My Top Things to Do in Pensacola Florida / by JD Andrews

My first trip to Pensacola was last November while doing research on an article for Visit Florida. (confession: when I was a kid, I thought it was pronounced pepsi-cola) On my second day in town I was contacted by Visit Pensacola asking if I'd like to be shown around. After a few hours seeing the sights, I couldn't believe how much there was to do and see in this town that's only 45 minutes away from Alabama. My surprise and excitement was over whelming and I kept on saying "this place is great, more people need to know about Pensacola" After the trip, I contacted Visit Pensacola hoping we could work together and a few months later, I was back in town exploring and sharing more of my new favorite destination. 


THE NATIONAL NAVAL AVIATION MUSEUM

Admission is FREE! It's the world's largest Naval Aviation museum and one of the most-visited museums in the state of Florida. With over 150 beautifully restored aircraft representing Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard Aviation. Plus the world-famous Blue Angels are based at NAS Pensacola, and can be seen practicing over the Museum most Tuesday and Wednesday mornings from March to November.

Open Daily 9am - 5pm

http://www.navalaviationmuseum.org
1750 Radford Blvd., NAS Pensacola, FL 32508


BEACHES

I live in South Florida, we have beaches, parking is expensive, they are crowded and in the shadow of massive condos. If you like big, beautiful, un-crowed beaches with FREE parking - Pensacola should be your next destination.

Another thing you won't see in South Florida (unless there's a hurricane) is surfing! Also these beaches have been ranked among the best in the country by USA Today, TripAdvisor and the Travel Channel.


PARKS

Big Lagoon State Park - A 705-acre Florida State Park located approximately 10 miles southwest of Pensacola.

Perdido Key State Park - A 290-acre Florida State Park located on a barrier island 15 miles southwest of Pensacola.

Tarkiln Bayou Preserve State Park - A 4,290-acre Florida State Park preserve located 10 miles southwest of Pensacola.

Fort Pickens - Area of Gulf Islands National Seashore - Fort Pickens is the largest of four forts built to defend Pensacola Bay during the American Civil War. Great beaches here as well!


HISTORY

Historic Pensacola - Come explore the 8 1/2 acres and 28 properties, eleven are open to the public.

Pensacola Lighthouse - Built in 1859, climb 177 steps up for one of the most beautiful views on the Gulf Coast. Open Daily 10am - 5:30pm

Downtown - More and more chic shops and trendy restaurants are  showing up around historic Palafox Street, the city’s award-winning main street.  


WATER SPORTS

Aquatic Charters - Dolphin Cruise onboard Chase-N-Fins - A 2 hour Dolphin adventures in Pensacola Bay and surrounding waters. Learn about dolphins and the history of the area.

I didn't have enough time but there is tons more to do:

Parasailing, fishing, diving, snorkeling, surfing, paddle-boarding, sailing, wind-surfing, jet-skiing, kayaking, etc.


EATS

There are so many great bars, coffee shops and restaurants in Pensacola, below are the ones I had a chance to visit.

The Drowsy Poet - Great coffee shop, where the locals go.

McGuire's Irish Pub  - Estimated, over a million dollar bills hang from the ceiling and walls.

Flora-Bama Yacht Club - Right on the border, great food and views.

Native Cafe - My favorite B-fast place, get there early, always a line.

Old Hickory Whiskey Bar - mmmmmm whiskey

Five Sisters Blues Café - historic and delicious!

The Grand Marlin - Amazing location on the water with great seafood.


This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Visit Pensacola but as always, all opinions photographs and text are all mine.