Are you looking for a list of fun things to do in Pensacola, Florida? Not to worry! We have you covered with a list of the best Pensacola attractions!
Pensacola was first settled in 1559 by the Spanish and is one of the oldest European Settlements in the United States! Pensacola makes one of the perfect weekend getaways in Florida! It is the westernmost city in the Florida Panhandle and is known for its beautiful white sand beaches, historical monuments, state parks, and more.
If visiting Pensacola in November, check out the Pensacola Seafood Festival. This is a three-day seafood lover’s dream, making Pensacola a perfect destination for Florida in the fall. Or if you are in the area during December, discover the Pensacola Winterfest with over 400,000 lights and a trolly ride through historic downtown. It is the perfect way to spend an evening!
Let’s explore more of the best activities in Pensacola, Florida!
16 Best Things To Do In Pensacola You Shouldn’t Miss
Visit the Naval Aviation Museum
The Naval Aviation Museum is one of the must-see attractions in Pensacola. If you are looking for things to do in Pensacola that are educational this is your place! The Naval Aviation Museum is one of the largest and most-visited in Florida!
The best part is this is one of the free things to do in Pensacola as the entry is free and the museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm. For those 16 and older remember to bring an ID as they are required for entrance to the museum.
The museum is located aboard Naval Air Station Pensacola and was established in 1914. The museum property extends through 37 acres and has 150 restored aircraft from all branches of the United States Military on display.
In the giant screen area, catch a screening of several movies like the history of flight, Apollo 11, or Aircraft Carrier. If you want to experience Apollo 11 in virtual reality interactive experience you can do so as well! You can feel what it is like to launch into space and land on the moon – complete with heat and shaking!
The museum recently opened a new attraction called the Blue Angles 4-D experience in Hanger One where you will enjoy an interactive experience in custom seats of what it is like to fly in the Blue Angels Air Show.
Stroll the Seville Quarter
The Seville Quarter is one of the fun activities in Pensacola and is located in the historic downtown. Open late into the night, this is the perfect place to head if looking for things to do in Pensacola at night!
First founded over 40 years ago in an abandoned warehouse, you will find Rosie O’Grady’s Goodtime Emporium which is an entertainment home with eight different themed rooms! At Rosie O’ Grady’s, you will find a dueling piano bar.
If you are looking to dance, head to Phineas Phogg’s Balloon Works, or if looking for live music and a more relaxed environment head to End o’the Alley Bar and Courtyard.
If you want a pub with a WWI theme, head to Lili Marlene’s for karaoke and live music. Or Apple Annie’s is great for lunch!
If playing billiards is more your style, you will want to head to Fast Eddie’s. If you just want a cozy evening, we suggest heading to Palace Oyster Bar for drinks and dinner! This is one of the best things to do in downtown Pensacola.
Photograph the Pensacola Lighthouse and Maritime Museum
The Pensacola Lighthouse and Maritime Museum are other Pensacola attractions located at Naval Air Station Pensacola. Just as with the aviation museum, an ID is required for anyone 16 years of age or older.
The museum and lighthouse, which was built in 1859, are a great place to learn about maritime history in a beautiful location.
Come prepared with proper shoes are you will be climbing up 177 steps to the top of the historic lighthouse where you will find amazing views of the Gulf Coast!
After climbing to the top, visit the museum and grounds. Inhabited by the lighthouse keepers until 1965, it was converted into a museum in 1995.
Step Back in Time at Fort Pickens
Fort Pickens is part of the Gulf Island National Seashore. It was in 1816 that the United States began fortifying the coastline, specifically Pensacola Bay, one of the most important ports on the Gulf Coast.
If you like history, Fort Pickens should be on your list of the best things to do in Pensacola, FL. Construction began in 1828 and was completed in 1834. It was the largest brick structure built to protect the coast. It stayed in use until 1947.
This was one of four forts built during the time period and one of the best places to visit in Pensacola.
