Pensacola Beach, Florida
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Pensacola Beach Vacation Information

Pensacola Beach is famous for its white-sand beaches, emerald waters, and the Southern hospitality that makes visitors feel right at home. Located south of Pensacola and connected via bridges to the mainland, it’s part of Santa Rosa Island, a 40-mile barrier island facing the Gulf of Mexico. With approximately 343 sunny days per year and an average temperature of 77 degrees, Pensacola Beach is an ideal vacation destination year-round ­– whether your idea of a good time is lounging on the sand, shopping till you drop, or playing a leisurely round of golf. For the athletically inclined, swimming, fishing, diving, snorkeling, and sailing are all popular options. You’ll find additional recreational opportunities at Gulf Islands National Seashore, which flanks either end of Pensacola Beach. Nature trails wind through the park’s coastal marshes and live oak forests, which host both native and migrating bird populations. Offshore, submerged lands teeming with marine life invite exploration by divers and snorkelers. The area is also home to the Pensacola Naval Air Station. The air station, which has earned Pensacola recognition as the Cradle of Naval Aviation (all Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine aviators start their training in Pensacola), is the base for the famed Blue Angels, the United States Navy’s flight demonstration squadron. Also at the air station is the National Museum of Naval Aviation and IMAX Theater, a popular stop for visitors of all ages.

With a history that dates back to 1559, the city of Pensacola offers another fascinating break from the beach. Older than St. Augustine, which was founded in 1565, and Jamestown, founded in 1607, its historic neighborhoods still hold reminders of a past when it was ruled, in turn, by Spain, France, England, the Confederacy, and the United States.

In fact, to commemorate its 450th anniversary, Pensacola, which was the original capital of Florida, is in the midst of a 450-day celebration. The event, which started May 23, 2008, and continues through August 15, 2009, includes festivals, exhibits, parades, and other activities that recall the city’s heritage.

Other special events – concerts, arts and crafts shows, seafood festivals, and more – keep visitors entertained throughout the year.

For transportation from the airport to your vacation rental, visit www.PensacolaShuttleService.com.

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Pensacola Beach Florida Restaurants

Restaurants

Pensacola and Pensacola Beach eateries offer a variety of palate-pleasing choices. Of course, there’s plenty of fresh Gulf seafood prepared just about any way you like it – fried, baked, broiled, steamed, or grilled, and served with greens, grits, hush puppies, and other Southern favorites. But you won’t be disappointed in the range of choices if you prefer a thick burger, a juicy steak, or a succulent plate of ribs .

You can dine on an open-air deck overlooking the Gulf and watch the beach volleyball game in progress, or in a candlelit dining room with white tablecloths and antique furnishings. Dress tends to be casual, even in the most upscale establishments. There are lots of family-friendly choices, too, with some restaurants offering play areas and special menus for the kids.

Discover the delicious side of Pensacola by choosing from our list of restaurants below.
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Pensacola Beach Florida Golf

Golf

Designed by such well-known planners as Arnold Palmer, Bill Bergin, Jerry Pate, John LaFoy, and Ron Garl, Pensacola’s golf courses are both challenging and scenic. With lush greens, sparkling lakes, and thick pine woodlands filled with wildlife, they offer visitors the ultimate golfing experience. Typical amenities include pro shops, locker rooms, practice facilities, bars, and restaurants. Many area courses are part of a larger resort and offer special getaway packages that include lodging, green and cart fees, meals, and, in some cases, even guaranteed tee times. Our list of golf courses and resorts will help you plan your Pensacola Beach golfing vacation.
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Pensacola Beach Florida Fishing

Fishing

Whether you’re a novice or an experienced angler, the waters around Pensacola Beach offer plenty of fishing opportunities, from the Gulf of Mexico and Pensacola Bay to inland creeks, springs, and rare dune lakes. The area’s shallow water flats and back-country estuaries are ideal spots to land trout or redfish, while a short boat ride into the bay or pass can yield catches of grouper, snapper, Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, Jack Crevalle, or sheepshead, depending on what’s in season.

