Indian Shell Mound Park

Dauphin Island is a top vacation destination on the coast of Alabama with an impressive number of birding opportunities. It is home to vast beaches, stunning views, and an abundance nature.

The wildlife outnumbers humans by a lot here, and the entire island is dedicated to preserving and protecting the hundreds of bird species that call it home at various points during the year.

One of the top preserved areas on the island is Indian Shell Mound Park. Its scenic 11 acres sit on the northern shore of the island, surrounded by the Dauphin Island Bay.

This park is one of the many celebrations of nature on Dauphin Island that has historic significance. It offers accessible birding trails, incredible views of the famous moss-draped oaks, and, of course, the grass-covered shell mounds the park is named after.

dauphin island shell mounds

Archaeological Significance

Indian Shell Mound Park is home to one of the most interesting archaeological sites in the southern U.S. It features the remnants of mounds that were formed by the accumulation of oyster shells and fish remains discarded by early Native Americans over many generations. The mounds are believed to date back to the Mississippian Era between 900 and 1500 B.C. and can still be seen.

Today the park is home to a fascinating biodiversity of flora and fauna for its size. Notable residents include the enormous moss draped oaks, one of which is thought to be over 8 centuries old! Other plants from as far away as the Yucatan Peninsula and Appalachian Mountains thrive in the park. Interestingly, these plants are thought to have been brought there by the Native American tribes that formerly inhabited the region for cooking or medicinal purposes.

A stop on the Alabama Coastal Birding Trail

Shell Mound Park is also a designated stop on the Alabama Coastal Birding Trail for good reason. It’s teeming with migratory and resident bird species.

The entire island is a stop for many types of birds after flying across the Gulf of Mexico from South and Central America during the spring migration. It’s also heavily populated during the fall migration and is even excellent for birding in the winter.

About 350 species of birds can be spotted on Dauphin Island throughout the year, including seabirds, water fowls, and egrets.

Many of them rest or reside in Shell Mound Park or the other parks and protected bird sanctuaries on the island. No matter what time of year you visit, bring your best camera because you’re sure to catch a glimpse of some rare and remarkable bird species if you look hard enough.

Dauphin Island historical attractions

Trails Through the Park

Dauphin Island only has a few public parks, and Shell Mound Park is one with a network of walking trails. The trails are easy to manage. No long uphill hikes here, though the northern side of the park can get a little rugged. Expect relatively flat walks, so you can focus on the nature around you, not where you put your feet.

Keep your eyes peeled for some of the local bird species as you make your way through the park. The trails are all clearly marked, and many of them intersect and circle back to the same trailhead.

While you’ll probably be focused on the flora and fauna within the park, don’t forget to view the shell mounds, some of which you may have to look out for as they can be covered a bit by the vegetation. Enjoy incredible nature views and relax on multiple benches throughout the park when needed.

Dauphin Island wildlife is major point of pride and has become a major aspect of the local heritage, culture, and tourism. The island celebrates the beauty and mysteries of nature in every season, and historic Indian Shell Mound Park exemplifies a bit of everything that makes Dauphin Island unique. Find it at 830 Desoto Dr. on Dauphin Island.

ACP Real Estate

900 Bienville Blvd.
P.O. Box 1177
Dauphin Island, Alabama 36528

(251) 861-3311

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