Exploring Fort Pickens

We spent some time exploring Fort Pickens and some of the batteries that are located within the National Seashore.

Fort Pickens was the largest of four forts built in the 1800’s by the United States Government to protect Pensacola Bay and the Naval Yard. Although it never had to be used against foreign enemies, it was used by the Union Army during the Civil War to protect against the Confederates. Ranger led tours are available but we chose to go on a self-guided tour of the huge fort.

Fort Pickens
Fort Pickens
Fort Pickens
Fort Pickens
Entering Fort Pickens
Entering Fort Pickens
Fort Pickens
Fort Pickens

Much of the fort is built using arches.

Arches at Fort Pickens
Arches at Fort Pickens
Arches at Fort Pickens
Arches at Fort Pickens
Arches at Fort Pickens
Arches at Fort Pickens
Double Arch
Double Arch
Another view of the arches at Fort Pickens
Another view of the arches at Fort Pickens

Civil War era cannons and a mortar are also on display at the fort.

With clear views of Pensacola Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, Fort Pickens was in a great location to protect the area.

There are several batteries located throughout the area. Some were built in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.

Endicott Batteries from the 1890's
Endicott Batteries from the 1890’s

We explored Battery Worth where huge gun pits held twelve inch mortars that could launch 700 pound projectiles 7 to 9 miles away. After World War I all but four of the mortars were scrapped. In 1942 the battery became part of the Army-Navy Harbor Defense Command Post for the Pensacola area during World War II.

Battery Worth
Battery Worth
Looking down from Battery Worth
Looking down from Battery Worth
On top of Battery Worth
On top of Battery Worth

There were big guns lining the shoreline ready to protect against enemy ships.

Next up: aircraft and a lighthouse.

Gulf Islands National Seashore

“The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.”
–Jacques Cousteau

A beach with perfect sugar white sand only a five minute walk from our campsite. I think I am in heaven!

Gulf Islands National Seashore at Ft. Pickens
Gulf Islands National Seashore at Ft. Pickens
The beach at sunset
The beach at sunset
Gulf Islands National Seashore
Gulf Islands National Seashore

Our home for a week is Ft. Pickens Campground in Gulf Islands National Seashore on Santa Rosa Island. I’ve been doing a lot of walking on the beach and beach chair sitting.

Site A1 Ft. Pickens
Site A1 Ft. Pickens
Ready for Beach Chair Sitting on the Gulf of Mexico
Ready for Beach Chair Sitting on the Gulf of Mexico

We’ve taken a couple of hikes on the half-mile Blackbird Marsh Nature Trail near the campground.

Along the Blackbird Marsh Nature Trail
Along the Blackbird Marsh Nature Trail

It is nest building time for Ospreys and several nests can be seen in the area. Ospreys are frequently seen soaring over the campground and a few of the nests can be viewed close up from the nature trail.

Pair of Ospreys on the nature trail
Pair of Ospreys on the nature trail
Pair of Ospreys on the nature trail
Pair of Ospreys on the nature trail
Osrey
Osprey

And the sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico are breathtaking!

Sunset over the Gulf of Mexico
Sunset over the Gulf of Mexico

More of the Fort Pickens area coming up in my next post.