The Best of Pensacola Beach

Keep reading to learn The Best of Pensacola Beach!  Whatever your dream beach vacation looks like, Pensacola has it. Want a relaxing, low-key getaway in a quaint beach bungalow? Want a sport fishing, parasailing or scuba diving adventure? Or how about luxurious spa treatments, fine dining and shopping? Or nature trails, dolphins and shorebirds?  Whatever you want on your vacation, Pensacola has just what you’re looking for when it comes to the perfect place to vacation! The Pensacola Bay Area offers big family fun with attractions and activities of every kind, and I could go on and on with a list of activities.  Let’s not forget the beaches.  Swimming in gentle surf, building castles on the sand and fresh seafood lunch in a casual waterfront restaurant add up to quiet, connected time together with your family or partner. Add in a reasonable price tag, and everyone is happy.  Come to the Pensacola Bay Area and discover why it’s called one of the top family-friendly destinations.  Visit the area beaches in Pensacola and along the Emerald Coast or visit us on Pinterest Here.

Pensacola Weather – When to Visit

The best time to visit Pensacola is between mid-September and October when both spring breakers and family vacationers have departed the city, leaving the beaches, attractions and restaurants devoid of peak season crowds. The weather is still moderate this time of year, and the risk of hurricanes wanes, too. The late fall and winter months of November through February are considered low season, with dropping temperatures and room rates. Heavy crowds of students and families swarm the city and its beaches in peak season’s early spring and summer to take advantage of the prime beach weather.

Best Pensacola Area Beaches

Pensacola Beach, Pensacola Florida, The Best of Pensacola, best time time to visit Pensacola, Pensacola Weather, best Pensacola beaches, best Pensacola Restaurants, Best Pensacola Tours & Activities, best Pensacola bars, best Pensacola hotelsPensacola Beach

Pensacola Beach occupies nearly eight miles of the 40-mile-long Santa Rosa barrier island. You can swim, fish, kayak and play at one of two area beach parks: Casino Beach and Quietwater Beach. Lively Casino Beach is considered the geographic center of the area, while Quietwater Beach is closer to the commercial center and features its own boardwalk and concert area. There is also plenty of access to quiet areas of the beach where you can avoid the crowds.

Gulf Islands National Seashore, Pensacola Florida, The Best of Pensacola, best time time to visit Pensacola, Pensacola Weather, best Pensacola beaches, best Pensacola Restaurants, Best Pensacola Tours & Activities, best Pensacola bars, best Pensacola hotelsGulf Islands National Seashore

The Gulf Islands National Seashore encompasses several beaches, picnic areas, campsites, historic areas and diverse wildlife from Florida’s border to the eastern tip of Santa Rosa Island. Eighty percent of the protected area actually lies under water. There are snowy-white beaches, sparkling blue waters, fertile coastal marshes, and dense maritime forests. Visitors can explore 19th century forts, enjoy shaded picnic areas, hike on winding nature trails, and camp in comfortable campgrounds.

Perdido Key Beach, Pensacola Florida, The Best of Pensacola, best time time to visit Pensacola, Pensacola Weather, best Pensacola beaches, best Pensacola Restaurants, Best Pensacola Tours & Activities, best Pensacola bars, best Pensacola hotelsPerdido Key Beach

Perdido Beach is a hidden retreat where you can fish, sunbathe, swim, surf or simply relax along the award-winning beaches in Pensacola, FL and protected dunes. Half of the island is occupied by Johnson Beach and Fort McRae. Ruins of Batteries 233, Center and Slemmer remain atop what is left of Fort McRae, built in 1836.

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Big Lagoon State Park, Pensacola Florida, The Best of Pensacola, best time time to visit Pensacola, Pensacola Weather, best Pensacola beaches, best Pensacola Restaurants, Best Pensacola Tours & Activities, best Pensacola bars, best Pensacola hotelsBig Lagoon State Park

705-acre Big Lagoon State Park is another sanctuary for hiking, boating, swimming, fishing and camping. A 40-foot observation tower at the East Beach area provides a panoramic view of Big Lagoon, the park and Gulf Islands National Seashore across the Intracoastal Waterway.

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Fort Pickens, Pensacola Florida, The Best of Pensacola, best time time to visit Pensacola, Pensacola Weather, best Pensacola beaches, best Pensacola Restaurants, Best Pensacola Tours & Activities, best Pensacola bars, best Pensacola hotelsFort Pickens

Fort Pickens offers a secluded, pristine beach as well as a little bit of history thanks to the fort, which was one of four local forts (including one underwater) built between the 1820s and the beginning of the Civil War to protect Pensacola Bay. The park also includes a museum, campgrounds, boardwalks and facilities.

