Tag Archives: Pensacola

Florida: Out on the Open Road by Foot.

Most of the time I’m driving or are a passenger in a vehicle out on the open road, but recently in Florida I decided to mix it up. It was time to hit the open road by foot. It was an early humid morning in Pensacola, Florida and I decided to make the long walk down Gulf Shores Highway to Big Lagoon State Park. That was only the beginning.

Gulf Shores Highway links downtown Pensacola with the bridge to Perdido Key. At times the Big Lagoon is alongside on the south side of the road. I’m getting close.

Big Lagoon State Park, Pensacola, Florida

Big Lagoon State Park sits naturally along the Big Lagoon as well separating the mainland of the Florida panhandle from Perdido Key and the Gulf of Mexico. You’ll find lots of nature trails, birds and wildlife, beaches and is a popular spot for campers.

Big Lagoon State Park, Pensacola, Florida

I got to the entrance and could see the visitor station off in the distance. Not seeing a map beforehand I figured right past that would be all the action. Little did I know.

Big Lagoon State Park, Pensacola, Florida

At the entrance the ranger handed me some maps and he charged me $2, the walk-up rate. Lot’s of vehicles and campers already started passing me by. I wondered how many people do they get randomly walking in.

Well I started in, figuring after the first turn I’d see something, nope. Then the second, third, fourth and more, nothing.

Big Lagoon State Park, Pensacola, Florida

After each turn this is what was in front of me.

Big Lagoon State Park, Pensacola, Florida

Not much to speak of on either side of the road. I didn’t really see or hear any wildlife yet either.

Big Lagoon State Park, Pensacola, Florida

I’d become a soaked mess due to the humidity and fast rising temperatures. Pleasant picture I paint I know. The hot conditions probably made the walk seem longer then it really was. Where’s the scenery I asked? At the same time I smiled, because I realized, I’m out on the open road, by foot this time! It was a nice change of pace.

After about an hour inside the park and lots of walking and other vehicles, trailers and campers passing me by, I could see the Intracoastal Waterway Bridge off in the distance that connected the mainland with Perdido Key and the Gulf.

Big Lagoon State Park, Pensacola, Florida

I must be getting close to something I said. Well lo and behold shortly thereafter there was scenery. The Big Lagoon, harbor and boats, were all right in front me now. I captured another romantic picnic table setting. That seemed to be a theme on this trip. Another beach picnic table setting I captured while walking just east of here.

Big Lagoon State Park, Pensacola, Florida

Big Lagoon State Park, Pensacola, Florida

After lying on the bench of the picnic table for a while to relax I found a small pier so I decided to sit down, chill and just stare at the view. Lots of boats and traffic on the Intracoastal Waterway Bridge headed towards Perdido Key and down the road Lower Alabama. The white multi-story building behind the harbor, The Oyster Bar Restaurant & Marina, caught my eye. I know where to stop next time.

Big Lagoon State Park, Pensacola, Florida

Big Lagoon State Park, Pensacola, Florida

I captured some more shots along the Big Lagoon. Lots of sand and beaches nearby.

Big Lagoon State Park, Pensacola, Florida

A small boat ramp. Where’s that kayak or canoe when I need it?

Big Lagoon State Park, Pensacola, Florida

The water was calm and there were only a few fisherman around so it was quite peaceful.

Big Lagoon State Park, Pensacola, Florida

The high-rise condos and hotels dotted the Gulf of Mexico shoreline, showing how close I was.

Big Lagoon State Park, Pensacola, Florida

I didn’t want to leave but it was time to start the journey back. I found one of the nature trails to take back through marsh and the campgrounds, which was actually a shortcut to the exit. The sound of wildlife was in full swing now. More on that in a future post.

Big Lagoon State Park, Pensacola, Florida

Big Lagoon State Park, Pensacola, Florida

Canoes! I wonder if I could have taken one?

Big Lagoon State Park, Pensacola, Florida

Why didn’t I find this nature trail on the way in? No matter. I wouldn’t have had the chance to be on the open road inside the park if I had. 🙂 I covered more ground in the park as well. You also gain a much different, more detailed perspective walking from A to B versus driving and passing lot’s of little things by. 🙂 I definitely want to experience this again soon.

