Tourists who’ve traveled to Pensacola Beach to experience its natural beauty and the creatures that inhabit it now have even more to discover when they take advantage of the Footprints in the Sand Eco-Trail.
Slow down and look closely… There is so much more to the beach than the sand, waves and sea gulls.
The 8.5-mile Footprints in the Sand Eco-Trail Eco-Trail showcases the unique aspects of the Pensacola Beach’s island ecology.
Running from shore to shore, the trail encourages visitors to walk, bike, drive, run and even swim to the 29 stops scattered across Pensacola Beach. Each stop tells a different story about the flora and fauna of the region and provides pictures and maps to guide you in exploring.
Gulf life in the immediate and offshore waters of Pensacola Beach is varied and abundant. The Footprints in the Sand Eco-Trail explains the different species of sharks, fish, crabs, shrimp and additional sea life you can find by the season and while snorkeling or on a scuba dive.
Learn about the different types of dolphins and try to spot each of them on a dolphin cruise. Read about the three species of sea turtles that nest on Pensacola Beach in the spring, find out how to protect a precious sea turtle nest and learn what to do if you spot hatchlings crawling the beach in summer, trying to make their way to the shoreline.
If you’re an avid bird watcher and tracker, the Eco-Trail guides you through the shore, wading, nesting and coastal sea birds you can spot when walking or hiking beach trails. The laughing gull is a favorite that gets its name from “laughing” high in the sky after it takes food from another bird or unsuspecting visitor.
The birds, turtles, and crabs that walk, crawl, and jump across the sand all leave different tracks behind. Spotting and following these footprints is another way to experience the beauty of nature along the trail. The “Footprints” portion of the trail’s name is also a reminder to all that conservation is key on the beach: After you visit, leave only your footprints behind.
The rare wonder of watching dozens of baby sea turtles emerge from their nest and make their way to the shore is truly one of the most magical things you’ll ever see, and it’s all about timing.
Gulf Islands National Seashore provides endless opportunity for solitude and relaxation and miles of unobstructed views and access to the Gulf.
With its huge brick battlements jutting up from white sand dunes and its labyrinth of arched tunnels, Fort Pickens is a favorite spot among history buffs, explorers and photographers.
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