An Awesome Day-Excursion to Dauphin Island, AL
Traverse Mobile Bay by Ferry and Arrive on a Fun, Island Getaway
by Mike Turner | July 26, 2011
Here is a great, day trip that will be a boat load of fun (literally) for the entire family.
It begins with a family style breakfast at Hazel’s Nook in Gulf Shores. Pancakes, yup, Waffles – yup, and my favorite- made to order omelets. (Bacon, onions, cheddar cheese, and salsa for me please).
Next, is a stop at the local store to stock up on munchies, water, soda, and sunscreen for the day of adventure, followed by a leisurely 25 mile drive down State Road 180 (West Fort Morgan Rd.) to the Dauphin Island Ferry Terminal. The Ferry runs every 45 minutes, and here is a link for specific times, etc. https://www.mobilebayferry.com/schedule.html
Cost runs $30 for a car plus $10 per passenger over the age of 12. If you want to save some dough, you can park at the terminal and walk on or take a bicycle with you for $5. I have taken the bike route and it was a blast. Or if you have a Harley, you can grab a round trip ticket for $8. But you need to plan ahead and take some rain gear, just in case. Dauphin Island is very bike/motorcycle friendly.
The boat ride is a treat in itself, taking in the sights of other boats, maybe a tanker, or perhaps if you are lucky a dolphin playing in the boat’s wake.
As you arrive onto Dauphin Island, you feel like you have been transported back in time. It is 17 miles long and ¾ of mile wide barrier island that is parallel to the Gulf of Mexico. It is a sleepy, fishing village with tons of charm, miles of undiscovered beaches, quaint eateries, and another great attraction – The Dauphin Island Sea Lab, home to the State of Alabama’s Marine Science Institute. https://www.disl.org/
Here you will find a treasure trove full of adventure. Huge aquariums, touch-tanks, The Living Marsh Boardwalk, and Weather Station.
At the west end of the beach, there are vendors providing umbrellas, jet ski rentals, parasailing, water slides and certified lifeguards, clean restrooms and showers. Entrance fees are $2 to park, and $3 for each person over the age of 12. No alcoholic beverages, pets, glass or grills are allowed however.
There is also the Audubon Bird Sanctuary, https://www.dauphinisland.org/bird.htm Dauphin Island has been recognized as one of the ten most globally important sites for bird migrations. The Sanctuary includes more than 150 acres of maritime forest, marshes, and dunes, including a lake, a swamp and a beach. It is located on the Eastern end of the Island and has walking trails and boardwalks in which to experience this unique natural treasure. Migrating birds utilize this area after their long flight across the Gulf from Central and South America to rest up before heading on. They also utilized the Sanctuary as their final feeding and resting area before their return flight. (And you thought the Atlanta Hub was busy).
And if that isn’t enough to do, don’t forget to check out Fort Gaines for an awesome view of Mobile Bay, and you can image yourself as a sentry watching out for enemy ships!