If you’re heading to Steinhatchee or Keaton Beach, don’t miss a side trip out to Hagen’s Cove, a state-owned park near Perry, part of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Big Bend Wildlife Management Area.
You’ll find hordes of folks during scallop season — Hagen’s Cove is one of the few spots where you can wade for scallops without needing a snorkel or boat — but after the season wanes in September, you might just have the place to yourself. Climb to the top of the two-story observation tower, stroll the sandy beach and look for shorebirds: plovers, sandpipers, marbled godwit, willet, dunlin, short-billed dowitcher, and whimbrel frequent the spot, as do reddish egrets, osprey and pelicans. Pavilions and grills make this a great spot for a get-together or family picnic.
Keep an eye out for signs for Hagen’s Cove on Keaton Beach Road (361) between Steinhatchee and Keaton Beach.