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Overview

Stretching across twelve distinct parks from Fort Walton Beach, Florida to Gulfport, Mississippi and encompassing the sites of five major fortresses which saw action during the War Between the States, Gulf Islands National Seashore protects both the natural beauty and rare habitats of this string of barrier islands and its long and storied history. It’s a coastline defined by fine-grained white quartz sand lapped by emerald waters, an outpost for rare species like the Santa Rosa Beach Mouse and the coastal scrub this diminutive creature calls home. A naval yard since the early 1800s, Pensacola was the home of four fortresses, the oldest ...

Stretching across twelve distinct parks from Fort Walton Beach, Florida to Gulfport, Mississippi and encompassing the sites of five major fortresses which saw action during the War Between the States, Gulf Islands National Seashore protects both the natural beauty and rare habitats of this string of barrier islands and its long and storied history. It’s a coastline defined by fine-grained white quartz sand lapped by emerald waters, an outpost for rare species like the Santa Rosa Beach Mouse and the coastal scrub this diminutive creature calls home. A naval yard since the early 1800s, Pensacola was the home of four fortresses, the oldest originally built in 1763 to protect the deep water harbor, and the largest, Fort Pickens, an imposing brick structure where the Apache chief Geronimo was imprisoned as a post-Civil War tourist attraction. While the islands in Florida are accessible by car, the park’s many islands along the Mississippi coast can only be reached by boat. On the Florida side of Gulf Islands National Seashore, the 1,400-mile Florida National Scenic Trail finds its northern terminus, providing the only beachfront walk in the National Scenic Trail system.

Sandra Friend
About the Expert

Sandra Friend has written 12 books about Florida, including the Explorer's Guide (Countryman Press) series to Florida.

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