Ft. Barrancas – Pensacola, Florida

Fort Barrancas was built between 1839 and 1844 and was built to help protect the Pensacola Navy Yard.  It is now part of the Gulf Island National Seashore Park Service and is a great place to take the family.  There is a small visitor center that you pass before you walk up to the fort.  There are very clean restrooms available here as well (we are always looking for clean restrooms!). 

There are scheduled tours available daily at 2pm but you can do a self-guided tour as well.  We opted for the self-guided tour since we had the kids with us.  We had a great time wandering through the passages, climbing stairs, and exploring the tracks that the cannons were once mounted on. 

We brought a cooler full of snacks and had a little picnic at the tables available near the visitor center.  Fort Barrancas is nearby the Pensacola Lighthouse and the Naval Aviation Museum so you can plan to make a day of it!

Things to Know Before You Go:

  • Wear closed toe shoes.  It isn’t necessarily dangerous if you wear flip flops, but we were constantly having to get rid of pebbles and other little things getting stuck in our shoes. 
  • Keep a close eye on the little walkers.  There are lots of steep stairs.  There were a few scary moments when the adventurous one of the family took off running and didn’t realize how steep the stairs were!
  • There is a short walk uphill to get to the fort.
  • Bring flashlights or headlamps for the little ones.  The passages are not as dark as the tunnels at Ft. Pickens, but it will make your children feel like explorers!
  • Visiting the fort is free.

Fort Barrancas is located off of Taylor Road on the Naval Air Station Pensacola.  If you drive towards the Naval Aviation Museum from the front gate, it will be a left turn about half a mile before the museum.  There is a sign marking the entrance but the sign is a Gulf Islands National Seashore with a much smaller font for Fort Barrancas!  We drove past it the first time we visited.

Pensacola Family Vacation