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Best Pensacola Restaurants

The Native Café  $11 – 30

Native Café is a place to taste all the flavors that the Gulf Coast has to offer. It is known to the locals as being the best breakfast restaurant on Pensacola Beach.  Tantalize your taste buds with their hearty homemade breakfast, sensational southern-style sandwiches, and Gulf seafood. You must try their signature dish, The Original Florida Fish Tacos, which has gained praise from local and distant communities as among the best anywhere.  Telephone:  850-934-4848 Web:  The Native Café.

The Grand Marlin Pensacola  $31 – 60

The Grand Marlin offers a tranquil, relaxed atmosphere where patrons can enjoy the most memorable dining experience on the Gulf Coast.  They have the area’s best selection of seafood, highlighted by daily specials from the kitchen of prize-winning Chef Gregg McCarthy. Printing its menu daily, The Grand Marlin ensures its choice of fish and shellfish will be the freshest on the Gulf Coast. And for those in the mood for something other than seafood, they offer steaks, poultry dishes and other fare to meet your every taste.  They also have the area’s best-stocked, most tempting oyster bar where the finest oysters are shucked to order. It’s a perfect place for a quick lunch, to meet friends for their daily Happy Hour or to sample the specialty baked oysters.  Telephone:  850-677-9153 Web:  The Grand Marlin Pensacola.

Restaurant IRON  $31 – 60

Restaurant IRON serves southern contemporary cuisine fueled by local vegetables and herbs from the creative minds of true Southerners.  They bring together fresh local and regional specialties with the finest flavors and ingredients across the nation and beyond. Telephone:  850-476-7776 Web:  Restaurant IRON.

Global Grill  $31 – 60

Global Grill is an upscale tapas bar and restaurant in Downtown Pensacola. Executive Chef Frank and his wife, Jane, serve up the tapas style of dining. The Global Grill offers unique culinary creations combined with Mediterranean, European, Asian and American influences. The Global Grill takes pride in using the freshest local seasonal seafood and produce to create innovative and exciting tapas and main plates.  Telephone:  850-469-9966 Web:  Global Grill.

Jackson’s Steakhouse  $31 – 60

Jackson’s Steakhouse is the cornerstone of Pensacola’s restaurant scene.   They use only the freshest local and seasonal ingredients possible, and pair them with Midwestern wet-aged beef that has been selected by hand, and the best game meats available. The team at Jackson’s continually strives to provide an unparalleled food and wine experience for every guest, every night.  Telephone:  850-469-9898 Web:  Jackson’s Steakhouse.

Best Pensacola Bars & Nightlife
Casino Beach Bar & Grill

Casino Beach Bar and Grille is known for its beachfront dining featuring fresh island cocktails, quality coastal cuisine, and picturesque views. Go on over and check out their weekly drink specials, happy hour and special events featuring live music.  Telephone:  850-426-4283 Web:  Casino Beach Bar & Grill.

Shaka Bar

The Shaka Bar is tucked away behind Aloha Wine & Liquor on Pensacola Beach. This little Tiki Bar is home to fishermen, surfers and friends of the Aloha Family.  There is a casual outside deck bar overlooking Little Sabine Bay that is open March thru October.  The small bar upstairs is open year round.  Telephone:  850-932-2411 Web:  Shaka Bar

Peg Leg Pete’s Oyster Bar

Peg Leg Pete’s sells only oysters, shrimp and a few sandwiches. There is always a great selection on the jukebox or a talented musician on the stage in the dining room. Peg Leg Pete’s is one of the hot spots on Pensacola Beach. Locals loved the year round great prices. Tourists are treated as if they were a local.  Peg Leg Pete’s represented Pensacola Beach hospitality at its best!  Telephone:  850-932-4139 Web:  Peg Leg Pete’s Oyster Bar.

Paradise Bar & Grill

Paradise Bar & Grill on Pensacola Beach invites you to “boat it, bike it or walk it” to the hottest spot on the island.   On any given night you may be treated to national touring bands or one of the best local entertainers. Sip a cocktail and enjoy the view while the grill prepares one of its famous burgers, sandwiches or seafood dishes.  Telephone:  850-916-5087 Web:  Paradise Bar & Grill.

The Wine Bar & Bistro

They have the best by the glass wine list in the area, there are always 30 or more wines offered by the glass.  Regular wine tasting every Friday beginning at 5:30;  for only $5, sample six fantastic wines and then receive $5 off any bottle to go.  This is a very cozy environment where you can relax, take your time and enjoy.  Telephone:  850-916-1009 Web:  Wine Bar & Bistro.

