blue on blue - blue sky and waters

Blue on blue – this is a view you could not get tired of!

Discovering places to visit in Pensacola may become your favorite hobby as you prepare for your next Florida adventure. Not only is it rich in history as one of the oldest European settlements in the United States, but modern-day travelers interested in beach holidays, culinary and cultural travel, military history, and outdoor activities will never be bored. The Panhandle city continues to surprise visitors. Here are ten reasons why:

Fort Pickens Exploration

arches in historic fort pickens places to visit in pensacola

Wander through underground tunnels, explore historic barracks, and marvel at the stunning views of the Gulf. You can get a guided or self-guided tour of the Fort.

Fort Pickens is more than history, although this well-preserved Civil War fortress has plenty of that. Wander through underground tunnels, explore historic barracks, and marvel at the stunning views of the Gulf. You can get a guided or self-guided tour of the Fort. Beach lovers get seven miles of sand along the Gulf Islands National Seashore. Hikers will discover it as part of the Florida National Scenic Trail and can find the Northern Terminus marker just west of the bridge. If you roll on two wheels, you’ll appreciate the packed trail that connects Langdon Beach with Fort Pickens Campground, Battery Worth, and Fort Pickens.

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Pensacola Beach Bliss

view of beach and water on the horizon from the viewpoint of a sandy beach path

Sunbathe, splash in the surf, or learn to surf! The hardest part will be deciding which beach to enjoy, although, as any Gulf Coast enthusiast will tell you, every day is good for the beach in Florida.

Sink your toes into the powdery sands of Pensacola beaches, where emerald waters meet pristine shores. Sunbathe, splash in the surf, or learn to surf! The hardest part will be deciding which beach to enjoy, although, as any Gulf Coast enthusiast will tell you, every day is good for the beach in Florida. Anglers will enjoy fishing off the 1,471-foot-long Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier. Check out their Facebook page to see what can be caught off the pier: seatrout, redfish, flounder, and pompano, to name a few.

National Naval Aviation Museum

closeup of airplane propeller - the national naval museum is on of the favorite places to visit in pensacola

This museum is a thrilling celebration of naval aviation history.

Soar into the world of aviation at the National Naval Aviation Museum. Witness the evolution of aircraft, experience flight simulations, engage in hands-on interaction, and catch the awe-inspiring aerobatics of the renowned Blue Angels on screen. Live if they are practicing during your visit. This museum is a thrilling celebration of naval aviation history and is located beyond the military base’s west gate on Blue Angel Parkway. People have recommended wearing comfortable shoes because you could spend a few hours here and still not see everything. The 45-minute IMAX movie costs $10, and entrance to the museum is free as of the time of this writing.

Hit the…Ice?

photo showing the lower half of hockey players on ice

Ice at the beach? Yes! Pensacola is home to a professional hockey team…

That’s right! The town, known as an epic beach destination, has a professional hockey team and an ice rink. The Pensacola Ice Flyers play in the Southern Professional Hockey League. You can enjoy a game at the Pensacola Bay Center. Or, check their schedule for other events and entertainment held at this venue. Some performances have been Disney on Ice, Harlem Globetrotters, Grammy-nominated comedians, and concerts. Plus, the rink opens up for public skating at various times during the year.

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Pensacola Lighthouse and Maritime Museum

Mineral Springs Park along Bradenton FL Riverwalk east

177 steps lead you to the top of the Pensacla Lighthouse where on a clear day, you will feel like you are on top of the world.

Climb to new heights (177 steps, to be exact) at the Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum for panoramic views of the Gulf. This iconic landmark offers breathtaking vistas. A visit here is a perfect blend of adventure and maritime heritage. If you plan to climb to the top of the lighthouse, wear shoes with a back, or they will ask you to remove them (no flip-flops or similar backless shoes). As a special treat, climb to the top when the Blue Angels are practicing, and you can have an experience to remember!

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Culinary Treats for Seafood Lovers

fresh oysters on ice - seafood and culinary dishes are one reason to visit pensacola fl

From casual beachfront fare to dog-friendly patios to upscale dining, the creative chefs in Pensacola will wow you with their take on the freshest catches from the waters at their doorsteps.

