City of five flags
Although Pensacola is said to be a tad tamer for spring break than Panama City Beach, it still serves up its share of bikini contests, Jell-O wrestling and foam dance parties. But Pensacola has matured a bit - the estimated 500,000 students it draws are mainly grad students looking for a fun but relaxed vacation, rather than out-of-control freshman bashes. This makes Pensacola Beach equally interesting to families with kids, snowbirds and those trying to elude the spring break hedonism. With less pressure to party, you'll also get better value for your money.
Encompassing Casino Beach, Gulf Islands National Seashore, Langdon Beach, Opal Beach and Quietwater Beach, the area has much to offer outdoor enthusiasts. Gulf Islands National Seashore has camping, swimming, biking and hiking. You can also enjoy free concerts at the Gulfside Pavilion at Casino Beach. Highlights include:
- Snorkeling: Surfers can't agree on the wave quality, but those who like to spend time underwater, not riding the waves, agree this area has much to offer.
- Fishing: Whether you like to sport fish or angle, this area offers some of the best in Florida.
- The National Museum of Naval Aviation: More than 170 vintage aircrafts will intrigue the inner-pilot in anyone..
- IMAX Theater: Onsite at the National Museum of Aviation, this five-story movie theater features family-friendly films several times a day.
- The T.T. Wentworth Jr. Florida State Museum: Walk into the past as costumed guides recreate the Pensacola of days gone by.
- Polar Bear Dip (January 1st): After a chilly dip, swimmers warm up with music and Southern black-eyed peas.
- Mardi Gras (January / February): This family-oriented event features parades, contests and Cajun cooking.
- Fiesta of Five Flags: One of the oldest and largest festivals in Florida, this family-friendly event celebrates of Pensacola's founding.
Pensacola's Seville Historic District houses many New Orleans-style pubs and bars. Check out Rosie O'Grady's Goodtime Emporium, Apple Annie's Courtyard, End o' the Alley Bar or Capt'n Fun Beach Club which hosts a spring break kick-off weekend and a Wet-N-Wild foam party. Live entertainment ranges - rock, reggae, Dixieland jazz and country western.
Pensacola Beach and area has lodging for all budgets with quaint B and Bs, chain hotels and resort condos on the beach.
Need to Know
- Average highs are 77 F.
- Average lows are 60 F.
- Lifeguard sections
- New bathrooms
- Picnic facilities
Panama City Beach's quieter cousin still has plenty of life. If you want to be near the action at a fraction of the cost, check out these Pensacola Beach deals.
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