Alabama's Dauphin Island has a long and fascinating history. The French colonized this 14-mile long, semitropical island in 1699, and the town there was built on an ancient burial site that lead to the island originally being called Massacre Island. In 1707 the name was changed to Dauphin Island, a more fitting name for what was at the time the capital for the entire Louisiana Territory. The island went from French to Spanish to British and eventually American control, and Fort Gaines has been in use ever since; today it is a Coast Guard Base. Historical tours are available for curious guests.
Visitors to Dauphine Island can camp in RV's or tents at any of 150 campsites, most of which have complete utilities. Cadillac Square even has bathhouses among the picnic areas and island spanning bike trails.
There are a number of lakes and fishable beaches on Dauphin Island, but most visitors use the Dauphin Island Pier. This 850-ft. long pier has plenty of parking, is wheelchair accessible and is lit from below for spec fishing as well as above for night fishing. Visitors to Dauphin Island might catch Sheephead, Spanish Mackerel, Black Drum or Flounder, among other fish.
One of the most impressive attractions on Dauphin Island is the Audubon Bird Sanctuary on the eastern end of the island. Over 160 acres of maritime forest, marshes, dunes, lakes, swamps and beaches are set aside for the large numbers of birds that use this barrier island as a stopover point for their seasonal migrations. Wild Bird Magazine has named Dauphin Island as one of the top 4 places in North America to view spring migrations.