Perdido Key State Park

Perdido Key State Park - Beautiful Beach and More near Pensacola, FL
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

- The Local Expert Team

Featuring beautiful beaches and excellent opportunities to get up and close to coastal nature, Perdido Key State Park is a great destination for a day trip. A small park of just 290 acres, it offers tranquil coastlines and ample spots perfect for catching a wave, throwing a line, or just kicking back to enjoy the quiet and sun.

Perdido Key State Park is situated on its namesake, Perdido Key, a barrier island that helps protect Florida’s mainland. Once known as “Gulf Beach,” Perdido Key is now a protected space that welcomes visitors 365 days a year.

Just 20 miles outside of Pensacola, FL, Perdido Key State Park can feel like a world away, and is a great example of the biodiversity in this part of the U.S. The area is home to several species of sea birds. Depending on the season, you can see a wide range of migratory and shore birds enjoying their natural habitat. It’s not uncommon to spot crabs along the white sandy beaches, and be sure to keep your peeled for a wide variety of unique shells.

Visitors can stroll the beach after paying a day use fee of $3 and collect shells, including those from calico clams and cockles, among other species. While Florida doesn’t allow live shelling, there tend to be ample shells on the beach, exhibiting the great diversity of shellfish in the Gulf.

And the wildlife is not just limited to birds and mollusks. Perhaps Perdido Key’s most famous inhabitant, The Perdido Key beach mouse is a small, cute resident who blends in easily with the white quartz sand that covers the beach. In addition, Perdido Key is home to a variety of sea turtles, who use the beach during nesting season.

Part of the beauty of this park is the undeveloped peace and quiet. No restaurants or stores are available in the park, but potable water, picnic pavilion space, as well as bathrooms and a refreshing outdoor shower for rinsing off all help to make a visit to Perdido Key an enjoyable and relaxing experience. Camping is not offered at Perdido Key State Park, but nearby Big Lagoon has campsites available if you’re looking to stay close to this park, which is open daily from 8:00 until sunset.

A great place to get away from it all, while getting closer to nature, Perdido Key State Park is a memorable place to enjoy the Gulf Coast, and is a great place for visitors of all ages.

Insider Tip:
– Dogs are welcome at some campsites, and on trails and roads in the Florida State Park system, but they are not permitted on any beaches. Leave Fido at home, but plan to bring your pet alone on a leash at another park that offers more trail and road access.