Located in Northwest Florida, Pensacola is famous for its white, sandy beaches, crystal-clear waves, and historic downtown area. It’s the perfect destination for those looking to shake the blues off for a sun-soaked weekend.
If you’re thinking of planning a vacation to this beautiful city, read on! We’ve put together a list of really fun things to do in Pensacola, Florida, from visiting spectacular beaches to learning more about the local art scene.
Things To See And Do In Pensacola, Florida
There’s no shortage of spots to see and activities to try during your beach vacation. Learn more about Pensacola history and traditions, or marvel at its natural attractions. Here’s a list of Pensacola attractions to check off your bucket list!
Pensacola Museum of Art
407 S Jefferson St, Pensacola, FL 32502
The Pensacola Museum of Art was founded in 1954 and this accredited museum is home to an impressive permanent collection that includes work by Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, and Andy Warhol. It also has a decorative arts collection that includes African tribal art and European and American glasswork. Visit its site to see which special exhibitions will be on display during your visit.
National Naval Aviation Museum
280 Taylor Rd, Pensacola, FL 32508 (Naval Air Station, Pensacola)
Located in the Naval Air Station on the Gulf Coast, the National Naval Aviation Museum is dedicated to preserving the history of United States Naval Aviation. Housing over 150 aircraft, the museum’s exhibit space stretches to an impressive 300,000 square feet and has flight simulators and a giant-screen theater.
Note that access for civilians to the Naval Air Station is currently limited to those sponsored through the Trusted Traveler program. Check the museum’s official site to find out more about arranging a tour!
Blue Angels Airshows
The Blue Angels are the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, and catching one of their practice drills or shows through Florida skies is such a thrill! If you’re planning to watch them soar in the air, Pensacola Beach hosts one of their amazing shows every July. They also hold the last show of their season at NAS Pensacola every November.
1400 Fort Pickens Rd, Pensacola Beach, FL 32561
Fort Pickens is one of the largest historic forts built to defend Pensacola Bay. Built in 1834, it is now home to a massive campground and hiking trails. Check out the history museum, try fishing at the pier, or go birdwatching. Open year-round from sunrise to sunset, it’s a gorgeous location for immersing yourself in the great outdoors.
3182 Taylor Rd, Pensacola, FL 32508
A historical fort located in the Pensacola Naval Air Station, the fort is a must-visit for American Civil War buffs because of its well-preserved interiors and impressive engineering. Go to the Fort Barrancas Visitor Center to arrange a tour of the area. Because it’s near the National Naval Aviation Museum, we strongly suggest you visit both sites on the same day if you can!
Destination Archaeology Resource Center
207 E Main St, Pensacola, FL 32502
This interactive museum is found inside the Florida Public Archaeology Network headquarters in downtown Pensacola. Marvel at the land and underwater archeology sites, or check out its site to find out which rotating exhibits will be on display during your visit. Admission here is always free!
The Pensacola Historic District
Stretching over eight and a half acres, this historic district is home to the Pensacola Museum of History (formerly known as the T.T. Wentworth Jr. Museum), Seville Square, and the Historic Pensacola Village.
Tours of Historic Pensacola Village are offered twice a day in Old Christ Church. Explore the Museum of Industry, Museum of Commerce, and the Pensacola Children’s Museum. Learn more about the different architectural styles preserved there, ranging from French Creole to Greek Revival. The village also has a collection of over 150,000 historical artifacts.
Chosen as one of Florida’s Top 10 Streets by the American Planning Association, Palafox Street in downtown Pensacola is bustling with boutiques, restaurants, and local art galleries. There’s so much to see and do here, so we highly recommend that you spend at least one day in this vibrant area.
The Saenger Theatre regularly features opera and ballet performances, as well as the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra’s concerts. Palafox Market is also a must-visit for its year-round farmers’ market with fresh produce, fine art, live plants, and antiques!
130 E Government St, Pensacola, FL 32502
This entertainment complex in downtown Pensacola proudly calls itself the Gulf Coast’s Entertainment Destination for a reason! Home to the original Rosie O’Grady’s Goodtime Emporium and operating since 1967, Seville Quarter is a vast venue consisting of eight rooms, each with different nightly events.
Check out Rosie O’Grady’s Duelling Pianos Show here at 8 p.m. every Wednesday to Saturday, or wow the crowd at Lili Marlene’s Karaoke Night from Wednesday to Sunday. From dance music to live jazz, there are different vibes to enjoy seven days a week. Check out its site to see what’s showing!
Pensacola Minor League Games
There’s always a game to catch for sports lovers in Pensacola! Catch a Pensacola Blue Wahoos game from April to September. This minor league team is the Double-A affiliate of the Miami Marlins, and they regularly play their home games at the Bayfront Stadium.
Hockey fans can root for the Pensacola Ice Flyers as they compete in the Southern Professional Hockey League from October to March. You can catch their local matches at Pensacola Bay Center.
Bay Bluffs Park
3400 Scenic Hwy, Pensacola, FL 32503
Nature lovers will enjoy exploring the hiking trails of Bay Bluffs Park, with its scenic paths over a steeply sloping landscape. It’s worth the climb up and down all those stairs to get a unique view of Pensacola Bay. There are also picnic areas available, and wooded areas thick with verdant pines and Spanish moss.
Dog lovers can bring their furry friends to enjoy the exercise, as the park is a pooch-friendly location. Bring a snack to munch on while admiring the Pensacola skyline. Do note that this area has train tracks, so be watchful for oncoming trains as you go for a walk.
