Fort Pickens near Pensacola, Florida has a rich history dating back to the Spanish explorers. Across the bay from Pensacola downtown, it is located along a four mile stretch of the Gulf Islands National Seashore and the Gulf of Mexico. Fort Pickens is one of those must-see places along the Gulf Islands National Seashore, especially if you are a history lover or photographer.
It was overcast the day my husband and I visited Pensacola Beach and Fort Pickens, as a storm had recently passed through. After a few miles driving into Fort Pickens area, the rain started pouring down. I was getting a little worried that we may not be able to enjoy our visit due to the rain.
As we made a quick stop at the ticket entrance to purchase our pass, I learnt an interesting fact from the park ranger, he said, “mam, there is one thing you need to know about Florida, it could be raining here, but could be completely dry a few miles down the road”, and that’s exactly what happened. As we came to the end of the road, the rain had stopped and there stood the Fort built in the early 1800’s and its location close to the Gulf waters, where it is continuously beaten by the elements over the last two centuries.
We decided to do a self-tour. There is a flyer you can grab on the way into the nearest building from the parking lot so you can do a self-tour. Named after revolutionary war hero General Andrew Pickens, the fort was the largest of the four forts built in this area.
While walking through the dark cobbled-floored rooms, we came across two narrow corridors that were designed to hold one-thousand pounds of gunpowder, which could be blown as a last resort to defend the fort. For almost a year the fort also served as a prison for famous Apache chief Geronimo. We walked through series of open rooms that were designed using a reverse arch, which spread the weight of the entire structure to minimize settling in the sand.
There was a lot of walking, and I was glad to be wearing a comfortable summer maxi dress from Target. I know that there are quite a few people who aren’t fond of maxi dresses as I am because of the fit or they are too short or too tall, etc. I believe that there is a maxi dress for everyone. Not only maxi dresses are comfortable and chic but they are the easiest to grab and go if you are traveling and just want to be comfy all day.
At the end of the tour, we walked up a steep set of brick stairs to the roof where two cannons were on display. The heavy cannons could be directed in three directions, west, south and north to ward off the enemy.
We had a wonderful visit at Fort Pickens wandering the grounds and taking pictures of the endless blue sky and choppy waves in the Gulf of Mexico. Afterwards, there were many restaurants to explore back at Pensacola Beach.
Fort Pickens area is open daily and is accessible by car. The area offers many recreation opportunities for visitors to enjoy including fishing, swimming, hiking, biking, bird watching, picnicking, camping, historic structure tours, and ranger-led programs. Visitors must pay an entrance fee to use the Fort Pickens area.
As you wander, be careful of uneven sandy surfaces and steps and low doorways.
1 hr 30 min
08:30 am - 07:00 pm daily
For more information about visiting the Fort Pickens, please CLICK HERE