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Pensacola: a city famous for its beautiful beaches, stunning coastlines and friendly Southerners. But unbeknownst to most, this little corner of Northwest Florida is so much more than sunshine and sand. It’s teeming with modern museums, a historic downtown, a bustling food scene and adventure sports abound. When it’s time to pack up and head home, you just might think the city’s official slogan is something like, “Make yourself at home, we know you want to.” So what’s there to be enjoyed?
Spring break vacation doesn’t have to be without educational activities. In notable Downtown Pensacola, Historic Pensacola Village provides an up-close look at historical artefacts and stories about the settlement and the deep history of a time gone by. Kids can play the day away at Pensacola Children’s Museum, brimming with two floors worth of hands-on learning fun, including building blocks, train track sets and a cosy reading nook. For a relaxing evening with (or without) the kids, try a unique trimaran cruise with Condor Sailing Adventures. With only 21 Condors ever built, this truly is a once-in-a-lifetime experience the whole family will treasure forever.
While most come to Pensacola for the beaches (and who can blame them?), the city’s cultural scene is one of the most vibrant and fastest growing hubs along the Gulf Coast region. Step inside the great minds of those who once inhabited the state at places like John Appleyard Storytelling Cottage, T.T. Wentworth Museum, Museum of Commerce and Museum of Industry. With the “One Ticket, Seven Days to Explore” special, you are guaranteed to have plenty of time to familiarize yourself with Pensacola’s diverse culture. But the city isn’t just teeming with history; it’s also home to an emerging art scene. Cubed, Pensacola’s newest installation is ready for viewing in the city’s museum plaza behind the T.T. Wentworth. Other great spots to immerse yourself? First City Art Center and Graffiti Bridge are local favourites. For those more inclined towards performing arts, Pensacola Symphony Orchestra and Ballet Pensacola offer year-round opportunities to experience the diverse local talent.
Casino Beach Bar and Grille
Pensacola may be known for its seaside-inspired dishes, but any “Pensacolian” will be sure to tell you, you’ve got it all wrong. With an evolving food scene, you only have to search #ExperiencePcola to avoid the stale tourist traps and find the latest and greatest foodie destinations in town. First stop, a popular restaurant with a seasonal menu. Knowing it won’t be here for long ups its exclusivity, so Jackson’s Steakhouse located in Downtown Pensacola is not to be missed. Pan-seared dry-packed sea scallops with watermelon salsa fresca, corn, avocado, tortilla chips and achiote oil are the current menu favourite. If you’re eager to try the newest hotspot, search no further than Union Public House. Mixing traditional pub food with quality ingredients, fans are flocking to get a taste their favourite classics with a twist. For a romantic date for two, stop by The Vineyard. With a sultry ambience and an extensive wine list, you can sit back and relax under the stars in Adirondack chairs and allow yourself to be serenaded by the live band. Venturing a bit further from the downtown area, The Grand Marlin serves up some amazing locally-sourced seafood dishes among spectacular views. Casino Beach Bar and Grille and Red Fish Blue Fish on Pensacola Beach are two other local favourites, though you can’t go wrong with The Flora Bama Yacht Club in Perdido Key, where you’ll find great food and live music.
Ready to get your heart pumping? Soar over woodlands and waterways when you travel by the most fun mode of transportation: zip lines! Adventures Unlimited offers zip line tours featuring 14 zips and multiple sky bridges to take in the stunning, treetop view. For the James Bond type, fly to new heights at Hang Ten Helicopters. With five different tours to choose from, you’ll leave with countless photos of breathtaking scenery and if you’re lucky, an even more stunning memory of a pastel sunset as it sets over the Emerald Coast. While you could rent a motorbike to see the city by land, there is no better way to see the coast than on water. Get up-close-and-personal with the marine wildlife on a dolphin cruise with Chase n Fins. Chances are it won’t be long until you come face to face with a friendly dolphin. For another opportunity to be one with nature, go kayaking around Big Lagoon State Park. End the day at dusk by climbing the tall observational tower to a breathtaking sunset view of the 700-acre coastal marshland near Perdido Key. If you’ve ever wanted to surf the waves instead of riding them, sign-up for lessons at Waterboyz. Perfect for beginners looking to catch their first swell or even for more experienced riders to brush up on their skills. There is nothing more adrenaline-pumping than riding that first wave.
You haven’t truly experienced Pensacola until you’ve dug your toes into the sand of at least one world-famous beach. Though, it is a challenge to choose just one. Pensacola Beach offers a distinctive experience, with two completely different waterfront experiences available. With just one highway and a multitude of walkways, it’s easy to explore every dining and shopping opportunity along the way. White sand and crystal clear water will please fishing enthusiasts who can easily spot their catch from the pier, while environmentalists will be delighted with the active marine life and secluded coves. If it’s solitude you’re in search for, you’re in luck, as a large portion of Pensacola’s beaches is part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore. This waterway is federally protected and provides endless miles of unobstructed access to the Gulf of Mexico. Families will love Perdido Key Beach, with its easy pace and Southern charm. This strip of land is the perfect island destination – because everyone knows life is better on island time.
With over 450 years of rich history and 18 miles of sugar-white beaches bordered by emerald-green waters, visitors from all over the world are lured to our pristine Gulf shores every year. Visit Pensacola is the destination management organization for Escambia County Florida, which includes Pensacola, Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key.
Go to VisitPensacola.com for news and updates!