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Canoeing Tips for the Perdido River near Pensacola, Florida

Updated on September 23, 2016

One of the areas more popular boating rivers, the Perdido River is sand bottom river, located just west of Pensacola. This river was first explored by the Spanish as they explored Florida. They named the river "Perdido", meaning "Lost". This river is one of the few rivers located in this part of Florida that isn't fed by springs, and relies on rainfall to continue flowing.

The Perdido River has its roots in Southern Alabama, and flows all the way through the Florida panhandle, and empty's into Perdido Bay, which has access to the Gulf of Mexico. In olden days, Perdido River was bustling with traffic, as boats would bring lumber down to the Gulf. Today, the river is part of the Florida Geenways and Trails program, which is restoring the river and the area back to its natural state.

Perdido River is known for its wonderful paddling, and features plenty of large sandbars, perfect for breaks and camping. Most people that paddle this river begin at Barrineau Park, and paddle south, although with the number of public accesses, this river can be done in sections. If your a paddle enthusiast, this is one of the rivers in Florida you should do at least once. And there is good news, Florida vacation rentals are available in most areas, making this a realistic trip or you can find a Pensacola home for sale.

Wildlife Along the River

Those that paddle the Perdido get to experience wildlife first hand. Its not unusual for those that take the leisure paddle trip down the river to run into all different sorts and types of wildlife, including deer, black bears, and even feral hogs. Just like the rest of Florida, alligators might even be seen sunning on the banks, or paddling with you down the river. Just make sure to steer clear of them, and give them their space. Make sure to use caution if you plan on swimming.

Other animals commonly seen along the Perdido include hawks, all different types of woodpeckers, and herons, as well as other water birds. As for the vegetation along the Perdido River, plenty of restoration efforts have been made to restore the local area back to its natural habitat. Snakes are also commonly found along (and in) the waters of the Perdido, including water moccasins, rattlesnakes, and other types of non-poisonous snakes. Fishing is a popular activity on the Perdido, with all sorts of freshwater fish being caught.

Places to Launch (and Recover) Your Boat

If you are interested in paddling the Perdido, you will need to know where to put in and recover your boat. Fortunetly, the Perdido has plenty of places where you can put in and recover throughout its length.

  • Barrineau Park Bridge Access. Take Hwy. 29 and turn left onto CR 196/Barrineau Park Road. You will pass by CR 97, and CR 99. Follow this until it becomes unpaved, and you reach the bridge.
  • Fillingham Landing Road Access. This is a public launch, and features picnic tables, public restrooms, and grills. To find this one, take CR 97 (found in the last access), and head south.
  • The Pipes Access. This is another public access. To find this access, take CR 97 south and turn onto Old Bridge Road. This access also features public restrooms, picnic tables, and grills.
  • Muscogee Adventures Unlimited Access - This access is actually owned by a company, and there are small charges to park, and launch. To use this access, follow Old Bridge Road, and turn onto River Access Road.
  • Sand Landing Access - Sand landing is the last good place to put in and take out. This access is located in the Perdido River Water Management Area (WMA). This access features portable toilets, picnic tables, grills, and even a paved ramp.

Additional Info

Because of the number of accesses on Perdido River, it is easy to plan trips, both short and long. If you decide to do the entire river, expect a trip of about 18 miles.

  • Barrineau Park Bridge to Fillingham Landing: 2.9 Miles
  • Fillingham Landing to The Pipes: 4.3 Miles
  • The Pipes to Adventures Unlimited: 2 Miles
  • Adventures Unlimited to Sand Landing: 9 Miles


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