Fort Pickens State Park: A Historic Fort You Have to See to Believe
For years, my husband has told me stories about a place in Florida called Fort Pickens State Park. He would speak so fondly of this mysterious “fort” that he and his family would visit. When sharing stories of their visits to this historic area, he would always refer to it as one of the “coolest” places he has ever visited.
During one of our anniversary trips down to Florida, we finally made the time to drive over and visit Fort Pickens. I had tried many times to imagine what this fort would look like but my imagination failed to do it justice. This really is a place you have to see to believe!
The History of Fort Pickens State Park
Fort Pickens is a historic United States military fort. It’s located on Santa Rosa Island in the Pensacola, Florida area. The fort was completed in 1834 and was actually used until 1947!
The design of this fort is very impressive because it’s so expansive. You can spend time walking around reading the history and facts about the many different areas of this fort.
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If you’ve never visited Fort Pickens in Pensacola, Florida then you’re missing out on an incredible historical fort. This picture is a just a small portion of the large forts! This place is guaranteed to impress your little explorers! 🌎 . . . . . #fortpickens #pensacolabeach #florida #pensacola #travelingwithkids #familytravel #sharetravelpics #TMOM #travelmom #travelingmom #travelinspiration #momblogger #travelblogger #wanderlust #letsgoeverywhere #travelblog #ilovetravel #instatravel #instago #traveltheworld
- Pickens was the largest of four forts in the U.S government built to protect Pensacola Bay and the Navy Yard built on a long barrier island.
- The fort succeeded not against a foreign invasion, but against the Confederates during the Civil War.
- For the number and caliber of guns and the weight of metal brought into action, it would rank with the heaviest bombardments in the world.
- After Fort Pickens was past its prime, a fort within the fort was constructed since new artillery could penetrate its brick walls.
- On the night of June 20th, 1899 a fire broke out which ignited 8,000 lbs of gunpowder which set off a deadly explosion.
- The fort was later used as a jail.
Things You Need to Know Ahead of Time
When planning a visit there are a few things you need to know ahead of time.
- Fort Pickens Area of Gulf Island National Seashore is located at 1400 Fort Pickens Rd, Pensacola Beach, FL 32561.
- Wear closed-toed shoes. I wore sandals and was eaten alive by ants!
- Fort Pickens is open daily from 9 am to 4:30 pm. They are closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s.
- A great kid-friendly place to visit. The kids will have a blast walking through and exploring this fort.
- Stop at the bookstore for a pamphlet that will assist you with a self-guided tour.
- All tours are self-guided.
- There are places to get water but the fort area is large, so to avoid walking back and forth, you might want to bring your own water.
- Even if you are not a Civil War enthusiast you will love exploring this fort.
- If possible, stay for sunset. Locals told us that it’s the most beautiful time to see the fort.
- Make time to walk down to the beach while visiting the fort. The beaches in this area of Florida are breathtaking and uncrowded. In fact, some families even have their photos done on this beach for that reason!
- Have a least 3 hours open to enjoy exploring the fort and the surrounding area.
- For more information visit the National Park Services website.
- Gulf Breeze, FL is a 27-minute drive from Fort Pickens.
You Have to See It For Yourself!
First of all, photos do not do this place justice. I was snapping pictures the entire time but I knew that this place was something you just have to see with your own eyes. There are pathways that take you through the fort where you can discover secret hidden rooms and several stairways that lead you to the top of the fort where you’ll find cannons and the most incredible view!
Make time to visit the nearby white sands beaches and if you’re interested you can even camp out at the Fort Pickens campground.
We visiting Fort Pickens on our way to spend our anniversary weekend in Navarre Beach, Florida. If you’ve never visited this beautiful beach you’ll want to add it to your list! Navarre is called “the best-kept secret in Florida”. It’s only a one hour drive from Fort Pickens.