Fort Pickens National Seashore Offers a Stunning Getaway

White sands, turquoise waters, wildlife sightings and historic fortifications

U.S. Navy Blue Angels

Fort Pickens encompasses 850 acres of white-sand beaches, turquoise waters,
marshes and wildlife, a campground and century-old fort ruins. Part of Gulf Islands National Seashore created in 1971, it is part of 160 miles of pristine north coastline of the Gulf of Mexico in Florida and Mississippi, and includes barrier islands, maritime forests, historic forts, bayous, and marine habitat.

Ten miles offshore, wilderness barrier islands provide opportunities for people
to experience quiet and solitude. Places to observe wildlife. Places to explore. Places to escape the daily life. Places to preserve uninhibited wilderness with all of the birds, mammals, fish, and wildlife that go along with it. Roam the park’s trails and see herons nesting in trees.

Horn Island and Petit Bois Island were designated in 1978 as the Gulf Islands
Wilderness because they, “include the only remaining examples of undisturbed natural coast and off-coast islands along the entire northern Gulf.” The wilderness areas in Gulf Islands National Seashore are among the increasingly rare, wild places left.

Fort Pickens National Seashore is a terrific getaway to relax, camp, walk, bike, view wildlife and explore marshlands or fort ruins. Share on X

In 1816, the United States began constructing Third System forts along its coastline to protect important waterways and seaports. Five years later, the federal government began fortifying areas along Florida’s 3,500 mile seaboard. Pensacola Bay was one such area.

Fort Pickens was designed and constructed to defend Pensacola Bay and the Pensacola Navy Yard and Depot from foreign attacks. Its purpose would reach beyond the physical boundaries of the Gulf frontier.

The fort was completed in 1834 and was one of the few forts in the South that remained in Union hands throughout the American Civil War. It remained in use until 1947.

Wander through the fort ruins and find batteries on the beach. Fort Pickens is just across Pensacola Bay from Naval Air Station at Pensacola, home of the Blue Angels. If you are lucky, you might get a chance to see them fly overhead during training. For the Blue Angels schedule to find an event near you.

  • Fort Pickens
  • Fort Pickens
  • Fort Pickens
  • Cannon at Fort Pickens
  • Cannon at Fort Pickens
  • Fort Pickens

Head into the town of Gulf Breeze for a cocktail at sunset. Crabs on the Beach is a great spot to do that and catch a fresh snapper dinner.


Eglin Air Force Base’s Air Force Armament Museum Foundation, in Fort Walton Beach, where you’ll find one of the rare and spectacular SR-71 Blackbirds, however, is open and free.

Sadly, the National Naval Aviation Museum is currently only open to Department of Defense ID holders and their guests. Check back for changes or find a friend in the service to host your visit. It’s a short drive from Fort Pickens to Pensacola to the Blue Angels air base and the museum.

Find more posts about interesting places to visit in the U.S.

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1 Response

  1. September 29, 2022

    […] If you’re a remote worker traveling in an RV, Fort Pickens, where you could see the Blue Angels training, might be an attractive destination for you. Interested in learning more about this beachside retreat? Read “Fort Pickens National Seashore Offers a Stunning Getaway.” […]

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