Fort Pickens sits at the west end of Santa Rosa Island, which is really just a glorified sandbar that stretches about 40 miles from the Pensacola Bay inlet to Destin, Florida.
All but 14 miles of the Island is a jumble of hotels, motels, condos, beach houses, cottages, and other ugly concrete crap.
The rest is beautiful, pristine, and a constant thumb in the eye of real estate developers who can't look at a piece of ground without wanting to put some ugly concrete crap on it. And they can't touch those 14 miles of sandy beaches, sea oats, and dunes. I hope it hurts.
The pretty parts of the island are part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore, a National Park, which also covers Fort Barrancas and the Advanced Redoubt up on the mainland (Pensacola Naval Air Station), another 7 miles of pristine island paradise on Perdido Key, and several smaller islands off the Gulf Coast of Mississippi--Petit Bois, Horn, East & West Ship, and part of Cat Island.
I'm gonna need a bigger boat; I don't think I can kayak out to Fort Massachusetts on West Ship Island. That's something like 13 miles offshore!
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