Do you dream of white sand and sunshine? Gulf Islands National Seashore has you covered with recreation and relaxation opportunities for the whole family. Spanning the coast of Florida and Mississippi, millions of visitors are drawn to the islands in the northern Gulf of Mexico for the white sandy beaches and aquamarine waters. Whether you visit for a day or a week, there is plenty to do and see at Gulf Islands National Seashore.

Gulf Islands National Seashore

Learn History

The forts of Gulf Islands National Seashore were built between 1797 and the 1940s. Their walls tell the story of constant evolution from the Spanish Colonial Bateria De San Antonio to the American Battery 234. Also, these forts represent the value placed on the anchorages at Pensacola Bay, Florida and Ship Island, Mississippi. Take a guided tour of historic brick and iron forts, hike through salt marsh habitats or kayak in the emerald green waters for an immersive learning experience.

Fort Barrancas, Gulf Islands National Seashore, Pensacola, Florida

Discover Wildlife

Amphibians, reptiles, and mammals can be seen on the offshore islands. You can also spot them on the mainland and in the waters of the Seashore. Sharp eyes and ears will help you discover wildlife, in particular for nocturnal natives living in the area. The best time to view amphibians is in the evening or following rain. In addition, reptiles are easily observed in the afternoons during the chilly months, while mammals are best spotted in the early morning and evening hours.

Explore Habitats

What is it that entices people to the sea? Poet John Masefield wrote, “I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied.” Relax and enjoy the scenery, hike a trail or find a camping spot during your visit to Gulf Islands National Seashore. Activities are endless! Choose from swimming, bicycling, snorkeling, fishing, hiking, beach combing, bird watching, and boating. Or, sit back and watch a magnificent Florida sunset!

Gulf Islands National Seashore

Preserve Nature

Gulf Islands National Seashore is listed as a National Watchable Wildlife Area. The protected regions include mainland areas and parts of seven islands. The Seashore’s diverse habitats provide resting, feeding and nesting areas for a variety of wildlife. Additionally, the national seashore preserves forts that span an extended period of defense. For example, the American Third System forts saw action during the Civil War.

Have you had the opportunity to visit Gulf Islands National Seashore? We would love to hear about your experience. Tag your photos with #DriveTheNation on social media or share your favorite adventures in the comment section below.

Gulf Islands National Seashore