If you are looking for an island holiday, Dolphin Island, off the coast of Alabama, is the perfect place to relax. You can reach Dolphin Island from the mainland of Alabama. Miles of pristine beaches, original shops and great restaurants make Dolphin Island one of the best destinations to visit on the road.
You can reach Dauphin Island from the Americas via the I-193 Dauphin Island Bridge if you come from Mobile, Alabama or Mississippi. Those arriving from Golf Shore or Florida can take the more picturesque Fort Morgan ferry.
Read on to find out how to get to Dauphin Island. Find out which route is quickest, how to use the Mobile Bay ferry and how long it takes to get to Dolphin Island.
Can I go to Dolphin Island?
The small island of Dauphin is only three quarters of a mile wide at its widest point. The island is located in the capital Alabama at sunset and is the southernmost point of the state, 3 miles south of Mobile Bay.
You can reach Dauphin Island via a long bridge connecting it to the Alabama mainland – take the I-193 Bridge via the 3 mile Dauphin Island Bridge (formerly known as the Gordon Personalities Bridge).
If you come from a different place than the other barrier islands south of Bon Secours Bay, the bridge is the fastest option. Even if you are from Pensacola, Florida, the mobile road and bridge are about 1 hour and 30 minutes faster, although they are 30 miles longer.
The Gordon Business Bridge is a two-lane extension of Alabama’s Route 193 that offers breathtaking views of Mobile Bay, Dauphin Island and the Alabama coast.
Enjoy breathtaking coastal views by taking the I-193 ferry to Dauphin Island.
The second route will be longer unless you cross it from the Gulf Coast. This route uses a small car ferry which, like your crossing, will take you from Fort Morgan to the island of Dauphin. The road to Fort Morgan is often referred to as the most scenic route on the Gulf Coast.
From the Gulf Coast follow State Route 180 to Fort Morgan and cross the breathtaking Mobile Bay by car ferry. The ferry takes you to the mobile ferry dock on the east side of the island, from where you can travel across the island.
How do you get to Dolphin Island?
You can reach the Isle of Dolphin via a bridge or a ferry, wherever you come from. Most people will use the bridge because it is the easiest and fastest way to get anywhere.
To get to Dauphin Island from a number of popular nearby locations, follow the instructions below.
Route to Dolphin Island from Mobile, Alabama
- Take the I-10 west of Mobile.
- Take the 17A-17B and follow the AL-193 south to Dauphin Island.
- Follow Highway 193 (Dauphin Island Parkway) to Cedar Point.
- Cross the Dauphin Island bridge to reach the island.
Enjoy the scenic view of Mobile, Alabama, while waiting for the car ferry.
Ferry service to Dauphin Island via Fort Morgan
The ferry dock is located in the historic Fort Morgan. Below you will find some tips to get from Mobile to the ferry port of Fort Morgan instead of driving over the bridge.
- Follow the I-10 east of Mobile through Mobile Bay.
- Exit 49 at Baldwin Beach Express (Route 83) heading south.
- Take the Foley Beach Express south through Summerdale.
- Take Coastal Gateway Boulevard south along Jack Edwards Airport to Gulf Shores Parkway.
- When you arrive at Golf State Park, take Route 180 West to Fort Morgan.
The ferry service is operated by two ferries, the Fort Morgan and the Marissa Mae Nicole, but check the schedule before you leave – only one ferry sails between Labour Day and Memorial Day, and you may have to wait an hour and a half if you arrive at a bad time.
How long does it take to get to Dolphin Island?
From the mainland of Alabama, you can reach Dauphin Island in just a few minutes, and a ferry takes about 40 minutes to cross the Dauphin Island Bridge.
Most people come to Dolphin Island via Mobile or Pensacola, and it takes just as long to get out of these two cities:
- Mobile – 40 minutes (33 miles)
- Pensacola (motorway on the bridge) – 1 hour 30 minutes (92 miles)
- Pensacola (slow ferry) – 2 hours 45 minutes (63 miles)
For those who come from faraway countries, here are some popular starting points:
- New Orleans, Louisiana – 2 hours 30 minutes (145 miles)
- Birmingham, Alabama – 4 hours 20 minutes (290 miles)
- Atlanta, Georgia – 5 hours 20 minutes (360 miles)
Remember that you need to be at the ferry 30 to 60 minutes before departure, so waiting on board increases the time needed for the crossing. Queues can also be long at weekends and on public holidays in summer.
You cross the mobile ferry Fort Gaines on Dauphin island
What you need to know to get to Dolphin Island
Mobile ferry across the bay
Only two ferries connect Fort Morgan with Dauphin Island – Fort Morgan and Marissa Mae Nicole. Both ferries are operated by Mobile Bay Ferry.
The ferry leaves every one and a half hours from Fort Morgan to Dauphin Island, starting at 8 am. Schedules vary depending on the season and additional transitions are added to the calendar during the summer months.
In case of bad weather conditions, the ferries can be cancelled as soon as possible. Storms and rough sea conditions can make ferry travel dangerous. So call in advance to see if the ferry sails if the weather is bad.
Depending on the tide, low tide vehicles may not be able to get in and wait for the tide to turn, as small ferries may have main problems getting in and out.
Ferries are good for normal cars – if you have a large car or trailer you can’t get on board and have to take the long way across the bridge to Dauphin Island. For more information about the requirements, please visit the Mobile Bay Ferry website.
Ferry rates Mobile bay
They are correct at the time of writing – check with the ferry company for current ticket prices.
- Conventional cars up to 21 feet with driver: $16.00 ($3.00 discount for return flight)
- Large vehicles and motorhomes up to 40 feet with a driver: $35.00 ($7.00 return discount)
- Motorcycles with driver : $10.00
- Each additional passenger per vehicle (covers all day trips.) : $5.00
- Any trailer or boat up to 21 feet: Extra charge of $12.00.
- Any trailer or boat over 21 feet: add $18.00.
- Adults (includes all attractions in one day) : $5.00
- Children under the age of 6: Free of charge.
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