Big Lagoon State Park is a great place to go if you are looking to enjoy some recreational activities in the Pensacola area. Found southwest of Pensacola proper and just north of the island of Perdido Key, this 655-acre retreat for outdoor enthusiasts is known for its beaches, its nature trails, and its wildlife. Birdwatching enthusiasts surely won't want to forget their binoculars when visiting, and if you like to take photos of wildlife and such, a telephoto lens can come in very handy.
Big Lagoon State Park, for which the address is 12301 Gulf Beach Highway in Pensacola, sits on the northern shores of the Big Lagoon. This lends to its allure as a beach destination, especially since sandy stretches can be found along much of the waterfront areas. In addition to beaches, the mostly natural landscape is characterized by open woodlands and saltwater marshes, and you can find many small and shallow bays here and there. Top recreational activities at Big Lagoon State Park include relaxing on the beach, boating, and fishing. You can also look to do some canoeing or hiking if you prefer, and it is also possible to go crabbing in the lagoon.
Between the pristine Big Lagoon State Park beaches and the park's other delights, visitors have little trouble keeping busy. The park is open daily throughout the year, from 8 a.m. until sundown. Park admission fees apply, as do camping fees and boating fees should you wish to enjoy such activities. Both kayaks and canoes are available for rent at the ranger station. Big Lagoon State Park visitors can also rent one of three pavilions that are available for weddings and other private events. It should also be noted that Big Lagoon State Park has four different picnic areas, all of which feature grills.
Image: Florida State Parks / Jim Macfarland