Speaking of Fort Pickens, after nearly 200 years, the still-proud granite walls and massive cannon pose an imposing, majestic presence as they stand guard over Pensacola Pass. The sprawling fort, which once imprisoned the great Geronimo and where Union troops outgunned Confederate forces at Fort Barrancas, is nestled among the sand dunes with historic features like the fort itself, Battery Cooper and Battery Worth.
Fort Pickens is part of Gulf Islands National Seashore, where there’s plenty of beaches with designated parking, bike paths, a fishing pier and a campground. There’s also plenty of wildlife, including nesting sea turtles, osprey and colonies of least terns and black skimmers. You can ride your bike out to the fort — 9 miles from the fort entrance.