Go for the wildlife, not the beaches
I recently had a chance to go camping in our Scamp at Dauphin Island. The coastal getaway spot sits off the panhandle of Alabama’s coast and is known in part for its white beaches.
Video Recap of Dauphin Island
Unfortunately, when compared to Florida’s beaches just an hour or so down the road, I have to report that Dauphin Island’s beaches don’t match the beauty of Florida’s Emerald Coast.
Both locations have gorgeous sand, but the water at nearby Destin, Florida is of crystal clear. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case at Dauphin Island. The island is just a little too close to the mouth of the Mississippi River, so the water is murky.
Stroll through the sanctuary
However, this does not mean that Dauphin Island does not have some real highlights. We were there on Memorial Day weekend, and it was clear that this is a prime location for fishing.
I’m not much of a fisherman, but I do enjoy hunting for birds and other wildlife with my camera, and this is where Dauphin Island shines. There was a bird sanctuary right next to our campground, and this made our trip worthwhile.
We walked through the sanctuary early in the morning to avoid the afternoon heat. Lucky for us, it was a perfect time and we saw an abundance of wildlife. We even pulled this off with my rambunctious 4-year-old. The highlight for me was alligator lake where we can confirm there are alligators. We got almost uncomfortably close with an alligator, turtles and massive osprey. Pictures below.
The Island also boasts a national historic site with Fort Morgan. It was built between 1819 and 1833 and you can get a great look at it in my video at the top of this page.
For me, Dauphin Island is a great place for a short visit, but I wouldn’t head there for a week long beach vacation. If it’s convenient to go, definitely make the stop, but if you’re debating between Dauphin Island or another beach along the Florida Panhandle. I’d pick the Florida beaches any day of the week.