"Dauphin Island, Alabama" Top 5 Page for this destination Dauphin Island by soundsgoodtome

Dauphin Island Travel Guide: 37 reviews and 121 photos

Before coming to Dauphin Island, I had never seen a real swamp less from a car window. This was maybe more of a small marsh or pond but its close enough to a swamp for me. Dauphin Island is a small, isolated island about 45 minutes south of Mobile and is right where the Bay enters the Caribbean. There is only one bridge connecting it to the mainland while on the eastern end there is a single ferry that goes to the next island. The island has one main road that goes from the eastern tip to the western edge, and this swamp was located along a trail very close to this main road on the eastern end right before you get to the ferry (there is a small parking area accessible from the main road). It has a single deck that goes out about 10 feet in the water and provides a nice view of the entire swamp/pond. What I enjoyed most about coming here was I saw my very first wild alligator (I think it was an alligator but it could've been a croc, in which case it would not have been my first). This alligator is slightly visible in the above photo, which looks like a stick floating in the water.

Dauphin Island was surprisingly underdeveloped and very non-touristy, much unlike the other islands on the other side of the bay near Gulf Shores. The fanciest hotels and restaurants here, all of which are locally owned, no chains, remind me of a Days Inn and a Denny's with fresh seafood. There is a single gas station, grocery store, and a couple of good local pastry/coffee shops I would recommend. There is also plenty of beachspace and miles of walking trails (remember your bugspray) to be enjoyed, but if you are looking for anything that even resembles luxury, then this is not your place.

Here is a close-up of the first and only alligator I've ever seen in the wild. He is just a juvenile, not more than 6 feet long, but that didn't make it any less exciting. He really did come this close to us while we were on the deck above, but he never left the water. I really enjoyed experiencing such a magnificient creature up-close and in his domain. Had he decided to get out of the water, however, I would've been running back to the car.

On the eastern end of the island, past the ferry landing and the estuarium, there is a parking area near an old military fort. Here you can get out and enjoy the bay side of the beach, which is pretty rocky in some parts. Right next to the rocky area we saw dozens of these hermit crabs, and love was in the air for many of them it seems. Here is the best picture I could get of two of them playing with each other. There were a lot of shells and other ocean objects that had washed up in this area and not many people often come all the way down here to comb the beach. You may just get lucky and find some interesting stuff.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Uncrowded, unspoiled beaches and woodland.
  • Cons:You've seen and done everything there is in less than 2 days.
  • In a nutshell:Nice place to get away from literally everything.
  • Last visit to Dauphin Island: Aug 2003
  • Intro Updated Feb 14, 2004
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soundsgoodtome

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