Big Lagoon State Park, Pensacola, Florida

Well it was back to walking down Gulf Shores Highway and where I was staying. Checkout Big Lagoon State Park when your around Pensacola and Perdido Key. What other Florida state parks would you recommend? What was the last state park you visited?

Perdido Key to Orange Beach Part II.

The Gulf Coast. Chilling at a beach side bar. Walking the beach. Hanging out along the water. All great times, all talked about in previous posts. What’s just as fun? Hanging out along the coast out on the open road.

Starting on Predido Key Dr. in Pensacola (Florida State Road 292) you head south towards the coast and go on a bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway between the Perdido River and the Big Lagoon. You’ll see a harbor, a marina and lots of boats. What caught the eye and what’ll have to check out next time is Oyster Bar Restaurant & Marina.

Perdido Key, Florida to Orange Beach Alabama

Perdido Key, Florida to Orange Beach Alabama

Looking straight ahead while on the bridge you’ll immediately see all the high-rise condos and hotels along the coast. Once across you’ll start to head west on the narrow strip of land along the Gulf.

Perdido Key, Florida to Orange Beach Alabama

You’ll officially enter into Perdido Key.

Perdido Key, Florida to Orange Beach Alabama

Condos and hotels galore up-close. Lot’s of rental opportunities for vacationers, travelers.

Perdido Key, Florida to Orange Beach Alabama

Palm trees, palm trees, palm trees! I wonder how much this vacant land opposite the beaches and Gulf is going for?!

Perdido Key, Florida to Orange Beach Alabama

By this time you’ll be passing through Perdido Key State Park and truly be out on the open road.

Perdido Key, Florida to Orange Beach Alabama

Perdido Key, Florida to Orange Beach Alabama

After a few miles it’s state-line crossing time. Hello Alabama!

Perdido Key, Florida to Orange Beach Alabama

Hello Florida! Make sure to check out Flora-Bama the beach bar that sits on the border. Also make sure to capture those welcome-to sign photos.

Perdido Key, Florida to Orange Beach Alabama

Been craving Waffle House recently so it caught the eye, this one sitting just inside Florida.

Perdido Key, Florida to Orange Beach Alabama

Continuing west your now in Orange Beach and Alabama on Alabama State Route 182. You’ll see the same thing, palm trees, high-rise condos and hotels and good times on the open road. Beautiful.

Perdido Key, Florida to Orange Beach Alabama

Perdido Key, Florida to Orange Beach Alabama

Souvenir shops are aplenty along the route. Got some postcards. Those and all the photos taken, make for the best souvenirs.

Perdido Key, Florida to Orange Beach Alabama

You’ll also see fruit and vegetable stands alongside the road. Peaches and tomatoes are the recommendations at any stop yum.

Perdido Key, Florida to Orange Beach Alabama

Great times out on the open road Gulf Coast style. Check out Predido Beach to Orange Beach Part I for the beach scene. Take a peak at Zigzagging a State-Line Flora-Bama Style for the beach bar side and tropical drink fun. Hope to get back to the area again soon.

What beaches/coastlines are your favorites to be along when out on the open road?

Perdido Key to Orange Beach Part I.

Have had a chance to share beach photos via various social sharing sites and blog posts from my time recently along the Gulf Coast in Florida and Alabama. I figured I share a few more. 🙂

These were from walking the beach in Predido Key in Florida to Orange Beach in Alabama. Like other beaches I’ve been to in Florida, beautiful white sand.

Gulf of Mexico beaches, Florida and Alabama

Gulf of Mexico beaches, Florida and Alabama

Right along the shoreline you’ll see the turquoise waters.

Gulf of Mexico beaches, Florida and Alabama

Small waves coming up on shore, with people going for a swim and others going for a walk.

Gulf of Mexico beaches, Florida and Alabama

One condo and hotel after another lines the coast. Lot’s of condo rental options are available in the area.

Gulf of Mexico beaches, Florida and Alabama

Dozens and dozens of beach lawn chairs dot the landscape.

Gulf of Mexico beaches, Florida and Alabama

You’ll always find people with the multi-solid color umbrellas.

Gulf of Mexico beaches, Florida and Alabama

The time here was one of my favorites in regards to just walking the beach. Part II will highlight what it’s like driving on the open road from Predido Key to Orange Beach along the Gulf Coast.

