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Are you looking for a dreamy and picturesque destination for your next vacation? If yes, I would highly recommend Pensacola city in the State of Florida. 

Located in northwest Florida, Pensacola is famous for its pristine award-winning beaches, and emerald green waters.

It is a popular travel destination among travelers owing to its relaxing and quiet nature, tasty coastal cuisine, and promise of thrilling water activities. 

But the city has more to offer than just dreamy beaches. It boasts a rich history which travelers can find more about by visiting various museums spread out across the city. 

It has an intriguing and beautiful art and cultural heritage. You will experience and learn more about it by exploring the city, interacting with the friendly locals, and touring art galleries. 

Whether you’re traveling alone, with friends, family, or a loved one, Pensacola will give you beautiful memories. You will have an experience of a lifetime. 

To help you decide on what to do when you travel to Pensacola, I have compiled 25 fun things to do in Pensacola with kids, family and friends. This list will ensure that you get the best of this beautiful city and make your vacation worthwhile. 

25 fun things to do in Pensacola

1. Gulf Islands National Seashore

By William Silver | Shutterstock

Google Rate: 4.8/5

Address: Gulf Breeze, FL 32563

Entry Fees: $25/private, $20/private motorcycle, also annual pass can be purchased for $45

  • Established in 1971
  • Located along the Gulf of Mexico

Why you should visit

If you want to experience the awesomeness of Pensacola beaches wholesomely, you should explore the Gulf Island National Seashore.

It offers miles of beaches covered in sugar-white sand and different shades of emerald green waters. 

There are a ton of things to do here. You can choose to soak up the sun by the beach under the blue skies or engage in the fun activities on offer. 

Things to do

Gulf Islands National Seashore has six areas; Gulf Breeze, Okaloosa Island, Johnson Beach, Fort Pickens, Santa Rosa Island, and Fort Barrancas. Each offers different activities.

Walk along the seashore and immerse yourself in the spectacular beauty of the Atlantic waters.

You can also camp along the shore, visit historic forts, or enjoy water activities like kayaking, biking, swimming, surfing, scuba diving….As known, snorkeling in Miami and Pensacola are my favorite over the US.

2. Big Lagoon State Park

By Colin D. Young | Shutterstock

Google Rate: 4.6/5

Address: 12301 Gulf Beach Hwy, Pensacola, FL 32507

Entry Fees: $6.00 per vehicle, $4.00 Single Occupant Vehicle, $2.00 Pedestrians

  • Acquired in 1977
  • Located on Gulf Beach Highway
  • 705 acres large

Why you should visit

Pensacola is famous for its breathtaking seashore. The Big Lagoon State Park is one of the seashore attractions that contribute to its fame.

It is named after a big lagoon that separates the mainland from the Gulf of Mexico

It is on our list of 25 things to do in Pensacola, owing to the myriad of activities you can do here and the diverse wildlife. 

Things to do

From trailing wildlife to hiking, this attraction site has something for everyone. 

Enjoy a hike on its scenic nature trails as you watch out for over 23 bird species. Biking, swimming, paddling, and fishing are available. 

If you love camping, this is the right destination to travel to.

3. Perdido Key

Perdido Key | Shutterstock
  • Perdido’ means ‘lost’ in Spanish and Portuguese
  • Discovered in 1693

Why you should visit

Perdido Key boasts a rich history and breathtaking views of the Gulf Coast waters. It is home to Perdido Key State Park and offers stunning picnic grounds.

Things to do

Make lasting memories alone or with a loved one by including Perdido Key in your list of things to do in Pensacola.

Enjoy a picnic by the coastline as you enjoy the cool breeze and soothing sound of water waves. 

The ocean view is to die for. Once in a while, you will catch a glimpse of exotic birds and beautiful sea turtles. 

4. Pensacola Museum of Art

Pensacola Museum of Art | Facebook

Google Rate: 4.3/5

Address: 407 S Jefferson St, Pensacola, FL 32502

Entry Fees: Active Military & Dependents $9.00, Senior 65+ $9.00, UWF Alumni $9.00, Child 3-14 $5.00

  • Founded in 1954
  • The structure was formerly a Spanish jail

Why you should visit

When listing down museums to visit in Pensacola, this historic attraction should be one of them.

