The spring-breakers are coming to Dauphin Island, but not just for one week and not for the same reason others go to places like Panama City and Daytona, Fla., or even Gulf Shores.
They come to the island, according to tourism officials, because it’s the antithesis of those destinations: It’s quiet, laid-back and very family-oriented.
“Families like to come to Dauphin Island,” Mayor Jeff Collier said in a press release. “They like the laid-back lifestyle. They want to get away from the hustle-and-bustle. The views and ambience relax them.”
Instead of college students looking for bikini contests, drinking games and bands on the beach, the mayor said Dauphin Island’s spring-breakers are likely to be couples with pre-teen children who want a safe, charming and peaceful get-away.
Tricia Kerr, president of the island’s Chamber of Commerce, said retailers, restaurants and real estate agents are already reporting that spring sales and bookings are “looking good.”
“I hear from our real estate people that many of them are already booked-out for the summer. I think everybody is looking at 2015 to be another really good year for tourism,” Kerr said.
Colleges and universities in the region will crank up their spring breaks the first week of March, with students at the University of South Alabama and the University of Mobile out of class March 2-6, followed by Troy University the week of March 9-13. Next up are students from the University of Alabama and Bishop State Community College, whose spring breaks are scheduled March 16-20.
Spring breaks are set March 23-27 at Auburn University, Alabama A&M and Faulkner State Community College, followed March 30-April 3 for Spring Hill College, University of Montevallo, Pascagoula, Miss., public schools and Jackson County, Miss., public schools.
Perhaps the largest crowd of spring break vacationers will arrive the week of April 6-10, when public schools are closed in Mobile and Baldwin counties. Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Mobile will also take spring break that week.
They’ll find a variety of attractions including public beaches, the Dauphin Island Sea Lab & Estuarium, Fort Gaines, the Mobile Bay Ferry, fishing and sight-seeing boat excursions, bicycling paths and the Dauphin Island Audubon Bird Sanctuary.
For more information about activities and events on the island, call the Dauphin Island Chamber of Commerce at 251-861-5524 or visit its website at www.dauphinislandchamber.com. The Town of Dauphin Island’s website also contains useful information for visitors. Its web address is www.townofdauphinisland.org.