Maritime Heritage

Florida's Gulf coast boasts 770 miles of coastline with many of the most beautiful beaches located on the northwest coast, not to mention the scenic fishable rivers, streams and canals. Florida’s water resources and transportation along them have influenced many aspects of our culture. In Florida, there are both prehistoric and historic sites located offshore and in rivers and sinkholes - from submerged Native American canoes to the remains of sunken steamboats and schooners.

Some of Florida’s most impressive maritime sites date from the Colonial Period, such as two ships from the first colonization attempt by Spaniard Tristán de Luna, today known as the Emanuel Point Shipwrecks located just off shore in Pensacola Bay.  The site is the oldest European shipwreck known in Florida and the second oldest in the United States.

Lighthouses are another reminder that Florida’s history and development has been guided by the determination of seafarers and those brave enough to face the uncertainty of the sea.  Learn more about the vital importance of these beacons for northwest Florida history by visiting one of the many preserved lighthouses and museums.

Find out more about one of Florida’s shipwreck trails today:  1733 Spanish Galleon Trail, Florida Panhandle Shipwreck Trail, Museums in the Sea, Maritime Heritage Trail.

11 - 16 of 16

Fort Barrancas

One of three forts designed to protect the United States Navy Yard, Fort Barrancas was completed in 1844 on a bluff overlooking Pensacola Bay. Defenses included two other major separate... Read More

Region: Northwest

County: Escambia

City: Pensacola

View Website

Fort Pickens

Constructed on the western edge of Santa Rosa Island, Fort Pickens is the largest of four forts designed to defend Pensacola after the War of 1812.  The fort was begun in 1829,... Read More

Region: Northwest

County: Escambia

City: Pensacola

View Website

Fort Gadsden Historic Site

Sited on the east bank of the Apalachicola River on Prospect Bluff, the known military use of this location dates back to the 1814 construction of a British post. After the British... Read More

Region: Northwest

County: Franklin

City: Sumatra

View Website

San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park

Located at the confluence of the St. Marks and Wakulla Rivers, Native Americans used the site of Fort San Marcos de Apalache for thousands of years. The fort was built by the Spanish... Read More

Region: Northwest

County: Wakulla

City: St. Marks

View Website

St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge

The St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1931 to provide wintering habitat for migratory birds. As one of the oldest refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System,... Read More

Region: Northwest

County: Wakulla

City: St. Marks

View Website

St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge

St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge is an undeveloped barrier island just offshore from the mouth of the Apalachicola River, in the Gulf of Mexico. The refuge is managed to preserve,... Read More

Region: Northwest

County: Franklin

City: Apalachicola

View Website
11 - 16 of 16