A 16-mile-long barrier island linked to Florida at one end, and Alabama at the other – offers plenty of outdoor fun while maintaining the slow pace and feel of the “old Florida” that has faded from much of the Sunshine State.
Looking for laid-back beach with lots of outdoor options? Perdido Key is your perfect Florida vacation.
Ranked among the nation’s top 20 beaches by “Dr. Beach,” the barrier island features several world-renowned parks, including Perdido Key State Park, Big Lagoon State Park and Johnson Beach at Gulf Islands National Seashore.
Spanish for “lost island,” Perdido Key encompasses federal and state parks abundant with wetlands, estuaries and wildlife. In fact, more than half the key is public park set aside for people to enjoy—that means miles upon miles of open beach. Set up near a dune and make yourself comfortable and watch for the birds, dolphins, endangered sea turtles and all sorts of other native wildlife that call the Key home.
The Key also offers hiking, fishing, camping, boating, swimming in the Gulf of Mexico or the calm waters of the Intracoastal Waterway, canoeing, kayaking, or simply sunbathing.
Nature trails at both parks are marked with signs that explain the wildlife around you. The trails are easy to navigate and the parks offer classes about marine-life, fishing, sea turtle nesting and other beach activities. At Big Lagoon, local astronomers periodically set up telescopes and patiently explain the night skies to children and adults.
Long stretches of gulf beach offer a chance to set up somewhere quiet for reading, gulf fishing and hunting for the perfect sand dollar.
Perdido Key is home to the legendary Flora-Bama bar, which straddles the state line. It has been named to many national “top bar” lists for it’s super casual, beach atmosphere, stellar events and great food. The bar hosts the annual New Year’s Polar Bear Dip, the Interstate Mullet Toss and is a major venue for the Frank Brown International Songwriters’ Festival. It’s popular with Gulf Coast locals and with visitors from around the world.
Hit the links at Lost Key Golf Club, a designated Audubon Signature Cooperative Sanctuary golf course. The 18-hole Arnold Palmer-designed golf course features the new Sea Dwarf Paspalum grass from the tee through the green for the optimum in quality playing surfaces and green speeds. Each golf hole includes five sets of tees, and offers players of all skill levels a unique visual and strategic playing experience.
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.
Gulf Islands National Seashore provides endless opportunity for solitude and relaxation and miles of unobstructed views and access to the Gulf.
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.
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