Family fun in the sun, sand and surf at Gulf Islands National Seashore
The U.S. Navy's Blue Angels squadron performing maneuvers over Pensacola Beach
Evening stroll along Palafox Street in downtown Pensacola
Cycling along Gulf Islands National Seashore on Perdido Key
Family picnic with a picturesque view at Water Pig BBQ on Pensacola Beach
View of amazing exhibits inside the National Naval Aviation Museum
Following the boardwalk to explore Perdido Key habitats
A relaxing way to enjoy the solitude and water at Pensacola Beach
Selfie time on the beach of beautiful Perdido Key
Playing along the shoreline at Gulf Islands National Seashore
Laid-back beach vibes and historical surprises around every turn
Gorgeous Gulf of Mexico Beaches
Pensacola has so much to offer in terms of the arts, culture and its thriving culinary scene. But the main draw, for good reason, remains its turquoise waters and white-sand beaches populated by visitors and friendly locals alike. This quintessential U.S. beach town is home to the Gulf Islands National Seashore, which is the longest federally protected seashore in the country. Looking for more relaxation than adventure? Make your way to Pensacola Beach or Perdido Key to enjoy beachside seafood shacks and brightly colored beach chairs perched on top of 100% quartz sand washed down from the Appalachian Mountains.
Arts, Culture and Naval History
Pensacola is the only destination between Tampa, Florida, and Mobile, Alabama, with the distinction of possessing what's known as the "Top 5" – a historic theater, symphony, ballet, opera and an accredited art museum. Step off the sand and into vibrant downtown streets filled with art galleries, live music venues like Vinyl Music Hall, and coffee shops tucked away behind brick walls covered in street art. Of course, Pensacola’s lively arts scene would be incomplete without mentioning Foo Foo Fest. The 12-day event takes place in the fall and is a celebration of all things culture and arts. Live music, interactive art installations and even a “Grease” sing–along are part of the festivities. For a fascinating glimpse into military and aerospace history, visit the National Naval Aviation Museum. Get up-close glimpses of the Blue Angels and their jets; they practice along a flight line near the museum and beach. See what it’s like to fly a jet in one of the museum’s simulators.
Get a Taste of Local Specialties
Take a casual stroll down funky, historic and legendary Palafox Street for a taste of what the city’s finest chefs, mixologists and brewers have to offer. Pensacola is home to several local breweries in addition to popular Florida-inspired restaurants. You’ll find it all, from seafood-basket joints to fine dining institutions. Don’t miss the prime Delmonico at Jackson’s Steakhouse and the shrimp and grits for brunch at Ruby Slipper. The top draw, of course, is a table at a beach restaurant with sweeping views of the sand and surf.
In that same spirit, one of Pensacola’s nicknames is “Festival City of the South” because of the volume of festivals it hosts throughout the year. Each month brings a new roster – the Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival, Pensacola Mardi Gras, the Pensacola Seafood Festival, the Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival - and the list goes on and on.
The Florida Panhandle Shipwreck Diving Trail, which starts in Pensacola, includes the world's largest artificial barrier reef, the USS Oriskany.
Pensacola's Belmont-Devilliers District was added as a destination along the Mississippi Blues Trail in 2018.
The U.S. Navy's official flight demonstration squadron is based in Pensacola. The Blue Angels can be seen in air shows and during practice most Tuesdays and Wednesdays from March to November.