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The Sunshine State invites you to mosey on down south to experience America’s largest national seashore that extends 160 miles from Pensacola, FL to Ocean Springs, MS. The coastline seems endless with the salty water and white sand beaches stretching out further than the eye can see. Whether you crave unobstructed views, solitude, or some active fun, Gulf Islands National Seashore is the place to be when visiting Florida. Drive at your leisure along the accessible parts of the Gulf Island National Seashore for some happy vibes to start your trip outright. By booking a rental RV to Gulf Island National Seashore, you’ll be reminded of the simpler things in life.
Officially designated as a National Seashore in the 1970s, this strip of coastline along the Gulf of Mexico served an important role in history. Throughout the 1800s, the water served as anchoring points for the Spanish, French, and British. The surrounding land provided natural and cultural resources as this area became established. The Gulf Islands National Seashore holds many stories, just drive through with your camper rental to hear them.
With 168 miles of shoreline to explore along the Gulf Islands National Seashore, there’s plenty to keep you busy. Biking is a quickest way to traverse the beachy terrain, though on foot is acceptable too. In the Florida section of the seashore, there are four main areas (Fort Pickens, Naval Live Oaks, Perdido Key, and Santa Rose) with designated biking and walking paths. Many of the hiking trails are unpaved and wind you near the water. On the Mississippi side, long-distance bikers will be thrilled to know there’s a 15.5-mile loop. This is a great way to self-tour the area.
Getting in or near the water is especially encouraged. Boat rentals of all kinds are available. Kayaking and paddleboarding will keep you closer to shore while cruising out on a motorboat will let you see everything from a distance. Swimming, snorkeling, and diving are definitely ways to get your toes wet. For those new to snorkeling and diving, there are local companies that’ll set you up with a coach to ensure you stay safe. Cast a line from the beach or a pier to test your luck at snatching up something. Permits might be required, so be sure to check.
The marine habitat wildlife is thriving here. Gulf Islands National Seashore is an exciting spot for wildlife enthusiasts or photographers. No matter which part of the shoreline you find yourself one, you’re sure to see some critters. And, if you decided to partake in snorkeling, you’ll get to see what swims underneath.
For a more guided experience, the Ranger Program and boat tours are very popular choices. Interact with and learn all about the Gulf Islands National Seashore. Additionally, there are several historical sites scattered around the premises, including wartime structures from the Civil War era.
Gulf Islands National Seashore campers are able to spend the night onsite with the waves as your lullaby. Fort Pickens and Davis Bayous campgrounds accept RV travelers. Both are open for year-round reservations and include a variety of campsite options. Most sites will have full hookups unless you opt for a non-electrical site. Amenities include flush toilets, showers, water, and a dump station, as well as full access to the surrounding natural world.
Though, if the salt-filled air bothers your senses, there are plenty of options in the surrounding Escambia County. Be as close or as far from the shore as you’d like without scarification that camping experience. Choose from a variety of facilities with a range of amenities. Make this a rental RV trip to remember.
Pensacola is a fun Floridian city beaming with busy boardwalks, low-rise buildings, and delicious seafood. The Naval Aviation Museum and the Pensacola Lighthouse & Maritime Museum are fabulous ways to totally immerse yourself in the culture of the area. Or, just jump right in and hit the town! There are several options for kids to engage with their surroundings and even more for adults. Enjoy some freshly cooked crawfish while watching the sun dip behind the water.
Just an hour west via your rental RV, and you’ll find yourself in Mobile, AL. This port city sits along Alabama’s Gulf Coast and is riddled with magic. Cruises, alligators, a pecan festival, and a fishing rodeo are all examples of things to find here. The Mobile Carnival Museum is a glimpse into the history of Mardi Gras, while the History Museum of Mobile takes you into the past. Mobile sticks to no one theme and is as unique as they come. Enjoy this lively break from the calm of Gulf Islands National Seashore.