Getting stationed at NAS Pensacola, Florida is a dream come true if you enjoy sand between your toes, a warm breeze, and plenty of sunshine. With endless beaches, family friendly activities, and nature locations to visit, Florida’s Emerald Coast is a beautiful home to the many military families stationed in NAS Pensacola.
Here are 10 things to do in Pensacola that you won’t want to miss.
1. The Birding Trail
If you’re looking for things to do in Pensacola, you should know that the Pensacola Bay Area has 10 locations listed on the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail, and the Birding Trail is one of the best. With many native species of birds and wildlife, this trail has miles of protected seashores making it the perfect spot to explore nature, watch birds, and enjoy the fresh air.
The following locations of the Florida Birding Trail are currently closed to the public: Naval Air Station, Trout Point, and Project GreenShores.
2. Innerarity Point Park
With four acres of open space for community gatherings, Innerarity Point Park is the perfect place for picnics, walks on the ADA accessible boardwalk, fishing, kayaking, playing on the playground, and other outdoor activities. It’s open from sunrise to sunset with restrooms and areas to rinse off the sand and saltwater.
3. Footprints in the Sand Eco-Trail
The oceans and beaches near NAS Pensacola offer more than just a place to swim or get a suntan. The 8.5-mile Footprints in the Sand Eco-Trail offers a unique perspective on Pensacola Beach island ecology. The trail is open for walking, biking, running, and driving. Get ready to see birds, crabs, and turtles, but be sure to only take pictures and leave footprints behind.
4. Catch a Sunset
Visiting the beach during the morning and afternoon is a beautiful, refreshing experience, but there are few things that can compare to watching the sunset on the Gulf of Mexico. In Pensacola, the beaches are most picturesque when the day is coming to its end, so be sure you make it in time for a few sunsets during your stay. Local favorite beaches for sunsets include Perdido Key Beach, Gulf Islands National Seashore, Big Lagoon State Park, and Palafox Pier.
5. Explore the Emerald Coast
The Emerald Coast is the unofficial name of the coastal area of Florida along the Gulf of Mexico, stretching more than 100 miles of coastline.
If you’re ever looking for things to do in Pensacola, try exploring the Emerald Coast in a new way. Find a new boardwalk or ocean-front town to explore, rent bikes, take a Segway tour, or simply enjoy the ocean air, towns, and shops.
6. Bay Bluffs Preserve
The Bay Bluffs are a completely unique Floridian geological feature located not too far from NAS Pensacola. The red clay bluffs overlook Escambaia Bay and are believed to have been discovered by Don Tristan DeLuna, who arrived in Pensacola Bay back in 1559 and used the bluffs as a point for his anchorage.
7. See Fort Pickens
Get a glimpse of American history when you go see Fort Pickens. Originally constructed in 1816 along the coastline, Fort Pickens was made to protect valuable waterways and seaports. You can explore indoor exhibits and the history of the Fort Pickens area. See their website for details about entrance fees and operation hours.
8. Edward Ball Nature Trail
This one-mile loop offers a leisurely escape from the city with a boardwalk view of the Thomson Bayou.
Along the Edward Ball Nature Trail, you can expect to get some fresh air, relaxation, and to see some song birds and water fowls along the way.
9. See Veterans Memorial Park and The Wall South
With its strong military presence, it’s only appropriate that Pensacola has dedicated an entire waterfront park to Veterans and military heroes. You can explore the Veterans’ Memorial Park that features The Wall South: The Florida Vietnam Veterans Memorial, which is the country’s only replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial located in Washington, DC.
10. Visit Mobile, Alabama
While you may be content with the beaches near Pensacola, Mobile, Alabama is only about an hour drive away. Here you can explore more historical locations like the USS ALABAMA Battleship Memorial Park, gorgeous beaches and bays — including Mobile Bay, museums, art galleries, science centers, and plenty more.
What are you looking forward to most about living in Pensacola?