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 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.
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.
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.
After each turn this is what was in front of me.
Not much to speak of on either side of the road. I didn’t really see or hear any wildlife yet either.
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.
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.
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.
I captured some more shots along the Big Lagoon. Lots of sand and beaches nearby.
A small boat ramp. Where’s that kayak or canoe when I need it?
The water was calm and there were only a few fisherman around so it was quite peaceful.
The high-rise condos and hotels dotted the Gulf of Mexico shoreline, showing how close I was.
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.
Canoes! I wonder if I could have taken one?
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.
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?