Langdon Beach is one of the most popular swimming beaches in Gulf Islands National Seashore and among the only ones lifeguarded during the summer months. Its beautiful Gulf of Mexico sands are well worth visiting while you’re soaking up the history, ecology, and scenery on tap in the National Seashore’s Fort Pickens area.
Situated near the western end of Santa Rosa Island roughly in the middle of the National Park Service-managed Fort Pickens unit, Langdon Beach is within shouting distance of the Fort Pickens Campground and its several large loops: the biggest and most popular camping area in Gulf Islands National Seashore. Needless to say, it’s a mighty attractive destination for campers and day visitors alike.
The beach also adjoins one of several of the Fort Pickens area’s historic gun batteries: Battery Langdon, named (like the beach itself) after Colonel Loomis L. Langdon, a 19th-century commander at Fort Pickens. The battery dates from the 1920s and was case-mated during World War II, when fortifications here were reinforced to safeguard Pensacola Bay against the threat of German U-boats. Perched on a seaside height, Battery Langdon affords a nice view of the beachfront below.
(Kicking back at Langdon Beach, you’ll also, of course, be just a hop, skip, and a jump from Fort Pickens itself, a must-see historical landmark in the Pensacola Beach area. This five-bastion fort dates from 1834 and saw some major action during the Civil War, when Union forces managed to hold on to its control even after the nearby Forts McCree and Barrancas fell into Confederate hands.)
You’ll find a parking area, bathhouse, picnic pavilion, and outdoor showers at Langdon Beach. It’s a great place to take a dip if the Gulf isn’t too rough or jellyfish-swarmed, and naturally also prime for sunbathing. You’ll likely see more than a few surf-casting anglers here.
Whether you’re camping over at Fort Pickens or simply checking out the sights for the day, spare some time for some good old-fashioned sand-between-your-toes sun worshipping at Langdon Beach in Gulf Islands National Seashore!
– If you find Langdon Beach to be a bit crowded for your liking, you can stroll east or west along the National Seashore’s Gulf-side beachfront to find more solitude or drive to one of the other parking areas offering beach access along the Fort Pickens Road. (Don’t expect facilities.) Just east of the Langdon Beach area, Santa Rosa Island narrows, making access to the shores along Santa Rosa Sound as well a breeze.