Gulf Islands National Seashore (Florida) | NAVAL LIVE OAKS AREA

Naval Live Oaks Area map (click to enlarge)

Naval Live Oaks Area map (click to enlarge)


Naval Live Oaks Picnic Area

Naval Live Oaks Beaches

Naval Live Oaks Hiking Trails

Youth Group Campground


Before the days of steel, ships and boats of all sizes were made out of wood (in case you didn’t know). For ordinary vessels, Yellow Pine or White Oak was used for production, but when it came to ships of war, nothing could beat Live Oak. The tree’s wildly tangled limbs that twist and turn in all sorts of shapes make them the coolest looking trees around. The limbs were excellent for fabricating the curved parts of large ships. Shipbuilders would actually visit the forest where the trees were being harvested and pick out branches and trunks with the shapes they needed. The wood was also extremely dense and held up very well when hit by enemy cannonballs.

Live Oak (at Fort Matanzas National Monument in St. Augustine)

Live Oak (at Fort Matanzas National Monument in St. Augustine)

By the early 1800s, the Live Oak supply had severely dwindled, for it took nearly 1,000 trees to make one large ship. Not wanting to jeopardize production, in 1828 the U. S. Navy purchased land in the Pensacola area for use as a Live Oak tree farm, thus making it the first federally owned tree farm in the nation. Live Oaks grow in the southeastern United States and can be found throughout Florida.

Today the National Park Service owns 1,400 acres of the original tree farm and preserves it for recreational purposes. The Naval Live Oaks Area is the only section of Gulf Islands National Seashore with an extensive system of hiking trails. You will also find a picnic area and a Youth Group Campground.

The grounds of Naval Live Oaks are open from 8 AM to sunset daily. There is no fee to enter this section of the park.

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Last updated on April 27, 2022
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