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6 Outdoor Spots in Pensacola for the Adventurer Inside You

Does adventure run wild through your blood? If you’re like me, sometimes it can be hard to satisfy adventure’s craving. Here’s an outdoor spotlight of some of my favorite places within the Pensacola area to check out:

1. Fort Pickens National Sea Shore

Fort Pickens National Sea Shore (Courtesy of Haley)

This Emerald Coast gem sits on the end of Pensacola Beach. Activities here range from SCUBA diving, exploring the historical ruins of Fort Pickens and walking along the pristine, white sand. Fort Pickens is run by the National Parks Service, which requires a fee to get into the park. But if you and your friends pile into a car and head out together, we’re talking about $3-4 per person. I encourage you to head out to Fort Pickens and take advantage of all it has to offer.

2. Garcon Point

Garcon Point (Courtesy of Haley)

This little piece of paradise that I happened to stumble upon holds some unique treasures! Garcon Point is a water management area that serves to protect the water quality of the Ferry Pass area. There are different hiking trails that guide you back into the woods and marsh.

If you’re lucky enough you can stumble upon one of Florida’s most unique residents, Sarracenia leucophylla, also known as the Crimson Pitcher Plant. Garcon Point is free and just minutes away from campus if you’re ever need an adventure or Mother Nature’s peace. Directions can be found here.

3. Big Lagoon State Park

Big Lagoon State Park (Courtesy of Haley)

This park is one of my all-time favorites. If you love the coastal feel, you should totally come here! The park maintains several lookouts over Perdido Bay and there are tons of trails that take you in an out of the salt marsh. In addition to some really cool foot paths, you can also rent out canoes at this park. There is nothing better than a peaceful paddle to get your mind refocused. There is a $6 fee to get into this state park, but it’s totally worth it.

4. UWF Nature Trail

UWF Nature Trail (Courtesy of Haley)

Want something really close to home? The UWF Edward Ball Nature Trail is an excellent option. These trails are made to suit any type of adventurer. This trail offers a series of wooden walkways for the modest hiker, but it also has tons of off-road trails popular with mountain bikers. You are sure to see turtle, Bream, and other wildlife as you make your way through UWF’s little piece of heaven.

Additionally, the HLS Center on Campus offers canoe rentals. For a small $5 charge you can be on your way paddling through bayou. The Edward Ball Nature Trail won’t disappoint!

5. Baars Firestone Wildlife Preserve

Baars Firestone Wildlife Preserve (Courtesy of Haley)

Many are unaware that UWF also has another wildlife preserve on campus! The Baars Firestone Wildlife Preserve is home to our UWF Cross Country trails. You can find a map of the trails on UWF’s website. If you get the chance to head out to the preserve keep an eye out for the Bald Eagle family. Along the trails you can find a sign that alerts you to the eagle’s nest. Last year UWF was blessed with a baby Bald Eagle! Please keep in mind that Bald Eagles are sensitive to noise and disturbances so please be courteous and watch from afar.

6. Bay Bluffs

Bay Bluffs (Courtesy of Haley)

Last on my list is Bay Bluffs. This park gets its name from where it’s positioned, along the bay and on a bluff­—imagine that! Famous for the rail road tracks that run along the bottom, Bay Bluffs can be a great place to take pictures. The park also has a series of wooden walkways that travel through the woods along the bay. You are sure to find beautiful views as you make you way around. This park about 20 minutes from UWF.

 

Adventuring and exploring nature is one of the greatest gifts that the Earth has given us but I want to encourage you to give back to the Earth, too. Make sure that when you head out on your adventure that you remember to pick up your trash and do your best to leave nature undisturbed. Adventuring is something that can be shared and cherished by all, so grab a friend and head out to check out one of the places above!

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Nature lover, turtle fanatic and forever passionate about the environment. I'm an environmental science major and would love to travel the world expereincing all of Earth's environments. I hope to share my love for the world through the written word. 
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