Gulf Islands National Seashore

The Fort Pickens and Naval Live Oaks areas are the two best sites to view wildlife in Florida's portion of this national seashore. The Fort Pickens area is located on the western end of Santa Rosa Island amidst the ruins of Fort Pickens. The Naval Live Oaks area is located near the town of Gulf Breeze on the mainland. Both sites offer interpretive centers, trails, ranger-led walks, and excellent birding during spring migration. Fort Pickens includes beach, dune, salt marsh, and scrub upland habitats, while Naval Live Oaks is covered mostly by hammocks of live oak, magnolia, hickory, and red cedar. An observation platform at the west end of the trail from the interpretive center at Naval Live Oaks provides a scenic view of Santa Rosa Sound.

Watchable wildlife:
At the Fort Pickens area, look for raccoons, opossums, skunks, rabbits, snakes, beach mice, great blue herons, egrets, and bitterns. From the beach, you may see bottle-nosed dolphins, brown pelicans, gulls, terns, and other shorebirds. On the shore of Santa Rosa Sound at Naval Live Oaks, watch for great blue herons, black-bellied and snowy plovers, willets, and other shorebirds. In the winter, red-breasted mergansers and northern loons often frequent the sound.

National Park Service

(850) 934-2600

From Pensacola Beach, travel west to Fort Pickens park entrance.  Naval Live Oaks is just east of Gulf Breeze on U.S. Highway 98.

Related Sites:
Other North West Florida Wildlife Sites
Florida State Parks
National Park Service Site

FWC Facts:
Sandhill cranes stand almost 4 feet tall, and their call has a distinctive bugling or rattling sound.

Learn More at AskFWC