Sun, surf, history and birds – there’s so much to do and see on Dauphin Island, you’ll hardly spend a moment in your vacation rental
First explored by the Spanish in 1519 but not settled until 180 years later by the French, Dauphin Island bears the name of the Dauphin, a name given to the inheritor of the French throne in colonial times. The Spanish had called it Massacre Island, so it's probably good for tourism that the French permanently settled the island and not the Spanish. Dauphin Island does have a few pirates in its past, though--in 1711 buccaneers destroyed all of the island's buildings, while robbing the residents and looting their valuables. Oddly enough, Dauphin Island has something of a connection to Detroit. The governor of the Louisiana Territory, of which Dauphin Island was a part, was named Cadillac, who was the founder of Detroit. There's a square on Dauphin Island named for him. Of course, Dauphin Island's proximity to Mobile Bay made it an important part of the Civil War, as Confederates used Fort Gaines (located on the island) during the Battle of Mobile Bay.
Most people are surprised that Dauphin Island has such a rich history, especially since it's simply a barrier island, 14 miles long and 1.75 miles wide. Plenty of room for vacation rentals and fun in the sun, but seemingly not big enough for such a wide range of illustrious events.
Its active past has given way to an active present, one more suited for vacationers looking to get away from the activity of their daily lives back home. Many come to Dauphin Island to watch birds, as there are several aviaries--nearly 350 species of birds have been sighted, and bird watchers have seven sanctuaries at their disposal. The math on that one's easy--a 7 day stay in your vacation rental means you can visit a sanctuary a day! Be sure to visit the Audubon Bird Sanctuary, with 164 acres of woodlands criss-crossed with hiking trails and a 1,000 foot, handicap accessible boardwalk.
Of course, if you want to delve into the past, you'll be able to do that too. There are historic tours of Fort Gaines. Ever hear the phrase, "damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead?" Yes, that was first uttered on Dauphin Island--well, just off the island, on the water, during the Battle of Mobile Bay.
You'll find plenty of sun, sand and surf activities on Dauphin Island. Boating, fishing, swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, sun bathing, sandcastle building, shelling, wind surfing, parasailing, paddle boarding--you name it, you can do it on Dauphin Island. Shop, eat at great restaurants, and just while away the hours basking in the warmth generated by the sun and friendly locals.