Dauphin Island Life - 2019

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A L A B A M A coasting’s

Dauphin Island Life Come Bird With Us!

The Dauphin Island bird sanctuaries.

Dauphin Island Sea Lab A journey of wonder awaits.

Play, Dine, Shop, and Explore A great place to visit all year long.


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Dauphin Island Heritage and Arts Council is a federal 501(c)3 tax-exempt charitable organization. Your purchases at our Dauphin Island Gallery help support the organization’s programs including:

l Art classes for area school students provided free of charge. l Youth Art Camp, a free summer program for area youth. l Dauphin Island Gallery, a community art and culture resource. l Creative Monday, an arts and crafts program. l Adult art classes for beginner through advanced artists. l Last Friday Art Night, an Island tradition. l Alabama Coastal Storytelling. l Gulf Seafood Gala, a celebration of Gulf seafood and culture. ALABAMA COASTING’S DAUPHIN ISLAND LIFE

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Life on the Alabama Gulf Coast Has a Certain Rhythm It’s a mix of laid back “beachiness” and up-tempo “What are we going to do today?” We call it “Alabama Coasting” – an attitude, an eagerness to explore and take full advantage of all this area has to offer AND an understanding for when it’s time to relax and restore. While living here comes in many different flavors, this Alabama Coasting spirit remains a constant.

ALABAMA coasting’s

Dauphin Island Life Managing Partner/CEO

Danny Calametti President/Publisher

As many who grew up in Mobile, my misspent youth mostly involved the

David Calametti

eastern shore of Mobile Bay and that other spot of the Alabama Gulf Coast.

Art Director

I didn’t really start gaining an appreciation for this slice of paradise until we

Randy Jennings

began publishing Alabama Coasting Magazine. I’m happy to continue to make

Client Services and Digital Content Management

amends for that through Dauphin Island Life Magazine. My hope is that you’ll find this small town island as captivating as I now do.

Whitney Calametti

DAUPHIN ISLAND SEA LAB.......................................................................10 A Journey of Wonder Awaits.

Contributors Debbie & Tad Denson myshotz.com Jim Hall Dr. Joy Russell Frances Coleman Angela Levins Kathy Hicks Dauphin Island Bird Sanctuaries Dauphin Island Chamber of Commerce Dauphin Island Parks and Beach Board Town of Dauphin Island South Mobile County Tourism

DAUPHIN ISLAND BIRD SANCTUARIES..................................................14 Come Bird With Us!

Discover Gulf Coast Alabama, LLC

FEATURES WELCOME TO OUR ISLAND.........................................................................6 Laid-back, Beautiful, Charming, Home.

THINGS TO DO.............................................................................................20 Boating and Biking and Beaching and More! EVENTS.........................................................................................................26 A Full Calendar All Year Round! A LITTLE ISLAND HISTORY........................................................................30 From Massacre Island to Sunset Capital. COMMUNITIES WORTH CHECKING OUT.................................................32 The Villages of South Mobile County. THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW...................................................................33 Dauphin Island Chamber of Commerce. 4 ALABAMA COASTING’S DAUPHIN ISLAND LIFE


Published by

Phone: 251-694-0457 david@alabamacoasting.com 5758 Huffman Drive North Mobile, AL 36693 ©2019 Discover Gulf Coast Alabama, LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher.

Cover photo by Chris Granger. Courtesy of Alabama Department of Tourism.

WELCOME TO DAUPHIN ISLAND n elcome you to Dauphi w to re su ea pl y m is n Council, it On behalf of our Tow a 14 mile long barrier is nd la Is n hi up Da a! tal of Alabam Island, The Sunset Capi is simple and the e lif re he w ile ob M 30 miles south of the island approximately gnificant Bird Area by Si nt rta po Im ly al ob Gl d as a arly pace relaxed. Recognize Bird Sanctuary and ne a as ed at gn si de is tire island Audubon Society, the en ll migrations. Take a fa d an g rin sp g rin du spotted here 300 species have been aches bordered by be te hi w y nd sa s es dl our seemingly en storic stroll, fish or relax on Step back in time at hi d. un So pi ip ss si is M d scenic al. the Gulf of Mexico an y up close and person Ba ile ob M of e ttl Ba rience the Fort Gaines and expe -kind adventures from -a of eon r fo b La a Se Dauphin Island Visit the Estuarium at tion. View a vast ca lo nt ie en nv co e on in e Gulf waters all on and the Mobile Delta to th vironmentally rich regi en is th in ith w de si re a that ed variety of flora and faun cally-owned and operat Lo . ng ni ar le on snd ha for some stop by the “touch lab” scattered throughout e ar ts en hm is bl ta es and beverage shops, stores and food someone or to serve l ia ec sp at th r fo ft gi ide the perfect ity that the island, ready to prov a truly unique commun is nd la Is n hi up Da d. l seafoo up some delicious loca d feed your soul! an e m Co y. jo en to re you’re su Best regards, Mayor Jeff Collier

Dauphin Island Town Council Front/bottom row, from left: Mayor Jeff Collier, Shirley Robinson, Clinton Collier. Back/upper row, from left: Gene Fox, Earle Connell, Wayne Strickland.


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How do You Describe a Place Like Dauphin Island? Some people say it’s “laid-back.” Others use the words “old-fashioned,” “charming” and “beautiful.” And it is all of those things. But let’s start with what Dauphin Island doesn’t have: l It doesn’t have any traffic lights. Most directions begin with the phrase, “Turn left (or right) at the water tower ...” l It doesn’t have traffic jams. l It has almost no crime. l There aren’t any “big box” stores or sprawling shopping malls on Dauphin Island, or even any chain supermarkets. In fact, if you want to attend church with anybody besides Episcopalians, Baptists, Methodists or Catholics, you have to drive northward off the island. Also, a good number of residents commute to jobs in Mobile, which is 30-45 minutes away, depending on what part of the city their jobs are in. 6 ALABAMA COASTING’S DAUPHIN ISLAND LIFE


By now, you might be thinking to yourselves, why would people go to so much trouble to live on Dauphin Island? And why do so many people like to vacation there? And the answer is this: Because the tradeoffs are priceless. l You’ll encounter one breath-taking sunset after another. Dauphin Island is trademarked as “the Sunset Capital of Alabama” for good reason. Plus there is the tranquil lifestyle, water and beaches almost everywhere you look, and a high-rise bridge which offers such a spectacular view of the island that even long-time residents still say “wow” when they cross it. l There are miles of sidewalks and biking/walking/jogging paths. l The local populace is friendly and welcoming. l The island is awash in history. Long before Europeans arrived in 1699 -hundreds of years before -- Native Americans came and went on the island; and long before modern-day folks were opening oysters on the island, the Indians were steaming and roasting them and then discarding the shells at a site now called Indian Shell Mound Park. It’s on the National Register of Historic Places. You also won’t want to miss Fort Gaines, which played a key role in the Civil War’s Battle of Mobile Bay. l There are birds everywhere (think “eco-tourism”). Dauphin Island is home to a 137-acre Audubon Bird Sanctuary, which draws bird-watchers from all over the country. The National Audubon Society calls the island “globally important” in bird migrations; and it has been voted the “Birdiest Small City in America” several years in a row. Another glorious day comes to an end on the Sunset Capital of Alabama. ALABAMA COASTING’S DAUPHIN ISLAND LIFE

