Gulf Islands National Seashore

Gulf Islands National Seashore

Gulf Islands National Seashore
5
About
This 150-mile stretch of seashore, which runs from Cat Island in Mississippi to Santa Rosa Island in Florida, offers sparkling blue water and many beautiful beaches along the way.
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  • John W
    Texas58 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Our Favorite
    Opal Beach is fantastic. We go every year and will always make plans to stay as close as possible. This beach and park are well kept. Hurricane Sally ruined it for a while, but it is back to near before the storm.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 22 July 2023
  • 282tiffanye
    Temperance, Michigan50 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Happy to stumble upon such a beautiful beach!
    We were looking for a day at the beach in Florida and stumbled upon the Johnson Beach National Seashore (Perdido Beach, FL). It was EXCELLENT! The beach is absolutely beautiful, we saw a seahorse in the water, and crabs were on the beach but would scurry anytime a seagull flew by (which was fun to watch and they left everyone alone). The water was clear and perfect for my son to practice snorkeling. Also, the beach was not very busy and was very peaceful. Every once in a while, a plane would fly over, and the kids loved it! There is an entrance fee, buy it's well worth the price! Depending on where you park, you may have to walk a bit. There are outdoor spray off stations available and changing areas. On our list to go back to!
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 22 July 2023
  • DIane
    217 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Beautiful treasure, so glad this area is preserved! Pack a cooler and chairs and spend the day!
    We had no idea what a beautiful drive we were in store for, stunning views, beautiful roads, otherworldly area really! The white wind swept dunes are on either side of you as you drive down to Ft. Perkins. W we got out and walked to the water, many pull outs, large expanses of sand and everywhere you look it is beautiful! Encountered quite a few bicyclist in the bicycle lanes, the speed limit is like 35 and winding, so plan for a good several hours, not a place to pass through quickly, oh, one way in and one way out! Worth your time. We were in the Santa Rosa section. Ft. Perkins at the end is definitely worth it, we used our national Park pass otherwise it is $25.
    Visited January 2024
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 8 February 2024
  • LAW64
    Tonbridge, United Kingdom1,748 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Stunning drive through beautiful scenery
    The whole coastline is very beautiful but this part of the national seashore is particularly stunning. This is a very beautiful drive especially as the sun is going down. The white sands and dunes look like a moonscape. There are a few parking spaces along the way but it is a really lovely place just to drive through and appreciate. Highly recommended.
    Visited January 2024
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 10 February 2024
  • Sheepdog1125
    Spokane, Washington197 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    A very nice beach with white sand.
    This is a beautiful seashore to walk down the beach. The waves were quite spectacular the day we were there. I don't know if I would go swimming here because they had a rip tide warning the day we were there. The ranger at the entrance to the Santa Rosa Area was not very helpful. We were disappointed that the visitor center at headquarters was shut down. But it's still worth going to.
    Visited February 2024
    Travelled with family
    Written 4 March 2024
  • Heather Johnson
    Sterling, Illinois50 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    National Parks Do Beaches Best
    National Parks do beaches best. The sands were gorgeous and squeaky, the facilities adequate, and the water as emerald green as you'd expect! Johnson Beach, near Perdido Key, was our absolute favorite! A must visit if you're in the area and don't want the crowds or the spring breakers!
    Visited April 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 7 March 2024
  • jwdonten
    Englewood, Florida313 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Pristine and Natural
    We drove through the Santa Rosa Area of the Gulf Islands National Seashore. The weather was not really a beach day but it was nice to get to see the pristine beaches of national park. When you enter the park, you leave civilization behind and encounter white sands, dunes and water as far as you can see. Nice to leave the commercialization behind and experience a natural Gulf Coast.
    Visited June 2024
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 23 June 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

5.0
5.0 of 5 bubbles1,293 reviews
Excellent
1,126
Very good
137
Average
26
Poor
1
Terrible
3

maldenmusic
Malden, MO2,465 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2020 • Friends
Gulf Islands includes several locations in FL and MS. This visit took us to some of the Florida sections. The beaches are pristine and most have lifeguards and bathrooms. There's an entrance fee but it lets you explore any of the locations for 7 days. Bring everything you need to the beach with you as there are no vendors allowed. If you're lucky, you might get to see a few protected sea turtles or dolphins and stingrays
Written 27 June 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

F4981JCmichaels
Vancouver, WA2,650 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2021
Unique beach. Long, long strip of blinding white sand. Bring your sunglasses. The sand is a fine powder.
Many Florida beaches we saw in Florida on our road trip were filled with people, but because this is a national seashore, there is a fee, so there are fewer people present. Plus it is away from populated areas along highway 399 east of Pensacola Beach.
The place has restrooms too and picnic areas, more than one location.
If you are over 62, you can get a free lifetime pass for national parks, monuments, etc. Pays off if you go to a lot of national parks.
Written 27 August 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

2RetiredHatchlings
Kansas59 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 • Couples
Some areas are public no fee. Other areas have fees for Day Use with Covered Picnic Tables and Restrooms facilities. The beaches and dunes are naturally beautiful. Seniors can use their National Park Pass if they have one. Everyone who visits here cleans up after theirselves very well. Always a joy to spend Beach Time on Santa Rosa Island here when we are in the Navarre/ Pensacola area.
Written 20 February 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ClevelandBeachBoy
Greater Cleveland522 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019
I visited several different areas of the park. All areas technically require payment, but I doubt most people pay in most areas since only Fort Pickens had a gate that required payment.

