Discover Pensacola where you can enjoy historic downtown sites, incredible food, museums and world class beaches, aka “Nashville beaches.” Pensacola is surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico, and to the north by Santa Rosa Sound and Pensacola Bay, and to the east and west by the Gulf Islands National Seashore.
The easy 6ish hour drive down 65 South makes it a breeze to get there. There is plenty of fun for all ages which makes it a great choice for a summer getaway.
What to do:
Pensacola offers an enriching downtown. Take a stroll on Palafax St. where there is great dining, historic sites, boutiques and galleries. Just some of the great places to check out are the Colonial Archaeological Trail which showcases Spanish, British, and American history and archaeology in the heart of downtown Pensacola. Within the same area is The African American Heritage Society, which highlights African American history, heritage and culture in Northwest Florida. Also downtown is the Pensacola Museum of Art and Pensacola Museum of History, which is the beginning of a historical one mile walking path. Check out the Quina House Museum which was built in 1810 and is Pensacola’s oldest building still in its original location. Architectural styles range from Mediterranean, to French Creole, Folk Victorian and Classic Revival.
The National Naval Aviation Museum is a must, where actual displays of military air crafts leave visitors awe struck. There are interactive space flight simulators and even a replica of the atomic bomb “Fat Man” dropped on Nagasaki, which provide visitors a deeper understanding and appreciation of aviation history. Make sure to also visit Fort Pickens and hopefully catch the Blue Angels.
Stretch before heading to the Pensacola Lighthouse, where you can marvel at the gulf views after climbing the 177 steps. Built in 1859, the Lighthouse is located at Naval Air Station Pensacola.
Another way to enjoy the gulf views are a sunset cruise. Climb aboard the Pensacola Bay City Ferry for a relaxing cruise with comfortable covered accommodations. For some water activities, consider a go at jet skiing at Laguna’s. And there is also the new zip line, the longest zip rail in the area.
What to eat:
There are so many great dining options, especially for fresh catch lovers. Suggested spots include The Cafe Nola to satisfy Cajun cravings. Start with the Blue Crab cakes or BBQ Shrimp New Orleans Style which come with the head on! The all time best fish (in my opinion of course) is Cobia, and Nola is one of the few spots you can find it.
Nick’s Boathouse is another phenomenal spot, offering a maritime atmosphere with great Gulf favs. If the fresh catch is redfish, get it bronzed, which means it is lightly blackened. The boom boom shrimp tacos are fun. Whiskey Joe’s is another great beach bar to hit. Kick things off with coconut Mahi-Mahi nuggets. Though not seafood fare, another must is the slow cooked ribs with a strawberry-guava bbq glaze. And chill out with the Ultimate Piña Colada, served chilled in a fresh pineapple with Blue chair bay pineapple rum cream, pineapple juice and real coco.
Where to stay:
Courtyard by Marriott Pensacola Downtown is a great option, convenient, comfortable and with an incredibly hospitable staff. And right across from the Marriott is one of the best ‘ol Irish pubs, McGuires. It’s festive, fun with great pub food and Irish classics as shepard’s pie and bangers (ie sausages) ‘n mash.
Enjoy the scenic turquoise water as a backdrop to the stadium. Great food options as you watch a game.
For more information on your visit, go to visitpensacola.com