Along the westernmost parts of the Florida peninsula is a city surrounded by stunning aquamarine waters and white sand beaches. This is exactly what sets Pensacola apart from the many other beaches in Florida. When you are in Pensacola, you will feel like you are in a different part of the world, perhaps the Caribbean. The beautiful coastal city, which is also a naval city, will surprise you with its charm, personality and history. There are many ways you can spend your Pensacola vacation, but if you’re visiting for the first time, we highly recommend doing these 10 things for a truly great Pensacola experience.
1. National Coast of the Gulf Islands
The first thing you will have to do is visit the beach, of course. There are many in the area, but the national shoreline of the Gulf Islands is easily a favorite with locals and tourists alike. What’s not to like about 160 miles of shoreline and white sand dunes? You can spend a whole day enjoying the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, sunbathing, boating, snorkeling, fishing, or whatever else you like to do on the beach.
2. 5 Flags Speedway
You can’t say you’ve ever been to Pensacola if you’ve never been to the loop. This half-mile stock car race track is probably the best short track in the country. It’s extremely fast and loud, and it’s quite an experience even if you’re not a racing fan. You are very likely to meet NASCAR big names at this track during some of their special events, so stay tuned.
3. Big Lagoon State Park
There is something you can appreciate in this state park, whether you like the inside or the outside. This coastal park is huge and its many ecosystems are filled with vibrant wildlife and lush vegetation. You can do many things at this state park: camping, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, fishing, and much more. There is a boardwalk that has some observation towers from where you can have a great view of the area.
4. Sailing adventures in the condor
Being in Pensacola is a great opportunity to go sailing, especially if you have never done it before. The beautiful waters of the area will make you fall in love with the ocean. Of course, you will have to do it with the professionals, and the people at Condor Sailing Adventures are the best at what they do.
5. Air Tours along the Gulf Coast
Take a totally different tour of Pensacola and do it as you fly. Gulf Coast Air Tours offer a breathtaking view of Pensacola. You can take a romantic sunset tour or go on a shark patrol tour. Whichever one you choose will absolutely impress you.
6. Historic Pensacola Village
Learn more about the history of this beautiful city by visiting and walking the 8.5-mile stretch of historic Pensacola. You will see 28 different properties that will give you a glimpse into the past of this area. Eleven of these properties are open to the public and the properties range from museums to royal homes.
7. National Museum of Naval Aviation
Since Pensacola is a great naval city, you can expect it to also have the largest aviation museum in the world. This is a must see if you are ever in the area. You will learn a lot about the history of naval aviation in the US You can find some pretty impressive exhibits in this museum, including the first plane to cross the Atlantic in 1919 – the Curtiss NC-4.
8. Dive charts in Niuhi
If you’ve already explored the land, air, and surface waters of Pensacola, there’s only one place left to go: under the sea. Niuhi Dive Charters offers an incredible experience of some of the shipwrecks and reefs that you can find deep in the Gulf of Mexico.
9. Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum
There is something fascinating about vintage lighthouses, and the Pensacola Lighthouse is quite impressive. You will have to take the 177 steps to get to the top because the view is amazing up there. This lighthouse was built in 1859 and is currently in excellent condition. The museum is also worth a visit as you will learn a lot about American history during the time this lighthouse was built.
10. Pensacola Pedal Trolley
For a unique way to explore Pensacola, go with the Pedal Trolley. This pedal-powered vehicle has enough seats for fifteen people. You can explore the historic downtown district this way. Take the tour and make the most of the trip. It will only last ninety minutes, but it will surely be one of the best times you will have in Pensacola.