Perdido Key, Florida
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Perdido Key Vacation Information

One of the most peaceful places on the northern Gulf Coast has to be Perdido Key. Located just inside the Florida state line, between Orange Beach and Pensacola, this barrier island is a miniature paradise, with pristine white beaches lapped by the emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Nearly half of Perdido Key has been set aside as parks and nature preserves, making it an ideal destination for birdwatchers and other nature lovers. Divers and snorkelers will enjoy exploring the underwater life at Gulf Islands National Seashore, which can be accessed from the eastern end of Perdido Key.

Swimming, sailing, fishing, and other water sports are all popular pastimes with Perdido Key visitors – although the most popular occupation is probably doing nothing at all.

Those who enjoy a little gentle exploration will want to visit the nearby National Museum of Naval Aviation, on the grounds of the Pensacola Naval Air Station. The air base is also home to the Blue Angels, the Navy’s famous flight demonstration squadron.

Throughout the year, Perdido Key and the surrounding area are also venues for a number of special events, including the Frank Brown International Songwriter’s Festival, the New Year’s Polar Bear Dip, and the Interstate Mullet Toss. A few miles to the west, Gulf Shores is the site of the National Shrimp Festival, an area attraction for nearly 40 years.


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Perdido Key Florida Restaurants

Restaurants

For a tiny island, Perdido Key has a surprising number of good restaurants, and more choices are just a short drive east or west in Pensacola and Orange Beach.

In a spot surrounded by water, it’s a given that fresh seafood tops the menu at most local eateries, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck if you’re in the mood for filet mignon or barbecue ribs. Many restaurants offer both steaks and seafood, while others serve everything from deli sandwiches and salads to ethnic cuisine. Also prominently featured on local menus are sushi, gourmet coffees, fine wines, imported beers, and huge selections of specialty drinks.

Dress is casual almost everywhere, and many places offer open-air dining with a view of beach or bay. Some spots also have live entertainment, especially on Friday and Saturday nights.

Discover the delicious side of Perdido Key by choosing from our list of restaurants.
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Perdido Key Florida Golf

Golf

The hardest decision for golfers visiting Perdido Key is which course to play first. The area is home to a number of challenging courses, many of which were designed by such well-known planners as Arnold Palmer, Bill Bergin, Jerry Pate, John LaFoy, and Ron Garl.

Amenities vary from course to course and may include clubhouses, locker rooms, pro shops, practice facilities, bars, and restaurants. Many courses offer special getaway packages that include accommodations, green and cart fees, meals, and even guaranteed tee times.

Our list of golf courses and resorts will help you plan your Perdido Key golfing vacation.
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Perdido Key Florida Fishing

Fishing

According to local charter captains, the waters off Perdido Key offer some of the best fishing along the Gulf Coast. Depending on the season, deep-sea excursions can yield catches of redfish, skipjack, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, speckled trout, red snapper, grouper, cobia, jack crevalle, triggerfish, and amberjack.

Night-time anglers will find speckled trout, redfish, and flounder in the back-bay areas such as Perdido Bay, Old River, Cotton Bayou, St. John’s Bayou, Terry Cove, and the Intracoastal Waterway. Night fishing is best in areas around piers and other spots where there’s artificial lighting.

Even fishing from the beach outside your vacation rental can be profitable, yielding catches of king mackerel, amberjack, cobia, flounder, bluefish, tarpon, and tuna.

For more about Perdido Key fishing, and to charter a boat, check out our list of Perdido Key fishing charters.
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Perdido Key Florida Shopping

Shopping

With a multitude of shops, malls, and outlets within driving distance of Perdido Key, shopping is a pastime almost as popular as lounging on the beach. You’ll find art, clothing, antiques, home furnishings, and more – all just a short drive away. Many of the big department stores have branches in neighboring Pensacola. You’ll also find plenty of small, one-of-a-kind businesses selling everything from handmade jewelry to T-shirts to wine and cheese. Our list of stores, malls, and outlet centers will help you plan your Perdido Key shopping excursion.
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Perdido Key Florida Events

Events

Warm, sunny days just about year-round make the Perdido Key area a popular spot for special events.

The Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival, held each November at various spots in Perdido Key, Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, and other nearby communities, offers nearly two weeks’ worth of live musical entertainment. The festival is a popular venue for aspiring writers and musicians to showcase their work.

Probably the oddest local event is the annual Mullet Toss, which takes place the last full weekend of April at the Flora-Bama Lounge. This quirky contest, which regularly attracts several thousand visitors, requires participants to throw a mullet from a designated spot in Florida across the state line into Alabama. In addition to the Mullet Toss, the weekend event includes plenty of music, food, drink, and other fun activities. It’s all in a good cause, too, because a contribution for each fish flung goes to local youth charities.

The Flora-Bama is also the site of the New Years Polar Bear Dip. At high noon every New Years Day, a group of hardy souls welcomes the new year by joining hands and wading into the Gulf of Mexico. The reward for getting cold and wet is a dish of black-eyed peas.

Just down the road in Pensacola are two events that have received national attention. The Pensacola Beach Air Show, featuring the Blue Angels flight demonstration team, is held every July and always attracts a crowd. The Blue Angels Air Show, held in November, is the final air show of the season for the Angels, who spend much of the year traveling the nation with their precision jet performances.

To the west in Gulf Shores, more than 300 vendors gather each October for the National Shrimp Festival. Displays at the four-day festival include arts, crafts, clothing, jewelry, and other retail goods.

Check out our calendar of events for an up-to-date list of what’s going on while you’re in town.
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Things to do in Perdido Key Florida

Other Things To Do

Charters and rentals are available for all kinds of water sports, from diving and snorkeling to sailing and parasailing. The Gulf waters off the coast of nearby Pensacola hold more than 100 charted wrecks and reefs, making the area a popular destination for divers.

Divers and snorkelers will also enjoy exploring the offshore areas of Gulf Islands National Seashore, located at the eastern end of Perdido Key and teeming with marine life. The park also has picnic tables and restrooms, and is an ideal spot to spend a day at the beach. Nature lovers will enjoy the ranger-led walks through its dune, wetland, forest, and marsh habitats.

Another fascinating spot for snorkelers is at the eastern end of Perdido Key, where the waters hide the underwater ruins of Fort McRee. The fort, which dates to the 1830s, was heavily damaged during the Civil War.

If you want a break from the beach, check out the National Museum of Naval Aviation. The museum, on the grounds of the Pensacola Naval Air Station, houses 150 restored aircraft, interactive exhibits, more than 4,000 Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard aviation artifacts, and an IMAX theater. And best of all, admission is free.

For more options, and for diving/snorkeling and boat charter information, check out our list of area businesses.
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