Dauphin Island (including the West End)
It's Alabama's ONLY Barrier Island
As Alabama's only barrier island, Dauphin Island is the first line of
defense to protect the mainland coastal towns of Coden, Bayou La Batre
and Alabama Port from hurricanes. Without the natural breakwater
provided by the island, storm surge through the Mississippi Sound would
be far more severe.
Dauphin Island's West End
What about Gulf Shores and Orange Beach?
There are scientific geological criteria a land mass must meet in order
to be considered a barrier island rather than merely a coastal area.
The canal that "separates" Gulf Shores and Orange Beach from the rest of
Baldwin County is a man-made body of water. That narrow cut-through does
not a barrier island make. Those communities are not natural islands,
let alone barrier islands. They were not formed over the millennia
through geological processes to be a breakwater for the coastal
mainland, which is the very definition of a barrier island.
A short definition of barrier island is: "A long, relatively narrow
island running parallel to the mainland, built up by the action of waves
and currents, and serving to protect the coast from erosion by surf and
Gulf Shores and Orange Beach were not "built" this way. Nor do they
serve as a breakwater for the mainland since they essentially ARE the
mainland. The closest thing Baldwin County has to a barrier island is
the Fort Morgan peninsula. It is not an island by scientific reckoning -
it is a peninsula. But its geological profile and character are much
more like a barrier island than its sister communities directly to the
More information here:
One of The Wooded Areas of Dauphin Island
More Reasons to Save Dauphin