We toured the well-preserved ruins at Fort Pickens today, just a stone's throw from our campsite.
What remains of the fort is still a very impressive edifice - the largest coastal defense fort in the US arsenal. It was built brick by brick in the 1830's using slave labor, and alternately held by both Union and Confederate forces during the Civil War.
Designed to protect against invading naval forces, Fort Pickens wasn't finally obsoleted and abandoned until the 1930's.
They have a very nice gift shop and bookstore, and the National Park Service staff is both amiable and informative. Admission is free and so are the tours and demonstrations.
The DW also found bushes full of blooming Lantana flowers growing wild within the fort ruins. The colors are amazing.
After working up an appetite wandering around the fort, we headed to old downtown Pensacola and stumbled upon an excellent eatery: The Four Seasons Market.
They're open only for lunch on weekdays - closed weekends. Try the gumbo as well as the grilled shrimp and scallops. Definitely worth the trouble finding a parking spot.
p.s. No luck so far surf fishing. We've been out three times and nary a bite. Others fishing around us are suffering the same fate, but that doesn't make me happier.