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.
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