Coastal hikes, forts, and semi boon-docking in Pensacola, Florida

The last 5 days, Joe and I took our RV to Pensacola – the first of several stops in Florida. This stop was so relaxing and unique, as we were in a remote campground and ended up “semi-boon docking.” Boon-docking is when you don’t have all the hookups that are usually provided at RV parks. We didn’t have sewage at this campground, so we had to conserve our water use. Oh, and no wifi either. 🙂 We did, fortunately, have electricity. Being semi-off the grid gave us a unique camping-like experience and the chance to unwind at this scenic spot.

We drove from New Orleans to Pensacola in about 4 hours. The drive went smoothly – I think we are getting the hang of these trailer rides – Ellie sure is. 😉

In 4 hours, we passed through 4 states – Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida! I’ve been getting a major geography lesson on this road trip as I feel like I’m “that American” who only knows the east and west coast, but nothing in between. 😛

Finally, we made it to our campground – Fort Pickens RV Park. Pensacola is the westernmost city in the Florida panhandle. The town itself felt like a family beach town (Santa Barbara meets Cape Cod), however, we stayed 40 minutes from town at Fort Pickens – a remote, scenic, and historical site. We really felt like we were “out there,” and Joe and I made preparations to be self-sufficient for 5 days (e.g. buying enough food to cook all our meals).

trailer at Fort Pickens campground

The campground itself was such a joy! So spacious and beautiful. We had our own beach-access trail right at our parking spot. Joe brought clippers along to maintain the trail – hilarious.

The beach had the whitest sand I’d ever seen. I loved the remote feel as there was hardly anyone on the beach except others at the campground. Joe and I took our camping chairs to the beach several times and enjoyed the views.

Pensacola Beach

There is a naval base in Pensacola, and we caught the Blue Angels doing some practice drills! Joe is a major fan of these fighter jets, and I have to say, it was contagious. We’ve seen them perform a couple of times in San Francisco during the annual Fleet Week, but it was extra special watching them on a beach that we had all to ourselves.

There were several trails from our campground, so every day, Joe and I explored a different one. This was heaven for us. The trails were flat, sandy, and full of new scenery native to Florida. We saw swamps, tall grass, thin pine trees, and desert plants…all along a white-sand trail.

Trail on Santa Rosa Island, Pensacola, Florida

The swamps were pretty cool. One of many swamps we’ll see in Florida. 🙂 We didn’t see an alligator this time.

Swamps in Pensacola

Lots of wildlife here. My favorite was the armadillos. I’d never seen one before this trip!


Another highlight was visiting the historical forts at Fort Pickens. There were several forts, and every day we tried to explore a new one. These forts date all the way back to the American Civil War.

Fort Pickens

The forts were open to climb up and explore. We enjoyed seeing the run-down remains of these forts and learning about their history.

Fort Pickens

There were even massive cannons left behind.

Other than that, our time in Pensacola was spent simply relaxing. We loved sitting outdoors and enjoying the slower pace of life that comes with camping.

We cooked all our meals at the campground, which was a nice change as we ate out a lot in Texas and Louisiana. We even cooked outside on a fire pit, which was unique as most RV parks prohibit fires.

These last few days were just what I needed – Joe and I agreed this was our favorite stop so far, as nature and remote living are totally up our alley. After 5 days off the grid, I’m excited to return to civilization and use all the amenities in our RV again. Next up, we’re heading to Orlando!

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