The gorgeous beachside city of Pensacola is just beautiful to visit when in Florida. It’s one of those Floridian spots popular for a very good reason; its beaches! Though, don’t be fooled into thinking that’s all that the city has going for itself. There are heaps of cool spots and the very best things to do in Pensacola that will make any trip totally fun.
So, to help you get the most out of your time in Pensacola, I’m sharing the very best places that we totally loved visiting on our trip to the city. This way, you can focus on that all-important beach time, chilling and the yummy foodie spots (that you have to visit).
Take a look, below, at some of the best things to do in Pensacola when you visit. Have an amazing trip to Florida.
1.) Pensacola Beach
So, one of the biggest draws for visiting Pensacola has to be its beach! It’s totally stunning and the long stretch of white sandy shores is just incredible.
Yes, the big is popular but it’s totally huge so you’ll never feel like it’s crowded or overwhelming. it goes on for miles and you’ll easily find a spot that feels like it’s your beach alone.
Perched on the spit of land that’s just a short drive from the centre of Pensacola, it’s a spot where you’ll want to spend a day and just chill. It really is one of the best things to do in Pensacola if you want to explore more of Florida’s beautiful coastline.
Not only that, this is where some of the best hotels in Pensacola are based, especially as they’re right on the waterfront. Whichever property you choose, just be sure to ask for a ‘sea-facing room’. The views at sunset (and sunrise) are beautiful.
Fancy a stroll? Follow the Pensacola Beach Boardwalk and stop off at the little restaurants. We loved Red Fish Blue Fish for its BBQ shrimp.
2.) Seville Historic District
Fancy a little galavant into the historic areas of Pensacola? Head over to the Seville Historic District that’s perched right within the city and is lovely for a little wander.
Whilst here, you’ll get to explore some of the old buildings and quaint little shops that make this area totally lovely for an hour or so visit.
Once here, make sure to head over to the Pensacola Museum of History and the Pensacola Museum of Art. Both are totally fabulous and brilliant spots for a little escape from that midday heat.
Oh, and don’t forget to stop off at Juan’s Flying Burrito. It’s a totally casual spot for lunch and their burritos are some of the best we’ve had.
3.) Sanders Beach
Sanders Beach is a lovely (and small) area of Pensacola to visit. That being said, if it’s a beach you’re after you might want to give it a miss. Yes, it does have a cosy little beach, but it’s nothing compared to the stretches of white sand at Pensacola Beach.
That being said, it’s a great area to explore for a little stroll and especially for food at The Oar House. They create some of the tastiest tuna and their bloody mary cocktails are nice and spicy!
Plus, you’ve also got the Emerald Republic Brewing that’s not too far away. It’s a great spot for local ales and seasonal brews.
4.) Pensacola Lighthouse
If you’re looking for some activities in the Pensacola area, make sure to pop over to the Pensacola Lighthouse which still stands proudly to this day. Built way back in the 1850s, it’s been a part of this community for centuries and is well worth taking a gander whilst visiting all the best things to do in Pensacola.
Not only this there a totally lovely maritime museum to visit, but you’ll also get some stunning views of Pensacola Bay, too. We loved it.
Oh yeah, and don’t forget, whilst you’re in the vicinity, make sure to explore the Pensacola Museum of Art. Yes, it’s relatively small, but well worth taking a peek.
Alternatively, if art isn’t your thing, get yourself over to a concert. Pensacola has a number of great venues for concerts, including the Pensacola Bay Center and the Saenger Theatre which have seasonal performances and shows throughout the year.
5.) National Naval Aviation Museum
Just shy of the Pensacola Lighthouse, the National Naval Aviation Museum is a world-class museum that tells the story of naval aviation from its inception to the present day. Best of all, the museum is home to over 150 aircraft, including the world’s first operational jet fighter, the F-100 Super Sabre.
The museum also has a variety of interactive exhibits and a flight simulator which is totally fun for all the family. Just make sure to give yourself a few hours to explore the whole museum and planes.
6.) Galvez Statue of Pensacola
Want to learn more about the history of Galvez and his defeat of the British during the 1700’s? Well, get yourself over to the Galvez Statue that’s smack-bang in town.
Now, my advice is this; you’ll only spend around 5 minutes here, so make sure you visit when passing. There’s no need to make a specific trip (unless you really want to, that is).
Afterwards, take a stroll over to Five Sisters Blues Cafe for their yummy southern-inspired dishes. Their gumbo is delicious.
7.) Big Lagoon State Park
Being over 700 acres in size, the Big Lagoon State Park really lives up to its name! Not only that, it’s one of the best things to do in Pensacola if you fancy leaving the city streets (or the beach).
Once here, make sure to visit the Grand Lagoon in Big Lagoon State Park and head out paddle boarding or just stroll the boardwalks and raised viewpoints. It’s totally lovely.
8.) Fort Pickens National Park
West of Pensacola Beach, Fort Pickens National Park is one of the best things to do in Pensacola if you want to explore the history of the region, but also want a good dose of that gorgeous coastline.
Of course, you want to make sure to visit Fort Pickens itself. It’s steeped in history, all the way back from the 1800s, and well worth a visit.
Afterwards, if you fancy some beach time, be sure to take some supplies and head to Langdon Beach. It can be quieter than Pensacola Beach and so pristine.
9.) Pensacola Beach Ball Tower
Look, you’re not going to miss the Pensacola Beach Ball Tower when you visit! It’ll be right in front of you once you arrive at the beach itself.
Honestly, there’s little much to say, but do keep your eyes peeled for seasonal concerts, stalls and exhibits that happen in the summer months around this area.
10.) Pensacola Dolphin cruise
Pensacola is a great place to explore the coastline. In fact, I’d go as far as saying it’s one of my favourite places in all of Florida to explore the coast.
So, once here, make sure to book this Pensacola dolphin and snorkelling cruise. It’s such a great way to tour the coastline and you’ll hopefully get to the likes of dolphins, sea turtles, and so much more.
The cruises typically last a few hours, and they’re a great way to see Pensacola Bay and its surrounding islands. Plus, with this dolphin tour, you’ll be taken out with a fully qualified USCG licensed Captain. It really is one of the best things to do in Pensacola when you visit.
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