If we were to describe our ideal family beach getaway, it would include picturesque beaches for outdoor adventure and enjoyable activities to beat the heat indoors.
The Big Lagoon State Park is a place where you can rent canoes and kayaks, hike the scenic trails and also explore nature for days. This is a three-story observation tower situated in the East Beach area which offers a panoramic view of the Big Lagoon, the park, and the Gulf Islands National Seashore which is just across the Intracoastal Waterway. Visit and explore the historic Fort Barrancas, which is on a bluff overlooking the entrance to Pensacola Bay. You can explore the halls by yourself or take a ranger for a guided tour!
Being a kid, we know playing is at the top of the list and Perdido Kids Park is an amazing playland! Featuring a huge pirate ship for climbing and other structures to stimulate imagination and creative energy. Pack a picnic lunch and then run through the misters to cool down. You can also book a family fishing charter with a local captain or simply sign up for family surf lessons and sign the kids up for junior golf camps at the Perdido Bay Golf Club. You can experience one, two, or three traveler tubing at Waterville, USA where you can impact through the jaws of the Great White Shark.
The Southwest Branch Library offers various projects and exercises for kids. From their American Girl Book Club to storytime with lovable mutts, they have artistic fortunes for Kids of any age! You can also visit any visitor center in the Pensacola area to pick up your “Passport” booklet for a fun day of adventure traveling in the Pensacola area.
The Nature Protector
Discover the Perdido Key Beach Mouse, (Peromyscus polionotus trissyllepsis) it is an endangered subspecies of the oldfield mouse.
Found only on a small island between Florida and Alabama, the endangered Perdido Key beach mouse is essential to the integrity of its coastal ecosystem. When left uneaten, seeds stored by these tiny rodents may grow into adult plants that help stabilize the dunes in which they are buried. Stronger dunes provide greater protection to local infrastructure during hurricanes.
Kids aren’t easily wowed when it comes to playgrounds, but this one will have them asking to go back tomorrow. Located at 10004 Gulf Beach Highway, just a mile north of the Naval Air Station, and managed by Escambia County, Perdido Kids Park is an excellent pit stop to unload the kids if they’ve been cooped up in the car.
The park underwent a remodeling in the spring of 2016 and it boasts multiple slides, swings, a rock climbing wall, stationary planes, and much more. It has separate big-kid and toddler playgrounds. There is a beautiful halfmile nature trail that encircles the park. It’s also a welcome relief that the park has a water mister for those, especially
hot and humid summer days.
There is a unique sign to guide you into the park from Gulf Beach Highway. On select weekday mornings, you also just might catch a glimpse of the Blue Angels practicing overhead. Perdido Kids Park is free. For more info, check out Perdido Kids Park on Facebook.
Afterward, visit the Native Paths Cultural Heritage Museum (850-453-7382) to see authentic Native American artifacts, historic weapons, and treasures. If you’re lucky, you’ll get the chance to meet members of the Perdido Bay Tribe of Southeastern Lower Muscogee Creek Indians while you’re there, or watch as hospitalized animals are released back into the wild.
There are several great launching sites for canoes and kayaks, particularly Big Lagoon State Park on Gulf Beach Highway and Galvez Landing, adjacent to the popular Hub Stacey’s restaurant. Folks can also rent equipment from the Ranger Station at Big Lagoon. Autumn Hale and her husband Thomas operate Littleheads Kayaks, an ecofriendly business, on River Road. Littleheads offers single, double, and fishing kayaks, paddleboards, banana boat rides, and eco-tours. Private two-hour dolphin cruises are also available.
To find out what else is happening on the Key while you’re here; just check the Events and Festivals calendar on VisitPerdido.com.
One thing’s for sure, Perdido kids never run out of fun things to do on the Key!