Whether you visit the Seashore for a day or a week there are many activities and places to explore. Activities include swimming, bicycling, snorkeling, fishing, hiking, beach combing, wildlife watching, boating, developed camping, and primitive camping.
Headquarters for the Mississippi District is located at the Davis Bayou Area. The area has the William M. Colmer Visitor Center, boat launch, playground, nature trails, campground, and boardwalks. Private boaters can visit all the barrier islands. At West Ship Island visitors can swim at the designated swim beach.
Naval Live Oaks has nine hiking trails including the historic Andrew Jackson Trail and sections of the 40-mile bike loop. There is a picnic table area, covered picnic pavilion, restrooms, and outdoor showers. The Santa Rosa Sound shoreline is popular for people with small children who want to avoid the rough surf at the beach. Visitors may also enjoy fishing from the shore (license required).
Camping at Fort Pickens is on a reservation system. Sites have water, electricity, picnic tables, firepits with grills and a dump station is available. Fort Pickens Area is open daily 7:00 a.m. until sunset. The fort has Ranger guided tours at 2:00 p.m. daily. Self guided tours are from 8:00 a.m. until sunset. The Fort Pickens also has beautiful hiking trails.
Perdido Key Area has picnic tables, restrooms, a lifeguarded beach, boardwalk trails and access to the Gulf Beach. The Okaloosa Day Use Area near Fort Walton, known for the quiet water and sandy beaches, has picnic tables, restrooms, boat launch, and plenty of parking.
Did You Know?
Of the seven species of sea turtles, four species nest at Gulf Islands National Seashore. Sea turtle hatchlings instinctively head for areas of brighter light. Artificial lighting causes thousands of hatchling deaths each year.