I found it strange how little staff was available in the park. There was a visitor center at Naval Live Oaks that was open with no staff. There was no staff in the Fort Pickens visitor center. The only staff I saw at all areas were the Fort Pickens Area gate person, the gift shop cashier, and a ranger that came at night to tell everyone to leave.

Fort Pickens Area

This is a large fort you can basically do whatever you want in. You're supposed to stay off of the cannons, but many people go on them because there is no staff to enforce. This was educational and fun. I recommend watching the video in the visitor center. This area has a pay gate.

Okaloosa Island Area

Easily the worst area. Part of the parking lot was flooded, and I spent about 1 minute here. Not much to see, and small beach.

Santa Rosa Area

Beautiful drive. Better than the A1A. Nice long beach with many places to go and see.

Naval Live Oaks Area

This area has a few hiking trails. Some are unkempt, overgrown, and unmarked. I hiked the Beaver Pond Trail and never saw a beaver dam. We also did some of the Andrew Jackson Trail, the Boy Scout Trail, the North Bay Trail, the Borrow Pit Trail and the Fishing Trail. There are nice views of the ocean off some of the trails. The different landscapes some of the trails have are neat to see. After doing the Andrew Jackson and the Boy Scout Trail and going through the Fishing Trail, my wife had several deer ticks on her pants. This was in late December, when there were hardly any bugs around. Wear pants or lots of bug spray. We did not find deer ticks on myself or on my wife's skin anywhere, but they were for sure deer ticks.

Perdido Key Area

This is great for a walk on the beach with the white sand.
Written 6 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Lifetraveler1
Atlanta, GA1,388 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2022 • Couples
The great thing I like about this beach, is it is isolated from the more popular beaches. You don't get large crowds here, because it's part of a national park. It's a little bit further from population centers. And there's a fee. Because of the lack of density of people, the beach itself is normally very pristine. The sand is blinding white when there's a sun out, and the water is pretty clear. Only one thing, the times I have been there there were no guards, I mean lifeguards, and the water currents was strong.
Written 20 May 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

dudpa
Grand Junction, Colorado373 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2020
lovely area that is a protected area for wildlife, but people are still able to enjoy the ocean - swimming, surfing, sun tanning, etc. I knew it was going to cost $25 just to get in the place, if I was going to be staying for a week it would have been a great deal. Just getting away from the crowds on the public beaches and having to walk a long ways, pay for parking, etc would one of the reasons I wanted to go to the National Seashore. I was able to park very close and carry my lawn chair/tote bag and sit very close to the water with plenty of distance/privacy between other beach goers. I appreciated having a public restroom and shaded area with picnic tables was also available. The museum for the fort was not open. The rangers at the entrance were very nice and gave me some killer magnets for my car!!!
Written 31 July 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Steven D
Spring Hill, TN2,659 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2023 • Family
While staying in Perdido Key (Pensacola) Florida we researched good places to access the beach for ourselves and extended family members including younger grandchildren.

We discovered Johnson’s Beach / Gulf Islands National Seashore managed by the National Park Service. Modest $25 entry fee per vehicle that can be reused for seven days — perfect for our four day weekend.

The managed section of the park includes a large covered picnic area, restrooms, outdoor showers, lifeguard station with rescue vehicles and surf condition flag alerts. The beach itself is very nice and well groomed and clean. Adequate parking for hundreds of vehicles.
Written 16 July 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Steve K.
Bartlesville, OK46 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019
We stopped at a small part of the Seashore to look for seashells. There was an abundance of good, intact seashells. This time of the year (Christmas) it was cool with a cool wind off the Gulf. The area was kept very clean and provided a great place to just walk along the beach.
Written 7 March 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Deb C
Milton, DE255 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2023 • Couples
The seashore itself was absolutely stunning with the pure white sand. At times it was so white that it looked like snow. And it went on for miles and miles We stopped at the visitor center at Gulf Breeze called Gulf Island National Seashore Headquarters. It looked nice with a replica sea turtle out front. However … it was closed and there were no restrooms that we could find. Upon walking around back there was a water fountain up against the building with the metal cover ripped off. The center actually looked abandoned. Now, I may be wrong but aren’t these National Parks ours ? How disgraceful the neglect we saw. There was a very small boardwalk that also could use a little attention
Written 20 February 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

DIane
WIsconsin217 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Couples
We had no idea what a beautiful drive we were in store for, stunning views, beautiful roads, otherworldly area really! The white wind swept dunes are on either side of you as you drive down to Ft. Perkins. W we got out and walked to the water, many pull outs, large expanses of sand and everywhere you look it is beautiful! Encountered quite a few bicyclist in the bicycle lanes, the speed limit is like 35 and winding, so plan for a good several hours, not a place to pass through quickly, oh, one way in and one way out! Worth your time. We were in the Santa Rosa section. Ft. Perkins at the end is definitely worth it, we used our national Park pass otherwise it is $25.
Written 8 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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GULF ISLANDS NATIONAL SEASHORE (2024) All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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