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.