Dauphin Island is a town in Mobile County, Alabama on a barrier island of the same name (split by the Katrina Cut), at the Gulf of Mexico. It incorporated in 1988 and the town is included in the Mobile metropolitan statistical area. The island (originally named "Massacre Island") was renamed for Louis XIV's great-grandson and heir, the Dauphin. The name of the island is often mistaken as "Dolphin Island"; dauphin is "dolphin" in the French language.
The Gulf of Mexico is to the south of the island; the Mississippi Sound and Mobile Bay are to the north. The island's eastern end helps define the mouth of Mobile Bay. The eastern, wider portion of the island is shaded by thick stands of pine trees, but the narrow, western part of the island features scrub growth and few trees.
Dauphin Island is home to Fort Gaines, Dauphin Island Sea Lab, The Estuarium public aquarium, the Dauphin Island Airport, boat ramps, a large public pier, many historic sites, numerous restaurants, condominium developments, and private homes. Their beaches attract large amounts of tourists; with fishing being a popular activity in the waters surrounding the island. The island is connected to the mainland by the Gordon Persons Bridge.
Dauphin island has several bird sanctuaries, including the 164-acre Audubon Bird Sanctuary and is the first landfall for by many birds as they migrate north from South America.