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Good For Kids
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Marsh and prairie are commonplace here.
Big Lagoon State Park
Closest available address
12301 Gulf Beach Highway, Pensacola, FL 32507
Day use hours are 8:00-sunset. Overnight camping is available.
Best time to visit
Established in 1978 and about 730 acres, Big Lagoon State Park is mainly a camping park. It is located on the Intracoastal Waterway about 30 minutes by car from Pensacola. In addition to camping, the park offers boating, hiking, picnicking and has two playgrounds and an amphitheatre.
The park was established to help preserve waterfront property in a part of Florida is that is extensively developed. As the park fronts the Intracoastal rather than the ocean it is less popular for swimming than nearby gulf shore beaches. However, a boat ramp is available, and the park rents kayaks for use in the Intracoastal Waterway and canoes for use in the interior ponds. A variety of migrating birds visit the park in the spring and fall. Additional wildlife includes wading birds, turtles, deer and foxes. There are a few alligators in the ponds.
Big Lagoon has 75 campsites with water and electricity hookups. Several bathrooms with showers are available. Fees are reasonable and people often camp here when visiting Pensacola to save money. If you pay to camp, you can go to the gulf beach at nearby Perdido Key State Park without charge. Hiking is available at Big Lagoon but the trails are limited and generally flat. The Sand Pine Trail is a 3 mile trail located in a pine flatwoods and sand dune area. There also is a half mile nature trail with interpretive signs. If you visit in summer, be aware that mosquitoes can be a menace. No-see-ums (biting midges) also are active around water and at dusk. Overall, activities and attractions are fairly limited here, so Big Lagoon can be skipped in favor of other venues if time is limited.
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