Why You Have To Camp With Your Dog At Fort Pickens Campground Of Gulf Islands National Seashore

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Fort Pickens is a pentagonal historic United States fort on Santa Rosa Island in the Pensacola, Florida, area. The fort was completed in 1834. It remained in use until 1947. Fort Pickens is included within the Gulf Islands National Seashore, and is administered by the National Park Service. And you can camp with your dog here at the Fort Pickens Campground!

This beautiful and protected area is located south of Pensacola and Gulf Breeze, Florida.

The National Seashore has an abundance of  recreational activities, historic sites and unique white sand beaches.

Fort Pickens Campground is situated on Santa Rosa Island, a part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore. Millions of visitors are drawn to the islands in the northern Gulf of Mexico for the white sandy beaches, the blue waters, a boat ride, a camping spot and a tour of an old fort. It’s a great reminder of what Florida is supposed to be.

We like this campground and National Seashore so much that we have stayed here twice!

Peanut Butter Brickle and Digby Pancake’s List Of Why You Have To Camp With Your Dog at Fort Pickens Campground 

  • Roomy campsites in a natural setting
  • Fun, dog friendly trails to hike on right from the campground
  • Walking outside the surrounding Fort area (not the Fort) gives a great water view without breaking the dog rules
  • Plenty of sunshiney
  • Laid back atmosphere and plenty to watch and meet other dog campers
  • Perfect place for a leisurely drive with the windows down
  • A nearby dog friendly beach is outside of the National Seashore limits

Girl Person and Boy Person’s List Of Why You Have To Camp With Your Dog at Fort Pickens Campground 

  • Great place to practice social distancing with roomy campsites
  • A generous number of campsites are available and reservations are possible with planning ahead
  • Easy and friendly check in
  • Perfect to watch a sunset on the whitest sand you will ever see
  • Warm showers in individual stalls
  • Close enough to grocery stores while being reasonably out of the way

As great as it is unique, this National Seashore is protected too. So be prepared to follow the rules for dogs.

This will ensure dogs are allowed in the future for other visitors and campers as well.

Now for the rules.

Pets are not allowed in the following areas (service animals exempt):

– On all park beaches and water less than five feet in Florida, this regulation is consistent with Florida State Law.
– In the forts or visitor use facilities such as pavilions, fishing and ferry piers, and visitor centers.

Please do not leave pets in cars.
Inside car temperatures can reach 120 degrees
in a matter of minutes, even with partially opened windows!

In areas where pets are permitted:

– Pets must remain on a leash, no longer than six feet, at all times.
– For health reasons, owners must clean up after pets.
– Pets are welcome on trails, multi-use paths, or on the park roads.

This campground is open for reservations year-round. It has 137 family sites with electric and water hookups, as well as 40 non-electric tent sites.

Each loop of the Fort Pickens Campground offers a different experience.

Loop A of the Fort Pickens Campground is the most popular at the national seashore. Live oaks and other trees provide beautiful shade over many of the sites. There is a beach access point directly across the street from the entrance to the campground loop. Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed. But they are allowed on the Blackbird Marsh Trail. Thia is a nature trail with interpretive panels. The trail connects to the Florida Trail providing access to the rest of the Fort Pickens Area.

Loop B is reserved for soft-sided, on the ground tents only. Each campsite has a grill/fire ring and picnic table. There are no site hook-ups, but there are centralized water stations.

There is a beach access point directly across the street from the entrance to the campground loop. Again, dogs are not allowed. But they are allowed on The Florida Trail! It runs through the loop providing access to the rest of the Fort Pickens Area including the historic district.

Loop C of the Fort Pickens Campground is one of the larger loops at the national seashore. There are not many sites with shade. The loop is located on the eastern end of the campground.

There is a beach access point directly across the street from the entrance of the campground loop. No dogs allowed.The Florida Trail runs through the campground providing access to the rest of the Fort Pickens Area and dogs LOVE that trail!

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I was disappointed at first that dogs were not allowed on the beach areas of the National Seashore because Brickle LOVES the beach!

But since there are miles of trails and plenty to look at for them, we took joy rides to the closest beach where dogs ARE allowed.  No, it is not a big area, but after a hike, it was a welcome sight.

Dog Beach 21.5 is located on the west side of the island on Fort Pickens Rd., in the first parking lot past the last set of condos on the Gulf.  

Visiting National Park areas are certainly challenging when you travel with dogs, but with a little research and planning, you can do it!  

If the persons want to visit the Fort or museum, you are close enough to run out for a few minutes after you exercise the pups.  They may need a break too, especially in the Florida heat.

So get packing, and don’t forget the snacks for you and the dogs! Once you get here, it is hard to leave the natural beauty, relaxing atmosphere and a step back in time.

Please note, Gulf Islands National Seashore Fort Pickens area in Florida charges an entrance fee of $25/private vehicle or $20/private motorcycle, good for 1-7 days. An annual pass can be purchased for $45. Fee is not included in the cost of your reservation.



1801 Gulf Breeze Parkway
Gulf Breeze, FL 32563
Phone: (850) 934-2600


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