History and outdoor enthusiasts alike enjoy diving, snorkeling, and fishing along the Florida Panhandle Shipwreck Trail featuring shipwrecks sunk as artificial reefs. The USS Oriskany - a US Navy aircraft carrier that served in the Korean and Vietnam wars and the largest of the artificial reefs now sits at 80-145 foot depth and is home to blennies, damselfish, large game fish and whale sharks.
The east end of Perdido Key and the west end of Santa Rosa Island are surrounded by the 34,000-acre Fort Pickens State Park Aquatic Preserve teeming with mullet, blue crabs, flounder, bottlenose dolphins and 280 species of birds. The public is invited to enjoy boating, fishing, swimming and diving in the preserve.
Perdido Key State Park’s white sand and sea oat covered dunes are inhabited by the endangered Perdido Key beach mouse. The beach mouse plays a key role in the ecosystem by foraging for and storing sea oat seeds which help stabilize dunes as the sprouts take hold. Escambia’s beaches also provide vital nesting areas for green, leatherback, Kemp’s ridley and loggerhead sea turtles.
Big Lagoon State Park offers swimming, fishing, boating, paddle boarding, and kayaking as the beginning of the Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail. It is also an excellent destination for hikers and bird watchers with trails home to sandpipers, black-bellied plovers and wood-warblers.
The growing city of Pensacola overlooking the bay is host to art and culture exhibitions at the Pensacola Museum of Art, Symphony Orchestra and Saenger Theater. Pensacola’s Naval Air Station makes it a hub for air training and earned it the “Cradle of Naval Aviation” title. Blue Angels showcase dynamic flight demonstrations at the popular Pensacola Beach, lined with selections for shopping, dining and entertainment.
March 15, 2022 - 9:55am
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The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.