Whether you’re here for a destination wedding, on a group vacation or for a family reunion, there are PLENTY of things to do in Pensacola!
In addition to being the “Cradle of Naval Aviation,” the Pensacola Bay Area is proud to call itself home to the renowned Blue Angels, officially known as the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron.
Arts & Culture
Boasting ballet, opera, symphony, theatre and an accredited museum of visual arts, Pensacola is the only city between Mobile, Ala. and Tampa, Fla. to offer the “big five.”
With it’s festivals and art shows going on year-round, you have access to a wide variety of art, from traditional to edgy. Dining out in Pensacola can be equally diverse. Get dressed up and dine on world-class cuisine or throw on your boots and blue jeans for a country-style buffet and some of the best live bluegrass and country music entertainment.
Visitors will find some of the most beautiful beaches in the world at Perdido Key and Pensacola Beach, where blue skies, jewel-green waters and swaying sea oats provide the perfect backdrop for your picture perfect destination beach wedding.
Explore Gulf Islands National Seashore, the longest tract of protected seashore in the United States. Our coast is perfect for fishing, surfing, scuba diving, collecting seashells or just taking it easy. In fact, Pensacola’s beaches have been ranked among the best in the country by TripAdvisor, Dr. Beach and the Travel Channel.
Dining & Nightlife
The Pensacola Bay Area has come into its own as a dining destination, and visitors can taste the delectable choices for which Pensacola’s restaurants receive acclaim.
Five Pensacola Celebrity Chefs bring their talents to the local dining scene. Eateries range from waterfront and flip-flop casual to truly elegant, and serve dishes as varied as Southern barbecue, fresh local seafood, Cajun specialties and traditional American fare such as succulent steaks and juicy burgers. Some restaurants have been part of the area’s history for decades while new franchise establishments thrive near Cordova Mall franchise establishments near the city’s two major shopping malls.
Pensacola also offers a lively scene for plenty of fun when the sun goes down. From waterfront watering holes and Irish pubs to sophisticated martini bars and historic venues, there are plenty of places to sip a cocktail and enjoy your vacation.
History & Heritage
Pensacola is proud of its rich heritage, historically significant events and landmarks. 360 degree full motion flight simulators, special hands-on exhibits and more than 150 historic aircraft will amaze you at the National Naval Aviation Museum.
Furnished period houses, several museums and one of Florida’s oldest churches at Historic Pensacola Village are located in downtown Pensacola near charming shops and eateries. And you can literally dig into our past at summer archaeological digs by the University of West Florida.
Nature & Outdoors
The Pensacola Bay Area is the perfect place to go green and get back to nature. In fact, the Pensacola area has been designated as a hot spot for biodiversity in plant and animal life by the Nature Conservancy.
Guided eco-tours by foot, kayak or boat are available from local outfitters who know where to go to spot wildlife. National and state parks are always fun to explore on your own, and you may be lucky enough to happen upon an amazing sight such as otters on a river bank, an impromptu dolphin show in the Gulf, a sea turtle nest or perhaps a rare sighting of the endangered Snowy Plover.
Snorkel to see sand dollars, starfish, crabs and fish. Join a ranger-led nature tour at Gulf Islands National Seashore to explore life in the brackish marshes or hidden in the shade of tall pines and gnarled live oaks. Hike or bike along the Edward Ball Nature Trail. Canoe, kayak or tube down spring-fed rivers in the “Canoe Capital of Florida,” and go bird watching during spring and fall migration. The Perdido Watershed is a picturesque area for canoeing and kayaking. Here, visitors can spot wildlife and get close to dolphins in Perdido Bay or enjoy miles of interrupted natural beauty along the protected Perdido River.
From the country’s largest tract of protected shoreline to Florida’s only natural bluffs, there are so many reasons the Pensacola Bay Area is the perfect place to indulge your love of nature and the outdoors.
Shopping & Spas
Historic downtown Pensacola is a charming, waterfront neighborhood boasting dozens of locally owned restaurants, boutiques, cultural museums and art galleries. Shoppers may choose from fine imported textiles, eclectic home furnishings, fantastic wines, work from local potters, painters and glass artists, unique and trendy clothing and hand-made jewelry.
With 52 miles of coastline, pristine rivers and the sparkling Gulf of Mexico, there is much fun to be had on the water in the Pensacola Bay Area. You can Jet ski in Santa Rosa Sound, learn to sail, look for dolphins in Pensacola Bay, book a charter for deep sea fishing or scuba dive or float down the Blackwater River or Coldwater Creek in the “Canoe Capital of Florida.”