is 15 miles (24 kilometers) long, separating the Gulf of Mexico to the south and the Mississippi Sound and Mobile Bay to the north.
Except for the eastern quarter of the island, which is over 1 mile (1.6 km) wide, the island is less than 0.25 miles (0.40 km) wide for the majority of its length.
The island has a land area of 6.3 square miles (16 km2), while the town has a total area of 166.0 square miles (430 km2), with 159.9 square miles (414 km2) of it, or 96.2 percent of the town, in the water of the surrounding Gulf and bays.
The Dauphin Island Bridge, officially known as the Gordon Persons Bridge, is the island’s only road connection to the Alabama mainland, carrying State Route 193, which leads north 27 miles (43 kilometers) to Tillmans Corner on the outskirts of Mobile.
Downtown Mobile is located 37 miles (60 kilometers) north of the island.
Natural Disaster on Dauphin Island
In recent decades, more than a dozen hurricanes and tropical storms have hit Dauphin Island.
But that hasn’t stopped homeowners on the beach resort from receiving federal aid and insurance payouts in order to continue rebuilding in the same vulnerable areas.
On the night of September 12, 1979, Frederic, a Category 3 hurricane, roared up the Gulf of Mexico, across Alabama’s Dauphin Island, and into Mobile Bay.
The 120-mile-per-hour winds and 12-foot storm surge destroyed the island’s only bridge and destroyed 140 houses.
For many years, the only way for employees to get to nearby Mobile was by ferry.
Dauphin Island was described as one of the Gulf’s hidden gems at the time, a quaint, unpretentious oasis of pastel bungalows, white sugar-sand beaches, and spectacular sunsets.
They made no mention of hurricanes or the 14-mile island’s gradual sinking into the Gulf of Mexico. They shape Dauphin like a drumstick; it is widest on the east, where a lush maritime forest.
A historic fort from the Civil War and a well-known bird sanctuary are located; and it is pinched on the west, where it has lost over 100 feet of shoreline due to erosion and storms over the past few decades, and vacation homes now dangle above the water like birdhouses.
It is one of the dozens of low-lying islands that dangle like a necklace along the Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Alabama, some of which are no bigger than sand spits.
There are a lot of interesting things to do and beautiful places to visit in Dauphin, so you won’t get bored there! get to travel to the majority of the locations I’ve listed above and enjoy the fun.
Make enjoyable and lovely memories while you are still alive. Replace the unpleasant memories from the past with the enjoyable ones you will have on Dauphin Island!