Fort Pickens and Fort Barrancas.

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Our beach mini-break vacation wouldn’t have been complete without all the Civil War and WWII era architecture. The barrier islands protect the mainland from weather. With man-made fortifications, they also protected the mainland from potential attacks in years gone by. Interestingly enough, Fort Pickens and Fort Barrancas only saw action during the Civil War, and only against each other across the bay.

Fort Pickens is an awesome climbing maze of beautiful reddish brickwork and arches. During WWII more was added into the fort, but only as black concrete, and it’s not beautiful by a long shot. The little armadillo with the raggedy ears was much more photogenic (and not shy at all). Fort Barrancas is more like one long labyrinth, also from beautiful reddish brick. Sixty slaves built this beautiful fort! Both captured my heart for their architecture and design. The WWII fortifications were much less appealing to my eye but not so to my little climbers. We climbed in, under, up, and through them all.

We packed one last stop into our short stay. There is a free National Naval Air Museum we spent a few hours at. The Blue Angels practice here  which is across the bay from the camping. We would have loved to see the Blue Angels, but they practice only twice a week (and probably not Thanksgiving.) We sure love visiting and exploring new places, especially those with great beaches and bike trails. Perhaps we’ll make it down for the Blue Angels, but perhaps not. There is always something new to explore.

Click here for more info on Gulf Islands National Seashore.

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