Big Lagoon State Park, Pensacola, FL – Jan 29 – Feb 2

We arrived at Big Lagoon State Park on January 29, the first day it was open after  Hurricane Sally clean-up and repairs. There were still several areas of the park that remained closed and there was visible damage to structures, boardwalks and trees. We feel very fortunate that we could be there, since we did not plan it very far in advance.  It was 70 degrees and we thoroughly enjoyed relaxing in the warm Florida sun, at our campsite.

Our campsite was pretty secluded and the park was very quiet. There were 68 campsites, including rustic sites, but some of the campground was still closed. Most of the sites had a fair amount of plants and trees separating them. We were the youngest people in the park, except for what appeared to be a home-schooling family.

The high temperatures over the following days varied between 45 and 65. We hiked everyday we were there, in the park, as well as at Gulf Islands National Seashore and Tarkiln Bayou Preserve State Park. We would have loved to spend a day on Johnson Beach, but it was just too windy and too chilly on most days. I didn’t expect to see so many pine trees in Florida. They were mostly southern yellow pine. Hiking on the sandy trails was a lot like hiking near Lake Michigan, as we did all summer.

We spent an afternoon walking around the historic section of Pensacola and had a beer at an open-air place. It seemed pretty deserted, but a very nice town.

We found a great local fish market nearby and started working on our seafood cooking skills.  I will publish a seperate post on that later. Generally, we are avoiding indoor/non-open-air dining or drinking. Some people seem to be less careful about masks and social distancing here, but we are maintaining our own safety precautions. We don’t know when our age group will get vaccines and we don’t want to ruin our adventure by being sick.

We really enjoyed this park. It was a bonus leg of the trip, filling some of the time we should have been in Hawaii. Next stop – Gulf State Park, AL!

Campsite at Big Lagoon State Park

Boat Boat Launch area at Big Lagoon State Park

Johnson Beach – Gulf Islands National Seashore
Big Lagoon State Park

Great Blue Heron at Big Lagoon SP
Slushie enjoying his first day in Florida

Johnson Beach – Gulf Islands National Seashore
Hiking at Tarkiln Bayou Nature Preserve, Pensacola, FL
Tarkin Bayou Nature Preserve. Perdido Bay feels a bit like Lake Superior in the fall today, with a high temperature of 45 degrees