It’s not only a sight to behold owing to its architectural design, but also home to a great art collection. 

It contains works from artists of both the 20th and 21st centuries. 

The founders were women from the American Association of the University of Women. 

Things to do

Explore educative and engaging artwork from famous artists like Pablo Picasso, Kathe Kollwitz, and Andy Warhol

There are both permanent and traveling exhibits. They feature contemporary and modern art.  

You can attend art forums and watch films in the museum.

5. Pensacola Mess Hall

Pensacola MESS Hall | Facebok

Google Rate: 4.7/5

Address: 418 E Wright St, Pensacola, FL 32502

Entry Fees: $8 per person

  • Established in 2012
  • Founded by Jerry Pratt and Megan Pratt
  • Ideal for adults and children

Why you should visit

If you want to travel to Pensacola with your children but are unsure where to take them for fun, this is the right place.

Pensacola Mess Hall is a science museum that allows its guests to experiment like actual scientists, mathematicians, and engineers.

Things to do

This is a fun place for you and your children to spend time. It’s a hands-on and entertaining way of educating children.

6. Sam’s Fun City

Join us tomorrow for Halloween Night at Sam’s Spooky City! But, get your tickets by midnight tonight to SAVE! | Facebook

Google Rate: 3.7/5

Address: 6709 Pensacola Blvd, Pensacola, FL 32505

Entry Fees: Free admission, there is a fee on car parking

  • The largest family fun park in Pensacola

Why you should visit

Sam’s Fun City is one of the best places to explore if you’re traveling to Pensacola with your children. You will all have fun!

It is the only water and amusement park in the city.

Things to do

Explore over 20 rides and other exciting indoor and outdoor activities with your children. There are over 50 arcade games such as billiards, air hockey, and laser games.

7. Pensacola Graffiti Bridge

Rest In Peace Lance McKinney | by Ronson Stewart

Google Rate: 4.6/5

Address: N 17th Ave, Pensacola, FL 32502

  • Built in 1888

Why you should visit

You cannot travel to Pensacola and not visit the city’s most outstanding landmark.

What makes it interesting is that anyone can be an artist here. The artwork changes all the time as more people paint the bridge. 

Things to do

Take a trip to this famous bridge to take photos and see what others have painted. Make sure to carry a spray bottle and leave a permanent mark in Pensacola, FL.

8. USS Massachusetts (BB-2)

By mancavemodeler.com

Google Rate: 4.6/5

  • Launched in June 1893

Why you should visit

Its war history significance makes it one of the 25 things to do in Pensacola. It is the oldest American battleship in existence. 

This battleship broke down several times before it was sunk, making it gain the title of ‘the worst battleship ever built’.

It now lies 30 ft. deep in the Gulf of Mexico. It serves as an underground museum and archaeological preserve. 

Things to do

Travel to Pensacola to see the site of this battleship. The site is open to divers to go underwater and see its wreckage. 

9. Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier

Google Rate: 4.7/5

Address: 41 Fort Pickens Rd #2005, Pensacola Beach, FL 32561

Entry Fees: $2.25 for the all day

Why you should visit

Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier is a fisherman’s paradise. It is named the best fishing pier in Pensacola.  It’s also renowned for being one of the best sightseeing attractions in the city. 

The pier offers one of the best views of the Gulf of Mexico.

Things to do

Enjoy deep-sea fishing in the pier’s waters. It runs up to 20ft in depth.

Some of the fish species found include whitefish, the Spanish mackerel, and cobia. The species depend on the time of year. 

If fishing is not your forte, you can take a walk along the coastline and enjoy the scenic view of your surroundings. It’s a perfect place to catch sunrise and sunset.

10. Navarre Beach Fishing Pier

Navarre Beach Fishing Pier | Nwfdailynews.com

Google Rate: 4.7/5

Address: 8579 Gulf Blvd, Navarre, FL 32566

Entry Fees: $7 a day, $4 for ages (15 and younger) – It costs $1 only for walk the pier to look for wildlife and view the sunsets

  • Located between Destin and Pensacola

Why you should visit

This is the longest fishing pier in Florida and the Gulf of Mexico, at 1,548 feet.

It also boasts being the second most popular fishing attraction site in Pensacola, after the Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier. 

