Northwest Florida is full of exciting and lush spots for nature lovers. The warmer temperatures coupled with the area’s amazing location is a perfect place to view many beautiful gardens near the Gulf Coast. For those visiting Pensacola, check out this perfect itinerary for garden lovers that will leave you swooning for more.
Early-Morning: Big Lagoon State Park and Tarkiln Bayou Preserve
12301 Gulf Beach Hwy, Pensacola, Fla. 32507 | 2401 Bauer Rd, Pensacola, Fla. 32506
Set in West Pensacola near Perdido Key, both parks boast sweeping views and interesting plants for garden lovers. At over 4000 acres, Tarkiln Bayou Preserve is home to four species of endangered pitcher plants. The carnivorous white-top pitcher plant is unique to the Gulf Coast and found only between the Apalachicola and Mississippi rivers.
Additionally, almost 100 other rare plants and animals depend on the wet prairie habitat, including the alligator snapping turtle, sweet pitcher plant, and Chapman's butterwort. A boardwalk offers visitors a view of the wild and beautiful Tarkiln Bayou. Guests can enjoy a picnic and then take a hike on the nature trails to observe the rare plants and animals.
Down the street, Big Lagoon State Park boasts 704 acres of natural communities that range from saltwater tidal marshes to pine flatwoods, all of which attract a wide variety of birds, especially during the spring and fall migrations. The park is also a gateway to the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail AND the Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail. Talk about an adventure!
Mid-Morning: Boo for You Bamboo Garden
3050 Robertson Rd, Pensacola, Fla. 32507
Prepare for all of the Asian feels at Boo for You Bamboo Garden. Started as a memorial garden in 2003 for his wife Peggy, owner Danny has managed to grow over 230 different species of the plant. This epic green space gives visitors a look ahead to what their garden might look like one day with the added value of being a nursery as well. While bamboo is the mainstay of what they sell, they also carry a huge assortment of unusual and hard to find tropical plants suited to the region’s climate. Bananas, gingers, ornamental grasses, ear plants of all sizes and colors, and ground covers to finally whip your weeds once and for all.
Early Afternoon: Plaza Ferdinand VII
At just two acres, this outdoor garden and park pack a punch in historic downtown Pensacola. Located in the SoGo district (south of government street) between Government and Zaragoza Streets, the historic landmark is the site of the formal transfer of Florida to the United States in 1821. With lush oak trees, a Japanese magnolia fragrant azalea’s, and a beautiful fountain, it’s the perfect place for an outdoor picnic lunch outing.
Late Afternoon: From the Ground Up Community Garden
501 N Hayne St, Pensacola, Fla. 32501
Growing veggies, giving back, and nurturing a true spirit of community; that’s what From the Ground Up Community Garden is all about. What began as an abandoned plot of land under the overpass in Downtown Pensacola, Florida has blossomed into a hub for education, art, music and sustainability. ‘From the Ground Up’ welcomes you as a volunteer, a student of life or a guest at one of our regular musical, movie, gardening or culinary events. When you spend time with them during regular garden hours, you can take home a few veggies as part of our 'Reap What You Sow' program.
Evening: Seville Square
311 E Government St, Pensacola, Fla. 32502
Live oak lovers, behold, this is the park for you. Stroll under the expansive canopy of the beautiful century-old trees that line this smaller park in the Seville Historic District of Downtown Pensacola. Enjoy the paved walkways as well as the benches and gazebo that invite you to stop and stay awhile. Many festivals and events are located within Seville Square making this a popular spot on the nights and weekends. Enjoy the sunlight setting behind the oak trees before catching a bite to eat at one of the many nearby restaurants.
There is plenty of natural beauty to behold all around the Pensacola area. You’ll enjoy exploring every corner of the region with a full day of beautiful plants and useful information. Consider following this perfect Pensacola itinerary for garden lovers who want to see all of the natural and diverse beauty that the area has to offer.