Before leaving the Emerald Coast, we visited the Gulf Islands National Seashore and Fort Pickens. The area was recently reopened after hurricane Ivan caused severe damage over four years ago. As you drive south through the park there is still plenty of evidence of the destruction. The park is still littered with the remnants of the road destroyed by Ivan. There are many places to enjoy the beach and Gulf shore line in this national park.
At the very southern tip of the peninsula is Fort Pickens, completed in 1834, as part of the homeland security program of the era. Its location allowed control of the sea entrance and port area and was designed to deny entrance to foreign military vessels. The fort has seen use from 1834 right through WWII. One of the more interesting facts about the fort is that for a short period the fort was home to Geronimo and his band of Apaches’.
We were lucky enough to arrive just as a guided tour of the fort was starting and enjoyed an entertaining explanation of the ranger.