Alabama Coasting 2019 - Page 8

l As for its sparkling sandy beaches, Dauphin Island is about 14 miles long and surrounded by water and beach- front. 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 regat- ta marks its 64th anniversary in 2019.) Then, in July, there’s the annual Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo, held over a pe- riod of three days on – you guessed it – Dauphin Island. It celebrates its 86th an- niversary 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 sea- food comes right out of Mobile Bay, the Mississippi Sound and the Gulf of Mex- ico.  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 Or- leans 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 barri- er island in the middle of winter! l There’s more to a Dauphin Island va- cation than beaches, boats, fishing expe- ditions 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 dol- phin 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 and 8 ALABAMA COASTING’S DAUPHIN ISLAND LIFE 2019