Located in Pensacola, the Tarkiln Bayou Preserve State Park offers 4,000 acres of beautiful, swampy land that’s home to a variety of endangered and rare plant species. One of the park’s claims to fame is the unique endangered pitcher plants that are found throughout the park. You’ll have the chance to see the white-top pitcher plant, a carnivorous plant that is only found in the Gulf Coast and only found between the Mississippi and the Apalachicola river.
Along with being home to four different species of the endangered pitcher plants, the preserve is home to closer to 100 other extremely rare animals and plants that depend on this distinctive wet prairie habitat of the bayou. Some of these rare plants and animals you may encounter include Chapman’s butterwort, the sweet pitcher plant, and the alligator snapping turtle.
The park offers a convenient boardwalk that gives visitors a magnificent view of the stunning Tarkiln Bayou. The bayou and the park both get their name from the tar kilns that were placed on the peninsula in the 1800s to process the sap that was removed from the southern yellow pines. At the time pine pitch was not only an essential resource for the maritime industry but was also used to produce animal medicines and soaps.
A variety of enjoyable experiences are available to enjoy while you’re at the Tarkiln Bayou Preserve State Park, including:
Allowed in designated areas if you have a license.
Various migratory and upland bird species are often seen in the park.
Two different hiking trails are available, including the half-mile Tarkiln Bayou Trail and the 6.5-mile Perdido Bay Trail which lets you head right down by the Bayshore beaches.
Various forms of wildlife can be seen at the park, including opossum, birds, bobcat, white-tailed deer, and raccoon.
The park offers a variety of amenities, including parking, which is available at the main entrance of the park. There’s also a picnic pavilion available on a first-come, first-serve basis right at the Tarkiln Bayou Trail trailhead. Restroom facilities are available but be aware that it’s an outhouse-style restroom and potable water isn’t available at the park. You can bring your pet along with you on this beautiful adventure, but they must be on a maximum six-foot-long leash at all times and pet owners need to pick up after their dogs. Keep in mind, dogs are not allowed on the beach areas within the park.
– Be aware that Tarkiln Bayou Preserve State Park does charge $3 per vehicle and $2 for bicyclists and pedestrians to enter the park.
– The park is open every day of the year from 8 am to sunset.
– If you’re not prepared for a long hike, the half-mile-long boardwalk still gives you a wonderful look at the wetlands and the pitcher plants.
– Although one small pavilion is available for picnics, you can always find a quiet, secluded spot along the nature trails or down on the beach to enjoy your picnic as well.