Innerarity Point Park
3835 Cruzat Way, Pensacola, FL 32507
This beautiful waterfront park has plenty of open space where you will regularly see locals going for a stroll, spending time with their family at the playground, or even doing yoga. Spread out a blanket and enjoy a view of the Florida sunset at this community park.
Events like craft fairs and outdoor movie nights are often held by the Perdido Key Area Chamber of Commerce, so keep an eye out for what special events will be held at this spacious park.
Pensacola’s Amusement Parks
Pensacola, Florida has no shortage of spots where you can all enjoy games and family-friendly activities. Here are our picks for a day of fun and a little competition!
Sam’s Fun City & Surf City
6709 Pensacola Blvd, Pensacola, FL 32505
Prepare for a fun-filled day of go-karting and laser tag in the heart of Pensacola! Sam’s Fun City and Surf City has over 20 rides and attractions for the whole family to enjoy. Get in line for the Frog Hopper, win prizes at the Crossroads Arcade, or splash around in the Water Park.
Keep an eye out for the park’s deals, such as the “Keys to the City” wristband that allows visitors unlimited access during a set period for an added fee. There are also unlimited-ride deals during the holidays and special seasonal attractions, so check out the site to see what’s new during your visit!
Laguna’s Adventure Park
460 Pensacola Beach Blvd., Pensacola Beach, FL 32561
Located in Laguna’s Beach Bar + Grill in Pensacola Beach, Laguna’s Adventure Park is known for its water sports and family-friendly activities. Ride a pontoon boat, rent a kayak or paddleboard, or cool off at the splash pad. You can also try your hand at mini-golf or go for a thrilling zip rail ride.
Bonus: you can go for a bite to eat at the restaurant any time your tummy feels rumbly. Order a pizza to share as you admire the view of Pensacola’s beautiful beaches, or quench your thirst with one of the Fat Tuesday frozen drinks.
Fast Eddie’s Fun Center
505 W Michigan Ave, Pensacola, FL 32505
With arcade games, go-kart tracks, and mini golf courses, Fast Eddie’s is perfect for kids and those who are young at heart! Batter up in one of the Batting Cages with different difficulty zones, or challenge your friends at the nine-hole golf course themed around the tropical gulf. If you want to take the kids for a spin, hop into one of the double-ride go-karts and help them race at the Crazy 8 track.
Where To Swim And Chill
No trip to Pensacola would be complete without a day at a white sand beach there! Here are the different places that you can visit for soaking up the sun, each with a unique vibe.
With sugar-white sand, plentiful parking, and a wide beachfront, Pensacola Beach is a great spot for beach lovers. Lounge under an umbrella, go for a swim, or rent a paddleboard! You can also try one of the many thrilling water activities available like parasailing or jet skiing.
Looking for a more tranquil way to pass the time? One of the most chill but fun things to do in Pensacola Beach is going for a stroll towards the Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier. Going to the end of the beach will give you incredible panoramic views of the Gulf of Mexico, so take some sunset snaps there for a fun souvenir!
Perdido Key State Park considers itself a haven for people and wildlife alike, priding itself on having some of the most spacious and beautiful beaches on the Emerald Coast. Take in the incredible view of the Gulf Coast, walk along the pale sale dunes, and enjoy the cool gulf breeze in this hidden gem.
Visit during nesting season to catch a glimpse of the sea turtles, or go for a dolphin cruise to learn more about these intelligent creatures. Apart from glimpsing the marine life, you can check out other nearby Pensacola attractions such as the Pensacola Lighthouse and Richard C. Callaway Museum!
The peaceful beauty of Langdon Beach is perfect for those who want to avoid the summer crowd at popular Pensacola Beach. Enjoy this quiet spot’s long, uninterrupted stretches of soft sand and warm, calm waters.
Grab your beach chair and prepare for a serene afternoon, with only wading birds and the occasional crab for company. Note that because it’s located in the Gulf Islands National Seashore, you’ll need to pay an admission fee.
Take advantage of the Pensacola Beach Trolley and make a stop here. Located near the Pensacola Boardwalk, it’s a safe spot for amateur swimmers as the waves are very small and the shore is flat. Its warm water and serene atmosphere have made Quietwater Beach a popular spot with families and travelers looking for peace and quiet.
There are also plenty of restaurants just a hop and a skip away from the water, so you can quench your thirst without worrying about leaving your umbrella in the sand. Flounder’s Chowder House is highly recommended by visitors for its big portions and friendly service!
One of the most underrated yet picturesque beaches in the Florida Panhandle, Opal Beach’s isolation makes it a dream for fishing and relaxing in peace. Located in the Gulf Islands National Seashore, there’s no shortage of amenities at this charming beach. Pavilions, restrooms, parking, restrooms, and even beach showers are all available for visitors’ comfort, so bring a beach chair and have a lovely beachside picnic here.
While Pensacola is best known for its beaches, there are many other historic and cultural attractions that are worth the visit! Grab a bite to eat, enjoy a day in the sun with your friends, or learn more about America’s history in this beautiful city. This handy guide will make sure you check off all the must-sees during your vacation in Pensacola, Florida.
***Disclaimer: There is a good chance that this post contains affiliate or sponsor links. If you make a purchase through them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you (for which we are extremely grateful).
Also, while we do our best to highlight LGBTQ-friendly destinations and businesses, info provided is based solely on personal experience and recommendations by community partners. We hope that nobody experiences discrimination or homophobia while visiting Florida, but we make no guarantees. Please inform us if you experience discrimination or homophobia while visiting any destination so we can make updates to our recommendations.