Gulf Islands National Seashore
More than 80 percent of Gulf Islands National Seashore is under water, but the barrier islands are the most outstanding features to those who visit. The Seashore stretches 160 miles from Cat Island in Mississippi to the eastern tip of Santa Rosa Island in Florida. There are snowy-white beaches, sparkling blue waters, fertile coastal marshes, and dense maritime forests. Visitors can explore 19th century forts, enjoy shaded picnic areas, hike on winding nature trails, and camp in comfortable campgrounds. In addition, Horn and Petit Bois Islands located in Mississippi are federally designated wilderness areas. Nature, history, and recreational opportunities abound in this national treasure.
All of the Mississippi islands in the Seashore are open to park visitation unless posted. All areas here close by 10 p.m. All areas of the Florida District are open year-round unless posted. Operating hours vary seasonally and from unit to unit. Because of hurricane damage all areas are closed at dark. However, visitors with back country camping or Night Owl permits on Perdido Key or campers at the Naval Live Oaks group campground may access the areas after dark.
Seasonality / Weather
The Seashore is sunny and warm most of the year. June through September are the most humid months and afternoon thunderstorms are common. Visitors should be prepared with rain gear and appropriate clothing. Hurricanes form in the tropics, over warm ocean water and close to the equator. Hurricane season begins June 1 and ends November 30.
Gulf Islands National Seashore is in Florida and Mississippi and both districts are south of Interstate 10. In Mississippi use Exit 57 or 50 to US Highway 90 to Ocean Springs. In Florida use Exit 12 to I-110 or Exit 22 to the Garcon Point Bridge to US Highway 98.
Florida District: The Perdido Key Area is off Florida Route 292, southwest from Pensacola; turn east on Johnson Beach Road. Naval Live Oaks is on U. S. 98 east of Gulf Breeze, Florida.
The Okaloosa Day Use Area is on U. S. 98 east of Fort Walton Beach, Florida. To reach Fort Barrancas and the Advanced Redoubt onboard Pensacola Naval Air Station in Florida, use the Blue Angel Parkway (Florida Route 173). For the Fort Pickens and Santa Rosa areas, take U.S. 98 east across the Pensacola Bay Bridge.
Mississippi District: The Davis Bayou Area is on U.S. 90, east of downtown Ocean Springs, MS. Use Exit 50 or 57 south from I-10.
Florida District: The Escambia County Area Transit (ECAT) operates 7 days a week in the community. It does not stop inside the Seashore. For more information please call 850-595-3228.