15 Best Things To Do In Dauphin Island, Alabama

things to do in Dauphin Island
Leonora
Leonora
Updated

Are you traveling to Alabama soon? Make sure to visit Dauphin Island, a town that is famous for its white beaches, magnificent sunsets, and a bird sanctuary that is teeming with all kinds of birds, including migratory ones. One can see them in the forests, the dunes, the beaches, and the marshes in the town. This place offers a panoramic view and rich culture and history that has made it one of the more popular vacation destinations in Alabama. At Dauphin Island, you will discover numerous options to enjoy your vacation to the fullest. There are seafood restaurants, bars, coffee houses, shops, and outdoor activities both on land and in the water. Scroll down to see our list of the best things to do in Dauphin Island, Alabama for a memorable vacation.

1. Explore Fort Gaines

Fort Gaines 06May2010
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Altairisfar (Jeff... used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Fort Gaines is one of the landmarks of Dauphin Island, and it was constructed in 1821 to guard Mobile Bay against enemy attacks. The well-known Battle of Mobile Bay happened in these waters. Because of exposure to the wind and the sea and the fact that the fort is nearly 200 years old, the structure has started eroding. In fact, it has been listed as a historic site that is in great danger of falling into ruins. Today, it has attracted visitors from all over the world who want to see the cannons and tunnels that are part of the fortification. There is a kitchen, a gift shop, a blacksmith shop, and a museum. Real soldiers dressed during the period when the fort was still in full use add to the essence of history that emanates from the place.

Fort Gaines

Address: 51 Bienville Blvd, Dauphin Island, AL 36528, United States

Website: Fort Gaines

Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (daily)

2. Learn about aquatic life at Dauphin Island Sea Lab

DauphinIslandSeaLabcropped
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Abductive used under CC0

If you are interested in marine life or if you are conducting a research study on the subject, Dauphin Island Sea Lab is an excellent source of information. As a research and education center in Alabama, this facility welcomes students and teachers who are conducting their fieldwork to learn more about the plants and animals that thrive in the seas and oceans. Learning programs for high school, undergraduate, and graduate students are available at the lab. A public aquarium called the Estuarium allows visitors to observe and learn about sea life.

Dauphin Island Sea Lab

Address: 101 Bienville Blvd, Dauphin Island, AL 36528, United States

Website: Dauphin Island Sea Lab

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 9am - 6pm; Sun: 12 - 6pm

3. Go bird watching at Audubon Bird Sanctuary

green heron (13)
Source: Photo by Flickr user patricia pierce used under CC BY 2.0

Go bird watching at Audubon Bird Sanctuary and see birds of all types, sizes, and colors. This place is made up of marshes, lakes, swamps, dunes, and beaches, with a lush maritime forest. The sanctuary serves as a natural habitat for many kinds of birds, as well as a stopover for migratory birds in the middle of their long flight from north to south or vice versa as seasons change. Many of the birds are exhausted and hungry half-way through their journey, so they stop here to rest, recuperate, and find food before continuing on to their destination. You can follow the National Recreational Trail, a haven for bird watching enthusiasts.

Audubon Bird Sanctuary

Address:211 Bienville Blvd, Dauphin Island, AL 36528, United States

Website: Audubon Bird Sanctuary

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

4. Sail with Mobile Bay Ferry

Ferry
Source: Pxfuel

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

If you are planning a vacation to Dauphin Island, you can take the Mobile Bay Ferry and enjoy a panoramic view of the Gulf Coast. Along the way, you can see dolphins leaping out of the water and birds diving to catch some fish. The salty but clean and cool breeze is quite refreshing. The ferry ride will be exciting and fun for your kids, especially if it is their first time to take a ferry ride. You can mingle and meet people and perhaps make new friends. The Mobile Bay Ferry also loads bikes, cars, and other vehicles that passengers want to bring to the island.

Mobile Bay Ferry

Address: 1606 Bienville Blvd B, Dauphin Island, AL 36528, United States

Website: Mobile Bay Ferry

5. Relax at Dauphin Island East Public Beach

Dauphin Island 06May2010 01
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Altairisfar (Jeff... used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Relax at the lovely Dauphin Island East End Public Beach, one of the two beaches that visitors come to visit while on the island. Located on the eastern tip of the island, you can spend your time relaxing while enjoying the cool breeze. Watch out for dolphins, pelicans, and shells that abound in the area. Only a few people come to this beach because it lacks a few amenities. This means that you can have most of the beach for yourself. Stay until late in the afternoon to watch the amazing sunset for which the beach earned the name “Sunset Capital” of Dauphin Island.

