Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail

Feeling a bit pent up right now? Needing a little more Vitamin D and adventure in your life? Don’t worry. We have just the solution for you.

Become an eco-explorer and discover all the natural attractions and gems that encompass our island’s beaches, bays, estuaries, sabines and bayous!

Santa Rosa Island has an abundance of trails, natural resources and attractions for all your hiking, biking, snorkeling, swimming and/or paddling preferences.


Today we are focusing on paddling:

Grab a kayak or paddleboard, and float along what’s called “Florida’s longest and most ambitious sea kayaking trail.” The Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail is a 1,515-mile epic journey is like the aquatic version of the Appalachian Trail and starts right here on our very own Gulf Islands National Seashore.

Don’t worry, we don’t expect you paddle all the way to the Florida Keys tomorrow. The paddling trail is divided into 26 sections across the state and each section features waterways and marshes that are worth exploring alone. There’s plenty to explore and experience within the Pensacola Beach section alone.

For those new to paddleboarding – the calm, protected waters of Little Sabine Bay on Pensacola Beach is a great place to learn how to balance, find your groove and explore in an enclosed cove on a completely flat surface. Once you’ve gotten the hang of it, then you can adventure out into the open surf.


A gorgeous nine miles of the paddling trail route span from Fort Pickens on the tip of Santa Rosa Island, to the sugar white dunes of Big Sabine Point on Pensacola Beach.

Quietly paddling along Pensacola Beach from the bay side, you can see the fort fortifications and cannon emplacements dating back to the Civil War. Overhead, don’t be surprised to see the Blue Angels flying in formation around their nearby roost at Sherman Field.

Kayaking or paddleboarding near shore is such a peaceful way to experience Mother Nature’s glory up close. Paddlers often have close encounters with dolphins and fish and majestic Great Blue Herons, which are not spooked away like they are with motorized boats. Just remember to enjoy the view and don’t feed or get too close to them.


Follow the paddling trail all along Santa Rosa Island, nosing your vessel up to a beach or dock to take in historical sites, marshes and quiet estuaries.

Get all the charts, ideas, tips and instructions on the paddling trail’s home site, and plenty of advice from expert paddlers who have charted this magnificent and challenging journey.

Pensacola Beach has several outfitters that rent paddleboards and kayaks. For a list of rental businesses, click here: https://visitpensacolabeach.com/things-to-do-homewater/.

Most importantly, have fun, be safe, and remember to leave only your footprints behind.