With the Blue Angels; stunning white sand beaches; fresh off the boat seafood; a downtown full of history, charm and character; and so much more, Pensacola and Pensacola Beach are the perfect escape from Atlanta.
We love taking the easy five hour drive down to Pensacola and surrounding areas for sun, sand and loads of fun. This beach destination has always stayed under the tourist radar to a certain degree and offers ample activities for all ages, making it a perfect family getaway.
Water activities abound, from kayak, paddle board and jet ski rentals; to fishing charters; to festivals on the beach. Fort Pickens is a great spot for snorkeling and checking out the military forts of the past. Quietwater Beach Boardwalk has fantastic restaurants, nightlife and fun for younger kids and teenagers. Or just relax and enjoy floating in the water or building sandcastles.
In town, Pensacola has a stunning waterfront venue where the Blue Wahoos, the Minor League Baseball team, play. There is a Gallery Night once a month, Al Fresco for food trucks (which even has an oyster option), and plenty of restaurants, shops and entertainment in Downtown Pensacola.
Fun Fact for Adults: Pensacola Beach is the home of the Bushwacker, and while it originated at “The Shaker”, most area restaurants offer a twist on the delicious frozen Kahlua concoction.
As in the legendary Blue Angels, who call Pensacola home. Their Air Show takes place over the beach the weekend after the 4th of July each year, but they practice at home during the week. Take a picnic out to the Base and watch them soar. The Naval Aviation Museum is a wonderful experience for families and you can spend a great day watching the Blue Angels (typically Wednesdays) and visiting the museum (which offers free admission). Check their schedule and the weather prior to heading out.
Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Hotel is a beautiful spot on the beach for an island experience and holds a special place in our hearts since it was our wedding hotel. Paradise Beach Homes is a fantastic resource for house and condo rentals, which we have utilized for family vacations from five to 25 people over many, many years. You can stay on the Gulf side for bigger waves or the Sound side for a much calmer surf, perfect for the little ones. There are also wonderful boutique hotels in town such as New World Landing and Lee House along with the more traditional chains which are great for those using points.
Pensacola Beach has an abundance of family friendly restaurants where you can get your fill of fresh from the Gulf seafood, from Crabs, which features live music and hermit crab races; to Peg Leg Pete’s with a great playground for kids; to the delicious Red Fish Blue Fish complete with life size Jenga, corn hole and other games. We never leave Pensacola without a stop at Joe Patti’s to get a cooler full of Royal Reds, fresh fish and their delicious coleslaw to bring back home.
So be sure to take in a gorgeous sunset, relax and experience many of the wonderful elements of this beautiful Southern town on the Emerald Coast. Just don’t let anyone know we let the secret about this paradise out.