Dauphin Island East Public Beach

Address: Fort Gaines, 51 Bienville Blvd, Dauphin Island, AL 36528, United States

Website: Dauphin Island East Public Beach

Opening hours: 6am - 8pm (daily)

6. Go back in time at Indian Shell Mound Park

Indian Mound Park 06May2010 04
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Altairisfar (Jeff... used under CC BY-SA 3.0

A visit to Indian Shell Mound Park will take you back several centuries to when Native Americans gathered here and feasted on oysters and fish. For many years, the shells and fishbones accumulated formed mounds in the area. Today, some of them are covered with moss and foliage and if you dig a little bit, you will find their remains. Aside from these wonderful archaeological findings, the park is also home to some rare plants that are believed to have originated from the Yucatan Peninsula and were planted by Native Americans for medicinal purposes. The Coastal Birding Trail is also located here. When you come to visit, bring your camera to snap photos of the different kinds of birds that you can see in the vicinity.

Indian Shell Mound Park

Address: 830 Desoto Dr, Dauphin Island, AL 36528, United States

Website: Indian Shell Mound Park

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

7. Have fun at West End Public Beach

Dauphin Island, AL
Source: Photo by Flickr user faungg's photos used under CC BY-ND 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

West End Public Beach is one of the two public beaches in Dauphin Island. Located on the western tip of the island, this one offers basic beach facilities such as shower rooms and comfort rooms. Have fun with your family and bond with a picnic at a stunningly beautiful setting. You can rent chairs, beach umbrellas, and other beach gear. You will also find plenty of shells on the beach, and the kids will surely love the waterslide here.

West End Public Beach

Address: Bienville Blvd, Dauphin Island, AL 36528, United States

Website: West End Public Beach

8. Have a drink at Pelican Pub

Cocktail
Source: Pexels

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Do you feel tired, hungry, and thirsty after exploring the historic and fascinating island of Dauphin? Reenergize at Pelican Pub, where you can find a cold beer to quench your thirst. Order your food downstairs and your drinks upstairs. Find a table and sip your beer as you wait for the food to be served to your table. With efficient and friendly staff, excellent service, cold drinks, and delicious food, Pelican Pub is a favorite stopover for people visiting Dauphin Island.

Pelican Pub

Address: 1102 De Soto Ave, Dauphin Island, AL 36528, United States

Opening hours: Sun - Wed: 9am - 5pm; Thu - Sat: 24 hours

9. Play golf at Gulfside Golf Course

Golf Course
Source: Pexels

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

For golf enthusiasts, Gulfside Golf Course is one of the best golf courses in Dauphin Island. The course meanders along the beach and is surrounded by scenic views. If you are visiting Fort Gaines, make a stop here and watch some professionals playing. If you are a golfer, you can play a game or two to unwind and relax.

Gulfside Golf Course

Address: 100 Orelans Dr, Dauphin Island, AL 36528, United States

10. Take a stroll at Cadillac Square

things to do in dauphin island | take a stroll at cadillac square
Source: Photo by Flickr user David Reber used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Take a stroll around Cadillac Square, where the house of Governor Cadillac used to stand. Governor Cadillac arrived in Dauphin Island in 1713 and built his house in the place where the square is now located. The oak trees here are said to be around 300 years old, and they make the square a shady and cool place. Today, the park is used as a venue for festivals and other local events. For bird watchers, this park is teeming with rare bird species of different colors and sizes. You must bring a camera with you as you will have many chances to snap photos of these birds.

Cadillac Square

Address: 661 Bienville Blvd, Dauphin Island, AL 36528, United States

Website: Cadillac Square

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

11. Take boat rides with Action Outdoors

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Take a boat ride or charter a boat with Action Outdoors, an organization that aims to provide safe and comfortable boat rides to both locals and visitors of Dauphin Island. On your trip, you can go sightseeing on the water. Watch dolphins leaping, birds diving for fish, and other seagoing vessels passing by. Rent a boat for a fishing expedition and be rewarded with a good catch. Action Outdoors also provides learning opportunities for teachers and students. Instructional materials about the living organisms on the bay and how they interact with each other and with their environment are available. Action Outdoors has been certified safe by US coastguards. Life jackets are always available for all passengers, including children.

