Things To Do in Dauphin Island
Things To Do in Dauphin Island

Dauphin Island is a wonderful destination in Alabama where you can experience nature and beauty. You can marvel at the white beaches, the magnificent sunsets, and the bird sanctuary. You can also explore the Audubon Bird Sanctuary.

In this blog, you will learn 25 amazing things to do on Dauphin Island. If you want to know, read on!

Key Takeaways

  • Dauphin Island offers a variety of activities for all types of travelers, from beachgoers to nature enthusiasts.
  • Both sides of the island have their own unique attractions and charm, so it’s worth exploring both.
  • The best time to visit Dauphin Island is during the spring or fall when the weather is mild and the crowds are smaller.

25 Amazing Things To Do in Dauphin Island

Dauphin Island is a beautiful barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Alabama. It is a popular destination for tourists and locals, who enjoy its natural beauty, rich history, and diverse activities. If you plan to visit Dauphin Island, here are 25 amazing things to do that will make your trip unforgettable.

1. Visit Audubon Bird Sanctuary

Dauphin Island is home to one of the country’s largest and most diverse bird sanctuaries, covering 164 acres of maritime forest, marshes, and dunes. The sanctuary attracts over 300 species of birds throughout the year, especially during the spring and fall migrations. 

You can explore the sanctuary by walking along the trails, boardwalks, and observation platforms and admire the birds and other wildlife.

2. Explore Fort Gaines

Fort Gaines is a historic fort that played a significant role in the Battle of Mobile Bay during the Civil War. You can tour the fort and see its original cannons, tunnels, blacksmith shops, museum, and gift shop. 

You can also witness reenactments of the battle and other historical events on certain occasions. Fort Gaines is also great to enjoy panoramic views of the bay and the island.

3. Go fishing

Dauphin Island is a fishing paradise, offering various options for anglers of all levels. You can fish from the shore, the pier, or a boat and catch fish such as redfish, speckled trout, flounder, pompano, king mackerel, and more. 

You can join a fishing charter or a fishing tournament and have a fun and exciting experience on the water.

4. Relax on the beach

Relaxing, swimming, sunbathing, and playing in the sand are some activities you can enjoy at the public beaches of Dauphin Island. The beaches are spacious, clean, and family-friendly, with amenities such as restrooms, showers, picnic tables, and grills.

Some of the best beaches on Dauphin Island are East End Beach, West End Beach, Public Beach, and Aloe Bay Beach.

5. Take a dolphin-watching tour

Dauphin Island is surrounded by waters home to many dolphins that love to swim and play near the shore. You can take a dolphin-watching tour with a local guide and see these amazing creatures up close in their natural habitat. 

You can also learn about their behavior, communication, and conservation from your guide. Dolphin-watching tours are available year-round and are suitable for all ages.

Tip: Book your dolphin-watching tour in advance to ensure availability and get the best price.

6. Visit the Estuarium at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab

The Estuarium is an aquarium and research centre showcasing Mobile Bay’s marine life and ecosystems and the Gulf of Mexico. 

You can see and touch various animals, such as fish, crabs, rays, sharks, turtles, and more and learn about their biology, ecology, and conservation. You can also watch feeding demonstrations, interactive exhibits, and educational videos.

7. Go kayaking

Kayaking is a fun and relaxing way to explore Dauphin Island’s waters and scenery. You can rent a kayak or join a guided tour and paddle along the bay, the gulf, or the salt marshes. 

You can see dolphins, birds, fish, and other wildlife along the way and enjoy the fresh air and the sunshine. Kayaking is suitable for all skill levels and ages, and you can choose from single or tandem kayaks.

8. Visit the Dauphin Island Art Trail

The Dauphin Island Art Trail is a collection of outdoor art installations scattered throughout the island. Local artists make art pieces that reflect the island’s culture, history, and nature. 

You can walk or bike along the trail and admire the creativity and diversity of the artwork. Some artworks include a giant pelican, a mosaic fish, a metal turtle, and more.

