Dauphin Island: Things to Do
For such a tiny place, historic Dauphin Island has many different things to do.
Dauphin Island Sea Lab / Estaurium
The Dauphin Island Sea Lab, located on the eastern shore of the island, is an interesting place to visit. There is a museum and a living marsh boardwalk. The museum focuses on the four habitats found in and around Mobile Bay. With so many interactive exhibits, you will come away with a better sense of the aquatic and plant life in the area. Photos are allowed in all areas of the Estuarium except where the octopi are held.
Fort Gaines: Sentry to Mobile Bay
Conveniently located right across the street from the Sea Lab, Fort Gaines is worth a visit. Built in 1821 to defend Mobile Bay, the fort is best known for its role during the Civil War at the Battle of Mobile Bay. This is where Admiral David Farragut shouted his now-famous order, “Damn the torpedoes – Full Speed ahead!” If you decide to go inside the fort, you’ll see the original cannons, a blacksmith shop, kitchens, barracks, and ship relics in the courtyard. There is also a museum and gift shop. From the higher points in the fort, you can get a great view of Mobile Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. This site is one of the best preserved Civil War era masonry forts.
The entire island is designated as a bird sanctuary and since many species of birds migrate through Dauphin Island, it is a prime destination for bird-watchers. You can pick up a map at one of the local businesses or at the visitor’s center, which will direct you to the best birding areas on the island.
Indian Shell Mound Park
Indian Shell Mound Park is located on the northern part of the island. With Native American presence dating back to the 12th century, archeologists have found mounds of discarded oyster shells, called middens. The park is administered and maintained by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and is listed on the national register of Historic Places. Visiting is quick and worthwhile.
On the western edge of town is a nice park with a beach, picnic areas, a playground and other facilities.
Editor’s Note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about things to do on Dauphin Island.