Best Pensacola Hotels


38 Comments

  1. John

    Leahrea,
    Having lived in Florida for many years, I never have been to the Pensacola Beach area for a stay. Drove though on business a few times. Now that I live in the Midwest, this is a very short trip to a nice beach. I like to deep sea fish and go on a sailboat when I go to a saltwater beach, you have given me a couple of choices for these activities. Now I just have to put it on the calendar to make the trip.
    John

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, you do John! Pensacola is really a great beach destination, with so many things to do and see…and of course to play on the water. Thank you for reading Visit Pensacola Beach Florida!

      Reply
  2. connie

    Great information about such a beautiful place. I have visited Pensacola one time in my past and loved the pristine white beaches.

    This site makes it so easy to plan a vacation without having to leave the site.

    I also like the information about the other beach destinations.

    I plan to retire in a beach community and Pensacola is on the short list.

    Connie

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I am glad you enjoyed Connie 🙂 You will love retiring to such a beautiful place! Thanks for visiting!

      Reply
  3. Arta

    Florida is well-known for its beaches and this is just another proof of it. This seems to be a very good choice for a vacation. You mentioned that it is possible to stay in bungalow – could you also suggest good bungalow choice where to stay in Pensacola? I have always wanted to enjoy my vacation in bungalow in some fabulous and quiet beach so perhaps the time has come to finally do it 🙂

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I would stay at Blue Sky’s Bungalow located on Perdido Key. You would feel like you were in heaven 🙂 Thank you for reading Arta!

      Reply
  4. Connie

    Great information for a truly beautiful place. I have visited Pensacola one time in my past and loved it so much, it is on the short list of places to retire!

    I did not know there were so many things to do!

    I absolutely love beaches and love to visit all I can. I liked reading all the information on other beaches.

    Great site!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you Connie. I too love visiting beaches, and will be retiring to Florida very soon. I can’t wait!

      Reply
  5. Furkan

    I actually want to see dolphins and do a beach vacation at the same time. It seems Pensacola will be a great choice for these. And warm season is just for me 😉

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, you can do both in the same trip and enjoy warm weather, and beautiful beaches~! Pensacola Beach is a gem on the Emerald Coast!

      Reply
  6. Monica Bouteiller

    Hi Leahrae,

    Hey, I sure enjoyed reading about Pensacola Beach. My husband and I were there many years ago. I remember specially the beautiful white sandy beaches and purchasing 5 lbs. of fresh shrimp from a local vendor who had his seafood cart. We ate the who thing in a matter of couple of days in our motorhome.

    There are also lots of motels to stay along the beaches and it was wonderful to hear the waves crashing to shore from our room. Your list of accommodations are very helpful!

    Speaking of food, we did go to an oyster bar… can’t remember what it was call, but it sure was fresh and presented so well we had a second serving.

    Now that I’ve read your article and seen all the beautiful pictures, it’s making me realize I just need to make another trip back.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes you do need to go back Monica. I think once a person starts visiting Pensacola Beach, or anywhere along the Emerald Coast for that matter, that it will make them want to keep going back! Thanks for visiting Beach Travel Destinations!

      Reply
  7. Frank

    I like the website. It truly offers a 1 stop shopping and answer all my questions about heading to the beach. I don’t have to check a different website for the best restaurants in the area because your site has them listed and ranked. So hotels, airfare, restaurants, beach gear that’s 4 different websites that I would have had to go to know what’s best.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Well Frank, I am so glad you like and agree. I am trying to provide everything you need in one website for planning, as well as for thing you need to take. I am glad you enjoyed reading my post, Visit Pensacola Beach Florida!

      Reply
  8. Helder

    Another great post! I love the format you’ve adopted for all of these, they make taking in the information very easy and intuitive. You’re really making quite the argument for me to come visit some of these places. I can’t believe how blue that water is! Thanks for the review of Pensacola!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are so welcome! And yes, the water at Pensacola beach is an amazing blue. You will absolutely love it here. Thanks for reading!

      Reply
  9. Johnna

    I was stationed in the military near Pensacola and would go to Pensacola Beach just about every weekend! I miss it. Nothing beats those white sandy beaches! I know many people like to visit the National Naval Aviation Museum at the Navy base there in Pensacola. Also, on Wednesdays, the Navy Blue Angels practice over Pensacola Beach which is always a sight to see. Thanks for the great information. Time to plan a vacation!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you Johnna for your great comments. I think if I lived there, I would visit Pensacola beach every weekend too!