Action Outdoors

Address: 650 Lemoyne Dr, Dauphin Island, AL 36528, United States

Website: Action Outdoors

12. View works of art at Dauphin Island Heritage and Arts Council gallery

Art gallery
Source: Needpix

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Visit Dauphin Island Heritage and Arts Council gallery and view some outstanding works by local artists and craftsmen from the island. The organization promotes the history and heritage of Dauphin and its people, which are showcased in the exhibits and performances that are shown in the gallery. The council also sponsors art classes and an art summer camp for young people as well as for adults. For a fun and exciting learning experience about local heritage and culture, families are invited to attend the Native American Festival, which is held every year in March.

Dauphin Island Heritage and Arts Council

Address:918 Bienville Blvd, Dauphin Island, AL 36528, United States

Website: Dauphin Island Heritage and Arts Council

Opening hours: Thu - Sat: 10am - 4pm; Sun: 12:30 - 4:30pm (closed from Mon - Wed)

13. Discover leisure and fun with Dauphin Island Marina Inc

Marina
Source: Piqsels

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Do you want to experience some leisure and fun at Dauphin Island? Rent a boat from Dauphin Island Marina Inc, a facility that offers everything you will need for an enjoyable boating trip or fishing expedition. You have several options when it comes to the kind of sea vessel that you need: 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, buy fishing equipment and bait, relish some native dishes from the restaurant, have a drink in the bar, and even take a shower on-site to freshen up. Sail into the sea and watch dolphins frolicking in the water, seabirds diving for food, and the amazing sunset for which Dauphin Island is famous.

Dauphin Island Marina Inc

Address: 650 Lemoyne Dr, Dauphin Island, AL 36528, United States

Website: Dauphin Island Marina Inc

Opening hours: 6am - 6pm (daily)

14. Catch some fish at Cedar Point Fishing Pier Inc

Dauphin Island Pier
Source: Photo by Flickr user Bjorn used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

For those whose idea of relaxation and fun is angling, Cedar Point Fishing Pier Inc is the best place to be. Known as the longest fishing pier in the area, there is always room for another angling enthusiast here. One can buy fishing equipment, including baits, cold drinks, and some snacks from the on-site store before finding a place on the long pier. There are chairs for rent but if you prefer to bring your own, you can. Breathe in the salty air and enjoy the view as you wait for a fish to bite. There is plenty of fish in the water and no one will end up empty-handed. In fact, grocery carts are found everywhere, waiting to be filled with the catch of the day.

Dedar Point Fishing Pier Inc

Address: 18250 Dauphin Island Pkwy, Coden, AL 36523, United States

Website: Cedar Point Fishing Pier Inc

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

15. Feast on Mexican food at Miguel's Beach'n Baja

Tacos
Source: Needpix

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

If you are craving for Mexican food while exploring Dauphin Island, check out Miguel’s Beach'n Baja. This restaurant specializes in traditional Mexican dishes. Feast on tasty burritos, spicy tacos, nachos, taquitos, and quesadilla served with delicious salsa made by the restaurant. All dishes are prepared on the same day to make sure that customers can always enjoy them fresh.

Miguel's Beach'n Baja

Address: 202 B Lemoyne Dr, Dauphin Island, AL 36528, United States

Website: Miguel’s Beach'n Baja

Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 11am - 6pm (closed on Sun & Mon)

Discover the history and natural beauty of Dauphin Island, Alabama

Dauphin Island - After End of AL193 (46878740082)
Source: Photo by user formulanone used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Dauphin Island has become one of the leading vacation destinations for people near and far. The role that it played in the political and cultural history of the state of Alabama and in the whole country has attracted many history buffs. Add this to its magnificent seascapes and its glorious sunsets, along with nature’s rich endowments and you have a place that’s perfect for a peaceful and active holiday. With lots of things to do in Dauphin Island, you won’t have any boring moments during your trip.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Leonora Puno loves to see places where nature abounds. She has traveled to several parts of the Philippines that glorify the beauty of nature. She loves reading about the beautiful places in other...Read more

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