Tuesday, May 23, 2023

What to Do | Day Trip on the Mobile Bay Ferry to Dauphin Island Sea Lab

guests enjoying the Mobile Bay Ferry ride
Mobile Bay Ferry
During your stay in Gulf Shores, particularly if you have children with you, consider taking a day trip on the Mobile Bay Ferry to Dauphin Island, where you can visit the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. Having done this myself with my young son, I can vouch for the fun. The journey begins as you drive your car aboard the Mobile Bay Ferry at the western end of Fort Morgan, the historic site where the bay meets the Gulf of Mexico. Aboard the ferry, you'll be treated to breathtaking views of the bay, with dolphins occasionally playing alongside the vessel. The 40 minute scenic ride across the bay is a fun new experience that creates a sense of anticipation for what awaits on the island. You can exit your car while crossing the bay and enjoy the salty breeze and views from the deck of the ferry. 

child touching a stingray at Dauphin Island Sea Lab
Dauphin Island Sea Lab
Upon arrival at Dauphin Island, you'll drive off the ferry to find yourself immersed in a coastal paradise. The island's pristine beaches, abundant wildlife, and laid-back atmosphere beckon exploration. And what better place to dive into the wonders of the marine world than the Dauphin Island Sea Lab?

The Dauphin Island Sea Lab is a renowned research and education facility dedicated to marine science. For Marine Biology students, it is a research facility. For the public, it offers visitors a chance to learn about the diverse marine ecosystems of the Gulf of Mexico through interactive exhibits, touch tanks filled with fascinating sea creatures, and informative guided tours. Take a stroll on the Estuarium boardwalk, where you can see coastal habitats up close and marvel at the rich biodiversity thriving in the area.

If time permits after the Sea Lab, explore the island further by visiting historic Fort Gaines, a Civil War site, or exploring some of the island's locally owned specialty shops. As the day winds down, you can catch a unique view of the sunset over the bay as you cross back to Fort Morgan and Gulf Shores on the ferry.

NOTE: Pick a nice calm day for this, with a clear forecast. The ferry will be closed if a storm blows up while you are on Dauphin Island, making for a long drive back around Mobile Bay and back to Gulf Shores.

LEARN MORE about the Mobile Bay Ferry

LEARN MORE about the Dauphin Island Sea Lab

LEARN MORE about Dauphin Island and Fort Gaines

VISIT OUR WHAT TO DO PAGE for a list of more local favorite activities

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