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the Fort Barrancas visitor center
Closest available address
3182 Taylor Road, Pensacola, FL 32508
Mar.-Oct., 9:30 am - 4:45 pm., Nov.-Feb., 8:30 am - 3:45 pm.
Best time to visit
Fort Barrancas is a masonry fort located in Pensacola, Florida. It was constructed by the US between 1839-1844 to help protect naval facilities and the port. While the fort walls and foundations have been carefully restored to an1800s appearance, there is little to see aside from the main structure and a nearby redoubt.
Fort Barrancas is the most recent in a number of forts and batteries built here from the 1600s onwards by the Spanish, British and Americans. The Fort Barrancas name is taken from the Spanish word for bluff and it was the bluff and proximity to the ocean that made the location ideal for a fort. After Florida became a US territory in the 1820s, the US built the current fort on the ruins of an earlier Spanish one. A nearby Spanish water battery was retained and is connected to the fort by a tunnel. Fort Barrancas was briefly occupied by the Confederacy in the Civil War. However, after a short engagement, the South soon abandoned the fort and the Union retook control. After the Civil War, Fort Barrancas served mainly in support and training roles till 1947 when it was deactivated. It opened to the public as a monument in 1980.
This fort is moderately disappointing. The museum is small and somewhat informative, but the fort itself has limited areas to explore and scant historical information. A map is available at the museum and 10 stops are included on a self-guided tour. The nearby Advanced Redoubt was built after the main fort. It can be seen from outside the walls, but only guided tours can go inside. If you are looking for a richer historical fort experience, Fort Pickens is a better option and is less than an hour away. Fort Barrancas is on a naval base, so visitors should expect more security.
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