Dauphin Island vacation rentals
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Your guide to Dauphin Island
All About Dauphin Island
The seafaring town of Dauphin Island — just across the bridge from Mobile, Alabama in the Gulf of Mexico — boasts white-sand beaches, fiery sunsets, and a reputation for tranquility. Amble down the beach past pastel-colored cottages, and watch for dolphins and herons hoping to steal the catch of the day from local fishermen. Venture out to see the historic Fort Gaines and marvel at the mystery of Shell Mound Park, where layers of seashells have created a beautifully preserved site. For a quiet town that’s only 14 miles long, there is no shortage of picturesque scenery, water activities, and local history to be soaked up here.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Dauphin Island
From April through until Labor Day weekend, Dauphin Island’s 1,300 residents are joined by visitors spending the summer season in town. The summer heat makes this an ideal time to enjoy the island’s pristine beaches, and the busier-than-normal buzz turns it into a lively coastal destination. Come in March or April for more tranquility, peak birdwatching, and beautiful tropical flower blooms – the weather is warm and sunny in spring too. It gets a bit chillier in Dauphin Island from October through February, though brisk seaside walks and the promise of warming up in cozy cafes make for a very welcome consolation prize. During winter months, it gets a little rainier on Dauphin Island, but temperatures never dip into freezing.
Top things to do in Dauphin Island
While the dolphins often steal the show at Dauphin Island, this is also a prime spot for birdwatching. Every spring, 420 species of birds fly into town for a pit stop along their migratory path north from Central and South America. You can best spot them at Audubon Bird Sanctuary, with its 137-acres of protected marshes, dunes, swamp, and beach.
The pentagonal outline of Fort Gaines stands at the eastern tip of the island, guarding Mobile Bay as it has done for over 150 years. Visitors head here to explore the tunnel system, visit the blacksmith shop, and inspect original cannons fired during the Battle of Mobile Bay in 1864. The on-site museum showcases period clothing and local photographs, while the lookout points provide commanding views of the ocean.
Shell Mound Park
Shell mounds — or handmade layers of oyster, mussel, and various other shells to form hills — can be found sprinkled around the Gulf Coast and usually demarcate an important Indigenous settlement. Traditionally, tribe leaders would have their houses at the top of the mounds, with the rest of the community living below. These sites were hubs for gathering, trading, and celebratory feasts, and have lasting cultural and historical importance. Today, this park and bird sanctuary is a scenic and informative place for a stroll.