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l As for its sparkling sandy beaches, Dauphin Island is about 14 miles long and surrounded by water and beachfront. The Mississippi Sound is on the north side, the Gulf of Mexico is on the south, and there are small bays, inlets and bayous all over the place. Boaters will find easy access to marinas as well as public and private boat launches. l It’s hard to say which kind of boating – sail or power – is the most popular. In April of every year, locals play host to the Dauphin Island Sailboat Regatta, billed as the largest one-day point-to-point regatta in the United States. (The regatta marks its 64th anniversary in 2019.) Then, in July, there’s the annual Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo, held over a period of three days on – you guessed it – Dauphin Island. It celebrates its 86th anniversary in 2019. Don’t have a boat? Not a problem. Dauphin Island is loaded with places where you can cast a line or cast a net from piers, pilings and beaches.

l Tuckered out from all the fishing, boating and beaching? Dauphin Island restaurants are ready to serve you a tasty tropical beverage and all the fresh oysters, shrimp and crabs you can eat. And when we say “fresh,” we don’t mean “fresh from the Mekong Delta.” Our seafood comes right out of Mobile Bay, the Mississippi Sound and the Gulf of Mexico. We promise you won’t taste better seafood anywhere. l Oh, and here’s a little secret: You may think that New Orleans is the “birthplace of Mardi Gras,” and the folks in New Orleans would certainly like you to think that it is. But it isn’t. The birthplace of Mardi Gras is Mobile, Alabama, just up the road from Dauphin Island. Mobile held its first celebration in 1703, whereas the first recorded Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans was in 1837. And guess where Mobile’s Mardi Gras season kicks off every year: on Dauphin Island. The Krewe de la Dauphine always

hosts the region’s first parade of the year. Come see how much fun you and 40,000 other people can have on our little barrier island in the middle of winter! l There’s more to a Dauphin Island vacation than beaches, boats, fishing expeditions and restaurants, of course. You can golf; ride the Mobile Bay Ferry; rent bicycles, kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddle boards; take a nature tour, a dolphin watch boat ride, a lighthouse cruise and/or a sunset cruise; browse and buy in a number of unique, locally owned gift shops and boutiques; visit the island art galleries, where you’ll be impressed by the high-quality paintings, pottery, woodworking, jewelry and other items produced by local artists; and check out the walking, hiking and biking trails that span the island. Written by Frances Coleman

Need more information? Go to dauphinislandchamber.com and townofdauphinisland.org




At Dinner's Ready, we offer wonderfully crafted meals with a local flair. They are prepared daily in our kitchen and enjoyed in your home (or your home away from home). 918-B Bienville Boulevard Dauphin Island, AL 36528 (251) 861-0120 dinnersreadydi.com

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condos | homes | cottages www.ACPinfo.com | 251.861.3311

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Dauphin Island Sea Lab...

A Journey of Wonder The Dauphin Island Sea Lab was created to provide marine science programs for the state of Alabama’s colleges and universities. Founded in 1971 by the Alabama Legislature, the goal was to reduce redundancy in higher education. Today, opportunities include graduate and undergraduate studies, K-12 education, professional development, and a public aquarium. “Because the planet’s environments are changing so rapidly and in many ways unpredictably, it is of critical importance that we better understand how natural processes work in the world’s oceans,”

Executive Director John Valentine explains. “It is here that we bring together scientists, educators, and interested members of the community to study how the environment is shifting and affecting our ocean resources. In doing this, we are better able to make robust projections about how future ocean conditions will be.” Surrounded by the natural coastlines of Mobile Bay, the Mississippi Sound, and the Gulf of Mexico, the Dauphin Island Sea Lab is the perfect place to raise awareness and understanding of our oceans.

Each year more than 15,000 students are introduced to these environments by Discovery Hall Programs’ (DHP) marine educators. Educators also have the opportunity to attend professional development workshops on a variety of topics to broaden the scope of what is brought into the classroom. “Our education philosophy is one of do,” Discovery Hall Programs Chair Dr. Tina Miller-Way said. “We give our visitors a true hands on education by providing authentic experiences in the field, in the salt marsh, on the boat, driving underwater robots, and collecting and analyzing data. It’s these experiences that give students and all of our visitors a better understanding of the ocean.”

University and Discovery Hall Program students dig the Island environment.



On the path to the future, DHP gives the youngest minds power to connect with the world of marine science - asking questions and learning how to find the answers. Teachers across the country make plans year after year to bring their students for the experience. For some students, it opens the door to a desired career in marine science and ocean conservation. University Programs can help to continue the path for these students. Partnered with 23 Alabama colleges and universities, undergraduate and graduate students can register on their home campus to take courses and live on the Dauphin Island Sea Lab campus. Their professors are scientists known for their work in a diversity of fields. “University Programs’ scientists perform cutting edge research on contemporary issues that affect ecosystems from the watershed to the continental shelf,” University Programs Chair Dr. Lee Smee said. “Our research focus is coastal, where people interact most with the ocean. Our research projects range from aquaculture, to red tides, to fisheries, to sea level rise. Our projects are of relevance to Alabama but are of global significance such as understanding factors that affect biodiversity.” Graduate courses are offered year-round, while undergraduate courses are offered during three summer sessions. A marine scientist in the making at DISL Discovery Day.


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Discovery Hall Program students getting their paddle on.

“When I went into University Programs, I was dead set on getting a job right out of college,” graduate student Merritt McCall shared. “But once I took my first summer of classes down here, that completely switched and I was hooked on research.” McCall is enrolled at the University of South Alabama with her studies focused in the Fisheries Ecology Lab led by Dr. Sean Powers.

The public aquarium at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab takes visitors on a journey through the habitats of coastal Alabama from the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta to the mouth of Mobile Bay. Visual and interactive exhibits showcase the plants, animals, and other natural resources found in the Estuary and its surrounding marine habitats. “We highlighted the habitats of Mobile Bay, the Gulf, and Mississippi Sound, so

the public would have an understanding of the life that lives here and the value of that life to everyone around us,” said Dr. John Dindo, director of the Estuarium. The Dauphin Island Sea Lab’s research scope is worldwide. Its alumni are renowned scientists, teachers, and conservationists - creating a legacy of conscientious stewardship for future generations. Written by Angela Levins

University Program students celebrate a day at the beach.

