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Paddling Experiences

There’s something so peaceful about paddling a vessel in the Pensacola Bay Area and enjoying all that nature has to offer. With rivers, bayous, bays and the Gulf surrounding us — there are many diverse ecosystems and coastal habitats to explore. The Pensacola Bay Area also marks the beginning of the Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail, so it’s no wonder many enjoy paddling our destination.

Where to Paddle

There are so many places to choose, the Pensacola Bay Area is a paddling destination with diverse offerings.

The 700-acre Big Lagoon State Park marks the beginning of the Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail. There you can explore salt marshes and pine flatwoods which attract a wide variety of migratory birds and sea birds. This park does offer kayak and paddleboard rentals or you may bring your own.

Just across from Big Lagoon State Park is Johnson Beach on Perdido Key, which is part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore. If you have your own kayak, this national seashore is a nice paddling destination. You’ll discover seagrass beds and salt marshes or you can pull up onto miles of unobstructed white sand. If you want to pack a tent in your kayak, this destination offers primitive camping in certain locations.

On Pensacola Beach there are many unique waterways to explore including; the Gulf of Mexico, Santa Rosa Sound, Big Sabine Bay and Little Sabine Bay. Also on Pensacola Beach is Fort Pickens, which is part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore. Here you can discover history and paddle all in the same location.

In Pensacola, there are many city parks and city boat ramps that make accessing the water easy. Kayakers enjoy kayaking on Pensacola Bay, Bayview Park and upper Escambia Bay where the bay and Escambia River converge.  

For those who enjoy kayaking and canoeing on rivers, we have the Perdido River, Coldwater Creek and Blackwater River. These rivers are shallow rivers with sandy bottoms, which make an enjoyable place to experience on a hot summer day. Bring a tent and camp along the river or enjoy beautiful cabin camping along Coldwater River.

Where to Rent

Both kayaks and paddleboards are popular in our destination, with many outfitters offering rentals, lessons and ecotours. Browse our partners to discover where you can get the paddling gear that best meets your needs.

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