Visiting Gulf Islands National Seashore during Peak Season 2024

Published on Monday, March 25, 2024

Visiting Gulf Islands National Seashore during Peak Season 2024

Visiting Gulf Islands National Seashore during Peak Season 2024

Visiting Gulf Islands National Seashore during Peak Season 2024


GULF BREEZE, Fla. -- Gulf Islands National Seashore’s increase in visitation begins with spring break and continues through Labor Day. To help visitors better be prepared, here are some tips they should know before visiting the largest and most visited national seashore in the nation.

Plan mid-week trips –Gulf Islands is busiest on weekends and holidays, which can mean significant traffic congestion.

Buy a digital pass – Buy your park pass ahead of time on  The pass does not guarantee a parking space; however, it can provide a smoother, quicker entry into the park.  

Arrive before 10 am – Avoid entering the park between 10 am and 2 pm and avoid exiting the park around sunset.  

Download the App - Make your trip easier by downloading the National Park Service app to have park information at your fingertips. Search for National Park Service and select Gulf Islands National Seashore once downloaded. Choose the tab that allows you to “Download for offline use”. This will give you access to information about Gulf Islands beforehand and allow use in the park where there is no internet or cell reception. 


 Other Things You Need to Know!


Beware of rip currents and swim smart. Check the status before visiting the National Weather Service. The beach condition flags are located at each entrance station.


Dogs are not allowed on the beaches or in the forts (even if on a leash or in a bag)


Areas do get full and park entry is first come, first served, regardless of what kind of park pass you have. Here is a list of fees. All passes require an ID check at the entrance station.


Clothes are mandatory everywhere!


·       Glass containers are prohibited on the beach. Styrofoam and plastic are allowed, but we encourage refillable materials throughout the whole park.


For safety reasons, no vessels or persons are allowed in the water within 200 feet of the Fort Pickens fishing pier, Fort Pickens ferry dock in Florida, or the Ship Island pier in Mississippi.


Fishing is allowed from the shoreline in the park with a license, and the Fort Pickens Ferry pier. Fishing from the pier is limited to 2 forms of fishing devices per fisherman (poles or cast nets allowed.) A fishing license is not needed to fish from the Fort Pickens Fishing Pier.


The islands are remote and shadeless, so remember to bring water or a water bottle shoes, sunscreen, etc, and stay hydrated!


For a more scenic trip to Pensacola Beach, ride the National Park’s Pensacola City Bay Ferry to Fort Pickens. This way you save gas, and you can hop on and hop off all day.  For the ferry to Ship Island visit Ship Island Excursions.


Permits are required in advance for gatherings of 50 or more, to rent pavilions, research, or for religious ceremonies etc. For information about a permits.





·       It is shorebird season, so the speed limit maybe 25 mph or less some areas of the Florida District.


Park in parking lots only. There is no longer any roadside parking in any areas of the park.


Golf carts, UTVs, rollerblades, skateboards, hoverboards, and all scooters are prohibited in the park.


·       Bicycles and e-bikes are allowed on roads and parking areas in addition to paved bike lanes in the Davis Bayou Area, multiuse path in the Naval Live Oaks Area, Hwy 399 and Fort Pickens Road bike lanes, and Florida National Scenic Trail beginning at Fort Pickens to Battery Langdon, and in the campgrounds.


-       The park has many day-use areas. There is no overnight parking in the park. This means the areas close at sunset (8 p.m.) and all visitors must exit. These areas include Davis Bayou Area in Mississippi; Naval Live Oaks, Perdido Key, Santa Rosa Area (Opal Beach), and Okaloosa Areas in Florida.


You will get a citation if you disobey park rules. Most common offenses:


Parking in unauthorized locations

Fishing from an unauthorized location

Drinking and driving






For public inquiries or questions email

To make a camping reservation contact or call 877-444-6777.


If you see injured wildlife call Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s

Wildlife Alert 24-hour Hotline at 1-888-404- 3922; In Mississippi call 1-228-669-2737;

More information at Wildlife Reporting - Gulf Islands National Seashore (U.S. National Park Service) (

If it is a true emergency and/or someone is being harmed or attacked, 9-1-1 should be contacted immediately.

For a list of frequently asked questions visit Frequently Asked Questions - Gulf Islands National Seashore (U.S. National Park Service) (











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