Big Lagoon State Park: You’ll Love Camping Here

If you’re looking for a great place to explore nature near Pensacola, Florida, head to Big Lagoon State Park. This lush coastal park and the surrounding area have plenty of outdoor recreation activities to keep you busy, from camping and hiking the boardwalks to viewing wildlife and catching some fun in the sun. So, pack your sunscreen (and bug spray!) and get ready for an unforgettable camping experience at Big Lagoon State Park.

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Boardwalk trail

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Where is Big Lagoon State Park?

The state park is located about 30 minutes southwest of Pensacola near Perdido Key on the north side of Big Lagoon.

Big Lagoon State Park Map

Big Lagoon State Park Camping

Camping at Big Lagoon State Park is a great way to experience part of The Emerald Coast. The park has plenty of campsites, making it the perfect destination for your next camping trip. You’ll enjoy spending time outdoors, and there’s plenty to do in the area.

We loved camping at Big Lagoon State Park! The campground is beautiful and surrounded by tall coastal pine trees.

Whether you’re swimming in the ocean or lagoon, fishing, hiking, biking, or just relaxing on the beach, we think you’ll have a great time visiting.

The campground is pet-friendly, so feel free to bring your furry friend along.

Below we’ll share more campground details.

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Big Lagoon Campground

Big Lagoon State Park Campground Details

  • 75 campsites
  • 30/50 amp electric hookups
  • Water hookup
  • Dump station
  • Picnic tables
  • Fire ring
  • Clothing hanger (bring your own rope)
  • Ground grill
  • Most sites have partial shade at some point during the day
  • 3 bathhouses and restrooms with hot showers, running water, and flush toilets

The Big Lagoon Campground is tent-camping, RV, camper, and van friendly.

The maximum RV length is 40 feet.

Fires are allowed, but you need to bring your own firewood.

Reservations

You can make reservations online. The camping area is open year-round.

We made camping reservations online 6 months in advance. Since we spend quite a bit of time road tripping in Florida, we created an online account with Florida State Parks. It is easy to do.

You will want to plan when trying to book camping in Florida State Parks along the coast because the campgrounds can book out 11 months in advance in some places.

Watch Our Campground Review on YouTube!

Watch our campground review on YouTube. We take you on a bike tour of the entire campground and the trails nearby.

YouTube video

Outdoor Adventure Things to Do

Hiking

Big Lagoon State Park has 5 miles of hiking trails. There are multiple places to access the trails and boardwalks right from the campground such as the Estuary Trail and Sand Pine Trail.

Biking

There are no official biking trails, but you can bike along the main park road, which is paved. It is about 2.5-miles.

Wildlife Watching

There is so much wildlife here! Bring binoculars to see all of the different birds. Along the boardwalk, keep your eyes peeled for turtles, alligators, and armadillos.

Spring and Fall are the best times to see migratory birds. We saw Osprey, Herons, and Pelicans!

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Heron with sea kayaker in the distance

Fishing and Boating

There is a boat launch within the park where you can get into Big Lagoon and then out into the Gulf. Many people were fishing along the park’s shores near the boat launch.

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Big Lagoon

Water Sports Activities

Big Lagoon is a great place for paddle sports. While visiting, we saw lots of people kayaking, canoeing, and stand-up paddleboarding in the lagoon. Since a barrier island protects it, the water is calmer than the Gulf.

If you love to sea kayak, Florida is famous for its Circumnavigations Saltwater Paddling Trail that goes around the whole state of Florida.

Perdido Key

There are many beach access points and various restaurants to enjoy in this coastal town. It is a short 5–10-minute drive from Big Lagoon State Park. Perdido Key is famous for its amazing beaches.

We talked to a few locals, and The Point and The Perdido Key Oyster Bar were their favorite restaurants!

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Perdido Key beach

Perdido Key State Park

Just on the other side of Big Lagoon and a short 5–10-minute drive away is Perdido Key State Park.

If you are camping at Big Lagoon, you get a pass to hang in your windshield that is also good for parking at Perdido Key State Park. There are a few places to park that are state park specific. You’ll see the signs.

There are also pay-to-park parking lots to access the beautiful beaches along Perdido Key.

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Perdido Key State Park

Gulf Islands National Seashore Johnson’s Beach

If you are looking for a beautiful, secluded beach to relax on during your vacation, head over to Gulf Islands National Seashore Johnson’s Beach! This beach is located in Perdido Key, Florida, and offers stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico. It’s also relatively secluded, so you can enjoy peace and quiet while relaxing.

We were seriously in awe of this part of Gulf Islands, and it wasn’t crowded when we visited in mid-May.

Gulf Island is part of the National Parks, and you can use your annual National Park Pass to enter.

You might also like: Gulf Islands National Seashore Fort Pickens makes for a fun day trip when visiting the area. Fort Pickens is roughly an hour away from Big Lagoon State Park.

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Gulf Islands

Tips on What to Pack for the Beach

If you’re not used to having fun in the sun all day, you don’t want to ruin your vacation by burning the first day! So below are some items we always pack for a beachy road trip.

Nomadix Beach Towel – this towel is quick-drying, the sand doesn’t stick to it bad, and it doesn’t stink after being used a few times. We also Nomadix towels for the bathhouse. I’ll use the same towel for 10+ days and it doesn’t stink!!

