You’ve come to the correct spot if you’re searching for the finest things to do on Dauphin Island! This place is an Alabama treasure. The island has 7 miles of public sugar-white white sandy beaches, pristine water, lovely weather, and fewer people. What else is there? Dogs are welcome on the beaches! Dauphin Island is the ideal Gulf Coast getaway for relaxation, rejuvenation, and exploration. We reveal all of the greatest things to do to ensure you have a fantastic vacation.
If you enjoy being outside, the island itself is plenty of opportunities. Those who want to walk or ride their bikes can find paths practically anywhere. It’s a great place to go birdwatching or maybe even see an alligator! Among the parks and wildlife preserves, there is also a public aquarium, a marine research facility, and an estuarium.
Dauphin Island location
Based in the Gulf of Mexico towards the south of Mobile and Mobile Bay in Alabama, the Island is a part of the Mississippi river barrier islands.
Dauphin Island bridge, also known as the Gordon People Bridge, connects the mainland to the island. The massive concrete Gordon Persons Bridge carries two lanes of traffic for three kilometers across Alabama State Road 193. Drivers can cross the Gulf Intercoastal Waterway, the one that joins the island to the mainland, using this bridge.
Where to stay on Dauphin Island?
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What to do on Dauphin Island?
Visit Dauphin Island beach
Dauphin Beach is, in my opinion, the best beach in the area. Tourists drive their own cars and fork over cash to park before strolling out on the pier toward the kilometers of pristine sugar sand beach. The beach has clean water and welcomes pets.
Spending the day there allows you plenty of room to spread around. You can’t visit Dauphin Island and not stop by this beautiful beach.
The beach is nestled in a cove and sheltered by a sand bar, so the water is rather quiet and safe for swimming and sunning.
Visit Dauphin Island East End beach
The East End beach is, as its title indicates, situated at the easternmost part of the peninsula.
Water clarity is worse and parking is more limited at this beach on the opposite side of the island. Sand dunes on the east side of the island are protected areas for turtles and shore and marine birds to breed. If you want to watch sea turtles breeding on Dauphin Island, the best seasons to go are May and November. Also, if you’re into bird viewing, spring is prime time.
Visit Dauphin Island West End beach
As its name implies, West End beach is situated on the western end of the island, close to a neighborhood where many permanent and seasonal residents live and stay.
The parking lot will be found if you continue driving westward. Travelers who park their cars here will be charged.
Extend for a considerable distance along the Gulf of Mexico’s white-sand shores and clear blue waters. There is no development beyond the parking space on this exceptionally lengthy stretch of unspoiled beach.
West End beach is a dog-free zone.
Have a look around old Fort Gains
For over 150 years, Fort Gains stood vigil over the gateway to Mobile Bay, making it a historical landmark thanks to its role in the American Civil War. Between the years 1819 and 1853, it was built to keep invaders off the island.
The fort’s exterior is open to the public for free exploration.
The cost to enter is $5 for children aged 5 to 12 and $9 for seniors.
Visit the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and the Estuarium
The estuarium and Dauphin Island Sea Lab are located on the opposite side of the island from Fort Gains, on the eastern coast.
Scientists and researchers from the marine field are now conducting experiments there. You could potentially witness one of their performances.
On the waterfront outside the building, visitors can stroll along boardwalks while learning about the research being done to keep an eye on the local ecosystem. To help visitors better understand the significance of the various coastal habitats, the estuarium features a boardwalk across a living marsh that is adorned with biological explanations.
Pay a visit to the Dauphin Island Sea Lab Aquarium
A public aquarium can be found within the Sea Lab. The aquarium features an exhibit hall, a sting ray touch pool, and 31 aquariums with more than 100 different kinds of fish and other aquatic life for guests to observe and learn about.
Children 5-18 pay $6, while adults pay $12 to visit the aquarium.
Stop by the Goat Tree Nature Reserve
You may observe magnificent old oak trees at the Goat Tree Reserve. Rumor has it that wild goats used to go to the trees in order to escape the jaws of hungry alligators.
