Fort Pickens is located on Santa Rosa Island, West of Pensacola Beach, and is part of the Gulf Island National Seashore. The Fort Pickens area is open for visitors, campers, and bicyclists. It is also a great place to see local shorebirds, especially during the spring when they are nesting. For those that want a glimpse of what undeveloped areas along the Gulf Coast look like, Fort Pickens features miles of undeveloped beaches.
The fort was in service from 1834 to 1947. A French engineer designed the fort and it was built mostly by African-American slaves. During the Civil War it was one of the few southern forts that remained under Union control. During the Indian Wars, captives were held at the fort and Geronimo was a prisoner from 1886 to 1887. In the late 1890's, the Army began a program to build many gun batteries around the fort, taking advantage of more accurate guns. Before this, guns were in concentrated areas at the fort itself. Battery Pensacola was built within the fort as modern artillery at the time made Fort Pickens more vulnerable to attack.
This photography trip I wanted to feature some of the batteries surrounding the fort as well as the fort itself. Many of the batteries around the fort are built into the sand dunes so they have a natural camouflage.