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What's PB like now, as compared to my childhood memories?

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Little Rock, AR
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1,082 posts
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What's PB like now, as compared to my childhood memories?

Hi, Let me start by saying I'm not asking about Pensacola Beach in relation to the oil spill. However, I'm so saddened about this disaster and the way it's affecting LA, AL, and FL and I hope these areas will not be completely devastated by this. My thoughts and prayers are with all of those affected.

Here's what I want to know. When I was a kid (20+ years or more--wow , it hurts to say that!), my family frequently vacationed at PB and rented a house on the "sound" side (or bay side, I guess?). I know that house is gone now due to hurricanes. I just wonder what PB is like now that it's been rebuilt. Are there high rise condos everywhere and is the beach overly crowded in the summer? Are there lots of great restaurants around? What about seafood markets so you can get the food to cook yourself or maybe have them steam it for you?

For the past several years, we've gone to Gulf Shores/Orange Beach in the summer. We tend to rent condos in low-rise units or houses so that we have more space on the beach. Are there areas like this on PB and if so, tell me where to look, please. I feel such nostalgia for the area but don't really know what to look for as far asbeach rentals go, since I haven't been there in so long.

I remember we liked being on the sound/bay side b/c it was calm and easy to swim in. Any recommendations for this area? Has PB become as crowded as the Gulf Shores area? Thanks for any information!

South Carolina
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1. Re: What's PB like now, as compared to my childhood memories?

Hi Lee--I've been going to Pensacola Beach for over 30 years for vacations. After renting for several years, my parents bought a beach house in the late seventies. If you went to PB 20 years ago, then that would be around 1990? After Hurricane Opal in 1995, a few high rises went up, and after Ivan and Dennis a few more have gone up. But they are mostly in the area around the bridge and the pier.

If you cross the bridge from Gulf Breeze to the island and head east (left), you pass 4-5 high rises, but then you have about two miles that's only beach houses on the sound and beach sides. It's very residential and really nice!

I don't know if the Boardwalk was there when you came, but there are now shops and restaurants on the sound side near the bridge. Most of the tourist activity is near that area--it can get crowded in the summer, but the rest of the island is pretty quiet and uncrowded. I stayed at Gulf Shores the summer after Hurr. Ivan, and it was so over-crowded to me--I felt claustrophobic!

Give PB another chance, it's still got lots of houses on the sound side and lots on the beach. The sand is whiter and the water is a bluer/greener color than Orange Beach/GS. And it's only crowded if you go to the pier area. Also, the town of Pensacola isn't too far away if you want more restaurants, and Joe Patti's is a great place to get fresh seafood. Flounders is my favorite island restuarant.

You can tell I love it!! I just got back from our family vacation on the island, so I'm missing it. I'm praying the oil spill doesn't devastate the area...

Lori

Little Rock, AR
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1,082 posts
112 reviews
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2. Re: What's PB like now, as compared to my childhood memories?

hi Lori, Thanks so much for your reply! When you said "1990" it hit me that it's been even longer than that for me--I think we were going there in the 80's! WOW!(now I am feeling really old--ha, ha!) I appreciate your information about going away from the Pier to find a more quiet, less crowded area. I'll look into that. I don't know what to say about the oil spill anymore; it's heartbreaking. Long term health concerns are something to consider at this point. I just hate what this will do to PB, along with other areas in AL, LA, and FL. Thanks so much for the reply!

South Carolina
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3. Re: What's PB like now, as compared to my childhood memories?

You're welcome! I've been going since the 70's, so I'm really a geezer! lol To me, PB has kept it's quaint charm, and is even a nicer place to stay now than it was in the 80's. The houses are better built, the sidewalks are brick paved in the downtown area, but it still feels like a beach community.

Let's hope for the best regarding the oil...

4. Re: What's PB like now, as compared to my childhood memories?

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