Gulf Islands National Seashore was established in 1971 to preserve the barrier islands, salt marshes, wildlife, historic structures and archeological sites found along the Gulf of Mexico. It is the largest National Seashore and includes 12 separate units stretching eastward 160 miles from Cat Island, Mississippi to the eastern tip of Santa Rosa Island, Florida. Gulf Islands National Seashore is a park rich in natural and cultural resources.
Sparkling blue waters, magnificent snowy-white beaches and fertile coastal marshes teem with a diverse and abounding wildlife population. Although more than 80 percent of the park is submerged lands, the barrier islands are the outstanding feature. They are called barrier islands because they serve as blockades to ocean waves and violent storms that would otherwise strike the mainland coast with greater force.
On the Florida and Mississippi mainlands there are historic forts and structures built by Spaniards and Americans. In 1829 President John Quincy Adams designated the first federal tree farm to grow and harvest live oak trees to build naval vessels.
For updates or additional details contact the Deputy Superintendent (e-mail us), Gulf Islands National Seashore, 1801 Gulf Breeze Parkway, Gulf Breeze, Florida 32563 or call at 850-934-2604.
Did You Know?
Gulf Islands National Seashore's Fort Massachusetts, on West Ship Island 12 miles off the Mississippi coastline, was covered by the 30-foot storm surge from Hurricane Katrina on August 29, 2005. The fort has been reopened to the public.