Fort Pickens Campground is situated on Santa Rosa Island, a part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore south of Pensacola and Gulf Breeze, Florida. Visitors (who might be looking for camping near New Orleans) enjoy the seashore for its great recreational activities, historic sites and unique white sand beaches.
Many visitors young and old come to Fort Pickens to enjoy its scenic location on the beach. The white sands of Santa Rosa Island are the perfect place for a long walk or an afternoon of building sandcastles. The warm ocean waters are great for swimming and snorkeling.
Fishermen will find a pier just a short distance from the picnic pavilions. It can be used by visitors without a Florida fishing license. Many hiking trails through the sand dunes provide beautiful views and hours of exploration.
Historic Fort Pickens, a pentagonal fort built to defend Pensacola Bay in 1834, is just 1 mile from the campground. The structure was fortified after the War of 1812 and was one of four forts in the South never occupied by Confederates during the Civil War.
This large campground is open for reservations year-round. It contains 137 family sites with electric and water hookups, as well as 41 non-electric tent sites. A group site with water hookup is also available. Amenities include flush toilets, showers, drinking water and a dump station. There are no boat ramps in the Fort Pickens area.
The campground is located on a barrier island between the Gulf of Mexico and Pensacola Bay. Groves of live oak trees are scattered across the island, providing shelter for resident and migrating bird populations, as well as shade for park visitors.
The Gulf Islands National Seashore is home to sparkling blue waters, white beaches and coastal marshes. However, more than 80% of the national park is underwater, as it's a vital protective habitat to marine life.
The campground is a short distance from restaurants and beach nightlife, downtown Pensacola, the Pensacola Naval Air Station and Naval Aviation Museum, the Pensacola Lighthouse and other historic sites. Campsites are within 1/4 mile of the beaches of the Emerald Coast of the Gulf of Mexico and Pensacola Bay.
ADA Access: N
This was the first really vacation camping trip our family took and it was work but it was one of the best vacations we have every had. We were very new to camping on vacation so it was quite the learning experience. And Fort Pickens, FL was a great place for our 1st outing. The campgrounds were very clean and well kept. Our camping spot was very roomy, enough for 1 large tent, a small tent, 2 canopies, and we still had room to walk around. You did have a large concrete slab for your car or either your camper. Now one thing we wish we had had at our site was some trees for shade, because in July in Florida it gets HOT. But we did not have the shade so we just kept under the canopies with the fans blowing. One thing we sis love about our site was we were right across from the bathrooms, Loop D site D22, and that was very convenient, esp in the morning when everyone was rushing for showers & getting ready for the day. Now the showers were on the older side, but they worked.
There was a store at the campgrounds for your basic needs if you ran out of anything, ice bread, sunscreen, etc. But I would recommend making sure to stock up because the prices are higher at the store. But its great to know its there if you need it. Outside the store that had laundry facilities, 4 washers and 4 dryers. I believe it was about $2 per machine, so make like i did to just wash once for the week. I waited until Wednesday & it got us thru the rest of our vacation. One tip, get to the washers very early or you will not get them til late that evening. I got up at 5:30 a.m. to get my washing started. Soon after I got there people started filing in. What we really loved about Fort Pickens was the beach was just minutes away. You could ride your bike, walk or even drive to the areas you wanted to visit for the day. The beach and water was just beautiful. The water was crystal clear and very calm. Now a couple of days the water temp got a lil too warm but it was cooling than being in the sun on the beach. Another location we enjoyed visiting was the bay side just behind our campsite. We walked down a trail and had easy access to the bay, where the water was just as clear & everyone took their kayaks out. It was even calmer water than the ocean so it was a lot easier to paddle in this water. There is so much to do in this area that it make the perfect vacation spot for just about everyone. You can explore the Fort at Fort Pickens, or stroll to the lighthouses, or visit the Pensacola Naval Air Station and Naval Aviation Museum. You also have a wide selections of restaurants and shopping to enjoy. A great family friendly campground!!
This is just a few minutes drive from the central touristy area on Pensacola. However it's definitely worth checking out. You'll have to get a pass to enter as its part of a national park, however it's definitely worth it. It's beautiful and you can enjoy the beach without being crowded by lots of other tourists. There's not much shade so bring and umbrella but it's worth the trip.
Need fans & bug spray! But other than that the showers / bathrooms are close by & clean, you can take a short walk to watch the sunrise & sunset .. There is a camp store that provides basics that are usually forgotten, you can explore the old forts, bike down trails, kayak & paddle board or surf the waves! Dog friendly as well! You will love it!!
I've always loved this one. If you are a local…buy the pass. Great water, but watch for sharks in Summer. The Osprey are everywhere. Great views sunsets, dolphins turtles shells! Campground is HOT! Very few trees! Bring your own shade. Showers and bathrooms are ok…but outdated. Sand spurs are on all the trails so be careful and bring your flops. Also bring the bug spray for sure! If you don't mind walking it's worth it to avoid the crowds.
Beautiful campground! There are trails that take you to the sound side (Escambia Bay) where you can see dolphins and play in the sand and water. Eagles nest in the trees around the campground and at night, if the weather permits, the view of the stars in the sky is astounding!