Dauphin Island, Alabama is the perfect place for a relaxed family vacation.
If you are looking for a slower “island time” place in the states that is not covered by high rise hotels, this is the spot for you! Forty-five minutes from Mobile, Alabama, Dauphin Island (where fresh water meets salt water) creates a perfect living environment for mass amounts of sea life and a semi-tropical forest for birds.
Start your visit at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. This is an awesome hands-on museum for adults and kids. Here one begins to grasp the importance of healthy fresh and salt water to support marine life. Also, they offer a great summer day program for kids.
The Sea Lab supports all types of research on coastal waters; plus, private tours can be arranged by calling ahead. We had the special treat of talking with a shark scientist. My 9 year old is obsessed with great white sharks, while not found in Alabama, he did get to hear about how shark scientists catch, tag and study tiger sharks. Man, those were big fishing hooks.
The waters are teaming with fish. Floating out on my raft in the late afternoon I felt a thump, thump, thump on my back. Stepping off the raft, I felt it around my feet. It was fish!
You can fish for your own catch on many day tours or just stop by Skinner’s Fish Market and let them steam up a bunch of fresh scrimp for you–Cajun style. Fresh clams, the fish catch of the day and more are laid out on ice for you to select. Plus, the men behind the counter are a wealth of fish tales about the island.
In the evening make your way to the Western Beach for a Humdinger Snowball, an island delicacy made of shaved ice with a vanilla ice cream ball in the middle and covered in snow cone syrup of your choice. They will even top it with condensed milk just to send your insulin over the edge.
The waves are bigger over on the Western Beach, a long peninsula shaped strip of beach good for walking and shelling. Their is a fee to use this beach during the day but after 5 pm it is free. On summer weekends the Western Beach hosts movies and concerts.
Dauphin Island is also home to an Audubon bird sanctuary with 3 miles of designated National Recreation Trails. Ninety-five percent of the 445 types of birds spotted in Alabama use the island as a first land fall resting place for spring migrations. This 14 mile island is crucial to the migration of semi-tropical birds because of it’s protected forest.
Bring your bike! The whole island can be ridden in about an hour. From the eastern beach you can hop a ferry and continue you tour at Fort Morgan. Dauphin Island, Alabama is a relaxed, affordable vacation spot for the whole family.
Dauphin Island Sea Lab-the joyous family
Humdinger Snowballs In Alabama the joyous family
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