Dauphin Island, Alabama, also known as the sunset capital of Alabama, is located in the Gulf of Mexico, just three miles south of Mobile Bay It’s easy to get to Dauphin Island, and it connects to the mainland by a bridge. Additionally, regular ferry service connects Dauphin Island and neighboring communities.
Dauphin Island is a barrier island that a fabulous place for enjoying life at a slower pace, or taking in the many things to do with family and friends. But first, you have to get here. And that’s easy.
Here’s how to get here.
Mobile Bay Ferry
The Dauphin Island Ferry is correctly called the Mobile Bay Ferry. Most Dauphin Island visitors arrive via either Pensacola or Mobile. This is most certainly a scenic way to arrive on Dauphin Island and one of the highlights of any visit.
Please arrive for the ferry between 30–60 minutes before your departure. Lines can be long, especially on weekends and over holidays in the summer.
There are two Mobile Bay Ferry company ferries which travel from Fort Morgan to Dauphin Island. Those are the Fort Morgan ferry and the Marissa Mae Nicole ferry. Ferrys depart Fort Morgan every 90 minutes, starting at 8:00AM. Traveling from Gulf Shores is quickest via the ferry.
The ferry is considered among the most scenic experiences on the entire Gulf Coast. You can also travel between historic Fort Gaines and Fort Morgan (Mobile Point) on a 40-minute ride. Enjoy amazing views of the two historic forts that have been guardians of Mobile Bay for many years. The ferry ride is enjoyable and just the right duration. Expect to see birds and other wildlife en route.
The departure times can vary and you should confirm that the ferry schedule advance. More crossings are added in the summer when tourists arrive. Also check weather conditions for possible cancelations or delays.
Dauphin Island Bridge
Driving from Mobile to Dauphin Island is a quick 33-mile trip and is fastest via the 3-mile long Dauphin Island bridge. Driving from Pensacola is also faster via the Dauphin Island Bridge, and that is just a 92 mile drive. This makes weekend getaways easy.
You can drive to Dauphin Island via the long bridge connecting it to mainland Alabama. Travel via I-193 over the three fascinating miles that were previously called the Gordon Persons Bridge.
When arriving from the mainland instead of from the barrier islands to the south, the Dauphin Island Bridge is a faster, albeit less scenic way to arrive. This cuts travel time from 60–90 minutes compared with the Mobile Bay Ferry.
The bridge isn’t without great appeal, however, as you’ll also be able to enjoy views of Dauphin Island, the Mobile Bay entrance, and the Alabama Gulf Coast shoreline.
Once you arrive on Dauphin Island.
Check into your beautiful Dauphin Island Beach Rentals vacation home. Then choose to relax, head to one of our white sand public beaches, or the remote and iconic West End Beach, or enjoy a virtually unlimited number of activities for which we are renowned. Just ask us, we love to help! When the day’s done, enjoy grilling at home, or head to the Pirate’s Bar, Skinner’s Seafood, or any number of our famous restaurants.
Dauphin Island Sea Lab. At the Estuarium you’ll find more than 100 kinds of sea life. A 10,000 square foot exhibit is comprised of 30 aquariums. Each of these is focused on one aspect of the Mobile Bay Estuary. The Estuary is the 4th largest of its kind in the US.
There are seven miles of beaches to welcome you at our Dauphin Island Beaches. Activities are limited to your imagination but can include shelling, beach-combing, fishing from boat, pier, jetty or the beach, kayaking and paddle-boarding, and surfing.
When you travel with your pet, know that Dauphin Island Public Beach is a pet-friendly beach. There is a visitors access access of $2-$5 during high season.
Three of the most famous things to do on Dauphin Island are as follows:
Historic Fort Gaines played a large role in the 1864 Battle of Mobile Bay during the Civil War. So too did Fort Morgan. Take a leisurely self-guided walking tour, explore the connecting tunnels, see the cannons still atop walls overlooking the Gulf.
Dauphin Island Sea Lab Estuarium is just not to be missed. Take in the Living Marsh Boardwalk as well as the stingray touch pool. Learn about our local sea life. Not far from where you’ll catch your Dauphin Island ferry ride.
Audubon Bird Sanctuary is a top draw given that Daupin Island is among the most important world sites for bird migrations. There are 164 acres of forest, dunes, and marshes.