April 29, 2024

Let's Explore Big Lagoon State Park | Pensacola Photography

Explore the Gulf Coast

Did you know that Pensacola, FL is home to not one, but two, Florida State Parks? Located in southwest Pensacola, just a few miles from each other you'll find Big Lagoon State Park and Tarkiln Bayou Preserve State Park. Open year-round from 8 am until sunset, with very reasonable entrance fees, many water lovers head to Big Lagoon for its boat launch located on the Intracoastal Waterway as well as its kayak and canoe launch into the shallow lagoon. The park is also part of the  Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail. With saltwater tidal marshes to pine flatwoods, the park attracts more than 23 species of wood-warbler, a variety of ducks, sandpipers, and black-bellied plovers, especially during the spring and fall migrations.

As well as offering swimming, boating, fishing, camping, hiking, and paddling, Big Lagoon State Park is also the beginning (or ending depending on your route) of the 1,515-mile Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail  that goes around the entire state. As seen above, the top half of a kayak embedded in sand marks the launch site along with a box containing a logbook.

Recently updated, post-hurricane Sally damages, Big Lagoon State Park has 5 miles of trails to explore including some that are ADA accessible and stroller-friendly! Raised, wooden walkways take you to and across Long Pond and over some of the marshy areas to the campground. There's also a boardwalk to the newly rebuilt observation tower and all of the pavilions.

ADA accessible boardwalk to Long Pond

ADA accessible trails at Big Lagoon State Park
trail at Big Lagoon State Park
Kayak launch at big lagoon state park
observation tower big lagoon state park
Big Lagoon State Park Pensacola, FL

Long Pond at Big Lagoon State Park

Long Pond (pictured above) is one of my favorite spots to nature watch at Big Lagoon. There's a cute, little pavilion where you can rest or enjoy a picnic lunch next to the canoe launch. Make sure to take note of the "No Swimming" sign, though! Long Pond has alligators!

alligator in Long Pond "hiding" under the boardwalk

Observation tower big lagoon state park

Observation Tower at Big Lagoon State Park

The Observation tower at the far end of the park is the perfect place to catch the sunrise or sunset or to just sit and watch the boats go past.

If you're looking for a great place to spend the day without having to leave town, you can't go wrong with Big Lagoon State Park. It's one of our favorite places because of the many options it offers for a day of family fun. And if you're looking to keep the adventure going, book a stay at the campground or rent one of the pavilions for an event.

Governor's pavilion Big lagoon state park

The Governor's Pavilion at Big Lagoon is the largest pavilion that's available to rent.

snapping turtle
Florida marsh rabbit
mourning dove
magnolia blossom
US Navy Blue Angel
brown pelicans
yellow warbler