Migratory birds also make their home in the reserve. You should also be on the lookout for little green lizards.
Visit Indian Shell Mound Park
National Park Service officials recognized the cultural significance of Indian Shell Mound Park and included it on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. layers of oyster shells, animal bones, charcoal, and potsherds dating back to the Mississippian period were discovered in the 1990s by archeologists excavating shell mounds (AD 1100 to 1550).
Further to its historical value, the park is also home to a wide variety of birds and other island species. The coastal forest is worth exploring, and there are routes that you may take to do just that.
See birds on Dauphin Island
The island is renowned as a Southeast center for birdwatching. On the island, over 350 kinds of residents and species of birds have been recognized.
At the eastern end of the island, lovely pathways and boardwalks allow tourists to observe birds while strolling through the forest area, marshland, and towards the beach. The Audubon Bird Sanctuary is approximately 164 acres in size.
Keep your eyes peeled for the possibility of spotting a crocodile.
Stroll to the Pelican Peninsula
There is a peninsula south of Dauphin beach that extends into Pelican pass. The sandy island is an excellent destination for bird viewing and breathtaking views of the Gulf of Mexico.
Explore the marina on Dauphin Island
Dauphin Island Marina is the area’s primary marina. On the island, there are various locations to launch watercraft.
If you are interested in a fishing charter, the marina is a site for fishing tours as well as a few eateries.
Try fishing on Dauphin Island
During your stay, fish with a local fishermen’s charter or pack your own equipment.
A large number of individuals were fishing directly off the east coast’s coast.
Take the Mobile Bay Ferry
Ride the ferry across Mobile Bay to Fort Morgan! The ferry can carry trucks and trailers of various sizes. Even passengers seeking a day vacation to visit Old Fort Morgan are accommodated.
The excursion is a fantastic way to observe sea life, including whales and birds, and lasts approximately forty minutes.
Visit the Sand Island Lighthouse
The Sand Island Lighthouse has existed for nearly 150 years and serves as the sole lighthouse in Alabama.
To see the lighthouse, a boat is necessary. Visiting the lighthouse is free; however, if you do not have your own boat, you must pay to rent a boat or attend a boat trip.
Take a swing at the Island Dauphine Golf Club
Island Dauphine Golf Club is a great place to play if you’re in the area.
Those who aren’t golfers can still enjoy the beach and other amenities, like the restaurant and pool, as well as the parking lot. If guests want to swim or spend time on the beach, they’ll need to shell out some cash for a wristband.
Enjoy your time at the Dauphin Island Campsite
With a recreational vehicle (RV) or a small camper, camping on an island can be a thrilling experience. If you want to camp on Dauphin Island, the best spot to do so is at the Dauphin Island Campground.
Campers who want to get out and explore the area don’t have far to go, since East End Beach, Fort Gains, the Estuarium at the Sea Lab, and the Audubon Bird Sanctuary are all within walking distance.
The campground is conveniently located near the beach and Gulf.
Enjoy the sunset and the sunrise
Did you know that Dauphin Island is often referred to as Alabama’s “sunset capital”? With unobstructed vistas toward the island’s westernmost point, it stands to reason.
Vacation homes on the island’s western end provide prime positions for witnessing breathtaking sunsets over the Gulf.
If you’re a morning person, you shouldn’t miss sunrise any more than you should miss an incredible sunset.
If you’re camping, it won’t take you more than a five-minute stroll to the east end and the gorgeous Gulf Coast sunrise.
Don’t sleep in; the early morning calm of the Gulf is breathtaking.
Eat at local restaurants
Several people we met during our travels recommended that we eat at Skinner’s Seafood and the Lighthouse Bakery. When in town, try some of the places that the locals recommend.
Have a picnic at Cadillac Square
Governor Cadillac’s mansion was initially placed on Cadillac Square in 1715. It was also the seat of government for the Louisiana Territory. Presently, guests can picnic within the woodland area. There are parking spaces and tables available.