The lights are hung, trees decorated and cooler weather is blowing in. It’s one of our favorite times of the year to get outdoors. It’s the time of the year we pack away our bathing suits (ok, well we do water activities all year) and get out our hiking, biking and paddling gear. With that said, here’s our holiday adventure guide in Pensacola and beyond.
Hiking and Walking in the Pensacola Area
With the cooler weather, it’s the most wonderful time of the year to walk and hike in the Pensacola Area. Here are a few we’d recommend.
Tarkiln Bayou Preserve State Park
Beautiful paved/boardwalk that winds through wetlands down to the bayou. There is a small pier on the bayou to enjoy the surroundings. In addition to the paved trail, there are many off-grade trails to hike.
Located on the Perdido River Fillingim Landing offers paddlers and hikers a nice setting for exploring the outdoors. Fillingim Landing includes a kayak/canoe launch, hiking trails, picnic table, BBQ grills, and bathrooms. Learn more about Fillingim Landing here.
Maritime Community Park is located in downtown Pensacola overlooking Pensacola Bay. This park is a beautiful place to go for a stroll along the bayfront.
Gibbs Point and Navy Point Area
The neighborhoods at Navy Point and Gibbs Point have paved trails that gently hug the banks of Bayou Grande. This quaint community has park much desired open space, grass for relaxing, benches and parks that line the bayou. This area is the perfect destination to enjoy a run or a walk along the bayou. The area known as Gibb’s Point is one of our favorite areas we visit, to walk or even to take our kayaks out for a paddle.
Jones Swamp Wetland Preserve and Nature Trail
Take to nature along the banks of Jones Creek along the elevated boardwalk. The Jones Swamp Wetland Preserve and Nature Trail is part of the Bayou Chico restoration project. It was created to provide protection for Pensacola Bay and includes 1,300 acres within the Jones Creek Watershed. Learn more about Jones Swamp Wetland Preserve and Nature trail here.
UWF Boardwalk and Hiking Trails
The Edward Ball Nature Trail is a peaceful escape for students and visitors at the University of West Florida. This is a fantastic location to experience closeup a natural wetland. The trail is a one-mile loop on a raised boardwalk around Thompson’s Creek, a tributary of Escambia River.
Enjoy the history of the area and the great outdoors as you visit Arcadia Mill. This site once included a water-powered sawmill, lumber mill, textile mill, and more. There are handicap boardwalks and off-road hiking trails at this location. The off-road section of the trail includes a walking bridge over Mill Pond Creek. Learn more about Arcadia Mill.
Want more hiking ideas? Visit our hiking section here.
Bike your way through the holiday season at some of these cool biking areas.
Bike the trails at UWF and treat yourself to a fun adventure. The Greenbrier Trailhead is one of many locations to hit these trails. Click here to learn more.
Naval Live Oaks
There are over 10 miles of trails with different surface areas from hard-packed to sand, which can be a bit challenging.
On the trails, you’ll enjoy biking through palmetto prairies, under the canopy of live oaks and experience breathtaking views of Escambia Bay. Learn more about these trails.
Bear Lake Recreation Area
Bear Lake Recreation Area is one of the many parks located in Blackwater River State Forest. If you are looking for a place to enjoy the outdoors in northwest Florida take a trip to Bear Lake. Learn more about Bear Lake Recreation Area.
Blackwater Heritage State Trail
The Blackwater Heritage State Trail is a great place for walking, rollerblading, and biking. The trails are part of Florida’s Greenways and Trails. The trail runs from Milton to Whiting Field Naval Air Station (NAS) in the north.
Discover more about Blackwater Heritage State Trail here.
Want more biking locations? Discover more biking areas in northwest Florida here.
Paddling Adventures in Pensacola
We love paddling year-round but there’s something wonderful about paddling during the cooler months. So this holiday season how about a paddle adventure?
Deadman’s Island, located in Gulf Breeze, is the perfect choice for a kayak destination. It’s also a perfect paddle destination to catch a pretty amazing sunset. Check out this link for more info about this area.
Bruce Beach is located in downtown Pensacola. This newly opened waterfront kayak and paddleboard launch is located in downtown Pensacola to the west of the Community Maritime Park. Learn more about Bruce Beach here.
Bagdad Mill Park
Bagdad Mill Site Kayak launch is located in Bagdad, Florida. The launch is part of a Bagdad Mill Site Park. This kayak launch is located where Pond Creek and Blackwater River intersect. Discover more about the Bagdad Mill Site Kayak Launch here.
Big Lagoon State Park
The Big Lagoon State Park Kayak Trail weaves through salt marshes. There is a large variety of wildlife at Big Lagoon State Park to enjoy. Happy paddling! Discover this launch here.
Want more kayak ideas? Check out our complete kayaking guide here.
Now It’s Your Turn
Now that we’ve shared a few of our favorites it’s your turn to get out and explore. We’d love to hear about your favorite adventures so send us an email or tag us on our social channels.
Happy Holidays and Happy Exploring to you and yours!