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Move Over 30A

Pensacola Is The Way To Beach

Tired of the crowded 30A beaches? Traffic, price hikes and lack of public beach access got you down? Enter Pensacola Beach, a serene, family-friendly vacation option to both 30A and Panama City Beach.  

Pensacola was founded in 1559 and is full of rich history from the Indians to the Civil War. A multicultural community that was ruled under five different flags, Pensacola not only offers squeaky white sand beaches and emerald waters, but arts and culture, entertainment, outdoor adventure, history and heritage, shopping and sports to make for a wonderful family vacation.

STAY. Fairfield Inn & Suites Pensacola Beach is a 209-room beachfront hotel with the Gulf Coast's largest lazy river at 315 feet long! Enjoy a zero-entry pool with a two-story pool bar and lounge and a dune walkover that leads directly to the pristine beach. Ask for one of their kid suites with bunk beds.

For a Mediterranean-inspired stay, check out Portofino Islands Resort, named after the village on the Italian Riviera. Portofino overlooks both the Gulf of Mexico and Santa Rosa Sound and offers five towers of private luxury condos, exclusive outdoor pools, tennis courts, two full adventure centers, several restaurants, and a full spa and lifestyle center.

EAT. Pensacola boasts a desirable restaurant scene. Don a pair of flip-flops for some casual fare or dress for the evening and enjoy upscale waterfront dining. The choice is yours and there are many. Check out the Scenic 90 Cafe, a homestyle diner celebrating 25 years this May under local legend and chef Gus Silivos.  

The Grand Marlin, a favorite among the locals, offers the area's best selection of fresh seafood from the kitchen of award-winning Chef Greg McCarthy. Be sure and try the lobster fingers. 

Salt has its home in the Hilton on Via De Luna Drive. Coastal Mediterranean cuisine is on the menu. Treat yourself to the fresh calamari.

Angelena's in downtown Pensacola serves up some of the best Italian food under Food Network personality and Top Chef winner James Briscione. Mangia!  

The Dog House is another downtown must-try but with a decidedly different vibe. Give their Rubble Rage hot dog a taste. Mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise, chili, sriracha, sour cream and Fruity Pebbles cereal make for an epic lunch.

Flora-Bama Yacht Club, located in Perdido Key is legendary. Get there by boat or car and enjoy the waterfront views and fresh seafood. Venture across the street to take in some live music and enjoy a bushwhacker at the world-famous lounge that spans the Florida and Alabama state lines. 

DO. The Naval Aviation Museum is a must-do. It's located on an actual naval air station. The museum has more than 4,000 artifacts, 150 beautifully restored aircraft representing Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard aviation, flight simulators, cockpit trainers and special exhibits. Even if you're not an aviator buff, the museum is something that will make your visit to Pensacola unforgettable. And if you're lucky, you'll get to see the Blue Angels take to the sky during a practice. 

Pensacola Lighthouse is also located on the naval air base. Climb the 177 steps to the top and enjoy spectacular views of the Pensacola Pass.  

In 1971, Congress established the Gulf Islands National Seashore "in order to preserve for public use and enjoyment certain areas possessing outstanding natural, historic, and recreational values." For over 40 years the National Park Service has preserved this special place in keeping with that purpose. Enjoy bird watching, hiking, boating, swimming, and fishing on these beautiful public lands. Take a trip out to Fort Pickens and up your history game with the fortress that once housed Union troops and Apache leader Geronimo.

Perdido Key, otherwise known as the lost key, is a barrier island located between Pensacola and Orange Beach, Alabama. Perdido Key is home to Big Lagoon State Park, the gateway to the Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail and the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail. 

No trip to Pensacola would be complete without a trip to the downtown area. Stroll Palafox Street and grab a coffee at any of the coffee shops. Enjoy restaurants, bars, boutiques and galleries. Take some time to walk the three-mile Settlement Trail and explore Historic Pensacola Village.

In season, hop on the city ferry that connects Downtown Pensacola to Pensacola Beach or the free island trolley to nearly three dozen stops along the beach from the east to the west end of the island.

"Pensacola is the only destination in the northwest Florida panhandle that has a walkable and historic downtown." -- Lindsey Steck-Jackson, Marketing & Communications Manager, Visit Pensacola

  • Rubble Rage hot dog
  • Doppio Ravioli at Angelena's
  • Rubble Rage hot dog