Local fishing charters offer both offshore and inshore excursions, most of which include all necessary equipment, bait, and fishing licenses, plus the knowledge of an experienced captain and crew. To learn more about Pensacola Beach fishing charters, check out the list below.

And keep in mind that fishing is still an option, even if you’re a confirmed landlubber. The Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier features a 40- by 60-foot fishing platform extending out over 20- to 25-foot-deep waters teeming with flounder, redfish, and sheepshead. In season, bluefish, cobia, pompano, and flounder can also be found in the waters around the pier.
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Pensacola Beach Florida Shopping

Shopping

Whether you’re looking for souvenirs, a gift for someone special, or a spare pair of flip-flops, you’ll find what you need in Pensacola and Pensacola Beach. Shops range from stylish boutiques offering sportswear and swimwear to one-stop spots where you can pick up new beach towels, replenish your sunscreen, and buy snacks for the kids. Other choices range from fine art galleries and jewelry stores featuring the work of local artists to antiques shops and designer furniture showrooms. Foodies will find everything from imported wines, cheeses, and other gourmet goodies to fresh local seafood. Check out our list of shops, galleries, and more to help plan your Pensacola shopping excursion.
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Pensacola Beach Florida Events

Events

Two of Pensacola’s annual events celebrate the city as the Cradle of Naval Aviation. 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.

Another yearly event, the Pensacola Crawfish Festival, celebrates the Creole influence on the area. It’s also one of the largest crawfish boils in the state and includes authentic bayou country entertainment.

Pensacola is also the site of what has become one of the country’s largest billfish tournaments. Hosted by the Pensacola Big Game Fishing Club, the Pensacola International Billfish Tournament generally attracts around 500 anglers.

The fruits of the sea are also the focus of the Pensacola Seafood Festival. Samples of seafood dishes, live entertainment, cooking demonstrations, and more than 150 arts and crafts vendors attract thousands to Seville Square, Fountain Park, and Bartram Park for this free event, which has been consistently recognized as one of the top 20 festivals in the Southeast by the Southeast Tourism Society.

Probably one of the most unusual area events is held in nearby Perdido Key. The annual Mullet Toss 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 to 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, and the event raises around $20,000 annually.

Other special events throughout the year include sailing regattas, sand-sculpting contests, concerts on the beach, and a Mardi Gras celebration.

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 Pensacola Beach Florida

Other Things To Do

Located in the Florida Panhandle, Pensacola is a unique destination, combining the resort amenities of a beachside community with the attractions of a historic downtown brimming with old-fashioned Southern charm. With more than 50 miles of sugar-white sands bordering the Gulf of Mexico, Pensacola Beach is the perfect spot to enjoy swimming, sailing, fishing, and other water sports. But for rainy days, or for days when you and your family have had enough of sun and surf, there are plenty of other things to do.

Florida’s most-visited museum also calls Pensacola home. The National Naval Aviation Museum offers a host of family-friendly attractions, including hands-on exhibits, flight simulators, an IMAX theater, more than 150 restored aircraft, and a restaurant. The museum is located at the Pensacola Naval Air Station, home base for the Blue Angels precision flight team. It’s not uncommon to see the Angels cruising the skies over Pensacola, practicing for their next big show. Check our Pensacola Events Calendar for scheduled shows and practice times.

Just outside Pensacola is Gulf Islands National Seashore, with its unspoiled, uncrowded beaches. Inside the park is Fort Pickens, built in the early 1800s and one of only four Southern forts that was never held by Confederate forces during the Civil War. Another fort, Barrancas, is on the grounds of the Naval Air Station. Also on the air station grounds is the Pensacola Lighthouse. The oldest lighthouse on the Gulf Coast, it’s still active, with a beacon that’s visible 27 miles out to sea.

Other noteworthy local attractions include 655-acre Blue Lagoon State Park; the Spanish-Baroque-style Saenger Theatre, built in 1925 and still in use as a showcase for the arts; and the 20-building Historic Pensacola Village.
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