Learn more about the Dauphin Island Sea Lab at disl.org 12 ALABAMA COASTING’S DAUPHIN ISLAND LIFE


31 aquariums totaling over 30,000 gallons including a 7,000 gallon sting ray touch pool and more than 100 species on display.

Winter Hours (September thru February) Monday-Saturday 9am-5pm • Sunday 1pm-5pm Summer Hours ( March thru August) Monday-Saturday 9am-6pm • Sunday 12-6pm


Connecting SR 193 at Dauphin Island on the west sideSR with SR at 180 at Ft. Morgan Connecting 193 Dauphin Island on

The Gulf Coast’s Most Scenic Drive

the west side with SR 180 at Ft. Morgan

Connecting SR 193 at Dauphin Island on the west side with SR 180 at Fort Morgan Connecting SR 193 at Dauphin Island on the west side with SR 180 at Ft. Morgan

Take-Out near the Ferry Boat Landing Serving Paninis, Po-Boys & Wraps Soft Serve Ice Cream & Malts and Espresso Drinks!

LOADING DOCK ADDRESSES: 110 AL-180, Gulf Shores, AL 36542 112 Bienville Blvd.,DOCK DauphinADDRESSES: Island, AL 36528 LOADING

110 AL-180, Gulf Shores, AL 36542 112 Bienville Blvd., Dauphin Island, AL 36528 Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/mobilebayferry LOADING DOCK ADDRESSES:

114 Bienville Blvd


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110 AL-180, Gulf Shores, AL 36542 112 Bienville Blvd., Dauphin Island, AL 36528 Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/mobilebayferry

251-861-3000 | www.mobilebayferry.com Follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/mobilebayferry Team_Program_Book_Ad.indd 1

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Welcome to Dauphin Island...

Come Bird With Us!

Dauphin Island is recognized as one of the nation’s best destinations for bird lovers and the sport of birding. Island birding expert Andrew Haffenden, who leads groups and lectures on the subject, confirms: “Dauphin Island is one of the top four birding areas in the country. We have about 400 species of birds that come here. Most of the birds that come in the spring fly up over the Gulf from the Yucatan. It’s the fastest route, and they’re in a hurry. They want to get to the breeding grounds north of here. They may stop on the island for as little as 10 or 15 minutes, just to rest, or they may stay overnight. They don’t like to fly in the rain, so if it’s raining they might stay three or four days.” Don McKee, a board member of Dauphin Island Bird Sanctuaries, further explains: “After they’ve flown across the Gulf of Mexico, the birds are starving to death – literally. They have got to have food, so they stop here to eat. And they need to rest, too. They are exhausted.” Their worn-out condition can be good for birders, he added, “because they are so tired and so hungry that they aren’t all that concerned about people watching them.” Many birders visit the island with the hope of getting to view a phenomenon known as “fallout.” Fallout on Dauphin Island has been described as having “all the trees filled with birds, like Christmas trees filled with ornaments.”

Above: American Avocet. Right: Cape May Warbler.



Above: Several types of migrating birds.

Spring birding season starts in early March and usually ends around the third week of April. Fall migration, which begins as early as July, is in some respects the opposite experience as birds spend time storing up energy for the long flight south. While the spring and fall migration seasons are the biggest draw, there are a wide variety of permanent species on the Island as well as a good number of winter visitors. In 2016, the National Audubon Society recognized Dauphin Island as a Globally Significant Important Bird Area – officially putting it on the “birding map.” In addition to its location, the natural habitat of abundant trees, shrubs and flowers make the island an essential resource. Working to assure this habitat is protected is the Dauphin Island Bird Sanctuaries, an informal collaboration between conservation-minded agencies and organizations. Their mission, in addition to their dedication to the preservation of critical bird habitat, is to promote birding and other forms of ecotourism activities. Over the years and in partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and other federal, state and nonprofit organizations, they have raised more than $1.3 million to protect and expand the bird habitat.

Above Left: Hummimgbird. Above Right: Laughing Gull . Below: Reddish Egret Dancing in the wind.


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While the whole island is essentially a bird sanctuary, there are seven specifically designated spots across the island SHELL MOUND PARK Located on the Island’s northern shore and maintained by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Marine Resources Division. This ll-acre site, densely populated with live oaks, represents a botanical wonder found on no other Gulf barrier island. Plant species here have been found as far inland as the Appalachian Mountains and as far south as the Yucatan.


Above Left: Ash-throated Flycatcher. Above Right: Striking a pose, this snowy egret knows how to love the camera. Below: Bald Eagle.

The “Goat Trees,” located near Shell Mound Park, are ancient oak trees with limbs reaching out as far as 50 feet from the trunk and almost parallel to the ground. Listed in the National Wetlands Inventory, these oaks host many of the warblers, vireos, and gnatcatchers that visit the island.

SEA POINT SAWGRASS Just west of the Ferry Landing this vital habitat for rails and small waders provides over 35 acres of mostly wetland covered with black needle rush and cordgrass. The town plans to preserve the wetlands and sensitively develop the dry areas.

AUDUBON BIRD SANCTUARY This is the primary site of protected maritime forest habitat on the Island and one of the first areas of migrant bird landfall. Owned and managed by the Dauphin Island Park and Beach Board, this 164-acre site is part of the Alabama Coastal Birding Trail. DIBS works with the Park Board on appropriate management and growth of the sanctuary.



TUPELO GUM SWAMP This 11-acre swath of wetlands is hidden between several dead-end roads south of Bienville Boulevard. This swamp is located just inland of the main dune line on the island’s south side and is bisected by a 10-foot-wide public access right of way. This area has been targeted for conservation because of its unique vegetation.

GORGAS SWAMP East of Tupelo Gum Swamp is Gorgas Swamp, also populated with Tupelo Gum trees. At present this area is being destroyed by excessive all-terrain vehicular traffic, which compacts the soil, generating ruts and gullies that serve to drain the water off the surface, and interrupting the hydrologic cycle. Unless this swamp is purchased and use of its grounds restricted, 10 acres of rich wetland habitat will be lost.

Yellow-throated Warbler.

THE STEINER PROPERTY This parcel was left largely untouched because the Steiner family chose not to develop it during the island’s boom of the 1950s. The property is an entire 12-acre area of critical habitat, stretching from Bienville Boulevard to the south shore of Dauphin Island Bay. A splendid salt marsh, populated with black needle rush, provides good habitat for wading birds and waterfowl, while the upland habitat is particularly attractive lo migrating birds. Only two lots in this entire block have been developed. Above: Prothonotary Warbler.

Great Blue Heron.

