Gulf Islands National Seashore (Florida) | LANGDON BEACH

Langdon Beach at Gulf Island National Seashore's Fort Pickens Area

Langdon Beach at Gulf Island National Seashore’s Fort Pickens Area


See the Beaches web page for an interactive location map.


The Fort Pickens Area of Gulf Islands National Seashore in Florida consists of the westernmost eight miles of Santa Rosa Island. The beach on the Gulf side of the island runs the entire length, as do beaches on the Pensacola Bay side, and you are welcome to explore every foot. The problem is that you cannot park along the road, so you must access the beach only at certain points.

One such point is Langdon Beach, the only beach in the Fort Pickens Area with lifeguards (typically from Memorial Day through Labor Day) and amenities for beachgoers. This is a much smaller facility than those at Johnson Beach on Perdido Key or Opal Beach farther east on Santa Rosa Island. Here there is but a single picnic pavilion and bathhouse combination and two outdoor showers for rinsing the sand off your body and gear. The picnic tables are taken on a first come, first served basis.

Langdon Beach picnic pavilion and bathhouse at Fort Pickens, Gulf Islands National Seashore

Langdon Beach picnic pavilion and bathhouse at Fort Pickens, Gulf Islands National Seashore

Located directly across from the beach is Battery Langdon. Both it and the beach are named after Loomis L. Langdon, one of the early commanders at Fort Pickens. While the battery is sealed shut, it is possible to take a short but steep trail to the top where you can get a good look at the beach and surrounding areas.

Battery Langdon is across the road from the Langdon Beach parking lot

Battery Langdon is across the road from the Langdon Beach parking lot

View of the Fort Pickens Area of Gulf Islands National Seashore from the top of Battery Langdon

View of the Fort Pickens Area of Gulf Islands National Seashore from the top of Battery Langdon

View of Langdon Beach from the top of Battery Langdon, Gulf Islands National Seashore

View of Langdon Beach from the top of Battery Langdon, Gulf Islands National Seashore

East of Langdon Beach are access points at two roadside parking areas that hold thirty cars. There are no facilities at these beaches, so expect to find far less people here than at Langdon Beach. At either access point, the island is narrow enough that you can walk over to the Pensacola Bay-side beaches just as easily as the Gulf-side beaches. In the mornings you will find a lot of people fishing along both sides of the island.

Roadside parking lot along Fort Pickens Road at Gulf Islands National Seashore

Roadside parking lot along Fort Pickens Road at Gulf Islands National Seashore

Early morning fishing at Gulf Islands National Seashore's Langdon Beach

Early morning fishing at Gulf Islands National Seashore’s Langdon Beach

There are two other access points to the beaches at Fort Pickens. As you continue down the park road past Langdon Beach, the road veers away from the shore and works its way inland, though before getting too far away you will come upon two boardwalks. Both of these are long enough to be billed as “nature trails,” so it’s no quick jaunt to the water from here—.15 to .3 mile, one way. They are located opposite the Fort Pickens Campground, and since there is only parking for a few cars at each boardwalk, these are mainly used by those walking from their campsite.

Boardwalks near Fort Pickens Campground lead to the beach

Boardwalks near Fort Pickens Campground lead to the beach

Once you are on the beach, you are free to walk in either direction to get away from the crowds. As mentioned, you have over eight miles of shoreline at your disposal; double that if you count the bay side of the island.

Langdon Beach at Gulf Island National Seashore's Fort Pickens Area

Langdon Beach at Gulf Island National Seashore’s Fort Pickens Area

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Last updated on April 27, 2022
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