Indulge your taste buds with gifts from the sea. From casual beachfront fare to dog-friendly patios to upscale dining, the creative chefs in Pensacola will wow you with their take on the freshest catches from the waters at their doorsteps. You can get the flavors of Louisiana at Cafe’ Nola and John Seafood, a little Southern-styled love from the Fishing Hole, and a fine dining experience at the Grand Marlin. If it’s a beach vibe and bar you’re looking for, shuffle over to Paradise Bar and Grill or Shaggy’s. And that’s not all. Check out the local seafood market at Joe Patti’s Seafood in Pensacola and pick fresh seafood to cook at home. You are sure to find your perfect food and atmosphere in Pensacola.

Saenger Theatre Cultural Experience

She is “The Grand Dame of Palafox.” Built in 1925 and where Vaudeville and Silent Movies entertained guests and the local military for decades, the Saenger Theater escaped demolition in the 1970s. Thanks to the support and passion of a small group of dedicated supporters, Saenger has undergone a significant renovation and continues upgrading the facility and equipment. Familiar names like Lucille Ball, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and Ziggy Marley have graced the stage. Today, audiences can immerse themselves in Pensacola’s art scene at the historic Saenger Theatre. This cultural hub exudes charm and elegance from Broadway shows to live performances. Attend a show or explore the intricate architecture that makes every visit a memorable artistic experience.

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Perdido Key Nature Trails

sign for Great Florida Birding Trail, part of it is located at Perdido Key

Hike or bike through the lush surroundings and encounter diverse ecosystems, endangered birds, marine life, and miles of dazzling coastline.

Take a nature escape at Perdido Key, with pristine trails and wildlife sanctuaries. Hike or bike through the lush surroundings and encounter diverse ecosystems, endangered birds, marine life, and miles of dazzling coastline. This outdoor haven provides a serene retreat for nature enthusiasts. And since more than 60 percent of the Key is preserved for public use, you have several hike options. Stop at the ranger station and borrow a set of binoculars to fully experience the views from atop the three-story high observation tower. In addition to the hiking, biking, running, and walking trails around Perdido Key, you can also explore the boardwalk trail on the Gulf Islands National Seashore and the short Johnson Beach Discover Nature Trail, another boardwalk that takes you through the dunes and salt marsh to the Grand Lagoon. TrailLink is a great resource for Perdido Key trails.

Explore Historic Downtown Pensacola

street lined with historic buildings places to visit in pensacola

Wander through the streets of Historic Downtown Pensacola, where colonial architecture meets modern charm.

Wander through the streets of Historic Downtown Pensacola, where colonial architecture meets modern charm. South Palafox Street has the distinction of being named one of the Best Streets in America by the American Planning Association (APA). Originally called George Street after King George III, Palafox Street has been at the heart of commerce and culture for centuries. Palafox Street extends through the Pensacola Historic District and North Hill Historic District. Both are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. You’ll enjoy green space medians where street cars once transported Pensacola visitors around the city. The Crepe Myrtles helped the city to become a Tree City USA in 1990. You will see how intentional planning has transformed 450 years of history into an exciting downtown with boutique shops, art galleries, and vibrant cafes. Discover the stories of Pensacola’s diverse heritage in this charming historic district. When you want a guided tour and the ability to scoot around town a little faster, try a Pensacola Downtown Segway Tour!

Sailing Adventure

dolphin in the water as seen from a boat sailing on turquoise green waters-pensacola fl

There is something special about seeing a destination from the water. Whether you have your own boat, or charter an excursion in Pensacola, sailing the Gulf of Mexico is an adventure to remember!

Choose your boating adventure! A Pensacola dolphin tour puts you close to these playful sea mammals, and you’ll have the chance to explore some secluded beaches. Or, finish the day with a Pensacola sunset cruise along the Gulf Coast. Charter a boat and sail into the mesmerizing hues of the setting sun. Whether you prefer a romantic evening or a family-friendly cruise, getting on the water is a magical and memorable way to experience Pensacola.

This is just a sample of what awaits you in Florida’s panhandle. With every visit you are certain to find something new to add to your favorite places to visit in Pensacola.