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Dauphin Island Welcomes Snowbirds With Great Sunsets, Natural Environment on the Alabama Gulf Coast

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Location: Dauphin Island is located in the extreme southwest corner of Alabama, with beaches on the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi Sound.

Phone: 251-861-5525 or 1-877-532-8744

The sun heads below the horizon on Dauphin Island, Alabama. Designated by the state Legislature as “The Sunset Capital of Alabama,” the island’s most spectacular sunsets come in the fall and winter. (Photo courtesy of the Town of Dauphin Island)

Website: www.townofdauphinisland.org

Looking for a laid-back winter nest? Head for Alabama

 

            DAUPHIN ISLAND, Alabama – “Laid-back.”

            That’s how residents of Dauphin Island tend to describe their barrier island home, and it’s why they believe the community is increasingly attractive to the winter tourists known as “snowbirds.”

            “If you want to go someplace to hang out and chill out, this is the place to come,” said Mayor Jeff Collier. “Our atmosphere is very laid-back, very relaxed and very friendly.”

            Trish Kerr, who owns a gift shop and serves as president of the local Chamber of Commerce, agreed.

            “It’s not crowded here,” Kerr added. “And the sunsets are absolutely gorgeous in the fall and winter.”

            In fact, she noted, Dauphin Island is known regionally by its slogan, “The Sunset Capital of Alabama.”

            Compared to heavily populated beach communities in Florida, Dauphin Island’s rental market is “a lot less expensive,” Kerr said. “It’s just a great place for snowbirds.”

            “Autumn and winter are beautiful on the island,” the mayor added. “The summer tourists have left, so there’s room for quiet walks on the beach. The fishing is great, and daytime temperatures in the fall are in the 60s and 70s. In the winter, we occasionally may have a day when you have to put on a jacket and snuggle under a blanket at night – just enough to remind our snowbirds why they came south.”

            In some ways, Dauphin Island is defined by what it doesn’t have: There are no high-rise condominium towers, no big-box stores, no traffic jams or even any traffic lights. Yet there is plenty for visitors of all ages to do and see for weeks on end, including a nine-hole golf course, walking and biking paths that span the island, a renowned Audubon Bird Sanctuary, historic Fort Gaines, Dauphin Island Sea Lab and Estuarium, deep sea fishing, kayak and paddle-board rentals, sunset and dolphin cruises, and restaurants serving locally caught Gulf seafood and tropical beverages.

            Snowbirds can also take numerous day trips to attractions in nearby Mobile and to casinos in coastal Mississippi. They can also ride the Mobile Bay Ferry to neighboring Baldwin County.

            At the Dauphin Island Park & Beach Board’s campground, interim manager Sherry Cain said snowbirds will start arriving in October followed by “a lot more in November” and some after the Christmas holidays. Many will stay well into the early spring.

            “They love to be here for Mardi Gras (in January and February) and also for the fall and spring bird migrations,” Cain said. “Those are really big deals on the island.”

            As for the community, the pastor of the local United Methodist Church said snowbirds become part of its fabric while they’re in town.

            “We are like a second home to them,” said the Rev. Cecil Jackson. “They’re very faithful in worship, fellowship activities and special projects at our church and the other churches on the island. While they’re here, they get involved in just about everything that goes on in town, whether it’s painting classes at the local art gallery or yoga classes at the campground.”

            Dauphin Island is located in the extreme southwest corner of Alabama, with beaches on the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi Sound. For more information about the island, people can call Town Hall at 251-861-5525 and visit its website at www.townofdauphinisland.org. They can also call the Chamber of Commerce toll-free at 1-877-532-8744, email the chamber at contact@dauphinislandchamber.com and visit its website at www.dauphinislandchamber.org.