Big Lagoon SP, and Gulf Islands National Seashore, Pensacola, FL

Just returned from 5 days at Big Lagoon SP campground. The weather was generally cloudy with one day of rain and one sunny day. We were joined by Carol’s sister and husband. I brought both of my sea kayaks and did get in one day on the water. Really enjoyed the stay. The Panhandle Gulf Coast is a remarkable habitat that looks rather daunting if you had to bushwhack your way inland from the sea. Surprise! I am posting photos from the trip.

Our home away from home.

Checking out the new neighbors.

The second day was cloudy with scattered showers, so we drove the short distance to the Gulf Islands National Seashore. Curtis my BIL did a survey for wastewater treatment on Perido Key 30 plus years ago. I blamed him for the condos that have popped up since then! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Whiteline daredevil.

Beautiful Gulf waters and white sand beaches. There were rip tide warnings this day.

They found the buffet!

Likes to eat alone.

Beach bum wondering where all the fishermen are.

The iffy weather made for dramatic skies.

The Big Lagoon side of the barrier island. Looking across to the State Park where we camped.

Roosting for the evening

Carol and I walked the Sand Pine Trail one morning. Much of the local flora was in bloom and the birds were very active early mornings

Boat Tailed Grackles were numerous.The red wing Blackbirds were hard to photograph but numerous too as you could hear them calling.

Florida state bird.

The landscape is a series of old dunes with ridges of high ground and low. Often the low areas form freshwater ponds and marshy ground. The park warns about the numerous Cottonmouth Moccasins, and that gators are also present.

This small fellow was seen in the road while walking in the campground.

The high ground has pines and Live oaks and many other plants that can tolerate the sandy dry ridges.

Transitioning to marshy wet low areas

Aquatic penny wort and duckweed which is one of the smallest flowering plants.

Then there are the ponds.

Hurricane damage.

Spring and many different plants blooming.

Well, we finally did go paddling. If I had been by myself, I would have done more even in the iffy weather. The Gulf on the day we drove there looked like a fun washing machine. We Curtis and I put in at the park ramp.

We were met by this fellow who was indifferent to us being close by. Not what I am use to on SC rivers where they fly away at a distance.

Lunch break.

The lagoon was shallow with surprising clear water compared to the SC coastal areas.

More hurricane damage. The State Park had areas closed to the public until repairs could be made. This meant there wasn’t any access to the waterfront from the trails on land.

The inlet to the Gulf of Mexico.

Barge traffic on the ICW.

The view once past the State Park.

Eventually we had to head home and rode off into the sunset in a manner of speaking.


Nice trip report. That is what most of the northern Gulf region looks like vicinity of barrier islands and sandy areas.

Living about 80 miles west (as the crow flies), all those critters, landscape, flowers, and trees are very familiar. The Great Blue Heron are usually skittish here too, unless they frequent areas where shore fishermen toss them a snack of undesirable fish or unused bait. As the signs you reported say, beware the serpents and gators…in some remote areas they are often as thick as mosquitos & gnats.

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I was on Little St. George Island many years ago after a lightning strike caused the dry marsh on the end of the island to burn. There were many dead cottonmouths burned by the fire. They all had their mouths open. I found it both astounding for the numbers of them stiffened in what could only have been a posture of agony and saddening to see. Have hunted on St Vincent and it surprises me how few you actually see.

snakes… [quote=“castoff, post:3, topic:114344”]
St Vincent and it surprises me how few you actually see.


#1: You are not a mouse, frog, or lizard.
#2: You are a monster.
#3: You don’t attack them. Usually.

Would you expose yourself given those criteria?

How are the mosquitoes this time of year?

I think I saw two. the no-see-ems were bothersome at times, but not much of a problem either.