Big Lagoon State Park (Gateway)

12301 Gulf Beach Hwy., Pensacola, 32507
(850) 492-1595
Daily, 8:00am to sunset
Trail map


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. A portion of the park’s hiking trails have reopened.

This site nicely represents the diversity of Panhandle habitats, all in the boundaries of a single park. The bay front offers sandy expanses for wintering Black-bellied Plovers, Dunlin and Least Sandpipers, and winter ducks like Lesser Scaup, Redhead, Bufflehead and Red-breasted Mergansers can be seen diving in the bay from the East Beach tower. Common Loons call on foggy mornings in early spring, and a diversity of gulls and terns feed in area waters. 23 species of wood-warbler have been recorded in the park during spring and fall migration. They can be found feeding on insects in hammocks in the campground and along the Yaupon and Long Pond Trails. Long Pond Trail skirts some freshwater wetlands, then stretches into the Cookie Trail leading along the north edge of the lagoon onto a scrubby point, peppered with pines favored by Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, Northern Flickers and Brown-headed Nuthatches. Check with park staff for information on birding events going on in the Panhandle; binoculars are also available for loan from the ranger station.

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