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Explore Nature

The Gulf of Mexico, our backyard, is home to one of the most productive fisheries in the world, and Pensacola boasts some of the Gulf’s most pristine, secluded stretches of shoreline. From nesting sea turtles to carnivorous plants, our natural beauty sets us apart.

 

Big Lagoon State Park

12301 Gulf Beach Highway, Pensacola, FL 32507
850.492.1595
Details | www.floridastateparks.org

Big Lagoon State Park is a 700-acre Florida State Park located on the northwestern Florida coast, separating the mainland from Perdido Key and the Gulf of Mexico. Saltwater marshes to pine flatwoods attract a wide variety of birds, while the beaches, shallow bays, nature trails and open woodlands offer splendid opportunities to study nature. The park also beckons visitors to camp, swim, fish, boat, canoe and hike.

 

Edward Ball Nature Trail

11000 University Parkway., Pensacola, FL 32514
850.474.2580

The Edward Ball Nature Trail is a leisurely half-mile boardwalk through Thompson’s Bayou, a beautiful hardwood swamp. You may spot a variety of songbirds and waterfowl at this Great Florida Birding Trail site established by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

 

Gulf Islands National Seashore

Office: 1801 Gulf Breeze Pkwy, Gulf Breeze, FL 32563 
850.934.2600 
Details | www.nps.gov/guis

Gulf Islands National Seashore stretches 160 miles along the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico and includes barrier islands, maritime forests, historic forts, bayous and marine habitat. Millions of visitors are drawn to Florida’s Gulf Coast for the white sandy beaches, the aquamarine waters, a boat ride, a camping spot, a tour of an old fort, or a place to fish. Recreation, exploration, and education — you can do it all within the national seashore.

 

Johnson Beach

1333 Johnson Beach Road, Pensacola, FL 32507 
850.934.2600
Details | www.nps.gov/guis

Johnson Beach is located on Perdido Key and is part of the Gulf Island National Seashore. Named in honor of Pvt. Rosamond Johnson, Jr., who was killed on July 26, 1950, during the Korean War. Having carried two wounded men to safety under enemy fire, he was killed going back for a third, becoming the first African-American from the Pensacola area to die in that conflict. Today, Johnson Beach is an outdoor lover’s paradise; you’ll enjoy both bay-side and gulf-side scenery. There are nice, clean restrooms, picnic tables, and a boardwalk called Perdido Key Discovery Trail.

 

Footprints in the Sand Eco-Trail

Santa Rosa Island Authority, Pensacola Beach, FL 32562
800.635.4803 
www.visitpensacolabeach.com

Explore the local plant and animal life along Pensacola Beach — including dolphins, turtles, sharks, birds, flowers, and fish. Informative, educational signs have been posted at key locations across the beach, each one exploring a different ecological topic. You'll learn the secrets of Pensacola Beach's white sand, discover the dangerous journeys of sea turtles, identify mysterious seashells, and so much more.

 

Pensacola Scenic Bluffs

3400 Scenic Hwy, Pensacola, FL 32504
www.pensacolascenicbluffs.org

Scenic Highway follows the western shore of Pensacola along a series of distinctive sand and clay bluffs. Offering magnificent views of Escambia Bay, these bluffs are the highest point along Florida’s entire coastline. The corridor is rich in biodiversity, with both wetlands and upland forests.  Expansive views of the Bay are punctuated by picturesque stands of longleaf pine, live oak and other indigenous trees and understory growth. The Pensacola Scenic Bluffs corridor has abundant recreational opportunities in the form of boating, fishing, picnicking, hiking, bicycling, bird watching, and walking.

 

Tarkiln Bayou Preserve State Park

2401 Bauer Road, Pensacola, FL 32507
850.492.1595
Details | www.floridastateparks.org

Tarkiln Bayou Preserve is home to four species of endangered pitcher plants - a rare carnivorous plant unique to the Gulf Coast and found only between the Apalachicola and Mississippi rivers - as well as other rare and endangered plant species. 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. The Tarkiln Bayou Trail crosses a spectacular pitcher plant bog adjoining the bayou.

 

Jones Swamp Wetland Preserve and Nature Trail

198 Patton Drive, Pensacola, FL 32507
850.475.5220
Details | www.myescambia.com

Part of the Bayou Chico restoration project, Jones Swamp Wetland Preserve was created to provide protection for Pensacola Bay. The preserve includes 1,300 acres within the Jones Creek Watershed. The nature trail is located along Jones Creek and includes 3,100 linear feet of elevated boardwalk with two spanned pedestrian crossings over Jones Creek and two connections to the Pensacola State College Warrington Campus. The trails take you on a nice, safe walk while offering a great way to encounter wildlife like birds and river otters.

 


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Explore 450 years of history right here in America’s First Settlement. Walk through forts, historic landmarks and the largest Naval Aviation Museum in America. Get hands on with real science and engineering experiments or blow your own glass. Discover new trails and habitats of seashore birds while biking, hiking or kayaking in our state and national parks.

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Explore History

Forts, shipwrecks, railroad bandits – our story is the stuff bedtime stories are made of.

Explore Science and Engineering

We might be rooted in the past, but our eyes are turned firmly toward the future.

Explore Arts and Culture

Our artistic spirit is alive and well – our sugar-white beaches and turquoise water have inspired artists for centuries.

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