She’s BAAAAAAAACK! Suzanne’s back to give you some info on a trip from Memphis to Dauphin Island! She’s still got Memphis on her mind and wrote this post about a beach close to Memphis. Just in time to squeeze in a beach trip with your family before school starts! -Sally
Years ago I wrote a post called The Closest Beach to Memphis as moms were asking. I compiled some info from readers and never actually made it to the Gulf Coast while we lived in Memphis. It’s remained one of the most popular posts on this site due to people searching for just that – but it’s wrong! The closest beach to Memphis is Dauphin Island, Alabama – and my family just went there (via plane, from Plano, TX)! According to an EMM reader it’s about a six-hour drive from Memphis, so I’m totally kicking myself that we never went from Memphis to Dauphin Island while we lived there!
If you’re looking for a quiet beach vacation Dauphin Island is great option.
Stuff To Do
You can rent kayaks and paddle boards to get out on the water, bring or rent bikes to enjoy a 7.5 mile long bike trail, and there are piers for fishing. If you’re not staying on the water there are public beaches including the West End Beach, which is a great spot for shells. There is also a 137-acre Audubon Bird Sanctuary (347 species have been reported on the island).
Check out the Estuarium at Sea Lab. It’s an educational public aquarium highlighting the four key habitats of coastal Alabama. Sea Lab also offers day and overnight camps.
Other Things Nearby
Downtown Mobile (about 45 minutes away) is a beautiful, old city with lots of interesting, local restaurants. Military buffs will love visiting the USS Alabama and seeing the military ships under construction in Mobile Bay (by Australian firm Austal).
The Gulf Coast Exploreum science center is also downtown, to help keep those kids entertained, and there is an art community with a few shops as well. We visited the Cathedral Square Art Gallery and were impressed by the art and affordable prices.
You can take the 40-minute ride on the Mobile Bay ferry from Fort Gaines on Dauphin Island to Fort Morgan at Mobile Point. We did this and then drove to Flora-Bama, which was entertaining.
Where to Stay
We stayed at a condo at the Holiday Isle (via VRBO) and enjoyed the beach right in front of the building. It was great to go out after dinner and catch crabs! There are not a lot of restaurants on the island, so I’d definitely recommend staying someplace with a kitchen. Get your groceries in Mobile (there is a Whole Foods, and several other grocery stores) and pick up fresh fish at Skinner’s Seafood on the island.
Other Useful Websites If You’re Traveling from Memphis to Dauphin Island
Suzanne Johnston is the founder of East Memphis Moms and now lives in Plano, TX where she blogs about enjoying a healthy, active lifestyle at Plano Health & Fitness.