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Beach & Water Safety

There are many miles of shoreline within the national seashore. Bay and sounds generally provide calm shallow waters with less wave and wind energy than those encountered along gulf beaches. Open waters on all beaches have the potential for hazardous winds and waves. Visit our swimming and rip currents pages before heading out to the beach.

Sunshine can be very intense throughout the national seashore. Use a sun block with a high SPF of 30 or wear longed-sleeved light protective clothing. Wear shoes to protect feet from the hot sand. Drink plenty of liquids, especially water, and remember alcoholic drinks cause dehydration.

Dangerous Marine Life
Use caution to avoid jellyfish and stingrays. If stung by a jellyfish apply vinegar and meat tenderizer. Do not touch irritated skin or wash with fresh water. Shuffle feet lightly while wading to scare stingrays away. Beach warning flags (purple) in Florida areas are used to notify swimmers of dangerous marine life.

Sharks are present in the Gulf of Mexico. Do not swim at dawn, dusk or night when sharks are active or feeding. Do not swim in murky waters.

Glass bottles and Containers
To protect barefoot walkers and swimmers, glass bottles and containers are not allowed on the beaches. Learn more about the rules and regulations of the national seashore to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit.


General Safety


Use insect repellent in warmer months or stay inside at dusk or dawn when mosquitoes are most active. Gnats and mosquitoes are plentiful. Beware of ants inside Fort Pickens and biting fire ants throughout the national seashore.


The national seashore has a variety of wildlife. Please maintain a safe distance from all wildlife. Wildlife may become entangled in fishing lines. Please dispose of fishing gear including lines properly. Wildlife injured through natural processes can be common in the wild, however, wildlife injured by human actions or any endangered wildlife in need of assistance should be reported. Link to Injured Wildlife Report Procedures.


Weather conditions can change suddenly throughout the national seashore. Check local weather reports and forecasts before traveling to the park; weather report for Florida and Mississippi. When in the park be prepared to take shelter and have a plan ready in case of inclement weather. Link to park weather page. Link to the park's hurricane page.


Poison ivy grows throughout the national seashore, especially in the wooded areas and along trails. Remember: Leaves of three, let them be, leaves of five, stay alive. Prickly pear cactus has spines that can cause skin irritation. Watch out for plants with spines or spurs.


Visiting Historic Sites Safety

  • Remain out of closed areas, do not cross barriers.
  • Climbing is unsafe and can damage the historic fabric of structures.
  • Please keep off mounds and the cannon throughout the park.
  • Uneven and sandy surfaces are common throughout all historic structures.
  • Walkways can be slippery and damp especially in the rain.
  • Beware that some of the stairways have no handrails.
  • Do not enter dark areas without a personal flashlight.

Last updated: June 1, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

1801 Gulf Breeze Parkway
Gulf Breeze, FL 32563


(850) 934-2600

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