A charming tangle of saltwater marshes and pine flatwoods, Big Lagoon State Park is an ode to the Florida coastline as it used to be. Both an escape and an adventure, the park is a crowd-favorite among RV travelers—and it’s not hard to understand why.
Often referred to as ‘The Gateway,’ Big Lagoon offers direct access to both the Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail and the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail. Its location on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico makes Big Lagoon the perfect home base to explore all the Florida coast has to offer.
An oasis for the outdoor adventurer, you’ll find hiking trails that twist and wind through the park, pristine waterways for kayaking and endless opportunities for viewing the native wildlife. Fill your days with swimming, boating, and fishing in the nearby gulf or enjoy kayaking, birdwatching and biking just steps from your RV.
As if the setting weren’t enough, Big Lagoon State Park is the ideal place to park your camper. The park boasts well-maintained grounds featuring clean restrooms, spacious showers and plenty of open spaces for picnics and barbecues. Best of all, Pensacola is just a few miles away. There, you’ll find some of the area’s most famed beaches, plus popular seafood restaurants, shops, and stores. The full package, Big Lagoon is the perfect place for your next Florida adventure.
Just 15 miles outside of Pensacola, Big Lagoon State Park is incredibly easy to access with your RV or car. Once inside the park, miles of walking and bike paths make it easy to enjoy the nearby marshlands without having to move your car or RV. Better yet, rent a kayak or paddleboard for an all-day exploration of the state’s famed intracoastal waterways.
From the shores of Big Lagoon State Park, you can access the 1,515-mile sea kayaking journey known as the Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail or the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail. The vast network of trails and waterways make up for the relatively small and closely situated RV sites of the campground, as it makes parking once and exploring without four wheels an easy option. It’s part of the park’s charm, in fact. You’ll find miles and miles of adventure by foot, bike or kayak sitting just steps from your campsite.
For the quintessential white sand beaches of Florida’s gulf coast, you’ll need to travel a few miles outside of the park. But once in your car, you’ll find that warm, calm waters, picturesque seafood shacks and all the comforts of modern living are just minutes away.
Big Lagoon State Park features 75 scenic sites. You’ll find 30/50 amp electric hookups at each site, as well as water hookups, a picnic table, and a fire ring. Located throughout the campground are three full-service restrooms, plus an on-site dump station. Bring your pets, kayaks, canoes, hiking boots and bikes—all are welcome at Big Lagoon State Park. Quiet hours are between 11pm and 8am. You can reserve your campsite online up to 11 months in advance, or by calling (800) 326-3521.
In addition to the park’s 75 RV/tent sites, there is a primitive group camp available. This site can accommodate a minimum of 11 people and a maximum of 40 people. Reservations are limited to 10 vehicles, and the size restrictions include both day visitors and overnight campers. The group camp does not have electric or water hookups, although the park facilities are all available for use. Youth group (more than 50% under 18 years of age) reservations may be made 60 days in advance. Adult group (less than 50% under 18 years of age) reservations may be made 30 days in advance. Call (800) 326-3521 to reserve the group site.
With an extensive network of waterways flowing through the park, it’s no wonder that kayaking is one of the area’s most popular activities. Paddle out in your own kayak or rent one from the Ranger Station. The waters in the surrounding marshland are mellow and easy to navigate, making kayaking a welcome option for any level of experience. Not only will you get some of the best views in the park, you’ll have the chance to see local wildlife like crabs, osprey, ducks and more while out on the water.
You’re not the only one that loves the waterways near Big Lagoon State Park. You’ll find excellent fishing in the lagoon, with redfish, bluefish, flounder and sea trout available seasonally, plus crabbing and castnetting for mullet. As with all recreational fishing, you’ll want to have a state fishing license and research regulations for your catch—but if you plan it right, your daytime activity will turn into an evening fish fry under the stars.
A visit to the Florida coast all but requires a day of swimming and splashing in the sun. Within the park, you’ll find designated areas to swim along the intracoastal waterway, or you can hop in the car for a quick drive to the popular beaches near Pensacola. If you’re traveling with children, the beaches along the gulf coast feature gentle, warm waters where your kids can run and play without the threat of large surf. In any case, you’ll want to pack a swimsuit and towel to take full advantage of the area.
The local marshlands are a natural oasis to native Floridian wildlife. Birds are particularly attracted to the area, with 23 species of wood-warbler, as well as ducks, sandpipers, black-bellied plovers and ospreys calling Big Lagoon State Park home. From the comfort of your campsite or from one of the many walking trails, put your binoculars to use and see how many species of birds you can find within the park. You’ll quickly find why this is one of the area’s favorite year-round activities.
With five miles of well-maintained nature trails weaving through the park, hiking is a natural pastime at Big Lagoon State Park. Scout for local flora and fauna along the shores of the waterways, or head to the nearby Observation Tower for a bird’s eye view of the gulf. One of the best ways to enjoy the park, you can start and end each day with a leisurely hike and still have more to explore.
Bring your bikes to enjoy the park’s 2.5-mile long paved main drive. An easy, comfortable ride, a scenic cruise along the main drive is a perfect way to get outside and look for wildlife. The roads around the park are clean and well-maintained, making biking a great option for all ages. Kids will love exploring the area on two wheels, just make sure to bring along their helmets—Florida law requires helmets for cyclists age 16 and under.