April 13, 2024
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Looking for things to do on Dauphin Island? This list has everything you need to try in one place! #dauphinisland #watersports #gulfshores #sunsets #fortgaines #travel #vacation

14 Unmissable Things To Do on Dauphin Island

Most know this fun, little island for its beautiful sunset views. But what if I told you it has a load of other hidden gems for you to uncover? Well, it does! Between visiting the famous Estuarium, seeing the historical Fort Gaines, trying leisurely activities like fishing, pursuing thrills like kayaking, and taking in the art scene at the island’s Heritage & Arts Council, you will see that there really is no shortage of things to do on Dauphin Island!

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Things to do in Dauphin Island

Looking for things to do on Dauphin Island? This list has everything you need to try in one place! #dauphinisland #watersports #gulfshores #sunsets #fortgaines #travel #vacation

Whether you’re a family, a couple, or a girl gang looking to make a weekend getaway, I can assure you Dauphin Island will have things to interest you. You don’t even have to worry about the location of your accommodations because there is so much to do spread over the entire island!

West End Public Beach

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Relaxing at the beach is one of the most obvious things to do on Dauphin Island. The best place to do it? West End Beach! 

Head there for a calm, quiet day under the sun. It has clean facilities including bathrooms, shower areas, picnic area, and even beach gear rentals like chairs and umbrellas.

With its shallow waters, glorious sunsets, parking and a food vendor nearby offering hotdogs and cotton candy, visiting this beach is a family affair. The little ones will especially appreciate the calm waves and all the seashells they’ll find!

Go Fishing

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Photo Credit: StephanieFarrell / Shutterstock.com

Fishing is one of the most common things to do on Dauphin Island. This is due to its access to some of the best spots along the Gulf of Mexico. 

All the inshore spots, beaches, piers, jetties and Dauphin Island charter fishing options will have you carrying your fishing equipment around with you at all times.

Visit The Shoals, Dog River, the channels flowing south of the interstate 10 bridge and Cedar Point fishing pier to see what you can catch. Redfish, Speckled Trout, Amberjack, Mahi-Mahi and Red Snapper are just a few! 

Be sure you get yourself a fishing license and visit one of the island’s many bait and tackle shops before embarking on your fishing adventures.

Alabama Aquarium at Dauphin Island Sea Lab

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Photo Credit: Malachi Jacobs / Shutterstock.com

Formerly The Estuarium, the recently renamed Alabama Aquarium highlights the habitats of coastal Alabama through its 10,000 square foot Exhibit Hall, stingray touch pool, and Living Marsh Boardwalk. 

With over 100 species on display in 31 aquariums, this public activity offers you a glimpse of what happens in Mobile Bay. It is, after all, the fourth largest estuary system in the United States!

Visit Dauphin Island Audubon Bird Sanctuary

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This place is considered one of the best places in the country to see neotropical migrants. These are birds that fly south during the fall and north during spring. Dauphin Island Audobon Bird Sanctuary has lots more to offer wildlife enthusiasts including 164 acres of woodlands with walking trails.

Take a stroll through the pines and see a freshwater lake, dune systems, Gulf beach and swamp. The sanctuary features educational signs explaining things about the animals, birds and vegetation. 

Keep an eye out for egrets and herons, among the other 420 species of birds spotted here!

Fort Gaines

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Instrumental in the Battle of Mobile Bay, the historic Fort Gaines today houses original cannons, blacksmith shops, kitchens, and a gift shop. 

Explore the tunnels and take in the panoramic views of the Bay. For groups of 15+, book at least two weeks in advance and you will be provided with a guided tour conducted by a soldier in period uniform!

Water Sports

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Dauphin Island is a great place to get out on the water and active with water sports like paddle boarding, boating, jet skiing and surfing. Pure Aloha Adventures is a merchant that offers lessons and the equipment for a really fun, adventurous time!

Eat Seafood

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Trust me when I say, you cannot go to the Gulf Coast and not try the seafood, especially Dauphin Island! Despite there not being a load of restaurants to choose from, they’re simply unparalleled when it comes to quality.

Skinner’s Seafood is one local favorite that’s a must-try. Famous for the freshness of their seafood, Skinner’s is a carry out style restaurant that steams the food you pick out right in front of you. 

Try their steamed peel-and-eat shrimp with corn on the cob and red potatoes on the side! So southern, and just so good. 

Pirate’s Bar and Grill is another great place to check out for seafood on the island.