Special thanks to Kathy Hicks for the stunning photography that accompanies this article. In addition to being an outstanding photographer, Kathy is a nature guide and educator at Five Rivers Delta Resource Center in Spanish Fort, as well as being an accomplished free-lance graphic designer. See more of her work at www.neonflamingos.com and contact her at kathy@neonflamingos.com. ALABAMA COASTING’S DAUPHIN ISLAND LIFE

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The town works hard to protect its environment “so that it’ll be bird-friendly,” explains Mayor Jeff Collier. “This coincides with the fact that we are a barrier island. The things we do to increase a sustainable bird habitat also increase our sustainability as a barrier island.” To demonstrate the town’s commitment Island residents Don and Dena McKee, share a story. Last spring, they had a special request for the Mayor: “Please don’t mow our right of way.” The McKees had noticed some healthy Lyreleaf Sage growing along the street and as active birders knew that this presented a unique opportunity. With the town’s permission, they roped off the area and in a short while were rewarded with new temporary neighbors as Indigo and Painted Buntings arrived to feast on the Sage seeds. It became a bit of a street party, as visiting birders, photographers and residents stopped by to enjoy the show.

Both Andrew Haffenden and Don McKee enthusiastically invite anyone on the Island to take up the sport of birding. It’s a great way to explore the unique natural environment of the Island. In fact, it’s a wonderful family activity advises McKee: “Children love being taken for a walk in the woods. And the best time to teach people about birds is when they’re young and still curious.” It’s easy to get started. All it takes is a decent pair of binoculars, a Bird Guide, a (waterproof ) journal and curiosity (along with a little patience). While fully committed birders may spend thousands on top-of-the-line binoculars, you can get started with your mom’s opera glasses or your granddad’s WWII ser-

vice pair. Suitable lenses for the beginner range from $50 to $200. The goal is to enhance your vision so that little birds in nature aren’t so little – and aren’t disturbed before you have a chance to identify them. For your first foray into the birding world, start off at the Audubon Bird Sanctuary. Pick up their Birding Checklist and Trail Map and head out. The three miles of trails are well marked and include educational signage identifying the various animals and birds you’re likely to come across. For a good selection of Guide Books, drop in to the gift shop at the Estuarium. You can also download the Audubon Bird Guide mobile app which, as you might imagine, has more information than you can

possibly use. A neat feature in this app is the inclusion of bird calls and song. Another popular app is E-bird which allows you to keep a checklist without being connected to the internet. And finally, the last tool – patience – better described as “presence”. The sport of birding is an exercise in quiet curiosity. It allows you the opportunity to slow down, and even learn a little something. To quote environmentalist John Muir,

“In any walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”

To learn more about birding on Dauphin Island, visit the Dauphin Island Bird Sanctuaries website www.coastalbirding.org and the Dauphin Island Park and Beach Board website www.dauphinisland.org 18 ALABAMA COASTING’S DAUPHIN ISLAND LIFE




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Enjoy Your Visit! PARKS


Cadillac Square Park

While in many ways the whole of Dauphin Island is a form of nature trail, the 137 acres of the Audubon Bird Sanctuary is without a doubt the crown jewel. In fact, the three-mile trail system within the Sanctuary has been designated as a National Recreational Trail. Here you can watch the migrating birds drop in for a visit, discover butterflies, fish, unique fauna and perhaps even an alligator throughout the maritime forest, marshes, and dunes, which include a lake, a swamp, and a beach. The Sanctuary is located on the eastern end of the island. The trails are well maintained with information and warning signage and several benches throughout.

This is a beautiful park, rich in local history. The live oak trees throughout this historic site are all that remain of the home of Governor Cadillac and the capital of the Louisiana Territory. The park provides picnic tables and bathrooms for the general public. It is also a central location for access to the island-long bike path.

Magnolia Park

This is a very small, pedestrian-access only roadside park located between the ferry landing and Historic Fort Gaines. Originally designed to give walk-on visitors from the ferry a shaded spot to picnic and cool off, it has also bike path access. Besides picnic tables and benches, a porch swing hanging from a large magnolia limb is also provided.

Quarles Skate Park

Whether you are young, or just young at heart, grab your board and head out for our new skate park!

Salt Creek Park

Located on Bienville Boulevard this quaint little park has a nice gazebo for the parents and a playground for the kids. Also, you are just steps away from the wooden bridge crossing the creek which is a big hit with kids and grown-ups alike.

Pryor Park

Located at 1301 Chaumont Ave. Pull up a seat on one of the benches and relax... sit, read, or just watch the beautiful birds.

Green Park

Located on Lemoyne Drive, Green Park is a place to take a quiet break and enjoy the beautiful oak trees.



For a beach walk with a twist, head to Pelican Island. No longer an island thanks to time, tides, storms and hurricanes, it’s a sandy peninsula that juts out a mile and half into the Gulf (depending on the tide). You’ll be joined on your walk by dolphins and pelicans playing just off shore. Pelican Island is part of the main “Public Beach” located in the center of the island. Finally, for a nature respite without the miles of trails, there are several small parks or preserves dotted around the island. Shell Mound Park is located on the northern shore near the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Marine Resources Division, which manages the site. The 11 acres of subtropical natural wonder house oyster shell middens (mounds) which date to the Mississippian period (1100 to 1550). A little further to the east is Goat Tree Reserve. According to local legend, these large Live Oaks with limbs reaching out as far as 50 feet from the trunk and almost parallel to the ground served as shelter for the island’s wild goats that climbed the trees at night so they could rest protected from roaming alligators. While the goats are long gone, the trees and the 10-acre site still provide a quiet refuge and nature retreat.


BOATING & KAYAKING Whether you are looking to reel in the big one or just explore the waterways of Dauphin Island, the possibilities are endless. If you’re trailering your own boat, there are numerous boat launch sites – mostly on the eastern end of the island. You can also get on the water by renting a pontoon boat or Jet Ski or book a charter for a guided tour. A truly memorable way to get immersed in the ecological beauty of the island is kayaking through the inlets and bays. You’ll have a chance to catch a glimpse of native and migratory birds, and perhaps even swim with dolphins and other marine life. There are plenty of beaches with calm shore areas and water shallow enough to launch a kayak - Isle Dauphine Club and the Mississippi Sound side of West End Beach are two favorites. Bayou Heron Park, located on West Cadillac Avenue and Penalver Street, sports a new kayak launch for easy access to Lafitte Bay and Graveline Bay. Please keep in mind that water conditions around Dauphin Island can be challenging, with rapid weather changes, choppy waters, and windy conditions, especially off the southern shore. If you’re a relative kayak novice, it’s advised that you stick to the shoreline along the northern edge.


Dauphin Island fishing is a very popular activity because it offers unrivaled access to some of the best spots along the Gulf of Mexico. With many easy-to-find beaches, piers and jetties, and a variety of Dauphin Island charter fishing options, you’ll always have the exciting opportunity to catch a variety of gamefish species. Deep sea or inshore Dauphin Island charter fishing is excellent, but you certainly don’t need a boat to catch fish here. The island is widely known for its local fishing activities including surf and pier fishing. For all you need to know about the sport and how to play, check out ACP Realty’s very informative Guide to Fishing on Dauphin Island.

