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Perfect Pensacola

20 Feb 2007  Family traditions and favorites.
4.0 of 5 stars based on 11 votes

I have been visiting Pensacola and Pensacola Beach since I was a toddler. My husband, son, and I have vacationed there 9 of the last 12 years. Here are our favorite places, things.

  • Explore locations featured in this Trip List: Pensacola Beach
  • Category: Perfect week or more
  • Traveler type: Active/Outdoors, Beachgoers
  • Appeals to: Couples/romantics, Honeymooners, Singles, Families with small children, Families with teenagers, Seniors, Students, Budget travellers , Active/adventure, Tourists
  • Seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall
  • 1. Pensacola Beach
    Pensacola Beach, Pensacola Beach

    The beaches of Santa Rosa Island are wonderful. Beautiful soft, white sand and clear, emerald green water. The water is usually always warm and inviting. I love to get an inflatable raft and just float along on the waves. My teenage son likes to snorkle or boogie board. And my husband? Give him a beach lounge chair, umbrella, and something cold to drink and he's set for the day. The beaches are never too crowded, so it's easy to relax and let the sound of the surf and the gulf breeze wash all your stress away.

  • 2. McGuire's Irish Pub

    This is one of our all time favorite places to eat. It has become a destination all to itself. The food is great, the atmosphere is fun, and our entire family loves McGuire's. My teenager is a big fan of the hamburgers and root beer, my husband loves the corned beef and cabbage, and I love the steaks. The smoked prime rib is fantastic. We usually eat there several times while vacationing on Pensacola Beach.

  • 3. Regency Towers

    Regency Towers, which which will be available starting this spring, is a great choice for vacationers who want a fantastic beach location, but don't want to pay a premium price. It's a little further away from the center of the island, but it's very quite and peaceful. All the units have been redone after the hurricane, so it's all new.

  • 4. National Museum of Naval Aviation

    A visit to the Naval Air Museum is a vacation tradition for our family. We drive to Pensacola from our home, and this is usually the first stop we make. Or, sometimes we take a break from the beach mid week and spend the afternoon at the museum.

    As a boy, my son was facinated with all the planes, helicopters, etc. As a teenager, he really began to appreciate all the HISTORY that went along with the exibits.

    We like to eat lunch at the Cubi Bar cafe located inside the museum. The food isn't much to brag on (salads, hot dogs, sandwiches, nachos), but it's fun to sit in the club that was dismantled and reassembled from an actual naval base.

    There is an IMAX theater that shows aviation themed movies, and flight simulators that make you feel like you're taking off from the deck of an aircraft carrier.

    A vacation in Pensacola would not be complete without a stop at the Naval Aviation Museum. (And admission is FREE!)

    Oh yeah. You can check the Blue Angels website to see their practice schedule. You can bring your lawn chairs out to the Navy base and watch them practice for free.

  • 5. Crabs - We Got 'Em
    Crabs - We Got 'Em, Pensacola Beach

    We really enjoy eating at Crabs - We Got 'Em. The crab legs have always been really good, and my husband LOVES the boiled shrimp. We've always had great service, whether it was in the middle of peak summer season, or during the winter. This is a "must do" for us now in Pensacola Beach.

  • 6. The ZOO

    This is a great zoo. Don't let the size fool you. There's a train ride through the open animal areas, elephant shows, etc. The animal exibits are really nice. This is a great place to "take a break" from the beach for an afternoon, or the entire day.

  • 7. Holiday Inn Express (formerly the Dunes Hotel)

    I'm so excited that the Dunes (reopening as the Holiday Inn Express) will be back in operation on Pensacola Beach. It's the first hotel I would recommend to anyone. The location is terrific, on the Fort Pickens side of the island. The rooms all have great balconies overlooking the pool and the beach. The pool is nice, complete with a waterfall from one of the upper floors of the hotel. We've always received excellent service from the Dunes, and I hope it continues under the new name.

  • 8. Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier

    Even if you don't like to fish, the pier is worth the small price of admission. Walk out into the Gulf of Mexico and take a look back at the beautiful view of Pensacola Beach.