Go Bicycling

One of the most fun things to do on a small island like Dauphin island is to make your way through it on bicycle. Rental shops like Dauphin Island Kayak & Bicycle Rentals will deliver to you anywhere on the island and even provide bicycle tours.

If you’re looking for a route to start with, try the Dauphin Island Bicycle trail. Spanning 3.5 miles across the length of the island between the two trail endpoints, Fort Gaines and the Public Beach, this is the path for a leisurely ride through the whole island. 

This easy trail is great for beginners and experienced bikers alike, so getting the whole family in on the fun will be a cinch!

Kayaking at Blue Heron Park

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Visit Blue Heron Park for a relaxed evening on the waterfront. Equipped with grills, picnic tables, public restrooms and a playground, it’s the perfect spot for some family fun! If you’re looking for an activity to do, rent a kayak or bring your own to launch it from the dock.

The gentle waters make it an easy place to float about and park your boat for a bit. Blue Heron Park overlooks Bayou Heron and is the kind of place you tie up a hammock, kick back, and relax for a while.

Camp at Dauphin Island Campground

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Those looking for affordable accommodation options will be pleased to know that Dauphin Island has its very own campgrounds. 

With over 151 sites including tent camping areas and designated RV and trailer spots, Dauphin Island Campground is the place to be. 

WiFi, a bath house, laundry facilities, and a boardwalk are some of the amenities and facilities you can expect here.

Dauphin Island Heritage & Arts Council

Dauphin Island Heritage & Arts Council is a non-profit organization that works hard to promote various types of art forms in the Dauphin Island community. 

They do this by maintaining an art gallery as well as by conducting workshops, painting classes, and art fundraisers.

Check their website to see what’s happening at DIHAC during your visit to Dauphin Island. You might get to witness a musical production, local art contest or art festival. If you’re lucky, maybe even all of them!

Take a Dolphin Cruise

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Sighting dolphins is one of the most popular things to do on Dauphin Island – and for good reason! You get to spend the day with family and friends out on the open ocean and catch a glimpse of these majestic creatures!

Plus, most of these trips are conducted by private charters that allow you to bring your own food and beverages – yep, even the adult kind. It’s a fun time for everyone!

Visit Sand Island Lighthouse

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Sand Island Lighthouse on its little pile of rocks in the ocean is more than 150 years old and a historically rich site to explore. Boat tours (only way to get to the lightouse) offered by Action Outdoors is a popular choice to see it up close.

History buffs will find it interesting to learn all about its pivotal role in Dauphin Island’s history. For the rest, the stunning views and scenery will be more than enough a reason to make the trip out!

Explore Indian Shell Mound Park

You will find the scenic 11-acre Indian Shell Mound Park on the northern shore of the island just waiting to be explored by visitors. Apart from its numerous birding trails and gorgeous moss-covered oaks, the park is also famous for its historic significance.

The site features mounds of oyster shells and fish remains discarded by early Native Americans, all covered now with grass. These mounds are actually what the park is named after. They are thought to date back to 1500 B.C and can still be seen today!

Where is Dauphin Island?

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Dauphin Island, Alabama is located in the Gulf of Mexico, due west of Gulf Shores and directly south of Mobile. Depending on from where you’re beginning your journey, you will have two options to enter the island.

The quickest and most common way is to enter from Mobile by taking exit 17 off I-10 west. This merges onto SR-193 south or Rangeline Road towards Dauphin Island. Then, follow the road until you reach Alabama Port, eventually crossing the (3 mile) bridge to Dauphin Island. This route takes approximately 40 minutes.

Looking for things to do on Dauphin Island? This list has everything you need to try in one place! #dauphinisland #watersports #gulfshores #sunsets #fortgaines #travel #vacation

Photo Credit: romarti / Shutterstock.com

The other way to get to the island is by hopping on the ferry from Gulf Shores. Follow Fort Morgan Road west through Gulf Shores until you reach Mobile Bay Ferry – Fort Morgan Landing. 

It’s a thrilling 40-minute ferry ride with beautiful views. If your preferred mode of transport on the island is car, you can bring that aboard the ferry as well.

Approximate Driving Times From:

Where To Stay on Dauphin Island

Dauphin Island has a variety of accommodations to offer for all budgets. Here are some of the best ones:

Luxury: 711 Holiday Isle

Mid-range: Coastal Haven

For families: 024 Casita Rosa

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All the things to do on Dauphin Island make it a coastal destination you don’t want to skip. I hope this list has given you some ideas for your own island adventures!

How many of these things have you done while visiting Dauphin Island? Do you have any favorites? I would love to hear about them! 

Heather

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