Daphne is a historic city in Baldwin County, Alabama, on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay.
Founded in 1763, this city bears varying cultural influences from past inhabitants, including Native Americans, Spanish, French, and British pioneers.
Daphne’s charms as a wonderful place to settle in remain evident today, as it ranks as Baldwin County’s most populous city.
The charming character of the city mainly emanates from its potent and scenic location on the shores of Mobile Bay.
The city’s shallow bay waters trap fish, shrimps, and crabs during certain seasons in events called “jubilees.”
For this reason, Daphne has earned the moniker “Jubilee City.”
But there’s more to the city besides its aquatic jubilee phenomena in Mobile Bay, as shown by these 15 best things to do in Daphne.
Relax at Bayfront Park
This waterfront park is located on the western terminus of Bayfront Drive.
A visit here can either be a prelude or an extension of your tour of the nearby Village Point Preserve on Main Street.
The park features a pier with seats from which you can appreciate the fiery sunsets of Mobile Bay.
You can also paddle the bay’s waters from Bayfront Park, which provides canoe and kayak access.
Fishing is allowed in this park, so you have the chance to catch redfish and speckled trout abundant in Mobile Bay.
You can also relax for snacks at the gazebo and picnic area of the park or stroll on its boardwalk that links to the Village Point Preserve.
Visit Village Point Park Preserve
The Village Point Park Preserve, located on Main Street, keeps many traces of Daphne’s history.
Prehistoric artifacts from indigenous Native American Indian mounds have been excavated here.
The D’Olive Cemetery in the Preserve has the remains of early French explorers and settlers.
Site of a Revolutionary War battle, Village Point is popular for its centuries-old Jackson’s Oak.
Under the canopy of this tree, Major General Andrew Jackson addressed his troops en route to the Battle of New Orleans.
Confederate troops encamped on the site of the Preserve during the Civil War.
Union soldiers later also landed on the Village Point shores for the war’s last major battle in Spanish Fort in 1865.
History aside, visitors enjoy Village Point Preserve for its 1.4-mile nature trail featuring a wide variety of endemic flora and fauna.
It also offers bayfront and beach access, a pier/boardwalk, a picnic pavilion with a grill, and restrooms.
Pick a Course at the TimberCreek Golf Club
The TimberCreek Golf Club provides a 27-hole championship layout, enabling players to choose from three layouts.
The rolling fairways of TimberCreek were etched across a lush forest of Dogwood, Magnolia, and Pines that were adopted as the names of the club’s three courses.
The D’Olive Creek wetlands also meander throughout the club’s golf links to further enhance the natural splendor of TimberCreek.
This club features first-class practice facilities, including the cutting-edge TopTracer Range with virtual and interactive technology injecting more fun to golfing.
The club’s full-service restaurant TimberCreek Grille is open to the public and is the epitome of Southern hospitality.
Play a Round of Golf at Lake Forest
A Golf Today Course of the Year awardee, the Lake Forest Golf Course is on Golf Terrace off Bayview Drive.
It features an 18-hole layout offering play at par 71 over 6,010 yards from the longest tees.
Designed by noted course architect Earl Stone, this course has a 68.9 rating and a 126 slope rating on Bermuda grass.
A full-service golf pro shop and a 19th Hole Grill add to the experience of playing at Lake Forest.
As an alternative, you can play without wood and iron clubs, shifting instead to disc golf at the Daphne Central Park adjacent to the fairways of Lake Forest.
This park is located on Lakeshore Drive and also provides walking trails, a gazebo, and a picnic area.
Explore the Gator Boardwalk
The Gator Boardwalk is on North Main Street and creates an alley across D'Olive Creek, and passes under Interstate 10.
This boardwalk features educational signage and opens the opportunity on the creek for viewing alligators, turtles, and birds.
You can use this boardwalk as a jump-off point for the much longer, 24.7-mile Eastern Shore Trail.
This trail heads toward the north to the city of Spanish Fort, about five miles from Daphne.
To the south of Daphne, the trail traverses the communities of Montrose, Fairhope, Battles Wharf, and Point Clear before ending at Weeks Bay.
The Eastern Shore Trail is a designated national recreation trail, mostly of asphalt or concrete passing through boardwalks and elevated bridges.
Discover Local Creatives at the Daphne Art Center
It may seem rather odd that this Art Center is located in Daphne’s old city jail on 6th Street.
But just the same, this is the place where Daphne sets the locals’ minds free to unleash creative talents.
This art hub was founded in 1993 under the original name Bay Rivers Art Guild (BRAG) but changed it to Daphne Art Center (DAC) in 2013 with the growth and evolution of the guild.
DAC maintains exhibits at its main gallery and several outreach locations.
It also holds a members-only show and an annual juried show each January, as well as an Annual Farm & Arts Faire at its City Hall grounds in June.
In addition, DAC conducts adult and kids’ art classes throughout the year.
The remote venues for the center’s activities can include the nearby Centennial Park on Main Street, across the City Hall.
This park features a gazebo, a picnic area, and a playground.
Visit Bayside Academy and Its Neighborhood
Explore the area in and around Bayside Academy wedged on the bayfront block of Belrose and Dryer Avenue on the western flanks of Old Country Road.
Here, you will get glimpses of Daphne’s historic buildings starting from the two-story administrative offices of Bayside Academy.
Designed in the Greek revival architecture, this was formerly the 18thcentury Howard Hotel.
Across Old Country Road from the Academy, you will find the Old Methodist Church Museum on Dryer Avenue.