It is famous for being a fishing spot for large fish and other marine creatures. A white shark was once caught here.

Things to do

Take a fishing trip to Navarre and immerse yourself in fishing at the clear emerald green waters. 

You can also visit the pier for a stroll along its stretch.

11. Flounder’s Chowder House

Flounders Chowder House | Facebook

Google Rate: 4.5/5

Address: 800 Quietwater Beach Rd, Gulf Breeze, FL 32561

Entry Fees: the range is $$ to $$$

  • Established in 1979

Why you should visit

When you combine adventure and dining, the result is Flounder’s Chowder House. It is a beach bar and restaurant located in Gulf Breeze

Things to do

Enjoy a taste of Pensacola’s coastal cuisine from the restaurant’s wide selection of seafood.

Children have a pirate ship playground where they can engage in fun activities.

Explore the property to see a historic Cuban raft that took 27 refugees from Cuba to Key West

12. Urban Swinery

Urban Swinery staff| Facebook

Google Rate: 4.6/5

Address: 19 Palafox Pl, Pensacola, FL 32502

Why you should visit

For a delicious culinary experience, you have to make your way to the Urban Swinery. It serves all types of pork dishes.

Things to do

Sit back, relax and enjoy the best pork in town. It is the ideal spot to re-energize when touring Pensacola.

13. Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center

By navarrebeachseaturtles.org

Google Rate: 4.7/5

Address: 8740 Gulf Blvd, Navarre, FL 32566

  • Found in the Navarre Beach Marine Park
  • Established in 2013

Why you should visit

This is a non-profit organization dedicated to the rehabilitation and study of endangered sea turtles. It is an eco-tourist attraction site. 

Things to do

Visit Navarre Beach Turtle Conservation Center to appreciate the work done and learn all about sea turtles. You will also learn how you can contribute to their conservation. 

This is also an opportunity to see Sweet Pea, one of the center’s most famous turtles

Explore the exhibits to see and interact with the sea turtles. 

14. Seville Historic District

A small cafe awaits visitors in the historic Seville Quarter in Pensacola, Florida By James Kirkikis | Shutterstock
  • Also known as Pensacola Historic District
  • Founded in 1559 by Don Tristan de Luna, a Spanish sailor

Why you should visit

Take a trip to Seville Historic District to learn the history of Pensacola. Located downtown, it boasts being the first European settlement in America.

It will take you back in history, over 450 years ago, as you explore the 28 properties found here. 

Things to do

Step into life in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries as showcased in museums found here. 

Experience how the district’s history has influenced and shaped current culture and cuisines in the city. 

Walk around Pensacola Historic District to see charming architecture, and browse through attractions like Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum, Lavalle House, and Old Christ Church

15. Seville Quarter

By sevillequarter.com

Google Rate: 4.4/5

Address: 130 E Government St, Pensacola, FL 32502

Entry Fees: $3 from 8-9pm (ages 21 & over) – $5 after 9pm (ages 21 & over) – Subject to Change after 11pm (ages 18 & over)

  • Located in downtown Pensacola
  • Built in 1971

Why you should visit

For entertainment, Seville Quarter is one of the best places to have fun. It has eight themed bars. Each offers visitors a different experience.

From piano shows to karaoke, there is something to satisfy everyone’s needs. 

Things to do

Prepare to be entertained and have the time of your life in the Seville Quarter. Explore the eight themed bars and have a taste of each.

Party like there is no tomorrow in the Phineas Phogg’s Balloon Works. Enjoy live music at the End o’the Alley Bar. Participate in a karaoke session in the Lili Marlene’s. 

Enjoy an intimate dinner in Palace Oyster Bar. 

You will also learn about its rich history during your visit.

16. Admiral Fetterman Field

Admiral Fetterman Field Pensacola | Reddit

Google Rate: 4.8/5

Address: 351 W Cedar St, Pensacola, FL 32502

Fees : Regions Club seats behind home plate $17 on weekends – $12 on weekdays, General Admission seats are $10 on weekends and $7 on weekdays

  • Opened in 2012
  • Capacity of 5,038
  • Named after Admiral John H. Fetterman Jr.

