RV Snow Birds Migrate to Dauphin Island, Alabama
Whether for the golf, the food, the fishing or the leisurely strolls along miles of white sand beaches, these “winter Islanders” have found the tiny barrier Island on the Gulf of Mexico to be a popular destination far from the cold back home.
“A handful of our snow birds come to the Island just to get away, but traditionally most of them come to play golf,” said Jeff Collier, GM and PGA member pro of the Dauphin Island Golf Course. “They come from Canada, Indiana and Illinois, Wisconsin . . . I-65 is a conduit almost straight to the golf course.”
Collier, who is also Mayor of Dauphin Island, likens the course to the more difficult links-style courses built along large bodies of water and forest areas. “Ours is not a true links course, but very similar because of the Gulf and natural roughs, which in our case are dunes and trees,” he said. “It’s traditionally a course with mixed grasses in the fairways unlike more manicured courses like Augusta National.”
At 600-yards, the par 72 course is fairly narrow and considered by many to be a difficult play. “Accuracy is most important on this course,” Collier said. “You don’t have to hit it a mile, but you do need to hit it straight to stay in play and out of the dunes.”
Whether walking the course or taking a cart, the scenery is beautiful with views of rolling dunes covered in tall grasses, old oaks bent by years of sea breezes, and the sparkling Gulf water. Then add the relaxed pace of play and a round becomes even more special. “During the winter we’re seldom overly crowded and our guests are never pushed by more aggressive golfers wanting to play through.”
Though Dauphin Island is home to a variety of accommodations from condos and rental homes, to bed and breakfast inns and the cozy Gulf Breeze Motel, many snow birds like to nest in the Dauphin Island Campground and RV Park. “During the winter we normally stay at about 75 percent capacity with snow birds,” said Mike Henderson, who operates the campground.
The campground has 150 sites with both 30 and 50 amp power and water. Three quarters of the sites also have sewer connections, and there is a dump station on the property. The facility has bathrooms, hot showers, washers and dryers and more. “We have a large pavilion with its own kitchen that is heavily used by campers and rallies, and recreation facilities and planned activities for both adults and kids.”
Tucked into a thicket of oak trees and pines, the campground features a path that leads directly into the nearby Audubon Bird Sanctuary with a freshwater lake, and many species of birds and other wildlife to be viewed up close and personal. Miles of white sand beach and rolling dunes, a small covered pavilion and dune observation points are a short stroll down a wooded path at the south end of the property.
Part of the popularity of the Dauphin Island Campground comes from its nearness to the water and great fishing. “We have free boat launches with five-minute access to the Gulf of Mexico,” said Henderson. “And, for our campers there is a fish cleaning pavilion with fresh water connections on-site that can accommodate up to 12 fishermen at one time.”
Henderson points out that the slower, non-commercial nature of Dauphin Island is what lures new visitors to the Island and keeps bringing his regulars back year after year. “They like the Island’s secluded nature,” he said. “When I get calls asking about our go-carts and discos, I explain that Dauphin Island is a laid back place to come and relax along the Gulf Coast. It’s like a ‘50s-style beach town set in the 21st Century. It’s a small town and our campers love it.”
Dauphin Island is just 33 miles south of Mobile Alabama at the mouth of Mobile Bay. For more information about Dauphin Island, Alabama, please visit www.dauphinisland.cc or call 1-877-532-8744 toll free. Dauphin Island is “Alabama’s Family Beach”®.