Perdido Key Area
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Off The Beaten Path

on 01/01/2018 by Perdido Key Chamber

Explore the Extensive Trail Network and Discover New Places in Perdido’s Great Outdoors

On Perdido Key, you’ll discover nature at it’s most beautiful- a world of nature trails, endangered birds, marine life and 16 breathtaking miles of dazzling white coastline. The pristine island is surrounded by a state park system that was voted “Best in America”; for its federal parks, hiking trails and iconic wildlife. Here, your outdoor excursions may range from an easy day trip to an extended nature weekend of campfires, stargazing, and nighttime discovery. 

More than 60 percent of the key is preserved for public use, giving nature lovers the year-round opportunity to explore wildlife refuges, natural wetlands, sanctuaries and nature parks. The Key is a renowned habitat for nesting birds, newly-hatched sea turtles, butterflies, dolphins, rays, and more. Many local species are endangered and are protected under federal law. 

Several sites in Perdido Key are listed on Florida’s Great Birding and Wildlife Trail (FGBWT) a 2,000 mile, self-guided trail encompassing 500 sites including one of the FGBWT’s premier Gateway sites, Big Lagoon State Park. Covering 655 acres, the spectacular park separates Perdido Key from the mainland and beckons visitors to camp, swim, fish, boat, canoe, and hike, or try crabbing in the shallow waters of Big Lagoon (also a great wadding spot for toddlers).

Climb the three-stories-high observation tower there and watch for dolphins, but stop by the ranger station first- binoculars are available for a loan there. 

Perdido Key Area Nature & Walking Trails

  • Sand Pine Trail is 35 miles long and traverses Flatwoods, wetlands, and rare scrub habitats
  • Estuary Trail is two miles long and traverses wetlands, scrub, and coastal habitats at the Tarkiln Bayou Preserve State Park (Bauer Road between Sorrento Road and Lillian Highway)
  • Tarkiln Bayou State Park is a haven for botanists and nature lovers of all types. It has been a favorite spot for hiking and birdwatching or even just a family picnic in the pavilion area. It is only a 10-15 minute drive from Perdido Key. The 4,290-acre park is home to nearly 100 rare carnivorous plants, once you arrive a wealth of native plants and animals await. 
  • Perdido Bay Trail is 6.5 miles long and winds through communities of longleaf pine, oak, mixed hardwoods, and wet prairie. 
  • Wet Prairie Trail is 2.5 miles long and winds through a wet prairie ecosystem

Gulf Islands National Seashore (Johnsons Beach Road)

  • Gulf Islands National Seashore is home to a popular boardwalk trail that starts at Florida Route 292 (Perdido Key Drive, southwest from Pensacola and turn East on Johnson Beach Road
  • Johnson Beach Discovery Nature Trail is a nice hike (under half a mile) over a raised boardwalk through dunes, pine trees and salt marsh outlooks leading to a beautiful view of Grand Lagoon.