BIKING Biking is synonymous with life on Dauphin Island. With over 8 miles of dedicated paved bike trails running the length of the island, and also a section from the bridge to the main intersection at our unique water tower, biking is an enjoyable experience here. Additionally, every lane and street is perfect for biking and exploring the charm of this laid-back island that reminds many of times past. Biking to the beaches, parks and attractions such as the Estuarium, the Audubon bird sanctuary, and Fort Gaines is a must. You can even bike to the ferry and catch a ride for a perfect day trip to this special area, including beaches almost to yourselves. With several bike rental locations and some rentals that furnish bikes, you will have no problem enjoying the experience biking has to offer on our special island.

Camping is an excellent way to experience the natural beauty of Dauphin Island. The Dauphin Island Parks and Beach Board manages the 155-acre Dauphin Island Campground. Located on the eastern end of the Island, the park offers guests access to a secluded beach, the Audubon Bird Sanctuary and the public boat launches. Located across from the main Public Beach, Pelican Nest RV Resort and Campground is a small, family run operation that boasts a good reputation for friendliness and hospitality.


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ATTRACTIONS The DAUPHIN ISLAND SEA LAB’S ESTUARIUM focuses on the wide array of marine life that make up the waters of Alabama. While providing a rich educational background, the exhibits showcase the beauty of marine life that make up the Mobile Tensaw River Delta, Mobile Bay, the Barrier Islands, and the Northern Gulf of Mexico. The facility’s 31 aquariums totaling over 30,000 gallons with more than 100 species highlight the four key habitats of coastal Alabama. Open daily yearround except holidays. www.disl.org/estuarium Looking for a little different excursion on the water? Why not grab a ride on the MOBILE BAY FERRY? Billed as the “Gulf Coast’s Most Scenic Drive”, it’s a 30 minute boat ride across the bay to Gulf Shores landing at Ft. Morgan. Drive, bike or walk on board and once underway you’ll enjoy a great view and cool breezes as you’re joined by pelicans and the occasional dolphin. Departures from the east end of the island are every 45 minutes during daylight hours. Check with mobileferry.com or 251-361-3000 for daily weather conditions which may affect the schedule.

HISTORY, ARTS AND CULTURE “Damn the torpedoes-full speed ahead!” FORT GAINES has been called one of the best preserved examples of 19th century brick seacoast fortifications in the east. It was a key element in the Battle of Mobile Bay, famous for Admiral Farragut’s battle cry. See the actual cannons used in battle, the huge anchor of Farragut’s flag ship, tunnels, original blacksmith shop, bakery, latrine, and Quartermaster building. Be sure to visit the Officer’s Quarters building, museum and gift shop. Self-guided history brochure available at the entrance. Renowned living history events including the colonial period are held throughout the year. www.dauphinisland.org/fort-gaines

The Little Red School House.

Mobile Bay Ferry.

Nearby BELLINGRATH GARDENS hosts an array of special events and programs to highlight the various seasons and the legacy of Mr. and Mrs. Bellingrath. The 65 acre Garden Estate is in full bloom throughout the year with camellias in the winter, azaleas in the spring, roses in the summer, chrysanthemums in autumn and Magic Christmas in Lights during the holiday season. Visit www.bellingrath.org for current events and programs.


Yes, while most of your sporting options revolve around water, there are a few traditional sporting opportunities on the island. Isle Dauphine Golf Course has a full service driving range and features the only links golf on the Alabama gulf coast with 18 holes and spectacular views. Also at Isle Dauphine, the Dauphin Island Property Owners Association maintains four tennis courts open to the public for a small fee. Surfers can catch some good waves near the Dauphin Island Pier or off of West End Beach. Finally, shooting enthusiasts can take a short ride off the island to Coden and the shooting range at Gunport. 22 ALABAMA COASTING’S DAUPHIN ISLAND LIFE


The LITTLE RED SCHOOL HOUSE is one of the most endearing symbols of life on Dauphin Island. Built in 1930, the building served generations of Island kids for more than 80 years. In 2017 it was moved and found new life as the Town’s Welcome Center. Now on the National Registry of Historic Places, the Little Red School House houses a free lending library and Island gift shop in addition to an interesting and growing collection of island history and artifacts. The Welcome Center and Museum are open Monday through Saturday from 10am to 4pm. Dauphin Island, in addition to its natural and historical offerings, boasts a vibrant arts community. The DAUPHIN ISLAND HERITAGE AND ARTS COUNCIL is a strong source for the arts, local culture and heritage for the Island and South Mobile County. The non-profit fine art gallery houses a nice collection of juried works by local and regional artists and regularly hosts art and heritage events during the year. The year-old arts organization, ART DOES IT, seeks to promote public understanding of the ecological challenges facing the Gulf of Mexico and its coast, through the dialogs of art, science, and heritage. They host a number of local artists as well as monthly events in their gallery and in collaboration with the Dauphin Island Sea Lab produce ARTSEALAB and Forks and Corks Culinary Competition in the fall.

2019 HanginOut Calametti Frog copy.pdf



3:17 PM









With the

The Estuarium Alabama’s Coastal Aquarium

Open 7 Days a Week!

101 Bienville Blvd Dauphin Island, AL 36528 1-866-403-4409 www.sealabestuarium.com Bring this ad in for a $1 discount for one adult

Hangin’ Out

Photo: B. Jones

Get Your Hands on Marine Science at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab

101 Bienville Blvd., Dauphin Island, Alabama 36528 www.disl.org 251-861-2141 ALABAMA COASTING’S DAUPHIN ISLAND LIFE

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AND OF COURSE... THE BEACHES West End Beach Located 6 miles from the water tower, is open during the season with both Gulf and Mississippi Sound beach access and features spectacular sunsets all year round.

“The Public Beach”

The largest beach is operated by the Dauphin Island Park & Beach Board. It is most often referred to as “The Public Beach” and is in a central location on the Island. Miles of undeveloped beaches, four group pavilions, bathrooms, outdoor showers, playground and connecting boardwalks.

Beach at Isle Dauphine Country Club

Located on the cove, so the water is calm and shallow, making it especially child friendly. Kayaks and Jet Ski rentals are available in the summer season. This is also a favorite location for windsurfers on the island. This is the most “full-service” beach on the island with the adjacent PIRATES’ BAR N GRILL serving casual fare for breakfast, lunch and dinner year round and the POOL AND CABANA BAR offering lunch, dinner, cold beverages and live music poolside during the season.

