If you’re dreaming of a beach get-a-way filled with local experiences, outdoor adventures, and historic tours then the Pensacola Bay Area is the perfect fit. We know everyone thinks beach during the summer but let me tell you a little local secret, fall is the time to get outdoors. The months of October and November are the perfect months for adventures like hiking, biking and kayaking in the Pensacola Bay Area. The summer heat has moved south along with some of the humidity, creating a perfect climate for outdoor play. The average high in October is in the mid 80’s and mid 70’s in November.
I enjoy hiking in northwest Florida, especially during the fall and winter months. From Perdido Key to Pensacola Beach many excellent trails showcase a variety of scenery that makes northwest Florida beautiful. As a matter of fact, the northern terminus of the Florida Trail is in Fort Pickens, located in the Gulf Island National Seashore. To showcase a few of our local hiking treasures I've compiled a list of a few of my favorites.
Big Lagoon State Park at Sunset
Big Lagoon State Park - Located in southwest Pensacola on Big Lagoon. The park has 655 acres to explore, including an observation tower with breathtaking views.
Fort Pickens - This historic jewel is located on Santa Rosa Island. In this national park, you'll explore historic forts and hike on many of the trails located throughout the park.
Tarkiln Bayou Preserve - explore a wet prairie that’s home to rare plants and animals. There are unpaved trails and an excellent elevated boardwalk and pier.
Fillingim Landing - Hike along the Perdido River or launch a canoe or kayak from the kayak launch.
Naval Live Oaks - This site includes a small exhibit where you’ll learn about oak trees and their use over history. There are nice picnic areas and over 7.5 miles of hiking trails.
Edward Ball Nature Trail at UWF - wind around wetlands and cypress trees as you explore a short boardwalk on the Edward Ball Nature Trail.
Edward Ball Nature Trail
Pensacola Lighthouse - If you haven’t climbed the 177 steps to the top of the Pensacola Lighthouse then you owe yourself a favor. Your legs will burn, and you’ll run out of breath, but the climb is worth it. At the top, you’ll enjoy fantastic views of Pensacola Bay, Big Lagoon and the Pensacola pass. Don’t forget to bring your camera and share those photos using #ExplorePcola! After the climb, fuel back up at the picnic area and get ready for a hike on the beautiful hiking trails. As you walk, you’ll enjoy looking at large Oaks and Pine trees, Saw Palmetto and other native vegetation that lines the trails. You’ll also enjoy walking out on the boardwalk where you’ll enjoy the water view and white-sandy beaches.
Northwest Florida the perfect Camping Destination
Camping is the best during the fall with average lows in the 60’s. We have something for everyone when it comes to camping, from primitive camping on the beach to camping along a river or lake. For those looking to get on or close to the beach I’ve got a few spots I’m sure you’ll enjoy. In Perdido Key you can camp at Big Lagoon State Park or for those who like primitive camping Johnson Beach. On Pensacola Beach, you may want to check out Fort Pickens or Pensacola Beach RV Resort. If lakeside camping is more your style, then check out Lake Stone in Century. Lake Stone Campground has 77 campsites for everything from big RV rigs to tents. Bring your boat (only electric motors), fishing gear and enjoy fishing on the 130-acre lake. The lake has been stocked with largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, black crappie and channel catfish.
If kayaking and camping along rivers and zip line adventures sound like the experience you are looking for then check out Adventures Unlimited or Blackwater River State Park.
We’ll start with our very own Explore Pensacola Geo Tour. This tour is made up of four different trails throughout the Pensacola Bay Area. Grab your GPS and we’ll take you on a tour where you’ll explore award-winning beaches, history, culture and some outdoor fun. After completing the trail, you’ll receive a collector’s Explore Pensacola Geo Tour coin. If you'd like to get more information, request our free Visitor Guide, or take a few minutes and explore all the things to do in the Pensacola Bay Area.