We recently returned from a week vacation at our all time favorite vacation spot and have had so many questions as to where we were at, so we thought we would put it in a blog post to give you all the low down on our favorite vacation spot!
Dauphin Island, Alabama. Similar and close to Gulf Shores, Ft. Morgan, Orange Beach, but way less touristy, locally owned, and more relaxed!
We started going to Dauphin island in approx 1993 and spent most of our Spring Breaks there while growing up. We have now started making the trips with our own families, and more and more people from our hometown have started joining us!
This is the kind of place where you actually take a VACATION, and don't need a vacation from vacation when you get back home. No plan for the week is needed, unless you wish to make them. The kids can play on your private beach area while you are on the deck overlooking, or sitting with you feet in the sand. You might have some neighbors, and will have a passersby walking along the water's edge, but, your own space for a week. You can leave your beach chairs and toys out all night .... cook in your home (fresh seafood is available for purchase on the island and not even go out to dinner if you want ). There are some great restaurants, but we choose not take our large families (for obvious reasons).
52 people went with us this year, renting 5 houses all close together, so all of the kids could play together, and us adults could enjoy a nice beverage and conversation with some of our best friends.
Our first house the Blue Haven.
There have been many hurricanes that have caused some serious damage to the island and over the years, most all of the houses we stayed in as kids are now all gone, but they have built some amazing ones to replace them!
We always tell people if you like a go-go-go vacation, shows, shopping, restaurants, etc., this may not be the place for you.
There are things to do, though, if you prefer not to sit in the white sand all day. You can tour the historic Fort Morgan, visit the Dauphin Island Sea Lab (we visit every time we are on the island...kids love it), hit a few locally owned restaurants, enjoy some small gift shops, but we enjoy the beach the most! There is a ferry that goes between Fort Morgan and Dauphin Island and we tend to take a trip over to Gulf Shores to let the kids do go karts and fun stuff for a day, and if you have never been on a ferry it is a unique thing to do! West End Public Beach has recently added several fun activities.
People always ask, where do you stay?
The Island has two sides Sound (Bay) Side or Gulf/Beach Side.
We always have stayed on the Gulf/Beach side, but the bay side is also very nice, just doesn't have the waves and beach as much, but would have a cheaper price for sure!
On the East end of the Island you will find Condos & Homes, some in beautiful gated communities, where as the west end (where we always stay) is mainly beach houses. As you move farther west down the island there will be fewer homes (which we like because it is less crowded) Some houses will be front row with unobstructed views of the water or if you are 2nd row you will still have great views just might have house in front of you. The houses further east might have 3 to 5 houses on the same road, rather than a single or double. There are also condominiums close to the public beach area.
We like to think of myself as a realtors on Dauphin Island (total joke.. but we do feel like we know quite a bit!)
Here are just a few of the houses we have stayed in over the years..and many that are long gone
One of our favorite houses.
Our most recent trip we stayed in houses very close together and with an opening in the front which was perfect. One thing we would suggest when looking at houses, get the address and google map/satellite view of them from over the top. This will show you how close to other houses, the water etc.
Here are some resources for houses!
Dauphin Island Real Estate
Check out the vacation rentals/interactive map
Dauphin Island Beach Rentals
Island Resort Management
Tyson Real Estate
Rentals are cheaper if you go before Memorial Day. Growing up, we used to go during spring break, however the weather is a little cooler, and the water was always too cold to really swim much. June/July are great, but the farther into July/August it is WARM for sure but still nice right on the water!
Most beach houses are weekly / 7 day rentals during peak season but some VRBO or Condos may do 3/4 night stays as well
While we were there, we managed to do some great photos for our business, Highway 3 (shophighway3.com).