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Gulf Islands National Seashore picture in Pensacola
Joseph Sohm / Getty Images

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Details

  • Recreation, Sightseeing Type
  • Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
4.4
Overall
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Scorecard

  • Value
    4.0
  • Facilities
    4.5
  • Atmosphere
    4.5

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This undeveloped and preserved stretch of sand and sea in the Gulf of Mexico, which reaches from Cat Island in Mississippi to Okaloosa in Florida, is beloved by locals and visitors for its pristine shoreline. 

Recent visitors call the Gulf Islands National Seashore a beautiful, wild stretch of sand, referring to it as a "treasure" among the more developed beaches in the area. 

You can reach the Gulf Islands National Seashore by taking U.S. Route 98. Keep in mind, there is a toll. Once you reach the national seashore, you'll need to pay $15 per vehicle or $7 per person arriving on foot or bicycle, etc. You can also pay for your pass in advance here. Although there are restroom facilities located inside the Gulf Islands National Seashore, there aren't places to buy drinks or food, so you'll need to pack your own supplies. While here, you might consider a jaunt over to Fort Pickens, located at the westernmost side of Santa Rosa Island. This military fort was in use for more than a century, from 1834 to 1947, and now the National Park Service operates it as part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore. For more information, visit the NPS website

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#1 Pensacola Beach Pensacola Beach outlines the Santa Rosa barrier island and offers visitors two very different beach experiences. On the Gulf side, visitors are treated to unparalleled Gulf Coast views, as well ... Read more » Getty Images

#2 National Naval Aviation Museum The National Naval Aviation Museum is based on board the Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola. Founded in 1914, it's the oldest air station in the country and it's ... Read more » Flickr

#3 Historic Pensacola Village The Historic Pensacola Village is a more than 8-acre complex encompassing nearly 30 properties (11 of which are open to the public). This district, which appears on the National Register ... Read more » perrywatson / Getty Images

#4 Gulf Islands National Seashore This undeveloped and preserved stretch of sand and sea in the Gulf of Mexico, which reaches from Cat Island in Mississippi to Okaloosa in Florida, is beloved by locals and ... Read more » Joseph Sohm / Getty Images

#5 Perdido Key State Park Perdido Key State Park is a 247-acre barrier island positioned near Pensacola on the Gulf of Mexico. Here, there are wide swaths of white sandy beaches and undulating sand dunes ... Read more » lightphoto / Getty Images

#6 Pensacola Lighthouse The Pensacola Lighthouse was established in 1859, but these days, it serves as a history museum and offers a tremendous view of the Gulf Coast. What's more, it's ... Read more » Jim McKinley / Getty Images

Pensacola Beach picture in Pensacola
National Naval Aviation Museum picture in Pensacola
Historic Pensacola Village picture in Pensacola
Gulf Islands National Seashore picture in Pensacola
Perdido Key State Park picture in Pensacola
Pensacola Lighthouse picture in Pensacola
Pensacola Beach picture in Pensacola
National Naval Aviation Museum picture in Pensacola
Historic Pensacola Village picture in Pensacola
Gulf Islands National Seashore picture in Pensacola
Perdido Key State Park picture in Pensacola
Pensacola Lighthouse picture in Pensacola

Families appreciate the lifeguards on Pensacola Beach. Getty Images

Visitors say the National Naval Aviation Museum comes alive with the free guided tour.  Flickr

The Historic Pensacola Village is a more than 8-acre complex encompassing nearly 30 properties (11 of which are open to the public).  perrywatson / Getty Images

The Gulf Islands National Seashore stretches from Mississippi to Florida. Joseph Sohm / Getty Images

The Perdido Key State Park, located a quick 30 minutes down the coast, contains 247 acres right on the Gulf of Mexico.  lightphoto / Getty Images

Visitors can climb 177 steps to the top of the Pensacola Lighthouse for a great view of the Gulf Coast.  Jim McKinley / Getty Images

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