Why you should visit

This is a multi-purpose park consisting of an amphitheater, commercial buildings, a stadium, and a waterfront public park. It is an ideal place to have a relaxed day on your vacation in Pensacola. 

Things to do

Interact with the locals by catching a concert or a game in the stadium, which serves as the home ground for the city’s baseball team, Pensacola Blue Wahoos.

There are different games taking place across the year. 

Explore the commercial section to have a glimpse of the shopping scene. Get yourself a souvenir while at it. 

The waterfront park has beautifully manicured green lawns and trees. It is a lovely place to cool off and relax. 

17. Palafox Street

Why you should visit

Shopping, history, dining, and art meet in Palafox Street. It is considered the gateway and artery of the city’s downtown owing to its bustling vibe.

It comprises three major blocks that are home to art galleries, restaurants, cafés, shops, and commercial spaces. 

Things to do

Palafox is called an entertainment hub for a reason. You can learn the city’s history, shop, explore Pensacola’s cuisine, and visit art galleries, all in one place.  It is one of the most visited places by travelers since there is something for everyone. 

18. Pensacola Beach

By Timothy Comeaux | Shutterstock

Rate: 4.6/5

Address: Pensacola, FL 32501

Entry Fees : $20 per year for public annual passes and $70 per year for commercial annual passes

Why you should visit

Pensacola is famous for its breathtaking beaches. You can never have enough of their beauty. 

Pensacola Beach is in the Southern area of the city.

Its serenity and breathtaking views make it ideal for anyone seeking to enjoy a relaxed day by the beach or engage in beach activities. 

Things to do

It has both crowded and secluded areas. You can choose to tour the crowded area to interact with locals and other tourists.

Alternatively, you can opt for the secluded area where you will enjoy an intimate experience, alone or with loved ones. 

Whatever your choice, you will enjoy fun activities like swim with dolphins in Florida, sailing, boating, surfing, and paddling. 

Dining and shopping options are also available. 

19. National Naval Aviation Museum

By James Kirkikis | Shutterstock

Google Rate: 4.8/5

Address: 1750 Radford Blvd, Pensacola, FL 32508

Entry Fees : free Museum admission and also free parking

  • Formerly known as the National Museum of Naval Aviation
  • Established in 1962
  • Oldest air station in the nation

Why you should visit

It is the ideal place to visit to understand the history of naval aviation in the country. 

It has over 150 spacecraft and aircraft, and over 4000 artifacts on display. They exhibit the history of the United States Marine Corps, US Navy, and the US Coast Guard.

Things to do

Explore the facility to learn what each artifact, aircraft, and memorabilia represents.

Everything preserved in the National Naval Aviation Museum served a specific purpose in the history of US naval aviation.

For example, the Curtiss NC-4 was the first aircraft in history to cross the Atlantic Ocean.

The Emil Buehler National Aviation Library is home to a collection of manuscripts, books, and photographs. They all carry naval history. 

You can watch educative naval films in the IMAX theatre inside the museum grounds.

20. Fort Pickens

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Google Rate: 4.8/5

Address: 1400 Fort Pickens Rd, Pensacola Beach, FL 32561

Entry Fees : $8.00 per car

  • Built in 1834
  • Named after Andrew Pickens, a war hero
  • Located on Pensacola beach

Why you should visit

This is a historical military fort that was built and dedicated to the protection of Pensacola bay. It is one of the only four military forts in the nation.

It is a history-rich facility that once served as jailing ground for the infamous Apache leader Geronimo

 The facility was closed in 1947. It currently serves as a historic attraction site and informational museum.

Things to do

A visit to Fort Pickens must be on your list of things to do in Pensacola. 

You can take a day’s visit to explore the facility as you learn the history of each section.

Visit the information center for more educative material. 

Camping is available at Fort Pickens Campground. You can spend your time touring the museum in detail, trailing and biking along the beach, and enjoying a ton of other beach activities.

21. Pensacola Lighthouse

Pensacola Lighthouse | Shutterstock

Google Rate: 4.7/5

Address: 2081 Radford Blvd, Pensacola, FL 32508

Entry Fees : $8 for adults and $4 for children

  • Built in 1859

Why you should visit

Pensacola Lighthouse served as a lighthouse back in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Although it remains an active navigation aid, it mainly serves as a historical landmark and museum. 