Zigzagging a State-Line Flora-Bama Style.

People cross or zigzag state-lines all the time by car, train, in the air, even by walking sometimes. How about zigzagging while enjoying a tropical drink, walking on cool white sand, enjoying water sports on a big body of water or even while tossing fish around? Well you can do all those things and more and zigzag at the same time at Flora-Bama.

Flora-Bama Lounge, Package and Oyster Bar, Alabama, Florida

Flora-Bama Lounge and Package opened in 1964 and is in Predido Key in Pensacola, Florida, sitting on the Florida/Alabama state-line. Alabama sits a few feet from the western edge of the building. It’s known as the Last Great American Roadhouse.

Flora-Bama Lounge, Package and Oyster Bar, Alabama, Florida

There are several bars and lots of areas to chill inside and outside around the complex.

Flora-Bama Lounge, Package and Oyster Bar, Alabama, Florida

Flora-Bama Lounge, Package and Oyster Bar, Alabama, Florida

Walking up to edge of the top-level looking out towards the south, you’ll immediately see the white sand and the blue open waters of the Gulf of Mexico along with umbrellas and lawn chairs on the shoreline to sit and relax. In the first photo below you’ll see the photo cutouts, which is a good area in which to people watch. 🙂

Flora-Bama Lounge, Package and Oyster Bar, Alabama, Florida

Flora-Bama Lounge, Package and Oyster Bar, Alabama, Florida

The place to chill is at the outside bar closest to the beach, duh!

Flora-Bama Lounge, Package and Oyster Bar, Alabama, Florida

That’s the place to put up shop and to start enjoying some tropical drinks like the Red Punch and…

Flora-Bama Lounge, Package and Oyster Bar, Alabama, Florida

…the Bushwacker! It’s a local favorite, a coffee alcoholic beverage, that can be found at many spots in the area, but this is the the place to try it out. How many did I have on my stop here? 1, 2, 3… I’m not telling haha. 🙂

Flora-Bama Lounge, Package and Oyster Bar, Alabama, Florida Flora-Bama Lounge, Package and Oyster Bar, Alabama, Florida

Flora-Bama is also well-known for the annual weekend long Mullet Toss event. They still had some signage up from the last one, which just missed rats! When I first heard of it, like my others I’m sure, I was thinking people were shaving off their mullets and throwing them about. Nope.

Mullet is the most popular fish in the area and everyone comes out to the beach like crazy for the tossing of them. The mullets are actually being zigzagged themselves being thrown during competitions from a target in Alabama into Florida.

Flora-Bama Lounge, Package and Oyster Bar, Alabama, Florida

Flora-Bama from the beach. It was quiet because it was still early on a weekday.

Flora-Bama Lounge, Package and Oyster Bar, Alabama, Florida

On the same stretch of beach the Mullet Toss takes place on, there are many water sport opportunities including parasailing, jet skiing and riding on banana boats.

Flora-Bama Lounge, Package and Oyster Bar, Alabama, Florida

Flora-Bama Lounge, Package and Oyster Bar, Alabama, Florida

Flora-Bama Lounge, Package and Oyster Bar, Alabama, Florida

Captured some of the different signage. They are also known as Flora-Bama Lounge, Package & Oyster Bar.

Flora-Bama Lounge, Package and Oyster Bar, Alabama, Florida

Flora-Bama Lounge, Package and Oyster Bar, Alabama, Florida

Flora-Bama Lounge, Package and Oyster Bar, Alabama, Florida

There is a gift shop up with t-shirts and lot’s of souvenirs. I picked up a copy of the book “Bushwhacked at the Flora-Bama” signed by the owner, Joe Gilchrist. Looking forward to the great read!

My recent experiences crossing state-lines by vehicle in Zigzagging a State Line. was fun but zigzagging a state-line Flora-Bama and beach bar style was great. With the scenery, great drinks and entertainment options it’s a must stop along the Gulf Coast. Who I am kidding, the Bushwacker makes it a must stop all by itself!

Flora-Bama Lounge, Package and Oyster Bar, Alabama, Florida - Bushwacker

Checkout Flora-Bama’s website and you can find them on Twitter and Facebook.

What beach bars have you hung out at in your travels that you would recommend? Any of them along the Gulf Coast of Mexico? What are your favorite state-line crossings?