Gulf Islands National Seashore

Gulf Islands National Seashore

Things To Do

Guided Tours

Gulf Islands National Seashore offers a variety of ranger-led tours. Visit historic forts, take a barrier island walk or hike through dune and salt marsh habitats to meet our local avian residents. Tours are offered throughout the year with morning and afternoon times available. Ranger-led tours are a great addition to any vacation!

Special Tours

Special tours are available for large groups or groups needing accessibility attention. For Florida District programs please call 850-934-2600 or for Mississippi District programs please call 228-875-9057 x 100 for more information.


Bicycling Information

Mississippi District

Mississippi's 15.5 mile round-trip Live Oaks Bicycle Route connects the Davis Bayou Area of the Seashore to the town of Ocean Springs at the Old Louisville and Nashville Train Depot. Follow the green and white bike-route signs on the right side of the city streets. Live Oaks Bicycling Route maps are available at the Gulf Islands Visitor Contact Station and the Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce.

Florida District

Naval Live Oaks

Visitors can cycle on the paved 2.5 mile section of the 40-mile bike loop that is adjacent to U. S. Highway 98.

Fort Pickens

The road is closed to vehicular traffic but visitors may cycle to Fort Pickens, which is a 14-mile round-trip. There is approximately one mile of paved road starting at the entrance gate, then one mile of sand before the road begins again.

Perdido Key

Visitors can cycle on a paved road from the entrance gate to the end of the Perdido Key Road. Round-trip is approximately 5 miles.

Indoor Activities

An indoor hands-on exhibit on ship building is located at the Naval Live Oaks Visitor Center in Gulf Breeze, FL and is open daily from 8:30 AM to 4:30. Call 850-934-2600 for more information.

Visitors can view a 15 minute slide program on the history of Pensacola during the Civil War, look at exhibits on the significance of the Fort Barrancas site, and browse through the Eastern National bookstore. The Visitor Center is open March-October at 9:30 am to 4:45 pm and November-February at 8:30 am to 3:45 pm. Please call 850-455-5167 for more information.

Too hot for outdoor activities? Come inside and cool off while you watch a video! All of our Visitor Centers offer films ranging from fort history to the formation of barrier islands.

Check out our bookstore for a large selection of books, post cards, games, gifts and children's items.

Try the hands-on exhibit at the Naval Live Oaks Visitor Center.


Things To Do

Gulf Islands National Seashore is a 12 unit park located in Mississippi and Florida. The two districts are about a two-hour drive apart.

You can drive to some park areas and take a boat to others. Both districts offer developed campgrounds and primitive island camping. The park operates four visitor centers in both states for you to stop at and plan your visit. Gulf Islands is a great place for outdoor activities like bicycling, swimming, snorkeling, fishing, hiking, beach combing, bird watching, and boating. With so many options you can choose your activities to fit your vacation needs!

Outdoor Activities

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, and primitive camping.

Mississippi District

Headquarters for the Mississippi District is located at the Davis Bayou Area which has a temporary visitor contact center, boat launch, playground, nature trails, and boardwalks. Private boaters can visit all the barrier islands. At West Ship Island visitors can swim at the designated swim beach.

Florida District

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).

The Fort Pickens "Loop A" Campground has reopened. Camping is on a first-come, first-served basis. You may self-register at the campground entrance. It is approximately 5 miles from the entrance gate of the park to the campground area. Water taxi service is also available to the Fort Pickens "Loop A" Campground. Please contact Chulamar Charters, Captain "Bubba" Thorsen, 850-492-1099 for information and reservations. You may take a self-guided tour of Fort Pickens. The fort is approximately a 2-mile, one way hike from the campground. 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.

On board Pensacola Naval Air Station visitors can tour Fort Barrancas, the Advanced Redoubt, and hike trails.