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Fort Pickens was built between 1829-1834 to defend Pensacola Bay and its navy yard. Named for Revolutionary war hero Andrew Pickens, it was one of only four forts in the south not captured by the confederates. It also claims fame for once housing Apache prisoner Geronimo. Ten concrete gun batteries remain, as well as many brick structures set amid breathtaking landscape. Learn more about the fort and region from ranger-led guided tours. Along with exploring the historic fort, there are abundant water recreation opportunities such as swimming, diving, snorkeling, and fishing for snapper, flounder, blue crab, shrimp, and mackerel. Walk a portion of the 28.2-mile section of the 1300-mile Florida National Scenic Trail which begins near the fort and travels to the western-most point of Santa Rosa Island. Though not a difficult trail as there is no elevation gain, this trail is exposed to strong winds and sun. Be prepared with sunscreen, sun hat and plenty of water. Kayaking or canoeing is one of the best ways to explore the diversity and natural beauty along a stretch of the 1550-mile Florida Circumnavigational Paddling Trail that passes through here. Wildlife watchers and bird enthusiasts will love the Santa Rosa Barrier Islands, a hotspot for over 280 species of migratory birds as well as breeding grounds for loggerhead turtles and views of the most common mammal found here, the Atlantic bottlenose dolphin. With so much to do here, consider a longer stay at developed or primitive campsites for tents and RVs. There is an entrance fee for the park covered by an America the Beautiful Pass.
1400 Fort Pickens Road
Pensacola Beach, FL
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