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 activities to keep you busy, from camping and hiking the boardwalks to viewing wildlife and having some fun in the sun at the beaches.

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.

Where Is Big Lagoon State Park?

Big Lagoon State Park
Views of Big Lagoon State Park

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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

Camping at Big Lagoon State Park

Things to do near Big Lagoon State Park
Things to do near Big Lagoon State Park

Camping at Big Lagoon State Park is a great way to experience the Emerald Coast. The park has plenty of campsites, making it the perfect destination for your next camping trip.

The campground is pet-friendly (link to Florida State Park pet policy), so bring your furry friend along.

Big Lagoon State Park Campground Details

The campground is tent-camping, RV, camper, and van friendly. The maximum RV length is 40 feet.

  • 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

Fires are allowed, but visitors need to bring their own firewood.

Making Reservations

Reservations can be made online (link to Florida State Parks). The camping area is open year-round.

Our Experience: 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 along the coast because many of the Florida State Park campgrounds book out 11 months in advance.

Watch Our Campground Review on YouTube

Watch our Big Lagoon State Park campground review. We take you on a bike tour of the entire facility and show you some of the trails.

Things To Do in the Area


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.


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

Watching for Wildlife

Great Blue Heron Perdido Key FL
Heron with a sea kayaker in the distance

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.

Fishing and Boating

Big Lagoon State Park Boat Launch
Big Lagoon

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.

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 the lagoon, the water is calmer than in the Gulf.

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

Perdido Key

Perdido Key State Park Beach
Perdido Key beach

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 beaches.

Local Tip: We talked to a few locals, and The Point and The Perdido Key Oyster Bar were their favorite restaurants.

Perdido Key State Park

Perdido Key State Park boardwalk
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.

When camping at Big Lagoon, visitors get a pass to hang in their car windshield, which is also good for parking at Perdido Key State Park. There are a few places to park that are state park-specific.

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

Gulf Islands National Seashore Johnson’s Beach

Gulf Islands near Big Lagoon
Gulf Islands near Big Lagoon

Johnson’s Beach is in Perdido Key and offers stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico. It’s relatively secluded and undeveloped, so beachgoers can enjoy peace and quiet.

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

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

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 and is another area of Gulf Islands.

Tips on What To Pack for the Beach

Gulf Islands National Seashore Johnsons Beach
Gulf Islands

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. Below are items we always pack for a beachy road trip.

Nomadix Beach Towel – This towel is quick-drying (link to REI), and the sand doesn’t stick to it badly. We also have Nomadix towels for the bathhouse. I’ll use the same towel for 10+ days, and it doesn’t stink.

Umbrella with UV Protection – You’ll thank yourself for getting one. Make sure to get an umbrella with a sand anchor (link to Amazon). Having a beach umbrella allows us to stay out for hours without getting nuked by the sun.

Sunscreen – We love SunBum (link to Amazon) products because they are safe for the environment. We get body lotion, face lotion, and chapstick.

Beach Chairs – We have these beach chairs (link to Amazon) 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.

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 (link to REI) or shop for him (link to REI).

Insulated Water Bottle – We bring our Hydroflask (link to Amazon) to keep our water cold.

Sunshirt or Rashguard – Along with our swimsuits, we both wear sunshirts. We’ve learned (the hard way) that spending multiple days on the water can ruin a vacation if you don’t protect your skin.

Hats – We always both wear a hat and sunglasses.

Our Experience Camping at Big Lagoon State Park

We camped here for 3-days in mid-May 2022 and loved it. We thought it was one of the best campgrounds near Pensacola (our other favorite is Fort Pickens).

We saw lots of wildlife, 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 have been closed due to Hurricane damage.

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.

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.

Have a great time.

Ashlee & Pablo

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Ashlee Fechino

Ashlee Fechino is an outdoor recreation and travel writer sharing the best-kept secrets that aren’t in your typical guidebook. Her goal is to inspire people to travel with a sense of adventure by sharing hidden gems across the U.S. and beyond. She is married to an expat Argentine, Pablo. They camp in their Aliner often and love wandering the world. Follow their latest adventures on Instagram @thehappinessfxn.


  1. Casey on July 15, 2022 at 4:50 am

    Hi Ashlee, my family and I absolutely love Big Lagoon! I grew up going there all the time and now I take my kids, I was just wondering if this trip you are referring to in this article is recent or not? Only reason I ask is because I know after hurricane Sally hit here a lot of the parts of the park had been closed for repairs and we haven’t heard anything about what has been opened back up to the public…

    • Ashlee Fechino on July 15, 2022 at 3:22 pm

      Hi Casey! Thanks for sharing those special memories with us. Yes, we visited in mid-May 2022. Quite a bit of the park is open again – the campground, boat dock to Big Lagoon, and some parts of the trails. The eastern part of the park was still being repaired. We could not take the trails or boardwalks to the beach or eastern part of the park. You can camp! We explored what was open and then went to Gulf Islands Perdido Key and Perdido Key State Park. Hope you have a great summer exploring. Thanks for reading!

  2. Cristina on July 2, 2022 at 8:36 am

    I hadn’t heard about the Big Lagoon State Park before, but it sounds like the type of place I would enjoy visiting. I am not really into camping, but I would love to give it a go there! I would love to see the wildlife and catch the sunset.

    • Ashlee Fechino on July 4, 2022 at 9:26 am

      Hi Cristina – thanks for reading. The boardwalk trails are really neat through the coastal forest. If you make it there – have fun! Safe travels.

  3. Hannah on June 30, 2022 at 12:58 am

    Big Lagoon State Park looks like a stunning place to go camping! The scenery is spectacular! I’d love to walk the boardwalk trail and admire the pretty beaches! Thanks for sharing this great guide!

    • Ashlee Fechino on June 30, 2022 at 8:12 am

      Hi Hannah – thanks for reading. The boardwalk trail is fantastic! Keep your eyes peeled for alligators. So much fun to see (from a safe distance).

  4. Kelly on June 29, 2022 at 5:14 pm

    I was in Pensacola years ago (almost 30) and I loved it! I also love to camp and I ever get back to that area I’ll check out Big Lagoon State Park. It’s also great that there’s a nearby town to grab food and a bonus that you also have access to another park as well when staying at the Big Lagoon.

    • Ashlee Fechino on June 30, 2022 at 8:12 am

      Hi Kelly – there is so much to see in this area. We hope you have fun visiting again. Thanks for reading.

  5. Lita on June 29, 2022 at 4:18 pm

    Oh my fiance used to live in Pensacola and we just traveled down there in the van. Seems like a great place to camp, so we may need to plan another trip down there!

    • Ashlee Fechino on June 30, 2022 at 8:11 am

      This is a great place to camp in your van! I bet your fiance knows all the best beaches! We love Pensacola.

  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.

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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!

  11. 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.

    • Ashlee Fechino on June 21, 2022 at 9:31 am

      Hi Burt! Thank you for reading!