BIG LAGOON STATE PARK
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Effective May 21, 2021 Big Lagoon State Park is open 8 a.m. to sunset daily. Park staff is working diligently to clean up debris from Hurricane Sally. The following areas of the park are currently closed the boardwalks, west beach day-use area, governor's pavilion, amphitheater and picnic area, east beach day-use area, hand kayak launch and observation tower. The lagoon is currently inaccessible due to extensive hurricane damage to the boardwalks.
The following areas of the park are currently open the boat ramp day use area, boat ramp picnic area, sand pine trail, and campground.
This coastal park sits on the northern shoreline of its namesake, Big Lagoon, which separates the mainland from Perdido Key and the Gulf of Mexico. Natural communities, ranging from saltwater marshes to pine flatwoods, attract a wide variety of birds, especially during the spring and fall migrations. Beaches, shallow bays, nature trails, and open woodlands offer splendid opportunities for nature study. The park also beckons visitors with opportunities for camping, fishing, boating, and hiking. Located on County Road 292A, 10 miles southwest of Pensacola.
Natural communities, ranging from saltwater tidal marshes to pine flatwoods, attract a wide variety of birds, especially during the spring and fall migrations.
The park is a stopover for more than 23 species of wood-warbler and a variety of ducks, sandpipers and black-bellied plovers.
Big Lagoon State Park was acquired by the Florida Park Service in 1978.
This area has evidence of prehistoric and historic occupation and visitation dating back to the 19th and 20th centuries. Changing water levels and glaciation impacts have created the altered topography throughout the park ranging from historical dune ridges and coastal scrub to scrubby flatwoods. Woodland 800 BCE-1000 AD and Mississippian 1000 AD-1600 AD period occupation is evident.
One shell midden from the Woodland period was found in the park in 1983 after it had unfortunately been disturbed by prior park development. Native Americans utilized the fertile waters in this maritime habitat foraging on abundant shell fish. Another prehistoric shell scatter mostly consisting of oyster shell was found during coastal surveys in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. The site dates back to an unknown prehistoric period.
Recent history includes a 20th-century site where Miss Ivey lived in a wood-built home in the area that would later become Big Lagoon State Park. She ran one of the first fast-food restaurants in the area out of a mobile home - serving burgers to local anglers and beach visitors.
Historic 1950s aerial photography shows most of this area as basin swamp or marsh. Stormwater ditching changed the hydrology, making much of the northeastern area of the park a denser baygall habitat. This change in water flow was due to the increase in developed neighborhoods surrounding all three landward sides of the state park.
Tropical systems including Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and multiple near-misses in 2005 led to saltwater inundation that was documented to depths of 10 feet or more in the basin swamps. This led to an extreme change in the habitat with many trees not able to survive the increase in saltwater in the water table, which is evident by the number of snags throughout the park.
Park staff continue to work to preserve, protect and restore the Real Florida at Big Lagoon State Park with the use of many land management tools, including multiple types of surveying, conducting prescribed fires, and exotic plant management and control.
Annual Entrance Passes can be purchased at all park ranger stations and museums. If you require immediate use of your pass, this is the best option. Passes can be purchased during regular business hours 365 days a year. Please call the park in advance to ensure availability. Those who are eligible for discounted or free passes may use this method to receive their pass. Annual Entrance Passes may be purchased online by visiting the FLORIDA STATE PARKS ANNUALENTRANCE PASSES
No Cabins at this park.
This 712 acre park has 75 campsites with electric and water hookups available for reservation.
When swimming, stay alert keep your safety and that of others in mind by staying clear of boat traffic.
The beach areas of the park are currently closed due to extensive damage from Hurricane Sally.
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.
The park offers a variety of boating options for visitors. There is a boat ramp that provides access to the Intracoastal Waterway, allowing guests to explore local waters with their own vessels. Canoe and kayak rentals are also available on-site for those who prefer smaller crafts or wish to paddle through the lagoon's calm waterways at their leisure. Fishing from boats is popular as well due its rich marine life including redfish, blue crabs and sea trout.
Fishing brings in redfish, flounder, and trout seasonally.