Featured Image

More Popular Than the Grand Canyon: Have You Visited Gulf Islands National Seashore?

Once the whimsicalness of the holidays passes and we’re left with just winter, many people turn their sights to warmer climates. While it’s still winter along the Gulf Coast, you can expect some warmer temperatures soon at Gulf Islands National Seashore. The popular destination includes islands in Florida and Mississippi and is an excellent getaway for most of the year.

Here are some facts about this National Park Service site to help you plan your visit.

When it comes to National Park Service destinations, which include parks, historic sites, monuments, and seashores, Gulf Islands ranks the 8th most popular. That’s out of a list of 387 different locations. The only national park with more visitors than Gulf Islands is Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Gulf Islands gets nearly one million more visitors yearly than the Grand Canyon.

visiting a national seashore
(Source: Joshua J. Cotten)

Gulf Islands National Seashore Contains 12 Islands

The park is massive, stretching for 160 miles and includes 12 main islands. Visitors can drive to a few islands, but some, like the majority in Mississippi, require a ferry or private boat to get there. The extra effort to arrive at the islands makes them feel more natural and secluded.

Can You Visit Year-Round?

Technically, the park remains open year-round, unless there’s a hurricane or similar issue. However, warmer weather is when you see the crowds. It makes sense that most people only want to visit the Gulf of Mexico when they can go for a swim. Fortunately, the islands are relatively warm most of the year. In fact, temperatures only stay below the mid-60s in December through February. As you can imagine, the peak summer months can also be very hot.

visting gulf islands national seashore
(Source: NPS)

There’s More to Do Than Just Lounging on the Beach

Gulf Islands is a great place to sit back and relax, but there are plenty of other activities to check out if you get tired of sitting on the beach. First and foremost is fishing, but snorkeling is also popular off the beach. There are also hiking trails with great opportunities for bird watching. The park does have multiple spots for camping as well. Besides outdoor fun, the park has plenty of history, including military bases from the early 1800s.

Nearby Destinations

While visiting Gulf Islands National Seashore is a great way to find a quiet escape from the day-to-day, you can also find plenty of tourist-y attractions nearby. Places like the Alabama Aquarium offer plenty of fun, and small cities like Pensacola, Florida have downtown shops, restaurants, and more.

Featured Image

Viral Video Shows Massive Monitor Lizard ‘Shopping’ in Thailand

Featured Image

Snake Steak, Anyone? Researchers Say We Should Eat Pythons

Leave a Comment

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

Scroll to Top