The Museum’s Colonial-style building was the former Daphne United Methodist Church built in 1858 and now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
You can cap your visit to this area with a picnic at the nearby Belrose Park that also provides bay access.
Visit the US Sports Academy Campus
Discover the spirits of athleticism with a campus tour of the United States Sports Academy located on the southeast quadrant of US Highway 98 and Academy Drive.
The academy’s grounds feature 10 remarkable sculptures depicting poses of various sports disciplines.
Entirely made from junk materials, many of these artworks also pay tribute to individual athletes in their titles, such as "Jordan the Basketball Player," "Arnold the Weightlifter," and "Nastia the Gymnast."
The Academy is also home to the American Sport Art Museum & Archives (ASAMA), dedicated to the preservation of the art, literature, and history of sports.
Founded in 1984, the ASAMA collection is comprised of more than 1,800 items, believed as North America’s largest and possibly, the world too.
Enjoy a Walk at Historic May Day Park
Visit May Day Park with the whole family for an enjoyable and informative tour of Daphne.
This park, located on the southwest corner of College Avenue and Captain O’Neal Drive, was established in 1887.
The park’s amenities include free boat launches at the pier, an ADA-compliant boardwalk, beach access, a playground, picnic tables, restrooms, and a bandstand.
May Day Park, which provides free parking, is also popular for its large oak trees with their lush canopies shading your stroll toward the pier and the beach.
Across Captain O’Neal Drive from the park, you can tour the historic site of the Daphne Courthouse, now occupied by the George Albert Nicholson Center.
Dine at Daruma Sushi & Steak House
This restaurant specializing in Japanese cuisine is located at the Magnolia Place Shopping Center off US Highway 98, just north of Bayfront Park.
At the Daruma Japanese Sushi & Steak House, you surely can satisfy your craving for sushi.
On this item alone, the restaurant offers 10 options, including shrimp, tuna, mackerel, and salmon.
Daruma offers varied picks for its steak servings as well, with choices like Hibachi NY Steak, Shyabu NY Steak, and Steak and Lobster Hibachi.
You are wont to give a five-star rating too for the Japanese courtesy trademark to the service in Daruma.
Watch the Ball Games at the Al Trione Sports Complex
Fans of baseball, football, and soccer in Daphne gravitate to the Al Trione on Whispering Pines Road.
This complex features four soccer fields that host home games of the Gulf Coast Rangers Football Club competing in the regional Eastern Premier Cup, among other tournaments.
Al Trione is likewise hosting other regional competitions such as South Alabama rugby competitions for boys and girls aged 7 to 14.
Other facilities in the complex include a La Crosse field, three concession stands, and restrooms.
The Daphne Dog Park is also in the Al Trione grounds with separate fenced areas for small and large dogs, as well as benches, play equipment, and water fountains for pets.
Go for the Aquatic Adventures of Mobile Bay
There are boat charters based in Daphne that will enable you to fish or just paddle or cruise the Mobile Bay waters.
One service provider for such recreational activities is Calmwater Charters on Jackson’s Oaks Drive.
It provides customers a choice on coastal Alabama inshore kayak fishing, fly fishing, guided kayak tours, and kayak rentals.
A memorable day on the bay waters can also be had through the guide service of Ugly Fishing on Ridgewood Drive.
This outfit is owned and run by a captain with more than 30 years of experience in the Mobile Bay waters and can guide fishing excursions to the rest of Alabama’s coast as expertly.
Have a Buffet at Dragon City or Bangkok Thai Daphne
You can have your fill of Asian cuisine in two buffet restaurants located on US Highway 98 between Van Buren and Monroe Street.
On the west flank of the highway, the pick is the Dragon City Buffet offering a wide selection of Chinese dishes.
Its eat-all-you-can buffet menu includes Roast Pork Lo Mein, Young Chow Fried Rice, and Kung Pao Chicken.
In the strip mall across the highway, you will find Bangkok Thai Daphne also offering buffet meals, as well as gluten-free and vegetarian options.
This restaurant’s menu includes choices on tasty Pad Thai, Asian Noodles, Thai Chicken, among other items.
Other Things to Do Nearby
Explore Meaher State Park
Sprawling over 1,327 acres, this scenic park is located in Spanish Fort, only 7 miles north of Daphne.
The park nestles in Mobile Bay’s wetlands in the north and is part of the picturesque natural wonders of the Mobile-Tensaw Delta.
The facilities in this park include two boardwalks, an extensive fishing pier, and a boat ramp.
From this ramp, you can go boating to the Blakeley River on the park’s east end.
You can bring an RV to this park which provides modern hook-ups for visitors camping overnight.
There’s also a cabin for rent on the bayfront if you want to stay longer in the Meaher State Park.
Join the Fun at Urban Air Adventure Park
This award-winning amusement park is located in Spanish Fort, just 5 miles north of Daphne.
Its indoor playground offers the ultimate adventure for all family members, providing a wide selection of fun facilities.
The first test of your skills can start with the park’s Warrior Obstacle Course.
Here you can either compete with friends or hone your freestyle tricks to perfection.
With confidence and skills gained, try the park’s ProZone Performance Trampolines that can set you bouncing off not only on the floor but also on the walls.
Other park features to focus your energy on include the park’s Ropes Course, Sky Rider coaster, Riderclimbing walls, and Tubes Indoor Playground.
Since its foundation, Daphne has drawn many settlers from various cultures and nations.
This not only shows how its location along Mobile Bay is so much treasured.
Also, the city proves to hold enviable natural assets by which communities can prosper for long-term growth.
It wouldn’t, therefore, be surprising that there would even be more visitors coming in to share in the good life and fun things to do in Daphne.