Pensacola, Florida is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Located in the Northwest Florida Panhandle, Pensacola Beach features pristine white sand, clear blue surf, and miles upon miles of uninhabited beachfront perfect for family vacations.
Since Pensacola Beach is an island, beachgoers can play in the waves of the Gulf of Mexico or hop over to the other side and swim in the calm, protected waters of Pensacola Bay. Many of the beach areas have lifeguards on duty; a quick check of the area’s website (www.visitpensacolabeach.com) will show a detailed map of these areas of the beach. The website also details other tips on beach safety, including protecting yourself from sunburn and dehydration, how to escape deadly rip currents, and the meaning of flags that warn of current surf conditions.
The Quietwater Beach Boardwalk, located just past the Bob Sikes Bridge at the north entrance to Pensacola Beach, is an excellent area for families and individuals who enjoy frolicking in the sand, listening to live music, and playing in the shallow, calm waters of the bay. The boardwalk itself provides wheelchair access to the beach area where the view and amenities can be enjoyed by all.
The Quietwater Beach Boardwalk features restaurants and bars for refreshments and shops for everything from floats and sunblock to jewelry and t-shirts. A small theatre area is located in the center of the boardwalk for mini-concerts set against a picturesque seascape.
Pensacola Beach hosts many events throughout the year, with the yearly air show being one of the most popular and exciting. Locals and tourists alike enjoy coming out to see the hometown Blue Angels, the U.S. Navy’s precision flying team, among many other acts, perform precision aerial stunts over the deep blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
On the west end of Pensacola Beach, historic Fort Pickens still stands, though the road leading to it was destroyed in Hurricane Ivan in 2004. Construction of Fort Pickens was completed in 1834, and the fort was used extensively during the Civil War. Visitors can reach the fort by boat or by hiking or biking the approximately 2 miles of terrain where the road once stood. Repairs to the road are underway.
There are also some novelties for visitors to look for, including the vintage sailfish sign, built in the 1950’s, that guides the way to the beach, the “beach ball” water tower prominently on display just as visitors arrive on the beach over the Bob Sikes Bridge, the locally-famous “spaceship house” (www.spaceshiphouse.com), and the beach’s newest oddity, the dome house (www.domeofahome.com.) Both of these homes are available for rent; more information is available at their respective websites.
Despite several damaging storms over the past few years, Pensacola Beach remains a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. The area’s commitment to maintaining a quality beach for all to enjoy ensures that family fun and recreation is a higher priority than building multi-story condominiums that privatize and restrict beach access for the masses.