Umbrella with UV Protectionyou’ll thank yourself for getting one. Make sure you get an umbrella with a sand anchor (this is key). Having a beach umbrella allows us to stay out for hours without getting nuked by the sun.

Sunscreen – we love SunBum products because they are safe for the environment. We get body lotion, face lotion, and chapstick!

Beach Chairs – we have these beach chairs that sit lower so you can relax under an umbrella with your feet in the sand. The chairs we have you can wear like a backpack making them easy to transport. Click the image below to shop the exact chairs we have (they are the best).

Flip Flops – we wear our Chaco flips around. They are waterproof, durable, and easy to clean and pair with any outfit. Click to shop Chaco flips for her (these are my favorite) or shop for him (this is what Pablo has).

Insulated Water Bottle – we bring our Hydroflask or Yeti to the beach to keep our water cold.

Mini Cooler – if we’re taking snacks, we like this little Yeti cooler.

Sun shirt or Rashguard – along with our swimsuits, we both wear sun shirts. We’ve learned (the hard way) that spending multiple days on the water can ruin a vacation if you don’t protect your skin! We get rashguards at REI.

Hats – we always both wear a hat and sunglasses.

Final Thoughts on Camping at Big Lagoon State Park

We camped here for 3-days in mid-May 2022 and loved it. The campsites were clean, the camp hosts were friendly, the bathhouses were clean, and the showers were enclosed and locked, so I felt safe. We thought it was one of the best campgrounds near Pensacola (our other favorite is Fort Pickens).

We saw lots of wildlife here, including lizards, armadillos, and all kinds of birds, and we even saw dolphins at Gulf Islands Johnson’s Beach.

The sandy trails and boardwalks through the intercoastal forest and marshes were incredible.

Check the Big Lagoon State Park website for trail updates because some of the facilities and areas of the park were closed due to Hurricane damage.

The camping pass for Big Lagoon was also good to park at Perdido Key State Park. We didn’t spend much time here though since we thought Gulf Islands was better! Maybe it was just the waves that day. However, we did catch a lovely sunset from the beach at Perdido Key.

Be sure to visit Gulf Islands National Seashore south of Big Lagoon because it is seriously incredible.

Overall, we will definitely come back to Big Lagoon State Park. It is an excellent spot to camp and base out of while exploring the Pensacola area and Emerald Coast for a few days.

Don’t forget your sunscreen and a beach umbrella – the Florida sun can be harsh!

Oh, and you don’t want to forget the bug spray! We buy this kind (it doesn’t smell bad or leave white marks on your clothes). The flies along the boardwalks were brutal!

Thanks for reading,

Ashlee & Pablo


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Ashlee Fechino

Ashlee Fechino is an outdoor recreation writer and founder of The Happiness Function based in Oklahoma. Her goal is to help inspire people to build a life they love by sharing how simple and fun it is to travel locally, connect with nature, and explore off-the-beaten-path. You don't have to spend a lot of money or use a ton of vacation time to explore close to home. Ashlee holds a BS degree in Biology and MS in Environmental Policy & Sustainability and has a passion for the outdoors. She is married to an expat Argentine, Pablo! They camp in their Aliner often and love road trips and hiking.

12 Comments

  1. Burt Randall on June 20, 2022 at 9:43 pm

    You’guys…you must love the beach…I do too !! This was a great aticle.

  2. Renee on June 22, 2022 at 3:23 pm

    This is definitely a bird watcher’s paradise. I can see many being attracted to camp here, especially wildlife photographers to have easy access for early morning when birds are most active. The views from the hiking spots along the boardwalk are certainly very scenic.

    • Ashlee Fechino on June 23, 2022 at 8:41 am

      Hi Renee – thanks for reading our article on Big Lagoon State Park. Have a great summer!

  3. Aireona on June 22, 2022 at 3:57 pm

    Coming from the West coast, I rarely think about Florida as a good location for camping, but I have been learning lately that there is so much amazing camping experiences there. In particular, I love that this park offers so many options for folks. Thanks for this comprehensive guide!

    • Ashlee Fechino on June 23, 2022 at 8:41 am

      Hi Aireona – You’ll love visiting Florida! There are so many incredible state parks and outdoor spaces.

  4. A Capone Connection on June 22, 2022 at 5:42 pm

    I haven’t been camping in a long time, and I’ve never camped on the beach. I think I would like that much better than camping in the woods. Thanks for sharing this. I’m saving it for later!

    • Ashlee Fechino on June 23, 2022 at 8:42 am

      Camping near the water is simply the best! Thanks for reading. Have fun visiting Big Lagoon and the Florida coast.

  5. Coralie on June 23, 2022 at 12:22 am

    What a great, informative article! Big Lagoon State Park sounds fabulous with incredible views and those Gulf Islands look amazing.

    • Ashlee Fechino on June 23, 2022 at 8:43 am

      Hi Coralie! Thanks for reading. We hope you have a great summer exploring!

  6. simplyjolayne on June 23, 2022 at 10:07 am

    I’m not much of a camper (unless it is camping in style in an RV) but this area does look beautiful. And being so close to the beach would definitely be a perk.

    • Ashlee Fechino on June 24, 2022 at 8:00 am

      Hi Jolayne – thanks for reading our article! You’ll love visiting the area.

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