Perdido KeyMeaning "Lost Island" in Spanish, Perdido Key offers a refreshing escape with its bays, estuaries, wetlands and abundant native sea life and wildlife. The key, located 30 minutes west of Pensacola, combines slow-paced life with its award-winning beaches and plenty of lodging and quaint shops.
Located about 15 miles west of Pensacola, Perdido Key was first discovered by the Spanish in 1693, and its beauty is continually rediscovered by tourists throughout the year. Maryland geologist Dr. Stephen Leatherman placed it in his Top 20 Beaches in America 2000 ranking. Leatherman considers factors including cleanliness, appearance and weather in making his choices. Boating World magazine has named it among the 100 best "fantasy islands" for boaters to cruise, fish, relax, camp, explore and entertain.
Accessible by boat or bridge, Perdido Key is flanked by the Gulf of Mexico on one side and by the tranquil Olde River on the other. The variety of water settings makes it ideal for family water sports, including fishing, skiing, snorkeling, surfing and swimming.
While upscale development has modernized part of the key, more than half of the island is preserved from growth by federal and state parks. For more information, call the Perdido Key Chamber of Commerce at (850) 492-5422.
Big Lagoon State ParkCovering 712 acres west of Pensacola, Big Lagoon State Park fronts Big Lagoon and the Intracoastal Waterway. Visitors enjoy camping, swimming, boating, fishing, crabbing, walking nature trails, and cast-netting for mullet. Guided walks, campfire programs, and recreational skills instruction are available, and a 40-foot tower provides an exceptional view of the surrounding woods, marshes and beaches. Call (850) 492-1595 for more information.