East End Beach

The island’s newest waterfront amenity is located just south of Fort Gaines and is the only beach with free access. All other beaches have a nominal access charge. Also, our beaches are the only pet friendly ones in the region, but please keep your four-legged friends on their leash and properly dispose of any waste. Generally, hours of operation are 8am to 6pm.

Isle Dauphine Club House. Photo: DR. Joy Russell



Blooms and Beauty Year-Round. Open Daily 8 AM - 5 PM (Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Year’s Days)

800.247.8420 / 251.973.2217 bellingrath.org Theodore, AL ALABAMA COASTING’S DAUPHIN ISLAND LIFE

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Events Year Round WINTER

There is something quite alluring about winter on the beach. Our moderate climate allows for great long walks in mostly solitude. The island may feel deserted, but it is never desolate. CELEBRATE A COASTAL CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEARS Our holiday celebrations resonate with small town charm – with a Christmas Pageant and Parade, lighting of the Christmas Tree and a Holiday Boat Parade. The Island art galleries and shops also host open houses to complete the holiday calendar. Of course, an added benefit is your proximity to Bellingrath Gardens’ Magic Christmas & Lights and it’s just a short trip to downtown Mobile’s New Year’s Eve MoonPie Drop. An Island holiday is a wonderful way to ring out the old and ring in the new. www.townofdauphinisland.org MARDI GRAS ON THE ISLAND While Mobile rightly lays claim to the title as the home of Mardi Gras in America, anecdotal evidence suggests that the first celebrations occurred right here on Dauphin Island. Regardless, our Mardi Gras celebrations kick off the carnival season each year with parades on the first two Saturdays of the season (beginning about a month before Fat Tuesday). The Krewe de la Dauphine on February 2 in 2019 while the People’s Parade rolls on February 9. www.townofdauphinisland.org


WINTER WEDNESDAYS AND CAMELLIAS AT BELLINGRATH GARDENS Enjoy special programs at the Gardens during the cold season. Each Winter Wednesday program covers a special feature of the Gardens or Home, tips for making your garden more spectacular or guest lectures from renowned members of the horticultural and gardening world. Winter is also camellia season making Bellingrath a beautiful place to visit all year long. www.bellingrath.org SECOND SUNDAYS AND MONDAYS Art Does It! art gallery hosts a monthly guest artist with live music and refreshments on the second Sunday of each month and Youth Art Club on the second Monday. Artdoesit.com LAST FRIDAY ART NIGHT Happens- yes – on the last Friday of the month all year long. Presented by the Dauphin Island Heritage and Arts Council. www.dauphinislandarts.org


STIRRING THE SAND A regular story-telling event, on a regular irregular basis as well as art classes for adults and kids. Presented by the Dauphin Island Heritage and Arts Council. www.dauphinislandarts.org BATTLE OF MOBILE BAY 5K RUN Starts at Historic Fort Gaines with a cannon blast, winds around the island and ends back at the fort with a postrace celebration. productionsbylittleredhen.com CHILI, WINGS & WILD CARD COOK-OFF This benefits the historic Little Red School House and Dauphin Island Elementary. It’s a spirited local competition for the People’s Choice favorites of each of these dishes which leads to a fair amount of trash talking among the teams. Hosted by Pirates Bar & Grill. www.piratesbarandgrill.com


Visit Dauphin Island in the spring and you’re treated to fabulous weather and a full calendar of entertaining events.

St. Francis Arts & Crafts Festival.

BELLINGRATH GARDEN AZALEA BLOOM OUT Tour the Gardens during the spectacular azalea season, when the blooms of 250,000 azaleas are at their peak! Beginning March 1, check the “Azalea Watch” page on bellingrath.org for daily updates to help you plan your visit. Children will love the colorful Easter Egg Hunt on the Great Lawn (Saturday, April 13, 2019). The community is invited to the Gardens’ annual Easter Sunrise Service on Easter Sunday at 6:30 a.m. on Live Oak Plaza at the Bellingrath Home. Guests are also invited to tour the award-winning Rose Garden when the flowers are in their first spring bloom after their winter pruning. www.bellingrath.org MOBILE POPS CONCERT The Mobile Pops Concert at Water Tower Plaza takes place on the second Saturday of April and is sponsored by the Town, the DI Chamber of Commerce and the Dauphin Island Foundation. Admission is free. EASTER CELEBRATIONS The Island celebrates Easter with community Easter Egg Hunts and a Sunrise Easter Service at Fort Gaines (April 21 in 2019) which is truly uplifting. www.dauphinisland.org/fort-gaines

THE 17TH ANNUAL ST. FRANCIS ARTS & CRAFTS FESTIVAL For the past 17 years, the St. Francis Arts & Crafts Festival has heralded the end of winter and the beginning of the Island’s real seasons. The longest running art event on the island, it is held the third weekend in April on the grounds of the Episcopal Church with more than 50 local and regional artists showing and selling their work. www.dauphinislandchamber.com ANNUAL GUMBO FESTIVAL AND COOK-OFF Hosted by the Dauphin Island Chamber at the Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo site. It features a dozen or so of the area’s top gumbo chefs competing for your vote and Island bragging rights. www.dauphinislandchamber.com

DAUPHIN ISLAND SAILING REGATTA The Regatta takes place over the last weekend of April. Cohosted by the Fairhope, Mobile and Buccaneer Yacht Clubs, the race creates a beautiful vista of colorful sails in the waters of Mobile Bay. www.fairhopeyachtclub.com www.bucyc.com www.mobileyachtclub.com DAUPHIN ISLAND VETERANS ASSOCIATION CHILI COOK-OFF Held each April at the Pelican Pub to support local veterans. SUNDAY SUNSET CONCERT AT THE FORT Fort Gaines plays host on May 5 to the opening of the 2019 Sunday Sunset Concert Series (which moves to West End Beach for the summer). Donation is $5. www.townofdauphinisland.org

Vacation rental management, elevated. vacasa.com/Alabama ALABAMA COASTING’S DAUPHIN ISLAND LIFE

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Yes, it’s vacation season and the island is bustling and that’s why you’re here. Add these events to your schedule to enhance your Dauphin Island experience DAUPHIN ISLAND’S MONTHLY SUNSET CELEBRATION The Sunday Sunset Concerts are held at West End Beach beginning Memorial Day Weekend. Celebrating the natural beauty and the Island’s designation as the “Sunset Capital of Alabama,” the concerts begin about 90 minutes before the sun goes down. Music and beach lovers are invited to bring lawn chairs, snacks, beverages and a laid-back attitude to the West End Beach. Admission is only $5 per person. Children under 12 are free. All proceeds benefit the Island’s Little Red School House project. The August concert boasts a Jamaican vibe as part of the annual Dauphin Island Reggae Weekend. www.townofdauphinisland.org, www.alabamacoasting.com

4TH OF JULY CELEBRATIONS The Town sponsors a fireworks display each year. People can also make the short drive to Grand Bay for its annual Watermelon Festival. www.townofdauphinisland.org www.grandbaywatermelonfestival.org ALABAMA DEEP SEA FISHING RODEO The largest fishing tournament in the world. Founded in 1929, the fishing rodeo now attracts over 3,000 anglers and 75,000 spectators. The Rodeo takes place the 3rd weekend of July. www.adsfr.com

The sounding of the conch at sunset celebrates the end of wonderful day on the Sunset Capital of Alabama and the promise of a sunrise and a new day.