9. Visit the Indian Shell Mound Park

The Indian Shell Mound Park is a historical and archaeological site from over 1,000 years ago. The park contains several mounds of shells that were left by the Native Americans who lived on the island. 

The park also has a nature trail that leads to a boardwalk overlooking the bay. You can learn about the history and culture of the indigenous people and see some of their artifacts.

10. Go on a Mobile Bay Dinner Cruise

A Mobile Bay Dinner Cruise is a romantic and enjoyable way to experience the beauty of Dauphin Island and Mobile Bay at night. You can see the sunset, the stars, and the city lights from the boat’s deck.

Tip: Dress appropriately for the weather and bring a jacket or sweater for the evening breeze.

11. Visit the Isle Dauphine Golf Club

The Isle Dauphine Golf Club is a golf course that offers a challenging and scenic game for golfers of all levels. The system has 18 holes surrounded by the gulf, the bay, and the dunes. 

You can enjoy the water and wildlife views while playing golf. The club also has a restaurant, bar, and pool open to the public.

12. Visit the Dauphin Island Marina

The Dauphin Island Marina is a full-service marina that provides everything you need for a great day on the water. You can rent or charter a boat, buy fishing supplies, get fuel, or dock your boat. 

The marina also has a store, a deli, and a bait shop that sells snacks, drinks, and souvenirs. The marina is also a popular spot for watching sunsets and fireworks.

13. Visit the Dauphin Island Heritage and Arts Council Gallery

The Dauphin Island Heritage and Arts Council Gallery is where you can appreciate Dauphin Island’s local art and culture. The gallery features artworks by local artists, such as paintings, sculptures, pottery, jewelry, and more. 

You can also attend workshops, classes, and events the gallery hosts annually.

14. Take a sunset sail

A sunset sail is a relaxing and romantic way to end your day on Dauphin Island. You can board a sailboat and cruise along the gulf or the bay while enjoying the views of the sky, the water, and the island. 

You can also bring your drinks and snacks and picnic on the boat. A sunset sail is perfect for taking photos and making memories with your loved ones.

15. Visit the Dauphin Island Little Red School House Community Museum

The Dauphin Island Little Red School House Community Museum is a historical museum that showcases the history and heritage of Dauphin Island. The museum is housed in a former schoolhouse built in 1892 and served as the island’s first public school. 

You can see exhibits and artifacts that tell the stories of the island’s past, such as photos, maps, documents, and more.

Tip: Check the opening hours and admission fees of the attractions before you visit them.

16. Visit the Dauphin Island Sea Lab

The Dauphin Island Sea Lab is a marine research and education facility that conducts studies on the marine life and environment of the Gulf of Mexico. You can visit the Sea Lab and see its laboratories, classrooms, and vessels. 

You can also join a guided tour or a field trip and learn more about the Sea Lab’s projects and programs.

17. Go birdwatching

Dauphin Island is one of the best places in the country for birdwatching, especially during the spring and fall migrations. You can see hundreds of species of birds, such as pelicans, herons, egrets, warblers, hummingbirds, and more. 

You can also join a birding tour or a festival and meet other bird enthusiasts and experts. You can use binoculars, cameras, or guides to enhance your birdwatching experience.

18. Visit the Dauphin Island Veterans Memorial

The Dauphin Island Veterans Memorial is a tribute to the men and women who served in the United States armed forces. 

The memorial consists of a flagpole, a plaque, and a brick walkway with the veterans’ names engraved on it. You can visit the memorial and pay your respects to the heroes who sacrificed for their country.

19. Visit the Dauphin Island Baptist Church

The Dauphin Island Baptist Church is a historic church built in 1859, the oldest building on the island. The church has a simple but elegant architecture, with a white wooden exterior and a red metal roof. 

The church also has a cemetery with some of the island’s earliest settlers buried in it. You can visit the church and see its interior, stained glass windows, and organ.

20. Go paddle boarding

Paddleboarding is another fun and relaxing way to explore Dauphin Island’s waters and scenery. You can stand or sit on a board and use a paddle to move along the water. As you paddle, you can see dolphins, fish, birds, and other wildlife. 