After visiting Fort Pickens, you can check out the other areas of the Gulf Island National Seashore Park complete with trails, fishing, birding, and beaches.
Explore Perdido Key State Park
Perdido Key State Park is one of the best things to do in Pensacola. This state park is open 365 days a year and costs a small fee per car to enter. This is the perfect state park if you would also like to visit a less popular beach.
Enter via the beautiful wood boardwalk that will take you over the dunes to the beautiful white sand beach! While you are here, keep an eye out for the Perdido Key beach mouse only found here and sea turtles who use this area for nesting.
There are covered picnic tables located just off the beach perfect for a family beach picnic. The beautiful dunes and large white sandy beach make this the perfect place to sunbathe and swim in the warm gulf water.
Find Culture at the Pensacola Museum of Art
Head to the Pensacola Museum of Art for indoor activities in Pensacola. The museum is open Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm, however, check the website for new opening hours and days.
Tickets include the art museum as well as the Museum of Industry and the Historic cottage in Pensacola Village.
The Pensacola Art museum is located in downtown Pensacola and is part of the University of West Florida. As the only art museum in the area, it is worth a visit to view modern and contemporary art. You can find works by the likes of Salvador Dali, Alexander Calder, and John Martin.
Swim at Pensacola Beach
On most visitors’ list of things to do in Pensacola, the beach is one of the first things mentioned. Pensacola Beach is one of the prettiest beaches in Florida and has perfect year-round weather with white, sugary sand and warm turquoise water.
There are numerous beaches to visit in the area from action-packed beaches to quiet State Parks. Pensacola Beach is one of the best things to do in Pensacola with kids and best of all it is free! Grab your sunscreen, chairs, towels, cooler, and umbrella, and head out for a great day at the beach!
Not to worry there are plenty of restaurants located on the beach, as well as areas with full-service amenities that will provide chairs and umbrellas for a cost. There are two areas of the beach broken up into Casino and Quietwater Beach.
Enjoy a Pensacola Bay Cruise
Pensacola Bay Cruises is one of the adventurous things to do in Pensacola. If wanting to sightsee from the water to get a unique perspective, head to Pensacola Bay Cruises.
They offer a regional ferry as well as sunset cruises and dolphin cruises. A sunset cruise is easily one of the most romantic and best things to do in Pensacola for adults. Spotting dolphins is fun for the whole family!
The ferry is a two-story boat that shuttles between Pensacola, Pensacola Beach, and the Gulf Islands National Seashore. There is a bar on board serving drinks as well as soda and water. There is also bicycle storage for those wanting to ride on the trails of the State Parks or explore downtown Pensacola.
A good tip is to book one of the cruises where National Park rangers are on board explaining the history of Pensacola as well as the wildlife and landscapes!
Hike in Tarklin Bayou Preserve State Park
There are several state parks in Florida to visit for outdoor things to do in Pensacola. Tarklin Bayou Preserve is open 365 days a year from 8 am to sunset and costs a few dollars per car. It makes for a great inexpensive outing.
The Bayou Preserve is a wet-prairie on the coast with a bunch of rare plants and animals so keep a lookout! At this 4000-acre preserve, you will have the opportunity to see the endangered pitcher plant that is unique to this area.
Follow the beautiful boardwalk or take one of the nature trails to observe the unique flora and fauna. Or pack a lunch and picnic at one of the picnic benches located along the boardwalk and trails. You will agree this is one of the best Pensacola activities.
Find Urban Art at the Graffiti Bridge
A visit to the Graffiti Bridge is one of the most unique free things to do in Pensacola. You can even bring your own painting supplies and add your own creation to the bridge!
This local landmark has been around for a few generations with both messages and pictures. It is located at the 17th Avenue railroad bridge. There is an area next to the bridge to pull over and park to take pictures or add your personal touch to the bridge!
The artworks are constantly changing so each time you visit you will be delighted with new art. This is a great place off the beaten path to visit and take some pictures with some bright custom works of street art.
