This Lesser-Known Coastal State Park In Florida Offers Endless Outdoor Adventures

If you're looking for an outdoor adventure on the Florida panhandle, then head to one of its incredible state parks. Wonderful for water adventures and a great place to explore the region's breathtaking scenery is Big Lagoon State Park on the Gulf Coast. It is just a few minute's drive from Pensacola, one of the most family-friendly destinations in Florida.

The park has an impressive tidal lagoon, woodlands, beaches, and waterways. In order to take in these fantastic views, there are walking trails, a cycleway, boating and paddling opportunities, and picturesque picnic spots. It is so stunning that couples even choose to get married in the pavilion here, so make sure you bring your camera. This means that next time you're traveling along this state's stunning Emerald Coast, you should visit this underrated Florida destination. As if all of this wasn't enough, there are several places to camp so you can spend the night under the stars in this brilliant state park.

Things to do at Big Lagoon State Park

The best place to start exploring the park is at its legendary lagoon. It is a great place to go kayaking and its waterways form part of the Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail if you're looking for a big adventure. Boating and swimming are also permitted, but stick to the designated areas and stay alert as alligators do sometimes visit the area. It is a great place for anglers, as you can go crabbing or netting for mullet in the lagoon, or try your luck at getting redfish, bluefish, flounder, and trout in season.

There are plenty of opportunities for exploring on land as there are 5 miles of hiking trails, geocaches to find, and 2.5 miles of cycle path. The park is also close to the Florida National Scenic Trail if you want to extend your journey even further. Wildlife lovers should know that it is one of the stops on the Great Florida Birding Trail so look out for warblers, ducks, common loons, mergansers, and black-bellied plovers while you're here. If you prefer to relax, there are also some beach areas along the Intracoastal Waterway.

Staying at Big Lagoon State Park

If you want to really take in this beautiful slice of Florida wilderness, then the best way to do this is to camp overnight. There are 75 sites to choose from that come with electricity, water, a picnic area, and a grill. Each space can accommodate an RV up to 40 feet in length. Pets are allowed for those who want to bring their furry friends, though they need to remain on leash and some areas, like playgrounds, are off limits. Book your campsite in advance at the Florida State Parks reservation website.

There is also primitive camping available for groups between 11 and 40 people with no more than 10 vehicles. This can only be booked by calling the park reservations line in advance (850-492-1595). Before you go to bed, make sure to look up at the sky as this is an ideal place for stargazing as it gets quite dark here without the light pollution that cities put out. Whether you stay overnight in the park or nearby, add this overlooked spot to your itinerary when planning your next trip to Florida.