FREE FAMILY MOVIE NIGHT AT WEST END BEACH Outdoor family movie night sponsored by the Town weekly throughout the summer. “Jaws” is always scheduled for July 4th weekend. www.townofdauphinisland.org THUNDER ON THE BAY Thunder on the Bay is an annual “celebration” of the Battle of Mobile Bay which takes place in May and August at Fort Gaines. www.dauphinisland.org/fort-gaines 28 ALABAMA COASTING’S DAUPHIN ISLAND LIFE



Arguably the best season of the year…nice weather, smaller crowds, and a calendar chock-full of fun events! ARTSEALAB FESTIVAL. A collaboration between ArtDoesIt and the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, this unique festival’s goal is to raise awareness of the Gulf ’s beauty, resources and ecological challenges it faces. The kick-off event is Forks & Corks, a culinary competition among area high schools. www.artsealab.org www.artdoesit.com RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL Fort Gaines is open all year round and regularly host reenactors for authentic “Day in the Life of ” demonstrations with WWII the focus in October. The fort also hosts the annual Renaissance Festival each October. www.dauphinisland.org/fort-gaines www.townofdauphinisland.org JAZZ IN THE FORT The finale of the Sunset Concert series returns to Fort Gaines in October. www.dauphinisland.org/fort-gaines www.townofdauphinisland.org ANNUAL GULF SEAFOOD GALA Presented by the Dauphin Island Heritage and Arts Council A celebration of Alabama Gulf Seafood and the rich heritage and culture that surround it. THE DAUPHIN ISLAND ART TRAIL Held the second Saturday in October, the event is presented by the Dauphin Island Chamber of Commerce. It includes more than 50 local and regional artists spread around the island at 11 retail locations. locations and offers lots of prize giveaways. Art Trail is free and open to the public with a free shuttle for those who don’t want to drive or bike. www.dauphinislandchamber.com


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The History of Dauphin Island

When your history stretches back in time as long as Dauphin Island’s, there are a lot of stories that can be told. For a complete immersion in the history of Dauphin Island, check out DauphinIslandHistory.com where historian and island resident, Jim Hall has archived a treasure trove of books, maps, images and more. You should also stop by the Little Red Schoolhouse which serves as the Town’s Welcome Center and houses a rich collection of Island history exhibits and information. What follows are just a few of our favorite nuggets from the Island’s history that we pulled (mostly) from Jim’s Dauphin Island History site. THOSE WHO CAME BEFORE The first documented European visitor was Spanish cartographer Alonso Álvarez de Pineda, whose expedition in 1519 charted the entire northern Gulf Coast and apparently stayed here long enough to map the island with remarkable accuracy. It wasn’t until 1699 that the island was again visited when French explorers Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville and his younger brother, Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville began a settlement. Many historians consider Mobile – and Dauphin Island in particular – to be the birthplace of French Louisiana. From Bienville’s arrival in 1699 until 1718 with the founding of New Orleans, our little island was the heartbeat of the entire French colonial efforts in this part of the New World. While the Island’s long French settlement is its most recognized, Bienville and his band of brothers (literally – there were four of them) were not the first visitors. Upon coming ashore in 1699, the French explorers discovered a huge cache of human bones which led them to name the place Massacre Island, incorrectly judging this to be the site of a vicious battle. Later historians determined that this was rather a ceremonial burial place which had been disturbed by one of the areas frequent hurricanes. While the identities of the skeletons were never confirmed, clues to their background do exist in Shell Mound Park. Apparently, Native Americans of the Mississippi30 ALABAMA COASTING’S DAUPHIN ISLAND LIFE

an nation were the island’s first “snow birds” migrating to the beach each winter from villages up the Mobile Delta. While here, they would fish and roast oysters, drying some as future insurance against failed crops. Archeologists date the Shell Mounds from 1100 to 1550 AD and by Bienville’s arrival, the Mississippians appeared to have largely moved away. Indian Shell Mound Park is one of 13 stops on the Alabama Indigenous Mound Trail, a program administered by the University of Alabama Center for Economic Initiatives. On March 30, the University and the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources will unveil an educational marker at the park to draw public awareness to the Native American heritage of the island.

GHOSTS ON THE ISLAND Not surprising given its long history, our Dauphin Island is home to a fair number of ghosts or at least ghost stories. Make sure your senses are highly tuned as you visit these spots across the Island. INDIAN SHELL MOUND PARK This ancient site of Native American winter harvesting and oyster roasts still retains its celebratory essence. Legend has it that late at night you can hear the voices of Indian maidens singing to the beat of tribal drums and flutes. Given the protective nature of the tribe’s warriors, its probably best to keep on walking rather than invite yourself to the party.

Arial view of Fort Gaines. 2019

FORT GAINES Some suggest the fort is the most haunted spot on Dauphin Island. Visitors to the fort as well as employees tell tales of seeing ghosts of Confederate and Union soldiers wandering the grounds and standing watch on the walls. One of the most reported experiences is of a soldier who follows people around the grounds until they leave the fort. Many visitors to the Fort report hearing phantom foot steps and experiencing unnatural cold spots as well as seeing a woman in a long flowing skirt appear and then fade away. OTHER ISLAND SPIRITS Amongst the Goat Trees, a jilted bride who hung herself from one of the Oaks, wanders the grounds searching for her bridegroom. On the East End Beach, a man dressed in military garb staring at the waves and sometimes drifting across the road into oncoming traffic. A young bride left alone on the island by her husband who never returned, wanders at night from Cadillac Square to the bay whistling for her love. Also in Cadillac Square, a woman who wears a bag tied over her head digging and looking for something. At Sand Island, a lighthouse keeper who fell to his death from a catwalk high above the floor who walks the island smoking his foul-smelling cigar.


Making it official, in May 2014, Dauphin Island was named Sunset Capital of Alabama recognizing that the best sunset viewing on the Alabama Coast is right here. According to Mayor Jeff Collier, “A visit to Dauphin Island is a step back in time, reconnecting with nature and feeding your soul. With the fast-paced nature of the world, sometimes it’s best to take time to stop and watch the sunset.” ALABAMA COASTING’S DAUPHIN ISLAND LIFE

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Worth Checking Out! ST. ELMO


St. Elmo is a strong farming community that earns its name from the book written by Augusta Evans Wilson. The town was once served by the L&N railroad and drew in many visitors through its passenger depots. Today the community remains charming and quaint along U.S. Highway 90 lined with live oaks and cypress trees.

