February 16, 2021
Pensacola Beach, Florida is a resort community on the Gulf Coast barrier island of Santa Rosa. Pensacola Beach has the Santa Rosa Sound on one side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other, some of their beaches include Opal Beach, part of Gulf Island National Seashore, Casino Beach, and Langdon Beach.
The first time I saw Pensacola Beach, it was in late September. I remember the water was clear as glass but yet it had a greenish tint to it. The weather was super warm and the sand made a funny noise as I felt it squish between my toes. My husband and I swam until the sun went down. I knew right then I never wanted to leave! That was in 2010 and here I am today writing to share with you some great things to do in Pensacola Beach.
1: Fort Pickens is located inside the Gulf Island National Seashore and is maintained by the National Park Service. This is a must see for anyone taking a vacation with kids. They broke ground in May of 1829 and was designed and constructed to defend Pensacola Bay and the Pensacola Navy Yard and Depot from foreign attacks. Today the fort still remains and allows visitors to tour for free and they even have guided tours to tell about the history of Fort Pickens. There is no cost for the fort itself, however there is a per car fee to get into the National Seashore. Hours are from sunrise to sunset.
2: Gulf Island National Seashore is a National Park that stretches eastward 160 miles to the Okaloosa Area east of Fort Walton Beach, Florida. We here in Pensacola Beach are lucky to have the National Seashore on both ends of our beach, if you travel east towards Fort Pickens you will find the Gulf Island National Seashore, the sound is on one side of the island and the Gulf of Mexico is on the other. If you travel west going the other way on the beach towards Navarre, you will notice a sign that says Gulf Island National Seashore, there you will find Opal Beach along with other parking lots along the way for families to enjoy sunbathing, swimming, fishing, or just to hang out and watch the waves roll in. If the kids would like to experience more of a walking in the woods that leads to the water adventure, you may want to check out https://www.nps.gov/articles/andrew-jackson-trail.htm.
3: Take a ride on the free Pensacola Beach Trolley. I keep saying I am going to do this with my own family!! This is environmentally friendly and provides a 360-degree view for passengers, having no windows or sidewalls. Each car also features a sound system and flat-screen monitor that showcases recreational opportunities on the island and details what’s available to do at each trolley stop.
To see a map of all trolley stop locations, go to visitpensacolabeach.com/trolley-information
4: Pensacola Beach Boardwalk is located at 400 Quietwater Beach Road, Pensacola Beach, you may drive in, walk in or boat in to this area. Here you will find shopping, dining a fun pier for the children to play on. If you prefer just to stroll along the boardwalk to the water there is much to see.
6 : Radical Rides is a family owned and operated business for over 25 years. They offer parasailing, wave runner, kayak, and paddle boarding, or cruising the bay on a pontoon boat. My own kids are really wanting to do this, what a great activity for the younger kids and older teens too.
7: Lagunas Beach Bar and Grill, what a great place, they offer food, drinks and activities like go-karts, a 3 story ropes course, splash pad, 30 foot tall clip n’ climb climbing structures, zip rail, pair sailing, jet ski rentals, and all along the beach front for you to enjoy your view of the water. I can’t think of a better way to relax and enjoy the day with the family while on vacation.
8: Fishing Tours- there are so many great places that offer fishing charters and tours on the beach, offering everything from inshore fishing to offshore fishing trips, dolphin cruises, sailing to snorkeling. I have a link below for you to check out some of the many tours.
9: The Gulf Breeze Zoo has over 800 animals from around the world to see. The kids can get up close to pet the giraffes or go ride the train thru the 30 acre preserve that features rhinos, hippos, Western lowland gorillas and Sumatran orangutans. There is a bird sanctuary that is neat. Don’t forget to check out the alligators while visiting