Throughout my childhood, my family spent a week or two camping in this park every summer. The hot summer days were spent swimming in the Gulf of Mexico with our “campground” friends. We met families who camped at the same time every year. They became my pen-pals and we looked forward to seeing each other every summer. One particular family, from Louisiana, became great friends. Between my family, my cousins, and our friends from Louisiana, we had a group of 16 kids riding bikes, playing cards or swimming together for endless hours. We camped in our van, in tents, in a camper- just whatever we had to do to get there. After dinner each night, we would drive to the parking area and lug all our fishing gear to “the point” to go fishing. Some summers we all caught our limit of Red fish. Our friends from Louisiana liked to crab so between our fish and their crab we had quite a feast!
I could go on and on about the great memories I have of this place! Just look at that white sand and emerald water! The sand is so soft, it’s like powder between your toes! And the water- it’s almost always crystal clear. Because it is part of the National Seashore and a National Park, you have to pay to enter the park. This helps keep the crowds down. When we go in Spring, we basically have the entire beach to ourselves.
Fort Pickens National Park campsites are available through this site :
Fort Pickens Campground – National Park Servicewww.nps.gov › guis › planyourvisit › fortpickens-campground
They offer tent, rv, and group campsites. There is no sewer at this park, but they do have clean bath houses with showers available. A few years ago the park was hit hard by a hurricane that took out the roads and most of the trees. There are still some trees but nothing like before the storm. They rebuilt the entire infrastructure. There are great little bike/walking trails between the camping loops. One trail goes all the way to the old fort and the fishing pier. Another trail goes in the opposite direction to a boat launch and picnic area.
There is so much to explore here! Fort Pickens really is an old fort full of rich American history. I highly recommend going on a free guided tour of the fort. The structure itself is something to behold!
The final recommendation I have for this area is actually a 45 minute drive from the park, but it is so worth it! This is my favorite museum- it’s so much fun for kids! They can climb in the cockpits of airplanes, helicopters, and even a retired Blue Angel jet! Check out the website to see when the Blue Angels are home because you can even go watch them practice! Their flight pattern is right over the beach and campground at Fort Pickens so even if you don’t go there to watch them, chances are you will get to see them if they are home.
National Naval Aviation Museum: Welcomewww.navalaviationmuseum.org
What are you waiting for? Plan a trip and go make some memories!
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