Mobile Bay (Dauphin Island) in Alabama

by  guest-paddler

A self-supported trip created by guest-paddler

Trip Overview

My wife and I drove down to Mobile and spent the night. Next morning we drove about 20 miles to Dauphin Island. There is a gold course and that's where we put in. This is on the south side of Dauphin island. The wind was out of the northwest and strong but in the lee of the island there were only small whitecaps.

Just south of Dauphin Island, Sand Island extends south into the gulf for several miles. These are low sand islands with just a few bushes and some grass. Sand island is separated by a 1/3 mile channel and there were whitecaps. It was sloppy enough that we wore our spray skirts and several waves washed over the tops of our kayaks. On the western side of the island the waves were fairly large so we paddled across the channel and south along the eastern shore. It was cool and with the strong winds we only went about 3 miles out. Going out was easy we just paddled enough to steer. I saw several stingrays and the usual shells. After a light lunch we paddled back. The waves were larger in the channel and we were going with the waves. Our Kayaks have rudders and they came in handy.

Janie got out and I helped her with her kayak. I then paddled alone to Fort Gaines where she picked me up. With the wind at my back the 3-4 mile trip took about an hour of easy paddling. Coming to Fort Gaines the paddling became interesting as swells from the bay came around the point. Also there were jetties and hundreds (thousands) of seabirds. Among the birds were gulls, pelicans and cormorants. Some allowed me to get close and others flew away. Many circled overhead and though they "bombed" around me there were no direct hits.

As I came around the point the swells increased to 4-5' and were confused coming from different directions. I could see Janie standing on the ramparts waving as I concentrated on staying right side up. Just as I was beginning to feel in control a pilot boat came roaring by and threw up an even larger wave. It is amazing how well the kayak rode the waves. This was the biggest stuff I'd ever been in and as I realized how well the boat rode I relaxed and enjoyed myself. There is a boat ramp on the northeast tip of Dauphin Island and Janie was standing there waiting for me. She had taken a tour of the fort while I paddled. A great time we plan to go back when it's warmer and calmer.

The next day we paddled at Bon Secour near Gulf Shores. It was OK but we liked Sand Island better.


Many places in Mobile two small hotels on Dauphin Island.


From Mobile take the Dauphin Island parkway to Dauphin Island. At the intersection turn right. Turn left just after crossing a small bridge. Park at the Golf Course.

Trip Details

  • Trip Duration: Day Trip
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Water Type: Open Water/Ocean

Trip Location