Although Florida has one big mouse and many rats, my favorite thing to do is in the panhandle and involves Gulf Islands National Seashore. GINS is a large park, covering two states and many areas. My favorite three sections are Naval Live Oaks, Opal Beach (named after Hurricane Opal), and Fort Pickens.
To enjoy these best parts, follow this path.

Take a Good Walk in Florida
Naval Live Oaks

Go to Naval Like Oaks and hike the visitor center trail. Look at the
large Live Oaks and find the bows of ships in the live branches. I love
imagining how arborists and engineers came together to find the perfect
branch to build navy ships.

Next, drive east on hwy 98 to Navarre and take the Navarre bridge to Navarre
Beach. Drive west to Opal Beach (aka Santa Rose Day Use Pavilions). Get out of your car at the rest area. Rather than walking to the Gulf, walk north to Santa Rosa Sound.
Enjoy a random trail through the dunes (don’t step on any plants!) and
track the footprints of all the critters who live there. See if you can
find fox or armadillo tracks. After tracking critters, go back to the
Gulf and enjoy a swim.

Take a Good Walk in Florida
Hunt for critter tracks in the dunes

Next, Continue heading west through Pensacola Beach, grab a bite to eat at
Peg Leg Pete’s, and enter the Fort Pickens area. You’ll need to pay an
entry fee into the National Park, and it’s totally worth it. Make your
way to the Fort and take a tour.

From the bookstore, walk toward the point and find the pier that juts into the bay. Sit on the edge of the pier and enjoy a gorgeous view of Pensacola and its bay. Turn off the noise and just simply relax. Ahh. You’ve found my favorite corner in all of Florida. Say hi for me.

Take a Good Walk in Florida
Sit on the Fort Pickens pier and see Pensacola
Take a Good Walk in Florida
Drive from Naval Live Oaks to Navarre to Fort Pickens, FL


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


handsome hiking couple

Chris and Steve, the empty-nesting nomads, travel the world, one month at a time, housesitting and Airbnbing along the way. We uncover urban walks, great hikes, and vegan/vegetarian eats that other guide books miss. And we throw in a bit about Forex trading along the way.

More about Chris and Steve

Signup for our newsletter

Get the latest trip reports, and be the first to know about upcoming walking adventures!

Get your copy of Two Carry-Ons and a Plan: Retiring as Full-Time Nomads

Get your copy of Travel Magic Postcards!


Sponsors In order to underwrite this blog, there may be sponsored posts, advertising, or affiliate marketing. See disclosures here.