It has 177 steps that take travelers to the top section, from where you will have a breathtaking aerial view of the Gulf Coast.

Things to do

In your hunger for history, take a trip to Pensacola Lighthouse. You will learn more about the Civil War and the Coast Guard history. All information about it is in the Richard C. Callaway Museum.

Climb the 177 steps to get the beautiful views of Fort Pickens, the Gulf Coast, and the Intracoastal Waterway. 

22. Five Flags Speedway

by visitpensacola.com

Google Rate: 4.7/5

Address: 7451 Pine Forest Rd, Pensacola, FL 32526

Entry Fees : $45 for the 300-lap race – Normal ticket costs : $75

  • Located in Pine Forest Road
  • Established in 1953

Why you should visit

One of the best things to do in Pensacola is visiting the Five Flags Speedway, especially when a race is underway.

If you enjoy the thrill of adrenaline-rush when watching Formula One or films like Fast and Furious, a trip here will be worth every minute of your time. 

It lists as one of the fastest half-mile tracks in Florida. 

Things to do

Take your vacation in Pensacola to its peak by watching a racing match here. Witness some of the finest racing drivers in the world show off their skills on the speedway. 

The official racing season opens from March to October while the Snowball Derby takes place in December. 

23. Gulf Breeze Zoo

Google Rate: 4.6/5

Address: 5701 Gulf Breeze Pkwy, Gulf Breeze, FL 32563

Entry Fees : Adult (13-64) $24.95 – Senior (65+) $23.95 – Children (2-12) $19.95 – Under 2 Free

  • Hosts over 900 animals
  • Award-winning zoo
  • Opened in 1984
  • Formerly known as The Zoo Northwest Florida but changed to its current name in 2010

Why you should visit

Gulf Breeze Zoo is a wildlife conservation center that offers a home to animals from all over the world. It also gives habitat preservation programs. It is home to various exotic animals.

Some of them are Western lowland gorillas, hippos, giraffes, and rhinos, among others.

Things to do

Although the zoo is in Navarre, 25 miles away from Pensacola, it is a destination worth visiting.

Tour the zoo to appreciate its conservation work and learn how you can contribute to wildlife conservation.

The zoo is divided into two sections. One section offers a walking exhibit spread out over 20 acres.

The other one gives a guided train ride over 30 acres of land with free-roaming animals. 

There is a feeding area where you will feed giraffes and other animals. 

24. Bay Bluffs Park

By Visitpensacola

Google Rate: 4.4/5

Address: 3400 Scenic Hwy, Pensacola, FL 32503

  • 42 acres of land
  • Free entry

Why you should visit

If you’re looking for a quiet and peaceful thing to do in Pensacola, Bay Bluffs Park is the place. It will wow you with its serenity.

The park offers one of the best and most beautiful nature trails in the city, with a seashore view.

It has a boardwalk that leads to the beach.

Things to do

Travel to Bay Bluffs Park and explore one of its many trails. It’s a lovely way to connect with nature and breathe some fresh air.

 

You can take a walk on the boardwalk that offers beautiful views of the coastline. At the beach, take a walk along the seashore as you listen to the waves and enjoy the view of the emerald green waters.

25. Fort Barrancas

By William Silver | Shutterstock

Google Rate: 4.6/5

Address: 3182 Taylor Rd, Pensacola, FL 32508

Entry Fees : $25 per vehicle, $20 per motorcycle, or $15 per pedestrian arriving on foot or bicycle

  • Originally built in 1787
  • Rebuilt as an American Military Fort in 1844
  • Formerly known as Fort San Carlos de Barrancas
  • Found in the Gulf Islands National Seashore

Why you should visit

Fort Barrancas boasts a rich war history. It was one of the four military forts in the nation. The ground on which it’s built was once home to three other forts.

It was initially a Spanish fort. The French fought them and turned it into a French Fort. The French were later fought by the British, making it a British Fort.

In 1781, the Spanish fought the British and took the fort back.

Things to do

Learning the history of the different eras of war and how this facility influenced it is as educative as it is intriguing. 

Explore this fort with a preserved history, when you travel to Pensacola, FL. 

You will be excited to know that the Naval Air station is built around this National Historic Landmark. 

Written by OBP

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