What to do in Big Lagoon State Recreation Area

Big Lagoon State Recreation Area is located in an area of the state that entertains fewer tourists than the central and east / west coastal regions. However, this area is just as beautiful with powder white beaches, fabulous crabbing and oystering opportunities, great bird-watching, and quick access to a number of state and federal lands. Visitors to the area will find Tarkiln Bayou State Preserve a short distance away. This site is relatively undeveloped offering a small picnic area and good wildlife viewing opportunities. Also nearby, are Perdido Key and Gulf Island National Seashore, two good places for viewing unusual wildlife and snorkeling.

Big Lagoon State Recreation Area is a popular destination for canoeing, swimming, camping, and holding a business meeting or family reunion. Relax in the outdoors during a morning work session at the 500-seat amphitheater then retreat to a leisurely bike ride, a coastal hike, or a refreshing dip in blue Gulf waters in the afternoon. When visiting Big Lagoon, be sure to remember your binoculars. There is a profusion of birdlife including shorebirds, wading birds and woodland birds.

Special events year-round are geared for visitors of all ages and tastes. Contact the park office for details about their Winter Bird Count, Earth Day, Easter Sunrise Service, Easter Egg Hunt, Bluegrass Concert, and more.

Big Lagoon State Recreation Area derives its name from a bordering body of water called Big Lagoon. This coastal park was opened in 1978 and beckons visitors with all the recreational opportunities expected at a Florida state park.

More than 75 campsites are located on a pine ridge in the center of the 712-acre park. Modern facilities and a dump station are on the premises. Five picnic areas with shelters are found along the shore of Big Lagoon and the Intracoastal Waterway. Big Lagoon also has a 500-seat amphitheater serving as a wonderful alternative for group meetings, complete with a separate meeting room and equipped kitchen. A boat ramp with dock provides easy access to the lagoon and the Intracoastal Waterway.

The beaches, shallow bays, boardwalks, nature trails and open woodlands offer ample opportunity for nature study. An observation tower at the East Beach area provides a panoramic view of Big Lagoon, the park and Gulf Islands National Seashore across the Intracoastal Waterway.

A variety of water sports attract visitors to the park. Swimming and beach activities are enjoyed on the shore of Big Lagoon at two separate locations. Fishing brings in redfish, bluefish, flounder and sea trout seasonally. Crabbing and castnetting for mullet in the lagoon are also popular. Biking is permitted along the main park road and the campground road.

Numerous interpretive exhibits are located throughout the park. Guided walks, campfire programs and recreational skills programs are offered seasonally and upon special request for groups.

Big Lagoon State Recreation Area is located in Northwest Florida, on C.R. 292A, approximately ten miles southwest of Pensacola and south of Interstate Highway 10.

The panhandle area of Florida experiences mild, comfortable winters and warm to hot, humid summers. The average summer temperatures reach well above 83 degrees Fahrenheit (above 29 Celsius). Winters are mild with temperatures averaging below 52 degrees Fahrenheit (below 11 Celsius). The average precipitation for the panhandle area is more than 60 inches per year. August and September are peak months of the hurricane season that lasts from June 1 through November 30.

12301 Gulf Beach Highway
Pensacola, FL 32507

Phone: 850-492-1595

  • Big Lagoon State Recreation Area Travel Q&A