Cold Water Gardens in Pensacola, Florida
Imagine lying in a hammock high on a stargazing platform in the open pine savannah. The sound of water emanates from below, and the night sky is filled with stars. It’s a moment that Coldwater Gardens, an eco-friendly resort north of Pensacola, Florida, is doing its best to create.
Outside of the stargazing deck, built for campers and featuring a private fire pit and hammock chairs, guests come to Coldwater Gardens to enjoy the tranquility of 385 acres of gardens, orchards and wetlands extending along a stream that runs through the property.
The atmosphere is peaceful, the food is grown on site, and the accommodation is stunning and diverse. Guests can choose between climate-controlled cabins, cottages, and bungalows, or book a night above ground on a stargazer deck, in a modern treehouse, or in one of the canopy cottages. A series of luxury tents complete the lodging offerings.
And while there are plenty of places to lay your head — from basic tent sites to a treehouse in the magnolia canopy — the real attraction of Coldwater Gardens are the gardens themselves. The property is located in pine forests and wetlands outside the historic city of Milton, one hour north of Pensacola. Five acres are dedicated to growing fresh fruits, vegetables and honey, with special attention paid to plants selected to support native and migratory butterflies. An aquaponics system uses koi fish to fertilize plant beds in one of Coldwater’s greenhouses, and there is also a chicken coop and many rabbits.
Besides providing a comfortable and relaxing experience for every guest, Coldwater’s mission is to restore and rebuild the property’s ecosystem, thus making the rivers, bays, bayous, and ultimately the Gulf of Mexico, cleaner and more abundant.
In addition to Coldwater Gardens’ restoration work — from an apiary to a hydroponic greenhouse — guests can tour the property’s seven miles of hiking and biking trails or visit one of the four sandy beaches that line the creek, which are now ready for swimming. . Tubing and kayaking. There is also fishing and frequent white-tailed deer sightings.
After you’ve spent enough time exploring the property, you can visit the neighboring Blackwater River State Forest or visit the butterfly garden at the Panhandle Butterfly House in Milton. The soft sands and calm waters of Navarre Beach are an hour’s drive south.
If you happen to visit during the holidays, you can spend Christmas at Holland Farms in Milton, which includes a train and ride to visit Santa at the “North Pole” – Florida-style. Spring visitors can visit a strawberry farm in Milton, which sells strawberries for $3 a container.
A night at Coldwater Gardens starts at $65 for a tent site, $130 for a luxury tent, and $240 for a night in a treehouse.