      Reply
  10. luca

    My girlfriend and I live in the uk and were just thinking about a trip to Florida next summer. Well, you just told me where to go, sorry for my ignorance but I absolutely didn’t know that Pensacola was that beautiful! Here in Europe, we hear so much about Miami and Palm Beach, that the rest seems like its not even there! I bet there is so much to see! Thanks a lot! Now we must really consider visiting Pensacola and the Emerald Coast!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, I actually like the Gulf side beaches of Florida better. It is less expensive, beaches are absolutely beautiful, and the water is warmer and calmer. If you want to surf, then yes you will to go to the Atlantic side of Florida. There is a lot to see and do in Pensacola being on the Emerald Coast. You can experience a lot of different beaches if you want or just stay in Pensacola. Thanks for reading!

      Reply
  11. Kevin Bulmer

    Hi Leahrae,

    There’s a Margaritaville Hotel there? I didn’t realize that. Fins up! That’d be a lot of fun 🙂

    I’ve been through much of Florida but I don’t recall ever having been to Pensacola. This gives me a great head start and it sure looks like a terrific place to visit, especially for a Canadian in the middle of February!

    Best wishes,

    Kevin

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I totally understand, as I lived in Alaska for 22 years. I don’t ever want to live in cold again. And yes, the Margaritaville Beach Resort is my number 1 pick for the area. An absolute great place to stay on Pensacola Beach!

      Reply
  12. Greg

    I absolutely love the Gulf side of Florida, although I regret, I have not spent much time in the north. Pensacola looks amazing, I will have to plan a weekend trip next time I stay a couple weeks with my parents in Tampa! Thanks for the great resource

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, Tampa is not too far away. That is my hub to fly into, then of course I head to a Florida beach 🙂 The Gulf side of Florida is awesome!

      Reply
  13. Doug Arthur

    Wow, this is everything you could want to know about Pensacola. I’ll be taking vacation this summer and you are definitely pushing me in that direction. getting information like this make travel planning so much easier.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, it does Doug and you would love Pensacola 🙂 Hope you make up your mind to go. If you need any more information, just let me know!

      Reply
  14. Michael

    Very informative and helpful. Concise and concrete information that should aid anyone planning a vacation to Pensacola. Thank you for taking time to write this all down!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are welcome Michael! You will love it in Pensacola. It is so close to so many of the beautiful Florida beaches. Thank you for reading Visit Pensacola Beach Florida!

      Reply
  15. Francis Donaghy

    Hi Leahrae. Great article. You are obviously deeply passionate about beach travel. Your description of the resorts is well researched, and in depth. Almost pushes me to hop on a plane right now. Continued success with this website.
    Francis.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you Francis, Yes I do love beach travel and I also love sharing these experiences with others. I hope that you will visit soon. It really is beautiful in Pensacola!

      Reply
  16. Diane

    Wow! I’m blown away by your site! You’ve covered everything we need to know about traveling to beautiful Pensacola. You’ve saved us hours and hours of research. You’ve definitely sparked our interest in visiting this area—especially since you’ve given us so many tips about the area. Thanks for including links, the great video and suggestions. I look forward to more posts about beach travel.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I am really glad you enjoyed Diane 🙂 It is my goal to have all the information you need concisely presented in one post. No more hunting down information that you will need for your trips. I hope you can plan a trip to Pensacola soon, you will love it!

      Reply
  17. Jasmine Ungaro

    I love Pensacola! I have been there a few times and always want to go back, it is such a nice and relaxing place to visit. I have never done much there other than relaxing on the beach, so I definitely want to try some of the things you recommended, specifically the Jolly Sailing and Chase-N-Fin. I love snorkeling and dolphins! I had no idea these were in Pensacola, so next time I visit I am definitely trying these, as well as some of the restaurants you recommended. Thanks for this! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are welcome Jasmine. Yes, with so many great things to do in Pensacola and the whole Emerald Coast, you have lost to keep you busy for days. Wonderful Florida beach location!

      Reply
  18. Carmen

    I love this website, everything is categorized so neatly there’s no shuffling around to find a certain post or page, the photos are just gorgeous. this website has so much information about everything your looking for. The weather chart is a great idea.putting restaurants in the mix, well that’s just a plus.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you Carmen, I am glad you like! I know when I travel, this is all the information I like to have. So I am glad it is of benefit and helpful. Thanks so much for reading about Pensacola Beach Florida.

      Reply
  19. Audrey

    Thank you for all of the incredibly helpful information you have here! My in-laws live in Florida and I’m always looking for an alternative to our usual spots (Miami, Ft. Myers, Ft. Lauderdale). Now I know exactly where to go and a list of restaurants to choose from. You’ve saved me a lot of time! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Audrey! I am glad I can be of help. You will truly enjoy Pensacola. It has so much to offer besides its amazing beaches! Thanks for reading Visit Pensacola Beach Florida 🙂

      Reply

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