The community of Theodore’s claim to fame is the deliciously popular pecan. Theodore is the site of the Alabama Pecan Festival each November, featuring music, arts and crafts and the signature sweet southern nut prepared and served in a variety of ways. Theodore is also home to the beautiful Bellingrath Gardens and Home.

Trees line the road in St. Elmo.

IRVINGTON Irvington is a peaceful farming community located along U.S. Route 90 on the western side of South Mobile County. Irvington is home to many beautiful trees and plants that grow wildly along the southern plantations found here. Irvington also boasts its popularity through its Mobile International Speedway, that hosts many stock car races throughout the year.

Mobile International Speedway in Irvington.

Watermelon Festival in Grand Bay. 32 ALABAMA COASTING’S DAUPHIN ISLAND LIFE

Bellingrath Gardens and Home.

GRAND BAY Grand Bay is an area located several miles inland of the Mississippi Sound and is well known for its watermelon, although a lot of the land features pecan, peach and satsuma trees. The Grand Bay Watermelon Festival is held each 4th of July. Another unique feature of this area is the Grand Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Established in 1992, this 10,188-acre refuge helps protect one of the largest remaining expanses of wet pine savanna habitats on the Gulf Coast, and partially overlays the Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. Together, they protect nearly 18,000 acres of relatively undisturbed wildlife habitat. 2019

Shrimp boats at rest in Bayou la Batre. Photo by Tad Denson, MyShotz.com.

BAYOU LA BATRE & CODEN Known in the late 1800s and early 1900s as a resort town with medicinal spring water, historic Bayou La Batre is now renowned for its fresh Gulf seafood and is often called the “Seafood Capital of Alabama.” Bayou La Batre heralds the region’s fishing industry with annual events such as the “Blessing of the Fleet”, the “Taste of the Bayou” and “Kayak the Bayou.” Be sure to spend your time birding, fishing, and boating, and don’t miss a ride down scenic byway 188 to see century-old oaks.

dauphinislandchamber.com • 251-861-2150

Welcome to Dauphin Island…. A Rare Find Come and Enjoy our little piece of paradise, take a dip in the Gulf of Mexico, get sand between your toes and just RELAX. Join the Dauphin Island residents who proclaim to be living on “Island Time”. You will surely understand once you experience the serenity of an afternoon sunset or watch sea birds doing their aerial acrobatics. Dauphin Island is always standing guard between Mobile Bay and the vast Gulf of Mexico making it a true barrier island - complete with dunes, maritime forests, salt marshes, tidal flats and two freshwater lakes. Named “barrier” for their role in protecting the mainland from nature’s fury of storm waves, barrier islands also prevent the inflow of salt water from the Gulf into the bays and sounds by forming a physical barrier. This process is essential to maintaining the nursery characteristics of the estuarine ecosystem. The island is accessed from the mainland by a beautiful drive, consisting of a two and one-half mile causeway and a three-mile bridge which opened in 1982. Natural sugar-white, clean, soft sandy beaches adorn Dauphin Island. The south side of the island faces the Gulf of Mexico’s surf, and the north side faces the Mississippi Sound with calm and shallow waters. Both sides experience a forever changing kaleidoscope of sunrises and sunsets throughout the year.

A Few of our Many Local Attractions



Welcome Center (251)861-2150







Visiting the Island Parks ✓ Cadillac Square – 601 Bienville Blvd ✓ Magnolia Park –between the ferry landing, the Estuarium & Fort Gaines ✓ Quarles Skate Park – 1215 Bienville Blvd

✓ ✓ ✓ ✓

Town of Dauphin Island (251)861-5525

Emergency Services – Police (251)861-5523 – Fire – Ambulance – Dial 911 Public Works & Animal Control (251)861-5525 ext. 230 Dauphin Island Property Owners Assoc. (251)861-3144 Dauphin Island Post Office (251)861-2702 Dauphin Island Park & Beach Board (251)861-3607

Salt Creek Park – 1305 Bienville Blvd Pryor Park – 1301 Chaumont Ave Green Park – 301 Lemoyne Dr. Indian Shell Mound Park – 830 Desoto Dr.


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Advertiser Directory ACP REAL ESTATE INC.............................................. 9 ALABAMA REALTY.......... ....................................... 19 BEACHED CAFÉ.............. ............................................8 BEACHFRONT RENTALS & SALES......... ............... 31 BELLINGRATH GARDERS & HOME......... .............. 25 BGH CAFÉ........... ...................................................... 13 BOARDWALK REALTY............................................... 2 CAPT’N SNAPPERS RESTAURANT...... ..................29 DAUPHIN ISLAND CHAMBER................................ 33 DAUPHIN ISLAND HERITAGE & ARTS.....................3 DAUPHIN ISLAND SEA LAB......... .......................... 23 DINNER’S READY............ ...........................................9 ESTUARIUM......... ......................................................23 FORT GAINES.............................................................23 GRACE TYSON REAL ESTATE................................. 25 GRAY GULF CHARTERS............................................35 GREER’S......................................................................19 GULF BREEZE MOTEL........... .................................. 25


GUNPORT............ ..................................................... 28 HAPPY OCTOPUS.......... ............................................29 HIPPIE FISH............ ................................................... 19 ISLAND RAINBOW.......... .........................................28

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ISLANDERS’ RESTAURANT........ ........................... 34 ISLE DAUPHINE GOLF COURSE...............................25 LADY ANN DEEP SEA FISHING...............................26 MOBILE BAY FERRY...................................................13 PELICAN NEST RV........................................................8 PELICAN REEF RESTAURANT...... ............................35 SOMO......................................................................... 36



Since its inception, ALABAMA COASTING has been a recognized community resource for businesses, organizations and local governments – helping them reach visitors and active locals. As publishers of Alabama Coasting Magazine since 2010, we have proudly served as ambassadors for our home town and our local communities by telling the stories of the people, places and businesses that make this area so special. And now, in concert with the Coastal Alabama Partnership, we are proud to introduce DISCOVER COASTAL ALABAMA Magazine. This new publication replaces Alabama Coasting Magazine as the area’s premier quarterly visitor’s guide and regional resource. However, it does retain the same “coasting” vibe – celebrating our region’s life style, culture, attitude, and way of embracing our world.

Available online or by subscription at www.alabamacoasting.com

THE SAND BOX........................................................... 9 THE SILVER PEARL GIFTS.......... ............................. 19


VACASA ALABAMA....... ..........................................27

David Calametti • 251-623-1751 • David@alabamacoasting.com Danny Calametti • 832-435-3976 • Danny@alabamacoasting.com Bob Roberts • 256-343-4455 • RBR@shopacity.com




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