You can also enjoy the views of the island, the gulf, and the bay. Paddle boarding is easy to learn and suitable for all ages.

Tip: Wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat to protect yourself from the sun while doing outdoor activities.

21. Visit the Dauphin Island Water Tower

The Dauphin Island Water Tower is a landmark that stands out on the island’s skyline. The tower is 150 feet tall and has a capacity of 500,000 gallons of water. 

It was built in 1957 and has been painted several times with different designs and colors. The current design features a blue background with white waves and dolphins. You can see the tower from various points on the island and take photos.

22. Visit the Dauphin Island Public Library

The Dauphin Island Public Library is a cozy and friendly place to find books, magazines, newspapers, DVDs, CDs, and more. You can also use the computers, the Wi-Fi, the printer, and the scanner. 

The library also hosts events and programs for children and adults, such as storytime, book club, movie night, and more. You can visit the library and enjoy its resources and services.

23. Take a Mobile Bay Ferry ride

A Mobile Bay Ferry ride is a convenient and scenic way to travel between Dauphin Island and Fort Morgan on the other side of the bay. 

You can board a ferry and enjoy a 40-minute ride across the water while seeing dolphins, birds, ships, and more. You can also bring your car, bike, or motorcycle on the ferry and explore both sides of the bay.

24. Visit the Dauphin Island Campground

The Dauphin Island Campground is a great place to stay if you want to experience the outdoors and nature of Dauphin Island. The campground has 150 sites accommodating tents, RVs, and trailers. 

The campground also has amenities such as restrooms, showers, laundry, picnic tables, fire pits, and playgrounds. You can camp near the beach or the bay and enjoy fishing, swimming, hiking, and more.

25. Visit the Dauphin Island Sea Lab Living Marsh Boardwalk

The Dauphin Island Sea Lab Living Marsh Boardwalk is a walkway that leads you through a salt marsh ecosystem home to many plants and animals. You can see crabs, snails, fish, birds, and more as you walk along the boardwalk. 

You can also learn about the importance of the marsh for the environment and the wildlife from the signs and displays along the way.

Tip: Have fun and make the most of your time on Dauphin Island!

Travel Tips

If you’re planning a trip to Dauphin Island, here are a few travel tips to keep in mind:

Pack for the weather: Dauphin Island has a subtropical climate, which can get hot and humid during summer. Be sure to pack lightweight, breathable clothing, sunscreen, and a hat to protect yourself from the sun. The weather can be mild but still chilly during the winter months, so bring a jacket or sweater.

Bring insect repellent: Mosquitoes and other biting insects can be a nuisance on the island, especially during summer. Be sure to bring insect repellent to protect yourself from bites.

Plan your activities ahead of time: Dauphin Island offers a variety of activities, from birdwatching to fishing to exploring historical sites. To make the most of your time on the island, plan your activities ahead of time and make any necessary reservations.

Respect the wildlife: Dauphin Island is home to various wildlife, including sea turtles, dolphins, and migratory birds. When visiting the island, respect nature and follow any posted rules or guidelines.

Be prepared for ferry travel: If you plan on taking the ferry to Dauphin Island, be prepared for potential wait times and limited space. It’s a good idea to arrive early and bring any necessary snacks or entertainment for the trip.

With these travel tips, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable trip to Dauphin Island.

Which side of Dauphin Island is better?

Dauphin Island is a small barrier island located off the coast of Alabama. It is a popular vacation destination for families, couples, and nature enthusiasts. When planning your trip to Dauphin Island, you may wonder which side of the island is better. The island is divided into two sides: the Gulf and Bayside.

The Gulf side of Dauphin Island is known for its beautiful beaches and calm waters. The beaches on this side of the island are perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and playing in the sand. The sunsets on this side of the island are also stunning, making it an ideal spot for a romantic evening stroll.

