Part of the fun of vacationing on Dauphin Island, for me, is driving there. Coming east on IH-10 from Houston, the landscape changes dramatically as you experience the states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and finally Alabama.
And you can easily include Florida while you're there, too. As you near your destination, you'll see men wearing big white boots for clamming, known locally as "Baldwin County Nikes."
drive through casino
land, then, turning south from Mobile, enter beautiful Baldwin
To me, the roads are exceptional and the scenery peaceful and
pastoral. I love that there are both trees and water, and the farm country is
Island, AL is a barrier island located about 30 miles from Mobile, AL. It's 17
miles of white sand beaches with some of the most beautiful sunsets I've ever
seen, and is surrounded by Mobile Bay, the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi
in the 1600s, it was named "Dauphin Island" in 1707, after the heir
to the French throne (dauphin = prince). At this time it was the capital of the
Louisiana territory, which you'll recall at the time was about two-thirds of the
In 1954, a bridge was built connecting Dauphin Island to the mainland and the Dauphin
Island Park & Beach Board was created. The sand dunes which had covered the
walls of Fort
Gaines were excavated, piers built and recreational amenities begun. Fort
Gaines is now an historical site you'll want to visit when you're there.
What else to see & do on Dauphin Island
Audubon Bird Sanctuary Dauphin Island was recently named one of the top four locations
for viewing spring migrations by Wild Bird Magazine, and one of the ten most important
sites for migrations globally. Located at the Eastern end of the Island, it includes
64 acres of maritime forest, marshes, and dunes, including a lake, a swamp and
Island Sea Lab
The Sea Lab is also located on the eastern end of the
island, spanning it north-south, and is a five-minute walk from the Mobile Bay
Ferry and Fort Gaines. An educational facility, it includes the Estuarium
/ Public Aquarium, with touch tanks ("Get hands-on experience with aquatic
animals"), a living marsh walk, and a weather station. The driving directions
are easy to follow.
is a must, and so plentiful, the Island hosts 10 annual fishing rodeos. There
boats, and a 850 ft. fishing pier where you can rent fishing rods.
Gardens On your way down from Mobile, you'll want to stop by Bellingrath
Gardens, a 65-acre floral paradise. Keeping a full calendar, here are some of
the things you can expect: ·February: 50,000 bulbs are planted and
you'll see tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, pansies and more. ·March:
The azaleas are in bloom. Here are photos of the Spring Garden: ·May: Over 130 varieties of roses to delight the eye, plus marigolds,
tropical flowers and foliage, hydrangeas, Allamandas, and more.
- the Chrysanthemum Extravaganza
·November - December (closed Christmas Day) is Magic Christmas
in Lights, with myriads of twinkling lights, music, food, poinsettia displays
can take a river sightseeing cruise or dinner cruise from the gardens on the Southern
Typical elevated house along the coast of Dauphin Island.
& Accommodations You can rent a private beach house and this
site will show you many options, services and links. There is also a campground
with 150 camp sites, pavilion with grills, free boat launches, walking trails
into the Bird Sanctuary, bicycle rental, playground, and boardwalk to a beach
on the Gulf.
don't miss some of the great food in the area. I especially enjoyed Catalina Restaurant,
on your way back up to IH-10, it's on Highway 188 up toward Bayou La Batre (pronounced
Bat-Tree). Call 334.824.2104.
recommended, if you want to swing east and enjoy a drive in the beautiful countryside
over toward Pensacola, try the Catfish barn on Highway 98. You won't believe the
food and you won't believe the prices. Take
a look. Best catfish I ever had and I'm from Texas for heaven's sake!
a peaceful, idyllic beach vacation, try Dauphin Island. As one person said who
goes there often, the welcome sign ought to say "Welcome to Paradise."