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Experience Nature's Classroom

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, these spots let you experience the natural beauty that sets us apart.

 

  • Big Lagoon State Park 

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

    This 700-acre Florida State Park separates the mainland from Perdido Key and the Gulf of Mexico. Saltwater marshes and 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
    Details | 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 
    Details | www.nps.gov/guis | 850.934.2600 

    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 come for the white sandy beaches, the aquamarine waters, 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 
    Details | www.nps.gov/guis | 850.934.2600

    Johnson Beach, located on Perdido Key, is part of the Gulf Island National Seashore. Its name honors 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. 

  • Footprints in the Sand Eco-Trail 

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

    Explore the local plant and animal life along Pensacola Beach — including dolphins, turtles, sharks, birds, flowers, and fish. Follow the informative, educational signs sit at key locations across the beach to learn the secrets of Pensacola Beach's white sand, discover the dangerous journeys of sea turtles, identify mysterious seashells, and more.

  • Pensacola Scenic Bluffs 

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

    Scenic Highway follows the western shore of Pensacola along a series of distinctive sand and clay bluffs. These bluffs are the highest point along Florida’s entire coastline and offer magnificent views of Escambia Bay. The corridor is rich in biodiversity, with both wetlands and upland forests. Enjoy boating, fishing, picnicking, hiking, bicycling, bird watching, and walking.

  • Tarkiln Bayou Preserve State Park 

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

    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. 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
    Details | www.myescambia.com | 850.475.5220

    Part of the Bayou Chico restoration project, Jones Swamp Wetland Preserve provides protection for Pensacola Bay. The preserve includes 1,300 acres within the Jones Creek Watershed. The nature trail, located along Jones Creek, includes 3,100 linear feet of elevated boardwalk with two spanned crossings over the 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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Did you know?

Tarkiln Bayou Preserve, located just outside Pensacola, is home to four species of endangered, carnivorous pitcher plants. The rare white-top pitcher plant is unique to the Gulf Coast and found only between the Apalachicola and Mississippi rivers. Also, the Gulf Island’s National Seashore's beaches are a popular nesting site for four different species of sea turtle: Kemp’s Ridley, green, leatherback, and loggerhead.


More Ways to "Classroom"

 

Did you know?

 

Tarkiln Bayou Preserve, located just outside Pensacola, is home to four species of endangered, carnivorous pitcher plants. The rare white-top pitcher plant is unique to the Gulf Coast and found only between the Apalachicola and Mississippi rivers. Also, the Gulf Island’s National Seashore's beaches are a popular nesting site for four different species of sea turtle: Kemp’s Ridley, green, leatherback, and loggerhead.


More Ways to "Classroom"