On the other hand, the Bay side of Dauphin Island is known for its fishing, kayaking, and birdwatching opportunities. The Bayside is home to the Audubon Bird Sanctuary, a popular spot for birdwatching. The Bayside also offers a variety of water sports, including kayaking, paddle boarding, and fishing.

Overall, both sides of Dauphin Island have their unique attractions and activities. It depends on what you are looking for in a vacation. If you want to spend your days lounging on the beach and watching beautiful sunsets, the Gulf side is the perfect choice. The Bayside is the way to go if you prefer outdoor activities like fishing, kayaking, and birdwatching.

What is the Best Month to Visit Dauphin Island?

Dauphin Island is a perfect destination for a beach vacation. The island has a moderate climate, which makes it a year-round destination. However, some months are better than others, depending on what you want to do.

If you’re looking for the best time to visit Dauphin Island, then May, September, and October are the best. During these months, the weather is mild, and the crowds are smaller, making it a perfect time to enjoy the island’s attractions.

May is a great time to visit Dauphin Island for a quieter, more peaceful vacation. The weather is warm and sunny, and the water is perfect for swimming. You can also enjoy bird watching, fishing, and hiking during this time.

September is another great month to visit Dauphin Island. The weather is still warm, and the crowds have thinned out. You can enjoy the beach, go fishing, or visit the Estuarium and Dauphin Island Sea Lab.

October is also a great time to visit Dauphin Island for a quieter vacation. The weather is mild, and the crowds have thinned out. You can enjoy bird watching, fishing, hiking, or visiting Fort Gaines.

The best time to visit Dauphin Island may differ depending on what you want to do. However, you want a quieter vacation with mild weather and fewer people. In that case, May, September, and October are the optimal months to visit.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any free things to do in Dauphin Island?

Yes, there are several free things to do in Dauphin Island. You can spend a day at the beach, bike ride, or take a nature walk at the Audubon Bird Sanctuary. 

You can also visit the Fort Gaines Historic Site, which played a significant role in the Civil War and is now a museum. Another option is to watch the sunset from the Dauphin Island Bridge or the West End Beach.

What are some famous restaurants in Dauphin Island?

Several popular restaurants in Dauphin Island serve fresh seafood and other delicious dishes. One of the top-rated restaurants is Lighthouse Bakery, which offers breakfast and lunch. Islanders Restaurant is another popular spot known for its seafood platters and burgers.

What are some things to do in Dauphin Island when it rains?

If it’s raining during your visit to Dauphin Island, don’t worry; there are still plenty of things to do. You can visit the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and Estuarium, which is indoors and offers a hands-on learning experience. 

Another option is to visit the Fort Gaines Historic Site, which has indoor exhibits and a museum. You can also check out the local shops and boutiques or relax with a good book at your rental property.

Is Dauphin Island worth visiting?

Yes, Dauphin Island is worth visiting, especially if you want a quiet and relaxing getaway. The island offers beautiful beaches, nature trails, and a rich history, making it a unique destination. 

Whether you’re interested in outdoor activities, learning about marine life, or simply relaxing with a good book, Dauphin Island has something for everyone.

Conclusion

Dauphin Island is a perfect destination for those who love nature, wildlife, and outdoor activities. Its beautiful beaches, diverse marine life, and serene ambience offer a wide range of things to do and see. From exploring the estuarine habitats to relaxing on the beach, there is something for everyone.

If you are an animal lover, you can visit the Audubon Bird Sanctuary and learn about the different bird species in the area. The Sea Lab is perfect for families with kids of all ages, where you can learn about the Gulf Coast’s unique ecosystem and even touch live marine animals.

For those who love water sports, Dauphin Island offers a range of activities, including fishing, kayaking, and paddleboarding. You can also take a boat tour and explore the nearby attractions.

If you want a more laid-back experience, you can visit Fins Bar and enjoy refreshing drinks, tasty seafood, and stunning Gulf sunsets while lounging on the sandy shore or playing beach games.

Dauphin Island is a must-visit destination for anyone looking for a relaxing and fun-filled vacation. Its natural beauty, diverse wildlife, and outdoor activities offer a unique experience you will never forget.