Watch a Game at Blue Wahoos Ballpark
Are you looking to watch a AAA baseball game while in town? A visit to Admiral Fetterman Field, home of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, is one of the best things to do in Pensacola then! The affiliate team of the Minnesota Twins plays here.
They host seasonal events making this one of the best things to do in Pensacola with kids. They host movie nights and seasonal events in addition to baseball games. The Admiral Fetterman Field has one of the best views.
The Wahoo’s stadium is perfect for those wanting to get up close to the game as it is one of the smallest in the Southeast with just over 5000 seats. The stadium also hosts a bunch of youth athletics games and community events like dinners, egg hunts, Wahooloween, and New Year’s Even Fest.
Play a Round at the Pensacola Golf Country Club
The Pensacola Golf Country Club is the place to head if you want outdoor things to do in Pensacola! It is the oldest private club in Florida and has been around since 1902.
While this is a private club, if you get the chance to play golf here, jump at the chance! The course was completely redesigned in 2004 after Hurricane Ivan destroyed the area. Pensacola Golf Club sits right on Pensacola Bay and has gorgeous views of the water!
Visit Fort Barrancas
Located inside Gulf Islands National Park, one of the best National Parks in Florida, you will find Fort Barrancas. In the same park as Fort Pickens, make sure you also make a visit to Fort Barrancas. Located on a high point over the Pensacola this is one of the must-do things in Pensacola.
The fort was constructed using over 6 million bricks to build walls that are twenty feet high and over four feet wide! It remains one of the best military engineering projects and was completed in 1844.
Not only did For Barrancas survive the Civil War, but it has also survived multiple hurricanes and still stands strong today. As a testament to the engineering, it was restored in the 1980s so visitors could walk through the fort and battery and learn the history from the visitors center.
Visting Fort Barrancas is what to do in Pensacola if you want to learn more about local history.
Bring the Kids to the Pensacola Children’s Museum
The Pensacola Children’s Museum is one of the perfect things to do in Pensacola with kids. The museum explains the 450-year history of Pensacola in a way children can understand and have fun interacting with displays!
The museum is split over two floors and has a ton of interactive, hands-on exhibits for children such as a Fort, Village, and Trading Post. Children have the opportunity to dress up in period clothing, play in the play area, or read one of the books about the area.
This is the perfect place to head on a hot summer day, if it’s raining, or if you want an educational and fun indoor space for children.
Enjoy Nature at Big Lagoon State Park
Big Lagoon State Park is yet another of the amazing state parks in Pensacola. Made of saltwater tidal marshes and pine flatwoods, this is a fantastic place to become one with nature.
There are plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation here. You and the family will have fun swimming, boating, hiking, star-gazing, and fishing. If you love kayaking, you can paddle the Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail.
If you are an avid bird watcher, don’t forget your binoculars. You will see a variety of wood warblers, ducks, sandpipers, plovers, and more. There is a three-story observation tower where you will have great views.
This is also a great park for camping in Florida. Tent and RV camping is available with water and eclectic hookups, a fire ring, and a picnic table. There are also restrooms and showers.
Drop a Line at the Navarre Beach Fishing Pier
If you love fishing, you will want to take the time to drive over to the Navarre Beach Fishing Pier. At 1,545 feet, this is the longest pier both in Florida and on the Gulf of Mexico.
You can bring your own fishing gear or rent a rod at the bait and tackle shop. When you reel in your line, you might find Mahi Mahi, amberjack, red snapper, king mackerel, or more!
Even if fishing isn’t your thing, the pier is a great place for a stroll. Since it is 30 feet above the water, you get amazing views of the ocean, especially at sunset.
There is also an outdoor restaurant on the pier with yummy seafood and burgers. Overall, this pier is one of the best things to do near Pensacola.
After fishing, you can enjoy Navarre Beach, one of the best beaches on the Florida panhandle.
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