If you’re seeking an island escape in Alabama, look no further than Dauphin Island. A vacation rental in Dauphin Island is a charming home away from home that’s tucked away in a picturesque landscape. The island culture offers a curious mix of proud mainland Americana, authentic Southern pride, and the scenic Gulf Coast. Accordingly, the island thrives on its tourism. There are dozens of great eateries suitable for family dining. Here are 11 of the top kid-friendly restaurants in and around Dauphin Island.
1. Skinner’s Seafood
Seafood restaurants generally have a high bar to clear when they’re located on a tourist-friendly island, and Skinner’s Seafood vaults that bar with ease. Featuring fresh-as-this-morning shrimp and crab legs, Skinner’s combines an extremely laid back restaurant atmosphere with a convenient shop to pick up groceries on your way back to your Dauphin Island vacation rental.
2. Lighthouse Bakery
Visiting the Lighthouse Bakery for breakfast on the island is a lot like dropping by a friend’s house for brunch. The decor resembles nothing so much as a private living room, and there’s space outside for the kids to play before and after your meal. The fare ranges from child-friendly sweet rolls and doughnuts to the kind of fresh pecan rolls you can only find in the south.
3. Miguel’s Beach’n Baja
The beach is Dauphin Island’s main attraction, and Miguel’s Beach’n Baja caters to sunbathers who can’t live without a juicy fish taco for lunch. This establishment’s proximity to the beach enforces a casual air, and the open area surrounding it is a natural playground for your kids. Seating is outdoor only, but the restaurant’s owners provide picnic benches and large parasols for guests.
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4. JT’s Sunset Grill
JT’s sits right on the water and serves a menu full of fried everything. Even kids who can be picky about seafood find it hard to pass up this grill’s batter-fried whitefish and jumbo shrimp, and the sweet tea is an Alabama classic. You place your order downstairs, and the staff brings your meal up to the second-floor dining area in convenient take-out containers.
5. Billy Goat Concessions
If your kids get hungry or need to use the bathroom while you’re parked in line waiting for the ferry to load your car, Billy Goat Concessions near the terminal is a life saver. As the only establishment within walking distance of the ferry line, this is the place to grab a quick snack or bottled drink while you wait for the ride back to the mainland. Restrooms are located upstairs in the back.
6. Dority’s Bar & Grill
When your kids get restless, take them out to Dority’s Bar & Grill to burn off that surplus energy dancing to live music and running around in the covered outdoor seating area. The menu changes by the day, so visit with the kids for pizza on one night, and then come back the next night for hamburgers.
7. Island Chevron and Grill
It may seem odd to pack up the kids and head out to a gas station for dinner, but the Chevron station on Dauphin Island features an attached grill that’s perfect for the last meal of your trip, as you gas up for the drive home. The menu here is eclectic, and the “meat, egg, and cheese with bacon” sandwich is a delicious guilty pleasure.
8. Phnom Penh Fusion
Space is limited on Dauphin Island, and almost all of the traffic the island sees comes through the Alabama hamlet of Bayou la Batre, which is where you and the kids can find, of all things, one of the best Cambodian restaurants in the South. Phnom Penh Fusion serves traditional Southeast Asian cuisine, with plenty of soup and fish dishes, as well as more commercial Chinese food that ordered to go if you’re in a hurry to reach your Dauphin Island vacation home.
9. Pelican Pub
Pelican Pub follows the tradition of British pubs by offering a bar upstairs and a family friendly downstairs area that’s laid out for conversations and friendly games. Where it differs from old-fashioned pubs is in its selection of exotic tropical drinks, from fruity punch varieties for the kids to the legendary bushwhacker, a mocha ice cream-based rum drink for parents.
10. Island Rainbow
If you’re visiting Dauphin Island in the summer, you should know that the Gulf Coast can get pretty hot. Just before high noon, take the kids out of the direct sunlight and stop for shaved ice at Island Rainbow. Offering a multitude of cool treats and a festive, come-as-you-are atmosphere, Island Rainbow welcomes visitors and locals alike. Be sure to bring cash; this establishment isn’t set up for debit or credit transactions.
11. Pirates Pleasure
Pirate’s Pleasure is a stopover on the southern side of Dauphin Island that’s worthy of Jean Lafitte. Flanked by palm trees jutting out of the sandy dunes, this popular restaurant offers everything from five-star sit-down service of shrimp in a rich hollandaise sauce to handheld po’boy sandwiches served on the go.
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