If you find yourself relaxing at any of the fabulous establishments on the Pensacola Beach that overlook the Santa Rosa Sound, you have probably been looking at Gulf Islands National Seashore … without even knowing it.
As part of Gulf Islands National Seashore, Naval Live Oaks Reservation is the ideal location for hiking, kayaking and paddleboarding in Gulf Breeze, the small community between Pensacola and Pensacola Beach.
When the US Navy was still making wooden ships, Naval Live Oaks Reservation was a naturally rich source of wood. Following advancements in shipbuilding, it was federally protected, becoming part of Gulf Islands National Seashore.
Naval Live Oaks Reservation has a seven-and-a-half mile hiking trail that features all of the unique vegetation and wildlife Northwest Florida has to offer. Just behind the visitor’s center is a one-mile boardwalk style trail loop called Brackenridge Nature Trail. This short trail is great for a quick introduction to the park and a more leisurely stroll through the wooded ecosystem.
Even though Naval Live Oaks Preservation is certainly enjoyable by foot, don’t hesitate to bring your recreational watercraft of choice. Since the sound is protected from the stronger currents of the Gulf of Mexico, the water just off the shore of Naval Live Oaks Reservation is glassy smooth. Paddleboards are a popular choice, but National Seashore veterans will say that kayaking is the best way to experience the shore.
The trees growing right on the shoreline create a unique, picturesque atmosphere. Take a stroll along the brilliantly white sandy shore or just take a moment to sit and relax. (It’s also a perfect place for family photos.)
Speaking of relaxing, there’s no better place to take in a beautiful sunset than Naval Live Oaks Reservation. Cap off your hike or water activity by watching the burning ball in the sky slowly drop into the Bluffs.
Experience the wild and free Gulf Coast at Naval Live Oaks Reservation.
Naval Live Oaks Preservation is located at Gulf Islands National Seashore, Andrew Jackson Trail in Gulf Breeze FL. For more information, visit the Naval Live Oaks website or call (850) 934-2600.
– Logan Singleton
Lead Storyteller, Innisfree Hotels