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MAIN Recreation Beaches Alabama Beaches

Gulf Shores: Discover Dauphin Island, Alabama

Welcome to Dauphin Island Alabama
Dauphin Island - "Welcome to Paradise."

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."

You'll drive through casino land, then, turning south from Mobile, enter beautiful Baldwin County, AL.

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 very peaceful.

Dauphin 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 Sound.

First colonized 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 United States.

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 a beach.

Dauphin 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.

FISHING is a must, and so plentiful, the Island hosts 10 annual fishing rodeos. There are charter boats, and a 850 ft. fishing pier where you can rent fishing rods. 

Bellingrath 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.
·November - the Chrysanthemum Extravaganza
·November - December (closed Christmas Day) is Magic Christmas in Lights, with myriads of twinkling lights, music, food, poinsettia displays and more.

You can take a river sightseeing cruise or dinner cruise from the gardens on the Southern Belle.

Dauphin Island house
Typical elevated house along the
coast of Dauphin Island.

Hotels & 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.

And 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.

Also 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!

For 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."

About the Author...
©Susan Dunn, The EQ Coach

More about Dauphin Island around the Web:

Town of Dauphin Island

Dauphin Island History

 

also see -> Alabama Beaches | Alabama Campgrounds

 

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