Gulf Islands Nat’l Seashore Pensacola, Fl

20130504-105138.jpg Monday morning we drove down to the Fort Pickens campground, part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore in Pensacola, Fl. This is a series of federally owned parks stretching from Cat Island near Gulfport, MS, to Santa Rosa Island halfway between Pensacola and Fort Walton Beach, FL. The Fort Pickens area is the westernmost end of Santa Rosa Island. It is about 20 minutes drive from downtown Pensacola via bridges over Pensacola Bay and Santa Rosa Sound. The park itself is a very narrow strip of land five miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico from Santa Rosa Sound. At times we could see both bodies of water at the same time driving down the access road.

After a picnic lunch at a rest area on I10 we arrived about 2:00 PM and were strolling on the beach by 3:00. There are really nice beaches all along the coast so few people drive all the out here to the end of the island, thus leaving the beach adjacent to the camping area nearly deserted and this place feeling very remote and wild.

Tuesday morning we rode our bikes west toward the fort then found a trail back to camp. After lunch we went back to check out the fort but got there too late for the 2:00 PM tour. We did walk around a bit, though. Fort Pickens is a Civil War era fort built to defend the approach to Pensacola Harbor used off and on through WWII. This photo is courtesy of the NPS website.

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Another long beach walk and it was dinner time again. The weather was steadily declining with heavy rain forecast in the night so we packed up the screen room, awning, chairs, etc just in case. It did rain at night but Wednesday morning was dry, but cloudy and blustery – not much of a beach day. We drove into Pensacola to sight-see and have lunch. It has a very picturesque historic district dating from the 1800s and an entertainment area with many bars and restaurants. We had lunch at Sluggo’s , a funky all vegetarian place with good food and very large portions.

Heavy rain was still in the forecast and it was getting windier and raining a bit off and on so we went back the the campground, finished packing up and headed back to Enterprise.

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The sand looked just like drifting snow in the 25 mph SE wind.

We camped in Ami’s yard Wednesday and Thursday nights and moved to Todd’s on Friday. Sue’s parents are here for a few days passing through on their way home from Florida. We all were able to attend Todd’s promotion ceremony to CW3 Friday morning.

We are most likely heading home Monday morning.

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